Long After Dark

Heartbreaking, on many levels, 1982’s record-hugging insert to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers release on Backstreet Records, Long After Dark. I was slow to warm to the Tom Petty sound, being into industrial and hardcore at the time, but a corner was turned (some several years back), and this prominent, historical American sound has slowly, yet consistently become a go-to staple. RIP, Mr. Petty, and thank you for your prestigious endeavors.

SST Stickers

Show your Southern California hardcore punk pride with these classy and ageless band stickers, direct from SST Records (circa: 1986). Need a groovy We Jam Econo sticker from San Pedro-based three piece, Minutemen for your late 90’s Saab? Or how about a serpent-style Saccharine Trust sticky for your kid’s school lunchbox? I’d settle for the streamlined SST bumper myself, but whatever you fancy, SST Records via means of this 30+ year old insert has you covered.

Is That a Panatrope in Your Living Room, or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

Yet another vintage collection of phonographs, this time courtesy of Brunswick (remember, number three of “the big three.”). Panatropes, a term Brunswick coined, were even offered with the newly discovered invention of the time (a fathomable thought), the Radiola. Options were plentiful during the heyday of the 78rpm revolution (and it was certainly nothing short of that), so pick your poison, and your favored label, and throw down some borrowed dough for the finest cabinetry the early 1900s could buy.

Awaiting Your Command…

Victor strikes again with its overly simplified clip art cover for a vintage 78 sleeve. Every instrument of music, and famous Victor artist awaiting your command to play… ok, like, I’m in control, yeah? I “command” my string section to perform strictly for me, whenever, and for however long I’m willing to operate the crank. Actually, yeah… that sounds nice. Kind of consumerist royalty. Shut up, Victor, and take my money!

Famous Selections…

Famous selections by some of the world’s greatest artists, or so this Camden, NJ-based monster of a label would have you believe (Victor Talking Machine Company… yeah, they knew their shit). If you’re in the market for a brief history on available Victrola needles circa: the 1930s, the right column in the photo above is your best friend. There are several tone-options to choose from, so choose wisely, and choose often.

Conqueror 78

Ok, getting near the end of my newly acquired 78 sleeves (I halfheartedly promise). Conqueror Records, in association with Sears, Roebuck and Co. (The World’s Largest Store… RIP Sears) was a label with strict distribution through Sears, Roebuck and Co., and oddly enough played best at 80rpm. Hmmm, odd… The label operated between 1928 and 1942, and issued released by acts like Harry James, Cab Calloway, Fred Hall (no, not Fred Hill), and even Duke Ellington. I wouldn’t necessarily call a 14 year life anything of conquering definition, but the logo sure is something worth noting.

Red Sleeves

Yes, yes, yet another RCA Victor 78 record sleeve. (Does anyone see a pattern here? And, oh! That dog looks familiar…) My personal take on this inherited sleeve is that the northeastern corner was deliberately, let’s say, customized, buy the original owner (or the owner’s friend’s owner… I have no way of knowing). Regardless, simplicity in design shines brightest, yet again, and we’re left with some pretty badass, vintage art.

Vita-tonal Columbia Phonographs

Fancy yourself a look at the 600-800 models of Vita-tonal Columbia Phonographs by, well, Columbia. But don’t take my (minimal) word(s) for it. Here is a snippet of Columbia herself (himself?) pitching the newly developed technology:
In every Vita-tonal Columbia, there is the same careful attention to detail, seen or unseen, whether it be for ornament, convenience, or service. In this marvelous musical creating, the art of the cabinetmaker joins hands with the mechanical genius that has at last achieved a perfect instrument for reproducing recorded sound.
Sounds like a winner, Bobby!

Orthophonic Recording

The word “orthophonic” is so outdated, spellcheck feels it is misspelled (damn you, spellcheck!). The first of its kind featuring records recorded using the new “electronically recorded” sound was first shunned by major labels, then, like an unearthed memory, embraced and regarded as a monumental leap forward in consumer-based, reproduced sound. Making waves as early as 1925… nicely done, Western Electric.

Perfect 78

America’s fastest selling record, circa: 1930?, well, I have no way of knowing, so, sure. What’s interesting about Perfect, aside from the “Better Records Can’t Be Made” party at the bottom of the photo (a photo for another time…), is that 78 pressings on Perfect reemerged as late as the 1990s, most notably the double 10″ by John Fahey titled, Morning / Evening, Not Night released in 1996… now a top item on my 78 wantlist.

Brunswick Bowling Ball

Brunswick Records, the now 103-year-old label, initially began releasing US-recorded material solely in Canada (eh?). Growing in size to become one of the world’s “big three” (Victor, Columbia Records, being the other two), Brunswick would find domestic success releasing “urban” or “race records” including those by The Jungle Band (Duke Ellington) and Fletcher Henderson. Take notice of the striking (pun completely intended) lightning bolt design behind the name, and although she may now be more commonly known for her bold bowling balls, the Brunswick name has been a household staple since September of 1845.

