Collector’s Corner (Free MP3s) • Some April Additions: Famous Hokum Boys, Jim Jackson’s Jamboree, Dixieland Jug Blowers, Jelly Roll Morton, Bennie Moten, Roy Smeck

Collector’s Corner (Free MP3s) • Some April Additions

Famous Hokum Boys, Jim Jackson’s Jamboree, Dixieland Jug Blowers, Jelly Roll Morton, Bennie Moten, Roy Smeck

 

Ready to listen to something other than endless Doomsday scenarios, or some clown suggesting you shoot-up with household disinfectant? We sure are. If you are too, here are a few freshly arrived additions to the collection, for your listening pleasure. Let’s transcend the bullshit!

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FAMOUS HOKUM BOYS (Big Bill Broonzy, Georgia Tom [Thomas A. Dorsey], Frank Brasswell) : That’s the Way She Likes It  (V+)

New York: April 9, 1930
Homestead 16098  (mx. 9598 – 2)
“No copies known on the Homestead label” —78 Journal.
Make that two copies known, guys. This one replaces our original V copy, found near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, many years ago. It served well and is now on its way to a new happy home.

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JIM JACKSON, TAMPA RED [HUDSON WHITTAKER], GEORGIA TOM [THOMAS A.  DORSEY], SPECKLED RED [RUFUS PERRYMAN]: Jim Jackson’s Jamboree, Part 1  (E–)

Memphis (Peabody Hotel): October 14, 1929
Vocalion 1428  (mx. M 203 or M 204)
Selected mx. isn’t shown in the pressing or the Brunswick-Vocalion files. This is the same Thomas A. Dorsey later touted as as the “father of modern gospel,” having some fun in his younger days.

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ROY SMECK (octo-chordo solo): Laughing Rag  (E)

New York: March 5, 1928
Regal 8547  (mx. 7824 – 3)
Label credits F. Henri Klickmann (piano accompaniment), although we don’t hear a piano. Klickmann was a well-known composer-arranger who worked at times for Mills Music, which in turn was loosley affiliated with the the makers of Regal records.

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DIXIELAND JUG BAND: Memphis Shake  (EE–)

Chicago (Webster Hotel): December 11, 1926
Victor 20415  (mx. BVE 37227 – 2)
Johnny Dodds (clarinet) added to the usual personnel.

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JELLY ROLL MORTON & HIS RED HOT PEPPERS
(Morton, vocal): Dr. Jazz
  (EE–)

Chicago (Webster Hotel): December 16, 1926
Victor 20415  (mx. BVE 37257 – 3)

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BENNIE MOTEN & HIS KANSAS CITY ORCHESTRA:
Slow Motion
 (EE–)

Camden NJ: September 6, 1928
Victor V-38012  (mx. BVE 42926 – 3)

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BENNIE MOTEN & HIS KANSAS CITY ORCHESTRA:
New Goofy Dust Rag
  (E)

Chicago: July 16, 1929
Victor V-38091  (mx. BVE 55430 – 1)
Label and Victor files as “Now Goofy Dust — Rag” (sic).

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Our thanks to those who have recently inquired whether we buy complete collections. We don’t (with rare exceptions), but we do pay top dollar for individual items we need, if in top condition —  generally, nothing lower than strong E– for most items, or strong V+ for the rarer things. We are in the market for quality jazz (preferably black, 1923–1932), blues (1923–1939), ragtime (rare labels only, 1890s-1915), klezmer (acoustic only), and Russian opera (foreign labels, acoustic only).

We welcome lists of disposables in these categories  for sale (not trade, please), provided the records are honestly and very conservatively graded using the time-honored VJM 78 grading scale (please, no Goldmine, Nauction, 1-to-10, or other alternative grading) with all defects, including label or other cosmetic damage, noted. Please name your asking price for each item, and we’ll go from there.

