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Labelling Theory

PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2015 4:50 pm
by alister prince
For no particular reason, I thought it was time I gave a heads up to some of the record labels I have a lot of time for. Actually there are some good reasons. The world of downloads undermines the 'integrity , much less the finances, of many labels. The corporates, who never really cared about music, care even less. There are people who no longer even call them labels, now it's 'imprint'; arrrrgh...
There are some labels whose devotion to the music is heroic, or in some cases at least impressive:
Ace - I may as well start with the most obvious. 'Nuff said.
Loose (previously Vinyl Junkie) - Issue some excellent Americana, the first three Hurray For The Riff Raff albums, Justin Townes Earl, Sturgill Simpson, Handsome Family. Their online shop is well worth a visit. Lots of bargains. And they're a nice bunch.
Hornbeam - release very few albums, but what taste! Tom Paley, Paley and Son (Ben), Bonnie Dobson. Superb production values and the packaging is a joy.
World Curcuit - Naturally.
Navigator - Good for contemporary folk.
Document- Genuflect, genuflect, the best historic survey of a wide range of, mainly, black American and old timey music. A certain Mr Balfour, of this parish, has contributed many a detailed and excellent sleeve-note. It's worth visiting their site regularly as they often run specials at about £3.50 inc p&p. (don't tell anyone at home but I 've snapped up about 70 in the last 18 months).
Fantastic Voyage - A re-issues label, blues, rockabilly, R&B, soul, country and a very fine historic Jamaican series. All well packaged, good sleeve-notes, and song-writers always credited. Triple CDs £10.
NOT - Currently reissuing blues R&B, rock in a series of double CDs label based. Amazing value at FOPP, £3 a double! Often less well known recordings of acts. Yes, I'm aware of the 'vulture' accusations, but writers are credited with date of release. No notes.
BackBeats - Reissue 70/80/90 soul, beats, disco,jazz-soul, etc. good quality.
History Of Soul - wonderful series of double CDs £8. Good notes.
That'll do for the moment. I may come back with more.
Aly

Re: Labelling Theory

PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 12:39 pm
by Jamie Renton
To that fine list, I'd add:
Sterns: not as active as they once were, but still delivering good quality African releases from time to time
Pressure Sounds: a reggae reissue label who I don't think have ever put out a less than essential release
Analog Africa: rare as hen's teeth vintage African music
Soundway: as above, only they put out some wonderful new stuff too
Strut: African, Latin, funk, soul, jazz etc. Responsible for 2 of favourite recent albums (Pat Thomas & SoulJazz Orchestra)
World Music Network/Riverboat: home of the Rough Guides and some tasty original albums too.
Jazzman: jazz, rhythm n blues soul etc reissues & compilations. "We dig deeper" is their tagline, ya dig?

Re: Labelling Theory

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 6:31 pm
by alister prince
I certainly dig that list Jamie, thanks. The only one I have a tad of a problem with is Rough Guides. They issue some good stuff, but at times I get somewhat (I'll be polite) frustrated with their choices on their compilations. They have a tendency to overdo the safe and cheesy. EG 'Russian Gypsy', most of which sounds like Kruschev era easy listening, just totally formulaic and bland. I worry they're morphing into Putumayo whose stuff is to world music as latte is to espresso; watered down, milky and weak. There's a part of me which feels it's all a bit colonialist. That said RGs can come up with gems like Psychedelic Cambodia.
Aly

Re: Labelling Theory

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:21 pm
by NormanD
Putumayo whose stuff is to world music as latte is to espresso; watered down, milky and weak.
Excellently put. Putamayo was sold via one of the coffee outlets, Starbucks I think.

Re: Labelling Theory

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:46 pm
by alister prince
It sure is/was Norman, hence my simile. Jamie tells a story of Charlie telling him they used to subtly change the speed of recordings to make them more palatable for Starbuckians ears!

Re: Labelling Theory

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:47 pm
by AndyM
NormanD wrote:
Putumayo whose stuff is to world music as latte is to espresso; watered down, milky and weak.
Excellently put. Putamayo was sold via one of the coffee outlets, Starbucks I think.


Also good Putamayo sources, those gift shops that sell scented candles and stained-glass terraria. That's where I get them from. Great dinner party music. Nobody wants to hear 'Trout Mask Replica' when they're tackling a Moroccan-braised lamb shank, do they ?

Re: Labelling Theory

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:55 pm
by alister prince
Now there' s another thread Andy, what tunes to play with what dishes? I'd do some of those great 12 inch remixes with the entrees for starters.
Aly

Re: Labelling Theory

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:05 pm
by AndyM
Vinyl means getting up from the table too often.

Re: Labelling Theory

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:31 pm
by NormanD
Nobody wants to hear 'Trout Mask Replica' when they're tackling a Moroccan-braised lamb shank, do they ?
Only if eaten raw.

