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Date

June 5, 2020

Alex Ross America the Baleful

More on Anthony McGill’s video and message here.

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Eduardo Rivadavia What’s in a Label: A Look at Atlantic Records

Atlantic Records rose to prominence as perhaps the ultimate independent record label prototype, but it was also among the few indies to survive the leap to a major label, becoming one of history’s most successful ones at that.

The History

Atlantic Records was founded in October 1947 with a $10,000 loan from the family dentist by Ahmet Ertegun, a Turkish-born diplomat’s son, alongside Herb Abramson (himself a dentistry student, albeit one with prior, part-time experience at the National and Jubilee labels) and his wife, Miriam.

The trio would remain the company’s only employees for the next two years as Ertegun and Abramson scouted untapped talent from New York City’s nightclubs to flesh out Atlantic’s fledgling roster, focusing on their twin passions —  jazz and R&B — while dabbling in country, children’s music, and even spoken word recordings to keep the lights on.

Finally, in February 1949, Atlantic scored its first bona fide hit with Henry ‘Stick’ McGhee’s “Drinking Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee,” paving the way for a flurry of signings and more consistent sales from the likes of Ruth Brown, Big Joe Turner, Dizzy Gillespie, Erroll Garner, LaVern Baker, The Clovers, Sonny Terry, Professor Longhair, and the label’s next gamechanger, Ray Charles.

Brother Ray’s groundbreaking fusion of rhythm & blues with gospel brought soul music to the masses, and his subsequent explorations of everything from big-band jazz to country throughout the 1950s would earn him fame as the “genius,” even as Atlantic’s team behind the scenes grew to include several future music industry legends.

First came producer and engineer Tom Dowd, a veteran of the Manhattan Project who pioneered numerous recording techniques and the first multitrack studio technology, going on to capture an incalculable number of classic albums and singles by John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, The Coasters, Eric Clapton, and the Allman Brothers Band, among others.

Then came Jerry Wexler, a former Billboard reporter credited with coining the term “rhythm & blues” to replace the extremely insensitive “race records” designation. Wexler’s ear for identifying and developing new talent would, over the next two decades, be as crucial as Ertegun’s to Atlantic’s success via his work with Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Cream, Led Zeppelin, and other icons.

Ahmet’s brother, Nesuhi, joined the fold in 1955 to oversee Atlantic’s jazz division and the label later benefitted from astute partnerships with rising stars like rock & roll songwriters Leiber & Stoller, producer Phil Spector, and, perhaps Wexler’s greatest coup, a timely promotion and distribution deal with Memphis-based Stax Records.

Stax’s incredible stable of artists, including Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Albert King, Sam & Dave, Isaac Hayes, and Otis Redding, would bolster Atlantic’s sales throughout the 1960s. Along with in-house signings like Pickett, Solomon Burke, and, of course, the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, this set the stage for the company’s sale to Warner Bros.-Seven Arts in 1967.

But Atlantic would retain control over its own roster after the sale, and the team kept up hitting its streak with artists like Cream (later assigned to the Atco imprint), Dusty Springfield, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Boz Scaggs, Roberta Flack, and Led Zeppelin, pointing the way forward to an even greater genre diversity in the ’70s, gradually inching in on Wexler.

Ertegun, meanwhile, remained virtually untouchable in the art of courting new artists and, with help from key new executives like Jerry Greenberg and John Kalodner, Atlantic powered through the decade behind platinum-selling signings like ABBA, Bette Midler, Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Chic, AC/DC, Foreigner, and the likes while partnering to launch Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song imprint and The Rolling Stones’ vanity label.

In the ‘80s, Atlantic continued to prosper under  Ertegun and new president Doug Morris (until 1995), scoring multi-platinum sellers with Phil Collins, Debbie Gibson, INXS, Twisted Sister, and Skid Row, followed in the ‘90s by the likes of Rush, Stone Temple Pilots, Tori Amos, and Hootie & the Blowfish and later by Coldplay, Kid Rock, Matchbox 20, Jill Scott, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Gnarls Barkley, James Blunt, The Darkness, and many more — always under some version of the WEA/Time-Warner corporate umbrella. 

