18 March 2014

Tuck's Gramophone Record Postcard

Since the early 1990s, when I started to research the 1930s US flexible, unbreakable card board records, published by Durium ( like the Hit of the week and numerous Durium labels), people asked me if the rare Tuck's Gramophone Records - post cards with a small playable gramophone record on it, were made of "durium" too - an acetate. I've never found any proof for that, but later I found out that in both "stories" the name of the British record company Worldecho was mentioned. 
Thanks to Jos I could add a 1920s Tuck's Post Card to my collection. These rare items were published by the Tuck Company, based in London, which started to publish regular post cards since 1898 in numbered series - a few years later it also opened an office in New York City.  
Tuck made post cards in a period that it was very popular to send this kind of messages.  Isn't it cute I found an old post card in my archive, sent to my grand mother, from the Marble Arch in London, which happened to be a Tuck's Post Card. It's a pity that the stamp ( or other marks to date the card) have disappeared, but a small search on internet learned me that the photo itself must have been made early 1900s. ( First issue 1906). 
Tuck used its photos several times and sometimes even inserted extra items, like cars or pedestrians to update the photo ( like this 1918 version).

I told about some rumours that Tuck and Durium had to do with each other. Not so strange as it seems, as I found out that the material of the Tuck Record ( the actual record) seems to be from the same material as the "Durium" record. 
In 1929 Tuck started to produce Gramophone Record Post Cards. It was made by Worldecho and this small short-lived record company has been suggested as a company that used a kind of Durium-like acetate to cover its (thick) cardboard records. In a previous blog about the 80th birthday of the Durium record I posted some information about this obscure record label: Durium Records 80 years old (1930 - 2010) 
It is said that the Durium acetate was developed in Europe during the First World War, to protect aeroplane noses agains dust, heat, cold and moist and it seems that after the war new uses were found - I saw once advertisements for rain coats and garden furniture made of Durium. During the 1920s it seems that the durium acetate was used to make unbreakable gramophone records like Worldecho - a rather stiff cardboard layer with a durium surface,  produced in England. These records were produced for only six months and then it was withdraw from the market, as the records easily split into two halves if you dropped it.
The Tuck's Gramophone Record I got in my collection is catalogued as series D no. 14 and its matrix number is P 58   - It belongs to one of the first series as it was first mentioned in a september 1929 magazine entitled Musical Opinion and Music Trades, which reads in its regular column:  Messrs. Raphael Tuck are responsible for an amusing and interesting innovation in the shape of gramophone record picture postcards. Measuring 3-inch, these discs play for one minute and cost 3d each.  Several series are already available, and I have heard admirable demonstrations of  „Auld Lang Syne“, „Ye Banks and Braes“, „Annie Laurie“, „Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond“.  Besides these songs there are orchestral records and cornet and saxophone solos.  One immediate result of these postcards has been the installation of portable gramophones in the smaller stations to demonstrate them!   
Mine is one of those "cornet solos" and I played in once at my 1930s portable Columbia gramophone.  Its sound is rather low-fi and it plays for almost one minute.  
There is one remarkable point to mention.  Like I told before about the regular post card with the London Marble Arch photo from early 1900s which were still used during the late 1920s, Tuck liked to recycle ....  And even the postcards, used to stick on the small gramophone record, were published before and might have been dead stock for years. It seems as if the (early) Tuck's Gramophone records were recycled copies too .....
I found a copy of the original post card, entitled Watching for Father, a painting of the Scottish artist Scott Rankin, who was active in Scotland as a painter late nineteen century. 

If you compare the reverse sites of both cards you'll learn that the blue lettering was printed later and  features information about the record itself - the red/brown print learns more about the original Oilette Post Card no. 3368 which must have been dead stock from the 1910s or later. 

The Tuck's Gramophone Record Postcard - one of those ephemeral hypes from 1930 - the depression  of the  Thirties. 

Hans Koert

author of the Hit of the Week-Durium Discogrqphies

This blog will also be published at the Flexible Records blog  and the Keep (it)  Swinging blog. ( in Dutch and English)  

Due to severe health problems this will be one of my last publication at the Flexible Records blog, which started eight years ago, February 2006. Thanks for reading it!

