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ARSCLIST  January 2010

ARSCLIST January 2010

Subject:

Re: Label picture catalog?

From:

Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Tue, 19 Jan 2010 23:16:38 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (83 lines)

From: "Steven Smolian" <[log in to unmask]>
> Records with their labels are artifacts of a business and are best 
> understood in that context. Pictures of them make the most sense when 
> inserted into a detailed history of the company that produced them. 
> Annotations should include why a change was made from the previous 
> version- expiring or new patents, price change, tax issue, image change, 
> etc.

First things first, Steve.  Let's get the label pictures first, and not
scare off contributors.  Some of these variations are noticed only when
each of the variations are laid out next to each other and not tucked
away on the shelves.  How many detailed analysis have you seen with this
info you feel is necessary?  The Victor and Columbia books only get
slightly into this, but there is a good webpage giving very early
Gramophone Co. info. The Label Circle books at BMG which I have xeroxes
of about half of, give some info that is not found anywhere else
concerning the design numbers assigned to them, the exact dates the
labels were introduced, withdrawn, the reasons including legal advice,
and the dates the printing plates were destroyed.  I've disclosed some
of this info occasionally on the 78-L.  But outside of going thru the
legal files of the record companies, this info is usually only
conjectured from external evidence such as when the labels were first
seen, etc.  Very, very few researchers are able to get into the things
you are asking for, but some of this stuff is self-evident once the
label pictures are laid out next to each other.  But written analysis,
especially when done by conjecture of the external evidence is like
beating you over the head with the obvious.  Viewers can SEE the
differences!

>> A great many labels were designed to harmonize with their paper sleeve 
>> design and often fit into a larger advertising and marketing strategy.

From: "Steven C. Barr" <[log in to unmask]>
> Are we still strictly discussing microgroove labels here? Obviously,
> 78 sleeves tended MUCH more toward the generic (there were a VERY
> few 78 picture sleeves in the fifties). 

My proposed ARSC presentation on album covers will touch a little on
sleeves (because the books claim that before Steinweiss, records were
packaged in plain brown sleeves) but collectors usually have the
RECORDS, and want to see the record labels.  How the sleeves harmonize
is a nifty side story, mostly important when the patent info is taken
off of the labels and put onto the sleeves, but in many cases there are
dozens and dozens and dozens of sleeve designs during the life of a
single label design.  As for graphic integration, none is more fantastic
than the final Canadian Columbia 78 label with the walking eye when seen
in its sleeve, but both are rather rare!  I can't think of too many
others where the sleeves are important adjuncts to the labels.

> LP sleeves/jackets offered MUCH more space...and in most cases their
> design was intended to help sell the disc(s) which they contained.

Of course there were Eli O's jackets with the full backs taken up with a
catalog!

> IIRC, the paper "inner sleeves" usually promoted a company's
> other related product...these were often quickly lost or
> discarded by LP buyers...?  Steven C. Barr

And by archives.  And speaking of that, some ARSCers might remember a
tour we took through the old Library of Congress facilities in the 80s
where we came across the de-sleeving/re-sleeving area where there were
MOUNDS and PILES of thousands of great 78 sleeves about to be trashed
but they wouldn't let us take any and they had to drag me and my
camcorder away. But there are sleeve collectors, and there are
occasional mentions of LP inner-sleeves in rock price guides explaining
which sleeve should be expected to be found with which pressings.  To
many of the librarians and archivists on this list, this kind of detail
causes eye-glazing and wondering what the devil this has to do with the
recording on the record.  I find that dismissive attitude rather sad (as
well as annoying).  If you don't find it interesting to note the razor
blade mark and the penned price and month code on the lower right rear
corner on LPs sold by Sam Goody's in the 50s and 60s, then you are
divorced from the record collecting experience.  Of course I have just
spent the day at R&H photographing a hundred or so album covers from the
1930s and not listening to a minute of sound from the records.  But then
again, you spend your days with your card catalogs, computer catalogs,
and metadata, so I guess we're even.  But I got to play with the actual
records.  And I might come back and listen to a few that I have not yet
heard--I already know most of them.

Mike Biel  [log in to unmask]  

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