Rare Les Paul recording discs and other musical artists.Are these records from his home radio music show in 1940?
Recent snapshots of two radio replay discsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Are there any more of these?Could these mysterious red records of the 1930s-40s be Les Paul and friends during the days of Booger Brothers broadcast radio?
Back in the mid 90s I was into collecting various forms of memorabilia and had alot of fun weekends in Ohio of going to garage sales,flea markets and antique stores.I loved the nostalgia of it all.I would collect old postcards,coca-cola,star trek,magazines,toys,cereal boxes,etc..Basically anything interesting and or nostalgic.I really had no real knowledge of the values of these things besides what Id learned from books.One day I had ordered a book called Hymans trash or treasure.The book didnt show the values of things like the traditional antique pricing books did.This book was different.Instead,it had the listings of all major collectors in their given field-(including record collectors) and a brief summary of what it was it was collected and the items they wish to buy.This was with phone numbers,email addresses,contact info,etc..The book was also very informative over many topics.Sometimes Id call collectors for info.Most of the time they were glad to talk and Id learn something new each time.I began using this book alot in the late 90s.It was later stolen though and I just never had gotten another yet.
Radio replay discs 1 and 2
How I found these records and their brief descriptions
In 97 I was just out cruisin around on the weekend and drove to Urbana Ohio I knew of..I was told of an antique specialty store.It was a store near downtown and had various displays from various owners situated throughout it.I found it to be extremely interesting.Didnt have much cash on me at the time but I got me some coca cola ads and various old trinkets.In the back of the place were old records.There was a whole wall of them ranging from very old 78 rpms to 1960s hippy music.All were regular black Lps.I already had a ton of albums of my own back home and I knew that its a rarity to ever find something extremely rare.I sifted through the albums anyways just for the fun of it.There were two soild red colored records together that were fitted in with the countless black record albums.Most of them out of their sleeves.I was sifting through them and here are these weird looking red records.They were both very cheap so I bought them..
These records are smaller than an Lp but bigger than a 45 rpm and are very thin and have 4 holes in them instead of one.One of them had no labels on either side of it.The other one has only one label on it.One can tell that the label was very likely made from white masking tape which was cut into a circle and glued onto the 4 holed record.On the label written with what I guess to be a regular blue inkpen it says-El Dilirio played by Vicente Gomez NBC-WENR Nov.27,1939-On the bottom of this label in smaller print it says-Wilcox-Gay Mothrig-It was at a later time that I had discovered something very interesting.One day I was looking at these records closely.On the other side of this labled record there is what appears to be something etched in the plastic?It says-(in cersif writing)-Les Paul this changing world 3-7-40-This appears to be etched in perhaps with a knife or something hot?Or was it an inprint of the lost label? I.E.-He takes his pen and writes out the label AFTER he glues it onto the record.Its like a home written label.Perhaps its a deep indentation leftover from the lost labels.The other record is the same way but no labels.Etched into the plastic on one side it says-The Philmore 4 Ive Got 6 Pence 5-5-40 (note-this40 looks like a 46.Could be a 6 or a zero)..Etched into the other side of the record in cercif is-New Friendly Music 3-3-40.The records do have some damage though.The side with New Friendly music does have 2 different warps-(bubbles) that have formed on the outer edge of the record on this side.Because these are still small about half if not more of this side is still unwarped and in decent shape.The other record of Les Paul and Vincente Gomez is slightly split on the side of it of perhaps a quarter inch,perhaps smaller.I had made some recent discoveries.These are written of later in this hub but one of them is that these records were made of a type of cardboard with the red plastic covered over them.This small split is on the side edge of the record.These records are very fragile and back in the 30s and 40s they could only be played only about 6 times and then they were done.Like a disposable disc.We really have tried to bring out the signitures and titles on these records in order to show them on here.Scans and picture taking wont show them.Because of their frigidity I really hate to take them out of their frames unless its absolutely necessary.
Both radio disks-one held sideways
My search for the answers to these recordings of Les Paul and others
For a few years they just remained in a big box with the rest of my collectible stuff.I had tried to find more info.Antique stores and flea markets couldnt tell me anything.Although one day a man at a flea market seen me holding these records and offered me an extraordinary amount of money for each one.I respectfully said,no thank you. I had been to enough flea markets to know that its not everyday to be openly offered such cash for 2 records that all the previous people knew nothing about.This guy couldnt either really.But he must have known something to pull out this wad of cash to hand me.I bought the book Hymans trash or treasure.None of the collectors I contacted could tell me what I had.I still learned alot though about records in general.There was one guy that asked me to mail him photo copies of the red records to take to the big record expo they were having in New York.A very huge event.Remarkably the scanner I had used was able to pick up the etched in plastic info on the records.Im sorry it cant be seen on this blog yet.We tried scanning and photographing these records but the etched in info on them just wont show here.Now I wish I had those scans Id sent that guy long ago.So Im home awaiting this mans call and kind of excited because I had asked alot of people about this over the past few years.I talked with him and learned some more.He had taken the copies to this expo and not a one person knew what they were.
