We’re happy to announce that the next installment in Dick Spottswood’s Columbia ethnic-series discography is now available for free download. This section covers the C-prefixed series, which was intended for the Spanish-speaking markets — a tantalizing mixture of performances by Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and other Latino artists (most of them recorded in their native countries by traveling Columbia engineers), operatic arias and light classics from domestic and imported masters, and various odd-and-ends “repurposed” from other catalogs. .
Click here to download the discography in PDF format (approximately 5 megabytes). As with the previous installment, this material may be copied or distributed for personal use, provided that the source is cited. Sale or other commercial use is prohibited.
Dick’s latest update of his Columbia “E” series discography will be posted soon.
Mainspring Press will be undergoing some big changes during 2017, as we make the transition from traditional printed discographies to digital distribution.
The most exciting news is that we will be shifting our discographical efforts to the online Discography of American Historical Recordings (DAHR), an initiative of the University of California, Santa Barbara and the Packard Humanities Institute. You may already know DAHR from its outstanding work in digitizing Victor and other major-label data, but that’s just the beginning. We’ll be working with them on the minor-label material, including a large amount of previously unpublished data from our Bill Bryant / Record Research Associates holdings and other archives. More details to come as work gets under way.
Contrary to rumor, Mainspring Press is not going out of business, although it is being reorganized as we wind down the printed-discography portion of it. Although we won’t be printing any new discographies, we will continue to provide and license discographical data in other formats. We also hope to resume publishing new text and graphic works later this year, including the monumental Encyclopedia of American Record Companies and Producers, 1888–1950, which is fast approaching the 850-page mark (and counting).
San Antonio (Texas Hotel): March 1, 1937
Bluebird B-5435 (mx, BVE 82677 – 1)
Released: April 18, 1934
MODERN MOUNTAINEERS (Vocal by SMOKEY WOOD):
San Antonio (Texas Hotel): March 1, 1937
Bluebird B-6976 (mx. BS 07435 – 1)
Released: May 26, 1937
CLIFF CARLISLE: That Nasty Swing
Charlotte, NC (Southern Radio Building): June 16, 1936
Bluebird B-6631 (mx. BS 102651 – 1)
Released: November 4, 1936 Accompanying personnel are not listed in the files or credited on the labels; published personnel listings are speculative.
TOMMY McCLENNAN: Bottle It Up and Go
Chicago (Studio A): November 22, 1939
Bluebird B-8373 (mx. BS 044241 – 1)
Released: March 1, 1940
Discographical data from the RCA Victor files (Sony Music archives, NYC) by way of John Bolig’s Bluebird Discography, available from Mainspring Press.
New Year, New Dog!
On New Year’s Eve we welcomed Nick to his new home in the U.S. He’d been picked up as a stray overseas and was flown to Colorado by a local rescue group in December, after receiving a clean bill of health and his official doggie passport. He doesn’t understand any English yet — but he has a huge heart (and a huge head to go with it) and is already turning out to be the perfect gentleman and office companion.
The Gramophone Company began producing “complete” operatic recordings in Italy in 1906. The earliest attempts were rag-tag productions, sometimes with different singers substituted if those originally scheduled couldn’t make a session; and in at least one case, a domestic Red Seal recording had to be substituted for a missing side in the U.S. There were no Carusos or Farrars or other Red Seal–class celebrities to be heard — even had their Victor contracts allowed them to record for The Gramophone Company, their astronomical royalty rates would have driven the price of these sets beyond the means of most customers — but the recordings caused a sensation nonetheless. There are reports of record stores staging “Victrola Opera Nights” using these records, with costumed locals lip-synching their parts. You can find much more about them in A Phonograph in Every Home, available from Mainspring Press.
Here are some highlights from a later, better-organized attempt, recorded in Milan in 1915 but not released in the U.S. until March 1919, on the lowly black-label series. These sets pre-date the “album” concept — i.e., the records were sold individually, and the big arias handily outsold the less-juicy portions — so assembling complete sets can be a daunting task. Our Cavalleria Rusticana set is growing steadily, but still has a ways to go.
CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA (Mascagni)
FRANCO TUMINELLO, GEORGINA ERMOLLI, LENA REVELLI and E. PERNA, with LA SCALA CHORUS & ORCHESTRA (CARLO SABAJNO, conductor)
Recorded in Milan by The Gramophone Company (F. W. Gaisberg, engineer)
PARTS 1–4 (Victor 35680 / 35681)
Cavalleria Rusticana: Preludio e Siciliana (mx. 3022c; April 8, 1915) Cavalleria Rusticana: Preludio – Part 2 (mx. 3021c; April 8, 1915) Cavalleria Rusticana: Gli aranci (mx. 3017c; April 5, 1915) Cavalleria Rusticana: Tempo e si mormori (mx. 3018c; April 6, 1915)
PARTS 17–18 (Victor 35688)
Cavalleria Rusticana: A casa, a casa (mx. 3020c; April 7, 1915) Cavalleria Rusticana: Brindisi (mx. 3019c; April 7, 1915)
Discographic data from the Gramophone Company files, courtesy of the late Dr. Alan Kelly.
