British Rhythm Society

British Rhythm Society (U.S.A.) / c. 1953

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Design: A simple layout, in imitation of a subscriber 'club' label (compare with Hot Club of America, likely produced at the same print shop). The font at the top is Kaufmann Script, drawn in 1936 for American Type Founders, and available only as individual characters for hand-setting; the font used in the lower segment is Linotype Metro, drawn in 1937, popular with commercial printers and newspapers). The imprinting is thus done by letterpress (as suggested by the slurring on the outer border) from a mix of hand-set type and machine-cast slugs.

History: Label scan courtesy of collector and jazzologist Dave Dixon of Canada. Thanks to author and discographer Geoffrey Wheeler (president of the International Association of Jazz Record Collectors) for the following info: "The 'British Rhythm Society'was a 78 record bootleg label issued by one Dante Bolletino in New York City. Although this particular 'British Rhythm Society' was fictional and perhaps created to seem like a 'club label' like Hot Record Society and United Hot Clubs of America, there actually was a British Hot Record Society in London. As reported by writer Albert J. McCarthy, the newly formed group held its first meeting March 17, 1945 to elect officers and establish by-laws. The British Hot Record Society, however, had no connection with this reissue label, British Rhythm Society, which was created in 1950 by the American, Dante Bolletino. The London-based BHRS did not lend its name for use as a label name. In fact, the group worked with English Brunswick in securing several reissues of rare jazz recordings. At the time of the group's formation, it had so far been unsuccessful in securing the participation of HMV and Parlophone in what members hoped would be a reissue each month. BRS issued its pressings on non-breakable vinylite and was the only 'boot' to print the fields of its labels in a variety of solid colors: maroon, blood red, light green, light blue, blue, black, cream yellow, bright yellow, and white. Except for its first issue, which is printed in black, all-caps, sans-serif type (Helvetica?), all typography is antique silver. The logo 'British Rhythm Society' is printed in script, stacked and centered near the top of the label. On pressings in the '1000' series and on reprints in its 1-26 series, 'Special Limited Edition for Members Only' is printed immediately above the spindle hole. These are non-vinyl pressings. Beginning with BRS 6, 'Special Limited Vinylite Pressing for Members Only' replaces the previous statement and is printed in the same location. On yellow labels, which may be re-pressings in the 1-26 range, this statement becomes 'Non-Breakable' in all caps. The type of music 'New Orleans Jazz,' 'Jazz Instrumental,' 'Traditional Blues,' 'Ellingtonia,' etc. is printed to the left of the spindle hole. Centered and stacked beneath the spindle hole are: tune title, composer credit, artist name, personnel, and in parentheses near the bottom of the label, the BRS matrix number. As with other bootleg labels, the matrix numbers on BRS have no relation to the matrix numbers of original issues, nor are they in any consistent numerical sequence or use the same prefix. In general, the transfers are well done. Because the pressings are vinyl, the surfaces are quiet. Playback volume is generally full, clear, and clean, and in some cases, louder than the original recording, with no concomitant distortion at the same volume setting. This is true even for acoustic recordings by King Oliver's [Creole] Jazz Band on BRS 2 and Jelly Roll Morton's piano solos on BRS 3. Where known, the color of the label is indicated after the description for each record." (The above is the introduction to a catalog listing for the label in Mr. Wheeler's book, titled 'Collectors Guide to Jazz on Bootleg & Reissue 78 R.P.M. Records 1932 to 1952,' published as a signed and numbered limited edition of 300 copies. The book is 8-1/2 x 11, 424-pages, covering the catalogs of more than 60 labels, of which more than 40 are U.S. bootleg 78 labels. The section on U.S. 78 reissues is 292 pages in length and covers the subject matter in great detail. Price is $55 plus $4.50 shipping by Media Mail in the U.S., $11 to Canada and $20 to U.K. and Europe via International First Class mail. Interested parties can contact him at Alternate colour scan (below left) courtesy of collector Georg Richter of Germany.

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