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Re: [RedHotJazz] Jackson's Southern Stompers was: Frog Spawn - a first opinion

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  • Nick Dellow
    I contacted Ross Laird about the Grey Gull-Emerson-Marathon issue and had an excellent response, which Ross has given me permission to upload here (and which
    Message 1 of 6 , Sep 16, 2009
      I contacted Ross Laird about the Grey Gull-Emerson-Marathon issue and had an
      excellent response, which Ross has given me permission to upload here (and
      which is thus reproduced below). Ross is an expert on the Grey Gull label
      and his text provides much interesting and useful information that helps to
      clarify the situation, for which I am very grateful (and I'm sure I also
      speak for others on the group in this respect):-



      I don't think it correct to say that Grey Gull was "primarily an all-purpose
      recording operation" which manufactured and distributed a number of
      small-time labels... and Emerson was certainly not "the main source of
      material" except for a brief period in the mid 1920s.

      It's difficult to make ANY simple statements about Grey Gull as it was a
      famously complex and chaotic operation... But fundamentally Grey Gull was a
      conventional record company which sought to market its own products rather
      than a manufacturer or distributor of "small-time labels"...

      Anyway, without going into all the complexities of the Grey Gull operation
      I'll just comment on the issue of the supposed connection between Grey Gull
      and Emerson and how this relates to Marathon...

      Grey Gull started out doing their own recordings until early 1923 when they
      began using leased masters (with a *fake* matrix) derived from various
      sources including Plaza, NYRL & Emerson... By late 1924 Grey Gull had turned
      to ERL as a source of masters but by late 1925 masters in their own master
      series reappeared on Grey Gull labels and by mid-1926 all Grey Gull issues
      were again using their own recordings. It was not until late 1928 (just
      before the Jackson Marathon was made) that Emerson masters once again
      briefly appeared on Grey Gull labels but this time Grey Gull's own
      recordings also continued to be used. By early 1929 and from that date
      onward all Grey Gull issues are their own recordings.

      The above is a summary of what happened and I think this makes it clear that
      the use of Emerson masters (in the 3000 series) was limited to a relatively
      brief period in the mid-1920s and that the subsequent use of ERL masters (in
      the 30000 series) was complimentary to Grey Gull's own recordings rather
      than the ERL masters being "the main source of material"...

      Although there was apparently a degree of commercial involvement between GG
      and ERL at various points during the 1920s I believe they always operated
      independently...

      My research into the various ERL labels is an extension of my GG research
      but this doesn't mean that they were not separate entities... just that the
      overlap in the use of masters on many of the GG & ERL labels makes it's
      easier to research these elusive recordings if both groups of labels are
      examined at the same time.

      What all this means in relation to the Jackson Marathon and the later Krazy
      Cats recordings for GG is that in my opinion the Jackson Marathon is an ERL
      recording and despite the use of some ERL masters by GG around this time I
      don't see any connection with Marathon and I don't believe that any Marathon
      recordings ever appeared on GG labels.

      The Marathon recordings were made by ERL in late 1928 and the Crazy
      Kats/Smolev sessions were made in Grey Gull's studios in early 1930. There
      is no evidence that the same studios were involved and the significant
      amount of time between the two lots of recordings means that there it's not
      correct to say that a supposed connection between ERL and GG resulted in the
      claimed "similarity of sound between the Jackson & his Southern Stompers and
      the Cliff Jackson and his Krazy Kats/Marvin Smolev sessions."

      Whether or not the same band was responsible for the Marathon and the later
      GG Krazy Cats/Smolev sessions, I don't believe they were made by the same
      company or in the same studios...

      I hope this clarifies the situation regarding Emerson and Grey Gull but it
      may or may not have anything to do with whether the same band was involved
      in both.

