“Previously Hidden Merits Including Listening” By Emma Munger – Caffè Lena History Project Technical Specialist

Cataloging tapes for the Caffè Lena History Project is a strange process. I sit at my desk in a recording studio basement, surrounded by stacks of dusty, cassette-filled suitcases that have been rescued from various fans’ attics. My job requires me to be willing to listen, really listen, to anything. And it’s not all good. While some performances have stunned me (Dave Van Ronk’s “He Was a Friend of Mine,” or Rosalie Sorrels’ “If I Could Be The Rain”), I’ve also heard plenty of bad jokes, out-of-tune guitars, and flat vocalists. But I really enjoy listening to every tape. I think this is partly because I’m frustrated by the way we listen to music in this digital age. There is so much out there, and most of us barely have the patience to sift...

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