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  A Billy Murray Record Label Gallery

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Billy Murray Record Label Gallery

Victor and D&R 78-rpm records

(Left) An "A-stamper" first edition of Billy Murray's first Victor release, recorded on September 10, 1903, and
issued in November of that year. A seven-inch version was released at the same time. Complete details of
Murray's double-sided Victor records, including couplings from the single-sided releases, can be found in
John Bolig's Victor Black Label Discography series. (Right) A coupled reissue on D&R — standing for
"Double and Reversible," according to the company's catalog — of Columbia 3500, which was
originally released as a single-sided Columbia disc in November 1906. (AS / KN)

Standard and United 78-rpm records

Murray on two of the Chicago "premium" labels produced by Columbia: (Left) As uncredited soloist with the
Rambler Minstrel Company, a group managed by Steve Porter that included Porter, Murray, Arthur Collins, and Byron G. Harlan. (Right) A United reissue of Columbia A643, Murray's last Columbia recording prior to signing his 1909 Edison and Victor contracts. He returned to Columbia a decade later, again as a free-lancer. (AS)


Aretino 78 record and Indestructible cylinder record

(Left) Aretino took the "enlarged hole" concept to absurd lengths, employing a three-inch cut-out for which Arthur
J. O'Neill was actually granted a U.S. patent. This example by "Mr. Murray" is pressed from a Zonophone
matrix. (Right) The sky-blue pressing shown here is much less common than the standard black-celluloid
pressings of this 1907 Indestructible cylinder. (KN / AS)


George M. Cohan songs

Two early Murray recordings of George M. Cohan numbers, (left) on Central, a scarce International Record
Company client label; and (right) on a February 1905 Columbia release. The latter was also widely issued
on client labels, including the anomalous Republic release shown on this page. (AS)



(Left) A late Standard pressing from a 1907 Columbia matrix by Murray, Byron G. Harlan, Arthur Collins, and
Steve Portera.k.a. the Rambler Minstrel Company. (Right) Vim was an International Record Company client label, pressed for a Chicago general-merchandise house. The same matrix was used on other IRC labels. (AS)


English Gramophone record and Nassau 78 record

(Left) An English Gramophone Company pressing from a November 12, 1908, Victor matrix, originally issued on
single-sided Victor 5640 and later coupled on Victor 16554. (Right) Nassau was one of many obscure labels
produced by Leeds & Catlin before the company was shut down for patent infringement in 1909. Murray's
Zonophone recording of this title (see below) was released in late 1907, providing a clue to the date of the
Leeds version. (DC)

International Record Co, 78-rpm record labels

Two specimens produced by the International Record Company, which that was shut down for patent infringement
in 1907 — (Left) A generic-label pressing by Murray. These usually appear with dealers' names rubber-stamped in the upper blank area. (Right) Faultless was one of many client labels produced by IRC. This example probably
dates to late 1905; the same matrix was used on Excelsior and other IRC labels. (AS)


(Left) Another variant of the International Record Company's Siegel Cooper label. "Just My Style"
seems to have been one of the most widely traveled IRC matrices, appearing under more than a
half-dozen labels. (Right) The Fairview label was pasted over regular Columbia pressings. All
known examples are anonymous, and titles were written in by hand. This copy, which was
mislabeled "Yankee Boodle," was corrected with a small typewritten slip. (LHC)


(Left) Sir Henri was a paste-over label applied by Columbia to its own discs or, in this anonymous example by
Murray, pressings it obtained as part of a 1909 legal settlement with Leeds & Catlin. (Right) Columbia took over production of the Star label in 1908. This anonymous example by Billy Murray & Ada Jones, probably pressed
in 1909, is a renumbering of Columbia 3714, which was originally issued in November 1907. (AS / KN)

  Standard 78 record labels

(Left) The origin of the "Standard" half-label has long been a mystery. One plausible theory is that it was used
by a dealer to disguise unsold Zonophone discs after the courts ordered destruction of Zonophone inventory
in mid-1912. The label was not connected, as far as can be determined, with the Standard Talking Machine
Company of Chicago. (Right) Murray recorded prolifically for Zonophone. This example was released
in late 1907. (AS)  

