Highlights from the Pathe Records Catalog (August 1916)

From the Bill Bryant papers at Mainspring Press. Note the issue by Rector’s New York Dance Orchestra (Leopold Kohls, director), which is missing from American Dance Bands on Records and Film. A bit of trivia for the organ fans out there, from a page not pictured: Pathé’s “exclusive” studio organ was a Mason & Hamlin (a popular line of reed organs), model not mentioned.


The Playlist • Annette Hanshaw (1927–1930)




New York: September 1927
Perfect 12372 (mx. 107766 – )
Various works cite an undocumented recording date of September 8.



New York: May 5, 1930
Velvet Tone 2155-V (mx. W 150388 – 3)


ANNETTE HANSHAW (as Dot Dare): Is There Anything Wrong in That?

New York: November 22, 1928
Diva 2792-V (mx. W 147483 – 3)


ANNETTE HANSHAW (as Patsy Young): I Want To Be Bad

New York: March 14, 1929
Velvet Tone 1878-V (mx. W 148077 – 2)


ANNETTE HANSHAW: I Think You’ll Like It

New York: October 28, 1929
Mx. W 149196 – 2
From a c. 1960s custom vinyl pressing of the original stamper.


No accompanying personnel are listed in the company files for any of these sessions, although experienced collectors will readily recognize Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, Frank Signorelli, Benny Goodman, and others on various sides. Speculative personnel, based on aural evidence, can be found in our free download of Brian Rust’s Jazz & Ragtime Records (Personal-Use Edition, 1917–1934).

Now in Stock: The Pathé – Perfect Discography, Vol. 2 (Dance Series, 1922–1930)

Volume 2 of The Pathé–Perfect Discography has just arrived. It covers the Dance Series, which ran the gamut from house-orchestra throwaways to some fine hot dance bands and outright jazz.

cover-pathev2-x370Special attention has been paid to the joint Pathé–Cameo–ARC issues. The Record Research group (Walter C. Allen, Len Kunstadt, George Blacker, Carl Kendziora, Perry Armagnac, et al.) used synchronized dual turntables and careful visual inspection of the original pressings to tackle alternate takes, false (assigned) master numbers, control numbers, artist pseudonyms, and other discographical complexities that are sometimes glossed-over, guessed-at, misunderstood, or simply gotten wrong in existing works.

The group published a skeletal Perfect Dance Series listing in RR many years ago, but they intended to publish their more detailed findings in book form, so the manuscript was kept under wraps before finally being passed on to Bill Bryant, following whose death it disappeared into storage. Now recovered and newly updated and annotated by Allan Sutton, the group’s detailed findings appear in print here for the first time. The result is a much-needed fresh look at these records that cites its sources and often supplements or corrects what is found in previously published dance-band discographies.

The Record Research group’s work has been supplemented by what remains of the original primary-source documentation, including the now-lost Form 19 Cards (which a member of the group fortunately copied), the Plaza-ARC and Compo Company ledgers, the Pathé and Perfect Dealer Advance Lists, and the logs of Ed Kirkeby and other contractors and musicians who worked with Pathé.

You’ll find this new volume as easy-to-use as it is informative. Every record (including all corresponding releases on U.S. client and subsidiary labels) has its own line, showing the exact, verbatim label credits and all relevant markings in the wax and on and under the labels for that issue, taken from first-hand inspection of the original discs — setting a new standard for completeness, accuracy, and discographer accountability.

Also included is a detailed user’s guide explaining Pathé’s recording and dubbing processes; their use of outside studios and licensed masters, particularly their relationship with Herbert Berliner and the Compo Company; the transfer procedures and assignment of master and take numbers between themselves and the Cameo and Plaza / American Record Corporation groups (there actually was some method to the seeming madness); real takes vs. dubbing numbers vs. irrelevant superscript digits posing as take numbers; and other fine points. (An illustrated history of the American Pathé operation appears in Volume I, which released last year.)


Leo Slezak in the Pathé Studio (c. 1913)

MSP-TMW-1914_slezak-patheThe location is probably Vienna, reputedly the site of Slezak’s 1913 Pathé session. The photo was reproduced in the September 1914 Talking Machine World, just as the New York–based Pathé Frères Phonograph Company (the French company’s U.S. licensee) was preparing to unveil Pathé discs to the American public. The company had only recently begun to make its own recordings and thus had to rely heavily on imported discs, like Slezak’s, to fill the initial catalog.

The oversized cylinder master, from which the disc masters would be transcribed pantographically, can be seen at the far right. This photo (along with others taken in the American studio and in various foreign locations) contradicts the popular anecdotal tale that Pathé’s recording equipment was a jealously guarded secret, hidden behind locked doors and never to be glimpsed by performers or the public.