Has anyone detailed information on the Commodore label/ pressing sequence?
I've read Alan Sutton's article on Commodore in his 'American Record Companies, etc." book. 

I have three copies of Holiday's "Strange Fruit" on Commodore labels of slightly differing designs.

All have the matrix number in Columbia's typeface of the period.

Two, and others I've seen, are on the tomato red label.  

Both my tomato red examples have the address 136 E. 42d Street (Sutton gives mid 40s- early 50s.)

One has two lines of perimeter print along the bottom. The end of the top line says Electrically Recorded 4-39 
(matrix wp 24403 B # (handwritten) and 2 (machine stamped) ) and is 0089 thick

In the same place, another has 2 blank spaces followed by .39  (matrix wp 24403-B and N (thin line, hand drawn) and is .0070 thick

Others I've seen are variations of the above.

These appear to be Decca pressings, without the Columbia shininess.


I also have one that is

46 West 52d Street (Sutton gives late 40s- early 50s)

and gives the date as April, 1939, not 4-39 (Matrix WP 24403 B and has a "6' at the 10 o'clock position, under the outside edge of the label., all in Columbia's typeface)

The label is maroon. The record is 0093 thick.  It looks and feels like a good shellac prewar Columbia pressing.  

ARC was sold to CBS in Jan, 1939, and Commodore lost its pressing arrangement.

It begins again in November, 1939, pressing with Decca. 


In the later 1930s, the Columbia Bridgeport plant, operated by ARC,  made pressings that were .0093 thick.  

Postulation:  The first pressings of "Strange Fruit" were made by ARC with a maroon label on shellac that is .0093 thick, sometime in  1939.  

Argument against: The label uses a later address for Commodore.  

Is it possible that Commodore had more than one location, ,say one for retail and one for stock and shipping, and the latter address was 46 West 52 St.?


Steve Smolian