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Byron Werner

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Somewhere in the mid-eighties ( sorry that I have such a bad memory for dates) I got some copies of tapes from Piet Schreuders.
The original tapes were made by Byron Werner and I didn’t know any of the songs. On the first tape were 78rpm records, the second tape was called Space age bachelor pad music, and the third tape had More space age bachelor pad music on one side and Eskimo radio on the other side.
In his radio programs Piet Schreuders played songs from the tapes and explained that Byron Werner had come up with the term Space age bachelor pad music, and what it meant. Like my hero Terence McKenna said: “You cannot think any further than your language”. If something hasn’t a name, it doesn’t exist. The name Space age bachelor pad music played a vital role in the re-discovery of and world wide interest for this type of music. Byron Werner seems to be a modest guy; there is not much data on his audio archaeological research to be found on the Internet. Or at least I could not find much. Within the small circle of people that write about this music, Byron Werner is credited for his work, but I would love to read or hear interviews, articles and lists. I remember listening to that first (?) Space age-tape and thinking: where on earth does this music come from?! I couldn’t imagine that this music was all on records. Let alone that I could imagine that five years later I would have many of these records myself. The cassette opened up my ears to a new kind of music, and to a new kind of listening to music, in a way that unfortunately not happens to me on a monthly basis. Piet Schreuders had made new lists of all the songs on the tape and so I thought that one of my favourite artists on the tape was named Escobar. One tape later ( The worst of Esquivel ) I learned that his real name was Esquivel, but this showed how the situation was in the mid-eighties, and how fast things can change. A little after he was re-discovered Esquivel’s records were so hot. That seems age ago now. I mean, when was the last time that you played a complete Esquivel LP? I haven’t done that in years.
The 78rpm record cassette got less playing time than the Space Age tapes in those days, but it survived them. I still play it nowadays and I should transfer the music to CD, because it is very cheap label tape, that could break any day. I made a label for the tape, because I copied it a lot for friends. I will show it here, so that you can read what an excellent taste Byron Werner has. And what a fascinating record collection! (And how mixed up nemse and titles!) Why isn’t there a CD-series out with his 78rpm record collection? In my opinion this is the stuff the world is waiting for.
Here is a song from that treasured tape, a Fool’s song by Whispering Jack Smith. What I like about it is the way it is sung, with a subtle meanness that I never hear in modern songs anymore.

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