THE PARLOPHONE NEW SWING STYLE SERIES, 1936-1938 AND THE PARLOPHONE BRITISH ARTISTS "RHYTHM-STYLE" SERIES 1936

by Trevor Tolley

rignold.jpg (42908 bytes)The Parlophone New Swing Series ran from 1936 to 1938 and featured mainly British artists. It may have been deleted from the catalogue some time during World War II. It was not listed in the various issues of the Parlophone Rhythm Style booklet (the fullest version of which is the 1948 edition) compiled for Parlophone by Edgar Jackson. There is a list in the regular Parlophone catalogue in 1940, though not in numerical order of issue and without personnel. Not all of the titles are in the 1978 edition of Rust’s Jazz Records. The series is not to be confused with Parlophone’s "Swing Series", begun in 1939 with two records by Artie Shaw and then stopped; though later augmented in 1943 by transfer of titles from the discontinued Columbia Swing Series. The Parlophone Swing Series, like the New Rhythm Style Series and the Super Rhythm Style Series, was used for American artists. The New Swing Style Series, in contrast, was used mainly for British artists; though, for instance, T Toll’s Swingtime Five, whose recordings begin the series, was an American college group then in London. The other exceptions to this are the sides by Blackie & Her Boys, Ken Hamilton, Sam Reznick and The Rhythm Trio, all of which were recorded in Buenos Aires, Argentina and the Mal Hallett side, which was recorded in the USA.

The New Swing Style Series appeared in the more expensive "R" series, as did the Rhythm Style and Super Rhythm Style series, which featured American recordings. It had the same blue, white and gold label and was serially numbered in addition to the catalogue numbers. It is interesting that these records are not on the cheaper "F" series (used for dance music) with the magenta label; though the popular British Jazz groups of Nat Gonella and Joe Daniels did appear on the magenta label. There must have been the sense that these recordings would appeal to jazz fans. Pressings would probably have been of a few hundred, as was generally the case with records for the jazz market in Britain in those days. Some of these records are rare; others turn up more often, as do those by Eddie Carroll. Eleven of the twenty-four records are by Carroll, evidently a popular band, and one made up, at various sessions, of musicians, such as Buddy Featherstonhaugh, Harry Hayes, George Chisholm, Woolf Phillips and Tiny Winters, all of whom had a good sense of the new swing music.

 

1/2 R2256 T Toll's Swingtime Five-Shoe Shine Boy/Robins&Roses

3/4 R2267 T Toll's Swingtime Five-Farewell Blues/Christopher Columbus

5/6 R2280 T Toll's Swingtime Five-Basin Street Blues/P.Green&G.Elliott-I Can’t Believe

7/8 R2295 Phil Green & George Elliott – Cryin’ for the Carolines/Mal Hallett-Swing as it Comes

9/10 R2314 Eddie Carroll Harlem/Rose Room

11/12 R2315 Phil Green-Talk of the Town/Time on My Hands

13/14 R2326 Eddie Carroll-Because I Love You/Honeysuckle Rose

15/16 R2335 Phil Green-Stardust/Pardon Me Pretty Baby

17/18 R2338 Duncan Whyte-Hot&Anxious/Pennies from Heaven

19/20 R2346 Sam Reznick-Sophisticated Lady/The Rhythm Trio-Whispering

21/22 R2354 Blackie & Her Boys-Confessin’/Ken Hamilton-Shine (Rec. Argentine)

23/24 R2395 Eddie Carroll Ebony Shadows/Caravan

25/26 R2436 Bert Firman's Quadruplets at Swing-Swing as it Comes/Swingitis

27/28 R2447 Eddie Carroll-Melody in Riff/Monotony

29/30 R2464 Eddie Carroll-Blue Danube Swing/Night Ride

31/32 R2466 Eric Siday & Reg Leopold-Jed and Elmer/Honeysuckle Rose

33/34 R2473 Eddie Carroll-If I Had You/Dinah

35/36 R2474 Max Abram's Rhythm Makers-Ain't Misbehavin'/Way Down Yonder

37/38 R2491 Eddie Carroll-Song of the Volga Boatmen/Midnight at the Onyx

39/40 R2504 Eddie Carroll-Midnite in Harlem/Nightime in Cairo

41/42 R2505 Eric Siday & Reg Leopold-Tiger Rag/Rhythm Gangsters-Blues

43/44 R2514 Bert Firman-Blue Strings/Keep Goin’

45/46 R2522 Eddie Carroll-Creole Love Call/Dinner and Dance

47/48 R2579 Eddie Carroll-One O'Clock Jump/Lullaby in Rhythm

These records do not turn up very often, indicating probably that few collectors (or any body else) bought them. It must be remembered that jazz was not widely heard in Britain in those days. The BBC, which had a monopoly of broadcasting, seldom played records of jazz. Many of the records are by artists who seem to have had little or no regular association with jazz, though some of the records feature players like Buddy Feathersonhaugh, Duncan Whyte and Max Abrams who did. For instance, the Rhythm Trio (which was recorded in Buenos Aires) consisting of Dannie Varola on clarinet, Ken Hamilton on piano, and Reimoso Rosso on drums, does not appear in the 1978 edition of Rust’s Jazz Records; and none of the players appears on any record that he lists there. Their sole recording is "Whispering". The clarinetist has clearly heard the Benny Goodman Trio. Clearly, too, these players can play their instruments with competence. But the result is not impressive. The regularly featured Eddie Carroll and his Orchestra was better known and offered much better jazz. Their record of "Harlem" turns up rather often and may have been quite popular. The soloists are Buddy Feathersonhaugh on tenor saxophone and Fred Watson on guitar. Arthur Mouncey is heard on trumpet on Tiny Winters is on bass.

A related series is the British Artists "Rhythm-Style" Series, which appeared as a single album early in 1936. It is listed in Jackson’s Parlophone Rhythm Style booklet, and all the recordings are to be found in Rust.

1/2 R2149 Jack Miranda & His Meanderers – Bread & Jam/Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider

3/4 R2150 Hugo Rignold - Calling all Keys/Poor Butterfly

5/6 R2151 Arthur Young - Blind Man’s Bluff/Ain’t Misbehavin’

7/8 R2152 Lew Davis – Swing Me Sweetly/I Never Knew

9/10 R2153 Fred Gardner – China Boy/Duncan Whyte – Hummin’ to Myself

11/12 R2154 Black Hand Gang – Entr’acte/Limehouse Blues

The artists are on the whole more associated with jazz than those featured in the New Swing Style series. However, all the recordings, except the first and last, are solo performances, perhaps a little demanding for some of these players. Surprisingly, "Poor Butterfly", a violin and viola solo by Hugo Rignold, who played with Jack Hylton and with The New Mayfair Dance Orchestra, is a rather nice record.

The recordings in these series are much less impressive than those in the contemporary Decca "British Swing Series", with their wonderful records by the George Chisholm Jive Five and Ken "Snake Hips" Johnson. Nonetheless, the Parlophone New Swing Style Series represents a set of recordings little known or explored discographically. I have, indeed, not heard most of its records; and some information was supplied by John R.T. Davies, who has most of them, and by Colin Bray, who has some of them. Thanks are also due to Morris Hunting of the Diskery, Birmingham, England, for access to his collection of catalogues.

This article is based on a presentation to the Canadian Collectors Congress in Toronto in April, 2003.

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