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Mike,

If New York Rainbow is older by a few years that's news to me, but it may
be so. However, Homer does state his dissatisfaction with Victor -- not by
name, but by implication --
on a record called "Mission of Rainbow Records," an unnumbered Rainbow,
mx. 9150, made in October 1924 which actually near the end of Rainbow's
run. I don't have the
record, but I have heard it, thanks to Steve Smolian who sent me an
mp3 which I no longer have. The extent to which Victor exploited the warp
and woof of American vernacular
Gospel prior to 1920 is exactly as Rodeheaver describes it. After 1925 they
would do a lot better, though Gennett really ran with that ball, as did
Okeh and Columbia. His "mission"
to establish a base from which to grow a Gospel recording industry that
would reflect the music as it was, and not as filtered through the voices
of professional singers, was
absolutely successful, and he may not have felt too bad about shutting
Rainbow down when he did.

Just the other day you chided us gently about not remembering your 1974
talk on the development of electric recording, which I regret that I
missed, though I was only 13 years
old in 1974 and would not have had the frame of reference for it as I do
now. I played the Billy Sunday Chorus record at my talk on Rody in Seattle;
I'd sure love to see the photo
you mention of this session. It was a momentous occasion and I do not know
of an earlier location recording made in the United States that was issued
commercially. Several pieces
were recorded that date, but only the two were issued. Most mainstream
American hymnals contain "America" and the other standard national anthems;
"Sail On!" is a hymn, composed
in 1908 by Charles H. Gabriel, who worked closely with Rodeheaver in his
publishing concern. The rejected items from that session included "Exalt
His Name," "Liberty," "Brighten
the Corner Where You Are" and "Onward Christian Soldiers." So I guess I'm
missing why the Billy Sunday record is "not sacred." Rody also made mass
chorus records in Winona Lake (1920)
and Cincinnati (1921) and there is a tiny clip of sound film of his leading
a mass chorus in Winona Lake from 1933.

That Russell Conwell made a Special is news to me; is it of "Acres of
Diamonds" also? The Rainbow record of that (1027) was made during the
Cincinnati crusade of 1921, and
Conwell died in 1925.

Not all of the 1948-51 Rainbows were pressed by RCA; a few were pressed
elsewhere, and I'm not sure which plant. They are not as good as the RCA
pressings, which tend to
shatter easily these days; the other pressings are made of a hard vinyl
compound similar to that used by Gotham. The RCA pressings were made in the
Custom Division, either in
Chicago or Indianapolis, and inquries I have put out have returned saying
that there are no ledgers for these. The recordings, however, were all made
in Winona Lake by Leigh B.
Freed who set up a small recording studio within Rodeheaver's singing
school to record the students. A single reel of tape at the Reneker Museum
identifies the post war Rainbow
1014, "Christmas Lullaby" (Q8-10161-1-D9)/"Rise Up Shepherd" (Q8-10162-1-D9) as
having been recorded June 1, 1948. Most of the post-war Rainbows were made
in the months
leading up to that date. If you have information about these Custom
Division numbers it would be helpful to me.