Though Atlantic’s modern business bears little resemblance to its indie label golden eras of the ‘50s and ‘60s, its legacy is secure, even surviving chairman emeritus Ahmet Ertegun’s passing in 2006 (reuniting the surviving members of Led Zeppelin to pay tribute) after nearly 50 years with the company.

The Look

Like most major record companies, Atlantic has used a vast assortment of logos, label colors, and designs during its decades-long history, beginning with a stylized capital “A” underlining the remaining letters with its crossbar, framed in black against red, yellow, and other background tones. 

An alternate, less aggressive logo and label adorned Atlantic’s first long-playing records of the 1950s in black, gray, green, gold, and yellow tones, but the first significant design change came at the end of the decade with the addition of a trademarked “Fan Logo” surrounded by a white circle and borders matching pink and orange, green, and blue. 

In the ‘60s, Atlantic’s labels adopted perhaps their most celebrated look: two shades separated by a thick, horizontal white line containing the capital “A” plus fan logo, of which the most iconic combination was probably the “green and red” (or orange, depending on one’s level of color-blindness) made famous by multi-platinum ‘70s releases from Zeppelin, Yes, Chic, Bette Midler, Alice Cooper, Foreigner, and AC/DC.

The ‘80s brought a combination of both retro designs and custom labels for jazz and “Atlantic Group” releases (see also the short-lived, late ‘70s disco label), after which the CD era came and all bets were off, yet the signature imagery made legendary by Atlantic remains imminently recognizable to any self-respecting collector.

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The post What’s in a Label: A Look at Atlantic Records appeared first on Discogs Blog.

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falsepriest The Top 30 Most Expensive Items Sold in the Discogs Marketplace for April 2020

Running through the Top 30 list of the most expensive sold on Discogs this month, everything looks in order. We’ve got regulars like The Beatles, Burzum, Pink Floyd — wait a second. Where is the iconic prism cover from The Dark Side Of The Moon? What we are seeing at No. 25 instead is a simple, monochromatic cover.

This version of Pink Floyd’s most well-known album is from the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab label (also known as MSFL or MoFi) and was released as part of its Ultra High-Quality Record (UHQR) vinyl series. The series boasts eight classic titles released between 1981 and 1983, including Cat Stevens’ Tea For The Tillerman, Supertramp’s Crime Of The CenturyThe Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and more. MSFL claims to be one of “few record labels that independently invests in research and development of audio technology.”

The verdict on how discernible the sound quality is depends on who you ask, but the series has some feverish fans. If audiophile quality is something you value and you’re looking for advice on how to find the best pressings, we can never stress the expertise of the Discogs community. If you’re want to learn more, check out the inserts in the images of the release page for details on how the label achieved its UHQR technical properties and definitely consult the forums.

  1. The Beatles - Please Please Me

    The Beatles – Please Please Me

    Sold for $1275.00 Label: Parlophone
    Format: LP, Album, Mono, Gol
    Country: UK
    Released: 1963
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Beat, Rock & Roll

  2. Spice (27) - Let There Be Spice

    Spice (27) – Let There Be Spice

    Sold for $1300.00 Label: TSG Records
    Format: LP, Album
    Country: US
    Released: 1976
    Genres: Funk / Soul
    Styles: Soul

  3. Burzum - Burzum

    Burzum – Burzum

    Sold for $1304.00 Label: Deathlike Silence Productions
    Format: LP, Album
    Country: Norway
    Released: 1992
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Black Metal

  4. Sarah Webster Fabio - Jujus / Alchemy Of The Blues

    Sarah Webster Fabio – Jujus / Alchemy Of The Blues

    Sold for $1373.00 Label: Folkways Records
    Format: LP, Album
    Country: US
    Released: 1976
    Genres: Jazz, Funk / Soul
    Styles: Poetry, Jazz-Funk

