Vocalion Records

Vocalion Records

Vocalion Records was a record label historically active in the United States and in the United Kingdom.

Vocalion was founded in 1916 by the Aeolian Piano Company of New York City, which also introduced a line of phonographs at the same time. The label first issued single sided vertical cut disc records, soon switching to double sided, then switching to the more common lateral cut system in 1920.

Vocalion pressed their discs in a good quality reddish-brown shellac, which set the product apart from the usual black shellac used by other labels. Advertisements stated "Vocalion Red Records are best", "Red Records last longer". However the shellac was no more durable than good quality black shellac. Vocalion red surfaces are less hardy than contemporary Victor Records. Audio fidelity of Vocalion records are well above average for the era.

In 1925 the label was acquired by Brunswick Records. During the 1920s Vocalion also released "race records" (that is, records recorded by and marketed to African Americans; their famous 1000 series). [http://www.mainspringpress.com/blues_vocalion.html]

In April 1930, Warner Bros. bought up Brunswick Records. In December 1931, the Warner Bros. licensed Brunswick and Vocalion to the American Record Corporation. In 1936 and 1937 Vocalion produced the only recordings of the influential blues artist Robert Johnson.

ARC was purchased by CBS and Vocalion became a subsidiary of Columbia Records in 1938.

The Vocalion label was discontinued in 1940; those current Vocalion's were reissued as OKeh's. The Vocalion brand was revived in the late 1950s by Decca Records (U.S.A.) as a budget label for back catalog reissues.
Decca Records (U.K.) revived the label for a time in the 1960s.

In 1997 the Vocalion label was revived for a new series of compact discs by Michael Dutton of Dutton Laboratories of Watford, England. The label specialises in reissues of recordings originally made between the 1920s - 1970s, often leasing original master recordings originally made by Decca and EMI.

Noted recordings

*How Long, How Long Blues by Leroy Carr
*Sensational Mood by Lloyd Hunter's Serenaders with Victoria Spivey

See also

* List of record labels

External links

* [http://www.capsnews.org/barrbru.htm History of Brunswick and Vocalion]
* [http://www.duttonvocalion.co.uk/default.asp Vocalion compact discs]

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