SH Spotlight 1942-44 and 1947-48 recording bans and their effect on music

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Another Side, Mar 3, 2005.

  1. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco
    I mentioned the two 1940's recording bans on recording in a different thread, and I was wondering what you think the effect on music, mainly Jazz music, was. There were two recording bans by the AFM, the first began in August of 1942 and lasted for almost two years until early 1944. The second ban was in 1948 and lasted about a year. The reason for the recording bans was that the AFM president James Petrillo felt that records were hurting the livelihood of musicians who made their living mostly from live appearances. All studio musicians and Jazz musicians belonged to the AFM, so during that time no records were made (I'm not sure if Blues or Folk records were made during that time).

    The effect of the first ban from this viewpoint (in 2005) is that the transition from Swing music to Bebop is not well documented on recordings. But also some major artists had their careers put on hold until the ban ended including Sinatra, Nat King Cole, etc. There were also other artists who had the careers cut short, and yet others who couldn't begin their careers until the ban ended like Charlie Parker for instance.

    While there was no studio recordings made during the second ban, magnetic tape had already been invented, so that is why there are so many live recordings from the late 40's (almost all initially early bootlegs).
     
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  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

    Decca settled early with the union (middle of 1943) and was able to record and release the big selling OKLAHOMA original cast recording.

    The BEST thing about the first ban is that labels like Columbia and Decca went back to their vaults and re-released great jazz from the 1920's again using the original metal parts. Those Columbia, Brunswick, Bluebird reissues from 1942-44 are sometimes the only way a poor collector can hear the glory of the original recordings in their original form...

    The second ban caused Al Jolson to team up with the Mills Bros. to do a few songs without orchestra and Capitol recorded basic music tracks in Mexico and dubbed in the vocals in the USA. Decca and Capitol took the down time and installed Ampex tape machines for the first time.

    The power of the union was forever broken after the second ban though...

    By the way there were many recordings made by the labels during the ban; they just didn't have instruments. Glee Clubs became very popular, heh.
     
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  3. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    Location:
    The OC
    It is possible that the ban helped the young Capitol label survive. They were a very small one year old company trying to take on the major labels. Obstacles were plenty. First there was a major shellac shortage because of the war. Then there was the recording ban of 1942. Even Dave Dexter was quoted as saying 'With the union's ban on recording and the frustrating shortage of shellac, Capitol's chances of survival were estimated at one hundred to one'.

    But as it turned out the ban actually helped them. According to Glenn Wallichs, "When Petrillo slapped his ban on all recordings shortly after our first release, we again thought we were licked. But it turned out to be our biggest piece of good fortune. Before the ban went into effect, we worked night and day, turning out such tunes as 'Cow Cow Boogie', and 'GI Jive'. When those tunes became popular, we were the only company that had recorded them, and dealers from all over the country began buying them from us."

    The rest is history. :righton:
     
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  4. Sckott

    Sckott Hand Tighten Only.

    Location:
    Hyannis Ma
    Interesting stuff!! :)
     
  5. Dave D

    Dave D Done!

    Location:
    Milton, Canada
    thanks for this very interesting info. 2 years is an awful long time!
     
  6. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    Location:
    The OC
    Another person affected by the ban was Frank Sinatra. He had left Tommy Dorsey in September 1942 to start his solo career. He signed with Columbia and because of the ban his first Columbia sessions were acappella recordings with The Bobby Tucker Singers and Alec Wilder.
     
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  7. vanmeterannie

    vanmeterannie Forum Resident

    A lot of people don't like those acapella records, but I have a fondness for them...Dick Haymes did some too. They have a unique quality.
     
  8. RetroSmith

    RetroSmith Forum Hall Of Fame<br>(Formerly Mikey5967)

    Location:
    East Coast
    People forget that there WAS lots of recording during the ban, they were V disks made for our servicemen . These records were played on Armed Forces Radio night and day.

    And, many of these records found there way to many a local record store who sold them "under the table" to favorite customers. For some artists, V disks is all we have of them.
     
  9. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    Location:
    NY
    cool. I never realized that there was such a ban.
     
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  10. Jack White

    Jack White Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Please correct me if I'm wrong but I thought the recording ban during World War II was a conservation effort to divert the raw goods that went into the manufacture of records to the war effort.

    Do I have the recording ban you mentioned and this mixed up? Are they two separate things?
     
  11. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco
    There was a shortage of shellac brought on by the war, but the ban had nothing to do with war shortages and everything to do with musicians' wages. Furthermore, there was a second ban in 1948, which was way after the war.
     
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  12. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    Location:
    The OC
    The recording ban was as indicated in the 1st post. The shellac shortage, however was imposed by the War Production Board in April 1942.
     
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  13. Jack White

    Jack White Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Dear another side and dsclar,

    Thanks for the info. :)

    BTW, I realize that the war was over by 1948, the time of the second ban.
     
  14. RetroSmith

    RetroSmith Forum Hall Of Fame<br>(Formerly Mikey5967)

    Location:
    East Coast
    Ban Roll on....

