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Eli Oberstein’s United States Record Corporation
A History and Complete
Discography, 1939–1940

By Allan Sutton
and the Record Research Associates

 Varsity and Royale 78 records - History and Discography
298 total pages, illustrated
7" x 10" quality softcover

ISBN 978-0-9915279-3-9

ALLAN SUTTON is 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 Collections.

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 Mainspring Press recently acquired the group's research materials and the rights to their unpublished works, which it is in the process of completing.

Eli 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 early accomplishments.

Oberstein's 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.

This volume 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.)

The Varsity 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.

Other features 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masters, including a summary of comparative testing by the author and by the RR group, and previously unpublished data on the European recordings used by Royale.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.

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