Leeds & Catlin and American Record Co. labels

(Left) A rare Banner issue (of no relation to the better-known 1920s label) produced by Leeds & Catlin.
Murray also recorded this title for Victor on January 7, 1908, providing a clue to the approximate date of
this elusive issue. (Right) Peerless records, produced by the American Record Company (Hawthorne,
Sheble & Prescott), were pressed in standard black shellac rather than the company's trademark blue.
This example probably dates to mid-1905. (AS / KN)

Busy Bee and American Record 78 labels

(Left) A seven-inch American Record Company pressing, probably dating to mid-to-late 1905. (Right) The same recording — and, apparently, even the same rubber-stamp — on Busy Bee. The large rectangular
cut-out accommodated a projecting lug on the Busy Bee turntable. (KN / DB)


Harmograph and Eagle 78-rpm records by Billy Murray

(Left) Harmograph is prized by jazz collectors for its pressings of early Paramount jazz and blues classics,
but it began life as a typically nondescript Earle W. Jones product, typified by this paste-over label from the
early 1920s. (Right) Eagle was produced by both Leeds & Catlin and the International Record
Company. This anonymous Murray issue is an IRC product from late 1905 or early 1906.
(DC / AS)


Billy Murray Pathe and Actuelle 78 records

Pathé recorded its masters on oversized cylinders, which were transferred to disc masters using a pantograph. Here's an example of a single Murray recording dubbed in two different formats — the original 1919 vertical-cut release (left), which was assigned disc matrix #T-67387; and the short-lived lateral-cut Actuelle reissue (right), which was assigned disc matrix #N-67387. Both are from the same master cylinder, but there are audible differences in the the dubbing quality of the two masters. (DB / AS)


Operaphone and Okeh 78 rpm labels

Two non-standard cuts from Murray's 1919–20 freelance period: (Left) A universal-cut Operaphone, dubbed by
Pathé for John Fletcher. Fletcher was later a partner in the production of Black Swan records and produced several
other labels, including the short-lived Arthur Fields Melody Record. (Right) A vertical-cut Okeh. A short time after
this record was released, Heineman reincorporated as the General Phonograph Corporation and switched to the
standard lateral cut. (AS / DB)

Grey Gull label and Silvertone label - 78rpm records  

Additional examples from Murray's postwar freelance era: (Left) A vertical-cut "Two-in-One" Grey Gull issue
from early 1920. These dual-selection discs used a finer groove to provide up to five minutes of playing time per side, but sold poorly and were quickly discontinued. (Right) The first double-sided Silvertone discs were
produced for Sears Roebuck by the Federal Record Corporation, the corporate successors to the
Indestructible Phonographic Record Company (makers of Indestructible cylinders). The label format
was changed at about this time, resulting in an interesting error on this copy the repetition of the
artist and accompaniment description. Quality control at Federal was very lax, but the error
apparently was caught at some point and does not appear on all pressings. (AS)


Billy Murray movie soundtrack recording

(Left) In 1929, the Cameo-group labels were merged into the American Record Corporation and began using ARC masters. This example was recorded in the ARC studio on June 28, 1930. (Right) The synchronized soundtrack disc to
"The Rube Minstrels," an M-G-M single-reeler by the Eight Victor Artists in which Murray was prominently
featured. The recording is dated November 21, 1928 in the wax, which might be a dubbing date. (AS / DC)


Victor test and Edison needle Type 78 records

(Left) A single-sided Victor test pressing of Murray's "Roll 'Em, Girls," recorded in Camden, New Jersey, on November 4, 1925. (Right) An Edison lateral cut disc, recorded in New York on June 24, 1929. Released in late July and available for only three months before Edison suspended record production, it shipped in miniscule quantities and is among the rarest of Murray's later records. (AS)


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