What I did learn is theyre radio replay discs.Before the advent of taped music this was considered the way of recording and the 4 holes fit onto a unit with 4 prongs.This was because they were a flimsy-er material.Advertisers,entertainers,storytellers,musical groups,etc..could record their advertisements,music,stories,etc. onto these discs.The station may play them as part of their programming.Sometimes the musicians would play live at the radio station and the disc used to record their performance.This disappeared when taped music came into being.The collector then asked me if Id wanna part with them for 10 bucks a piece since they were just radio replay discs.I said no thank you.I had actually started liking these 2 records and decided to keep them at least for however long it would take to solve their mystery and even then Id like to keep them.At around this time after 2000 Id received a surprising phone call.It was from a man out in California that had an interest in the red record. The one with The Philmore 4-I got 6 pence-on one side on it.This record disc is the one without any labels and the other side is-New Friendly music.Both sides were recorded in 1940.He explained to me that The Philmore 4 used to be a singing quartet that used to tour the west coast from Seattle and down into areas along the coasts of Oregon and California back in the early 1940s.He was quite interested in it.He was asking if I would consider donating this record to their museum.I was very surprised by this.He asked me to get back into contact with him soon to talk some more about it.I told him I would but never did.I didnt need to ask for his phone number because it was already in my book.The next day I wanted to call him but had no number.It appeared that one of these supposed friends of mine had made off with my book.
Red disc-Vincente Gomez-El Delirio
I finally just stored them away for a few years until a rock concert I attended in 2007
Over the following years I just kept them.Every once in awhile someone would ask me what they were but I still couldnt find anyone who could tell me the history of the Les Paul recording.I once took them to a flea market and there sat a record player.With permission from the players owner I played the Les Paul side of the disc on 78 rpms.It still played but I only did this once.There was scratchiness and crackles in the recording which is common with these but we could still hear the performance.Many had little to say about its origins.Most are knowledgable about Les Paul around the time of he and Mary Ford when they had their television show but these recordings are 10 years before all of that.I had pretty much given up searching the internet.I hadnt been able to find anything about these disks or recordings online anywhere and had pretty much given up.This was until 2007.I had emailed a few various record sites back in 2005 but never heard back.In 2007 myself and a friend went to a concert..It was a free outdoor concert featuring Mark Farner- formerly of supergroup Grand Funk Railroad.I have attended alot of these shows.As my friend and I were walkin around the grounds there was a vendor who drew portrait pictures with coal or chalk.We somehow got talking with him.He ended up giving us both free portraits of ourselves.We all got into talkin music.He had mentioned that he was a record collector of sorts so I ran out to the car and grabbed my records.I just happened to have them with me.They were placed inside my grand funk photo book which I ussually take to these concerts with me.I grabbed it all and came right back.The guys eyes opened wide as I showed him the records and explained how I got them.Do you know what you have here?he asked.No I dont really know,I replied.Neither do I but I would keep them and I wouldnt get rid of them,he replies back.He explains that they may have never been released to the public.Perhaps never licensed either.Like what we would do with a modern tape recorder today.We jam and record with it.Not to sell it to some major company for publicity and sales promotions.We just have it to listen to when we want.He mentioned that this appeared to him as possibly a recording that may have never been sold in any market.Like a home recording.Even the label is made of masking tape and written with a blue ink pen.
A few years later I would be in Florida.I had already heard the news about Les Pauls death and since being down here have learned more about his life.What an extraordinary life he had.I cant help but to feel that we have lost a major icon who will be missed greatly.Again,my curiosity awakened.I had brought the red discs to a new friends house recently in 2011.This man really knows music.Back in the day he had drummed for some of the big names out of motown back in the 60s and he collects memorabilia and knows people in the industry as well.I learned that these discs were made of cardboard.I was amazed.The insides of the disc is cardboard and the red plastic is the coating over it.None of these are listed online anywhere.He looked into it for me and called a record collector friend in Chicago and described to him what I had.Its believed to be a home type of recording.I was instructed to do some research and reading up on anything that I may happen to find online and follow it up from there.I may have finally found a part of the answer I had been searching for.In the following paragraphs I will attempt to tell the story of what was known as The Booger Brothers Radio Network in the 1930s and where these 2 record discs may be from.Even with what I now know I still cant be sure.Below is a short special video interview where Les talks about those days in the late 30s.Below the video my story continues.Any info that you the reader may have that may help me to know more about these records and era is very much appreciated.