  5. Timeless Legend - I Was Born To Love You

    Timeless Legend – I Was Born To Love You

    Sold for $1382.00 Label: Dawn-Lite
    Format: 7″
    Country: US
    Released: 1980
    Genres: Funk / Soul
    Styles: Soul, Disco

  6. Pink Floyd - The Dark Side Of The Moon

    Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon

    Sold for $1406.00 Label: Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, Harvest
    Format: LP, Album, Ltd, Num, RE, RM
    Country: US
    Released: 1981
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Classic Rock, Psychedelic Rock

  7. David Oistrakh*, Vladimir Yampolsky - Encores

    David Oistrakh*, Vladimir Yampolsky – Encores

    Sold for $1413.00 Label: Columbia
    Format: LP, Album
    Country: UK
    Genres: Classical
    Styles: Romantic, Modern

  8. Steely Dan - Can't Buy A Thrill

    Steely Dan – Can’t Buy A Thrill

    Sold for $1450.00 Label: ABC Records
    Format: LP, Album, Gat
    Country: US
    Released: 1972
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Classic Rock

  9. Pet Shop Boys - Electric

    Pet Shop Boys – Electric

    Sold for $1470.00 Label: The Vinyl Factory, x2 (2)
    Format: Box, Album, Ltd + 12″, Ora + 12″, Yel + 12″, Pin +
    Country: UK
    Released: 2013
    Genres: Electronic, Pop
    Styles: Synth-pop, House

  10. Mudcrutch - Up In Mississippi

    Mudcrutch – Up In Mississippi

    Sold for $1475.00 Label: Pepper (4)
    Format: 7″, Single
    Country: US
    Released: 1973
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Pop Rock

  11. Black Flag - Nervous Breakdown

    Black Flag – Nervous Breakdown

    Sold for $1495.00 Label: SST Records
    Format: 7″, EP
    Country: US
    Released: 1979
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Punk, Hardcore

  12. The Symphonies - That's What Love Will Do / Need Someone To Love

    The Symphonies – That’s What Love Will Do / Need Someone To Love

    Sold for $1500.00 Label: Carnival Records
    Format: 7″
    Country: US
    Genres: Funk / Soul
    Styles: Soul

  13. Sonny Rollins - Newk's Time

    Sonny Rollins – Newk’s Time

    Sold for $1500.00 Label: Blue Note
    Format: LP, Album, Mono
    Country: US
    Released: 1959
    Genres: Jazz
    Styles: Hard Bop

  14. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here

    Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

    Sold for $1618.00 Label: Harvest
    Format: LP, Album
    Country: UK
    Released: 1975
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Prog Rock

  15. Minor Threat - Filler

    Minor Threat – Filler

    Sold for $1619.00 Label: Dischord Records
    Format: 7″, EP, Red
    Country: US
    Released: 1981
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Hardcore, Punk

  16. Jack White (2) - Fly Farm Blues

    Jack White (2) – Fly Farm Blues

    Sold for $1631.00 Label: Third Man Records
    Format: 7″, S/Sided, Etch, Biz
    Country: US
    Released: 2009
    Genres: Rock, Blues
    Styles: Blues Rock

  17. Kenny Burrell - Midnight Blue

    Kenny Burrell – Midnight Blue

    Sold for $1648.00 Label: Blue Note, Classic Records
    Format: 4×12″, S/Sided, Album, Ltd, Num, TP + Box
    Country: US
    Released: 2008
    Genres: Jazz
    Styles: N/A

  18. Sasaki Hideto - Sekine Toshiyuki Quartet + 1 - Stop Over

    Sasaki Hideto – Sekine Toshiyuki Quartet + 1 – Stop Over

    Sold for $1687.00 Label: Smile (7)
    Format: LP, Album
    Country: Japan
    Released: 1976
    Genres: Jazz
    Styles: Hard Bop

  19. Johnny Griffin - A Blowing Session

    Johnny Griffin – A Blowing Session

    Sold for $1777.00 Label: Blue Note
    Format: LP, Album, Mono
    Country: US
    Released: 1957
    Genres: Jazz
    Styles: Hard Bop

