Teasing the Korean

Sales and Distribution of Jazz LPs, circa 1948-1964

105 posts in this topic

6 hours ago, GA Russell said:

I read (I think in the booklet of the Bud Shank Mosaic) that the first Pacific Jazz album to earn royalties (if that's the right term) was Bud Shank's soundtrack to a surfing movie called Barefoot Adventure.  This was about 1960.

Bock called Shank, and said, "I owe you some money.  I've never done this before, so I'll give you a choice.  I will give you the cash, or I will spend the cash and buy for you wholesale a new stereo component system."

Shank took the stereo.

I'd have taken the money and bought more records, of course :)

MG

9 hours ago, Shrdlu said:

This is a very interesting thread.

Alfred Lion and Frank Wolff can't have been making the large amount of money suggested, because I heard an interview with Alfred's wife, Ruth, in which she said that Blue Note was never more than six months away from bankruptcy.

Also, it is well known that Alfred and Horace Silver were very close friends, so it is unlikely that there were arguments about money.

Getting back to the original topic, I was collecting LPs in the 1960s in a large city, and I never had any trouble obtaining the albums I wanted (and that includes Blue Note, none of whose albums were issued by other companies). After I got my first Prestige LP, which had their mailing address in New Jersey, I was able to order albums direct from them. They had a very efficient mail-order business and a large number of their albums remained available for many years, certainly through the end of the 1960s. I still remember the name Marcia Weinstock on the correspondence.

Depends on what period Ruth was talking about. Once the company started having hits, in 1962, it was in the shit. The manufacturers for the vinyl, the album covers and inner sleeves wanted payment now; the big customers - supermarkets and whatever it was in the sixties - didn't give a toss about Blue Note, so they paid when they wanted to get the next hit. Blue note couldn't have a stream of hits like Chess or Atlantic, therefore shit hit the windows.

And I'm sure you're right about there being no arguments between Horace and Alfred. But nonetheless, friends can say something like they've really GOT to have those royalties so...

Re Prestige's mail order service; I ordered some albums direct from Atlantic in the sixties - got some US notes and put them in an ordinary letter, not even registered (!) - and asked for Chris Connor's 'Free spirits' and the new Otis Redding that had just been announced - 'The soul album'. I got a promo before it came out in the shops, but NO letter saying thanks or even a bill. Neither my first or second orders elicited anything more than the records I wanted.

MG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/30/2021 at 10:22 PM, Milestones said:

I do recall buying a lot of Prestige "twofers" and Milestone "twofers" in my early days of jazz--early to mid-80s.  I stocked up pretty well on Miles, Wes, Bill Evans, MJQ, Sonny, and others.  They were pretty cool and tended to have fine, detailed album notes.  You could find some of these in most record stores in the Cleveland area, and a few stores downtown and in the eastern suburbs had plenty of them.

Impulse and Blue Note (to a lesser extent) were into the twofer as well.

It shows that jazz does have a long life, even if the sales are not huge.  This was music from 2-3 decades earlier being repackaged and sold to a small but loyal fan base. 

I started a thread in the vinyl sub-forum a few years back, called something like "In Praise of the Jazz Twofer."  By the time that these twofers were coming out in the mid- to late-70s, it seems that there was good jazz distribution and also better record stores, at least in suburban areas.  You could find virtually everything in a large store like Peaches, but ever mall record stores were carrying some of these.

I imagine that the situation was somewhat different in the 50s and 60s.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought the twofers were quite cool--a nice way to start building up a collection when one is fairly new to jazz.

I guess that the sequel, in a way, is the box set: 6 or 8 or 12 jammed CDS.  I just find those overwhelming.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Milestones said:

I thought the twofers were quite cool--a nice way to start building up a collection when one is fairly new to jazz.

At a time when most of the jazz section in a record store was either fusion or smooth jazz precursors, the twofers filled a very important void.  I bought several at the time, and picked up many more during the great vinyl purge of the 1990s.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Part of the appeal was that they were ‘2 for the price of 1’. A not inconsiderable factor back in the early/mid 70s when they started to appear. Over here it was the Fantasy/Prestige/Milestone series originally, then Columbia, Vogue Jazz Doubles and UA/Blue Note got in on the act. I have dozens and dozens of them and still pick the occasional one up to fill gaps.

Edited by sidewinder

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I liked the two-fers because it was (to one degree or another) older music, but packaged in a way that said hey, this is worth listening to now, like, it still has some contemporary relevance. OJCs and such, yeah, ok, cool (sometimes), but still, old mu8sic, old covers, old liner notes, old for the sake of being old.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And added bonus - often with very good new sleeve notes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, sidewinder said:

And added bonus - often with very good new sleeve notes.

And sometimes non-LP tracks, like Yusef Lateef's exotic 45.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, JSngry said:

I liked the two-fers because it was (to one degree or another) older music, but packaged in a way that said hey, this is worth listening to now, like, it still has some contemporary relevance. OJCs and such, yeah, ok, cool (sometimes), but still, old mu8sic, old covers, old liner notes, old for the sake of being old.

Some of the best writing I've ever read about jazz was in the liner notes to Prestige twofers, and some of the worst in the slightly earlier single LP reissues (lots of gratuitous swipes at fusion).

