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ARSCLIST  June 2012

ARSCLIST June 2012

Subject:

Re: Who needs vinyl?

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Tue, 12 Jun 2012 19:04:21 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (199 lines)

Nope, you gotta paste them into yer own text documents, or keep searching the archives.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Clark Johnsen" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 6:28 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Who needs vinyl?


> My gosh I hope there's some mechanism at play (at work?) to compendiumize
> all these great and detailed conversations about recording history on
> ARSClist!
> 
> clark
> 
> On Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 6:03 PM, Dennis M Spragg <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
>> Mike,
>>
>> No.
>>
>> Any discs with BBC labels on them that you would have seen at the Library
>> of Congress Sound Lab in the 1970s were definitely not the OWI "Music From
>> America" programs.
>>
>> The OWI operated ABSIE (The American Broadcasting Station in Europe) in
>> London which was their European Service Headquarters.  During October 1944
>> and November 1944, Major Glenn Miller and the American Band of the AEF (as
>> it was rebranded following transfer to the ETO) recorded at least eight
>> programs for ABSIE in the German language for broadcast over ABSIE.  The
>> programs were used for the ABSIE "Wehrmacht Hour" broadcast and targeted
>> to German service personnel.  They were recorded at Abbey Road Studios
>> using EMI discs and were later fully cataloged in the EMI vaults.  We have
>> copies of the original paperwork and session sheets for the EMI discs that
>> were made.  Most of six programs exist from copies made of the EMI discs
>> and circulated as early as the early 1950s in the United Kingdom.  Alan
>> Mandell (Alan Dell) had obtained one of the (unauthorized) copies and thus
>> the also misleadingly titled "Lost Recordings" issue that was put out
>> first by Conifer and later acquired by BMG.  Again, these issues came from
>> Mandell's copy of the original discs.  At the time of the ABSIE
>> recordings, first-generation disc copies of the 10" EMI masters were flown
>> to the United States for broadcast over the leased OWI transmitters.
>> Those copies were broadcast by the OWI from over here.  Sort of a reverse
>> lend-lease.   These copies remain today in the United States and are
>> superior to what Mandell, et. al. obtained and were later released.  We
>> have the detailed broadcast dates and times in our files.  Again, these
>> are EMI-produced discs.  The orchestra performs as normal with Miller
>> reading from a German-language script and being led by a native German
>> speaking OWI female announcer.  Ballads are performed by Sgt. Johnny
>> Desmond in the German language.
>>
>> Please do not confuse these recordings with the OWI "Music from America"
>> discs which were produced and duplicated by NBC, New York, not the BBC.
>>
>> ABSIE also recorded Bing Crosby, Dinah Shore, Marlene Dietrich, Morton
>> Downey, Fred Astaire, Spike Jones and his City Slickers, M1C Sam Donahue
>> and the US Navy Dance Band, the Washington, DC AAF Band conducted by Capt.
>> George Howard and others for the "Wehrmacht Hour" while they were on tours
>> in the ETO. Dietrich had zero problems of course with the German language
>> introductions.  This appears to have been the source for German service
>> personnel calling Bing "Der Bingle".  There is no known evidence of what
>> they thought of Spike Jones and his City Slickers or if they performed
>> "Der Fuehrer's Face", which most likely they certainly did not.
>>
>> Any discs including Major Miller and his ABAEF before or following his
>> disappearance with a BBC label on them are performances recorded for
>> broadcast by the SHAEF "Allied Expeditionary Forces Programme" (AEFP),
>> which was technically operated for SHAEF as the BBC Violet Network by
>> mostly BBC engineers and originally using one of the BBC Start Point
>> transmitters.  Major Miller insisted on being able to record broadcasts so
>> that he and his men could travel around and perform concerts for air base
>> and other allied personnel.  To this point, BBC were against recorded
>> broadcasts and favored live performances only.  Later, when Miller's
>> orchestra was being transferred to the then-under construction AEFP
>> "Forward" studios in Paris, he was able to lean on EMI for discs to fill a
>> six-week schedule of broadcasts by the full orchestra and its sub-units to
>> fill the gap if transmission lines were not available from France to
>> BBC-London for their regular broadcasts.  Staffing AEFP was the reason
>> that gen. Dwight Eisenhower requested the Miller AAFTC Orchestra from Gen.
>> H. H. Arnold and the Army Air Forces.  The AAF  "loaned" the Miller unit
>> to SHAEF and never gave up formal custody of it.
>>
>> Please do not confuse AEFP/BBC discs with the OWI "Music from America"
>> series and discs, either.
>>
>> AEFP recordings were passed to AFN-London for broadcast over AFN as well.
>> AFRS discs flown to the UK and used by AFN were passed to AEFP for
>> broadcast as well.  The program content of AEFP was supposed to be
>> representative of the percentage of American, British and Canadian forces
>> within SHAEF's command.  AFN relied upon AFRS for programming but
>> pre-dated AFRS and operated as a semi-autonomous organization to the end
>> of the war in Europe and beyond.  Most of the AEFP programming ended up
>> being American and included AFRS transcription discs of the AFRS original
>> productions and off-network programs.  AEFP produced their own programs,
>> including the utilization of three "house" bands, the American Band of the
>> AEF (Miller), The British Band of the AEF (RSM George Melachrino) and the
>> Canadian Band of the AEF (Capt. Bob Farnon).  AEFP hosts and announcers
>> were American, British and Canadian, including mainly female British
>> announcers during breaks and for introductions.  We have an AEFP audience
>> research study from January 1945 which shows that the American forces
>> wanted only American programs but the British and Canadian forces wanted
>> their own programs and American programs.  The British civilian audience,
>> who could received AEFP in and around southeast England and London,
>> particularly younger people, favored AEFP over the BBC which certainly had
>> an affect on the BBC.  The AEFP signal was readily available whereas AFN
>> was restricted to 250 watt transmitters around bases and not generally
>> heard by the British public.
>>
>> As far as union agreements, once program discs got into the field content
>> did indeed overlap.  As I also mentioned, OWI circulated many programs
>> during 1942 and 1943 for the fledgling SSD (Special Services Division) and
>> the AFRS (as rebranded in November 1943).  SSD and then AFRS chief Lt. Co.
>> Thomas H. A. Lewis knew from the get-go in May 1942 that he could not rely
>> on shortwave transmissions and developed the now famous 16 inch
>> transcription disc program of original AFRS content and off-network
>> programs which were distributed worldwide from Los Angeles.  However,
>> until mid-1944 at minimum, programs such as "Uncle Sam Presents" were
>> recorded at NBC, aired by OWI but broadcast to allied service personnel.
>> These discs were passed from OWI to SSD/AFRS where the latter had
>> facilities, such as those commanded by Maj. Andre Baruch in North Africa.
>> There was indeed sharing that occurred in the field and no one ever
>> complained so far as extant documentation demonstrates.
>>
>> As you very correctly point out, the OWI Foreign Division indeed had a
>> distinct and separate mission from the United States Armed Forces radio
>> mission, in short, foreign audiences as opposed to allied, mainly
>> American, military personnel.  Carrying the message of the United States
>> as "the Voice of America" was certainly different from bringing service
>> personnel a touch of home to each and every air base, ship or forward
>> ground unit and everyone in between.  AFRS Los Angeles did not receive
>> copies of the designated OWI recordings made by NBC.  However, overseas
>> stations run by AFRS and AFN personnel definitely did have them passed to
>> them.  The music-only discs were not inappropriate to the military mission
>> and in some cases were used for expediency until the AFRS Basic Music
>> Libraries became widely circulated. Stations all over the planet certainly
>> had to improvise!
>>
>> When Major Miller disappeared December 15, 1944, the pre-recorded ABSIE
>> German language programs along with pre-recorded AEFP ABAEF programs were
>> on the air with Miller's voice included.  This presented a touchy
>> situation for SHAEF and the BBC as the Eighth Air Force went about trying
>> to ascertain what happened to the VIII AF Service Command aircraft that
>> Miller was aboard.  Upon the public announcement that Miller was missing,
>> AEFP edited out his voice as best they could substituting Sgt. Keith
>> Jameson (formerly of WMAL, Washington).  Due to the nature of the
>> programs, ABSIE was not able to fit out Miller's terse and stumbling
>> German language voice overs and did not air programs 7 and 8.  They
>> substituted other pre-recorded items featuring different artists.
>>
>> Therefore, in addition to the series that I detailed in my previous
>> message, please add the following:
>>
>> ABSIE (OWI) "WEHRMACHT HOUR" RECORDING SESSIONS
>> Programs 1-6 (7-8 withheld)
>> OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 1944
>> EMI ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS
>> LONDON, ENGLAND
>>
>> AEFP (BBC VIOLET) - VARIOUS PROGRAM RECORDINGS FOR BROADCAST
>>
>> "THE AMERICAN BAND OF THE AEF" ("MOONLIGHT SERENADE") (full band led by
>> Maj. A. G. Miller)
>> "THE SWING SHIFT" ("AMERICAN DANCE BAND") (no strings led by Sgt. Ray
>> McKinley)
>> "UPTOWN HALL" ("SWING SEXTETTE") (small groups led by Sgt. Mel Powell)
>> "STRINGS WITH WINGS" (strings only led by Sgt. George Ockner)
>> "SONGS BY SGT. JOHNNY DESMOND ("A SOLDIER AND A SONG") (full band or
>> strings with vocals)
>> "PIANO PARADE" (solos by Pvy. Jack Russin)
>>
>> The ABAEF kept a very busy schedule.  Following Miller's disappearance the
>> ABAEF program was conducted by Sgt. Jerry Gray.
>>
>> It would be very helpful to learn what original discs you saw at the
>> Library of Congress Recording Lab in the 1970s.
>>
>> Sincerely,
>>
>> Dennis M. Spragg
>> Glenn Miller Archive
>> University of Colorado Boulder
>>
>>
>> On 6/12/12 4:16 PM, "Gray, Mike" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>> >As I recall, the original discs were recorded by the BBC - and I also
>> >recall seeing the originals in the Library of Congress Recording Lab in
>> >the 1970s. BTW, I very much doubt that the AFRS would have obtained
>> >copies of
>> >the recordings from OWI - for one thing, the each organization's
>> >contracts with unions and performers and other parties defined the rights
>> >and assumed audiences, which did not overlap.
>> >
>> >
>> >Mike Gray
>> >
>>
>

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