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Chess Sun VeeJay Rock and Roll Records

Record Label: Early Chess record in a 78 format

Chess Sun VeeJay Rock and Roll Records

These are mentioned because while not appropriate for a WW2 setting these records are sometimes seen with other 78 records.

Sun, Chess, and Vee-Jay record companies all produced rock and roll music. Early rock and roll artists first appeared on a 78 record, post-World War 2. Shortly thereafter (late 1940s/early 1950s), record companies made the switch from 78 in Shellac to the 45 format in vinyl. Though, Britain continued to produce 78s until the early 1960s.

The Beatles, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters did their first recording on a 78 as did Elvis Presley. Presley first recorded on the Sun label.

Record Label: Early Chess record in a 78 format
Record Label: Early Chess record in a 78 format

 

Record Label: Early Sun Record in a 78 format. Would make the switch to a 45 format in early 50s.
Record Label: Early Sun Record in a 78 format. Would make the switch to a 45 format in early 50s.

An example of Elvis Presley on a Sun 78 Record:

Record Label: Vee-Jay records in a 78 format.
Record Label: Vee-Jay records in a 78 format.

 

Record Label: Example of a 45. Note the larger opening.
Record Label: Example of a 45. Note the larger opening.

Sources:
http://www.goldminemag.com/article/rock-n-roll-78s-are-a-hot-but-sometimes-overlooked-commodity


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Victor Records

Record Label: Jan. 1914-Oct. 1926. Note the arch (“Batwing”) at the top of label. May be in blue, black, purple or red.

Victor Records (1901-1929; after which it is part of RCA)

Founded as Victor Talking Machine Company in 1901. The phrase “His Master’s Voice” appears on discs in 1902. Marketed a Victor Monarch Record label (1902-1905) and a De Luxe Label (1902-1905; a De Luxe Special Record that was 14in. was sold from 1902-1903) both would have the dog and gramophone logo. The Victor Monarch Label and the De Luxe Label would also be sold alongside a regular Victor Label or Victor Record Label. First discs were one sided and starting around the 1908 Victor began to produce two-sided discs. Some early Victors from 1905-1913 will say around the rim “Awarded First Prize…” as Victor was awarded first place at expositions.

A Red Seal Record series (originally one-sided and then two-sided in 1921) would be introduced in 1903 and last till 1923 the design of the Red Seal record would mimic the regular label. The Red Seal series featured higher end musicians such as Enrico Caruso and cost anywhere between $1-$7.50 which as much more expensive than the regular series records.

In 1929 the Victor Talking Machine was sold to Radio Corporation of America and would operate as RCA-Victor. RCA-Victor would produce budget labels like Timely Tunes(#1550-1600) produced between April 1931 and July 1931 and Electradisk (#1900-2510) produced between 1932-1934 for Woolsworth Department Stoes. However, the Bluebird label would be its best. In 1936, RCA-Victor would abandon the scrolled design. In 1942, RCA-Victor would introduce a 2 digit pre-fix for record series. In 1946 RCA would RCA on all the records making them RCA-Victor. By the late 1940s/early 1950s RCA-Victor would make the switch to 45s and Long Play (LP) discs.

Music Genres:
Jazz, Blues, Classical, “rock and roll”, philharmonic, country/western music, sound recordings, dance

Pre-1941 Label:

Early Victor: 1905-1914 (records from 1908-1914 would feature the word “Patents” at the bottom).

 

Record Label: Early 1905-1908. Note “Grand Prize” in the center.  Records from 1908-1914 would feature “Patents”  dates/information listed at the bottom of the record.
Record Label: Early 1905-1908. Note “Grand Prize” in the center. Records from 1908-1914 would feature “Patents” dates/information listed at the bottom of the record.

 

Du Du (Old German Air) on Early Victor by George P Watson

Mid Victor: 1914-1926 the “Batwing” design. 1926-1936 the “Scrolled” design.