Re: Labelling Theory

PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 12:36 pm
by Jamie Renton
alister prince wrote:The only one I have a tad of a problem with is Rough Guides. They issue some good stuff, but at times I get somewhat (I'll be polite) frustrated with their choices on their compilations. They have a tendency to overdo the safe and cheesy. EG 'Russian Gypsy', most of which sounds like Kruschev era easy listening, just totally formulaic and bland. I worry they're morphing into Putumayo whose stuff is to world music as latte is to espresso; watered down, milky and weak. There's a part of me which feels it's all a bit colonialist. That said RGs can come up with gems like Psychedelic Cambodia.
Aly


They put out a lot of stuff, amongst which there are a few duds I'll grant you, but I think their hit rate is pretty good. And the recent Rare Groove and Psychedelic releases have been very good, sounding miles away from Putumayo's tepid efforts.

Look out for a forthcoming RG to Psychedelic Indonesia. Which, judging by the tracks compiler Paul Fisher played when he DJed for Cambodian Space Project the other week, is going to be a real ear opener.

Re: Labelling Theory

PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 12:47 pm
by Jamie Renton
AndyM wrote:a Moroccan-braised lamb shank


Is this a convoluted form of rhyming slang?

Re: Labelling Theory

PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 3:23 pm
by Rob Hall
I have favourite compilations on:

Trikont - some highly imaginative collections.
Dust To Digital - if only for the gospel CD set in the cedar box.
Fremeaux - always an interesting mix of stuff you know with stuff you wouldn't have thought of.
Rhino - they produced some wonderful box sets, before they got crap and started to just churn out the Warner Music back catalogue.
Arhoolie - like it says on the tin: 'Down Home Music Since 1960'.

Re: Labelling Theory

PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 6:24 pm
by AndyM
Jamie Renton wrote:
AndyM wrote:a Moroccan-braised lamb shank


Is this a convoluted form of rhyming slang?


Only to mucky minds!

Re: Labelling Theory

PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 11:45 pm
by Garth Cartwright
Union Square - they are a London based compilation/reissue label who I work for and I should note do excellent, non-bootleg compilations of rockabilly, New Orleans R&B, French 60s etc etc. No world music these days - I think the first effort I did for them was sleeve notes to a comp' of Gypsy music (typecasting, I know) - as that market has tailed off so significantly. I wonder if Putumayo still sell many CDs? It used to be that if you got a tune on one of their CDs you made more money than from entire album sales of your own stuff!

Ace Records - has anyone mentioned them? Always quality!
Light In The Attic - some interesting reissues including the Spooner Oldham album.
Mississippi Records - oddball Portland label that dig up really offbeat reissues.
Sublime Frequencies - not aware what they're putting out of recent but they certainly were pioneering at getting un-produced for Western world music artists out a decade or so ago.

Re: Labelling Theory

PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 10:02 am
by john poole
Garth Cartwright wrote:Ace Records - has anyone mentioned them? Always quality!
Quite rightly the very first to be mentioned in the original post - excellent releases every month, not forgetting their other labels including Kent. And all grown out of the Rock On market stall - as someone once said the kind of people who you do not begrudge paying them the money.

Light in the Attic, maybe my favourite US outfit these days, especially their great work for Lee Hazlewood. They are planning to release the City album (with Carole King) I see
http://lightintheattic.net/

Others not yet mentioned -

Can’t forget Germany’s Bear Family, forty years of state of the art releases - country specialists plus much more. Famous for their tremendous (if tremendously expensive) box sets. I’ll gloss over the “Beggars Banquet” cover they put on the Rev. Robert Wilkins’ “Prodigal Son” (“the only gospel album with a toilet on the cover” one review said) - a rare lapse of taste.

Old Hat Records - specialists in music from the 20s & 30s including “Cluck Old Hen” -24 songs about hens and chickens
http://www.oldhatrecords.com/about.html

Omni - I know them for country compilations by Porter Wagoner, Johnny Paycheck, Willie Nelson plus “Plantation Gold” (“The Mad Genius of Shelby Singleton Jr.”)
http://www.discogs.com/label/113612-The ... orporation
not sure if they are connected to Omnivore which compiled Merle Haggard’s Complete 60s Capitol Singles (in mono)

Tompkins Square - including the excellent gospel compilation “Fire in My Bones” which Gordon wrote about on SoTW a while back
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=22212
Also had Charlie Louvin and much else
http://www.tompkinssquare.com/releases.html

Real Gone Music - good anthologies of the complete recordings (or complete singles) from some of the less often reissued Atlantic artists
http://www.realgonemusic.com/about-us/

Sundazed - the only place to go for the first three Lovin’ Spoonful albums in mono
http://www.sundazed.com/

Rare Rockin’ Records - 1960s girl (group) specialists in Australia
http://www.rarerockinrecords.com.au/store/

Also Clive Richardson’s Shout! (part of the RPM/Cherry Red group) - soul compilations; and for new music, that hopes to sound old, Daptone.