Interview with Les Paul about Booger Brothers Broadcasting
Ad about Booger Brothers Broadcasting
Les Paul and Booger Brothers Radio Broadcasting-(My story continued)
Recently in 2011 after my discussion with my friend who knew some things about records and music,I decided to search for more info online.I couldnt find much pertaining to this Les Paul era.The few sites I did find have been very educational and entertaining to me.Ive certainly learned alot more than I knew.I wont go into all of the details that I have found on these sites.I wish to keep this hub basic here.These site links are on this hub and they all have much to offer about the history of Les Pauls fascinating and inspiring career.Id recommend reading them.I have added parts which may or may not be relevant to these 2 records,but the full and complete stories can be found on these sites.
I learned that In late 1936 Les got together with Jimmy Atkins and Ernie Newton and formed The Les Paul trio.Les appeared with Paul Warings orchestra in late 36 and early 37.He was one of the first guitarists to play a Spanish electric guitar with an orchestra as well as for national radio.Les had moved to Queens New York.He was still jamming though and he and his trio joined Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians and performed on the nationally broadcasted NBC radio show until 1941.By 1939 a man named named Charlie Christian who was playing with Benny Goodmans sextet would move to New york.Les admired is horn playing.They became aquainted and would jam together uptown at Mintons Playhouse in Harlem.Numerous local musicians would frequent a small rehearsal room Les had in the basement at Electra court.This place would become known as The Booger Brothers radio broadcast network.It was a radio station ran from out of his apartment.The signal could be picked up by others throughout the apartment complex and even as far as halfway across the Brooklyn bridge.This ran from 1938 to 1941.In 1941 Les would be visited by three federal agents because of this home radio station which had became quite popular.Seems it was interfering with nearby La Guardia airport.Pilots would hear the radio transmissions as jazz music would fill the planes while they were attempting to land.One of the agents was fond of this station.He and Paul came up with an idea of setting up a wave trap to filter out the harmonics that were blocking the airport transmissions.And indeed this worked. The complex already had many famous and non famous musicians living there and the station was frequented by such big names as Fred Waring,Artie Shaw,Jo Stafford,the Pied Pipers and Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey among many others.They even had a mascot kitty named Sparks.Sometimes the cat would purr and meow into the radio microphone.Local musicians were welcomed to perform.Oftentimes,various well known and famous musicians and announcers would stop by to perform on the live radio broadcast when they were in town.Les had a small rehearsal room.This was in the basement at electra court that the musicians would play.One day in 1938 Les went to the hardware store.He bought a duel tube transmitter and The Booger Brothers radio show had begun.In 1940 tragedy would strike.Or was it in 1941?On a hot day they were jammin and Les stuck his hand on the transformer when he shouldnt have and was nearly electrocuted.He was immersed in ice.Afterwards,he spent weeks recuperating in a local hospital.Sadly,Les friend Charlie Christian was right down the hall from Les in the hospital and dying of tuberculosis.
NOTE about the year of his accident-In the biography I am reading,it says that Les Pauls electrical accident had occurred on a hot day in 1941.Some articles I have read say 1940.In 1940 Les was wanting to venture out to California but he got sidetracked in Chicago where he became musical director for station WjjD.I recall a guy I spoke with one time about my record.He had told me that if the date on the disc was correct-3-7-1940,then he made this recording right before this accident and that this was his last recording prior to this.This kinda made sense.But then again,it was a hot day when the accident occurred and the recording was made in early March.Its kinda confusing.Ive read that Les and his trio came to Queens New York and performed on Fred Warings radio show til 1941,yet Les had left Queens N.Y.sometime in 1940 and ended up in Chicago.Could it have been in 1941?I was told that this electrical accident had pretty much put him out of commission for a good while and required a year or two of recovery.In 1943 he was in the military.I would go with 1941 as to when it occurred because it makes more sense to me.Here is another confusion.Ive read that his station ran until 1941 when this accident occurred,yet another article says that Les ended up working at WjjD in Chicago in late 1940.Again,if his accident was in 1940 I believe he wouldve still been in the recovery process in the latter part of that year.Of course I could be wrong.I have to say that the more that I read about Les Pauls life the more I become amazed at how amazing he was.He was astounding.