 

Record Label: Jan. 1914-Oct. 1926. Note the arch (“Batwing”) at the top of label. May be in blue, black, purple or red.
Record Label: Jan. 1914-Oct. 1926. Note the arch (“Batwing”) at the top of label. May be in blue, black, purple or red.

 

Record Label: Oct. 1926-Oct. 1936. Scrolled design. Note the absence of patent numbers and copyright warnings. See also the mention of “Orthophonic Recording” and the “VE” at the bottom/top. This means the recorded has been electrically recorded. May also be in blue, black, red, and maroon.
Record Label: Oct. 1926-Oct. 1936. Scrolled design. Note the absence of patent numbers and copyright warnings. See also the mention of “Orthophonic Recording” and the “VE” at the bottom/top. This means the recorded has been electrically recorded. May also be in blue, black, red, and maroon.

Late Victor: 1936-1946. Concentric Circles with the Victor title label.

Record Label: 1936-1946. Note “Circles” on edge of label.  May be blue or purple, or red, or maroon, or orange.
Record Label: 1936-1946. Note “Circles” on edge of label. May be blue or purple, or red, or maroon, or orange.

While not on a late Victor recording, Romance by the Victor Concert Orchestra:

Red Seal Label: 1903-1923

 

Record Label: 1903-1923. Red in color with the phrase Red Seal Record at the top.
Record Label: 1903-1923. Red in color with the phrase Red Seal Record at the top.

 

1941-1945 Label:  1942 label with RCA-Victor.

Record Label: 1942. Note the 2-digit pre-fix for the record series and the lack of a scroll design. Note the colorization of the dog.
Record Label: 1942. Note the 2-digit pre-fix for the record series and the lack of a scroll design. Note the colorization of the dog.

Listen to the Gooney Bird by Homer and Jethro, a pair of country musicians.

Post WW2 Label: 1946

Record Label: 1946 as identified with RCA-Victor label. May be seen in blue (Bluebird Series), Red, Black, or Silver and Black. Note the circles on edge.
Record Label: 1946 as identified with RCA-Victor label. May be seen in blue (Bluebird Series), Red, Black, or Silver and Black. Note the circles on edge.194

Timely Tunes Budget Label: April 1931 and July 1931

Timely Tunes

Electradisk Budget Label: 1932-1934

Electradisk Victor Budget Label
Electradisk Victor Budget Label

While not the name of the disk, here is Jim Harkins on Electradisk playing a song called Play Fiddle, Play.

Victor Numbers from start to 1945: 1-88000

Notes: None

Sources:
Electradisk Discography
Timely Tunes Discography
http://majesticrecord.com/labelsvictor.htm
http://www.mainspringpress.com/victor1.html
-Rust, Brian. The American Record Label Book. Arlington House Publishers, NY. 1978.
-Sutton, Nauck. American Record Labels and Companies: An Encyclopedia (1891-1943).Mainspring Press, CO.2000.

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Gennett Records

Record Label: 1920-1927. Featuring a hexagon. May be in red, blue, green, maroon, or black.

Gennett Records (1917-1934)

The Gennett label created by Starr Piano Company. The first records produced were under the Starr (1916-1917) label. The Starr label was replaced by the Gennett label. Early Gennett labels were plain but between 1920-1927 they would feature a hexagon. In 1927 Gennett would add the phrase “Electobeam” to its label pressings. Starr Piano would cease selling the Gennett label commercially in 1930 (Gennett would live on till 1934 as a custom label) and concentrate on its budget brands: Champion, Superior, Buddy, and Supertone (pressed for Sears).

Superior (#2500-2839) was produced between 1930-1932. Gennett would often press records for other labels/companies. Appears to be mostly re-issues. Label design unknown.

Music Genres: Country, Jazz, Blues, “Race-Records”, Gospel, novelty, obscure, Hopi Indian Songs, political speeches, sound effects, Christmas greetings, and Klu Klux Klan Propaganda (pressed on the KKK’s labels 100%, 100% American, Hitch, or KKK)

Early Gennett

Record Label: 1917-1920. Plain. May also be in red.
Record Label: 1917-1920. Plain. May also be in red.