      Ross



      2009/9/14 Howard Rye <howard@...>

      >
      >
      > I was relying on Sutton and Nauck here. They are clear (but possibly wrong)
      > that what had been Emerson Recording Laboratories had been taken over in
      > 1925 by a group of its former executives trading as Consolidated Recording
      > Corporation, but this is a bit of a distinction without a difference from
      > our point of view as they used a continuous master series to which these
      > 30000 series numbers appear to belong. Am I wrong about this?
      >
      > Consolidated produced the last Emersons in June 1927 according to Sutton &
      > Nauck, but what is said below would suggest at least the possibility that
      > other issues might occur nonetheless.
      >
      > I imagine no one has seen the matrix files around.
      >
      >
      > on 14/09/2009 12:17, Nick Dellow at nick.dellow@...<nick.dellow%40gmail.com>wrote:
      >
      > > The Marathons were manufactured by the Nutmeg Record Corporation, and
      > their
      > > masters were recorded by Emerson Recording Laboratories (ERL). There is a
      > > connection with Grey Gull here, as Grey Gull also pressed records from
      > > masters leased from Emerson Records. Moreover, according to Ross Laird, a
      > > number of ERL labels used some of the same matrix series that also
      > appeared
      > > on Grey Gull labels, although they were strictly speaking not part of the
      > > Grey Gull family. For further information, see:
      > >
      > > http://scarcesoundscom.melbourneitwebsites.com/files/discfile2.pdf
      > >
      > >
      > > As stated in the liner notes of Jazz Oracle's "Grey Gull Rarities" CD,
      > Grey
      > > Gull seems to have been primarily an all-purpose record pressing
      > operation,
      > > which had a hand in manufacturing and distributing lateral records
      > bearing
      > > quite a number of small-time labels, with Emerson as the main source of
      > > material.
      > >
      > > In addition, the Nutmeg Record Company also produced Clover Records. At
      > > least some of Clover's output was pressed from masters originally
      > recorded
      > > by Emerson Records and Grey Gull Records!
      > >
      > > This connection between Marathon, Clover, Grey Gull and Emerson may
      > explain
      > > the similarity of sound between the Jackson & his Southern Stompers and
      > the
      > > Cliff Jackson and his Krazy Kats/Marvin Smolev sessions, and increases
      > the
      > > likelihood that the Marathon Jackson and the Grey Gull/Madison/Van Dyke
      > > Jackson are one and the same!
      > >
      > >
      > > Nick
      > >
      > > 2009/9/14 Howard Rye <howard@...<howard%40coppermill.demon.co.uk>
      > >
      > >
      > >>
      > >>
      > >> I have them on a John R.T. Davies 10-incher from 1970: �Big Band Jazz�,
      > >> Audubon ABE, which I assume was the first reissue. This gives an
      > >> essentially
      > >> unknown personnel with possibly Buster Bailey and probably Prince
      > Robinson
      > >> and Leroy Harris, and (very curiously) a positive identification of
      > Cyrus
      > >> St. Clair. (This set was also Bateau Chinois AA and Ristic 28).
      > >>
      > >> In the 1969 Rust (3rd ed), Benny Waters is positively identified on
      > tenor
      > >> sax (maybe someone asked him) and Mike Jackson is suggested as the
      > pianist.
      > >> (If Waters was asked we need to know the circumstances and the question
      > >> before we can assess how seriously to take the answer. If he was asked
      > at a
      > >> gig, �Are you the saxophonist on a Marathon record by Jackson & His
      > >> Southern
      > >> Stompers?�, his answer will be totally worthless and it is all too
      > possible
      > >> that this will be what happened!)
      > >>
      > >> So someone subsequently decided that this was the Charlie Johnson band.
      > >>
      > >> Gaps 160, also imaginatively called �Big Band Jazz�, issued in 1982,
      > >> accepts
      > >> the Johnson identification. Being a Dick Bakker issue this cites
      > >> duplications and lists VJM52, so that is certainly earlier.
      > >>
      > >> Marathon�s use Consolidated Record Company masters; I guess the
      > opportunity
      > >> for further research is very limited. Those who insist on putting known
      > >> names to records will go on believing it�s Johnson, those of us who
      > don�t
      > >> will retain doubts. Now if the masters were only to turn up on another
      > >> Consolidated label withg meaningful credits.... We can dream. (It�s
      > >> extrememly unlikely because these come at the end of Consolidated�s life
      > >> and
      > >> Marathon may have been the only label they actually had by this late
      > date.)
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >> on 14/09/2009 10:21, Nick Dellow at
      > >> nick.dellow@... <nick.dellow%40gmail.com><nick.dellow%40gmail.com>wrote:
      >
      >
      > >>
      > >>>
      > >>>
      > >>>
      > >>>
      > >>> Dear Michael and Yves,
      > >>>
      > >>> Many thanks for your comments about the CD. Let me first address the
      > >> point
      > >>> about the sound quality of the Jackson and his Southern Stompers sides.
      > >>> Despite the fact that the transfer I took was from a near-mint copy
