I must say the Telefunken sourced records from Mercury DO sound a lot better and a lot clearer than the ones from Capitol.I don't know if this is because the source tapes/mothers/lacquers that Supraphon had were better,or a lower generation than the ones Capitol used,or if your dad went the "extra mile" to clean them up unlike the folks at Capitol.Based on the reputation your parents built up in later years,I am tempted to say it was the latter.

The Capitols sound distant,muddy,and/or like they have a sort of "sonic haze" superimposed on them,unlike,say the French-sourced postwar recordings Capitol issued at the same time,which are often outstanding.Finding my first Telefunken 78s,was somewhat of a revalation after hearing the Capitol Lps.


--- On Sat, 8/30/08, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
From: Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Mercury MG10000 series listing or discography
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Saturday, August 30, 2008, 2:44 PM

It seems like a bunch of different stuff was tried in the early LP days. Then
there was some better 
order brought to the catalog in the mid-50's when a bunch of both classical
and jazz were re-issued 
with color-litho-laminated front covers and non-gloss white back covers. These
replaced the green 
and red "leatherette" sleeves of the first round of LPs in the late
40's. Those sleeves, at least 
with the classical records, were an obvious outgrowth of the old multi-record
78 albums. The 78 
albums sometimes give more liner notes because at least some of the LPs are the
contents of two full 
78 albums (for instance, the Shostakovich and Oistrahk from Prague 1946, each
of those were 
individual 78 albums but each is one side of the MG10000 series LP).

Also, according to John Hammond's autobiography, the Telefunken stuff was
not in print on LP from 
Mercury very long. There was Mercury's deal with the pre-Communist Czech
government (which grabbed 
up the Telefunken master disks as war booty). Then, later on, Capitol made a
deal with the War 
Reparations Board in Germany to license the disks Telefunken had in their
possession (copies of the 
originals residing in Prague), all of this according to Hammond's book.
Lawsuits ensued between 
Capitol and Mercury and Mercury lost, although the judge did note the superior
sound quality of 
Mercury's made-from-masters LPs. Eventually, the Telefunken originals were
returned to Germany but I 
think by then the US market for this material was pretty much dried up, and I
don't think Capitol 
ever re-cut any of the material from the master disks.

Finally, the first Mercury LPs were pretty much all cut at Reeves, by my father
and/or George Piros. 
The later cuts were made at Fine Sound, these were for the new, more colorful
covers. Those cuts 
have a MF number in the deadwax, signifying they were cut with the Miller-Fine
cutter. To my ears, 
disk-to-disk cuts were done at both times for the pre-tape-master material; I
say this because I 
cannot hear the tell-tale signs of a tape-dub master (a little bit of hiss, a
little bit of fuzzy 
dynamics).  BTW, the first-issue cuts of the MG50000, MG40000 and MG80000 were
also MF cuts. The 
reissue cuts, made in the late 50's, to bring the still-in-print mono
catalog into full RIAA 
compliance and also to re-number the 40000 and 80000 into non-used 50000
numbers, were made at Fine 
Recording and don't carry the MF mark in the deadwax. These are generally
quieter pressings but the 
MF versions sometimes have faster/sharper/more dramatic dynamics.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "David Lennick" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, August 30, 2008 4:08 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Mercury MG10000 series listing or discography

> Tom Fine wrote:
>> PS -- thanks Dave Lennick. I have no 10000 series albums with lists of
other albums on the backs. 
>> This must have been a Canadian thing or perhaps an earlier or later
versions than I have thing.
> We were buying Mercury LPs from a jobber in the early 50s (at least
I'll give him the benefit of 
> the doubt..they weren't off the back of a truck, at any rate) and I
presume these were the 
> earliest Canadian pressings. For some reason while the 78s and 45s were
clearly identified as to 
> location, the LPs didn't show a Canadian pressing until the Olympians
began to appear. As a 
> result, we got no liner notes and in a few cases like "Songs of
Israel" and "Tenor Jazz", not even 
> the slightest indication of who performed what. MG 20016 (Tenor Jazz)
lists several more numbers 
> on the reverse, such as MG 10012/14/16/38/44/48/35.
> dl