Record Information Services
established 1974
Blues Records Discography, 1943 onwards
  WHO'S WHO OF GROUPS & SOLO ARTISTS ISSUED IN BRITAIN  

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UK DISCOGRAPHIES (Label Listings) INTRODUCTION

A General Note regarding Discographies linked above:
     Historically, where possible all records have been catalogued from the actual discs themselves, and / or (in the case of LPs and EPs) from the sleeves. Otherwise, official sources such as trade catalogues and release sheets have been used. As a last resort, other available commercial trade information sources have been used, and occasionally music papers and magazines. Since the advent of the internet, many websites have been used to verify and occasionally supply information.

Dating Releases: Release dates given are official company ones unless not available, in which case other sources (often adjusted because of known publication delays) are used. Release dates before the 1960s can be a problem, with even the record company trade numerical catalogues from the period being provably liable to one month's error. Full dates including the actual day of release are only given where such information is reliably available from record company sources, normally trade release sheets but sometimes advertisements, also from dates on demos.
     Whilst the weekly publication "New Singles", which started in November 1963, is generally very useful, using it for exact information and dating purposes is unreliable and those dates are not used here. "New Records" (the parent of "New Singles") began in 1952 as a supplement to a monthly magazine but was quickly spun-off as a separate publication. It was intended to inform record buyers about all known recent British releases across all formats and genres - it was never intended as an accurate dating guide for future record collectors and researchers, and its use for this purpose will frequently give a date one month later than the actual release date.
     Another monthly publication but rarely mentioned, "Records Of The Month", dates back to the 1930s and was strictly a trade issue meant for record retailers. Quaintly, it was originally published by "The Pianomaker & Music Seller". It had a different layout to "New Records" and was less detailed but it covered the same ground, all formats and genres, and had advertisements for independent record distributors. It ceased publication in the 1970s. Its usefulness for dating records is the same as "New Records".

     Decca Ledgers: On an historical note, it was the practice of Decca to keep a set of ledgers of about foolscap size (8 x 13 inches) in which hand-written lists of all the Group's label series (including Brunswick, (Vogue-)Coral, Vogue, Tempo, etc.) were kept, usually including the matrix details which appeared on the actual pressing, a label of origin if licensed from elsewhere, the date of issue (usually more reliable than other sources) and maybe the deletion date, plus occasional other comments. The particular usefulness of the ledgers, whose use continued into the 1970s, is that they give information about intended but unreleased records, thus filling in those nasty gaps which trouble both record collectors and researchers alike. Long ago, RIS was fortunate enough to have been given a number of these unique and irreplaceable ledgers, and information from them (often for the first time) has been used in some of the label series made available here. RIS also has a unique set of Decca's London(-American) master files which detail all the recordings received in the UK for consideration to be issued on London, and thus reveal the records which failed to get released.

     Record Information Services (RIS) was started in 1974 by Paul Pelletier long before mass communication and the internet, in the days when record cataloguing had to be done the arduous way of acquiring and consulting trade catalogues, release sheets and other published commercial sources, or via the difficult task of gaining access to the record company files, even the indexes and stored collection of the then very comprehensive BBC Gramophone Library, and of course from contact with record collectors who were usually happy to make their collection available or share information.

     Paul kept abreast of technology, starting at the typically humble "fanzine" level of the 1970s by typing skins with a manual typewriter and printing catalogues on his own duplicator. In the early 1980s, things progressed to typing on an IBM "golf ball" typewriter and professional printing, then to an early electronic typewriter with easier correction facilities. The breakthrough into the digital age occurred with the acquisition of an Amstrad ("green screen") PCW in 1985 (Paul had earlier investigated the Commodore 64 but realised its storage capacity was too limited), and the database used today has its beginnings in the Amstrad. Using this machine, in 1987 Paul published the 800-page hardback book "Blues Records, 1943-1970, Vol. 1: A - K", each master page taking up to half-an-hour to print on a dot-matrix machine. In the early 1990s, Paul acquired an IBM-based personal computer, the first of many to follow.

     The advent of the internet has been a mixed blessing, providing as it does a wonderful research tool to unearth missing catalogue numbers, often for records only issued outside the UK, and a whole wealth of extra information about the records, the companies and the performers. The downside has been the behaviour by some people of taking other people's hard work and using it wholesale without any credit to the original source, which has happened to all of Paul's published work.

     Moving on, the RIS archive now resides in Canada and Paul has retired, but keeping it within the family and with his blessing and greatly needed assistance, I am making available through the links above unpublished label listings, and some published ones as well. All I ask is that anybody using the available resources here should not steal the information en masse and give credit where credit is due, to Record Information Services and Paul Pelletier's pioneering efforts.

      Adding links on other websites to this website is welcome and will be reciprocated.
Guy Pelletier

Added 05-Aug-2013; Updated 18-Apr-2014

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