2019-11-11T18:39:51+01:00November 11th, 2019|

Esquire Records was a UK jazz record company and label founded by Carlo Krahmer and Peter Newbrook in 1947. It issued recordings by British musicians and others, under licence, from the American Prestige label, the Chicago blues label Delmark, and the Swedish Metronome label.

The company lasted until the mid-1970s; after Krahmer’s death it was run by his widow, Greta Krahmer.

In the 1980s, Newbrook (died 2009) reissued much of the Esquire jazz catalogue in an “Esquire Treasure Chest” series of LPs.

Source: Wikipedia



2019-02-28T14:26:05+01:00Februar 28th, 2019|

The Rena Manfacturing Co. Ltd. was founded in 1908 by Louis Sterling and Mr. N.M. Rodkison. It began selling its Rena gramophones and records in December 1908. The Rena Double-Face Record was manufactured for this new company by the Columbia Phonograph Co., Gen’l at its factory in Earlsfield, Surrey (although this is not credited on the labels). The selling price was sixpence less than the Columba Double Face Record even though they often released the same recordings. To disguise the origin of the cheaper discs the Columbia matrix numbers were replaced by a Rena control number which had an “R” prefix up to 500 and an “S” prefix thereafter.

In October 1909 Columba acquired the records part of the Rena Manufacturing Co.’s business which continued to release Rena Double-Face Record until October 1910 when the label name changed to Columbia-Rena Record.

Source: Discogs



2019-01-16T14:31:48+01:00Januar 16th, 2019|

“Polonia” (also referred to as “Orbis-Polonia”) – recording label of Polish emigre company Orbis (founded in London in 1944, specializing mostly on publishing and selling Polish books). Most of Polonia records are initially made using masters from “Melodia Record” (USA) (a green-and-golden series, with catalogue numbers from M-1 to at least M-10), later the label recorded emigre Polish artists (the main green-and-golden series, catalogue numbers from 101 up to at least 234; the red-and-golden series of Polish Christmas carols etc., catalogue numbers from K/1 up to at least K/12). The same label was used also for few ELs and LPs.

Original matrices and the same label were used in re-issues made in the USA and Australia. Distinctions of them are as follows:

– American release (pressed on RCA Victor facilities for Drzewiecki Co.). Labels do not mention Orbis and do not contain copyright info; instead, there is an inscription below the main text: “Made in U. S. A. for Drzewiecki Co. N. Y. 13, N. Y.” Label’s gold color is replaced by silver one, and the main theme color (green or red) has a different variation. There is an additional embossed inscription “MADE IN ENGLAND” on the mirror. Today, most of available “Orbis-Polonia” records belong to this release.

– Australian release. Some records show participation of E. M. I. Sales & Services Ltd. (this name and Emidisc logo were found embossed under the label). Labels contain “recorded in England” instead of “made in England”. Original indices (catalog CAT.nnn and matrix OP.nnn) are accompanied by new ones: catalog/order PR.nnn and matrix FS.nnn (both types of indexes may coexist or OP.nnn may absent). Design of labels is changed: logo is a bit smaller, the lower part of the label is encircled by a line of the same color which is used for background of upper part. Some records have a “negative” label: instead of gold text and images on green (red) background, there are green (red) text and images on white background. The mirror also contains new FS-nnn index, whereas the old one OP-nnn may be missing.

Some “Orbis-Polonia” records were also re-issued by other companies under their own labels (such as PO-nnn series of Carinia records, Australia, with red and white labels).

Source: Mike G. Jurkevich / Russian Records


2019-11-27T14:58:14+01:00Januar 13th, 2019|

CINCH was an English record label in the 78-rpm era, publishing cheap records at or below cost, for the purpose of driving out competitors.

It was anonymously run by His Master’s Voice often using Zonophone matrices, and operated between 1913 and 1916.

In January 1916 the last CINCHsupplement was published. The catalogue numbers ran from 5001 up to 5462.

Source: Wikipedia


2018-12-18T13:48:27+01:00Dezember 18th, 2018|

An early British label pressed by the Carl Lindström AG using Beka masters (often of an earlier vintage), Arrow was a British record label founded 1913.

Arrow were pressed by the Carl Lindström group using Beka masters.

More on MG Thomas


2018-12-14T14:20:33+01:00Dezember 14th, 2018|

Sterno Records was a United Kingdom based record company issuing gramophone records from 1926 through 1935.