Mid-Gennett

Record Label: 1920-1927. Featuring a hexagon. May be in red, blue, green, maroon, or black.
Record Label: 1920-1927. Featuring a hexagon. May be in red, blue, green, maroon, or black.

Late Gennett

Record Label: 1927-1930. Black and Gold. Note the phrase “Electrobeam”
Record Label: 1927-1930. Black and Gold. Note the phrase “Electrobeam”

1941-1945s Label: None

Post-WW2 Label: None

Numbers from start to 1945:
2500-19000

Notes: Many famous musicians first recorded under the Gennett label (Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Jelly-Roll Morton, Blind Lemon Johnson, Bix Beiderbecke, Gene Autry).

An example of King Oliver, Froggie Moore, on Gennett

An example of Louis Armstrong, Canal Street Blues on Gennett

An example of Gene Autry, T.B. Blues, on Gennett:

Sources:
-http://www.starrgennett.org/stories/history/1.htm
-Rust, Brian. The American Record Label Book. Arlington House Publishers, NY. 1978.
-Sutton, Nauck. American Record Labels and Companies: An Encyclopedia (1891-1943). Mainspring Press, CO.2000.

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Starr Record Label

Starr Record Label (1916-1917)

The Starr label was the Starr Piano Company’s first label. The records were produced for one year between 1916-1917 label. The Starr label was replaced by the Gennett label as the company wanted to break into new channels and distance itself from the “Piano” side of the business.

Music Genres: Country, Jazz, Blues, “Race-Records”, Gospel, novelty, obscure, Hopi Indian Songs, political speeches, sound effects, Christmas greetings, and Klu Klux Klan Propaganda (pressed on the KKK’s labels 100%, 100% American, Hitch, or KKK)

Starr Label

Record Label: 1916-1917. Early Starr Piano Label
Record Label: 1916-1917. Early Starr Piano Label

 

1941-1945s Label: None

Post-WW2 Label: None

Numbers from start to 1945:
Unknown

Notes: none

Sources:
-http://www.starrgennett.org/stories/history/1.htm
-Rust, Brian. The American Record Label Book. Arlington House Publishers, NY. 1978.
-Sutton, Nauck. American Record Labels and Companies: An Encyclopedia (1891-1943). Mainspring Press, CO.2000.

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Buddy Record Label

Buddy Record Label: 1923-1926

Buddy Record Label (1917-1934)

The Buddy Label was produced between 1923-1926 by Starr Piano Company. The label featured companies along the side that had nothing to do with Starr Piano.

Music Genres: Country, Jazz, Blues, “Race-Records”, Gospel, novelty, obscure, Hopi Indian Songs, political speeches, sound effects, Christmas greetings, and Klu Klux Klan Propaganda (pressed on the KKK’s labels 100%, 100% American, Hitch, or KKK)

 

Buddy Label

Buddy Record Label: 1923-1926
Buddy Record Label: 1923-1926

1941-1945s Label: None

Post-WW2 Label: None

Numbers from start to 1945:
#8000-8100

Notes: None

Sources:
-http://www.starrgennett.org/stories/history/1.htm
-Rust, Brian. The American Record Label Book. Arlington House Publishers, NY. 1978.
-Sutton, Nauck. American Record Labels and Companies: An Encyclopedia (1891-1943). Mainspring Press, CO.2000.

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Champion Record Label

Champion Record Label: 1925-1927.

Champion Records (1925-1934)

The Starr Piano Company produced the budget Champion Label from 1925 to Dec. 1934 and would often feature a release of a Gennett artist under a different name to avoid paying royalties. In 1927, the Champion label appeared with the word “Electrograph.” Champion records may be blue, black or red. The Champion label was sold to Decca in June 1935. Decca would remove the word “Electrograph” and add the phrase “Electrically Recorded.” Decca discontinued the Champion label in April 1936.

