From: "Don Tait ([log in to unmask])" <[log in to unmask]>
> Mike Biel is correct about Club 99 records. The LPs were reissues of
> long-unavailable, more often than not scarce, vocal 78s.
Thank you, Don, for confirmation of what I knew Club 99 to be, and for
the great backstory of the label.
It is important to remember that what Jay Sonin sold at The Record
Hunter were NOT BOOTLEGS. These are 100% different from the classical
and opera live performance bootlegs sold a few blocks away by William
Lerner at the Music Masters Record Shop. We had a wonderful roundtable
discussion presentation in April at the NY branch of ARSC about the
activities of this store, how he got the recordings he sold, the
performers who came to him to get recordings of their performances, and
the several performers who didn't appreciate his efforts. I don't
remember ever seeing recordings of this type at The Record Hunter. Jay,
by selling Club 99, you were not a bootlegger. A pirate, yes, but not a
bootlegger. There is a big difference.
Mike Biel [log in to unmask]
> I met the woman
"behind" the label, Ellen Lebow, several times. Ben Roth, who posts here
occasionally, worked for her on the production of the LPs. I met him at
outside New York City during visits in the 1970s with my late friend
As I recall, Club 99 was begun by Mrs. Lebow's husband Bernard. She
maintained it after his untimely death. He and their friends were keen
collectors of vocal records. They had sizable collections of
little-known discs and drew upon them to plan LP reissues. They planned
the knowledge of advanced collectors and made every effort to make the
best-sounding transfers they could. They definitely produced
transfers than the sometimes execrable ones on such labels as the
picturesquely-named TAP ("Top Artists Platters"). That might have been
Edward J. Smith production. (Was it?)
Bernard Lebow had been involved with Period Records in the early- to
mid-1950s. He produced, and might have also narrated, a series of LPs
various composers. I seem to recall Mrs. Lebow saying that in part or
Club 99 was a project to give them some income, because during the
witchhunts of the fifties Bernard Lebow's political views were
liberal and he was blackballed from Period and the corporate record
Another LP label of approximately the late '50s to the '80s that did
good work in reissuing long-unavailable, and desirable, 78s was Rococo.
a production of Ross, Court and Co., record dealers in Toronto. Transfer
quality levels were usually high and the notes and pressings were
On 5/31/12 3:43 PM, Music Hunter wrote:
> This thread reminds me of my old retail chain in NYC, The Record Hunter.
> In those days, the pirates offered their bootleg recordings to us as "
> private label recordings " 1st on LP& then in the '80's on CD. Some of them
> even sold through supposedly legitimate distributors.
> One of these labels, that did fairly well " CLUB 99 " was sold through
> German News on 86 Street.
Club 99 weren't bootlegs. They were pirate reissues of released
1) Bootlegs are ONLY releases of recordings that were not authorized for
release, such as outtakes and concert recordings.
2) Pirates are unauthorized releases of previously released recordings.
3) Counterfeits are meant to be exact copies of previously released
recordings, made so the customers do not know they do not have the
> Boris Rose was his own salesman, lol. Jay Sonin, General Manager
The movie soundtracks he did are also really pirates unless there are
some unused tracks, and then they are bootlegs. Collectors often
confused all of these and called all three types "boots" or "bootlegs".
But the terms have these specific meanings when we get into lawsuits.
Mike Biel [log in to unmask]