Abbey Records was a record label active in the United States from roughly 1949 until 1953.

Abbey Records
Parent companyPeter Doraine, Inc.
Country of originUnited States
LocationNew York City, New York, United States

History edit

Abbey was founded by Pete Doraine[1] and originally operated in the Forest Hills, Queens, section of New York City but soon moved to 10th Avenue in the Manhattan borough in mid-1949 with Doraine serving as president.[2][3] In 1950 Abbey's experienced its first (and biggest) hit in a recording of The Old Piano Roll Blues by J. Lawrence Cook. This disc, catalog number 15003, reached a peak position of 13, and had staying power for eleven weeks.[4] Cook had recorded it in 1949, and then sold it to Abbey.[5] Billboard had reviewed this record in its "Billboard Picks" as "spontaneous" and "rollicking" with "guts and drive," and evidently the public agreed.[6] Abbey's next issue in the 15000-series was a Country hit. Slippin' Around With Jole Blon by Bud Messner and His Skyline Boys reached number 7 on the Country juke box charts in June 1950.[7] By mid-year they had again moved headquarters, this time to 49th street,[2] and had added two distributors to handle increased demand for their records.[8] The year 1951 saw another hit by Cook, although minor, a cover of Down Yonder (catalog number 15053) that placed a position #22 on Billboard's charts.[4] In 1951 the company located an operational nickelodeon in Richmond Hill, Queens on the advice of Cook, and signed a contract to record the machine. Because there was no extant rolls for the nickelodeon, Cook hand-produced rolls of two songs written specifically for the record.[3] Executive Don Reed left for Europe in the summer of 1951 to acquire recordings for issue in the LP format.[9] By 1952 Abbey was producing LP records, including a history of the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II.[10] Not entirely content with standard sales channels, Abbey signed a deal with the Pacquin company to record songs subtly promoting a hand cream product without directly naming the brand.[11]

Besides Doraine, other executives of the company were Carlton "Kelly" Camarata (who was part-owner)[12] as vice-president of Sales and Promotion, and Rudolph Toombs and Gus Statiras as A&R men.[2][13] Camarata left in late 1950 to join MGM Records.[14]

Repertoire edit

Abbey issued records in many genres, including popular, country, gospel, R&B, jazz, and classical.[2][13] The label dedicated numerical sequences to "Rhythm and Blues" (3000), Jazz (5000), "Spiritual" (7000), and Calypso (9000).[15]

Lawrence (Piano Roll) Cook edit

Abbey's best-selling artist was Lawrence Cook, who did not directly record for the label, but through an arrangement with QRS Piano Rolls would make rolls by "cutting" the roll while playing the song, and then punching extra holes in the paper producing sounds not possible from a single pianist.[16] These rolls would then be recorded, sometimes as a solo instrument, and often with other instruments such as a saxophone or with a vocal group dubbed the "Jim Dandies".[4]

Other Artists edit

Other artists who appeared on Abbey include:

Related operations edit

Abbey Records also had a music publishing arm named Margold Music Corp.[3][21]

In Canada, several Abbey recordings were released on the Quality Records label.[22]

References edit

  1. ^ "Paradise Distrib set by Doraine". Billboard. September 16, 1967. p. 8. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Gart, Galen (1989). The American Record Label Directory and Dating Guide, 1940-1959. Milford, New Hampshire: Big Nickel Publications. p. 1. ISBN 0-936433-11-6.
  3. ^ a b c "Nickelodeon & Hand Organ Are Latest "Sound" Finds". Billboard Magazine. March 17, 1951. p. 14. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Whitburn, Joel (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, Inc. p. 101. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  5. ^ Dolan, Brian (2009). Inventing Entertainment: The Player Piano and the Origins of an American Musical Industry. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 164. ISBN 9780742564619. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  6. ^ "Billboard Picks". Billboard. March 11, 1950.
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2006). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Country Hits. Random House. p. 230. ISBN 9780823082919. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  8. ^ "Music - As Written". Billboard. September 2, 1950. p. 21. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  9. ^ "Music As Written". Billboard. August 18, 1951. p. 14. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  10. ^ "Abbey to Release "2d Elizabeth" LP". Billboard. March 22, 1952. p. 49. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  11. ^ "Lotion Maker Plugs Discs". Billboard. May 31, 1952. p. 41. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  12. ^ "Pittsburgh". Billboard. September 16, 1950. p. 24. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  13. ^ a b International Association of Jazz Record Collectors Journal. 19: 29.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
  14. ^ "Music As Written". Billboard. November 18, 1950. p. 18. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  15. ^ "Big Abbey Winners (advertisement)". Billboard. October 1, 1949. p. 36. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  16. ^ "Abbey Cuts a Player-Piano Disk? Are Rolls Coming Back?". Billboard. March 4, 1950. p. 16. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  17. ^ a b c d "New York". Billboard. February 23, 1952. p. 43. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  18. ^ "Sex Appeal Set to Song Makes Nellie Hill Hit With Males". Jet Magazine. Johnson Publishing Company. February 5, 1953. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  19. ^ "Record Reviews". Billboard. July 9, 1949. p. 33. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  20. ^ a b "New York". Billboard. October 22, 1949. p. 18. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  21. ^ "Mail Carrier Has Own Tune Put on Disk". The Miami News. October 29, 1950. p. 7–D. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  22. ^ "Singles Discography for Quality Records - CA - K series". Global Dog Productions. 2008. Retrieved August 27, 2013.

External links edit