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Re: [ARSCLIST] Harmony label (and other things)

Dear Peter,
        Columbia's early '30s varied matrix designations are complicated & often unclear. The 350000s seem to be renumbered from OKeh & Col mxs.  In 1931, OKeh seems to have been beccome a budget label, sharing new releases with Clarion, Velvet Tone & Harmony.  OKeh used fictitious bandleader names like Buddy Campbell & Ed Parker, Cloverdale Country Club Orch. etc. on these releases.  Louis Armstrong's records weren't disguised, nor were new hillbilly & race releases, all of which kept using conventional OKeh W 400000 matrix numbers.  The highest OKeh matrix (made 21 March 32 in Chicago) is:

W 405189-?        Kepin' Out of Mischief Now        Clarion 5470-C, Harmony 1423-H, OKeh 41564, VT 2530-V

by Paul Specht's orchestra, OKeh as Cloverdale CC (accoring to files) or Buddy Campbell (according to Rust).  Non-OKeh issues give matrix as W 351163.  The session included 3 more titles with mx #s W 405186-89 and W 351161-65--no W 351164 according to my notes, which could be wrong!).  At any rate,  it looks as though OKeh ceased to be active in 3/32, along with the other labels,  The Okeh name was used again in 1934, 1940, and in the 1950s & 1960s.  Harmony reappeared a couple of times later on, but it was sayonara for the others, and the W 350000 matrix series too.

On April 11, 1933, mxs W 405190-97 were created for mxs by Freddy Martin's orch and Frances Langford.  The Langfords weren't published;  the Martin sides were renumbered (W 152387-92) and issued on Columbia. The OKeh matrix series then expired permanently.

Columbia's 2000 matrices were made in Tokyo, 1903.  The W 110000 series (1929) was part of the general foreign language group W100000-W 114014, see my Ethnic Music on Records (Univ of IL, 1990) for details.

"Copeland, Peter" <Peter.Copeland@xxxxx>
Sent by: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxx>

03/19/2004 06:07 AM
Please respond to Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List

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        Subject:        Re: [ARSCLIST] Harmony label (and other things)

Dear All,
    For engineering reasons, I have been compiling lists of American matrix numbers and recording-dates (and later, with microgroove, "mastering dates"), as the most unambiguous way of determining the ideal equalisation curves at any time in America. This is a long way from being at a satisfactory state; but at least I can add the following points to Dick Spottswood's posting below.
    According to Brian Rust's "American Dance Bands on Record" (under Paul Specht), matrix 351164 was recorded on March 21st 1932 and issued on the Harmony label.
    But personally, I don't think the 350000 series was really a "Harmony" series. The majority seem to be in the 140000 and 150000 series. In this country these were issued under the British "Columbia" label, which is not surprising because British Columbia had a controlling interest in the American Columbia group at that time. I have hypothesised that these are "true" Harmony matrixes, but being on the other side of the pond where US 78s don't grow on trees, I'd welcome confirmation of this idea. In which case, the latest I have found in Rust is matrix 151507, recorded April 13th 1931 (under Britten), and this was published under Clarion and Velvet Tone - but *not* Harmony.
    So the first "Other Thing" from my subject-box is, can anyone supply a meaningful description of US Columbia's matrix number-blocks? For example, I hypothesize that numbers 2000 to 2999 weren't used at all; the 47000 and 77000 blocks and the 49000 block were concurrent but the first two were ten-inch and the third twelve-inch; and so on.
.   Another point : I don't think "The Columbia Master Book Discography" (Greenwood Press) lists the 110000 series of "Foreign" issues, which as far as I know were all recorded in New York. Metalwork was sent to Britain so the stuff could be pressed for continental Europe. This is to tell you that I am gradually piecing together some information about this series for the benefit of the "World Music" community, and there are a number of dating-clues on the EMI microfilms here at the British Library Sound Archive.
    If anyone needs access to information like this, or can help me (particularly with microgroove before RIAA standards were adopted), I would very much like to correspond with knowledgeable people off-line. My email address is :
     Many thanks in anticipation,
Peter Copeland
-----Original Message-----
Dick Spottswood [mailto:dick@xxxxxxxx]
17 March 2004 17:40
Re: [ARSCLIST] Harmony label

Harmony made acoustics from 1925 through early 1930 or thereabouts.  I used to have three Julie Wintz 1930 records:

149755-1        Harmonica Harry        Harmony 1104-H

149756-3        The Man from the South        Harmony 1092-H

150473-3        After You've Gone        Harmony  1169-H

The first pair were made electrically on 14 Jan 30.  The last was made acoustically on 16 April 30.  Go figure.

Some earlier stuff was electric, i.e. organ records, Rudy Vallee.  The circled W prefix on Columbias etc. meant that royalties were due Western Electric.  I'm not sure when the earliest were made, tho I'd guess 1928.  Electric Harmonys have no W prefix, though they sound as good as WE, at least to me.    

Sometime in 1930, everything new was electrically made, though still without the W next to matrix numbers.   Harmony  & allied labels (Clarion, Velvet Tone) were history by the close of 1931.  Jack Teagarden's "Chances Are" (1403-H) from 10/31 may not be the last Harmony, but it's close.

Anyone else have any pertinent thoughts or facts?


"Rob Bamberger" <RBAMBERGER@xxxxxxxxxxx>

03/17/2004 11:27 AM

       To:        <dick@xxxxxxxx>


       Subject:        Harmony label

I vaguely recall that you told me once that while Harmony remained acoustic for a time after the introduction of electrical recording, it did eventually get some sort of electrical system that was inferior, and that some of the Harmony's that I'd described as acoustic were actually crummy electrics... .  Is this right? At what point did they get electrical equipment?


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