Pearl (U.S.A.) / 1952

back next

Design: The label name is interestingly hand-lettered, with an undulating base-line. Perhaps more might have been made of the graphic possibilities of a pearl set in a ring, or discovered within an oyster shell.

History: Thanks to Howard Kramer of the U.S.A. for the following gem: "There really was a Pearl. Pearl was a 1950s Canadian-American nightclub entertainer, singer and monologist who specialized in silly, bawdy novelty songs. Her style was much like that of Miami's legendary Belle Barth and Pearl's personal heroine, Pearl Williams. Both Barth and Williams had produced popular adult-oriented records on the After Hours label that sold well and brought them a fair degree of notoriety. Pearl's songs were both funny and somewhat shocking by the standards of the 1950s. Today these songs would barely be noticed for their saucy lyrics and suggestive innuendo. Pearl went by the full stage name of Pearly Mae and performed almost exclusively in Baltimore nightclubs after moving from Toronto to Maryland. She regularly appeared in such nightspots as the Club Charles and The Gayety Theater located in Baltimore's infamous downtown adult entertainment center called 'The Block.' Audiences were also delighted when Pearl stole the show at the 2 O'clock Club on 'The Block' where comedian Lenny Bruce got his start as well as the famous exotic dancer and burlesque queen Blaze Starr (the latter was the basis for the 1989 Paul Newman biopic, Blaze). Pearl also appeared at another popular Baltimore nightspot called The Chanticleer, where she warmed up the audience for the headliners, Martin and Lewis. The Pearl record label output was very limited and localized with minimal distribution. There were efforts to have the masters sold to Jubilee Records but that never came about. The Pearl label records were recorded at Audio Services Company at 1 W. Biddle Street in Baltimore and were produced by a gentleman named Walter Tees. Information regarding the actual pressing plant has been lost. When released, Pearl was thrilled at having a record label named after her. In 1957, Pearl retired from showbiz to raise a family. How do I know all of this? I should! Pearl is my mother! Still bright and funny as ever at 83 years old!" (February 2009)

site map   era index