Doo Wop & 50’s Pop Playlist on


Tops #R266 featuring "Black Denim Trousers" by Ken Otte

Tops #R266 featuring “Black Denim Trousers” by Ken Otte

Doo Wop & 50’s Pop Playlist on

There are both well-known hits and obscure numbers here, but all are fabulous tunes from the 50’s. Best song you’ve never heard before: “Black Denim Trousers” by Ken Otte — awesome motorcycle rebel/tragedy song!!

“Jack’s Doo Wop & 50’s Pop”  is Part 3 of a Series of five playlists that are all digitized from a box of 7″ singles from eBay. The final two are Country/Honky-Tonk and Humorous/Holiday — both coming soon.

Jack Thompson’s Box of Records – List 2 “Lounge Lizard”

The setting is a quiet, upscale lounge in the late 50’s with big, cushy seats and a warm jukebox that pipes out all the faves. Soothing and serene voices like Bobby Darin or Dean Martin, or big bands like Perez Prado & His Orchestra. This is part of a series of playlists that are all digitized recordings from a box of 7″ singles from eBay. Find “Jack’s Lounge” on  More coming soon. Pink Alan Dale

“Just The Girls”

“Just The Girls”

This one is just the girls… Female vocalists from the golden era including Patti Page, Rosemary Clooney, Connie Stevens, Georgia Gibbs, and more. This sugar pop is so sweet that your teeth will hurt, but you’ll love it all the same. All of these came from a box of 7″ singles that I got on eBay. A Country mix, 50’s Pop and even a comedy mix are all yet to be posted.

Box Set of 45s to be Uploaded to

Over the next couple days, I’ll be uploading a few playlists to the streaming site, which all came from a recent eBay purchase. The discs were sold in a single 7″ storage box. All told there are 6.5 hours of recorded material that I have digitized on 70 discs. Only a few duds in the entire set, and some really amazing and rare discs too. Even though there were extremely dirty, they all cleaned up to VG -> VG+ standards. You’ll hear some pops and noise on a few discs, but most sound absolutely flawless. I hope you enjoy them and I’ll post more about the workflow for a large project too. I hope you enjoy what you are reading (and about to hear). 


Line Levels & EQ Adjustments – Background Noise will wipe out “Silence”

When “silent” is not actually silent. Once you have a recording, closely examine the waveform bars for the moments that should be pure silence. Listen to silence through the headphones. If there is background noise, it will be audible in the recording and that is very distracting. Adjust the knobs on the DJ Mixer. Is there a fault in one of the knobs or controllers? Swap out or move around the connector cables. Don’t forget to check the ground wire. If there is a break inside the sheath, you’ll need to rewire that… Don’t let hum and noise into your recordings.

Keep It On The Level

There is some temptation to laugh at people who obsess over minor, obsessive details that seem like pure audiophile silliness. Two tosses of salt over the left shoulder before and after switching speeds from 33 to 45. However, one simple task that you should do is to verify that your turntable is level. If it is not level, the needle will not travel correctly in the groove – and this, my friends, is everything that makes your records sound nice.

You can get a very cool center bubble level for this task. Like this:

A tool for every job.

A tool for every job.

You can also use any mini level to assure that the player is level side-to-side and back-to-front.  A player that is not level will also cause excessive needle wear and can damage the records.  So, just keep it on the level…

Cleaning your records – Wipe until it’s clean

Vinyl already has many flaws, like warps and scratches. You can’t really fix all of the problems your disc might have had before it comes into your very careful guardianship, but one thing is for sure — Dust and dirt will cause a problem once it comes to record. You can’t fix scratches – they are usually permanent damage, but dust and dirt is something you can fix, and a simple cleaning will make your recordings sound noticeably better.

If you have endless amounts of money and an incessant need for the perfect tool for every job, buy a fully automatic vinyl cleaner like the Nitty Gritty. These machines are super cool and do a great job, but they’re completely unnecessary imho. You can get very good results with commercial cleaning solutions and a good brush. I’ve had the same two vinyl brushes for almost 30 years and they still work perfectly.

The trick to good cleaning is using the right amount of fluid and a light hand with the cleaning brush. A lot of times, you’ll see applicator brush and cleaning solutions sold together. If you don’t already have one get the set. Discwasher has a nice combo available.

Spray the cleaning fluid across the top *once* across and then *once* back , then gently wipe the brush on a clean cloth (or your jeans). This will give you a nice, dense amount of fluid but not so much that it will leave fluid marks. While those stains are not harmful, they’re just extra fluid that you are wasting, and leaves unsightly marks that remain on the disc. Bleech!

I like to clean the record right on the turntable platter. It can’t fall on the floor and it rotates the disc for you – how convenient. Place one edge of the cleaning brush on the disc, starting at the center and then pulling toward you until you reach the edge of the disc. Set the tonearm into playing position, but next to the disc (not on it). This will activate the motor, but the stylus is not touching the record while you are cleaning the disc.

