May 14, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Please Find Rare Music and Put It on the Internet (Disco Indian Stories, The Chapped Lips)

music hunt disco indian stories

The Legendary 'Disco Indian Stories' tape is not online and nobody seems to know where it is.

It’s easy to get the impression these days that everything under the sun is now just a few clicks away on the internet — that is, until you look for something that’s not there.

My first ever feature story for the web, from 1997 or so, a CNET piece called “Cellphone Horror Stories,” appears to have vanished from the planet entirely, for example (and if you can’t find an article with my weird byline attached to it, it’s probably not there). I could be the only person who cares about that early appraisal of the dangers of butt-dialing your significant other as you talk about them to your best friend, losing cell service on the side of a lonely stretch of highway, and the other “horror stories” listed in that feature, but for future generations wondering what the first consumers to carry cellphones were thinking, maybe it would come in handy. Oh well.

Much more importantly, for music fans, some of our most beloved songs are also entirely missing from the web. Luckily, YouTube offers an easy way to rectify the situation — see our tutorials on how to do that for Mac and for Windows.

The first song I ever “rescued” was Danny Kaye’s amazing “Tubby The Tuba,” one of my childhood favorites:

YouTube Preview Image

Comments include:

“What a lovely warming memory to have found on a freezing March afternoon. Always loved Danny Kaye. I recommend getting hold of film ‘The Court Jester’ and defy anyone not to laugh out loud. Long may his memory endure.”

“Haven’t heard this for about 35 years…just transformed me back to my childhood. Thanks for the memories.”

“Magic stuff, thanks indeed for the memories.”

“Oh, who happy I am, too! I love it so much :)”

“thanks for uploading, you’ve made my dad very happy and nostalgic… have to put up with him singing the frog song now, though O_o”

See? It’s worth it.

Other rare songs I have put onto the web (and maybe even the whole internet):

I will finally get to the point here: We need more of this.

The next time you look for a song on the web and it’s not there, and you have a physical copy or can somehow get access to the recording, please do this or this to solve the problem.

Kurt Schlegel once left the above-pictured cassette, containing an amazing compilation of Indian children’s music called Disco Indian Stories, in the tour van of the band P.E.E., whose co-singer/guitarist Jim Stanley once worked with me at CNET, and who lent a copy of the cassette amongst a group of us in San Francisco in the late ’90s.

This is what went down on Facebook after I asked where it came from:

  • Jim Stanley: “Kurt Schlegel. He left it in the van on tour once. I have tagged him here for further insight.”
  • Kurt Schlegel: “There’s that tape! I’ve been missing it terribly. Provenance: Given to me by Grux from Caroliner Rainbow. Apparently, this type of recording is quite popular in India. This makes sense when you see it in light of Bollywood production values. Can’t tell you the artists involved, just that it rules.”

Indeed, it does. And you still can’t hear it. And neither can I, or anyone else, apparently. If you have this tape, or know where it is, please put this music online (whether you have Mac or Windows). It can’t just disappear… can it?

While we’re on the topic, I am also looking for an album recorded by my mom’s cousin’s amazing all-girl ’80s a capella group, The Chapped Lips.

I can’t find Disco Indian Stories or The Chapped Lips anywhere, and I have been looking for both of them. For years. We can do better.

Is there some rare music that’s been haunting you that you can’t find? Please, let us know, so that we can at least put the notion that someone is looking for it online. If there’s a need, we’d like to turn this into a recurring feature, to preserve little bits of analog amazing-ness before everyone forgets there was a time before the internet.

  • jezc

    Nice piece, there is a lot of sites out there that preserve music (and my own site that seeks to preserve and celebrate all of Birmingham’s music heritage- ticket stubs, posters fanzines etc) which get shut down due to copyright infringement, Really this is about Music as Culture rather than music for commerce. It is saddening that sites get shut down when all they seek to do is share our musical heritage for others to discover and to ensure the history of ALL music is preserved for future generations. Happy to write more on this if it is of interest. Cheers Jez

  • DFBM

    Here is my story: 1996 I started doing a DIY tape label and traded releases and ordered unheard tapes from photo copied mailorder lists.

    So this one guy had the time to make mixtapes of his distro items to get people iton buying stuff or just to enjoy it.

    So my tape was a mixture of some ambient, post industrial, weirdo pop punk. And there were two tracks on I always liked from the first listen. It was such a strange atomsphere with the field recordings of a summer day and that strange, harp like played string instrument. I don’t know why I didn’t buy the tapes – maybe I had no money or was just interested in dark ambient/experimental stuff.

    But – even if that was recorded on the cheapest tape-brand ever, this tape still exist and those two songs were always in my mind. Everytime when I wanted to give or thow away the tape I remembered the two tracks that I liked so much. So I kept it – even without tape player.
    And further more – those two unusual tracks influenced my own music.

    2010 I finally digitalized the tracks and tried to find out about that mysterious project called Mount Elephant. There was just nothing on the web – even though there are music blogs that post the most obscure stuff – nada.

    I tried to contact people I knew were active at the same time, but no one knew the obscure project.

    Finally I got an answer from the guy who made the mixtape for me and he came up with a suggestion and it took another year that he came up with a recording of both tapes – because I found them in some boxes. And in the meantime I was able to contact the artist and found out that he was, together with his brother one of the most hyperactive musician and DIY activists in their region.

    Not that he was well known, but in the eighties they run so many musical projects and art stuff – and he is still making music.


    I will re-release this obscure tapes in a similar small edition, in the next days.

    This is – in my ears, really unique and important to keep and to make it available again and the hunt on to the source of this recording was thrilling, too :)

    So here it is: