Regarding Roger's request: not to pre-empt Dave Lewis, but here is the entry for Rainbow records from "The American Record Label Book From the 19th Century Through 1942" (Brian Rust, Arlington House, 1978):
"This semi-private record bears the obvious label design: a rainbow on in full natural colour on a greyish-blue background. All printing was in black or dark blue. The recording was apparently done by Gennett, or independently. The power behind the label was gospel singer and trombonist Homer Rodeheaver, who also recorded for Victor and indeed for most of the labels extant in New York during the 1920s. Rainbow records are apparently all acoustically recorded. As far as is known, they consist entirely of gospel songs, hymns and popular sacred music."
There might be more information on-line. I haven't looked.
From: Roger Kulp <[log in to unmask]>
To: ARSCLIST <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tue, Oct 16, 2012 1:56 am
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Early electrical disk recording
Could you tell me more about this label? The only Rainbow label I know is the
one from the 40s and 50s.
From: David Lewis <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sunday, October 14, 2012 8:13 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Early electrical disk recording
I've just examined the first copy I've seen of Rainbow 1028, "The Man of
Galilee" and "Christ Returneth" by tenor Loren Jones. It is a Marsh
electrical, and while Rainbow 1026, also by Jones, was not listed in
Rodeheaver's 1921 catalog, this one was. It must have been recorded very
close to the printing of the catalog, which would place it pretty close to
the date of the "Unknown Black Band." Probably both 1026 and 1028 were made
together, and perhaps 1026 was simply left out of Catalogue II by mistake.
Unfortunately, the catalog listing is the only way found so far to date it.
At this point this copy was manufactured, Rodeheaver was stamping out the
centers of his master discs and stamping the issue number in the rim,
obliterating all traces of the matrix. A different pressing may exist
bearing the matrix number.
Why do this? My guess is that Rody was having problems with off-center
records and this may have been a measure to insure proper centering. If so,
this record is nevertheless a little off center.
David N. Lewis
On Sat, Oct 13, 2012 at 3:26 PM, David Lewis <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Dennis and Donald,
> Thank you for the reference on the Brunswick Light Ray system; I will look
> that up.
> About Tri-Ergon, the diagrams on the Swedish site is impressive. While it
> is similar to DeForest PhonoFilm, their microphone design seems more modern
> than his and I find it significant that it had no moving parts,
> which of course became a standard feature on microphones afterward.
> However, I also note that in the photos of the early Tri-Ergon cameras that
> the mike is fixed to the body of the camera which limits it's reach and
> mobility and potentially exposes it to the noise of the camera itself.
> From what I understand about Tri-Ergon, despite these photographs, they
> did very little in terms of direct sound before 1925, mostly adding music
> scores to essentially silent films. There had been pictures with roughly
> synchronized recorded tracks in Europe for about 15 years already, and
> perhaps they were merely following established trends. Apparently their
> record label only lasted from 1928 to 1932, and it is unclear as to whether
> they used the film-on-sound system to record the tracks used on the issued
> records, or if these were just regular studio recordings. Perhaps if Rainer
> Lotz is reading this thread he may be able to illuminate us in this regard.
> The handful of Tri-Ergon synchronized films I have seen, all made around
> 1930, are extremely primitive. For example, "Prix de Beauté" is still
> practically a silent movie, with a French actress dubbing the voice
> of Louise Brooks very, very poorly.
> Uncle Dave Lewis
> Lebanon, a.k.a. "Boehnerland," OH
> On Sat, Oct 13, 2012 at 2:57 PM, Donald Tait <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>> The Phonograph Monthly Review article about Brunswick's Light-Ray
>> system is in the first issue of the magazine, October 1926, pp. 19-21. By
>> Oliver C. Nelson. It explains the system in some detail and includes
>> diagrams about how it worked.
>> Don Tait
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Dennis Rooney <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: ARSCLIST <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Fri, Oct 12, 2012 3:09 pm
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Early electrical disk recording
>> Dear Dave,
>> It has been more than fifty years since I last looked at some issues, but
>> seem to recall an article on the Light Ray process in THE PHONOGRAPH
>> MONTHLY REVIEW sometime in 1927. I don't know how accessible they are. The
>> Philadelphia Free Library has a set (1926-32).
>> On Tue, Oct 9, 2012 at 9:42 AM, David Lewis <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> > Dr. B wrote:
>> > In late 1922
>> > Hewitt had a visit from Charles Hoxie who was doing sound-on-film
>> > recording for GE and WGY, and loaned Hewitt some of the equipment.
>> > Parts of this system was later the basis of the Brunswick Light Ray
>> > Recording process which is not such a mystery as Dave Lewis seems to
>> > think!
>> > >>>
>> > Well, good. Perhaps you can point me to a study on the light ray
>> > technology. I'm interested in it, but never encountered much on it save
>> > record collector's scuttlebutt.
>> > As usual, there is no mention of Orlando Marsh in this thread. And to my
>> > knowledge Autograph did not issue anything before 1924, though
>> > I've never encountered a formal, or even informal, listing of their
>> > releases. Nevertheless, Rainbow 1026, "Oh My Soul Bless Thou Jehovah"
>> > and "Tis the Precious Name of Jesus" by tenor Loren Jones appears to be
>> > Marsh electrical. It is difficult to date precisely, and the copy I
>> > have seen comes from a period whereby Homer was stamping out the
>> centers of
>> > his master discs and replacing them for some reason, so
>> > that the mx. number is lost. But it was available by his third catalog,
>> > published in October 1922. And typically there is no mention on the disc
>> > that it is electrical; Rainbow was well past the number 1026 at that
>> > and it appears this disc was used to fill in for an intended issue that
>> > didn't come about for some reason.
>> > Although it wasn't issued at the time, one very early Marsh disc that
>> > survives is the "Unknown Black Band" performing "Muscle Shoals Blues"
>> > from late 1921; it is Marsh mx. "19" and I don't know of an earlier one
>> > than that.
>> > https://www.box.com/s/dam8frmr96o04pmhsn5h
>> > The band is officially "unknown," but unofficially believed to be Tim
>> > Brymn's Black Devil Orchestra. On their arrival in Chicago from the
>> > European
>> > theater the Brymn unit, which was still military at that time, set up
>> at a
>> > local Armory and played music in addition to conducting military drills.
>> > Some
>> > of the drills were filmed by Oscar Micheaux and shown as part
>> > of a newsreel exhibited along with one of his features though -- like so
>> > many of his
>> > films -- it no longer is known to survive, and we don't even know what
>> > title of that may have been.
>> > I think one of the reasons Orlando Marsh seems to get so little love is
>> > that his electricals don't sound like electricals; they sound like
>> > somewhat louder
>> > acousticals with extra distortion added. Note the blasting on the drums
>> > here, which would likely have precluded its release if Marsh had any
>> way to
>> > issue his records in 1921. While I will certainly not argue against the
>> > "Tomb of the Unknown Soldier" as the first issued electrical, and this
>> > track was not
>> > issued until the 2000s, I would humbly suggest that this might be the
>> > earliest surviving electrical recording of music.
>> > I also used to have a cardboard flexi from Canada which contained choral
>> > music, recorded electrically in 1924. I don't remember the details on
>> > but they
>> > claimed it was the first electrical recording; it is certainly still
>> > early.
>> > Uncle Dave Lewis
>> > Lebanon, OH
>> Dennis D. Rooney
>> 303 W. 66th Street, 9HE
>> New York, NY 10023