Mainspring’s publication pipeline is full as we head into 2015, and we’re looking forward to bringing you some of our most exciting titles so far. We start off with a major project, John Bolig’s Bluebird Discography. The first of three volumes goes to press in a couple of weeks. Like all of the Victor Discography Series, Bluebird was compiled on-site at Sony Archives from the original recording ledgers and production files. No anecdotal or speculative material has been added, so you can tell exactly what is and isn’t in the original RCA files.
One of our most eagerly awaited projects, the combined American Record Company / Hawthorne & Sheble / International Record Company volume, finally goes to press in early spring. Aside from a wealth of rare discographical data (largely published here for the first time), the book features in-depth, fully documented, and richly illustrated histories of these three companies, which were persistent thorns in Victor’s and Columbia’s sides during the early 1900s.
Volume II in The Pathé–Perfect Discography also heads to press this spring. Volume I, covering the vocal, race-record, and classical-operatic series, is already getting rave reviews. Volume II, covering the “dance” series, promises to be even more exciting, clearly and accurately sorting out the multitude of joint recording sessions (there actually was some method behind the Pathé–Cameo–ARC madness, although you might not guess it from other works), transferred and renumbered masters, alternate and false takes, dubbings, control numbers, band and vocalist pseudonyms, mysterious stampings in the wax, and other complexities that have been dodged, fudged, guessed-at, and generally scrambled in other dance-band discographies.
One of our most complex projects — Edison Two-Minute Cyinders (1896–1912): A Provisional Cylinderography — is on-tap for this summer. Why “provisional”? Because despite the great mass of solid data that appears in this book (largely from original Edison documentation, along with reliable reports from many leading collectors and researchers), there are still fine details — primarily in the brown-wax era — that will take many more years to research, assuming actual specimens of the rare originals can even be located. In the meantime, we’re pleased to offer a substantial work that should prove accurate and useful for the vast majority of Edison’s two-minute American output.
We’ll also be launching a new series for phonograph collectors this year. The first title — American Phonograph Advertising, 1900–1910 — offers a mouth-watering assortment of rare ads for vintage American phonographs, phono–music box combinations, business and special-use machines, horns and accessories, cabinets, and coin-ops, with informative captions.
Best wishes to all our friends and customers (who are often one and the same — how great is that?) for a fine 2015!