I began collecting when I was five years old. My parents would take me to second-hand stores in Columbus, OH where I could buy old 78 records for a nickel apiece; and even though I could barely read the labels, I would take home as many as my weekly allowance could afford and savor them in my basement lair. Admittedly at that age I was hardly a connoisseur, but even then I loved the sounds of those old songs and was captivated by the emotions and ideas and even the vibrations that emanated so magically from that plain black disk. As I grew older and began making music myself I became increasingly curious about where it came from. Who wrote it? How was it notated and arranged and published and recorded? Who were the people who performed it, and what made them so great?
Michael Feintstein's American Songbook airs October 6, 13 and 20 on PBS.