Keep (it) Swinging

Hans Koert


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10 December 2012

Discola - Ford Lied: Het rythme van den weg

 A few days ago I was pointed by Robert Markus to a great picture disc, probably, as the label learns, a promo disc for Ford V8 motorcars. My first idea was that this record was a Goodson-like flexible record from the early 1930s and that’s the reason that this message is posted here, but, thanks to Rinus Blijleven I know now, that this record is NOT a flexible record, nor a Goodson-like label and shouldn’t actually be posted here ……. but …… as I really like this picture disc, I’ll post it in secret ……

 Bert Van Dongen ( 1915-1982)
This record contains two songs, sung in Dutch, dedicated to the new Ford V8 engine, by the Dutch vocalist Bert Van Dongen.  Bert was born in Amsterdam May, 1915 and passed away April 1982  When he recorded this record at the Klank-Film studio Frank in Amsterdam, ca. early 1937, he sung in several orchestras and was introduced some years earlier as a singer to the Dutch Vara radio station in Hilversum.  He would develop into an artists in musical comedies and revues, organized by René Sleeswijk (1950s). He performed in TV-programs like Sterren stralen overal with Rien Van Nunen and Dutch films like Op Hoop van Zegen.
 Mijn nieuwe Ford V8 - Bert Van Dongen met orkestbegeleiding (prob. Orkest o.l.v. Joop De Keur) - Klank-Studio Frank - Amsterdam (ca. early 1937 op Discola) ( source: Rinus Blijleven)(photo courtesy: Robert Markus)
 This record is one of a series of three records Rinus Blijleven has in his collection, all three recorded and produced by Klank-Studio Frank, cooperated with the Van Wouw studios. It was released at the Discola label, although its name is not on the label.
Fordlied "Het rythme van den weg"- Bert Van Dongen met orkestbegeleiding (prob. Orkest o.l.v. Joop De Keur) - Klank-Studio Frank - Amsterdam (ca. early1937 op Discola) ( source: Rinus Blijleven)(photo courtesy: Robert Markus)
 It seems that Klank-Film studio Frank / Van Wouw studios released numerous promo records like for the Zuid Hollandsche Bierbrouwers Den Haag ( sung by Lou Bandy)  and the Primagaz advertisement, sung by Louis Davids, which might be the most well known of the trio. The latter was reissued at the excellent album Wat een meisje weten moet - Reclame klassieken published by the Theater Instituut Nederland (1999) (FAV 1-95204)
 Ford V-8) (1933)
Rinus Blijleven suggests that the orchestra, which accompanied Bert Van Dongen could have been an orchestra directed by Joop De Leur (June 1900 – September 1973), who was a sought after accompanist during the 1930s for dozens of Dutch crooners. 
Ben Van Dongen can also been heard at the Van Nelle’s Koffielied and the Van Nelle’s Theelied, also a Discola record (Discola C436) recorded by Klank-Film studio Frank ( ca. 1936 -1937), also reissued at the cd-album Wat een meisje weten moet.
  • Rinus Blijleven informs that the song was originally performed at the Ford Show in the Albert Hall, October 1936 by King Palmers V8 Shadow Symphony Orchestra, sung by Gordon Little
  Laurens Hertzdahl pointed me to the English version of this song, entitled The Rhythm of the Road.  It is sung by Gordon Little. 

 The information reads: A classic cinema advert from 1937 for the Ford V8 range of cars, with happy singing, lovely English scenery and a real "pleasures of motoring" feel, sung by Gordon Little
 Thanks to Robert Markus for pointing me to this great record and Rinus Blijleven for his photos and information.
Deze bijdrage wordt ook geplaatst in het Nederlands in de Keep (it) Swingingblog.
Hans Koert

03 November 2012

Longophon - 60 Grenzguell-Pils

A few weeks ago Rinus Blijleven found this rare flexible record. It's a one-sided playable German card board Longophon record. It's size is ca. 10.5 cm . The colourfull front reads:  Grenzquell, das echte deutsche Qualitäts-Pilsner . H. Bünnel, Wernesgrün i. D.  In the centre Sachsen Tschechoslovakei Pilsen and again the name of the brewery: Grenzquell Brauerei. This brewery, better known as Wernergrüner Brauerei can be found in Steinburg Wernersgrün in Saxony, Germany.  The Brünnel family was the owner of the brewery up to 1946. This brewery is still active for the Bittburg Braugruppe. 
The Longophon label is rather rare and known for its (most black and white) picture discs. In a previous blog I introduced you to some of those Longophon Bildplattenas I they are called in German.  It was produced by the C. Otto Bestehorn company of Aschersleben between 1930 and 1934. Mind that the record has no information on the "red" label like a regular 78rpm record, but a printed (label-like) promo on the reverse. Like other cardboard records from this period, like the British Durium record, the blank reverse was the ideal place for promotion.  

