Last month, the Library of Congress announced its newest inductees into the National Recording Registry, a collection of “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” recordings chosen to be preserved in their best existing versions at the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia. The Registry includes everything from wax cylinders, radio programs, and recorded speeches, to comedy and music albums from all imaginable genres.
This year, the 25 selection for the registry are just as fascinating as ever. The list includes the classic radio western Gunsmoke, Robert F. Kennedy’s extemporaneous speech immediately following Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968, wax cylinders of Yiddish songs, Melville Jacobs’ collection of Native American language field recordings, and the complete recorded monologues of mid-century actress Ruth Draper.
A diverse collection of songs and albums were added to the Registry this year, too. The eclectic list includes, Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher,” Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba,” Lefty Frizzell’s “Long Black Veil,” Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam,” Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man,” Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September,” Sylvester’s “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),” Jay-Z’s The Blueprint, Schoolhouse Rock!: The Box Set, Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual, Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly, Hair Original Broadway Cast Recording, Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, Dexter Gordon’s GO, Stan Freberg presents The United States of America, and Pablo Casals’ Bach Six Cello Suites.
You can visit the Registry’s website to listen to a montage of this year’s inductees, or click the titles linked above to place a hold on the CDs available from the library.