Here's a visual update to my off-topic essay "Armchair Nostalgia" from two weeks ago, about my retro stereo project. The rebuilt receiver arrived, and I installed it in the minty (mmm) walnut case I found for it. Meanwhile I'd ordered and received a pair of Dynaco A-25 speakers in excellent but not mint condition; my brother Scott thinks these are what our brother Charlie used to have, although I haven't asked Char about it yet. He might well have: Dynaco reportedly sold as many as a million pairs of these. Considering that there have been something like 14,000 speaker manufacturers in history, that's a pretty remarkable achievement. I got the Dynacos from Ken Drescher at Audio.net. Check out the fabulous pair of Dahlquist DQM-9's he's got listed—that's what Scott has, and has always loved, although his are no longer working. A great speaker.
There's only one problem with my 1970s stereo—it only plays 1970s music! Seriously, I got it hooked up yesterday (I used red and black Radio Shack stranded hookup wire, naturally, and if you just laughed, you get it). And after I got this working I went up and down the dial and heard one '70s song after another after another. It would be nice having FM in the house again except that Southeast Wisconsin doesn't seem to have any good FM stations. The receiver and speakers are 30+ years old, and I guess that's about the age of local radio culture, too. Sheesh. (At least we still have our all-polka-all-the-time station, though, in case you want to drive yourself insane.)
The photograph on the receiver is a 16x20" print made from an original Speed Graphic negative by Charles Peterson. Clockwise from center, it shows a then-38-year-old Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey in profile on trombone, an unidentified sax player (I once knew, I just can't remember), "Pops" Foster on standing bass, Eddie Condon on guitar, Red Norvo on trumpet, and...augh, I've forgotten the drummer's name too. Anyway, the picture was taken backstage at a segregated Harlem nightclub in 1939. The white and black musicians weren't allowed to play together onstage, but after hours they'd get together and jam backstage. Charles Peterson no doubt asked them all to scrunch together so he could get everybody into the shot.