Nola Studios -- as I understand the history, Tommy Nola's father started the business, in a part of
Carnegie Hall or in the area. The space was originally a rehearsal studio, used by dance bands and
then swing bands, among others. At some point in the disk-recording era, Nola Sr. put in recording
equipment, and many demos and some commercial recordings were cut there. Tommy Nola built Nola
Penthouse Studio, maybe in that same part of Carnegie Hall. It was definitely in the immediate
Carnegie Hall area, because it was just down the block from Fine Recording (located in the Great
Northern Hotel, down 57th Street from Carnegie Hall). When Fine Recording was under construction, my
father arranged a deal with Tommy Nola where he could run sessions at Nola and feed the audio down
the block to the control room at Fine Recording. I don't know why they didn't just run tape at
Nola -- Bob Eberenz told me it had something to do with union rules -- but in any case, several jazz
albums and many TV commercials were made this way during the several months it took to restore the
Great Northern's Ballroom space and build a recording studio in it. My father built a control
room/mixing/mastering facility in the Great Northern's penthouse floor, and the feed from Nola came
into that space. Tommy Nola ran a successful studio throughout the 60's. A lot of excellent jazz was
recorded there. His space was distinct because there were big gold-colored drapes all around,
probably covering windows and also used to kill off standing waves. The ceilings were high and the
space volume large enough that it provided a very nice sound for small-ensemble jazz groups, but
some larger-group sessions were also held there. Among the albums recorded at Nola were the Jazztet
albums made in NY, plus solo albums by Art Farmer and Benny Golson, also some Roland Kirk albums for
Mercury. Jack Tracy, Mercury's jazz producer in the 60's, liked working at Nola, and used it often.
He'd use Fine Recording, A&R or Capitol NYC for larger-group sessions. I think Nola transitioned his
business more to sound-for-picture and other commerical recordings, as did my father (music albums
didn't pay as well, and ad agencies paid their bills on time as opposed to some record companies).
I don't know when Nola moved into Steinway Hall, which is down near 43rd Street.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "John Haley" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, November 22, 2015 3:42 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Dating a Presto Recording Corp. Transcription Disc Label
> Hi Dave, I know nothing about these records or Nola, but the number
> PL7-0750 looks like a phone number! The "PL" has to be for "Plaza" (as I
> recall, that is "7-5"). In the 1950's, we had the two letters as the first
> two numbers, which were the "exchange," to help us remember the phone
> numbers. The two "artists" probably put their phone number on the label in
> case someone fell in love with their song and wanted to contact them. I
> guess you could always call the number and see who answers ... Or try
> googling it first, preceded by your choice of area codes. But probably
> only if you fell in love with the song ...
> There is an easier way, assuming you wanted to find these guys (I take it
> Steve Lewis is not a cousin of yours). Look in the ASCAP database for that
> song title. It might not be there, but it's an idea.
> On Sun, Nov 22, 2015 at 12:51 AM, David Lewis <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Since we're on the subject, I could use similar help with these two. They
>> arrived as someone used them as packing material for a Homer Rodeheaver
>> record that I ordered. From the sound and style of the 'music' I would
>> place them about 1958, but is there something here that can date them more
>> I had thought that the "1657 Broadway" address given for Nola Recording
>> Studios -- which moved out of the Steinway Bldg. just last year -- might be
>> a clue,
>> but that is still Steinway Hall where it always was. With the other disc,
>> does the number "PL-7-0570" mean anything to anyone?
>> By the way, the designation "BAD" on the Nola disc certainly fits; it's a
>> sentimental 50s pop song, with a piano that does not obey the harmony
>> implied by the
>> melody line and amateurish sax breaks.
>> Dave Lewis
>> On Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 11:30 AM, John Haley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> > That's great, Matthew. That looks like very useful info. Maybe there is
>> > some way Jesse could compare what he has (the sound file) to the
>> > Jackson/Lomax tapes, if they have ever been made available in some
>> > from which he could make a definite conclusion.
>> > Jesse, the paper labels were always glued on, in my experience, and they
>> > often do come off (bits of the one on your disc are still there). I
>> > know if the paper labels had glue already affixed that just needing
>> > wetting, but I have always assumed so. We find acetate discs with many
>> > kinds of paper labels on them, many bearing logos (just look up
>> > "transcription disc" on Ebay), which is what I was referring to. The
>> > Presto logo here is embossed into the blank disc that was used. If what
>> > Matthew is suggesting were correct, the disc copy could have been made at
>> > any point in time after the original recording was made, so dating the
>> > blank itself would not be very useful. If you knew that the disc itself
>> > was a live recording, that would be different, but as Matt suggests, it
>> > be a copy of the original recording.
>> > That is a common disappointment with instantaneous records, when you
>> > you have found something really important, only to discover that what you
>> > have is a copy of a recording that is already "out there" and sometimes
>> > even a commercial recording. You often can't tell that until you have
>> > dubbed the record and compared it. I recently went thru exactly that
>> > exercise myself, finding that the rare looking two-sided acetate was
>> just a
>> > copy of readily available commercial records. But like I always say, if
>> > you don't look, you don't find.
