Rare Stanley Brothers disc one step closer to restoration

Farm and Fun Time transcription disc arrives safely at the NDCC in Massachusetts

The folks at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, VA, are one step closer to their goal of digitizing a rare Stanley Brothers recording. As of last week, the disc has finally made it to the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Massachusetts, where a new technology called IRENE will be used to scan the grooves in the disc and reconstruct the recording’s sound.

Earlier this year the recording, a transcription disc of a performance on the Farm & Fun Time radio show that has badly deteriorated over time, was named one of the Virginia Association of Museum’s (VAM) Top 10 Endangered Artifacts. After receiving first place in an online voting competition, the museum received a $5000 grant to help digitize the disc using the IRENE technology. The museum has released several video updates on their Facebook page chronicling their journey toward preservation of the disc, and the latest features Digital Resources Manager Scotty Almany’s visit to the Northeast Document Conservation Center. It includes a look at the IRENE machine and an explanation of how the scanning technology works.

If IRENE is able to recreate the sound on the recording, the museum hopes to use the disc’s nine songs (which include Lee Highway Blues and Are You Waiting Just For Me?), in museum exhibits and on the museum’s radio station, among other ways of making them available to the public.

To keep up with the digitization journey, visit the Birthplace of Country Music Museum Facebook page.

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About the Author

John Curtis Goad

John Goad is a graduate of the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass, Old Time & Country Music program, with a Masters degree in both History and Appalachian Studies from ETSU.