The Unissued 1951 Yancey Wire Recordings – Full Album
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We arrived at Yanceys sometime before midnight. It was still June 16. The party had probably been in progress for some time. Jimmy had been feeling ill for the past few weeks, and when we got there he was resting in the small bedroom just off of the living room where the piano was located, but he soon joined the rest of us. After being introduced to those whom we didn’t know, Phil set up the wire recorder and, after asking for and getting an extension cord for the machine from Estelle, began recording. This CD contains all of what was captured on the wires that night.
I might note at this point that wire recorders did not have any recording meters on them, so it was difficult to adjust the recording gain properly. Also, the microphone cord on wire recorders was only about four feet long which made microphone placement mostly a matter of luck, and there seemed to be extraneous noises that could have come from a possible “intermittent” short in the microphone connection. It is also quite possible that Phil had to move the microphone around in order to capture the vocals as they were sung. But as one can tell from listening to the recordings, the gatherings at Yanceys were the epitome of informality. If you were a musician and wanted to play, you played. If you just wanted to sit and listen, you listened. There was always much conversation going on between the attendees, and at times it tended to overpower the recording. Nobody minded the recorder, and Estelle moved about the room, sometimes singing, sometimes exhorting a musician to play, sometimes talking. As I said, informality reigned. On a couple of occasions, as I remember, Jimmy returned to the bedroom to rest and listen to the other musicians from there. The party was still in full swing when we left, which was probably between three and four A. M.