>> > Even if your disc is a copy, that does not mean it is worthless. I have
>> > found an instance where the original source had deteriorated to the
>> > that an old copy of it made way back there was a good thing to have.
>> > Back to your label for a minute, the small clues that can be got from
>> > is left there are two typed word fragments, the first being "dier" and
>> > second being "ulation" or "olation." These match two of the song titles,
>> > "Christian Soldier" and "The Church's Desolation," but I am sure you have
>> > already figured that out, and this doesn't help.
>> > Good luck with this.
>> > Best,
>> > John Haley
>> > On Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 10:50 AM, Barton, Matthew <[log in to unmask]>
>> > > Hello Jesse,
>> > >
>> > > This disc may have been copied from the field recordings of Sacred Harp
>> > > Singers made by George Pullen Jackson and Alan Lomax in the summer of
>> > 1942
>> > > in Birmingham, AL. By this time, the Library of Congress had the means
>> > > make disc copies of original field recordings for artists and the
>> > > Given that this is an aluminum based-disc, the copy may have been made
>> > > after the war, or the Library's sound lab might still have had a supply
>> > of
>> > > aluminum-based lacquers. I checked, and all four of the titles you
>> > provided
>> > > were recorded by Jackson and Lomax in Birmingham. One of them,
>> > > Solider, was recorded twice with different leaders. As you probably
>> > > there was an album release of 18 songs from these sessions, but the
>> > titles
>> > > you provided are not on it.
>> > >
>> > > As you point out, these were popular hymns and all might have been sung
>> > at
>> > > any given Sacred Harp gathering, but I thought I'd put this theory
>> > forward.
>> > >
>> > > I hope this helps.
>> > >
>> > >
>> > > Matthew Barton
>> > > Library of Congress
>> > >
>> > >
>> > > -----Original Message-----
>> > > From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
>> > > [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jesse P. Karlsberg
>> > > Sent: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 10:01 AM
>> > > To: [log in to unmask]
>> > > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Dating a Presto Recording Corp. Transcription
>> > Disc
>> > > Label
>> > >
>> > > Dear Tom, Franz, John, Steve, and others,
>> > >
>> > > Thanks to all for sharing insights and resources in response to my
>> > > question yesterday about dating a Presto transcription disc label. To
>> > add a
>> > > bit more information:
>> > >
>> > > 1. From examining the disc my impression was that the paper label was
>> > > home-made and pasted over the Presto logo and has since largely been
>> > > off. The Presto logo underneath is blue-green and appears to be stamped
>> > or
>> > > printed directly on the acetate.
>> > > Franz: is that what you're referring to when you mention a "green
>> > > Presto," and what leads you to associate such a label with the late
>> > 1930s?
>> > > John: what is a "logo label"? In this case it doesn't look like the
>> > > was stuck onto the disc, but rather, that it was printed directly onto
>> > the
>> > > acetate if that's possible.
>> > > 2. As John speculates, the disc is aluminum and is covered by acetate
>> > > some similar substance. Although the disc is indeed delaminating we
>> > > fortunately were able to have it digitized by Michael Graves of Osiris
>> > > Studio before any serious damage was done to playability.
>> > > 3. The material on the recording itself doesn't help us date the item.
>> > The
>> > > disc contains four songs sung by a medium-sized group of Sacred Harp
>> > > singers. The sound is more consistent with a live singing convention
>> > > with a studio setting. For those interested, the songs are "Raymond"
>> > > 441 in The Sacred Harp) and "Cowper" (p. 168) on side A and "The
>> > > Desolation" (p. 89) and "Christian Soldier" (p. 57) on side B. All are
>> > > relatively common songs that have been in active use over the entire
>> > period
>> > > when the disc could have been recorded. The person from whom the Sacred
>> > > Harp Museum purchased the disc believed that the recording had been
>> > > some time in the 1940s in East Central Alabama but had no specific
>> > > information.
>> > >
>> > > What I am hoping is that others may have encountered identically
>> > > stamped Presto labels. I recognize that the disc might have sat around
>> > for
>> > > a while before it was used, but am hopeful that if any other such discs
>> > > have been dated it might at least help us approximate the earliest the
>> > > recording could have been made, and may offer other clues as well.
>> > >
>> > > One last question: in the 1940 Presto catalog linked from the
>> > Preservation
>> > > Sound blog, the final page in the second file lists various discs for
>> > sale.
>> > > (http://www.preservationsound.com/wp-
>> > > content/uploads/2011/09/Presto_1940_cat_2.pdf) All but one, the
>> > "monogram"
>> > > disc, mention a colored seal, yet the monogram disc has a "composition
>> > > base." Is the stamped label on the disc in question a "monogram"? What
>> > is a
>> > > composition base?
>> > > Does anyone have access to earlier or later Presto Recording Corp.
>> > > catalogs with different listings of available Presto discs?
>> > >
>> > > Thanks again for all your help. I appreciate it.
>> > >
>> > > Best,
>> > > Jesse
>> > >