Music Genres: Country, Jazz, Blues, “Race-Records”, Gospel, novelty, obscure, Hopi Indian Songs, political speeches, sound effects, Christmas greetings, and Klu Klux Klan Propaganda (pressed on the KKK’s labels 100%, 100% American, Hitch, or KKK)

Early Champion Label

Champion Record Label: 1925-1927.
Champion Record Label: 1925-1927.

Late Champion Label

Record Label: 1927-1936. Note the word “Electrograph” beneath Champion label.
Record Label: 1927-1936. Note the word “Electrograph” beneath Champion label.

While not on a Champion Record, the song Mickey Mouse and Minnie’s in Town is just to cool not to hear:


1941-1945 Label: None

Post-WW2 Label: None

Numbers from start to 1945:
#15000-16832

Notes: none

Sources:
-http://www.starrgennett.org/stories/history/1.htm
-Rust, Brian. The American Record Label Book. Arlington House Publishers, NY. 1978.
-Sutton, Nauck. American Record Labels and Companies: An Encyclopedia (1891-1943). Mainspring Press, CO.2000.

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Aeolian-Vocalion

Aeolian-Vocalion (1916-1937)

The Aeolian-Vocalion was created by the Aeolian Piano Company in 1916. The Piano company produced, besides pianos, phonographs. Having a record label was the natural extension. In Aug. 1920 Aeolian introduced reddish-orange pressings. In 1921 the title-label “Aeolian-Vocalion” was replaced by just the a “Vocalion” title-label in a black and gold color scheme. Acquired by Brunswick Records in 1925, Brunswick would keep the black and gold color scheme and add the phrase “Brunswick Record Corporation” at the bottom. American Record Company (ARC) would acquire leasing rights to Brunswick Records (including Vocalion) in late 1935 and create a glossy black design. It would stay that way until 1937 when the label turned a bright blue. The bright blue label would last until 1940 until Vocalion was acquired by Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and discontinued. The Vocalion catalog was then re-leased under the CBS name. Delta Blues singer Robert Johnson first recorded on the Vocalion label in 1936-1937.

The Aeolian-Vocalion recording studio was located at Aeolian Hall in New York. There were pressing plants in New York and Meridan, Connecticut.

Music Genres: Race-Records, Blues, Specialties, Swing, Country, Western-swing.

Pre-1941 Label: Some are in black shellac and some are in reddish-brownish shellac.

Aeolian-Vocalion Record Label: 1916-1920. This record is pressed in black. Tiger Rag by the Original Dixieland Jass Band, was first released on the label.

Record Label: 1916-1920. Label colors: Tan, Gold, Black.
Record Label: 1916-1920. Label colors: Tan, Gold, Black.

Tiger Rag-

Aeolian-Vocalion Record Label: 1920. Pressed in red. The song title “You are Free: From Apple Blossoms” is recorded by John Charles Thomas who was a baritone with a “beautiful voice”. Though, Fritz Kreisler and Viktor Jacobi initially wrote the song.

Record Label: Aug. 1920. Red Record color.
Record Label: Aug. 1920. Red Record color.

“The Profiteering Blues” written by Irving Bibo and sung by Bill Murray. Bill Murray was an early 20th century singer and entertainer.

Profiteering Blues
Profiteering Blues
Record Label: Jan 1920
Record Label: Jan 1920

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Profiteering Blues” on Aeolian-Vocalion by Bill Murray

 

Aeolian-Vocalion Record Label: In 1921, the label drops “Aeolian-Vocalion” in favor of just “Vocalion”. When it was bought by Brunswick Records in Nov. 1924, a phrase of “Brunswick Record Corporation” is added at the bottom.

Record Label: 1925-1935 Black and Gold scroll. Note “Brunswick Record Corporation” at the bottom.
Record Label: 1925-1935 Black and Gold scroll. Note “Brunswick Record Corporation” at the bottom.

Aeolian-Vocalion Record Label: In the mid-1930s, Brunswick redesigns the label to have a glossy black finish with the label name, artist, and other record information in a scroll-like shape. The song in this label, “In That Vine Covered Chapel (In the Valley)” was sung by Lee O’Daniel and his Hillbilly Boys. The group is an example of western-swing.

