rovan's workshop

(L-R): Joe "Butch" Rovan, Miles Buncich, Jim Rovan, CJ Crossen, Jim Sharp

The recording...

Back in 1980 my dad (also called "Butch" when he was a kid) came into possession of a set of old Dictaphone recordings, made in his family workshop in 1952 with a group of his neighborhood friends. He managed to find a few old Dictaphone machines at local thrift stores, and was able to put together one working machine. The recordings were in the form of vinyl belts, which were inscribed during the recording process. Over the almost 30 years that had passed since they were made the belts had become stiff, causing the playback needle to frequently jump off the belt. It took him many hours of playing sections of the Dictaphone belts to accumulate at least one take of every part of the recording. He dubbed all of the takes onto cassette.

My dad gave me the cassette, which I then dubbed to reel-to-reel tape. Then (before computer audio editing!) I hand-spliced all of the short recording fragments into a continuous recording. I dubbed the master back onto cassette.

Now it is 2013. I recently came across the master cassette and made a digital copy. Using various software tools (not available in 1980!) I was able to clean up some of the noise and output a new master. Rovan's workshop of 1952 lives again, now online in mp3 form....

click here to listen to the recording

click here to download the mp3 file

Intro to the 1980 cassette

Greetings to you, my friends of long ago. This is Butch Rovan, and it's now December 1980. Through the magic of Ron Brokloff's Dictaphone machine, come back with me to the Johnstown of 1952. Close your eyes, and in your mind stand in Rovan's workshop. Look out through the frosted windows and watch the snow falling on another world….

Cast of characters on the recording
(the "Piney Alley Ramblers") :

Butch Rovan (main "announcer")
Jim Rovan ("Texas Jim")
Billy (William) Rovan
Ronald Brokloff
Miles Buncich
Rodwin Buncich ("Wyoming Rod")
CJ (Cornelius J) Crossen ("Blackhill CJ")
James Sharp