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JSP. Was Walter Bennett (yet again)

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  • Fredamhran@aol.com
    Hi Folks, I m new to this group and this my first posting. My apologies therefore for jumping in on a controversial matter, and for bringing some off topic
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 3, 2004
      Hi Folks,

      I'm new to this group and this my first posting. My apologies therefore for
      jumping in on a controversial matter, and for bringing some off topic
      material into the discussion. However, Michael Rader's comments about JSP's pirating
      of Bear Family material confirms what I and others have suspected for a long
      time.

      In particular, I would advise listers to take a close look at, but not to
      buy, JSP's recent Charley Patton collection. Some years ago, I reviewed
      Revenant's massive Patton retrospective, and was unimpressed by the fact that it
      includes quite a number of sides by performers whose connections with Patton are
      somewhat tenuous.

      Lo and behold, the following year JSP release their ultra-budget set,
      complete with the same superfluous artists ! Not only that, but they had the cheek
      to claim that their set was remastered by "The Masked Marvel", a famous
      psuedonym of Patton's.

      My hunch ever since has been that JSP simply pirated what they wanted from
      the Revenant set and remarketed the material at a fraction of the price. Given
      that the Revenant was put together as a labour of love by a lot of dedicated
      people, I regard that as a piece of first class brazen cheek.

      I'm glad to hear that JSP have been prosecuted at last, but I doubt they are
      the only players in this game. From what the grapevine tells me, Properbox
      ripped off Topic Records and several other reissue companies, with their
      Farewell To Ireland retrospective of Irish emigration 78s. To make things worse,
      at least one of the tracks in that set is a deliberate hoax which was
      perpertrated by the producer. See the letters section of Musical Traditions magazine
      at _http://www.Mustrad.org.uk_ (http://www.Mustrad.org.uk) .

      Does anybody know of any other reissue companies which are worth avoiding
      with the proverbial bargepole ?

      Cheers,

      Fred McCormick.
      In a message dated 03/10/04 03:27:02 GMT Daylight Time,
      RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com writes:

      David, who's generally very easy-going and mild-mannered, was quite
      angry when I raised the subject of JSP records. You might know that John
      Stedman, the owner of JSP, was convicted by a Hamburg court for ripping
      off restoration work by Bear Family for his two Carter Family boxes.

      This is not the only case where Stedman has "borrowed" others work.
      Perhaps the most recent case is "Breaking out of New Orleans" which
      probably uses work done (and usually paid for) for Frog, Jazz Oracle,
      Timeless and Retrieval. The "Masters of Memphis Blues" uses restoration
      work from two old JSP CDs which David bought (not leased) for reissue on
      Frog. Understandably, David is not amused...



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Patrice Champarou
      Fred, I can t remember if you re also on the pre-war-blues group but you might find some discussion about the Revenant/JSP topic there (at least if you re
      Message 2 of 6 , Oct 3, 2004
        Fred,

        I can't remember if you're also on the pre-war-blues group but you might
        find some discussion about the Revenant/JSP topic there (at least if you're
        patient enough to search the archives;)
        I'm not sure this is completely off-topic, if it is I'm sure a *reasonable*
        amount of off-topic stuff does no harm, but if I understand you rightly you
        think it would be a correct attitude to "avoid" JSP releases, and I cannot
        completely agree.
        I mean, everyone is perfectly entitled to start a crusade and publicly
        mention illegal behaviours, but
        - I'm not sure this would be more efficient than trying to boycott an
        international company whose policy is a crime against the human race or the
        future of the planet (maybe that would mean boycotting them all ;)
        - I do not think the whole staff who works for one of the rare and small
        companies who bother making pre-war recordings available to us is
        responsible for pirating other's material.
        - As long as there are laws that enable companies to solve the problem,
        the customer who is lucky to find such material at a
        reasonable price has no reason to feel personally guilty. If I could have
        afforded the Revenant box (a superb object, Robert Sacré showed it to me
        when I visited him in Liège) I wouldn't have bought the cheap-looking
        Pattons instead, but the fact is that some JSP box sets can be found in some
        large records shops, even in France, at an affordable price (unlike imported
        Yazoo's) and this is less of a mind pollution than the majority of what is
        usually filed under "blues";)

        Incidentally, this reminds me that I do not consider blues as a "category of
        jazz" and makes me wonder if a book written by René Langel (originally
        tiltled "Le Jazz orphelin de l'Afrique") has been translated into English.
        It's great food for thought, the largest collection of misunderstanding,
        faked arguments and comtempt for early jazz I've ever read!

