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Bell and Arto Records
A History and Discography,

By William R. Bryant
with the Record Research Associates

Edited and annotated by Allan Sutton

248 total pages, illustrated
6" x 9" quality softcover

ISBN 978-0-9915279-1-5

WILLIAM R. BRYANT was an important contributor to The Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings, Ethnic Music on Records, and other works. He is the author of American Zonophone Records, Emerson Records, and the forthcoming Pathé-Perfect Discography.

included some well-known discographers and writers affiliated with Record Research magazine, whose research materials and rights to unpublished works are held by Mainspring Press.

is the author of numerous books on early sound recordings and recoding history, and winner of the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections.

Arto and Bell can be some of the most daunting labels to research. The frequent absence of any matrix markings, and the use of specially commissioned recordings or other companies' alternate takes (and even outright rejects) have tripped up many discographers over the years.

In the 1950s, a group affiliated with Record Research magazine began investigating Arto and Bell recordings, delving into surviving primary-source materials (including the Ed Kirkeby and Carson Robison logs, and the Plaza and Gennett files) and using synchronized dual turntables to determine alternate takes and suspected source recordings. Bill Bryant later inherited and largely completed the project. Unpublished until now, it has been newly updated and annotated by Allan Sutton.

The group's findings — many of which appear in print here for the first time — have finally established the correct sources of most Arto and Bell issues, in the process stripping away erroneous attributions that appear in some less-rigorously researched works.

The discography identifies the original source recordings (including those from such obscure sources as Critona and Olympic), as well as exclusive commissioned recordings. It includes:

  • Originating studios
  • Master and take numbers if fully confirmed
  • Release dates
  • Recording dates and locations (actual if from primary-source materials, estimated if not)
  • Artist pseudonyms and label errors
  • Composer and show credits
  • Medley contents and interpolated songs
  • Artist and title indexes.

The illustrated introduction traces Arto's transition from purely a piano-roll brand; Bell's early history as an Arto client label; its takeover by Arto's musical director, composer-arranger-conductor George Beynon, after the parent company's collapse; the Scranton-ERL years; and its final incarnation as a Gennett client label.


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