The reverse of the record has no groove, but only the promotional information - The groove is at the front and has no printed information. In the surface the name Longophon is etched and MADE IN GERMANY in capitals. The matrix number is 60 - the record has no catalogue number.
The record was a publicity record. It has an unindentified vocalist and orchestra, which bring a promo-song ( in German) for the firm. It must have been recorded in Berlin early 1930s, (1930-1931) as the matrix number is just 60.

Thanks Rinus for sharing this rare flexible record from the 1930s.
Thanks to Ronny Busse for his additions.

Hans Koert


28 August 2012

Orchestre Jazz Virginia

I'VE GOT A FEELING - 5066-PC  de "Waiting for that thing called happiness" (JOS. GEO GILBERT & HORATIO NICOLLS) (Arrangement par STAN BOWSHER) Fox-trot  Orchestre Jazz VIRGINIA ( photo courtesy: Henry Parsons)

 Thanks to Henry Parsons, I can point you to a rare flexible VIRGINIA record, played by the Virginia Jazz Orchestram a studio band with the tune The Crowning and I've Got a Feeling, the latter written by Jos. Geo Gilbert & Horatio Nicolls, which was in fact Lawrence Wright, whose copyright seal is glued on the label. Jos. Geo Gilbert was a music published in London. It is one of those numerous cheap dance band records that were released in the late 1920s.
Early 1930s the depression made the wealth and prosperity of the 1920s burst like a soap bubble .... a lot of musicians lost their jobs and had to look for gigs or incomes. Record companies tried to get their shares and scheduled recording sessions for musicians who were paid to play some stock arrangements and sold the recordings to other small record companies all over the world, who hoped to get a piece of the pie .....
These musicians often are nameless, as they sometimes had exclusive contracts for great record companies or orchestras. Virginia was one of those cheap record labels, published in France, with,like this example, some hot jazzy dance-band music, played by an anonymous studio orchestra, maybe American or English ...... If you love to identify the musicians on the record, you have to search for a needle in a haystack and identifying musicians by ear often is impossible as the musicians played stock arrangements, without any solos.
THE CROWNING - 5067-PC de "Cotton Queen" - (de J.P. LONG) ( Arrangement par STAN BOWSHER) Fox-trot Orchestra Jazz VIRGINIA ( photo courtesy Henry Parsons)

Each collector of jazz-related dance band music on 78rpm record knows that if he wants some more info about the band on the record he enters a maze of pseudonyms, labels and sub-labels, matrices and take numbers.
VIRGINIA, a white flexible record, produced in France, is one of those mysterious labels, which used originals from the Gennett label, Goodson or Vocalion labels, which also often used copies from major labels .......

Listen to I've Got a Feelin' by the so-called Orchestre Jazz Virginia ( Virginia Jazz Orchestra) - a tune which was a small hit in the fall of 1930.

Both tunes inform us about the arranger Stan Bowsher.
I didn't found much info about him except that he was active as a reed player and arranger in numerous British bands from the 1930s, like Howard Baker's ( 1934), Roy Fox (1931), Lew Stone (Durium) and Edgar Jackson (1932), Henry Hall (1932- 1938), Harry Roy (1932-1944), Bert Ambrose (1932) and Geraldo (1939). This could mean that the musicians of the Virginia Jazz Orchestra were British musicians ..... For a record collector who plays these rare flexible records, like Virginia, it could care less - its music sounds great ..... jazz influenced dance music, so typically for the early 1930s.

It seems that Virginia released at least more than 200 records, mostly original recorded by US and British record companies. Didier-Jean Doré Pétotéguy and Tony-Marc Gallez published a list. In a previous blog I introduced you to some more Virginia's, I have in my collection.
  Although an in-depth investigation didn't bring more info I hope visitors of this blog can help to date and identify the musicians on this record.  

Hans Koert


20 May 2012

Phonycord Nr. 51

Wallburger-Ländler - Tegernseer Öberländler-Kapelle (Phonycord Nr. 51) (photo courtesy: Massimiliano Della Mora )
Wallburger - Ländler - 3569
Tegernseer Öberländler-Kapelle
Recorded in Berlin, 1929 and released as Phonycord Nr. 51
Hirschbergler-Ländler - Tegernseer Öberländler-Kapelle (Phonycord Nr. 52) (photo courtesy: Massimiliano Della Mora )
Hirschbergler-Landler - 3570
Tegernseer Öberländler-Kapelle
Recorded in Berlin, 1929 and released as Phonycord Nr. 52
A Phonycord Flexible sleeve (ca. 1930)
Max Della Mora from Italy pointed me to a 1930 flexible Phonycord Flexible record he found in his grandfathers house. It is one of those short lived cheap flexible records that were released early 1930s. It is made of colourfull clear blue plastic and due to the way its labels are printed, the reverse label is most of the time visible backwards. The early Phonycords were pressed in Germany and this one must have been for the local market. The Tegernsee is a lake and a city south of Munich (Germany) and from the band, die Kapelle, records are known, which were recorded in February and March 1929. Later ( December 1930) Phonycord pressed records in Great Britain for only 5 months before it definitely stopped its production.
Also Phonycord 53 ( yellow clear plastic) was credited to the Tegernseer Öberländler-Kapelle and has the tune Auf Geht's - Ländler-Potpourri (3568) recorded in Berlin, 1929. It is likely that both records were recorded at the same session. I don't have info about its reverse.
Hans Koert