Were the discs recorded in Queens New York or in Chicago?Or were they recorded from an unknown radio listeners home?
On the label of one record it says wenr-nbc Nov.27,1939 6pm.WENR was a radio station created and put together by a man named E.N.Rauland in the fall of 1924.The station would relocate many times through the 1920s.WENR was purchased by the Great Lakes broadcasting company in 1927.They then expanded their roster broadcast talent.During the market crash in 1929 David Sarnoffs National Broadcasting company offered to buy wenr,as well as station wmaq.This is when NBC bought WENR.The sale of wenr to nbc was finalized in 1931.In 1938 both wenr and station WLS began using the WLK transmitter site in Tinley Park,Illinois.The old Downers Grove transmitter-(where it used to be broadcasted) site was inactivated.WENR remained as NBCs station until 1943.This is when it was sold to the American Broadcast company-(ABC)WENR existed from 1924 to 1954..Indeed NBC did own WENR in 1939 as the disc suggests.Could this mean that all performances on these 2 records were recorded at wenr in Chicago?Les Paul did stop at Chicago on his way to California in 1940 where he worked at a wjjd radio station awhile.But what about the disc?One side says Vicente Gomez nbc-wenr but the other side is Les Paul but doesnt state where it was recorded.Plus the dates are different.Vicentes side is Nov.27,1939 where as Les Pauls side is March 7 1940..The dates are different for the other one too.(The Philmore 4) side is May 15 1940 and the other side-(New friendly music)-is March 3,1940.Were these recordings actually recorded to these two discs directly?I.E.-The artists came in and performed and it was recorded onto this disc?..Or..2.The songs already existed on another disc and were transferred to these discs?If the Philmore 4 was a quartet that toured the west coast in the 40s,did they come to Chicago or New York to record it?..Or..was it already recorded on another record and transferred later onto this disc.And what about the other side?On the other side of this disc is-(New Friendly Music 3-3-4o) etched into the plastic in cercif.I noticed all 3 of 4 sides are in circif.Was this another Les Paul Trio song or some other group?Or is the song title really the group name?One day I looked up famous signitures online and found Les Pauls.I then looked at the red disc.They look very strikingly similar to each other.Could it have been Les that had inscribed his name into it? Or perhaps a remnant of a label that was once stuck on there and then written upon.A great short biography about spanish born American guitarist Vincente Gomez can be found directly below and in the links section of this hub.
About Vincente Gomez
- Vicente Gomez (Guitar, Arranger) - Short Biography
This is a great short biography about this artist and his musical career.
Glenn Miller-This changing world 1940
Song-This changing world-its original origins
The other side of the labeled record has etched in the plastic-Les Paul-This changing world 3-7-1940.Recently I discovered that the original artist of this song was/is the late famous jazz trombonist Glenn Miller.The song was on the U.S.Billboard charts for 6 weeks in 1940.Glenn had moved to New York in 1938.He would remain in this area of the country up til 1941 and became even more famous as he and his orchestra would play from 1939 to 1942.These were record breaking performances.With all these great hits he and the orchestras fame culminated with their band performing at Carnegie Hall in October of 1939 with Paul Whiteman,Benny Goodman,and Fred Waring.He had alot of great musical accomplishments.He and his band would appear in various movies in the mid 30s to 1942.In the latter part of 1942 hed joined the army airforce band.This would last until 1944 when the plane he was in had disappeared while flying over the English channel.The plane and passengers were never recovered.
