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ARSCLIST  July 2006

ARSCLIST July 2006

Subject:

Re: Mercury co-founder Irving Green passes

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 7 Jul 2006 14:43:13 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (81 lines)

Hi Roger:

The original Mercury classical stuff was indeed reissues of stuff licensed from Europe. Some of it 
was made pre or during WWII, some in the post-war years. A few titles were significant. John Hammond 
and David Hall were the ones who dug up and licensed that material and my father, then at Reeves 
Studios, mastered it and cleaned up the sound as best as possible (some of it was awful, some not so 
bad). This was in the transition period between 78's and LP. I doubt any of this stuff will ever be 
reissued.

My mother was hired in 1950, specifically to create a real classical division. Her first decision 
was to stop the reissues of old European recordings. Next was to sign American orchestras, and 
Chicago was the first. My father and David Hall headed out there in April 1951 and came back with 
"Pictures", which was a big hit and from which the NY Times critic coined the phrase "in the living 
presence of the orchestra," which was eventually used as the classical series' name (the original 
name was Olympian Series).

There are two good historical sources about the Mercury classical records:

1. The book/CD set "You Are There!" which came out about mid-way thru the CD reissues. Check eBay, 
they're all over the place selling for cheap. It was mis-marketed in the US, so many unopened copies 
ended up in eBay stores. Fair price is about $10 with Media Mail postage, maybe a little more these 
days.

2. More detailed and complete is Michael Gray's series of articles for The Absolute Sound, "The 
Winged Champion," done in the early 1990's. Mike got 95+% of the facts right -- way better than 
other journalists -- and the articles were well written, plus he got access to a large pile of 
candid photos. I like the flow and organization of those articles, too. By the way, I think Mike 
also had published a similar history of RCA's classical efforts. TAS had some really good stuff in 
its pages back in the day.

I don't know of any good sources for an accurate history of the Mercury jazz, pop, country, blues 
and other records. That's too bad. Rupli's discography is full of errors and omissions, but it's the 
best source there is as far as I know. The actual LP sleeves contain quite a bit of info, at least 
until the mid-60's. I wish the lady who wrote the good, readable history of Chess would do one about 
Mercury. Unfortunately, just about everyone involved is now dead or very old.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Roger and Allison Kulp" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, July 07, 2006 1:09 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Mercury co-founder Irving Green passes


> Don Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:      > 7. Philips reissued some Mercury Living Presence 
> titles in the
>> ill-fated Golden Imports series. In the early CD era, some titles were
>> issued under the Philips label as part of compilations. The Mercury
>> Living Presence imprint was revived when my mother did the CD reissues
>> in the 1990's. For all the changing of hands since she had retired in
>> 1964, many tapes were still around and many were in good shape. Where
>> they weren't, effective remedies could be taken with the titles that
>> were issued over that period (100+ CD's).
>
> I bought them all, on the assumption that a complete release was not
> likely to happen again.
>
> Not all the LP material was released on CD, however. I have a Brahms
> Horn Trio, for instance, on LP only. Regards
> -- 
> Don Cox
> [log in to unmask]
>
>  There was also the pre-Living Presence "Mercury Classics" series.(I believe I own most of 
> these,as well as the first press MG 50000 "Pictures",on this label.)Some of these are original 
> recordings,produced by Tom's dad C.Robert Fine.Some were Supraphon/CCCP liscences,and some were of 
> German origin,the original source of which,I wasn't able to determine.(Help please,Tom.)Most of 
> the Mercury-sourced recordings,from this period,have yet to be reissued,as far as I know.The post 
> NY Dolls Mercury label,was quite active during the new wave era,especially in the UK,giving the 
> world such now beloved bands as The Polecats,(In case you have never heard them,go watch the 
> videos at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA4foTap-WQ&search=polecats  and 
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OG1stB4f7VA&search=polecats ,and The Teardrop Explodes 
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcbJeT2tIDI&search=%20teardrop%20explodes.
>  Roger Kulp
>
>
>
> ---------------------------------
> Sneak preview the  all-new Yahoo.com. It's not radically different. Just radically better. 

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