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HEAR: Taylor Made Recordings
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HEAR Gallery

This Gallery contains recordings made by the Rev. Taylor.  Click a HEAR icon (the ear) to open the gallery with the selected audio.

Rev. Taylor used state of the art recording tools available to him in the 1940s.  Originally recorded as lacquer disc records, the sound segments in this gallery have been digitized and edited for this presentation.  Like most of Rev. Taylor's work, he taught himself to use the equipment.  Taylor would take his recording equipment to churches and events or he would make records of people he invited to his home to hear their voices.  There were many times he would put the microphone up to the radio and record the newscasts, radio shows or church services broadcast by local Memphis radio stations like WMPS, WHHM, WDIA and KOSE that broadcast from Osceola, Arkansas.

Click a HEAR icon to open the Taylor Made HEAR galleries. 

The audio segments in the HEAR Your Own Voice gallery were recorded by Rev. Taylor in his home at 2386 Hunter Avenue in Memphis, TN.  Rev. Taylor would invite many people to his home to talk into the microphone so they could hear their voices.  The Collection contains recordings when Rev.Taylor would go to Ministers Meetings and Gatherings and record people's voices.

The HEAR Church Music gallery contains samples of the recordings that Rev.Taylor produced in his home as well as in regional churches.

HEAR Taylor's Radio contains radio broadcasts that Reverend Taylor would listen to at home.  He'd set up his microphone right in front of his radio and make lacquer discs of programs he enjoyed.  Some of these were entertainment shows like the very popular Amos 'n Andy, newscasts, local music and, of course, church services.  A newscast in this gallery from KOSE 860 AM in nearby Osceola, Arkansas makes you feel that you are back in the early 1950s hearing the news right off the wire service.

Next there are edited portions from two long records Rev. Taylor made.  His close friend Rev. W. Herbert Brewster produced  a very popular radio show called Gospel Treasure Hour broadcast on WMPS.  These segments feature part of a sermon by Rev. Brewster and musical selections by Mrs. Queen C. Anderson and The Brewster Ensemble.  The next two segments are from recordings of WHHM's remote broadcast of the 1947 Church of God in Christ (COGIC) Annual Convocation from Mason Temple in Memphis.  The first cut is edited from a 6 minute speech by Educator and Civil Rights Activist Mary McLeod Bethune.  Mrs. Bethune calls the group to action by asking them to sign their names and addresses in books that she planned to present to President Truman's newly formed National Civil Rights Committee January 14, 1948.  In the final cut in this section, Elder J. O. Patterson closes the last radio broadcast of the convocation with a prayer.  Elder Patterson later became the Presiding Bishop of COGIC.

HEAR Taylor's Own Voice contains a single, remarkable recording made by Taylor of himself.  We do not know the circumstances around which he created this record although its personal nature invites many questions.

We want to hear from you.  If you know people who lived in North Memphis or were active in church life in Memphis during this time, please ask them to listen to the interviews and music in this exhibit.  Your participation gives us clues about the recordings and the communities and individuals who are featured.  You can e-mail us by clicking the link next to the audio title.

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HEAR Your Own Voice
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HEAR Church Music
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HEAR Taylor's Radio
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HEAR: Taylor's Own Voice

The Taylor Collection includes 100 lacquer discs that were recorded using technology similar to what radio stations had been using since the 1930s to record programs on 16 inch transcription discs.  Most of the lacquer discs had few dates or notations on the labels so we've had to piece together information to tell you about this part of Rev. Taylor's work.

We've had help from many sound engineers especially Martin Fisher, sound engineer and researcher at the Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University.  Fisher digitized all the discs and helped us figure out the way the records were made.

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Presto Recording Machine open
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Presto Recording Machine closed
The original discs were probably cut on a portable unit much like a Presto Recording Machine*.  The Presto Recording Machine was definitely not compact.  It's about 1.5ft. x 1.5ft x 2ft using both aluminum and steel based lacquer discs.  This kind of machine used a hot stylus or needle which was heated by a coil of wire (sort of like the filament in a light bulb) wrapped around it. 

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Webster Model 60
"The heated stylus was gently lowered onto the spinning lacquer disc and the recording would begin.  The original recordings, or "masters", were recorded at both 33 1/3 and 78 rpm.  These master discs would then be placed on a Webster Model 60** record player.  The Webster's output would directly feed the recording unit on which a copy would be cut at 78 rpm."  Rev. Taylor would give folks these 12" 78 rpm copies"Taylor's recording skills were extremely good. His 'master' recordings probably sounded wonderful before all the wear they received from playing and copying", said Fisher.

 

*Presto Recording Machine reprinted with permission from Martin Fisher.
**Webster Model 60 reprinted with permission from Pat's Antiques Gallery.

 

   
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