The below wikipedia link is a complete biography of the life and music of Glenn Miller
wikipedia-Glenn Miller biography
A recordio recorder and player by wilcox-gay 1939
The records themselves.How they were made and how they were played
I recently had found more info about these records such as what they were made out of and who made them.The answer was found in the label.On the bottom of the label on the labled side of the record it says wilcox-Gay.It also says mothrig.Wilcox-Gay was the manufacturers of home recording machines called a recordio and recordette as well as these record discs that were used to record with.The name mothrig is still a mystery to me.I will attempt to give some basics here about the records but the best education on them can be found in the links section on this hub.Wilcox was a small company founded in 1910.They made amateur radio components and kits.In 1926 theyd branched into consumer radios and in 1931 Paul Gay joined the company.Thus,Wilcox-Gay Corp.In later years the company would make tape decks,reel to reel,televisions,police radios and record players.The company went bankrupt in 1963.In 1939 they had launched the Recordio which was advertised to the middle class in Life magazine as well as ebony and it sold well. It recorded 78 rpm transcriptions with decent fidelity.Musicians such as Les Paul and Johney Cash,among others,recorded on these machines.Thousands were sold in 1939.Because of the introduction of magnetic tape as well as the depression the sales of these devices would suffer.The recordio used records called acetates.Many of these were composed of an aluminum metal base and coated in black laquer and the grooves were formed on the record while the recording was taking place.During the war glass was used in the records instead of aluminum.The aluminum was needed for the war effort.Also,cardboard was used for inexpensive home recordings in the form of a round cardboard disc which was coated with nitrocellulose laquer plasticized with castor oil.These are what mine are.Because of this laquers inherent properties-castor oil-,acetate discs are the least stable type of sound recording.Here is something I found unusual.Most records I have seen on most of these sites during my study of this have been 16" 12" 10" 7" 6" and 5"inch records.The discs I have shown here are 8"inch discs.And I have seen other various sized discs besides these but still have seen little written about the 8 inch ones.I did find some info on WorldLingo.com.In the 1890s recording formats of discs were ussually seven inches.The most popular standard by 1910 was 10 inches.These held about 3 minutes of music or entertainment on each side.!2 inch records were also commercially sold from 1903 and onwards with ussually 4 to 5 minutes on each side of operatic or classical music.However,other sizes did appear.An 8 inch record with a 2 inch diameter label was popular,though short lived,in Europe.They couldnt be played completely on the more modern equipment because the tone arm couldnt reach in far enough.
Pictures from closer upClick thumbnail to view full-size
Les Paul-The Booger Brothers Radio Network and others
- Sights and Sounds from Stepping out of Cincinnati
Entertaining page about Cincinnati radio in the olden days and how Recordio discs played a role in their radio history.
- Vicente Gomez (Guitar, Arranger) - Short Biography
A great short biography about this artist and his musical career.
- WENR, "The Voice of Service" - Chicago Radio Broadcasting 1924-1954, UM Libraries
A great read about the history of radio station WENR.This is the station thats listed on the labled side of one of these red disks.It says-El Delirio played by Vincente Gomez WENR-NBC Nov.27th 1939 6pm
- Road Warrior: Les Paul\'s legend was built by his own hands - NorthJersey.com
When I learned of music legend Les Paul's death last week, I couldn't help but think of the time he built a bootleg radio station in Queens that drove traffic controllers at La Guardia Airport crazy for nearly four years.
- A great page from the Les Paul Foundation
This is one of those great websites I recently found.This is a great historical read about Les Pauls beginnigs and the Booger Brothers Radio station in the 30s and 40s.Great pics too.
- Tenants Run Apartment Network-Les Paul and the Booger Brothers radio network
from Popular Science - Jul, 1940 This is a great short article on Les Pauls live radio station he operated from his apartment in Queens New York in the 30s and early 40s.Some great pics too.
Information-Wilcox-Gay corporation manufacturing Recordio and Recordette machines and Recordio record discs 1938-1942
- Gramophone record
WorldLingo.com has a super read about the history of the gramaphone and about recording discs in general.
- Archaic Records
I found this page to be of alot of help in discovering where these records came from.
- Old-time radio - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A super read of the history of old time radio.Alot of info here.
- Phonozoic | Labelography of Home Recording Discs
About the types of labeling that were used with the various types of recordio discs.
- Schmaltz Factory: Homemade 78 RPM Records
A great read about the recordio players from the 1930s-40s.
- History of the radio manufacturer Wilcox-Gay Corp.; Charlotte (MI)
Information and history about this company
Note-Various links,pics and videos are not mine and belong to their rightful owners.
As I researched online (in vain) for info,I only found a few sites that had some of the relevant info I was searching for.I had found tons of other Les Paul info online.Yet I just couldnt seem to find much info on this 1930s-40s era and no info on these records whatsoever.All sites listed here are great resources.I have alot of respect for those of you who wrote these articles about Les Pauls earlier days.I have learned alot.These were answers I had been searching for since 1997 and I thank you.Ive written this blog the best I could.My article however,was to tell my story of my 2 red records and hopefully learn more about them.Ive included a brief history of Les Paul in the 1930s as well.To read some really great information about this topic just visit any of these websites below.Most pics are from the lespaulfoundation.org or ModernMechanix.Both sites are on this hubs links area.I not only wish to obtain more info on my red records but I wish to keep this hub site up in remembrance of Les Pauls life and his acheivements.Both of which have my respect.
Do you have some info for me?
Then please feel free to email me at email@example.com or leave a comment.I sure appreciate it.Thank you:-)
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