Crown *was* a subsidiary of Modern/RPM and likewise owned by the Bihari
Bros. I recently did a research project on Cricket, which was an early
children's subsidiary of Pickwick in Long Island City. Initially Pickwick's
only product was Cricket. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cricket_Records
All of the earliest Cricket Records were sourced from Eli Oberstein. When
Pickwick finally got their own studio together, they began recording on
their own, but continued to license from elsewhere. About 1968, the value
of the licenses outstripped anything they could do on their own, so they
stopped recording and simply reissued material from other labels, primarily
RCA Victor and Capitol.
Crown had the exact opposite business model. Through Modern/RPM the Bihari
Bros. already had a catalog to work with, and the effect of having a cheap
subsidiary was that their products gained greater traction in the
marketplace. I think this still holds today; when B.B. King's first album,
"Singing the Blues," was reissued on CD, the art on the CD followed that of
the Crown issue, not that on RPM where it originally appeared. This also
leads me to believe that there is some vestige of the Bihari Bros. vault
somewhere. When I visited what had been the old Crown office it had been
completely remodeled, and the staff there -- it is a US division of Panart
-- was aware of what had been there through 1972 and was proud of that
heritage. But they acknowledged that the building had been cleared and
there was no retention of materials from the older inhabitants. So for the
answers to be known the descendants of the Bihari Bros. would need to be
sought out and any extant session sheets reviewed. Cary, are you listening?
"Jazz Surprise" and "Jazz Masquerade" were both Crown reissues of titles
that had appeared initially on RPM. "Jazz Masquerade" actually has a cover
shot which shows the musicians in the studio, but they are all wearing
They still did license things, particularly their classical releases. But,
unlike Pickwick, it was easier to for Crown to record their own material
than to pull it in from outside.
Dave "the thrift store record king" Lewis
On Mon, Apr 23, 2012 at 9:07 AM, Roger Kulp <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Much the same vein as the earlier Crown "Jazz Surprise".Possibly
> Modern/RPM sourced.like many budget records,no one knows the source.
> Here is some discussion from around the web about it
> From: Peter Hirsch <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2012 5:42 PM
> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Discographical questions
> I have some items in hand with murky discographic trails that I am
> hoping to unscramble, if possible.
> Item number one: and LP Crown Records CLP 5212 "Modern Jazz Greats"
> with "The Continental Jazz Octette"
> I am assuming that this is a west coast group of players, given the
> presence of Shorty Rogers "Popo", Gerry Mulligan's "Soft Shoe" and
> Chet Baker's "Freeway" plus they sound like it. There are no personnel
> or venues on the jacket. The back is, in fact, a list of all the Crown
> releases, with no notes at all; the sort of thing you used to find at
> the supermarket or discount store. Crown's address, 1435 S. La Cienega
> Blvd., LA, is at the bottom, which further adds to my conviction of
> it's location of origin. I checked my CD-ROM (a very old version -
> 3.3) of Lord and it is there, but with no more info and I can find no
> other release of these same tunes together, so it may be an original
> recording and it is not all that bad. I'd be curious to know if anyone
> has deeper knowledge of who is concealed behind "The Continental Jazz
> Second on my list is a CD on the Regis/Forum label (FRC 6108), "Kenton
> Classics". Each tune is identified as to what year it came out and any
> solo singer is also noted, but no more than that. The recordings span
> 1943-51. I would like to link the tracks to specific dates and
> Thirdly is another CD with similar problems, Past Perfect 204354-203 -
> "Claude Thornhill - Snowfall". Tunes and vocalists are listed and
> there is a notation "No detailed informations available" at the end of
> the track list on this Japanese production. All of the tunes were
> recorded multiple times by Thornhill and with the same vocalists. I
> don't find mention of either this or the previous CD in my copy of
> Lord, though it may have made it into more recent releases. Help.
> I realize that I am probably staring into a black hole, but you never know.
> Peter Hirsch