17 March 2012


A rare GOODSON RECORD ( Collection: Gene)
A few weeks ago I was pointed to some remarkable flexible records by Gene from Sevastopol (Ukraine). These three, in fact four, flexible records seem to be rare Goodson Records. Three of the four records are Goodson Records, made from white opaque plastic Rhodoid, sized 24 cm ( 9.5 inch) records as they were published by the record company of Jack Goodson, late 1920s - early 1930s - the fourth could be a Goodson Record too. The GOODSON RECORD Discography by Arthur Badrock doesn't give any info about those three (four) records. As I haven't seen, smell or touched it, I'll have to do with the info I've got from Gene and the photos he'd send me. Thanks so sharing those pictures, Gene!
The three (four) GOODSON RECORDS ( Collection: Gene)
The Goodson Records, all three, do have a 1920s, so-called, flapper wife picture at the front - three different models. I haven't seen any of these ladies printed in front at one of my Goodson's. The records have some real Goodson Records details like the trademark, the hand with the bended record and the  brand name GOODSON RECORDS, and also the sentences:


On the right the word

It also has the sentences, although hard to read:

Manufactured on "RHODOID" by GOODSON GRAMMOPHONE RECORD Cº LONDON, ENGLAND and British Patent Nº 271,796, 293,667 & 247,429 - Patented in all Countries
BTW: Patent 293,667 was registered on March 1928 as An Improved Method of Manufacuring Gramophone records.
A regular type: I'm in The Market For You - 4043 - Frank Novak and his Music (recorded ca. 2nd of May, 1930) ( GOODSON RECORD Nº 226) ( Hans Koert collection)
Most of these marks I found also on the type of GOODSON RECORDS in my collection like the one above. But there are a few minor differences. The trademark, the hand with the bended record, has only two qualities of the record mentioned: UNBREAKABLE and FEATHERLIGHT but not the word PLIABLE. This trade mark, with two qualitiet only, is also to be found at the small 17 cm ( 7-inch) promo GOODSON RECORD discs for SKETCH VIRGINIA CIGARETTES. Were these 17 cm small records too small to bend? I wonder if these three GOODSON RECORDS mentioned above, have the same thickness like a regular GOODSON RECORD.
The GOODSON RECORDS trade mark on a  17cm "SKETCH" VIRGINIA CIGARETTES promo record ( Hans Koert collection)
There are also some elements on the record that are not found on the commercial released records: First of all - these records are un-numbered. Arthur Badrock lists in his THE GOODSON RECORD DISCOGRAPHY ( TMR-Discographies) ca. 30 un-numbered issues - the surface doesn’t seem to have etched matrices or take numbers ( information by Gene). The records don't have a printed title or band name, they are printed in a very dark blue, almost black lettering ( Goodson's do have pale blue prints) and a dark circle at the outside. I haven't seen that at any Goodson Record so far.The record is printed one sided and also contains only one track on the printed side. The reverse is blank.
The regular GOODSON trademark
As the records don't have printed information about the tracks or bands, nor matrices etched in the surface, I can’t inform you what tunes are on the three records. On the reverse it gives some handwritten information in Russian in the Cyrillic script, and to make it more complicated, which were translated by Gene, who speaks the Ukrainian language  with an online translation program, as: Anyone not favorite (foxtrot) - Ray (sic) Fox orchestra for the first record - Mambo for the second one and Were five of Them for the third. The fourth record has also some written Russian information in cyrillic letters, but also the words: ALI-BABA RhumBa-Fox. The "translation" Anyone not favorite could be Nobody's Sweetheart and Roy Fox did record it with his band for Decca on the 2nd of December, 1931. As far as I know this tune was never released on a GOODSON RECORD. The other titles don't ring a bell either - maybe you have some suggestions?  I suppose that these Russian titles were written by the owner of the records years after these records were produced (1930s), and that the tunes mentioned by Gene prrobably don't have the correct information - I hope to listen to the music on the records to verify the information. There isn’t any indication that these records were especially produced for the Russian market or should have been send to Russia – they could have been brought inside Russia by a record collector.