      > >> (owned
      > >>> by Mark Berresford), the original recording quality is very poor
      > indeed,
      > >>> being very harsh and set within a limited frequency range (even though
      > it
      > >> is
      > >>> an electrical recording). Moreover, the disc's material is also of
      > rather
      > >>> poor quality. Indeed, the 7 inch format does not help either as, in
      > order
      > >>> for around 3 minutes of music to be recorded, the master was cut at a
      > >> finer
      > >>> groove pitch, making distortion inevitable, especially towards the
      > latter
      > >>> part of the record.
      > >>>
      > >>> I agree with Yves that Cliff Jackson's band is a possible contender for
      > >>> these sides, rather than Charlie Johnson. Indeed, while listening to
      > them
      > >>> during the preparation of the CD, Mark and I conduct a comparison test
      > by
      > >>> playing some of the Cliff Jackson & his Krazy Kats/Martin Smolev and
      > his
      > >>> Syncopators sides, including "Horse Feathers" and both takes of "The
      > >>> Terror". I was left with the impression that Cliff Jackson was more
      > >> likely,
      > >>> while Mark commented that further research was obviously necessary!
      > >>>
      > >>> Incidentally, both the Jackson & his Southern Stompers sides previously
      > >>> appeared on a VJM LP (VLP 52 "Jazz From The Golden Era"), with liner
      > >> notes
      > >>> by Brian Rust. He states that there is "no doubt" that Charlie
      > Johnson's
      > >>> Paradise Orchestra is responsible for the recordings. Is this the
      > >> earliest
      > >>> source for such an assumption?
      > >>>
      > >>> Nick
      > >>>
      > >>> 2009/9/14 Michael Rader <Rader.Michael@... <Rader.Michael%40web.de>
      > >>> <Rader.Michael%40web.de><mailto:
      > >> Rader.Michael%40web.de <Rader.Michael%2540web.de>>
      >
      > >>
      > >>>>
      > >>>
      > >>>>> Yves,
      > >>>>>
      > >>>>> A very comprehensive and enthusiastic posting from you as always. The
      > >> easy
      > >>>>> points first:
      > >>>>>
      > >>>>> 1. the Frog CD is definitely worth getting for the Bailey - much
      > >> improved
      > >>>>> sound over the Chronological Classics. Bailey does indulge in some
      > >> hokum
      > >>>>> playing at times, but over all these are good and exposed examples of
      > >> his
      > >>>>> early playing which is less "clinical" than in the 30s. I also have
      > >> the
      > >>>>> Felsted, which I remember as better than its reputation.
      > Incidentally,
      > >> the
      > >>>>> Blue Rhythm Orchestra, which also includes Bailey, is much improved
      > >> against
      > >>>>> its previous reissues (originally on a VJM LP, which was presumably
      > >> the
      > >>>>> source for all subsequent reissues including the Hot and Sweet New
      > >> York
      > >>>>> Trumpets): the individual instruments are more audible and you can
      > >> actually
      > >>>>> feel that the band is swinging.
      > >>>>>
      > >>>>> 2. The Jackson: I seem to remember that the (obvious) possibility
      > that
      > >> this
      > >>>>> was Cliff Jackson has been discussed before and dismissed for some
      > >> reason.
      > >>>>> The GAPS has no liner notes but lists a Charlie Johnson personnel as
      > >>>>> possible. Although the record is most likely from the box of 12 mint
      > >>>>> Marathons discovered in Paris, the reproduction is quite gritty,
      > >> making
      > >>>>> identification difficult. Maybe something to do with the 7" format,
      > >> Nick?
      > >>>>>
      > >>>>> My first impression is that the overall sound and approach are not
      > >> unlike
      > >>>>> the Jackson Grey Gulls - in particular the tempo and the tenor sax.
      > Of
      > >>>>> course I'd need to do more listening to form an opinion.
      > >>>>>
      > >>>>> Michael Rader
      > >>>>>
      > >>>>>
      > >>>>>
      > >>>>> ______________________________________________________
      > >>>>> GRATIS f�r alle WEB.DE-Nutzer: Die maxdome Movie-FLAT!
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      > >>>>>
      > >>>>>
      > >>>>>
      > >>>>> ------------------------------------
      > >>>>>
      > >>>>> ------------------------------------
      > >>>>>
      > >>>>> Yahoo! Groups Links
      > >>>>>
      > >>>>>
      > >>>>>
      > >>>>>
      > >>>
      > >>> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >>>
      > >>>
      > >>>
      > >>>
      > >>>>
      > >>>
      > >>>
      > >>> Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
      > >>> howard@... <howard%40coppermill.demon.co.uk><howard%
      > 40coppermill.demon.co.uk>
      > >>> Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
      > >>>
      > >>
      > >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > ------------------------------------
      > >
      > > ------------------------------------
      > >
      > > Yahoo! Groups Links
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      > Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
      > howard@... <howard%40coppermill.demon.co.uk>
      > Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
      >
      >
      >


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