     
  15. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Sorry, didn't mean to question your knowledge of history Jack. :o
     
  16. jahndhi

    jahndhi Forum Resident

    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    Wow, I did not know that.
    I'll have to ask my grandfather -- he was there & should
    have some amazing insight... will follow up with Lyle Spud Murphy nuggets!
     
  17. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco

    IIRC, Decca had the rights to record the original cast recording, but couldn't get any musicians to cross the picket line, I wonder if that had a role in getting Decca to settle with Petrillo and AFM.
     
  18. theoxrox

    theoxrox Forum Resident

    Location:
    central Wisconsin
    Wasn't the 1942 ban the "trigger" for the production of V-discs for Armed Forces Radio use?
     
  19. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Francisco
    No the whole concept of V-discs dates back to before the ban, and even before America's involvement in the war. The initial idea, oddly enough, was to send GI's records, mainly marching tunes, that they might enjoy. Starting in 1942 the Army started sending 16" records to GI's overseas, not of marching tunes but radio broadcasts of the day with the commercials edited out. Abaout a year after the ban started, the Army persuaded Petrillo and the AFM to make an exception to the ban and allow musicians to record on the V-discs with the understanding that the records would not be sold in the US. At that time the army began recording major artists of the day sometimes in all-star settings. Interestingly, because of the shortage of shellac and the fact that shellac is so fragile, the army pioneered the use of vinyl on records. The army began using a Canadian invented polyvinyl to make the records.
     
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  20. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    (Bump)
     
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  21. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

    Nice bump. Totally forgot about this thread.
     
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  22. Maranatha5585

    Maranatha5585 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Down South
    This is really fascinating... I had no idea whatsoever.

    Wheew! glad my 1947 V Disc made it before the second ban.

    [​IMG]
    784A Louis Armstrong

    [​IMG]
    784B Jack Teagarden
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017
  23. wildroot indigo

    wildroot indigo Forum Resident

    During the first ban, the King Cole Trio recorded some classics for smaller labels, like All For You, Beautiful Moons Ago, and I'm Lost for Excelsior, and F.S.T. (Fine, Sweet, and Tasty) and Let's Pretend for Premier. Moore's electric solo on F.S.T. is phenomenal; he received sole writing credit on 78 rpm releases of Beautiful Moons Ago.
     
  24. wildroot indigo

    wildroot indigo Forum Resident

    I've never heard anything like Waller's session for V-Disc... ingenious one-man show, his last record date:

    Fats Waller - piano, organ, vocal
    Victor Studios, New York, 9-16-43

    Ain't Misbehavin' (V-Disc 33A and 133A [Navy])
    Two Sleepy People (" ")
    Slightly Less Than Wonderful (V-Disc 33B and 133B [Navy])
    There's A Gal In My Life (" ")
    This Is So Nice It Must Be Illegal (V-Disc 74A and 145B [Navy])
    Martinique (" ")
    Waller Jive (V-Disc 74B)
    Hallelujah (" ")
    That's What The Bird Said To Me
    You're A Viper (The Reefer Song)
    The Ladies Who Sing With The Band
    Medley: To A Wild Rose / Don't Get Around Much Anymore
    Organ Tests
    St. Louis Blues
    By The Light Of The Silvery Moon
    Solitude (V-Disc 658A)
    Bouncin' On A V-Disc (V-Disc 630A)
    Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child (V-Disc 743A)

    (apart from the V-Disc releases, most titles weren't issued until the LP era).
     
  25. wildroot indigo

    wildroot indigo Forum Resident

    In December 1943, Hawkins led various sessions and delved into bop with his composition Boff Boff (Mop Mop):

    Coleman Hawkins and Leonard Feather's Esquire All Stars
    New York, 12-4-43
    Cootie Williams-trumpet/Edmond Hall-clarinet/Coleman Hawkins-tenor saxophone/Art Tatum-piano/Al Casey-electric guitar/Oscar Pettiford-bass/Sid Catlett-drums
    Boff Boff (Mop Mop) / My Ideal (Commodore 548)

    A live version was recorded specifically for V-Disc, according to a spoken introduction by George Simon with Armstrong and Eldridge:

    Esquire Metropolitan Opera House Jam Session
    New York, 1-18-44
    Louis Armstrong-trumpet/Roy Eldridge-trumpet/Jack Teagarden-trombone/Barney Bigard-clarinet/Coleman Hawkins-tenor saxophone/Art Tatum-piano/Al Casey-electric guitar/Oscar Pettiford-bass/Sid Catlett-drums
    Mop Mop / Rose Room (V-Disc 152)

    There's a passing-the-torch element to these sides, as they bring the old guard together with more modern stylists... In particular, the rhythm section seems essential to a 'modern' conception. Melodically, Tatum was already a big influence on Charlie Parker.

    In his Mop Mop solo, Al Casey quotes the Salt Peanuts vocal riff on guitar, note-for-note. Hawkins would record with Gillespie in February, and make the earliest known record of that title in May.

    Rose Room presents Bigard and the rhythm section only, with Catlett's solo as strong as any drum solo I’ve heard. The following year he plays on a well-known session with Gillespie and Parker, including Salt Peanuts and Hot House (May 1945).
     

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