There is some written information in Russian cyrillic letters and the western alphabet: Ali-BABA Rhumba-Fox ( collection: Gene)

I guess that the three records with the printed flapper wifes in front are sample records, sent to firms to present how GOODSON RECORDS could be used as promo material - some of those promo records are known and listed in Badrock's book, with  various methods of artwork - the fact that these records were illustrated with those three charming ladies could suggest this. Unlike the Durium advertisement records, the blank reverse of the Goodson Records were not used for printed advertisements, but printed on both sides on the complete surface, like Goodson did with the Boots promo records. It seems that these records must be sample records, and the fourth record, which has no label prints at all, but a strange reddish - yellow colour in the middle seems to confirm this, maybe to be used for printing samples ......... but this record could also be a prototype.
Part of the Goodson sample record ( collection: Gene)
Thanks Gene for sharing these images of these rare GOODSON RECORDS - probably sample records from ca. 1930. As long as I haven't heard the tracks or haven't searched for indication of matrices in the surface ( if available) I can't inform you about the tunes nor bands that are on the discs.

Deze bijdrage zal ook gepubliceerd worden in het Nederlands op de Keep (it) Swingingblog.

Hans Koert

05 June 2011

Illustra drawings: proof or spoilage?

A few months ago Desiree Muis sent me some remarkable stuff. At first sight it seem to be Illustra records, picture discs released by the Illustra Record Trading Co. N.Y., but if you look better you will miss the hole for the spindle in the centre. Desiree told me, that these 4 ( in fact two double sided) pictures are printed illustrations, apparently proofs or spoilage for the 1930s Illustra advertisement records. She found photos from these drawings at this Flexible Records blog too and asked me for additional information. Print used for a Illustra record which has originally the song Maria, Mari (E. di Capua) by Cav. Salvatore Salvati (tenor). It was originally recorded in Berlin-Marienfelde February 1930 by Tri-Ergon (matrix number 03245). (collection: Desiree Muis)
During the 1930s (flexible) advertisement records were an upcoming medium for promotion. In the US flexible records like Flexo and Durium were promoting products with its flexible "plastic" or carboard records - in Europe Dubrico, Sound Distributor
did the same on a cardboard base - another firm was Illustra, which had an office in Amsterdam.
This proof was used for another Illustra record for Gitanes cigarettes. (collection Desiree Muis)
The Illustra Record Trading Co. N.V. ( in Holland it was known as Illustra Handel Maatschappij N.V. ) released numerous colourfull advertisement records like the ones on this page.
Illustration for an Illustra record entitled Bombes sur Monte Casrlo ( L' amour des marins). (ca. 1931) (collection: Desiree Muis)
One of the most well known Illustra record must have been the Louis Davids Wat een meisje weten moet. The Dutch compilation album Wat een meisje weten moet - Reclame Klassieken, released by the Theater Instituut Nederland and De Weergever, both in Amsterdam, has this record reissued, like as great collection of pre-war (Dutch) advertisement and promo records. The prints Desiree sent me seem to be proofs for some other Illustra recordings.
Proof for the Go Home and Tell Your Mother 78rpm for Citroën ( ca. 1931) (Collection: Desiree Muis)
The Flexible Record blog has published a previous contribution about this label, entitled
Illustra Citroën Picture disc and gives all information I could find. Desiree told me: Het zijn ronde tekeningen, dubbelzijdig, doorsnede 23cm. (= It are round drawings, printed double-sided, with a cross-section of 23 cm. ). One of the pictures has the sentence: specimen non-destine a la vente ( = Not for sale), which seems to prove once more that this are proofs, not for publication, although it is possible that this sentence was used on the original record too, as it was free distributed. Well - a lot of questions about this rare stuff - hope you can help us to find the truth:

Where this proofs for Illustra records? Or is this spoilage? Maybe Desiree can tell us if the two drawings on both sides are printed exact on the same place - if not, it could have been spoilage and thrown away before the actually process of pressing the groove had taken place.
What is the actual cross-section for the original Illustra Flexible gramophone record? Do have the drawings the same size?
It seems that the crosses around the picture has to do with the print-proof. Is that correct?

Are these proofs rare? Did someone ever seen this kind of stuff?
Thanks Desirée for sharing these photos with us.

Deze blog is ook in het Nederlands verschenen op de Keep Swinging blog als: Illustra-tekeningen: misdruk of drukproef?

Hans Koert