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Oriole

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This was the most successful record label produced by Levy's of London (see also Levaphone).

The first of 4 different series of Oriole records were released in May & June 1927, and 15 different records were released, though the recordings generally dated from a year or two earlier. They were all from American Vocalion's "race" catalogue and numbered 1000 to 1012 plus 2000 and 2001 for 4 sides by white cabaret artists.  (see first label)

The P-100 series dates from the early 1930s and the label is either silver (see second label), or sometimes gold as in the third series.

In the mid-1930s, there was a short-lived LV-100 series, gold labelled with the same design as the earlier 30s P- series. (see third label example)

The LV-series were re-issued in the 1950s as LB-series, using the original masters and a new-design of label in Black with silver printing (see fourth example). New recordings were also made available in this series


Then, later in the 1950s and into the 1960s, they used a CB-catalogue series. (see fifth example).

Thanks to Bill Dean-Myatt's tireless research, I have found three more Oriole series from the 1950s:
The LB-1000 series, Oriole International and a Hebrew series; images on the right here courtesy of Bill.

I'm sure there are more....

The final picture shows an Oriole private recording, something Levys were producing for many years. This example is from the mid-1930s. 









The following is an attempt at listing some of the Oriole series. 
First the fifteen 1927 records:

Cat No Matrix Title Artists Original Issue / Recording Date
1000 E-2328
E-2329
Plantation Blues
Chicago Breakdown
Sonny Clay's Plantation Orchestra Vocalion 1000 (Feb 2, 1926)
1001 E-3193/4
E-3195/7
Daddy Come Back
I've Got Somebody New
Rosa Henderson with the Four Black Diamonds Vocalion 1025 (May-Jun 1926)
1002 E-2440
E-2442
South Street Blues
Charleston Blues
Viola McCoy with the Dixie Trio Vocalion 1002 (c. Dec 1925)
1003 C-2620/1
C-2622/3
29th And Dearborn
Sweet Mumtaz
(Louis) Russell's Hot Six Vocalion 1010 (Mar 10, 1926)
1004 E-3138
E-3142
Static Strut
Stomp Off, Let's Go!
Erskine Tate's Vendome Orchestra Vocalion 1027 (May 28,-1926)
1005 E-2859
E-2882
Sadie Green (The Vamp Of New Orleans)
Nobody Else Will Do
Della & Gene Collins, (vocal duet with ukulele)
Edmonia Henderson (with piano & clarinet)
Vocalion 1016 (c. Apr 19, 1926)
Vocalion 1015 (Apr 20, 1926)
1006 E-3415
E-2950
She's Crying For Me
Here Comes My Baby
Dewey Jackson's Peacock Orchestra
Rosa Henderson with the Three Hot Eskimos
Vocalion 1040 (Jun 21, 1926)
Vocalion 1021 (c. Apr 29, 1926)
1007 E-2863
E-2869
The Pearls
King Porter Stomp
Jelly-Roll Morton (piano solo) Vocalion 1020 (Apr 20, 1926)
1008 E-3166
E-3164
Struggling
Little Bits
Jimmy Bertrand's Washboard Wizards Vocalion 1035 (May 29, 1926)
1009 E-3156
E-3157
Georgia Bo-Bo
Drop That Sack
Lill (Armstong)'s Hot Shots Vocalion 1037 (May 28, 1926)
1010 E-4324
E-4321
The Creeper
Immigration Blues
Duke Ellington's Kentucky Orchestra Vocalion 1077 (Dec 29, 1926)
1011 E-4771/3
E-4774/6
Variety Stomp
Phantom Blues
Fess Williams & his Royal Flush Orchestra Vocalion 15550 (Mar 28, 1927)
1012 E-21786
E-21788
Cushion Foot Stomp
P. D. Q. Blues
Clarence Williams & his Washboard Band Vocalion 1088 (Mar 8, 1927)
2000 E-3802
E-3805
She Knows Her Onions
Yiddisher Charleston
Arthur Brown (tenor, with orchestra) (pseudonym for Irving Kaufman) Vocalion 15460 (Sept 1926)
2001 E-4358
E-4363
High-High-High Up In The Hills
How Long Must I Wait For You ?
Peggy English Vocalion 15504 (Jan 25, 1927)

Now the early 1930s P-series: Grateful thanks to Steve Walker for filling all the gaps. See also notes at the bottom of the page.

