Dance Band Encyclopaedia
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These pages are just
notes about the labels which may be found on 78s. Click on the label to see a larger image.
Many labels have more pictures, information and sometimes listings which may be
found by clicking on the link. I have included labels from all
periods, not just the 1920s and 1930s, just because I find them all interesting!
All label scans are from my own collection unless otherwise noted. Information about the labels is from various sources, including my own researching, but Brian Rust's "The American Record Label Book" was very useful as was Don Taylor's "The English 78 Picture Book" and various articles by Frank Andrews and Arthur Badrock in "Hillandale News" and "The Talking Machine Review".
In order to make the pages more managable (and quicker to load), I have split this section into alphabetical parts. Click on the appropriate letter below to see the section you want.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Non UK Labels
Aco was a product of the Aeolian Company Ltd on Aeolian Hall, Bond Street, London. It was aimed at the popular cheaper record buying market and was available from November 1922 until August 1927. The catalogue for 10" records was from G-15001 up to G-16230. The label design changed little over the five years except to become larger in about 1925.
Most British dance band items were by studio bands except for the many ones by Leslie Jeffries Rialto Orchestra, which may have included additional players anyway. The British matrices were in a C-5000 series running up past C-8000 by mid 1926 when electrical recording were introduced
The electrical sides started at C-1-E, running up to just over C-400-E by the last Acos. American recordings initially were from Gennett, changing to Vocalion (with some from Emerson) soon after until 1926, when Gennett took over again. The American matrix numbers are generally expunged from the wax, but are usually shown correctly on the label.
The label is not common; the same recordings are more likely to turn up on Coliseum, Guardsman, or Beltona, but there is quite a lot to interest the Jazz collector, with the Original Memphis Five (see first label above) and Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra, with Louis Armstrong amongst the artists. Most American matrices are issued under pseudonyms.
Click here to see a listing of this label in PDF format based on Arthur Badrock's research. (About 1MB download file)
Actuelle was a product of Pathe Freres and was Pathe's "needle-cut" disc (i.e. lateral cut grooves) as opposed to vertical cut or "hill and dale" as it is now often referred to.
Actuelles appeared in Britain in September 1921 and lasted until December 1928. The records used English, French and American Pathe masters throughout. Initially, these were dubbed from a master cylinder recording, generating quite considerable "cylinder rumble" on some records. The surfaces of the records were always very smooth, though.
The English masters were in a 78000-79000 and 90000 series, the American ones ran from 68000 to 70000, then restarted at 105000, reaching somewhere in the 108000 range. French matrices were in a 5000-6000 block. Electrical recording came quite late; only one or two English matrices on Actuelle are electric; the American masters went electric at about 107100, though some early electrics have matrices in an E-2000 range.
All English dance records are by studio bands led by Wag Abbey, though the electrics are actually French bands (despite having English matrix numbers); American ones include the usual Sam Lanin, Lou Gold, Ben Selvin etc. There was quite a lot of interesting Jazz issued, such as The Red Heads and The Original Memphis Five.
Columbia bought the English branch of Pathe in December 1928; it is conceivable there may be some late Actuelles pressed by Columbia using their superior laminated technique. Certainly some of the last "Perfect" records (q.v.) may be found with fine laminated surfaces.
This extremely rare British label is also one I know little about, other than it is from the Vocalion stable like Beltona, Guardsman, etc. It may have been produced for export only, judging by the rarity.
Label scan kindly supplied by Richard Johnson, from an original record belonging to Steve Paget.
Please e-mail me with details of ANY of these records. Here are the few I know of.
An extremely rare label, Aerial was a so-called unbreakable record manufactured by Duophone and using the same masters and pseudonyms as the Duophone M- series. Only a few have turned up and so the extent of the label's catalogue is so far unknown, as is the "reason" for the label, i.e. who was the label produced for.
Thanks to discographer and collector Mike Langridge, who recently found a batch of these records, I can list the known extent of the catalogue (below). If you can add to this list, do please e-mail me the details.
Note: The first side above (Sweet Thing) is actually by Stan Greening's studio dance band. Also note that the spelling of "Ariel" in the band name doesn't match that of the record label!
A 7" disc manufactured by Crystalate in England for export to Australia for Salkfeld & Walllace Ltd of 119, Clarence Street, Sydney. They were available from 1926 to about 1928, and used mainly (if not completely) English masters recorded in London.
My thanks to Derek Kell for the label scan. Click here for a listing of this label
A British Educational record, of which I have no information.
A rare German-produced label dating from Pre-WWI. Catalogue numbers were in a 5000-series.
Please e-mail me with details of ANY of these records. Thanks to Bill Dean-Myatt for the label scan.
Click here for my pathetic listing!
It is not even certain that these records ever appeared. The Ajax Record Manufacturing Co Ltd of 54, Red Cross Street, London were incorporated on May 11th, 1914 and they announced their records would be on sale in July 1914. It is possible that there was a delay and that the outbreak of WWI in August prevented any records being produced, as it is likely the masters and possibly the records themselves would have come from Germany.
Please e-mail me with details of ANY of these records. Also a label scan would be welcome.
A fairly scarce pre-first world war "British" label actually produced by the German Beka organisation from 1912, although the label state "Manufactured in England". Some may be found as label paste-over on John Bull records. As you'd expect, there's no Dance Band material as the label pre-dates that style of music, though some Ragtime music may be found. The catalogue numbers were in a 1000 series. Click here for a partial listing.
A very scarce label from pre-WWI. This one actually states "Made in Germany" though the labelling is all in English. It is thought to have been produced for the Alexander Record Company of Birmingham, Chester, Coventry & Manchester.
The catalogue series are the same as the Beka discs from whence the masters are all derived. They started at 1 or 100; the highest known being 478, the Beka issue of which was issued in late 1911.
Click here for my initial listing of this label. Please e-mail me with any extra information.
A German import from 1912-1914, the original records were called "Anker" in Germany but imported to England by the Anchor Gramophone Co of 14-16 Scrutton Street, London.
Please e-mail me with details of ANY of these records. Also a label scan would be welcome
Another German import from 1912-1914, Having not seen an example of the label above, I don't know if these two are actually the same!?
Please e-mail me with details of ANY of these records. Thanks to Bill Dean-Myatt for the label scan
A rare pre-WWI label, produced for Craies & Stavridi of 101, Bunhill Row, London.
Click here for my initial listing.
Grand Record (to give it the correct title) was produced for Messrs J.
G. Graves of Sheffield, England, who sold them on a mail order basis.
In the later 1920s, was a 1000 series,
again from Zonophone issued sides by the various Bert Firman groups (see
The label design changed little over
the years as can be seen by the pictures here.
Finally, the Ariel Concert is a 12" issue. Thanks to Bill Dean-Myatt for the scan.
An early British label pressed by the Carl Lindstrom group using Beka masters (often of an earlier vintage), Arrow existed from 1913 up to about 1916.
The catalogue series was numbered A1 upwards to about A224. The label was either Red or Yellow. It seems that the Red labelled ones are made in Germany, while the Yellow are of British manufacture.
Click here for a partial listing of this label
Not to be confused with the rare American 1920s label, Autograph records in Britain date from pre-WWI. Comedian Billy Whitlock was involved in the venture which seems to have been very short-lived. All those seen are by Billy Whitlock and were sold through W. H. Reynolds Ltd. They were not original recordings, but from various sources, for which Whitlock must have retained some sort of mechanical rights. It is believed there were 36 different records sold. The label shows Billy Whitlock's autograph and the masters came from Beka, Dacapo, Favorite & Polyphon.
Please e-mail me with details of ANY of these records. Also a label scan.