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Keen-O-Phone, Rex, and Imperial Records (1912 – 1918) • New Downloadable Discography

KEEN-O-PHONE, REX, AND IMPERIAL RECORDS
The Complete Discography (1912 – 1918)
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George Blacker

Edited and annotated by Allan Sutton

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The latest addition to Mainspring Press’ free
Online Reference Library

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The Keen-O-Phone Company was part of the first wave of American vertical-cut record producers in the early 1910s. Too early to market, with little demand having yet developed for vertical-cut  products, Keen-O-Phone suspended operations in early 1914. Its assets were leased by a new company, the Rex Talking Machine Corporation, which took up production where Keen-O-Phone left off.

After a series of financial ups and downs (detailed in the discography’s introductory timeline), Rex was forced to liquidate in early 1917. A group of its stockholders and creditors purchased the company’s assets and resumed operations under the Imperial Talking Machine Company banner. But the new venture fared no better than its predecessor, and after failing in early 1918, some of its assets were acquired by Otto Heineman in preparation for launching his new Okeh label.

Fred Hager retained possession of the masters, which he sold to any unnamed purchaser in the 1930s. They’ve long-since vanished, along with the Keen-O-Phone, Rex, and Imperial files. Therefore, this is a “forensic discography” (an apt term coined by David Giovannoni), a reconstruction compiled from first-hand observation of the original discs, catalogs, and ancillary materials.

George Blacker began work on this project in the 1960s, with support from members of the Record Research group (Walter C. Allen, Carl Kendziora, Len Kunstadt, et al.) and, later, William R. Bryant and his circle of trustworthy collaborators. The completed discography, published here for the first time, has been updated, edited, and annotated by Allan Sutton, with significant revisions and additions contributed by David Giovannoni and Ryan Barna.

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Download Acrobat / Reader file (pdf) (~1 mb)
(Free for Personal Use — Print-Restricted)

This work is offered for personal, non-commercial use only. Sale or other commercial use, as well as any other unauthorized reproduction, distribution, or alteration (including conversion to digital databases or e-books) is prohibited. Please read and honor the conditions of use included with this file, so that we can continue to offer these free publications.

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Caruso Records with Berliner Labels Found in Canada (Michael Jarvis & John Bolig)

CARUSO RECORDS WITH BERLINER LABELS
FOUND IN CANADA
By Michael Jarvis and John Bolig

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Jarvis:
One of the results of the world-wide Coronavirus pandemic is the lockdown and subsequent social distancing required of us all. So, I’ve been stuck at home vacuuming and I happily realized I have unprecedented free time to explore my record collection.

About fifteen years ago I was offered part of a large record collection that was being dispersed. Among the discs were a quantity of early Canadian Berliners: pre-Victor brown labels, as well as a number of Monarchs, and early 10” and 12” Red Seal labels. At the time I quickly sorted and filed them. I knew there were two early Caruso recordings in there, but never paid much heed as the performances were already known (“Recondita armonia” from the opera Tosca, and the Siciliana from Cavalleria Rusticana.)

Fast-forward to last week, when, with lots of time on my hands, I looked them up in the Discography of American Historical Recordings, where “Recondita” was listed as “Canadian issue not verified”. I had the disc in my hand (which totally verified it DOES exist), contacted DAHR with the information, and then began a lovely correspondence with David Seubert. David then contacted John Bolig, who was, as he put it, “flipping out” over this. And, here we are…

 

Bolig: The discovery of two Caruso records with Berliner labels was a bit humiliating for me. I have produced two Caruso discographies, and I had never seen one of his records with a Berliner label. The records were produced in Canada in about 1904 before Emile Berliner called his company “His Master’s Voice”, and before he applied Victor-style red labels to recordings that he imported and marketed there. The discovery, and how Michael Jarvis contacted me is interesting, but how we determined the matrix data for the records is fascinating and it worked perfectly for us.

