Sunday, December 18, 2011

Anything Phonographic

In the latest December 2011 / January 2012 issue of In The Groove, the magazine of the Michican Antique Phonograph Society, Steve Ramm published a review of the 4th 2cd-album of The Complete Hit of the Week Recordings (arch 2005) as part of his regular news and review column. Steve loved to share this review with the visitors of the Hit of the Week blog.
The Complete Hit of the Week Recordings (arch 2005)
Dutch collector Hans Koert set out a few years ago to create a printed discography of the entire commercial Hit of the Week flexi-discs produced by the Durium Company during the brief period 1930 - 1932. This not only led to an online version, but also to a series of four 2-CD sets co-produced by the owners of the Archeophone label. Though released approximately every 2 years, the 2011 final release The Complete Hit of the Week Recordings, volume 4 is the first I've had a chance to hear. As expected from anything released by Archeophone ( "the Cadillac of reissue labels") , the set is graphically beautiful with color covers ( and lack and white photos inside) of the rarest records and accurate recording session info is provided.

Fragment of Anything Phonographic (December 2011/January 2012) (with permission)
While many of the recordings on these discs ( which were sold at newsstands, not record stores) are by bands like Phil Spitalny, Morton Downey or Rudy Vallee, Durium also pressed "advertising records", And those are sometimes even more interesting to hear than the musical ones. This volume seems to have more of these than the previous volumes - with ads for Wrigley's Gum, Crisco ( with the Mils Brothers!) and even "Relief from the Present Discriminatory System of Taxes in Iowa"( talk about eclectic!). The discs varied in size ( thus recording time) and 59 records are included here. I may work myself backwards in this series but I can certainly recommend this one. The transfers are superb. (Hey, this is Archeophone).

Steve Ramm
(Philadelphia (PA) (USA)

You can contact him about this review at

You can obtain more info about In The Groove at its website

Sunday, December 04, 2011

The Making of ..... the perfect discography

The (almost perfect) 5th edition of the Hit of the Week - Durium Discography by Hans Koert (1998) ( Hans Koert archive)
Since I found my first bended Hit of the Week record I wanted to be informed about these rather weird 78rpm records. As I could find but few discographical information, I decided to make my own discography. A dozen years after the publication of it, I love to look back to the process of making such a list of records. In some previous blogs I wrote about
the birth and the growth of the list and the quest for information. Today I love to inform you how I learned, once bitten, twice shy, to make the perfect discography.
Now's The Time To Fall In Love - After The Ball by Phil Spitalny's Music ( Hit of the Week A-2-3) ( January 1932) ( Hans Koert collection)
The process of making a discography seemed to become really serious at the moment I got a request from
Brian Rust and John R.T. Davies, to send them a copy of the book. Brian Rust is known for his discographies, the bibles for record collectors of jazz and jazz-related music from the first 78rpm era and John R. T. Davies was a gifted audio engineer, producer and discographer too. John passed rather strong criticism about my book: Rubbish! he responded a week after I'd sent him a copy: I took three Hit of the Week records out of my collection and they were not listed in your book .......... As you can understand, I didn't feel very well about that and asked him for some clarification.
Sleeve of the English version of the US Hit of the Week A-2-3. The European Durium EN-7 was released spring 1932 ( Hans Koert collection)
He apologized for his previous letter ........... Your book isn't as bad as I suggested - sorry 'bout that, but it is just a list of titles and band names and not a discography - In a discography I love to read the information as is on the label ...... to the letter ...... 99 percent of all so-called discographies are not correct, in my opinion, he wrote, even Lord and Brian Rust made rubbish, in my point of view ....... Cold comfort!
John promised to verify my discography and correct my English ( Sorry, John - English is not my mother tongue) ......... Dat doet’ie toch nooit (= I don't think he will do so), I told my wife, but three weeks later the proofread copy arrived by mail ....... completely corrected - I edited the 5th edition and the 6th version was born, split up in three books: The Hit of the Week DiscographyThe Durium (GB) Discography and
the Durium Advertisement and Custom Record Discography.
Part of the proofread copy by John R.T. Davis ( click on the photo to enlarge) ( Hans Koert archive)
If you love to make a discography, first try to get clear in your mind, how your perfect discography looks like. John R.T. Davies put myself to think about it. The word Disco-graphy means "a description of discs", but it is more then just a list of tunes and records made by an artist or record company. As John R.T. Davies told me, it should list the information as can be read on the record (label) itself, even if those information is wrong (!). To make this clear, I love to finish with a description of an at random choice, the Hit of the Week A-2-3 as it is listed in the Brian Rust American Dance Band Discography 1917-1942 ( 1975) (p. 1753) and that same record as it is in the (
online) Hans Koert Hit of the Week Discography (6th edition)(2011)
Brian Rust lists the record as follows: ( BTW: he lists the band name as: PHILIP (sic)
Fragment of the American Dance Band Discography by Brian Rust ( p. 1753) (click on the photo to enlarge) ( Hans Koert archive)
In Hans Koert's Hit of the Week Discography this same record has been listed too: Mind that I skipped some info, to make it easy to compare both fragments. I only posted the info for the original 78rpm recordings of this recording and deleted all surplus information, like the info of contemporary reissues