If you have a lot of dirt to clean, then set the speed to 45RPM and clean the surface a few times. You can also put the tone arm in neutral position so that the motor is not on and wipe the disc clockwise and counter-clockwise to work on a stubborn spot. Wipe back and forth with the groove, not pulling toward you. Also, make sure that you don’t bump the tonearm, which will then swing wildly and slam on the disc and damage the stylus. Make sure that you are pressing the brush down only slightly – if you use too much pressure, you can damage the turntable or scratch the vinyl.

After you’ve made a first pass on the surface, just turn the brush over to see if you have a lot of lint/dust/spunk, or just a little bit. Have another go at it if there is a lot, and you will rinse, lather and repeat until you see no schmutz at all. Surface dirt is something you can control, and the grooves of your vinyl can hide a lot of schmutz. As the needle hits the gunk, it will usually mean that the real sound fidelity that was on the disc is covered up and then lost in your recording (if you failed to clean). Friends don’t let friends play dirty records.

One small hint in regard to workflow — Start by cleaning the B-Side. After you’ve got that nice and clean, then flip to the A-Side and start your recording. You might want to give the B-Side a minor wipe after you flip it, but you won’t be spending a bunch of time cleaning after you’ve started the recording.

One other note — Store your records in sleeves, in the vertical position and in cases with doors to reduce the overall amount of dust exposure. Clean discs have less noise, and that is a good thing when it comes time to record them.

One other small hint – turn the cleaning brush upside down so you are looking at the cleaning surface. Brush the stylus back and forth on the brush very gently to remove any dirt or schmutz that has accumulated on the needle. It’s surprising how much build up can get trapped there, especially after cleaning a really dirty disc. Once the needle gets covered in gunk, it won’t work properly and it sounds like gunk. A couple quick little gentle wipes will usually eliminate this potential problem.

Sound Input Settings for your Recording Software

Whatever software you might choose (and there are many, many options) set the sound input rate to capture the input as follows: 44100 Hz and 32-bit sample format. Most software programs give you some latitude in these settings, but since you are aiming for the standard file size and quality required to burn a CD, these are the numbers you need to know.  Anything less will reduce the quality  and give you error messages when you send the files to the disc burning program.


Your Target Product – A compact disc

The end goal for your vinyl copy is to create a copy on compact disc. Not only can you play that disc in any standard player, you can use that disc to import the music into iTunes so you can carry it around with you wherever you go. Sure, you could skip the whole disc burn and save a lot of plastic that might end up in the landfill by simply converting the audio recording directly into MP3 files. Me, personally, I keep my CD copy in paper sleeves with the original LP just in case it goes hinky, or I just want to listen to my copy on the CD player.

For a perfect audio CD copy, you want to create a disc that loads onto your computer as if it were the manufacturer’s version. This means that when it comes time to start splitting the tracks, you need to understand what waveforms look like, and how to edit them into the correct song length.

When you open up your recording in your editing software, you will see a graphic representation of the sound file with vertical bars. This is a waveform — The taller the bar on the waveform, the louder the sound. Where the bars are tiny or absent, that is silence. For LPs, those moments of silence are generally the space between tracks. So, you will use the mastering software to clip your tracks so that you match the correct length of the song.

In most cases, you’ll want to match your track lengths to the published information. That way, when you burn your disc and put it in iTunes for import you have an extra-added bonus – the import process compared the track lengths on your disc to the info on the Gracenote service. If you have an exact match to the manufactured disc, Gracenote will automagically fill in all of the disc info for you… Artist, Title, Song Name, Artwork, everything.

How do I know how long the song runs? Well, you can usually refer to the label, or the sleeve to see the track info. I am amazed at how often this printed information is just plain wrong. There are some records where you will see different times on the sleeve and on the label. Were they lazy, on drugs, or both? This is much less common with audio CDs, so another good way to see track times is to find the disc on a reference site (, iTunes, or Wikipedia). If it’s a rare disc, you may need to dig deep. On older recordings, you may never find a track listing so you are on your own… You may even disagree with the edit, in which case you are free to make your own cut. After all, this is for you, so why not have it the way you want it?

One problem is that, occasionally, the mastering of the phono LP and the CD are not the same – it is either some unique edit that was different on the two, or there are fewer tracks, or something else. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try your ear hears the tracks differently and you really need an extra second or two for one track that causes a different track length. Oh, well. It is far more important that you create a disc that plays well rather than to assign erroneous times just to comply with the published length. Once you have split the tracks appropriately, you can burn the compact disc.

Now, before you go ahead and start burning a ton of discs with weird times, make sure to read the post about Splitting Tracks. You MUST check the speed of your turntable with every recording. Think about it… this is an analog process. If your turntable is spinning too slowly (or, too fast), then your recording will be too long (or, too short, accordingly).