What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?

The Way, Wayback Machine


1936 Zenith Stratosphere 1000z restored by Michael O'Brien

1936 Zenith Stratosphere 1000z restored by Michael O’Brien ©2006.2007 theradionut

I’m working on a podcast for work, and I needed to find some royalty-free music. During my search, I was referred by a reliable source to the not-very-promising-sounding PublicDomain4U, which in spite of its unimpressive name offers all kinds of wonderful historical music from the teens through the fifties for no charge. The music offered includes pieces by greats like Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Jackson, and Scott Joplin, to name a few. A lot of the recordings were captured from either Edison discs or original 78s, and they have all the wonderful pops and scratches I have found myself missing once I stopped listening to music on vinyl.

One of the first gems I stumbled across is the original version of “Popeye the Sailor Man.” It’s very, very different from the version we grew up with. Here’s my favorite lyric: “When he kisses Olive’s cheek, she stays black and blue for a week.” Yike. No wonder they changed it.

You can download anything on their site by just right clicking the title and selecting “save link as,” or you can play it directly from the site. The extra benefit of listening on the site is that it will continue playing music until you stop it. Here’s one track I discovered that way. It’s Ida Cox (which would make a great drag name) with “Mojo Hand Blues.” And don’t miss the crystal-clear recording Bessie Smith’s “I’m Wild About That Thing.” And next time you spot me bouncing down the street, there’s a good chance it’s because I’m listening to Helen Humes’ “Song of the Wanderer.”

Helen Humes

Helen Humes

There’s a pretty eclectic range of genres on the site from classical to jug music to country to big band and even Hawaiian music! Something for nearly everyone. Hope you have as much fun exploring as I did. (By the way, don’t get confused and click on the red buttons. They’re advertising and don’t take you anywhere useful.)


Author: Donna from MyOBT

I have committed to spending part of every day looking for at least one beautiful thing, and sharing what I find with you lovelies!

15 thoughts on “The Way, Wayback Machine

  1. Great tip on the music, and I miss when stereos were furniture.
    By the way, do you know if there is a place like the one you wrote about that has old radio serials?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These are great! I too love listening to vinyl with all the crackles and jumps! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. pretty cool stuff. will definitely check them out ^^

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dave Alvin recorded some of these on his album, “Public Domain: Songs from the Wild Land.” Bob Dylan also records and performs some of these. Lots of good stuff out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I still have records from my teen years, back in 19??. I even have the plastic piece to put in the middle of the 45s so they fit on the spindle. Love music from way way back then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I still had all my dad’s records until the hurricane hit us in 2012. I threw them all away thinking they were ruined. It was about a year later that I found out that they would have been fine. That was an awful realization. Happily, thanks to the internet, I have managed to find soft copies of most of the collection. I still miss the feel of the records, but that can’t be helped.


  6. Thanks for this article. Love this style of music.
    Shine On

    Liked by 1 person

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