298 total pages, illustrated
7" x 10" quality softcover
the author of numerous books on early sound recordings and recording
history, and winner of the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from the
Association for Recorded Sound
THE RECORD RESEARCH ASSOCIATES
was a group of well-known discographers and writers affiliated with
Record Research magazine. Mainspring Press recently acquired
the group's research materials and the rights to their unpublished
works, which it is in the process of completing.
Oberstein — the man Artie Shaw once called “a horror”
— was notorious for business conduct was often short-sighted,
sometimes unethical, and occasionally illegal, overshadowing his
Varsity and Royale labels were hailed as promising new entries,
when they launched in 1939. A year later, Oberstein's United States
Record Corporation collapsed into bankruptcy — but not before
he managed to assemble a substantial, and often intriguing, catalog
for Varsity and Royale.
covers USRC's complete output — its many original recordings
as well as its reissues of material from Crown, Gennett, Paramount,
Ultraphone, and others. (The Wright Record Corporation's late 1940s–early
1950s issues on the revived Varsity and Royale labels will be the
subject of a future study.)
portion updates and expands upon
The Varsity Discography CD, which has been discontinued.*
The Royale portion is being published for the first time and includes
many hard-to-find details, such as data on the Ultraphone and Artiphone
recordings that Oberstein reissued.
include an illustrated USRC history, as well as a balanced, objective
biography of Eli Oberstein. There’s also a discussion of original-vs-dubbed
masters, including a summary of comparative testing by the author
and by the RR group, and previously unpublished data on
the European recordings used by Royale.
As an added
feature, we’ve included excerpts from the original record
reviews in period publications, including Jazz Information
and The Steinway Review.