Just a reminder — especially to the many new followers who’ve signed up in the past couple of months — to check out our free downloads of Brian Rust’s Jazz Records, 6th Edition (Personal-Use Version, 1917-1934), and Dick Spottswood’s Columbia “E” Series Discography.
The Personal-Use Edition of Jazz Records contains the complete entries for 1917–1934 from Brian’s 6th (and final) edition of Jazz & Ragtime Records, 1897–1942. It’s a completely free, no-strings-attached public-domain edition, in Abode Acrobat PDF format. (The full edition is out-of-print in book form, but it’s still available for purchase from Mainspring Press as a searchable CD-ROM.)
Dick’s Columbia E Series Discography will be updated early next year, and we hope to have his Columbia “C” series discog soon; in the meantime, be sure to enjoy the current version. It’s a must-have for collectors and fans of ethnic recordings (with some surprises sprinkled in).
For free downloads and information on permitted use of these files, click the Free Online Discographies link on the box at the left.
Hot Springs, Arkansas: March 1, 1937
Vocalion 03579 (mx. HS 1 – 1)
MODERN MOUNTAINEERS (SMOKY WOOD, vocal): Dirty Dog Blues
San Antonio, Texas (Texas Hotel): March 1, 1937
Bluebird B-6976 (mx. BS 07436 – 1)
CLAUDE CASEY & HIS PINE STATE PLAYBOYS: Pine State
Rock Hill, South Carolina (Andrew Jackson Hotel): September 27, 1938
Montgomery Ward M-7707 (mx. BS 027737 – 1)
BOB WILLS & HIS TEXAS PLAYBOYS: Playboy Stomp
Dallas, Texas: June 7, 1937
Vocalion 03854 (mx. DAL 215 – 1)
WASHBOARD WONDERS (Harry Blair, vocal): And Still
No Luck with You
Charlotte, NC (Southern Radio Building): June 22, 1936
Bluebird B-6463 (mx. BS 102803 – 1)
W. LEE O’DANIEL & HIS HILLBILLY BOYS: (Kitty Williamson as “Texas Rose,” vocal): I’ve Got the Blues
Dallas: May 15, 1938
Vocalion 04353 (mx. DAL 559 – 1)
Quote of the Week:
“[We have] been betrayed by the so-called ‘mainstream media,’ who fawned for months over the clearly unqualified candidate, giving him billions of dollars of free media, betrayed by cynical executives more interested in a buck than the facts of the matter…and by politicians who spoke to their base and did not venture from safe venues, that is to say, they stayed far away from the genuine hurt and the mistrust and the economic dead ends that afflict so many of us.
We must try to remember that this level of vulgarity, of blatant lying, of demonizing whole groups of people, nearly always backfires, that real change will come when middle class whites, Hispanics and blacks realize they share more in common with each other than those in whose interest it is that they stay divided…
What to do, you ask? A million things, of course. But it begins only with the first step of awareness and commitment… Just go forward. Engage. Don’t despair. Find like-minded people — not from your social circle, but everywhere. Change the opinions of others, not with ridicule, but reason. Finally, remember too that Barack Obama himself has said that the highest office in the land is not president, but citizen.
Didur in New York, 1915 (Bain News Service Collection,
Library of Congress).
ADAMO DIDUR: Roberto il Diavolo — Suore che riposate
Milan: October 10, 1907
Fonotipia 92002 (mx. Xph 2670)
ADAMO DIDUR: Gli Ugonotti — Signor, difesa e scudo
Milan: October 11, 1907
Fonotipia 92003 (mx. Xph 2671)
ADAMO DIDUR: Mefistofele — Son il spirito che nega
Milan: April 23, 1908
Fonotipia 92226 (mx. Xph 3176)
Quote of the Week:
The metaphor of the moment is that Donald Trump is the dog that caught up with the car… A more apt reference, especially after Trump’s inauguration, might be the Pottery Barn Rule: “You break it, you own it.”
Trump and the congressional Republicans who have chosen to make their bed with him are responsible for what happens from now on. There is now no one to blame if they can’t pass budgets, avoid shutdowns, deal with sequestration, replace Obamacare, destroy ISIS, or reverse the continuing loss of manufacturing jobs. If climate change gets worse, it’s on them. If Syria continues its downward spiral, it’s on them. If more countries acquire nuclear weapons, it’s on them.
Chicago: February 23, 1924
Brunswick 2581 (mx. Ch 78)
CHARLIE (DAD) NELSON: Cleveland Stomp
Chicago (Marsh Laboratories): c. April 1927
Paramount 12492 (mx. 4350 – ) From a tape dubbing supplied by the late Mike Stewart
BLIND BLAKE & HIS KAZOO BAND [sic]: Buck-Town Blues
Chicago (Marsh Laboratories): c. April 1927
Paramount 12464 (mx. 4359 – 1)
JOHNNIE HEAD: Fare Thee Blues — Parts 1 & 2
Chicago (Marsh Laboratories): c. January 1928
Paramount 12628 (mxs. 20274 – 2 / 20275 — 2)
PINK ANDERSON & SIMMIE DOOLEY: Gonna Tip Out Tonight
Atlanta: April 14, 1928
Columbia 14336-D (mx. W 146067 – 1)
Quote of the Week:
“Let them eat cake.