Dave Lewis
Lebanon, OH



On Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 12:38 AM, Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Of course Rainbow also issued Special.  I have Russell H. Conwell on
> Special as well as his record on Rainbow (I'm a Temple Univ alum).  I
> also have a real custom recording on a single-sided Special.  I find it
> interesting that you say Homer was dissatisfied with how Victor wasn't
> doing sacred since they issued that big selling Billy Sunday Chorus
> record which was done with portable equipment -- there's a photo of the
> session in a Victor supplement -- and then Homer himself didn't do a
> chorus record despite his equipment being portable.  (The Victor Billy
> Sunday Chorus 1600 voices record wasn't sacred -- Sail On backed with
> America.  It should be compared with the Associate Glee Clubs records
> discussed earlier in this thread because it proves that acoustical mass
> chorus records could be recorded!) Homer's early 1950s Rainbows were
> Victor pressings -- do the prefixes indicate that Victor did the
> recording or were the masters provided by customer?  I have a catalog of
> these.  Was there no overlap with the tap dance Rainbow label?  I
> thought they were as early as 1948.
>
> Mike Biel  [log in to unmask]
>
>
>
>
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Early electrical disk recording
> From: David Lewis <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Tue, October 16, 2012 3:15 pm
> To: [log in to unmask]
>
> Oh, you didn't pre-empt me at all. I wrote to Roger off-list:
>
> Thumbnail sketch on Rainbow: It was a very early indie, begun in 1920 by
> Homer Rodeheaver. He was disappointed in Victor's lack of interest in
> sacred material in more depth and
> wanted to record personalities and performers known to him through his
> work
> in the Billy Sunday Crusades and the Chautauqua circuit. Nothing is
> known
> of his equipment except that
> it was acoustic, and at first, somewhat portable; he flew it around in a
> small plane until establishing it, in late 1921, in an office building
> on
> Wabash Ave. in Chicago.
> About the same time, Rodeheaver developed a working relationship with
> Gennett and used their facilities to help make his Rainbow Records, many
> of
> which they also released. Through
> Gennett, and possibly other channels, Rainbows also turn up on
> Paramount,
> Herwin, Puritan and Silvertone. To help keep his operation going, Homer
> also made non-sacred records with
> his system, and took on some work for Marsh Labs, in the office next
> door
> in the same building as his, when they needed acoustic titles; Marsh had
> an
> experimental electical system. Some
> of the first electrical records released in this country appeared on
> Rainbow, but were not identified as such. Rodeheaver closed Rainbow in
> 1926
> shortly after he returned to recording for
> the majors.
> While Rainbow achieved some 150 numbered issues, the number of masters
> issued is closer to 500. That's because Rodeheaver replaced many items
> in
> his catalogue, sometimes with
> as many as five different masters, to improve his offerings without
> disturbing his established number sequence. Also he ran a second label,
> Special, within Rainbow and Gennett for limited
> run recordings of students, singing groups and other little known
> artists.
> I have spent the last ten years trying to sort this all out. Just
> yesterday
> I discovered that Rainbow was also responsible
> for some of the early releases on a label run by Southern Gospel
> publisher
> James D. Vaughan, called "Vaughan."
> Rodeheaver restarted Rainbow in 1948, but then had closed it down again
> by
> 1951. In 1952, Don Gabor acquired rights to the name and began issuing
> Rainbow Records out of New York City,
> mainly dance instruction and Latin records. During this time, Rodeheaver
> issued some 45s on plain, blank labels with a rubber stamp, though the
> very
> last one, RB 1955 "Merry Christmas from
> Homer Rodeheaver" bore a full-on Rainbow label. It was mailed out just
> days
> before he died on December 18, 1955.
> What I love about Rainbow is the do-it-yourself aspect of the label.
> Some
> of the records are pretty impressive also, but most of the acoustic ones
> are sub-standard in terms of sound. Nevertheless,
> they deserve to be documented, and access made to what they produced.
> And I
> have been working on that, as I say, since about 2003. In 2007, I gave a
> presentation on Homer Rodeheaver at
> the ARSC Conference in Seattle.
>
> UD
> On Tue, Oct 16, 2012 at 2:39 PM, Donald Tait <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
> > 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.
> >
> > Don Tait
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > 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.
> >
> > Roger
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > ________________________________
> > 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.
> >
> > https://www.box.com/s/pm3jr9vw9owbg8y1hvqh
> >
> > 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
> > Lebanon, OH
> >
> > 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
> > >> I
> > >> 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).
> > >>
> > >> Ciao,
> > >>
> > >> DDR
> > >>
> > >> 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
> > >> a
> > >> > 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
> > >> time,
> > >> > 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
> > >> the
> > >> > 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
> > >> it,
> > >> > but they
> > >> > claimed it was the first electrical recording; it is certainly still
> > >> very
> > >> > early.
> > >> >
> > >> > Uncle Dave Lewis
> > >> > Lebanon, OH
> > >> >
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> --
> > >> Dennis D. Rooney
> > >> 303 W. 66th Street, 9HE
> > >> New York, NY 10023
> > >> 212.874.9626
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >
> >
> >
> >
>