  20. Heart Attack (2) - God Is Dead

    Heart Attack (2) – God Is Dead

    Sold for $1795.00 Label: Damaged Goods (3)
    Format: 7″
    Country: US
    Released: 1981
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Hardcore, Punk

  21. David Bowie - David Bowie

    David Bowie – David Bowie

    Sold for $1829.00 Label: Deram
    Format: LP, Album, Mono
    Country: UK
    Released: 1967
    Genres: Rock, Pop
    Styles: Pop Rock, Psychedelic Rock

  22. V.P.'s* - E.P. Take One

    V.P.’s* – E.P. Take One

    Sold for $2100.00 Label: Bad Wreckors
    Format: 7″, EP
    Country: US
    Released: 1978
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Punk

  23. Half Pint And The Fifths* - Orphan Boy

    Half Pint And The Fifths* – Orphan Boy

    Sold for $2100.00 Label: Orlyn, Orlyn
    Format: 7″, Single
    Country: US
    Released: 1966
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Garage Rock

  24. Mulatu Astatke featuring Fekade Amde Maskal = ሙላቱ አስታጥቄ* ጋር ከፋቃደ አሞደ መስቀል* - Ethio Jazz = የካተት

    Mulatu Astatke featuring Fekade Amde Maskal = ሙላቱ አስታጥቄ* ጋር ከፋቃደ አሞደ መስቀል* – Ethio Jazz = የካተት

    Sold for $2108.00 Label: Amha Records
    Format: LP, Album
    Country: Ethiopia
    Released: 1974
    Genres: Jazz, Funk / Soul, Folk, World, & Country
    Styles: Soul-Jazz, Jazz-Funk, African

  25. The Misfits* - Bullet

    The Misfits* – Bullet

    Sold for $2150.00 Label: Plan 9
    Format: 7″, EP
    Country: US
    Released: 1978
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Punk

  26. Michael Jackson - Smile

    Michael Jackson – Smile

    Sold for $2439.00 Label: Epic
    Format: CD, Maxi
    Country: Netherlands
    Released: 1998
    Genres: Pop
    Styles: Ballad

  27. J.S. Bach* / Johanna Martzy - The Unaccompanied Violin Sonatas Volume 1

    J.S. Bach* / Johanna Martzy – The Unaccompanied Violin Sonatas Volume 1

    Sold for $2717.00 Label: The Electric Recording Co.
    Format: LP, Mono, Ltd, Num, RE
    Country: UK
    Released: 2012
    Genres: Classical
    Styles: Baroque

  28. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II

    Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin II

    Sold for $3000.00 Label: Classic Records
    Format: 4×12″, Album, Ltd, Num, RM, TP + Box
    Country: US
    Released: 2008
    Genres: Rock, Blues
    Styles: Classic Rock, Hard Rock, Psychedelic Rock

  29. Le Sun Ra And His Arkestra* - Jazz In Silhouette

    Le Sun Ra And His Arkestra* – Jazz In Silhouette

    Sold for $3250.00 Label: El Saturn Records, El Saturn Records
    Format: LP, Album
    Country: US
    Released: 1959
    Genres: Jazz
    Styles: Hard Bop, Free Jazz

  30. Meisenfloo - Meisenfloo

    Meisenfloo – Meisenfloo

    Sold for $3296.00 Label: Lagua Records
    Format: LP
    Country: Germany
    Released: 1972
    Genres: Rock, Folk, World, & Country
    Styles: Folk Rock

The post The Top 30 Most Expensive Items Sold in the Discogs Marketplace for April 2020 appeared first on Discogs Blog.

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Extensive list compiled of black producers, artists and black-owned labels

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Snoop Dogg – Los Angeles, 2009

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Freya Parr Nominations for 2020 RPS Awards open today

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The Royal Philharmonic Society has announced that its annual awards will take place in November of this year with a digital awards presentation. It is hoped that a live ceremony will take place when social distancing rules permit. 