Specifically, let them eat Jean-Georges Warm Chocolate Cake. But let them start with Young Garlic Soup with Thyme and Sauteed Frog Legs. Let them follow that with Diver Scallops, Caramelized Cauliflower and Caper-Raisin Emulsion. And let them proceed to Niman Ranch Lamb Chops with Mushroom Bolognese and Pecorino… That’s what President-elect Donald Trump and Mitt Romney ate when the billionaire met with Mr. Forty-Seven Percent to discuss a job in the incoming administration.
Remember Trump’s talk about taking on the elites and the well-connected? Well, you can stick a sterling-silver fork in it.
If you feared that Trump would destabilize markets and impose reckless protectionism, his early appointments are reassuring. If you wanted him to shake up the system and depose the coastal elites — well, early signs are you’ve been had.”
REV. A. W. NIX & CONGREGATION: Death May Be Your
Chicago: October 12, 1927
Vocalion 1143 (mx. C 1298)
REV. A. W. NIX & CONGREGATION: How Will You Spend Christmas?
Chicago: October 1930
Vocalion 1553 (mx. C 6468 – ) From a tape dubbing supplied by the late Mike Stewart.
REV. A. W. NIX & CONGREGATION: That Little Thing May Kill You Yet — Christmas Message
Chicago: August 24, 1929
Vocalion 1431 (mx. C 4161 – )
Quote of the Week
“Far from being a global branding goliath, Trump Inc. is a small, middle-aged, and largely domestic property business. Were it [publicly] listed, it would be the 833rd largest firm in America by market value, and 1,925th by sales… Trump is a director of almost 500 legal entities, but the vast majority appear to be empty shells that make no money.”
“The Trumpers never expected their guy to actually win the thing, and that’s their problem now. They wanted only to whoop and yell, boo at the H-word, wear profane T-shirts, maybe grab a crotch or two, jump in the RV with a couple six-packs and go out and shoot some spotted owls. It was pleasure enough for them just to know that they were driving us wild with dismay — by “us,” I mean librarians, children’s authors, yoga practitioners, Unitarians, bird-watchers, people who make their own pasta, opera goers, the grammar police, people who keep books on their shelves, that bunch…
“Alas for the Trump voters, the disasters he will bring on this country will fall more heavily on them than anyone else. The uneducated white males who elected him are the vulnerable ones, and they will not like what happens next…
“We liberal elitists are now completely in the clear. The government is in Republican hands. Let them deal with him. Democrats can spend four years raising heirloom tomatoes, meditating, reading Jane Austen, traveling around the country, tasting artisan beers, and let the Republicans build the wall and carry on the trade war with China and deport the undocumented and deal with opioids, and we Democrats can go for a long, brisk walk and smell the roses.”
New York: February 1921
Okeh 4295 (mx. S 7788 – B) The February 21 recording date shown in some discographies is speculative and not from the Okeh recording files (which do not exist for this period).
KING OLIVER’S JAZZ BAND: Dipper Mouth Blues
Chicago (Consolidated Talking Machine Co. offices): June 23, 1923
Okeh 4918 (mx. 8402 – A)
BENNIE MOTEN’S KANSAS CITY ORCHESTRA: 18th Street Strut
Kansas City, MO: May 1925
Okeh 8242 (mx. 9123 – A)
The May 14 recording date shown in some discographies is speculative and not from the Okeh recording files (which do not exist for this Kansas City series).
CLIFFORD [HAYES]’ LOUISVILLE JUG BAND: Struttin’ the Blues
Chicago: May 1925
Okeh 8238 (mx. 9143 – A)
The May 20 recording date shown in some discographies is speculative and not from the Okeh recording files (which do not exist for this session), but probably is fairly accurate, as the preceding session (consisting of Polish vocals) is dated May 19 in the Okeh files.
WHISTLER [BRUFORD THRELKELD] & HIS JUG BAND: Pig Meat Blues
St. Louis: April 30, 1927
Okeh 8816 (mx. W 80799 – ) From a tape dubbing supplied by the late Mike Stewart.
NAP HAYES & MATTHEW PRATER: Nothin’ Doin’
Memphis: February 15, 1928
Okeh 45231 (mx. W 400243 – B) Issued in the white country-music series, although Hayes and Prater were African American. Lonnie Johnson performed with them on the first four titles from this eight-title session.
JESSE STONE & HIS BLUE SERENADERS: Starvation Blues
St. Louis: April 27, 1927
Okeh 8471 (mx. W 80761 – C)
ARIZONA DRANES (vocal and piano): I Shall Wear a Crown
Chicago: July 3, 1928
Okeh 8600 (mx. W 400980 – ) From a tape dubbing supplied by the late Mike Stewart. The accompanying vocalists and mandolin player are unidentified on the labels and in the Okeh files.