        Patrice
      • Michael Rader
        Patrice, JSP s practice does create a dilemma for the buyer, if he knows that JSP s sales are damaging the sales of the labels commission restoration work with
        Message 3 of 6 , Oct 3, 2004
          Patrice,

          JSP's practice does create a dilemma for the buyer, if he knows that JSP's sales are damaging the sales of the labels commission restoration work with possible impact on their ability or willingness to do further work.

          Colin Bray of Jazz Oracle has told me that Mosaic was strongly considering not issuing anything in the "vintage" category, since they thought it was likely that they would be ripped off by JSP (again).

          In the case of the Pattons, there actually was considerable extra work done by JSP on the originals by a very well known and respected sound enigineer, and, as far as I know, at considerable cost to Stedman.

          JSP still does reissue boxes which are exclusively theirs, e.g. the Charlie Parker studio recordings, the Django in Rome and the Hoagy Carmichael set. Maybe their justification for using others' work is that it helps to pay for their "legitimate" projects. In the case of Frog it's downright unfair, since Frog is working on a shoestring budget. David French bought the work done for several JSP CDs to make them available again (the two volumes of Memphis Blues, the Memphis Jug Band, which he completed with the missing third volume).

          Re Proper I know that Origin Jazz Library is upset due to Proper's ripping off not only the recordings but also some of the artwork from OJL for their Milton Brown set. The main reason that no action is taken is that the legal costs are too high.

          A question that does come up is if everyone buying JSP or Proper boxes would have bought the more expensive original sets and the answer is almost certainly no. Also, to be fair to JSP; they do not usually copy the complete sets, so that real collectors are unlikely to opt for them, given the choice.

          Best,

          Michael


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        • David W. Littlefield
          ... Before I knew that JSP was pirating other labels tracks, I bought the Bunny Berigan set, explicitly selecting it because it duplicated the Mosaic set re
          Message 4 of 6 , Oct 4, 2004
            At 08:39 AM 10/4/2004 +0200, you wrote:
            >JSP's practice does create a dilemma for the buyer, if he knows that JSP's
            >sales are damaging the sales of the labels commission restoration work with
            >possible impact on their ability or willingness to do further work.
            >
            >Colin Bray of Jazz Oracle has told me that Mosaic was strongly considering
            >not issuing anything in the "vintage" category, since they thought it was
            >likely that they would be ripped off by JSP (again).

            Before I knew that JSP was pirating other labels' tracks, I bought the
            Bunny Berigan set, explicitly selecting it because it duplicated the Mosaic
            set re the material in which I was interested. No idea whether pirating was
            involved, but for sure I'd have bought the Mosaic set if the JSP hadn't
            been available.

            >
            >JSP still does reissue boxes which are exclusively theirs, e.g. the Charlie
            >Parker studio recordings, the Django in Rome and the Hoagy Carmichael set.
            >Maybe their justification for using others' work is that it helps to pay for
            >their "legitimate" projects. In the case of Frog it's downright unfair,
            >since Frog is working on a shoestring budget. David French bought the work
            >done for several JSP CDs to make them available again (the two volumes of
            >Memphis Blues, the Memphis Jug Band, which he completed with the missing
            >third volume).

            Stealing is stealing.
            >
            >A question that does come up is if everyone buying JSP or Proper boxes would
            >have bought the more expensive original sets and the answer is almost
            >certainly no. Also, to be fair to JSP; they do not usually copy the complete
            >sets, so that real collectors are unlikely to opt for them, given the choice.

            Stealing is still stealing--no legitimate justification for it.

            I bought the Milton Brown ProperBox before knowing they'd ripped it off
            from JOL. I also bought the Bob Wills and Western Swing boxes, and several
            others, explicitly because the cheap price enabled me to explore music I
            would not otherwise have bought.

            My rule with Classics, which also pirates freely, is to see if the music is
            available legitimately before buying.

            --Sheik
          • Michael Rader
            Hi Dave, Good to see you here. ... The solution here would be for the cheap labels to come to some kind of royalty arrangement with the people whose work
            Message 5 of 6 , Oct 4, 2004
              Hi Dave,

              Good to see you here.

              > Stealing is stealing.
              > >
              > >A question that does come up is if everyone buying JSP or Proper boxes would
              > >have bought the more expensive original sets and the answer is almost
              > >certainly no. Also, to be fair to JSP; they do not usually copy the complete
              > >sets, so that real collectors are unlikely to opt for them, given the choice.
              >
              > Stealing is still stealing--no legitimate justification for it.
              >
              > I bought the Milton Brown ProperBox before knowing they'd ripped it off
              > from JOL. I also bought the Bob Wills and Western Swing boxes, and several
              > others, explicitly because the cheap price enabled me to explore music I
              > would not otherwise have bought.

              The solution here would be for the "cheap" labels to come to some kind of royalty arrangement with the people whose work they are using. In particular if they are run by collectors. I don't know Stedman at all, but have seen some fairly negative opinions on Blues lists.

