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Posted By: Jim Liddane on: 05/18/2009 07:53:15 EDT
Subject: RE: The Brunswick Panatrope

Message Detail:
John wrote...

Thanks for all the info, Jim! I'm guessing the Brunswick that still exists is the one who features mostly, if not exclusively, all black artists, at least, on CD.

Jim replied....

Yes and No! The Brunswick company which has survived since 1845 has no connection now with Brunswick Records. They actually manufacture stuff for the aerospace industry and also for bowling alleys!

But originally, that company did found Brunswick Records around 1915 or so and by 1925, they were one of the top three record labels in the world - mainly producing classical and jazz music.

Around 1930, the company sold the label to Warner Brothers, and Jack Kapp, who later founded Kapp Records, became CEO.

He signed Bing Crosby, but when the Depression really hit home, it badly affected Warners who leased the label to ARC American Record Corporation, who promptly doubled the price of each single they sold - making them the dearest label in the USA!

Instead of being a disaster, it helped ARC survive, and they went on to sign more acts like Bing Crosby, The Boswell Sisters, The Mills Brothers, Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway - while holding on to Bing Crosby.

Now that was some lineup!

Tben sometime in World War 2, ARC was bought out and Brunsiwck ended up part of American Decca, who mainly did Crosby re-issues until the arrival of rock and roll, when Decca decided they wanted the new music, but not the image which surrounded it, so when they signed The Crickets - they put them on Brunswick and put their lead singer Buddy Holly on Coral - both of which Decca owned.

Decca then signed Jackie Wilson, mainly because Brunswick's new CEO was Nat Tarnopol who managed Wilson, and he moved the label almost totally over to black music in the early sixties.

They had some great acts on Brunswick and also on a related label Dakar - people like Barbara Acklin, Lavern Baker, Tyrone Davis, Erma Franklin, Louis Armstrong, Gene Chandler, Young-Holt, the Chi-Lites etc.

However, the label had some legal difficulties with Decca over ownership of masters made prior to Tarnopol taking over, and even though he bought out the name from Decca sometime in the 1970's, he did not manage to get hands on the entire catalogue - only the stuff he had recorded from 1957 on (and not therefore Buddy Holly).

The Holly stuff went to MCA, and the earlier jazz stuff went to Verve.

I don't think they have produced anything new since the early 1980's but they are strong in the re-issue market still - I think the company is now owned by Nat's son.

They have a great website, but for some reason or other, it only deals with Brunswick from around the time Nat took over.

I bought a Brunswick catalogue some years back, but am not sure where it is right now!

Incidentally, I did not know there was a market in advertisements - they are a great source of history. I still have all my Billboard magazines from the sixties and seventies onwards, and they are great to read back over.

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