The label was a subsidiary of Homophone Records.

Sterno made good quality dance music, often quite jazzy, using London’s leading dance-bands (Ray Starita, Tommy Kinsman etc.) often performing under alternative names.

Sterno records were only available through Marks and Spencer and some are quite rare.



2020-01-20T10:29:02+01:00Dezember 13th, 2018|

Scala Records was a British record label which was in business between 1911 and 1927.

The source firm was the Scala Record Co. Ltd., based in London. Pressings were from Germany until the First World War, then from London, with masters from Beka and others. A number of American masters were used, such as those from Vocalion and Gennett.

The repertoire was jazz, popular music, and vocal. A second label, Scala Ideal, offered the same popular material between 1923 and 1927.



2018-12-07T09:31:29+01:00Dezember 7th, 2018|

Embassy Records was a UK budget record label that produced cover versions of current hit songs, which were sold exclusively in Woolworths shops at a lower price than the original

Embassy Records was the result of a contractual arrangement between Oriole Records and Woolworths, with Embassy’s product being sold exclusively through the latter’s stores. Between November 1954 and January 1965, Embassy released around 1,200 songs recorded by about 150 different artists and these releases were sold for half the price of a major label release of the era.

The label’s releases mostly consisted of double A-side singles that were cover versions of then-current or predicted UK Top 20 hits, and it was not unusual for different artists or contrasting pop styles to appear on either side of a record. Embassy can therefore be seen as a UK equivalent of U.S. labels such as Hit and (in its early days) Bell Records.

The label’s product was recorded at the Embassy Recording Studios in New Bond Street, Mayfair, and manufactured by Oriole, who also licensed the material to many foreign outlets.
The tight Embassy recording schedule required four different songs to be recorded in one three-hour session. Included in this standard three-hour session was the initial studio set-up time, before any actual songs were recorded, and a mandatory musicians’ coffee break. This meant that on average there was a little over 30 minutes allowed for the recording of an individual song, which, in turn, meant that the artists who did the actual singing had to be first-rate professional singers who could enter a studio and record a song in very few takes. As a result, Embassy artists tended to be very experienced big band or session singers, who would also regularly broadcast live on BBC radio. Sometimes these musicians used their professional name when recording for Embassy, but very often they used pseudonyms. The recording sessions usually took place on a Thursday, so that the cover version discs could be rushed out into the stores by the following Monday to compete with the real thing.

As well as releasing covers of current hit singles, Embassy Records also produced EPs of trad jazz, children’s songs, light classical music, and songs from musicals.

In late 1964, Embassy’s parent label, Oriole, was taken over by CBS Records (Columbia Records in America). Following this purchase, the label was discontinued, with the final Embassy release of the 1960s being “Keep Searchin’ (We’ll Follow the Sun)” by Paul Rich and the Beatmen (b/w “The Special Years” by Burt Shane) in January 1965.

By this time, the concept of budget cover version releases of current hit songs had been imitated by other labels such as Cannon, Crossbow, Top Six, and Top Pops. CBS subsidiary Hallmark/Pickwick launched the Top of the Pops series of albums a few years after the demise of Embassy, but unlike Embassy’s releases, no artists were ever identified on the records.

Source: Wikipedia

The Embassy Record Story at Woolworth Museum

Ariel Grand Record

2019-11-27T10:14:50+01:00Dezember 6th, 2018|

The Ariel Grand Record was produced for Messrs J. G. Graves of Sheffield, England, who sold them on a mail order basis.

The label was available from 1910 until 1938. The masters came from many sources over the years. The early ones from Beka, Favourite, Grammavox & Jumbo; occasionally the label is found to be just a paste-over, examples have been found as Winners with Ariel paste-overs, from the early 1920s.

As far as dance music is concerned, in the early 1920s, Ariel was using Zonophone masters and some sides by “Jack Hylton’s Jazz Band” may be found, along with others of a similar period, with a 2000 catalogue series, often anonymous. Generally, apart from this, all dance records are labelled as by “Ariel Dance Orchestra”.

In the later 1920s, was a 1000 series, again from Zonophone issued sides by the various Bert Firman groups.
Overlapping with this, Ariel used masters from Parlophone from about 1924 until 1938, using a 4000 series Catalogue No., sometimes prefixed with a “Z”. This included many American masters from OKeh records.

Source: Off The Record