(CelebrityAccess News Service) – Seventy one years after they were cut, the fabled first records ever made by the father of Australian country music Tex Morton have surfaced again and have been placed in the care of the national screen and sound archive in Canberra. It is believed the three priceless, 7", aluminum discs, said to be the first country music discs made outside America, were originally recorded by Morton in Wellington, NZ, in 1932 when the young singer was not yet 16 years old.
For decades they were stored in New Zealand until Morton brought them back with him after a trip in the late1970s. Following his death in 1983, Morton's wife Kath Morton placed the three Speak-A-Phone discs in storage for safe keeping.
For collectors and serious Morton historians, the discs acquired an almost legendary status. Because no one had seen them for so long, some experts even disputed their existence. Recognising their enormous importance to Australasian musical history, Kath Morton decided the discs should be placed in the care of ScreenSound Australia, the national screen and sound archive in the nation's capital.
With the assistance of friend and country music industry veteran Max Ellis, an approach was made to ScreenSound through former country music broadcaster Nick Weare, now of the archive's Collection Development Department. Kath Morton formally handed over the three discs to the acting director of ScreenSound Australia Mary Durkin in Canberra recently.
ScreenSound, which has specialised audio facilities and extensive expertise in handling old recordings of all types, is at present transcribing the records on to CD. The Speak-A-Phone discs, a proprietary recording system of the era, used fibre needles and appear to be in excellent condition.
From titles scratched on the discs, it is believed they contain four songs, The
Insult, The End of The Hobo's Trail, Mexican Yodel and Last Round Up. However, until the content is transcribed by ScreenSound¹s audio experts, Morton fans will have to wait to know whether these priceless original song recordings are of sufficient audio and vocal quality to be of broadcast standard. After transcription of the content is completed, at least one of these highly significant Australian country music relics will be placed on display in Tamworth, Australia's Country Music Capital. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen