John Tefteller makes his living buying and selling records. In September he paid the most anyone has ever paid for a 78 RPM blues record. The record he bought was Tommy Johnson’s “Alcohol and Jake Blues.”
Why did he pay so much for an old blues 78?
“These original Paramount delta blues records have attained such a mythic status over the years, and there are loads of people who would love to buy one of these things, that it just becomes so legendary,” Tefteller told Fuse. ” When you actually see one for sale, which happens once or twice in a lifetime, you have to make a decision.
“It’s also historically extremely important because there are no masters on these records,” he continued. ” You think of modern-day records and there are master tapes that you can go back to and make new copies of. When you go back to these 1920s and ’30s blues recordings, this is it. The masters were destroyed years ago and there’s no way to recover them. The only way anyone is able to hear this stuff now is to search out an [original] commercial pressing. So when you find one of these blues records in really super nice condition, that’s an earth-shaking event in the record collecting world.”
For more of Fuse’s interview.
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