Columbia Records Every Music Lover Should Own

Do you love music? Do you OWN music? Why not take Columbia Records out for a spin and see how the night goes? Dinner is optional, if you know what I mean. Columbia Broadcasting System wants you (and your pocketbook) to indulge in some fantastic, and noteworthy releases via their vibrant, 78rpm catalogue. Featured here, on this 1930? protective sleeve are descriptions of releases by Sir Thomas Beecham, Lorenzo Molajoli, Choir of The Red Army of The U.S.S.R., and Selmar Meyrowitz, but most notably, fancy yourself a gander at this amazing (yet strikingly simple) layout, and the CBS “Trade-Mark” logo. Columbia?! Yes, Gloria… Columbia.

Clarion 78

Another vintage 78 sleeve?! K’mon, man! Nope! I’m owning this! Clarion Records, whose logo owns a striking resemblance to the classic Grand Royal Records logo (one of them, at least), was home to such (who the hell are they?) artists as Ford Britten’s Comets, Eddie Younger’s Mountaineers, Louisiana Collegians, and Hobo Jack Turner (among many, many others). Predominantly active throughout the early 1930s, releases on the Clarion label are many, which is odd considering little to nothing about the label’s history can be found online. The logo is tops, though!


Ok, let’s jump ahead a few decades (four or so) and revel in the artistic advancements of well-designed record sleeves. Pickwick (as cheap of a product as they were… sorry, Pickwick), certainly took the overly simple approach to bold and effective measures. This pattern would make for some bomb wallpaper (desktop or otherwise), and I’m now thinking of lifting this look for some Groove-related goodies. Anyway, sleeves-a-plenty over here these days, so buckle up and enjoy the obscurity.

VTM 78

Sleeves advertising vintage record players (or in this case, classic Victrolas), are some of my favorites to discover. They’re not always in heavy supply, the sleeves, so when they rear their beautiful and fragile heads, it’s a bit of a pleasant surprise. That credenza looks pretty badass, in my humble opinion (again, the space issue), but to be honest, accurately reproduced sound has never looked so damn sexy.

Harmony 78

A (very) brief remembrance of Harmony Records, a has-been sister company of Columbia Records starting in 1925. Manufactured as a lower budget option for the 78rpm crowd (a quality product at a popular price, as they liked to say… apparently), Harmony was initially active nearly a hundred years ago in the 1920s and 1930s. Harmony was home to acts I’ve never heard of, and could only attempt to make up (The Dixie Stompers, University Six, Banjo Barons, The Savannah Six, Three Monkey Chasers), and this vintage sleeve, complete with groovy logo, has withstood the test of time, and has recently been welcomed to the (ever-growing) collection of one-off sleeves in the library… as if space wasn’t already an issue…

Sales Pitch 101

So, what’s the deal with Victor Records? A thought that troubles each and every one of us as at some point (I assume), so let’s hear it straight from the His Master’s Voice:
Victor Records and Victrolas are scientifically coordinated and synchronized in the processes of manufacture and are made for use together. They should be so used to secure a perfect reproduction. The Victor Company’s pictorial trade-mark “His Master’s Voice” affords a ready means of identification; look for it – on the record labels and inside the lids of Victrolas. For best results this record should be played only on a Victor instrument.

Lyric Sheet to Heaven

Presented here in photo form (and little else) are the complete lyrics to Led Zeppelin’s (severely overplayed, yet historically significant) Stairway to Heaven, by means of the insert from the band’s untitled, 4th studio album, commonly referred to as Led Zeppelin IV. It’s a quick read, whose melody is, I’m sure, already implanted in your brain. Enjoy.

Fun for the Senses

One Nation, under Groove… Presented here is a rather nifty insert to Nation of Ulysses’ second album, Plays Pretty for Baby. Fancy yourself a pair of Star Trek Vulcan Ears, you’re in luck. Surprise Packages go for a cool $1 (circa: who knows?), and the classics like X-Ray Specs and the party favorite, Vibrating Shocker get equal page time with Trick Black Soap (which makes you look like Hitler, apparently), and a Midget Spy Camera (they maybe should have reconsidered the title of that one). Let’s face it. Who in their right mind could turn down an Electronic Lie & Love Detector? It detects love AND lies. Not me, I’ll tell you what (he says in elderly man voice). Lots to explore here while you spin some fascinating DC hardcore. Fun for the eyes, AND the ears. Enjoy.

Columbia Insert

Haven’t done an insert in a while, so, here’s an insert! Straight from the crooked minds over at Columbia Records, promptly found within our copy of Blood, Sweat & Tears’ self-titled monster. A handful on this list can be found within our collection (Super Session, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, Cheap Thrills, The Graduate), but something I’m now just noticing is that I don’t have any Paul Revere & The Raiders in my collection. Hmm. Something to consider.