Cat No Matrix Title Artists
P-100 81
83
Lay In The Hay
Tiger Rag
Harry Roy and his Bat Club Boys (from the Bat Club, London)
P-101 91
92
Swanee
I Ain't Got Nobody
Stanley Black & his Oriole Modernists ("Hot" vocalism by Nat Gonnella (sic))
P-102 R-221
R-222
Minnie The Moocher
To Have And To Hold
Adelaide Hall (the crooning blackbird) with piano accmp.
P-103 R-216
R-218
Doin' What I Please
Rhapsody In Love
Adelaide Hall (the crooning blackbird) with piano accmp.
P-104 87
89
Pussy!
If You Haven't Got Love
Harry Roy and his Bat Club Boys (from the Bat Club, London)
P-105 195
204
Cheated (Roy)
Ooh! That Kiss (Warren)
Harry Roy and his Bat Club Boys (from the Bat Club, London)
P-106 199
202
Home
You Rascal. You (No. 2)
Harry Roy and his Bat Club Boys (from the Bat Club, London)
P-107 206
208
I'll Putcha Pitcha In The Paper
All For The Sake Of Love (Hart, Blight)
Nan Blackstone (with novelty orchestra)
P-108 R-225
R-232
Too Darn Fickle
I'm Red-Hot From Harlem
Adelaide Hall (the crooning blackbird) with piano accmp.
P-109 R-229
R-230
I Got Rhythm
Baby Mine
Adelaide Hall (the crooning blackbird) with piano accmp.
P-110 278
279
Bidin' My Time (Gershwin)
You Took Advantage Of Me (Rodgers)
Edgar Jackson's Gargoyle Five (at the Gargoyle Club, London)
P-111 284
287
I've Got Five Dollars (Rodgers, Hart)
By Special Permission Of The Copyright Owners (Gensler)
Edgar Jackson's Gargoyle Five (at the Gargoyle Club, London)
P-112 308
309
excerpts from Rhapsody Moderne, parts 1 & 2 (Harry Gordon) Harry Gordon (piano)
P-113 348
350
Thank You For The Flowers (Moore, Johnson)
You're Just About Right For Me (Turk, Ahlert)
Edgar Jackson's Gargoyle Five (at the Spider's Web, Bushey)
P-114
(12")
352
354
Rhapsody (Lucas)
Arabaasques (Jean-Jean)
Rudolph Dunbar (clarinet) with Mary Lucas at the piano
P-115 515
516
Sim Shalom
Birchas Kohanim
Cantor Wolf Lewi

Finally, the mid-1930s LV-series; these appear to have been re-issued in the 1940s in the LB series, then in the 1950s on the CB-series.

Cat No Matrix Title Artists Original Issue / Recording Date
LV-100 P-77161
P-77163
Dinah
Lady Be Good
Quintette Of The Hot Club Of France Ultraphon AP-1422, Dec. 1934
LV-101 P-77162
P-77164
Tiger Rag
I Saw Stars
Quintette Of The Hot Club Of France Ultraphon AP-1423, Dec. 1934
LV-102 P-77242
P-77243
Confessin'
The Continental
Quintette Of The Hot Club Of France Ultraphon AP-1443, Mar. 1935
LV-103 P-77351
P-77352
Blue Drag
Swanee River
Quintette Of The Hot Club Of France Ultraphon AP-1479, Apr. 1935
LV-104 P-77240
P-77241
Lily Belle May June
Sweet Sue, Just You
Quintette Of The Hot Club Of France Ultraphon AP-1444, Mar. 1935
LV-105 P-77285
P-77286
Blue Drag
Viper's Dream
Freddy Taylor and his Men From Harlem Ultraphon AP-1489, Mar. 1935


Oriole Private Recordings: It is reasonable to assume that Levy's produced many of these, probably hundreds, but generally only single copies have been found of those known, excepting the Vernon's Pools record, so it it not unlikely that Levys only pressed individual copies of most private recordings. I will attempt to list them below, hopefully in master number order, though not all show a master number, so some guesswork has to be undertaken. These are usually single-sided, often with the Oriole-stamped backing.
Thanks to the following people who have helped with this listing: Norman Field, Charles Hippisley-Cox

Matrix Title Artists (where known) Approx. Recording Date coupling
         
118 When I Look At You (Mack) Jimmy Mack and his Boys circa November 1931 119
119 What A Girl (Mack) Jimmy Mack and his Boys circa November 1931 118
         
158 [no title shown] ? (soprano, with piano accmp)   171
         
171 [no title shown] violin solo   158
         
270 Limehouse Blues Cavendish Dance Band May 1932  
 
I Heard Jack Sheehan & his Music (with vocal trio) Summer, 1932  
 
373 When It's Early-Closing In Town anonymous dance band with vocal refrain Autumn 1932  
         
538 A Souvenir Of Duke Ellington Duke Ellington interviewed by Percy Mathieson Brooks (editor of The Melody Maker magazine) July 14 or 15, 1933 s/s
539 A Souvenir Of Duke Ellington Duke Ellington interviewed by Percy Mathieson Brooks (editor of The Melody Maker magazine) July 14 or 15, 1933 s/s
         
