Sound Advice: Is a Duke Ellington private pressing the real thing?

By Dave Thompson and Susan Sliwicki
Send Us Your Questions

Need some “Sound Advice”? We’d love to hear from you! We can’t guarantee that every question will be answered, but all will be considered. Please send questions to:
Mail: Sound Advice, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990; Fax: 715-445-4087; e-mail: peter.lindblad@fwmedia.com

DUKE ELLINGTON’S key works can be researched via the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Harvard College Library, which is home to one of the most important Ellington collections in the world.  Don Hunstein/Copyright Sony BMG Music Entertainment
DUKE ELLINGTON’S key works can be researched via the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Harvard College Library, which is home to one of the most important Ellington collections in the world. Don Hunstein/Copyright Sony BMG Music Entertainment

Question:
I have a 1952 private pressing by Duke Ellington of his 1952 concert. He had 50 copies pressed for his friends and associates. I have a copy but cannot find any info on it anywhere. Hopefully you can shed some light on what I have. A picture is available if needed. Thanks in advance.

— Keith, via e-mail

Answer:
This is definitely a fascinating question, and unfortunately, we cannot give you a definitive reply. 

Our best suggestion is to contact the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Harvard College Library, home to one of the most important Ellington collections in the world — taken from the estate of collector Joseph Jeffers Dodge. They would certainly be able to advise you on the precise provenance of your disc. You also can browse the catalog of their holdings at http://oasis.lib.harvard.edu/oasis/deliver/findingAidDisplay?_collection=oasis&eadid=mus00006.

Question:
Really enjoy Goldmine and your column.

I’m looking for Eternity’s Children, the song “Mrs. Bluebird,” on Tower Records. Where is it?

I bought it in September 1968 on a 45 RPM; never seen or heard from it since.

— Martin Pedersen, Washington

Answer:
While we can’t vouch for the whereabouts of your original 45, we can help you find another way to snag this song.

If you’re committed to finding a 45, you’ve got a few options. If you haven’t done so already, check in with your favorite local record shop owner; knowledgeable retailers are a great resource.

A quick Internet search just before presstime also turned “Mrs. Bluebird” b/w “Little Boy” on eBay, where the seller offered a near-mint 45 in the company sleeve.

If the format doesn’t matter, you’ve got more choices. In 2002, Rev-Ola released the 25-track CD Eternity’s Children, which includes “Mrs. Bluebird.” We found several copies of that album for sale via online retailers including CD Universe and Amazon.com.

Rev-Ola’s Eternity’s Children compilation CD, From Us Unto You: The Original Singles, features not one but two tracks devoted to “Mrs. Bluebird,” the bonus version of which has been billed online as a “Mono 45 Edit Weird!”

If you’re only interested in finding “Mrs. Bluebird” so you can give it a listen now and then, or you want to pick and choose a handful of the group’s songs, consider MP3s, which are plentiful for this group at the online vendor iTunes.

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