As well as the usual categories, the RPS has added several new Inspiration Awards, for artists and organisations that have flourished during lockdown and created innovative ways to continue their music-making. 

These awards will be voted for by the public – a first for the RPS. 

To cast your votes in this year’s RPS Awards, click here. Nominations will stay open until Wednesday 26 August.  

 

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Beethoven Unleashed: Return to Form

Donald Macleod explores the enduring power, pathos and innovation of Beethoven’s late string quartets with guests Laura Tunbridge and Edward Dusinberre.

Just two years before he died, Beethoven returned to an old treasured form, the string quartet. The five quartets he ended up writing would come to be his final major works, and would change the paradigm beyond recognition. Though dismissed by audiences in their day, their composition is now considered a pivotal moment not only in Beethoven’s life, but in the history of classical music. Donald is joined by musicologist Laura Tunbridge, and violinist Edward Dusinberre of the Takács Quartet, to discuss these extraordinary, watershed works that have bewildered and beguiled listeners ever since their creation. Throughout the week, they focus on each of the five late quartets, uncovering the stories, circumstances and conversations that surround them.

Composer of the Week is returning to the story of Beethoven’s life and music throughout 2020. Part of Radio 3’s Beethoven Unleashed season marking the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth.

Music Featured:
String Quartet No 12 in E flat, Op 127
Symphony No 9 (Finale, part 1)
Bagatelle in E flat, Op 126 No 3
String Quartet in A minor, Op 132
Fidelio, Act I: ‘Abscheulicher, wo eilst du hin?‘
String Quartet in B flat major, Op 130
Piano Sonata in G major, Op 79
Grosse Fuge, Op 133
Piano Sonata No 30, Op 109 (1st movement)
String Quartet in C sharp minor, Op 131
Lob auf der Dicken, WoO 100
Falstafferel, WoO 184
String Quartet in F major, Op 135
Coriolan Overture, Op 62

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Amelia Parker for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Beethoven Unleashed: Return to Form https://ift.tt/2Y3eyTE

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

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Elaine Mitchener’s Sweet Tooth reading list

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Freya Parr BBC announces new ‘remote-access’ documentary about the Kanneh-Mason family

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The BBC has announced the extension of its Culture in Quarantine programming. 

A new documentary celebrating cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and his family will be included as part of Alan Yentob’s imagine… series on BBC One. It will be the first ‘remote access’ film in the series, with a camera and lighting rig installed remotely in the Kanneh-Masons’ home and video messaging used to record interviews. The programme will explore the family’s music-making during lockdown. 

A new documentary about the late conductor Bernard Haitink will be broadcast on BBC Four, created by renowned documentary maker John Bridcut. 

Another musical legend will be captured in a documentary this summer, with British composer Benjamin Britten the subject of a new documentary created in collaboration with the Aldeburgh Festival. The programme includes contributions from David Attenborough and Humphrey Burton, among others.  

In June, the Royal Opera House will launch ‘Live from Covent Garden’, a series of three concerts, the first of which will be broadcast in full on BBC Radio 3. Highlights from all three concerts will be shown on BBC TV.

 

 

The first concert will take place at 7.30pm on 13 June and will feature works by Britten, Handel, Butterworth and Mark-Anthony Turnage, with guest artists including soprano Louise Alder and tenors Toby Spence and Gerald Finley.  

A series of operas will be made available on BBC iPlayer from opera houses which have had to cancel their summer seasons due to lockdown and social distancing restrictions. Performances will include Glyndebourne’s The Barber of Seville, Garsington’s TheTurn of the Screw and The Marriage of Figaro and Opera North’s La traviata. 

In light of the fact that this year’s Edinburgh International Festival cancellation, BBC Radio 3 will broadcast a summer of archive concerts from Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall.

Beethoven continues to play a central role in the BBC’s 2020 programming, with a four-part series on BBC Four and an audio-drama featuring Peter Capaldi playing Beethoven himself. As will be the case for the rest of the great composer’s 250th anniversary year, every second week of Composer of the Week will be dedicated to Beethoven. 

 

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