Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sometimes I get so disgusted....

I was over by Terpsichore St. the other day to have a look at a house. It was probably built in the 1890's. Nothing spectacular to behold but it would make a nice home for someone if they wanted to fix it up. Of course, that would take a lot of work, the place is in pretty bad shape. It's been chopped into two or three different apartments and doesn't appear to have been lived in for some time. Basically just another derelict building in a city with lots of derelict buildings.

Strictly speaking, the house is protected because it lies within a National Historic District, one of twenty such districts in Orleans Parish, but ya know how it goes. Chances are the house will continue to deteriorate until the roof falls in. The technical term for it is: demolition by neglect.

As I say, there's nothing very special about the house. Except for one thing. It was the long-time home of Henry Roeland Bryd, aka Professor Longhair. That's why the house was recently added to the Louisiana Landmarks Society's short-list of most endangered historic sites.

This list, which is issued yearly, is really more of a way of bringing attention to the huge amount of preservation work needing to be done than an actual plan for saving the individual buildings. Ya see, this stuff quickly gets very complicated. The Society doesn't own the properties. At best you might be able to set up a fund for a specific building, but someone still has to administer the cash and ultimately it's up to the owners to decide if any work gets done. That is, if they even want any work done at all.

Alternatively, a special Trust could be established to buy/restore/maintain the property, but that's pretty much a "pie in the sky" solution when what's really needed is basic structural stabilization. The sooner the better.

The best solution by far would be for an individual to buy/restore the property. I have no idea if the Byrd family would sell the house, but it's a thought.
I bought all three of Professor Longhair's 45's on the Ebb label back when spending more than $5 on a record meant I probably wouldn't eat that night [actually not that long ago]. They were all together and priced at $15 each. I stared a long time at those records. Long enough for the shop owner to drift by and tell me he'd cut a deal if I bought all three. I didn't even know what they were, thought maybe they were some kind of bootleg. Ultimately, I gave the guy $30 for the lot, and yeah, it meant I ate ramen exclusively for several days straight.

The Ebb label was started by Lee Rupe with money she got from divorcing her husband, Art Rupe, owner of Specialty records. During the three years the label was in operation, 60+ singles were issued, quite a lot of them of very high quality. There's a nice comp around called "The Ebb Records Story" if you're interested.

I'm offering up both sides of the record today because they're both so good I couldn't possibly choose one over the other. Need I say more?

The record's from 1957.....


  1. WoW!
    Great to see these here!

  2. Where else ya gonna see 'em darlin'? *winks*

  3. Going without some food for rare records is certainly a valid decision, especially when finding Fess' three on Ebb. You got a great deal on 'em. I've never thought about bargaining by just standing there staring at the records for a long time....probably doesn't work as well for geezer guys as it did for you, ana.

    BTW,there's a Facebook page (must be open to all to see, as I don't do FB) dedicated to the dilemma of Fess' house. A recent comment says his daughter, Pat, is setting up an escrow account for donations and will be selling T-shirts of her own design. Though, the house needs a deep pocket response, as does the entire blighted area.....

  4. Hey might be surprised at how I get treated in some record shops. Often enough it's like I'm a creature from outerspace. But it's true, there are times when all I gotta do is smile at the guy behind the counter.

    I can't tell you how many times I've had to suffer through long lectures about why certain german synth bands are sooooo effing awesome. Doo Wop groups of the fifties [about which I know almost nothing] are a big topic of discussion with the guys over 70. Commonly, if I act at all serious in shops where they don't know me, I can get trapped in this way and finding the nearest exit becomes far more important than digging through the crates.

    That's why I totally appreciate the shops that just let do my thing. Best is when I'm taken seriously from the git go.

    Yeah, I did get a good deal on them. Awhile back I saw a [nice] copy of "Misery" sell for $50. I've run into the other two for $20-25.

    That's fantastic news about the Fess house. I didn't mention it in the post but it looks like a little work has been done around the place since I last saw it a couple of years ago. I think the tar paper is newish, or maybe some of the old siding has been taken down? Could be the doors are new too. Any chance you've got a link for the FB page? I'd love to post it. And contribute.


  5. Thanks Ana. Especially good to hear/have "Look What You're Doin' To Me [Oooh-Wee, Baby]" as The Ebb Story Vol 2(the R&B Vol.)you were mentioning doesn't have it on there.


  6. I didn't realize it wasn't on the comp J.

    Kind of an odd omission.