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


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