[78-L] Oberstein

David Lennick dlennick at sympatico.ca
Fri Apr 23 17:02:55 PDT 2010

Interesting about the Carle album, since it's definitely from Columbia masters. But I haven't made a direct comparison (don't know if I even have the Carle album, unless it was a freebee..as the Philharmonic album was).


Re the classical stuff from Telefunken, so much of it turns up without artist credit (and never WITH credit) that I'd have to think that some of it was stolen, and I've seen accounts of him making legitimate visits to Germany and surreptitiously stuffing test pressings into his briefcase.  Specifically, there are items by Mengelberg and the Concertgebouw that are easily identified and which appear only as anonymous issues (1812 Overture, Tchaikovsky symphonies, Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto with Conrad Hansen) as well as a performance of the newly discovered Schumann Violin Concerto (Kulenkampff). And there are legit pressings of recordings by Leo Blech and other conductors, plus the famous Marian Anderson Berlin recordings (some of which turn up as master pressings on Davis).


> From: david.diehl at hensteeth.com
> To: 78-l at klickitat.78online.com
> Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2010 23:54:12 +0000
> Subject: Re: [78-L] Oberstein
> >Steven C. Barr wrote
> As far as your Obie question...ask David Diehl...!
> Hi all,
> Several years ago I visited the BMG archives in NYC. Vince Giordano had a day job there and I asked him if he knew the circumstances of Oberstein's departure in 1939. He said there was virtually no info on Obie in Victor's files and if I found anything, he'd love to hear about it.
> My guess is that he quit before he got fired. Obie sued Artie Shaw and Glenn Miller in an effort to enforce personal management contracts they had signed. Victor countersued (on Miller's behalf-not Shaw's) that Oberstein had coerced various Bluebird artists into signing their copyrights over to him (just as his mentor Ralph Peer had done before him). In November of 1940 a settlement was finally reached transferring Glenn Miller, Larry Clinton, Tommy Dorsey and Eddie De Lange to RCA Mfg. Co. and Eli payed $10k on the copyright issue.
> He was back the following year with Classic Records and the Elite label, recording his first sides in November of '41. The first discs were out before the end of the month. In mid-May of 1942 the 50-cent Hit label was introduced.
> Obie's Philharmonic albums began appearing in September of 1943 but the label had been around for over two years-originally pressed by Columbia and Victor. I believe the Carle piano album was replaced tune-for-tune by Frank Froeba. 
> Given the occasional master pressings that turn up, I see no reason to assume Obie was pirating European material rather than leasing it. He had visited the continent several times as head of A&R for Victor and doubtless pursued his own interests as well as those of his employer. 
> In Jan. 1944 he bought General's old studio and renamed it Transcriptions, Inc. It was slightly larger than a closet but acoustically similar.
> The sale of Classic to Majestic (predictibly) generated another round of lawsuits. According to Variety 11/7/45 the Selvin suit was settled out of court with Obie claiming no money changed hands and Selvin hinting $5k plus legal fees. Obie's suit for back salary finally netted him 12 thousand bucks in 1947 after which Majestic quietly leased some of Obie's 1939-40 Jan Peerce sides. Peerce was being promoted by RCA's Red Seal about the same time. Oberstein, of course, was employed by RCA at the time.
> Visit the Blue Pages: the Encyclopedic Guide to 78 RPM Party Records
> http://www.hensteeth.com
> From: "Dan Van Landingham" <danvanlandingham at yahoo.com>
> > The first copy of "Hangover Square" I had was pressed on shellac and had
> > the black label.Same for the
> > Cootie Williams recording of "Cherry Red".It was recorded in early
> > 1944.That particular recording was
> > also issued on Hit which I've understood to be another one of Oberstein's
> > labels.When was Elite formed<
> >From: Geoffrey Wheeler <dialjazz at verizon.net>
> Speaking of Alvino Rey, Al simmons says:“Good band..good charts. He
> opened with "The Strip Polka" Hot stuff. Next number "The Major and
> The Minor"
> Earl Bostic made an excellent recording of his and Redd Evans tune “The
> Major and the Minor” for Majestic. The sound is “boxy,” as though it
> were recorded in a closet. The Alvino Rey Bluebird recording of the
> tune is also excellent. Both recordings should be better known.
> >From: David Lennick <dlennick at sympatico.ca>
> I've never seen a Varsity album either (or a straight banana). Lots of Philharmonics though. Trust Obie to find a niche..when rubber was rationed, he managed to get the Firestone stores to sell phonograph records! Reissues from Varsity and Royale, pirated classical stuff from Telefunken including some he'd previously put on Royale and licensed to Monkey Ward, some legit stuff from Victor and Columbia including a Frankie Carle album issued anonymously (!), and a better sounding pressing of Will Osborne's "Man Who Comes Around" than I'd ever heard on Varsity.
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