Edited by danasgoodstuff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, danasgoodstuff said:

Some of the best writing I've ever read about jazz was in the liner notes to Prestige twofers, and some of the worst in the slightly earlier single LP reissues (lots of gratuitous slipes at fusion).

Lots of those OJC twofers - before they were called OJC - were by Dan Morgenstern.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

Lots of those OJC twofers - before they were called OJC - were by Dan Morgenstern.

Yes, and others as well.  the thing that I think contributed most to their excellence was the luxury of having had time to think about things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, danasgoodstuff said:

Yes, and others as well.  the thing that I think contributed most to their excellence was the luxury of having had time to think about things.

I think about that often.  I was able to lie in bed, put on headphones, and read liner notes over and over.

Now, I'm either at my desk working, sweeping the floors, doing the dishes, cooking dinner.  I can't even remember the last time I was able to close my eyes and listen to an album top to bottom, while doing nothing else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Teasing the Korean said:

I think about that often.  I was able to lie in bed, put on headphones, and read liner notes over and over.

Now, I'm either at my desk working, sweeping the floors, doing the dishes, cooking dinner.  I can't even remember the last time I was able to close my eyes and listen to an album top to bottom, while doing nothing else.

I meant in the time intervening between original release and reissue, but the sense you're talking about is part of it too.  Seems like I spend all my time just fixin' to get ready to do something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, danasgoodstuff said:

I meant in the time intervening between original release and reissue, but the sense you're talking about is part of it too.  Seems like I spend all my time just fixin' to get ready to do something.

Oh, I understand.  Being able to write about the albums with some historical context rather than hyping the music like you would on a new album.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OJC was indeed after the two-fer boom (The Prestiges were the "24000 Series"). The gimmick was "Original", like original packaging. The covers were great, but the liners were (too) often pretty much useless. But it fit in well of the overall cultural trend of "turning back the clock".

And now, Concord is doing...exactly what with the catalog? Something, I just can't tell what?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, JSngry said:

OJC was indeed after the two-fer boom (The Prestiges were the "24000 Series"). The gimmick was "Original", like original packaging. The covers were great, but the liners were (too) often pretty much useless. But it fit in well of the overall cultural trend of "turning back the clock".

And now, Concord is doing...exactly what with the catalog? Something, I just can't tell what?

Yes, but all of it involved Fantasy being able to reissue this stuff with their CCR earnings, so functionally, there was no difference between the 70s twofers and the 80s-and-later OJC albums.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Teasing the Korean said:

... functionally, there was no difference between the 70s twofers and the 80s-and-later OJC albums.

Well, there was...now you had to by two records to get two records. And sometimes you lost extra material in the process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Well, there was...now you had to by two records to get two records. And sometimes you lost extra material in the process.

Well, I was paying a dollar or two for all of this stuff in 90s - twofers, and OJC single LP reissues -  so functionally, I didn't feel a major difference.  I was hauling this stuff home by the armload. Getting the original cover art for Yambu made up for not having an extra album.  I would have paid for the cover alone.  But otherwise, it all blended together for me.  Maybe it was different if people were paying $5.99 or whatever for an OJC single album reissue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was quite different, believe me. Especially when the twofers had put sessions back together that the OJCs then split back apart.

Granted, that only sometimes happened, but if you had already bought a lot of this stuff, it was annoying to have to buy it over in inferior collation just because of a cool cover.

By that point in time, the music itself was over as "new", so intelligent curation should have been driving the bus, not object fetishism. Not saying that I don't still buy stuff just for the cover, but never do I pay too much for it. Give me a totally plowed record in an ok cover for a price that's right, hey, coming home, baby, we are. But damned if I'm going to get all weird about it and drop the big bills.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The shame is that Fantasy had finally gotten the collation thing right just before they sold out to Concord (Evans Vanguard, Stitt's Bits, the three Coltrane boxes, Miles Quartet box, Monk 1957, Garland Prelude, etc.).  Concord's idea is more like the 34 minute "... Plays for Lovers" CD's

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, JSngry said:

It was quite different, believe me. Especially when the twofers had put sessions back together that the OJCs then split back apart.

Granted, that only sometimes happened, but if you had already bought a lot of this stuff, it was annoying to have to buy it over in inferior collation just because of a cool cover.

By that point in time, the music itself was over as "new", so intelligent curation should have been driving the bus, not object fetishism. Not saying that I don't still buy stuff just for the cover, but never do I pay too much for it. Give me a totally plowed record in an ok cover for a price that's right, hey, coming home, baby, we are. But damned if I'm going to get all weird about it and drop the big bills.

I get that.  But when I was paying 50 cents or a dollar and bringing this stuff home by the armload, I wasn't complaining either way. That was an incredible time. All these LPs and no one selling them knew anything about them.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, at THOSE prices, nobody complains except an idiot!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The notes for Blue Note/UA Little Niles may have been the best writing on Randy Weston prior to Weston's autobiography.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Milestones said:

The notes for Blue Note/UA Little Niles may have been the best writing on Randy Weston prior to Weston's autobiography.

 

 

Who wrote them? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I need to check that out.  I made a quick search tonight for the record (vinyl twofer) and didn't find it.  I will look again tomorrow.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.