PHIL SPITALNY'S MUSIC Featuring PAUL SMALL (HOW A-2-3) // (no band name) (SEFONO A-2-3) // DURIUM DANCE ENSEMBLE Vocal Refrains, PAUL SMALL (durium EN 7) [2tp-tb-2cl as-cl ts-2v-xyl-p-banj-tu-dm- (male) vo- (female) vo-(male) vo3] Phil Spitalny dir., Manny Klein tp, Sam Herman xyl, Helen Rowland vo, Paul Small vo, ETON BOYS vo4: (Jack Day bariton, Earl Smith 1st Tenor, Art Gentry 2nd Tenor, Chas. Day bass); Recorded New York City, Dec. 1931
= 1188 B D NOW'S THE TIME TO FALL IN LOVE Esta es la Hora de Enamorarse (Fox Trot) Sherman Lewis - PS vo EB vo4 < SH xyl solo MK tp &gt

Released as HOW A-2-3
= 1188 B D Now's the time to fall in love (TENDRESSE) Blue - (nn) - PS vo EB vo4 Released as SEFONO A-2-3

Released as durium EN-y

= and AFTER THE BALL - PS vo
Released as HOW A-2-3
= After the ball (APRÈS LE BAL) Valse - PS vo

Released as SEFONO A-2-3

Released as durium EN-7

The Hit of the Week Discography by Hans Koert gives also information about the sleeves and foreign 78rpm releases of this record. Enjoy the additional information. The photos used in this article can be found at the online Hit of the Week discography.

Notes: HOW A-2-3: Released in the US Jan. 14 1932. On the reverse a picture of PHIL SPITALNY with hat and necktie and the addition: There are also copies without a picture. The cover: Big Note (like M 1) The artist credits on the cover as RECORDED BY PHIL SPITALNY’S MUSIC; Paul Small isn’t mentioned. // SEFONO A-2-3: There is no band name on the label. // durium EN 7: There are copies with on the reverse an impress of the Victoria MUSIC PUBLISHING CO LTD trademark and copies with a stamp of CHAPPELL & Cº LTD LONDON trademark. The cover of this album shows in big letters: durium - record. Catalogued in Sweden June 17, 1932 as Veckans Skiva nr. 9. In a 1933 Veckans Skiva list some extra information en skiva av alira högsta klass (source: Hit of the Week Discography - Hans Koert)

Phil Spitalny on the reverse of the Hit of the Week A-2-3 (Hans Koert collection)
The making of ....... the perfect discography ends with some short comments. I dreamed about a printed discography with full colour illustrations of all Hit of the Week labels and sleeves, but that dream was too expensive ......... and what about sharing the music of the Hit of the Week records?
Love to share with you a rather noisy and uncleaned copy of the record, discussed today: Now's The Time To Fall In Love and After The Ball as recorded by Phil Spitalny for Durium and released as HoW A-2-3. Enjoy it ............

If you have the complete series of the Complete Hit of the Week Recordings, find volume 4 - cd one - track 4 and 5 and learn how a cleaned Hit of the Week record should sound transfered by Doug Benson. You can order a copy at the Archeophone Records site.
The paper version of the discography is out of print now, but you can enjoy the (free) online Hit of the Week discography if you like. If you have additions for these sites, like scan of record labels or sleeves, please let me know:
Deze blog is in het Nederlands vertaald gepubliceerd als The Making of ... De perfecte discografie in de Keep Swingingblog.
Next time I hope to tell you more about the discography as a reference work.
Hans Koert