New Free Discography Download • Phono-Cut Records (George Blacker, et al.)

New Free Discography Download
PHONO-CUT RECORDS

Data Compiled by George Blacker
Edited and Annotated by Allan Sutton

Key Contributors: David Giovannoni, Ryan Barna, William R. Bryant,
and Members of the Record Research Associates

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The Boston Talking Machine Company, with its Phono-Cut records, was a classic case of “too early to market.” The venture was funded by several prominent Bostonians, and it employed many well-known recording-industry veterans, including Louis Valiquet, Loring Leeds, Charles Hibbard, and Fred Hager. Its artist roster, in addition to the usual New York freelancers, included members of the Boston Symphony and Boston Opera, many of them previously unrecorded.

Unfortunately, Boston Talking Machine chose the sapphire-ball vertical-cut format for its discs, emulating Pathé in France (which kept them from being targeted by Victor, but did not prevent a successful lawsuit by Columbia). But with Pathé’s U.S.  introduction still several years away, virtually no market yet existed for such discs in the United States. A long-delayed launch of the discs, and lack of any significant marketing effort, also contributed to Phono-Cut’s quick demise.

The discography is a preliminary effort, based upon first-hand observation of these now-elusive discs by some of the top workers in the field. The project was a particular passion of the late George Blacker, and we are proud to finally gives his work the attention is so richly deserves.

In addition to the discography, you’ll find a concise timeline covering Boston Talking Machine’s often-convoluted history; details of its involvement with the Little Wonder and Wondrola phonographs (unrelated to the later Little Wonder discs); and information on the Starr Piano Company’s acquisition of Phono-Cut’s masters.

As you’ll see, there are still untraced releases, and releases for which we have only partial data from the original catalogs. We welcome documented additions from our many followers — now approaching 5,100 around the world, and growing steadily. Just e-mail us at publisher@mainspringpress.com, and include label scans or photos (no secondary-source data, please). Enjoy!

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Download Free Personal-Use Edition (pdf, ~ 2mb)

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Phono-Cut Records is the latest addition to free Record Collectors’ Online Reference Library, courtesy of Mainspring Press, the leader in forensic discography.

This copyrighted publication is intended for personal, non-commercial use only. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution by any means, including but not limited to e-book or online database conversion, is prohibited. Please read, and be sure to observe, our terms of use as outlined in the file, so that we can continue to offer these free publications.

Discography of American Historical Recordings – Update: Part 1 of the American Zonophone Discography Is Now Online

If you’ve been following the Mainspring Press blog lately, you know that we are no longer publishing any new printed discographies, but instead licensing our discographical data to the University of California–Santa Barbara’s online Discography of American Historical Recordings. As much as I love books, I’ve long felt that digital databases offer a clear advantage for archiving and disseminating this sort of material (not to mention eliminating the ever-increasing costs of production, printing, shipping, and labor).

DAHR is staffed by, and associated with, some of the most knowledgeable people in the field. In recent years it has emerged as the largest and most authoritative source of discographical data relating to the 78-rpm era. A tremendous amount of Victor, Columbia, Brunswick-Vocalion, and Decca data from the original company files have already been digitized and made freely available as searchable databases, and much more is to come.

Now we can add American Zonophone to the list, with thanks to Sam Brylawski, David Seubert, and the DAHR staff for helping to make that possible. The first Zonophone installment (covering the 10″ and 12″ standard-catalog releases of 1904–1912) is now online and includes the latest revisions and updates to the printed volume that was published by Mainspring in 2012.
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The next Zonophone installment, covering the 7″ and 9″  releases of 1900–1906, is undergoing final editing and fact-checking here, for submission to DAHR within the next month or two (there are no plans for a printed edition). Much of this material is previously unpublished and includes the first systematic cataloging of remakes, reissues, relabelings, altered stampers, etc.

For book enthusiasts, the Zonophone 10” / 12” volume can still be purchased on the Mainspring Press website, although supplies are running low — We’d advise ordering soon if interested, since  Mainspring will not be reprinting any of its discographies once current the current inventory has sold out.

— Allan Sutton