It seems like a bunch of different stuff was tried in the early LP days. Then there was some better
order brought to the catalog in the mid-50's when a bunch of both classical and jazz were re-issued
with color-litho-laminated front covers and non-gloss white back covers. These replaced the green
and red "leatherette" sleeves of the first round of LPs in the late 40's. Those sleeves, at least
with the classical records, were an obvious outgrowth of the old multi-record 78 albums. The 78
albums sometimes give more liner notes because at least some of the LPs are the contents of two full
78 albums (for instance, the Shostakovich and Oistrahk from Prague 1946, each of those were
individual 78 albums but each is one side of the MG10000 series LP).
Also, according to John Hammond's autobiography, the Telefunken stuff was not in print on LP from
Mercury very long. There was Mercury's deal with the pre-Communist Czech government (which grabbed
up the Telefunken master disks as war booty). Then, later on, Capitol made a deal with the War
Reparations Board in Germany to license the disks Telefunken had in their possession (copies of the
originals residing in Prague), all of this according to Hammond's book. Lawsuits ensued between
Capitol and Mercury and Mercury lost, although the judge did note the superior sound quality of
Mercury's made-from-masters LPs. Eventually, the Telefunken originals were returned to Germany but I
think by then the US market for this material was pretty much dried up, and I don't think Capitol
ever re-cut any of the material from the master disks.
Finally, the first Mercury LPs were pretty much all cut at Reeves, by my father and/or George Piros.
The later cuts were made at Fine Sound, these were for the new, more colorful covers. Those cuts
have a MF number in the deadwax, signifying they were cut with the Miller-Fine cutter. To my ears,
disk-to-disk cuts were done at both times for the pre-tape-master material; I say this because I
cannot hear the tell-tale signs of a tape-dub master (a little bit of hiss, a little bit of fuzzy
dynamics). BTW, the first-issue cuts of the MG50000, MG40000 and MG80000 were also MF cuts. The
reissue cuts, made in the late 50's, to bring the still-in-print mono catalog into full RIAA
compliance and also to re-number the 40000 and 80000 into non-used 50000 numbers, were made at Fine
Recording and don't carry the MF mark in the deadwax. These are generally quieter pressings but the
MF versions sometimes have faster/sharper/more dramatic dynamics.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "David Lennick" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, August 30, 2008 4:08 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Mercury MG10000 series listing or discography
> Tom Fine wrote:
>> PS -- thanks Dave Lennick. I have no 10000 series albums with lists of other albums on the backs.
>> This must have been a Canadian thing or perhaps an earlier or later versions than I have thing.
> We were buying Mercury LPs from a jobber in the early 50s (at least I'll give him the benefit of
> the doubt..they weren't off the back of a truck, at any rate) and I presume these were the
> earliest Canadian pressings. For some reason while the 78s and 45s were clearly identified as to
> location, the LPs didn't show a Canadian pressing until the Olympians began to appear. As a
> result, we got no liner notes and in a few cases like "Songs of Israel" and "Tenor Jazz", not even
> the slightest indication of who performed what. MG 20016 (Tenor Jazz) lists several more numbers
> on the reverse, such as MG 10012/14/16/38/44/48/35.