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Archive for the ‘record labels’

It’s time for summer vacation.

July 2nd, 2010

Frederator Postcards Series 10.5
Frederator Postcards Series 10.5, mailed July 2, 2010 Limited edition of 200

Adapted from
Fritz Reiner conducting the RCA Victor Orchestra
Bizet and Debussy 45 EP
RCA Victor Records, New York

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This week’s card is the last in this postcard series of record labels, and it’s a departure from the other four in a few ways.

Most obviously, it’s red. Almost immediately after vinyl replaced shellac as the record manufacturing material, companies realized its flexibility allowed for color pressings, and for the next few decades they hoped the novelty could move a few extra units. And it’s a 45rpm EP, which RCA used to try and compete with Columbia Records‘ superior 12″ LP. This card is adapted from the classical repertoire rather than my more familiar soul, blues, and rock. Lastly, it’s from one of the world’s major recording labels of the 20th Century. I tried sticking to the indie approach, but the red was just so cool.

I’m sure record labels will crop up again in some future series, but for your sake, let’s hope its out of my system.

We’ll be releasing Frederator Postcard Series #11 in the autumn.

Obscure can be kinda cool.

June 25th, 2010

Frederator Postcards Series 10.4
Frederator Postcards Series 10.4, mailed June 25, 2010 Limited edition of 200

Adapted from
Pvt. Cecil Gant
The Grass is Getting Greener 78rpm
Gilt Edge Records
Hollywood, California

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There isn’t any information that can be found on the internets about Gilt Edge Records, other than Private Cecil Gant recorded for them in the 1940s. And I don’t really know all that much about Cecil other than that he wrote a neat song (”I’m a Good Man But a Poor Man“) I recorded on an obscure blues album in 1974.

But the label design is cool, obscure is fun, and I really loved the song we recorded.

Stax of wax.

June 18th, 2010

Frederator Postcards Series 10.3Frederator Postcards Series 10.3, mailed June 18, 2010 Limited edition of 200

Adapted from
The Mar-Keys Last Night 45rpm

Stax Records
Memphis, Tennessee

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Of the five record labels featured in this series I’ve probably had the most constant, long term relationship (as a listener, that is) with Stax Records. Starting with some amazing Sam & Dave and Otis Redding 45rpm singles in my teenage years, I continued scavenging their records (my friends and I loved finding the original Atlantic era “stacks of records” blue labels in the remainder bins years after the Gulf+Western era “finger snapping logo) until they went out of business in 1975. In 1977, I even wrote a 10 page plea to the president of Fantasy Records, Stax’s buyer after a scandalous bankruptcy, making the argument I was the ideal candidate to lead the reissue effort they were undertaking (I didn’t come close to persuading him).

Most importantly, I’m still really happy every time I listen to their music, which I do often. They assembled one of the greatest, most enviable rosters of writing, singing, and instrumental talent in history.

Stax blueStax finger snap

A bluesman.

June 11th, 2010

Frederator Postcards Series 10.1
Frederator Postcards Series 10.2, mailed June 11, 2010 Limited edition of 200
Adapted from
Chuck Berry
Blue Feeling 78rpm
Chess Records
Chicago, Illinois
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Chess Records was famous in the black community for their blues 78s before Chuck Berry exploded them across America’s consciousness with his mass appeal, seminal rock’n’roll records. But, he was a bluesman first.

A new postcard series: Record labels of mid-century America.

June 4th, 2010

Frederator Postcards Series 10.1
Frederator Postcards Series 10.1, mailed June 4, 2010 Limited edition of 200
Adapted from
The Wailers
Roadrunner 45rpm
Golden Crest Records

Huntington Station, NY

It’s probably my age, but I’ve always loved record labels (”records” are old school sound recording platforms, and by “labels” I mean the printed paper in the middle that identified the recording company, the artist, and the song), as anyone who follows our postcard output knows. Occasionally , it’s the graphic designs, sometimes it’s the artists involved, but often, I just like the stories behind the record companies. To subject you to more of my personal whimsy, Series 10 of Frederator postcards is dedicated exclusively to mid-20th century American independent labels’ 45s and 78s (that’s the speed that the vinyl records rotated at. Yes, seriously).

The first one in the series is a record company from my hometown that no one’s ever heard of. “No one” is a bit of an exaggeration, but, I thought I knew every indie label from the vinyl era, but I didn’t know Golden Crest Records, from Huntington Station, Long Island, in my own home town. And clearly, “no one” didn’t include one of the Western world’s coolest reissue labels, Ace Records, because they saw fit to release a 2-CD set of “The Best of Golden Crest.” That might have been influenced by the fact that John Broven, the Ace A&R executive, eventually married the daughter of Golden Crest’s founder, Clark Galehouse. It just goes to show you that I’m not as cool as I’d like to think.

Two partners and I started our own indie label out of Huntington in 1971, and if only we’d known there was a pressing plant right up the street, we would’ve been thrilled to manufacture there, and probably learn a little more about the business more quickly.

It was fitting to me that this series is inaugurated by Golden Crest. Thanks Clark.

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