Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Durium Test Record E-1113

Front of the Durium test record ( matrix: E-1113-B) (Per Ahlin collection)
Thanks to Per Ahlin from Stockholm (Sweden) an unknown test pressing of a Durium cardboard record can be added in the list of records, produced in Europe for the cardboard Durium label in London between 1932 and 1934. It has no printed label, which is normal for a test record. During the process of pressing ( should we say ... printing? as Durium records were made from card board and almost "printed" like a newspaper on large sheets of cardboard, covered with Durium acetate?) the final product had to be tested, so a few copies were played and the sound quality was discussed.
 The reverse of the test record with a stamp and a sticker ( Per Ahlin collection)
On the reverse of the record you will find a sticker, glued over a stamp, which gives the audio engineers the possibility to commend the sound quality. The sticker reads 1113B. SÖDERMAN MOSAIQUE PARTS I & II and must be glued later by a collector who had this record in his collection. It is unknown if this is the official title of the record, as, up to now, no officially released record, which might have another take number ( like A or C)  and could have been  catalogued as durium SC-106, has been found. It is possible that this project was rejected.
Kapellmästare Eduard Hladisch (1890 - 1968) (source: sleeve of the Veckans skiva nr. 37 (late December 1932) (Hans Koert archive)
 The matrix number 1113 fits well in the Durium (GB) Discography into a record session made in London by Eduard Hladisch in November 1932. Mind that Durium (GB) Products, based in Slough (near London) started in March 1932 with the production of card board Durium records, like its forerunner the DURIUM (Capitals) PRODUCTS INCORPORATED – NEW YORK, which released series like the well known Hit of the Weeks. One of the series Durium (GB) Products released, was a series of records for the Scandinavian market. In those days Durium had no proper recording facilities in Copenhagen or Stockholm, so the director of the band, like Eduard Hladisch, sailed to London to record with an English studio band, which could have featured musicians like Max Goldberg Charlie Price, Jack Warne, Tony Thorpe, Bill Rogers, Alf Zafer, Ernest Wilson, Bill Tringham, Dave Axford or Maurice Zafer to list some musicians to be known active in the Durium Dance Bands of those days. These men were professional musicians, who could play all kind of music styles, like this kind of light orchestral music.

Eduard Hladisch recorded during this record session two tunes, which were released as durium SC-107: DURIUMS STORA KONSERTORKESTER UNDER LEDNING AV EDUARD HLADISCH. The title of those tunes was VÄRMLÄNNINGARNA and POTPURRI

Enjoy a film fragment of that record as played on an old wind up gramophone .....

Liner notes in the magazine-like Veckans skiva sdleeve nr. 37 with the image of Eduard Hladisch (Hans Koert archive)
The Scandinavian records were released in a series called Veckans skiva and so was this durium SC-107 released on the 30th of December 1932 as Veckans skiva nr. 37 and in its catalogue this Veckans skiva was listed as: Värmlännlugarna. Stort potpurri – en äktsvensk inspelning undern ledning av kapellmästare Eduard Hladisch. The director, kapelmästare Eduard Hladisch was born in Austria ( February 1890) and moved to Sweden, where he became very popular as a leader of light music (dance) bands. In 1932 he also recorded in London for Polydor and this might have been at the same period as these Durium records. He became well known as an artist and host on the Swedish radio and also known for his film music compositions. He passed away August 1968

Thanks Per for sharing this rare test record with us, which, probably never was released on a durium record.

Hans Koert
author if the Durium (GB) Discography

Sunday, June 03, 2012

The making of ..... De Trouble I've Seen

Reverse of a Durium Junior ( summer 1931) (Hans Koert collection)
 In the summer of 2011 the final 2cd album of the Complete Hit of the Week Recordings has been released by Archeophone Records - the crowing glory of twenty years of collecting and research. But making such a "complete" set of records as complete as possible, is sometimes like searching for a needle in a haystack .... Last month I discussed the rare 78rpm Hit of the Week record Mysterious Mose - this months it's about the lost Durum Junior A5

 BIRMINGHAM JAIL - A2 B - CAL & GID CARSON ( source: Durium Advertisement and Custom Records Discography) ( photo Hans Koert archive)
The year 1930 was a successful year for Durium - its sales figures were high - it is said that in de summer of 1930 the number of records produced, was between 350,000 and 500,000 a week ...... but other record companies regained and Duruim got a drop in its sales. In the summer of 1931 the Durium firm even broke and continued as an incorporated firm .... One of the promotions to raise sales figures were the small Durium Juniors - small cd-sized card board records with hill-billy  tunes sung by artists like Frank Luther and Carson Robison, who recorded as Cal & Gid Carson ...... These small records were free for people who bought a Hit of the Week record in the fall of 1931 for some times and when you had collected all five records, you could change it for a free Hit of the Week ......
Leaflet to promote the free Durium Junior (Hans Koert archive)
 But what happened? These small records are well known stuff for Hit of the Week record collectors - most of them has one or more of these nice, small baby-sized cardboard records in their collection:
Why Did I Get Married ( by Cal Garson (= Frank Luther) ( Durium Junior A1) - Birmingham Jail ( by Cal & Gid Carson ( Frank Luther - Carson Robison) (Durium Junior A2) - She Sat In Her Parlor ( by Cal Garson (= Frank Luther) ( Durium Junior A3) and Lonesome Railroad ( by Cal & Gid Carson ( Frank Luther - Carson Robison) (Durium Junior A4) ...... but what about the Durium Junior A5? No one of the collectors I knew had this one in his collection, except ... John R.T. Davies. He had informed me that the title was: De (sic) Trouble I've Seen, sung by Eva Taylor.
 Carson Robison (1924-1957)
John promised me to share his copy for the project, but before he could execute this, he passed away. The small record was untraceable.
DE TROUBLE I'VE SEEN - A5 - EVA TAYLOR ( Doug Benson collection) 
Some months later I got a message from an unknown who offered me some Durium singles, as he labelled it, a word usually used for 45rpm records - As I knew that Durium (Italy) had continued in the post-war years its production with a pop-repertoire, I didn't expect to find some interesting stuff, but I asked the unknown to inform me about the catalogue numbers ..... He sent me a list: A2 - N1 - X13 - A3 - A4 - A4 - A5 ...... The A5! I asked him to verify the catalogue numbers (as I had found the A4 two times in the list) and to send me the titles of the tunes and .. indeed - he offered the Eva Taylor record. It was a pity he didn't want to share the record with us, except for a very high price ( in the US they paid him at least $ US 400. I told him to do so), so the deal didn't work. I informed Doug and we decided to publish only A1 up to A4 when the second 2CD album would be published.
The Complete Hit of the Week Recordings - volume 2 ( Archeophone 3003) ( Hans Koert collection)
Again, six weeks later, we were tipped off that on eBay two small records were offered - two Durium Juniors for $ 0,99. The two images offered were very blurred, but the words of the A5 ( De Trouble I've seen) were to be recognized. Doug could obtain both records for $ 9.99

Eva Taylor (1895-1977) in the mid 1960s
All five Durium Juniors ( in the A-series) could be used for the second 2cd album: The Complete Hit of the Week Recordings - volume 2 (Arch 3003) released in 2005.
Deze bijdrage wordt ook geplaatst in het Nederlands in de Keep (it) Swinging blog
Hans Koert
author of the (online) Hit of the Week-Durium discographies