What you're holding there is pre-history! Is that studio and production information on the cover or
did you find it somewhere? I don't recall my father ever mentioning he got "producer" credits on
anything. It's also fascinating how Mitch Miller's hands turn up in so many late 40's and early 50's
NYC recording projects, for so many different companies. A decade later, even when he was running
Columbia's pop department, Mitch was a regular client at my father's studio making Little Golden
Book records for kids. In fact, the first session in Fine Recording Ballroom Studio A, in August
1958, was Miller doing a Little Golden Books nursery rhymes record. Don't forget Miller was also
pivital on the ground-breaking Charlie Parker "with strings" sessions, also recorded at Reeves. I
think his fame and fortune came mostly from the "Sing Along ..." stuff, though.
Anyway, back in 1947, Mercury was a new company and had only recently begun recording in NY and
making "high-brow" orchestral records. They did a lot of work at Reeves and my father engineered
almost all of it. In 1947, the recording definitely would have been made to grooved-disk. Ampex came
out with the Model 200 in 1948 and I'm not sure that Reeves had tape facilities until 1949.
Interesting to note -- Mercury session books indicate laquer disks were still being cut as "backup
safeties" to tape as late as 1953! If I remember my history correctly, microgroove (LP) cutters
didn't come along until 1949, so this would have been cut wide-groove for 78 RPM original release.
Your LP was most likely a second release dubbed from metal parts of the 78 masters in the early days
of LPs (1949-50 period probably). I'm curious -- how does it sound? I have a very few of those
early, early LPs (so early they aren't made of vinyl) and they don't sound very good to my ears,
more a pre-historic artifact than a pleasant listen. The single mic likely used in 1947 would have
been and RCA ribbon mic (probably a 44) or an Altec 639 ribbon/dynamic combo.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2008 6:56 PM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Early Mercury LP
> I've come upon an early Mercury LP, dark red cover with gold-embossed
> lettering: MG10003, Mitchell Miller with the Saidenberg Little Symphony, Daniel
> Saidenberg conducting works by Cimarosa, Luis Milan and Vaughn Williams. It
> was produced by Robert Fine at the Reeves Beaux Arts Studios in NYC in 1947.
> Notes are by David Hall. The disc is in fine shape and the grooves are
> pristne. Was this album, recorded in 1947, done to be dubbed onto 78s? Or was
> there movement toward releasing the first LPs before 1948? A note says "A
> single microphone was placed approximately 30 feet from the players."
> Don Chichester
> **************************************See AOL's top rated recipes