 

Jarvis: Both discs are single-sided 10”, and pressed in that lovely brown shellac that Berliner seemed to prefer in this period. I don’t know if that particular shellac helps with surface noise reduction, but relatively speaking, the surfaces of both discs are very quiet. Both labels are brown with gold writing, both have the brass grommet in the spindle hole. There is no information in the dead wax, apart from the record numbers. “Recondita armonia” plays at perfectly fine at ca.78 rpm, but at that same speed in the second record, the “Siciliana” from Cavalleria Rusticana, Caruso sounds like Alvin the Chipmunk. Something was slightly amiss…

 

Bolig: The titles for the two records convinced me that Berliner had secured two of Caruso’s 1904 recordings, but we had to make sure that the Berliners matched those pressed by the Victor Talking Machine Company. Unfortunately, there were no markings in the space next to the label that were of much help to us. They had been buffed out by the Canadian plant. Listening to the records did not seem to be an option, so I suggested a technique that I have used for years to compare two recordings.

Comparing different takes has always been a challenge for collectors. Listening to the records and hoping to hear clues about differences can be highly subjective, and there is an assumption that both versions were pitched properly and that the condition of the record surface was comparable. I have been measuring groove width for about sixty years and I have only found two takes by an artist that measured exactly the same despite the fact that they were different takes. Rosa Ponselle recorded an aria twice and both versions have exactly the same dimensions.

I pulled out the Victor recordings that Caruso made of the two arias in February of 1904, and I measured the width of the grooved area. Next, I measured the distance across the label from one end of the grooved area to the other. I sent my measurements for the two Victor recordings to Mr. Jarvis, and one was a perfect match; the other was a bit of a surprise. Mr. Jarvis sent me different measurements for the aria from Cavalleria Rusticana!

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I remembered that Victor had issued some imported G&T recordings in 1903 and that one of them was of Caruso singing the “Siciliana”. I made the two measurements of Victor catalog number 5012 and it was a perfect match to within 1/16 of an inch to those made by Mr. Jarvis. No doubt about it, the second record was recorded by the Gramophone and Typewriter Company in 1902. Two men, armed with rulers, and working 3,000 miles apart had correctly identified the two Berliner records.

 

Jarvis: So, mystery solved!

Early Canadian Berliners do turn up from time to time, especially in Canada. In fact, just a few weeks ago I found, on Vancouver Island, BC, a strange pressing by Berliner of a Laughing Song from a G&T master, recorded in Oslo in 1904 (and announced in Norwegian!) I encourage you, especially if you’re in Canada, to pick up these discs if you come across them. If there are two hitherto unknown Canadian Caruso pressings, who knows what else there might be from this fascinating period of recording history? There was a practice of sometimes reserving alternate takes for the Canadian market, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to check the rest of my collection with the DAHR to see if I can complicate David and John’s lives further.

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The Victrola in Rural Schools (July 1919 Edition)

The Victrola in Rural Schools
(Revised Edition, July 1919)

 

The Victrola in Rural Schools was published to promote the Victor School Machine (technically the Model XXV, Victor’s last external-horn phonograph) and the company’s extensive catalog of “educational” records.

And just to make sure the kiddies also got some culture, the booklet recommended a healthy dose of classical and operatic Red Seals. It’s fun to imagine how Galli-Curci’s rendition in Italian of the “Bell Song” from Lakme (“Have students note the exquisite tone, the long-sustained notes, the echo effects, the trills”) might have gone over in, say, Pumpkin Center, Colorado.
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Advice to Teachers:

“Do not permit promiscuous and irresponsible playing of records.”

“Respect for good music may be inculcated if silence be invariably required while records are being played.”

“Simply hearing records played is only the first step. There must be discriminating hearing, correlation, discussion, relation to facts historical, geographical, etc., appreciation of mood, thought, color, story, etc. Then there must necessarily come response, tests, etc.”

“Listen intently while Record No. 18145 is played… Develop the meaning of such unusual words as ‘palaces,’ ‘hallow,’ ‘drear wild,’ ‘woodbine,’ ‘dazzles,’ ‘thatched,’ etc.”

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We Have Resumed Filling Order for “American Record Companies and Producers” (Shipping to USA Only)

We Have Resumed Filling Order for “American Record Companies and Producers” (Shipping to USA Only)

 

Please allow approximately 7-10 days for delivery due to transit and Postal Service delays in some area.

We have recently determined that this book has been digitally pirated. There is no legal, authorized digital or e-book version of this publication. This matter has been referred to legal counsel, and we are pursuing a takedown order and damages.

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