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Teasing the Korean

Crown Records Question

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I have a couple of things that were on Crown that have been reissued (one on CD; one download). Both seem to be mastered from vinyl.

Does anyone know what happened to Crown's master tapes, or does it vary from one title to the next?

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I have a couple of things that were on Crown that have been reissued (one on CD; one download). Both seem to be mastered from vinyl.

Does anyone know what happened to Crown's master tapes, or does it vary from one title to the next?

I'd venture a bet that there are very few "Crown" master tapes as such since the bulk of what Crown (re)issued were previously recorded/issued on the Modern/RPM label(s).

And whatever there was in the way of Modern/RPM masters, acetates, tapes, etc. was purchased lock stock and barrel (legal rights and all) by the British ACE label quite some years ago. And from what I've seen on THEIR reissues they used the earliest/most original source material available whenever possible. Hence their various subseries focusing on acetates and other previously unissued/unreissued material from the Modern/RPM vaults.

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Understood, but there were some really great original sessions recorded for Crown (as far as I know), such as Milt Raskin's "Kapu," Don Ralke's "Bongo Madness" and the Latin Jazz All-Stars' "Jazz Heat Bongo Beat."

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Crown is a very wide field, you see. ;)

So if you are not really that specific in your question then the answers (ANY answers) really risk being far off the mark you are looking for. :shrug[1]:

OTOH, of course, knowing some of your preferences from previous posts I ought to have figured out you were hinting at some not so obvious "lounge" acts, right? ;)

So the question to me would be: Are/were the CROWN recordings lumped in among the assets of Modern/RPM or aren't they?

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I was talking about jazz lps the other day with an older guy (older than me and I'm 57) who's got a large collection and he told me that Crown was sold primarily in grocery stores. Is that true? I bought a few Crown lps early in my jazz collecting days and they sounded terrible. I can't remember any details about them now but it put me off buying any more music on that label and I no longer own the ones I had. Are there any good sounding Crown lps?

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yessssss................................................................ive gotten crown lps which seem to have, lets just say, nicer condition vinyl than others.....................to answer your question i guess all the stuff has moved over to england, how- i dont know. but someday when i visit crown headquarters in LA ill be able to give you more info on its current state

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I was talking about jazz lps the other day with an older guy (older than me and I'm 57) who's got a large collection and he told me that Crown was sold primarily in grocery stores. Is that true? I bought a few Crown lps early in my jazz collecting days and they sounded terrible. I can't remember any details about them now but it put me off buying any more music on that label and I no longer own the ones I had. Are there any good sounding Crown lps?

Crown was the budget label of RPM/Modern. Most Crown LPs were pressed on very low grade vinyl. Modern/RPM/Crown went bankrupt, but the company was revived as Kent, with United as the budget label. There were some good quality recordings on RPM/Modern/Crown/Kent/United, but the sound quality for the most part wasn't heard until Ace in the U.K. started reissuing that material. The Bihari brothers, the original owners of the labels, skimped on masterings, pressings, covers, and anywhere they could save a buck. Ace has finally done things right.

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Getting a copy of Way Out Wardell was quite a revelation for me in the '70's. It wasn't recorded by the Biharis I don't think but was issued on Crown. The version of Blue Lou is probably my favorite Wardell solo. It seems copies of this sold at a bit of a premium for awhile, even when still in shrink wrap with a 99 cent sticker in place.

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I was talking about jazz lps the other day with an older guy (older than me and I'm 57) who's got a large collection and he told me that Crown was sold primarily in grocery stores. Is that true? I bought a few Crown lps early in my jazz collecting days and they sounded terrible. I can't remember any details about them now but it put me off buying any more music on that label and I no longer own the ones I had. Are there any good sounding Crown lps?

Crown was the budget label of RPM/Modern. Most Crown LPs were pressed on very low grade vinyl. Modern/RPM/Crown went bankrupt, but the company was revived as Kent, with United as the budget label. There were some good quality recordings on RPM/Modern/Crown/Kent/United, but the sound quality for the most part wasn't heard until Ace in the U.K. started reissuing that material. The Bihari brothers, the original owners of the labels, skimped on masterings, pressings, covers, and anywhere they could save a buck. Ace has finally done things right.

And the sound they get on their reissues show that there was no problem with the masters, it was just everything that was done getting it from the master recording to the grocery store shelves that made the sound so bad.

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Never bought a Crown in a grocery store, all the ones I have came from a Firestone store.

For real. Those were the days.

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Getting a copy of Way Out Wardell was quite a revelation for me in the '70's. It wasn't recorded by the Biharis I don't think but was issued on Crown. The version of Blue Lou is probably my favorite Wardell solo. It seems copies of this sold at a bit of a premium for awhile, even when still in shrink wrap with a 99 cent sticker in place.

My copy of Way Out Wardell was on Crown. I bought it around 1961 in a drugstore. :ph34r:

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So is Way Out Wardell available from ACE?

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I got a mono copy of Brubeck's Anything Goes out of a rack at a TG&Y. Records used to be everywhere.

The young people today, they don't know...today, music is everywhere, but I'm not talking about music, I'm talking about records, about you going in with your mom while she buys a few spools of thread or with your dad while gets the front end aligned, and coming out with some sides, some good sides, and for not too many pennies.