553 Night anonymous dance band, thought to be Percival Mackey's Band, vocal possibly by Monti Ryan Autumn 1933  
         
563 Corinne Corinna anonymous dance band (2t/tb/2sax/p/g/sb/d) (from "JR") c. December 1933
         
906 Love In Bloom Ted Ford and his Old Florida Band c. November 1934 907
907 Miss Otis Regrets Al Shaw (guitar) c. November 1934 906
         
935 Theme, into: Sing As We Go Vernon's Football Pools Recording Orchestra c. December 1934 937
936        
937 Theme, into: Over My Shoulder Vernon's Football Pools Recording Orchestra c. December 1934 935
         
1203 Sweet Sue - Just You Cambridge University QuinQuagiunta Ramblers c. 1935 1204
1204 Oh, Lady Be Good Cambridge University QuinQuagiunta Ramblers c. 1935 1203
         
1272 (I've Got A) Feeling You're Fooling male vocal duet with piano & drums accmp c. Late 1935 1273
1273 I Wished On The Moon male vocal duet with piano & drums accmp c. Late 1935 1272
         
2858 Code and Numerals Morse Record 1A   2859
2859 Plain Language Morse Record 1A   2858
         
3414 Code And Numerals, 12-15 w.p.m. Morse Record 2A   3415
3415 Plain Language, 12-15 w.p.m. Morse Record 2A   3414
         

Note: A copy seen of 906/907 (the sides are coupled) says there were only 18 copies made of this record (hand-written on the label)


NOTES regarding the Oriole P-series and Levys by Steve Walker. (dated October 28, 2012)

All details are taken from the original labels, with the exceptions of  P-103, 108, 109, 112, 114 and 115. Note that P-114 is a 12” record. Masters in italic face are hand-written, and were recorded in an upstairs room of the Regent Palace Hotel; masters in upright face are type-set and were recorded in Levy’s own studio at Rosslyn House, Regent Street (but see note on the Adelaide Hall session, below). 

           

These records seem to have been issued in two blocks: P-100 - 109 in the autumn of 1931, and P-110 - 114 in the autumn of 1932; only P-113 and P-114 were ever publicly advertised so far as I know. All originally had silver labels with black printing; the most popular were re-pressed on gold labels with black printing, and these re-pressings appear to date from 1933-34. A batch of P-107 on silver is known to have been sent to the Liberty Music Shop in New York; exact recording dates where known are likely to have come from test pressings.

 

The second Harry Roy session was moved in Rust & Forbes' BRITISH DANCE BANDS ON RECORD to the spring of 1932, on the understandable but erroneous evidence of the general release date of some of the tunes in England. The band in fact gave up doubling at the Bat Club in November, 1931, under the pressure of mounting the full band’s stage show at the RKO Theatre, Leicester Square. It is likely that the band got advance copies of the sheet music from Paris, where the release restrictions did not apply, and that the sales of the Oriole records were so limited as to escape the attention of the Performing Rights Society.

 

The Adelaide Hall session, however, bears faint stylo-written masters prefixed R-, indicating that they are genuine English Brunswick masters. The only explanation I can offer is that Brunswick were allowed the use of Levy’s small Rosslyn House studio on occasions when their normal venue  -  Chappell’s Aeolian Hall in Bond Street  -  was too large for the purpose; Brunswick 1217 must have been issued contemporaneously with Oriole P-102 and 103, though Brunswick 1307 is a 1932 re-issue. To make matters worse, some later pressings of the Oriole P-100 series bear ‘Buckingham’ stamper codes, indicating that they were pressed by Decca at New Malden. It cannot be stressed too strongly that the master series of Oriole and English Brunswick do NOT interlock, as was once believed, though they are numerically and chronologically very similar. The note which appeared for many years in Adelaide Hall’s chapter in Brian Rust's JAZZ RECORDS regarding master 231 is correct in what it records, but it is of no relevance in that context; it is a 12” Oriole master.

 

Collector and sound restorer (and jazz musician) John R.T. Davies was the first to point out (and I entirely agree) that the studio used pre-numbered waxes, thereby accounting for many blanks by using a new number for each take. This is supported by the existence of a number of rejected takes in test pressing form, which I have of course not included in the listing.

 

P-115 is a complete rogue, but the report appears to be correct (which is to say it does not seem to be a mis-report for an SP- or SR- issue; it was filed in order at THE GRAMOPHONE). It is likely to be on orange with gold printing, but I have not seen it.