Sunday, October 02, 2011

The making of .... The growth of a discography

The 1930s Hit of the Week band logo (collection: Hans Koert)
the final volume of The Complete Hit of the Week Recordings was released by Archeophone - a series of four 2cd albums with all commercial early 1930s released weekly Hit of the Week records. This series of albums is the crowing glory of the so-called Hit of the Week-Durium project. In a series of blogs I love to inform you about ..... The making of..... The previous blog was dedicated to the first attempts to sort out my Hit of the Week record collection: The making of ... the Birth of a Discography. Today more about how the Hit of the Week Discography became a Durium Discography, three volumes, with all known cardboard Durium records released in the US, England, France, Italy and Scandinavia.

Label of the Lp album: Paper Hits "Hit of the Week" Recordings ( Broadway Intermission BR 107) ( released 1980) ( Hans Koert collection)
My first "discography" was not more then a list of cardboard Hit of the Week records I had in my collection. I sent it to record collectors all over the world thanks to the IAJRC ( The International Association of Jazz Record Collectors) directory.
I was surprised to learn that this type of record, which was released in giant amounts ( 350,000 copies a week), was almost forgotten in its birthland. Isn't it great that of all a Dutchman lists our ephemeral acetates? a US record collector wrote me. At last I had a list of ca. 50 Hit of the Week collectors from all over the world. Thanks to these people I could enlarge the list with Durium records. These record collectors were anxious to have a complete Hit of the Week - Durium discography, to legitimize their collection ........ Let's explain. As a kid I collected prints of matchboxes and matchcovers. I found it at the borders of the river Scheldt near my native village in the south west part of The Netherlands, as seamen, from all over the world, threw their empty matchboxes into the sea. I must have had collected hundreds of them, but I had no reference at all to verify my collection and so I had no idea about the "value" of my collection ....... I'm sure there wil be made a list of matchbox prints or matchcovers somewhere on the internet now, but in the 1960s no-one ever had heard about internet ..... The same story for those cardboard records. You need to have a complete list to have a reference of your collection.

Label of the Lp: Uncle Dave's 78rpm Nostalgia Party #3 (Sandy Hook Records S.H. 2056) released 1981) ( Hans Koert collection)
A lot of collectors sent me their additions and the Hit of the Week - Durium discography became the reference book I'd hoped. During the 1970s and 80s some record companies had reissued Hit of the Week records on the Ristic, Sunbeam and Broadway Intermission labels, labelled as Paper Hits .........(Broadway Intermission BR 107 and BR 109). The Sandy Hook label even reissued shameless copies from Sunbeam (( The Newly Enlarged) Cardboard Dance Hall Hit of the Week Recordings 1930-1932) (MFC-9 ) (Hit of the Week Recordings 1930-31 MFC-19) in it's series Uncle Dave's 78rpm Nostalgia Party ( S.H. 2044 and S.H. 2056). All these Lp’s had two things in common: The selection of "Hits" was rather "ad-random" and they contained some rare advertisement tracks.

The former Durium factory used by Durium Products (G.Bb) Ltd in Slough early 2000s ( original building 1930s) (photo courtesy: Peter Tanner)
Thanks to my connections and the
Kurt Nauck's auctions, two auctions each year, I could (almost) complete my original Hit of the Week collection in excellent conditions. Kurt Nauck himself had collected some of the rare advertisement records in the past and had started some research to these rare ephemeral cardboard advertisement and custom records. He liked my discography so-far and offered me his complete research archive of those rare remains of the bygone days.
( Hans Koert collection)
A few weeks later a big parcel arrived with detailed information and his correspondence with all kinds of collectors in the past about these small records. Hundreds of those promotion discs were released in Europa too, so I had to list these advertisements and custom records too, infact the core business of Durium, which was in fact an advertisement agency. I decided to give it its own discography: The Durium Advertisement and Custom Record Discography. Also the large amount of European releases, by the English Durium Products (G.B.) Ltd., which had its factory in Slough, a suburb of London, needed its own place to be listed:
The Durium (GB) Records Discography.
The reverse of one of the numerous English adverisement records: Mobiloil Medley (Sound Distributos S.D. 85) ca. 1934 (Hans Koert collection)
Although the US Durium firm had been broken in the summer of 1932, it got a restart in Europe April 1932, although it was in fact a new firm. The durium (small letters) EN-series was intended to be like the Hit of the Week records as a weekly record and released in England and on the continent. In France these records got its own labels, like Sefono, Dancing, ABC or DoReMi. At first US masters were used, but soon they recorded and printed their own records. When in 1934 the English durium was broken too, it continued, like in the US, history repeats itself, as a label for advertisement and custom records: The so-called Sound Distributors ( and Dubrico for a short period). In France, Denmark and Italy firms continued to make local releases and the Italian Durium ( Dvrivm - La Voce dell' Imperio) even continued in the post war years and still exists as the Durium-label. A lot of reasons for three seperate discographies.

A Veckans skiva cover - a Swedish Hit of the Week release (V.S. nº 32 ( December 1932)
In Europe, discographers like Peter Tanner and Tom Valle helped me to complete the discographies.

(Hans Koert collection)
The late Peter Tanner surprised with a photo from the former Durium factory in Slough. When I had published the address, he took his car and drove to Slough, where he found the old factory - still in use. It was a pity that it was closed due to the fact that is was a Sunday. Tom Valle, who is a Norwegian, helped me to complete the list of Scandinavian releases, known as Super Durium and released as Veckans skiva (which means Weekly Disc in Swedish).
Finally my three discographies: Hit of the Week Discography - The Durium (GB) Records Discography and The Durium Advertisement and Custom Record Discography contained more then 1,300 listed card board Durium records, more then a dozen times as much as Howard Waters original 1960 list ..........
And believe me ......... each year new finds are reported ........ discs that were able to hide itself for 80 years .........
Hans Koert

De Nederlandstalige versie van deze blog vind je op de Keep Swingingblog.


Blogger Jo said...

This is almost detective work under the conditions described in the blog. Great, that you had the patience and a true collector's energy and drive to make these invaluable discographies!


October 03, 2011  

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