It's still too soon to know whether the omni-availability of invisible digital media is "better" or "worse" than the old paradigm, but it sure as hell was different. Majorly different.

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OTOH, of course, knowing some of your preferences from previous posts I ought to have figured out you were hinting at some not so obvious "lounge" acts, right? ;)

Nothing that I mentioned was a "lounge act." The Latin Jazz All-Stars were a studio group consisting of jazz/session musicians. They never gigged live, in a lounge or elsewhere.

Milt Raskin and Don Ralke were studio arrangers.

I gave these as examples because I knew for a fact that these CDs/mp3s were mastered from vinyl. The other Crown albums I have are on vinyl, so I have no idea if there are CDs or what they are mastered from.

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Getting a copy of Way Out Wardell was quite a revelation for me in the '70's. It wasn't recorded by the Biharis I don't think but was issued on Crown. The version of Blue Lou is probably my favorite Wardell solo. It seems copies of this sold at a bit of a premium for awhile, even when still in shrink wrap with a 99 cent sticker in place.

My copy of Way Out Wardell was on Crown. I bought it around 1961 in a drugstore. :ph34r:

That music came from Gene Norman's Just Jazz concerts and early 78rpm releases were on "Modern Music" (the first incarnation of the Modern label) so there is a direct link to the Biharis there. Several Crown LPs with music from that concert were issued.

So is Way Out Wardell available from ACE?

Not according to their most recent online catalog. But the Gene Norman concerts have been reissued quite often elsewhere, including on CD.

Nothing that I mentioned was a "lounge act." The Latin Jazz All-Stars were a studio group consisting of jazz/session musicians. They never gigged live, in a lounge or elsewhere.

Milt Raskin and Don Ralke were studio arrangers.

I gave these as examples because I knew for a fact that these CDs/mp3s were mastered from vinyl. The other Crown albums I have are on vinyl, so I have no idea if there are CDs or what they are mastered from.

O.K., point taken - not the most musically correct classification. Now how would one broadly classifiy "adult" instrumental music of those days that is neither straight-ahead jazz nor straight-ahead pop nor teen pop nor easy listening nor ...? Just to give a rough idea? And regardless of where their live gigs (if any) took place. But I think you did understand what I was getting at. The music you named is quite atypical of "anything Crown" so it's not the kind of music one tends to think of when that label is evoked. BTW, what label(s) are your CD reissues on?

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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Understood. I didn't mean to come off as argumentative in my previous post. In terms of "typically Crown," I think of Crown as being all over the map, as a casual perusal of their releases on the back cover of any album will show. I don't really think of them as a jazz label per se, although "Jazz Heat Bongo Beat" is both a solid jazz album and bongo record.

My Milt Raskin mp3 is on Amazon and iTunes under a number of different versions. I have one on "Flair" that is in true stereo. I think it's from vinyl but it's pretty clean, cleaner than most Crown vinyl I've heard.

I'm not sure what label "Jazz Heat" is on; I don't have it nearby at the moment.

Sorry for any misunderstanding.

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I wouldn't have thought of Crown as a "typical" jazz label per se either (though some of their "Modern Jazz Stars" albums are a JAZZ discographer's nightmare ;)).

But I can assure you that Crown is widely considered a typical 50s R&B label (and to a lesser extent a Country label), which - judging by the evidence of their releases OVERALL - is incorrect but that's how it is widely perceived (even if only because the BULK of their "collectible" items is from the R&B field), and there are real collecting nuts out there who'd pick the tiniest details of their releases in those fields apart in order to document and cover everything. "Poor man's Blue Note obsession", maybe?? :crazy:

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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I'm always learning stuff here. I had no idea Crown was associated with R&B or country. I thought that they were a march/polka/Hawaiian label that occasionally released a jazz album along the way.

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someone on here, was it Big Beat Steve, told me the place to look for the real deal info on crown is not w/ the jazz or r&b collectors but the country-western people, have compiled a lot of useful stuff

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I remember going into our neighborhood grocery store back in the '60s and '70s, in a primarily African-American neighborhood, and picking through the bins of records with my dad while my mom was waiting in line to pay for her groceries. Picked up a bunch of Crown/Kent/United, etc. blues, R&B, and jazz discs that way. Almost without exception they sounded pretty bad, but you couldn't beat the price and the music involved (particularly blues) was usually unavailable elsewhere in those days.

It seemed to me then that these labels were primarily aimed at a middle-aged black audience who might not go to a record store for the latest hits, but would pick up a cheap record or 2 of old favorites on their way through their regular shopping. While there were also a few bargain country records from these labels available to the older mostly poor white "hillbilly" audience that remained in the neighborhood, I never realized that they put out records that were intended for more "general" audiences.

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So is Way Out Wardell available from ACE?

unfortunately no - it's been OOP for a few years now - there are second hand copies on Amazon UK

I emailed them the other day & the reply was that they have no plans to repress the CD

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My last sighting of this material was a 2 lp set on a Japanese version of GNP, IIRC. Don't know of the cd version.

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Answering my own question.  Several safety copies of Crown master tapes have surfaced recently, and have been making the rounds.  They sound amazing.

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