Record Label: 1935-1937. Glossy black.
Record Label: 1935-1937. Glossy black.

Aeolian-Vocalion Record Label: Late 1930s, the label goes to a Blue and Tan color scheme.

Record Label: 1937-1940. Bright blue label.
Record Label: 1937-1940. Bright blue label.

“There’s a Blue Sky Way Out Yonder” by the Saddle Tramps

1941-1945s Label: None

Post WW2 Label: None

Numbers from start to 1945: 1000-70000

Notes: #1000 is the race-record series. The Hoosier Hot Shots, a string quartet band known for there unusual instruments, also recorded on the label.

Sources:

-John Charles Thomas Biography Sheet from the University of Iowa
www.78rpmrecord.com
Aeolian-Vocalion Discography : For a complete discography see “Vocalion” at the bottom.
http://www.capsnews.org/barrbru.htm: Brunswick and Vocalion
–Rust, Brian. The American Record Label Book. Arlington House Publishers, NY. 1978.


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–Sutton, Nauck. American Record Labels and Companies: An Encyclopedia (1891-1943). Mainspring Press, CO.2000.

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Perfect Record Label

Perfect Record Label 1922-Apr. 1938

A budget-brand of the Pathe-Actuelle Label. The Perfect Record Label operated under the Pathe-Actuelle controlled Perfect Record Company. Early Perfect labels were black for popular music or maroon for classical. These early labels used an octagonal border. By 1923, the label design changed to two nude sun-worshippers. Red shellac pressings were introduced in late 1924 but discontinued in 1931 in favor of black shellac. Perfect created a series called Perfect Star Series for higher-end talent. After being bought by American Record Company (ARC) in 1929 the label remained the same until a re-design in 1937 to an undistinguished blue-and-silver label without a pictorial trademark. Perfect would be discontinued by ARC in April 1938.

Musics Genres: Pop, Orchestra, Classical, Band, Blues

Pre-1941 Label:

Perfect Record Label: 1922-1923. Notice the octagonal border.

Perfect Record Label. Early
Perfect Record Label. Early

Uncle Josh (Cal Stewart) was a monologuist known for telling humorous stories with a unique laugh. I’ve included a link to the audio of Uncle Josh at the Circus below. It is on a Columbia record.

Perfect Record Label: 1923-1937. Record may be black, blue, green, or red shellac with nude sun-worshippers.

Perfect Record Label: Note the Sun Worshippers
Perfect Record Label: Note the Sun Worshippers

Perfect Record Label: 1937-1938. Blue and Silver.

Perfect Record Label Blue and Silver

1941-1945s Label: None

Post WW2 Label: None

Numbers from start to 1945: #100-16000. A listing of records from 1928-1931 can be found here:
http://www.78discography.com/PE15000.htm

Notes: The Race series was called Perfect 100s. It was started in July 1926. These were duplicates of Pathe’s race series (#7500). Rosa Henderson and Mary Staffard would feature prominently on the Perfect race-record series. Another race artist include Big Bill Broonzy  (operating under the pseudonym of Sammy Sampson). Big Bill would also have a side project with Tommy Dorsey, called The Famous Hokum Boys.

Sources:
–Rust, Brian. The American Record Label Book. Arlington House Publishers, NY. 1978.
–Sutton, Nauck. American Record Labels and Companies: An Encyclopedia (1891-1943). Mainspring Press, CO.2000.
Perfect Race Record Blues Encyclopedia Entry
–Discography of Perfect Race Record Numbers


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Conqueror Record Label

Conqueror Record Label: 1938-1942. Black color with shield.

