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 “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 when 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.
Aeolian-Vocalion Record Label: 1920. Pressed in red. The song titled “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.
“The Profiteering Blues” was written by Irving Bibo and sung by Bill Murray. Bill Murray was an early 20th-century singer and entertainer.
“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, the phrase of “Brunswick Record Corporation” is added 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 on 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.
Aeolian-Vocalion Record Label: Late 1930s, the label goes to a Blue and Tan color scheme.
“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 their unusual instruments, is also recorded on the label.
-John Charles Thomas Biography Sheet from the University of Iowa
–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.
–Sutton, Nauck. American Record Labels and Companies: An Encyclopedia (1891-1943). Mainspring Press, CO. 2000