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ARSCLIST  January 2012

ARSCLIST January 2012

Subject:

Re: Westminster record label

From:

David Lewis <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Wed, 18 Jan 2012 10:09:19 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (148 lines)

Tom, It was founded as the Am-Par Record Corp. in 1955. ABC-Paramount was
the flagship, but Am-Par itself was a massive distributorship with dozens
of labels and or interests; they did some recording of production music as
well. Anyone who worked there that I've known referred to it as "Am-Par"
rather than ABC-Paramount, and not as a nickname, but because it was the
actual name of the company. They had only the slightest connection to the
parents indicated in the label, and after 1965, when they dropped
"Paramount" and became ABC Records, none at all. They did start a short
lived Paramount label in the 70s that represented the interests of the
movie studio, and the "Paper Moon" soundtrack was released on that label.

ABC sank owing to the high cost of some company parties attendant to new
releases -- a tab of $24K, in one instance -- and owing to 1970s return
policies that were counterproductive. If you thought you had a hit, then
you might just ship 40K copies of it out to the stores right off the bat.
If it stiffed, you got those 40K copies back and huge losses on the bottom
line. ABC Records had Three Dog Night and Steely Dan, so they could figure
on some hits, but enough of their albums ultimately crashed to bring down
the company.

Steely Dan's contract moved from ABC to MCA just prior to the recording of
"Gaucho." Right off the bat, an MCA engineer accidentally erased the
multi-track of a piece that was designed to open the new album, and Steely
Dan felt that they could not recreate it. In other words, Steely Dan and
MCA got off to a "swimming start" in their relationship, and as a result
the album took nearly two years to make, in sessions so contentious that
Becker and Fagan/Steely Dan were essentially broken up at the end of it.
That's not to say that things were perfect at ABC; there is one ABC album
they can't listen to because the engineers there unwittingly added line
noise to the whole album! But nothing that happened at ABC managed to kill
the band.

I well remember when ABC cracked up. One of the last new Westminster Gold
LPs I bought was a 2-disc set of Rimsky-Korsakov's opera "Le Coq d'or" with
the fourth side devoted to excerpts from "The Invisible City of Kitzeh,"
which is about as jaw dropping a masterwork as one is as likely to find in
the annals of unknown opera. It came in a box so shabby that it
disintegrated within a year of my buying it, and set me back (as a cut out)
about 49 cents. Sealed stock on orange and black Westminster "Collector's
Series" reissues from the 60s continued to be available for at least 4-5
years afterward. The story of Am-Par/ABC Records is one that seriously
deserves to be told.

David "Uncle Dave" Lewis
Lebanon, OH



On Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 9:30 AM, Carl Pultz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Are these the el-cheapo Double Decker CDs? I have the Rodzinski Nutcracker
> on one of those - fantastic! - coupled with Abravanel's Swan Lake excerpts.
> And some Scherchen Beethoven symphonies, also in very good sound. Didn't
> realize what a fine pedigree these packages had or I'd have bought more of
> them, like the Kna Wagner excerpts.
>
> Somehow I never encountered any of the Westminster product in its original
> form in decent shape until last summer, when I found the Knappertsbusch
> Fidelio in a junkshop for $3-mint. It has Westminster ABC-Paramount logos
> on
> the sleeve and Westminster on the LPs. The pressings look like 1960s
> production rather than 1950s, so maybe still not the earliest? Mastering is
> credited to Claude Rie and there is a script R inscribed in the runout.
> WMS-1003. I'll have to wash it up and see how it plays....
>
> Carl
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Clark Johnsen
> Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 12:27 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Westminster record label
>
> I'll confirm that report. In addition I have some similarly-liveried
> Barylli Quartet, Vienna Konzerthaus Quartet etc. Westminster CDs. And they
> sound quite good, by the way, once the CD problem is overcome.
>
> clark
>
> On Tue, Jan 17, 2012 at 8:03 PM, [Richard A Kaplan]
> <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>
> > Some late Westminster recordings were issued on CD by "MCA Classics":
> e.g.,
> >  Monteux's recordings of the Beethoven 9th and Berlioz's Romeo and
> Juliet.
> > So,  the acquisition of Westminster's catalogue by MCA makes sense.
> >
> > Rich
> >
> >
> > In a message dated 1/17/2012 6:49:31 P.M. Central Standard Time,
> > [log in to unmask] writes:
> >
> > I do not  recall Westminster being connected to MCA/Decca in any way, but
> > it
> > has been  a long time.....
> >
> > Your search for sound & video ends here!
> > Jay  Sonin, General Manager
> > Music Hunter Distributing Company
> > 4880 North  Citation Drive, Suite # 101
> > Delray Beach, Florida  33445-6552
> > [log in to unmask]
> > 561-450-7152
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Association for Recorded Sound  Discussion List
> > [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Steven  Smolian
> > Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 7:05 PM
> > To:  [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Westminster record  label
> >
> >
> > The MCA Westminster was, as I recall, issued on U.S.  Decca.
> >
> > Steve Smolian
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From:  Association for Recorded Sound Discussion  List
> > [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Thomas Stern
> > Sent:  Tuesday, January 17, 2012 6:08 PM
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject:  [ARSCLIST] Westminster record label
> >
> > I recently saw two  "Westminster" releases in series I have not seen
> before
> > (or don't  remember).
> > Can anyone provide some background on them, when they  were active, how
> > extensive was the catalog, new recordings or reissues,  etc.
> > The labels are WESTMINSTER ABC, and MCA WESTMINSTER.
> > I am aware of the two-tone orange cover series - these are NOT  that
> > series.
> >
> > The Westminster ABC release appears to have been  available in mono and
> > stereo, carries catalog numbers XWN/WST 17135 Norman  Treigle - arias,
> > recorded June 1967.
> >
> > The MCA Westminster release MCA  1401  Walton: Facade, Gingold, Oberlin.
> > Copyright  1980.
> >
> > Thanks!
> > Best wishes,  Thomas.
> >
>

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