Conqueror Record Label

Produced from 1926-March 1942 exclusively for Sears at a price of 39 cents. Designed as an expensive label to complement the Silvertone, Supertone, and Challenge labels. Pressed by Regal Record Company from 1926-June 1929 and then pressed American Record Company (ARC) from 1929 onward. When ARC took over the pressing, they dropped all mention of Sears on the record. The trumpeters were removed in 1934 and replaced by a simplified shield design. When ARC was bought by CBS in 1938, CBS kept the Conqueror label and packaged the label in sets. In the label’s final days (1938-1942) the Conqueror’s shield appeared as black rather than red. Many of Conqueror’s artists used pseudonyms and because Sears was at various times contracting three different record companies to produce music and those record companies often drew from the same catalogs or master-records there is considerable duplication of music. However, some records may be alternate takes and records produced after the 1938 acquisitive tended to be artists from the CBS catalogs.

Music Genres: Country, Jazz, Blues, Swing, Pop.

Pre-WW2 Label: Red background with decorative rim and trumpeters.

Record Label:  1929-1934. Note the absence of Sears. May be in red or orange.
Conqueror Record Label: 1929-1934. Note the absence of Sears. May be in red or orange. This indicates it was made by ARC.

From 1934-1938 the record label has a basic red shield without the trumpeters.

Record Label: 1934-1938. Red color with shield.
Record Label: 1934-1938. Red color with shield. Notice the lack of trumpeters.

1941-1945 Label: After being bought by CBS, the label switched to being all black.

Conqueror  Record Label: 1938-1942. Black color with shield.
Conqueror Record Label: 1938-1942. Black color with shield.


Post WW2 Label: None.

Numbers from start to 1945:  7000-10000.  Numbers 7254-7277 are race and country artists.

Notes: Famous artists found on this record label include: Big Bill Broonzy, Lucille Bogan (aka: Bessie Jackson), Amos Easton aka Bumble Bee Slim, Lil Johnson, and Memphis Minnie. Other important artists include Louis Armstrong , Cab Calloway, and Gene Autry.

Listen to Dear Old Western Skies by Gene Autry on a 1934 Conqueror Record.

Listen to My Gage is going up by Memphis Minnie on a Conqueror Record most likely from the early 1930s.

 

Sources:

http://www.mainspringpress.com/sears-labels.html

Rust, Brian. The American Record Label Book. Arlington House Publishers, NY. 1978.

Sutton, Nauck. American Record Labels and Companies: An Encyclopedia (1891-1943). Mainspring Press, CO.2000.

The Blues Encyclopedia

Country Music Records : A Discography, 1921-1942


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Harvard Record Labels

Harvard Record Labels (1905-1907)

Harvard Records was a 78 record label sold exclusively by Sears. Columbia Records originally produced the record. The catalog numbers were similar to Columbia master catalogs. The Harvard Record Label used anonymous recordings. The records came in either 7in. or 10in. sizes.

Music Genres: Waltz, Patriotic, Orchestra, Comedic, Folk Songs, Black or “Coon” songs. (The Harvard Record label and Sears sold music that exemplified the time. Such musical lyrics that stereotyped dialects would be unacceptable today)

Pre-1941 Label: Plan label with blue lettering.

Harvard Disc Record. Courtesy of http://www.78rpm.net.nz
Harvard Disc Record. Courtesy of http://www.78rpm.net.nz

Uncle Josh was the pseudonym for Cal Stewart, a vaudeville actor that made the transition into sound. He is known for comedic narratives. While not on a Harvard Disc the recording below is indicative of Cal’s comedic style.

Another example of the early Harvard Disc Record label.

I Never Trouble Trouble until Trouble Troubles Me
I Never Trouble Trouble until Trouble Troubles Me by Baritone and Tenor Duet

Not on a Harvard Record label but it demonstrates what the duet sounded like. You can note the same catalog number as the Harvard disc above. This was due to the fact that Harvard pulled from the master catalog of Columbia. Indeed, it appears the Peerless Disc Record did as well.


The Harvard Record label went through a label re-design in late 1906 or early 1907. This new design featured a collegiate pennant and letting in orange.

World War Two Label: None. Label did not exist

Sources:

http://www.mainspringpress.com/sears-labels.html


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