Lonesome Town Take 1A (2:22)
This is a studio demo pressing of Ricky Nelson's "Lonesome Town." The sound quality isn't the best, but since this is probably the only copy that exists, it's about as good as it's going to get.
Acetate demos were commonly used by record companies, either to preview new acts or to preview albums before they sent them off for pressing. The reel-to-reel tape decks used in recording were a bit cumbersome for the average office, so burning an acetate or two for the suits let them hear what was going on with a record player, saving them (and the studio staff) the hassle of hanging around the studio.
In terms of production, the acetates could be made from the studio reels or transcribed directly. I suspect the latter on this one because the disc itself lacks a label, having only "Rick and Guitar-Lonesome Town" written in wax pencil around the spindle holes.
The problem with these lacquer discs is that they don't hold up well. The material rubs off with each play, and the lacquer itself degrades over time. There isn't a lot that can be done to restore them, and filtering to remove the surface noise inevitably takes some of the sound with it.
Despite the noise and a frequency range that skews to the high notes, this is still an excellent recording. Nelson plays and sings, with the heartbreak of recently lost love flowing through his performance. Even in this noisy, bare-bones production, the talent that would make him one of the top recording stars of his day is evident.