              The problem is that whole sets or the best part of them have been ripped off. If they were just samplers with reference to the originals
              > My rule with Classics, which also pirates freely, is to see if the music is
              > available legitimately before buying.
              >

              The particular problem with JSP is that they built up a good reputation, based on their early boxes (Hot Fives and Sevens, Morton, Mills Brothers, Django Volume 1, Calloway) and that people expect them to be well restored, based on original work by John RT Davies or Ted Kendall. I have no idea what they have been using for some of their latest boxes: I bought the Paramount Masters and (at least) one track has a most disturbing "pre-echo" which can only be from an LP. There is a rumour that they used Document for their Blind Blake and Blind Lemon sets, which would really be stooping low, since Johnny Parth was an old rogue (but well loved) who used virtually any source.

              The situation is even more complicated than you believe, since copyright protection in the US theroretically extends to 2056 on *any* recording. That means virtually anything you might have in your collection is illegal, unless it was issued by Sony, BMG or the other biggies. This has to do with your Federal constitution in the US, where this is subject to individual state legislation. People always deplore the situation in Europe, but the US is sometimes even worse.

              Cheers,
              Michael
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            • soundofcd
              Hi Patrice, ... might find some discussion about the Revenant/JSP topic there (at least if you re patient enough to search the archives;)
              Message 6 of 6 , Oct 4, 2004
                Hi Patrice,

                > I can't remember if you're also on the pre-war-blues group but you
                might find some discussion about the Revenant/JSP topic there (at
                least if you're patient enough to search the archives;)<

                I am, but I'm new there as well, but I'll certainly check the
                archives out.

                To be honest, I don't always know what is legit JSP or Properbox, and
                what isn't. And I certainly wouldn't want to put anyone off buying
                that which either company (or anyone else) has purchased and
                published legitimately.

                But I do get to be worried when small labels like Frog and Origin
                find their market and their earnings reduced by non-legitimate
                copyists. It damages them and if such companies are forced out of
                business, or forced to reduce their output, it damages us. Perhaps
                there's a service there, which we could do for each other, and for
                genuine record companies, in blowing the whistle on this and other
                boards, whenever we encounter examples of piracy.

                In any event, the JSP Patton set was too hard faced for words.
                Unlike, one presumes, some of JSP's other releases, the ink was
                barely dry on the Revenant set before JSP had their rip off copy on
                the record racks. There are a lot of things which I don't like about
                the Revenant. In fact, when I reviewed it, I was tempted to dismiss
                the whole thing as pretentious tosh. I didn't because it was put
                together with the best of intentions, by a group of lifelong Patton
                enthusiasts, whose last conceivable consideration was, presumably,
                how much money they could make out of the product. For those reasons,
                it deserves to be left alone.

                Incidentally, I don't know what the situation is in other countries.
                However, as far as I can gather, this kind of copying is not illegal
                in Britain, as long as the material is out of copyright. Does anyone
                know any different ?

                I can't say I've heard of Langel, but it certainly sounds one to
                avoid.

                Cheers,

                Fred McCormick

                > I'm not sure this is completely off-topic, if it is I'm sure a
                *reasonable* amount of off-topic stuff does no harm, but if I
                understand you rightly you think it would be a correct attitude
                to "avoid" JSP releases, and I cannot
                > completely agree.
                > I mean, everyone is perfectly entitled to start a crusade and
                publicly
                > mention illegal behaviours, but
                > - I'm not sure this would be more efficient than trying to boycott
                an
                > international company whose policy is a crime against the human
                race or the
                > future of the planet (maybe that would mean boycotting them all ;)
                > - I do not think the whole staff who works for one of the rare and
                small
                > companies who bother making pre-war recordings available to us is
                > responsible for pirating other's material.
                > - As long as there are laws that enable companies to solve the
                problem,
                > the customer who is lucky to find such material at a
                > reasonable price has no reason to feel personally guilty. If I
                could have
                > afforded the Revenant box (a superb object, Robert Sacré showed it
                to me
                > when I visited him in Liège) I wouldn't have bought the cheap-
                looking
                > Pattons instead, but the fact is that some JSP box sets can be
                found in some
                > large records shops, even in France, at an affordable price (unlike
                imported
                > Yazoo's) and this is less of a mind pollution than the majority of
                what is
                > usually filed under "blues";)
                >
                > Incidentally, this reminds me that I do not consider blues as
                a "category of
                > jazz" and makes me wonder if a book written by René Langel
                (originally
                > tiltled "Le Jazz orphelin de l'Afrique") has been translated into
                English.
                > It's great food for thought, the largest collection of
                misunderstanding,
                > faked arguments and comtempt for early jazz I've ever read!
                >
                > Patrice
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