OKeh Records
1916-

OKeh was founded by Otto. K. E. Heinemann of Germany, who had been very active in the European trade since the turn of the century. He traveled with his brother Adolph to the United States in June 1914 to explore business opportunities in this market but the outbreak of World War I stranded him here for the duration of the conflict. So, the following year he incorporated the Otto Heinemann Phonograph Supply Company, which sold parts to phonograph manufacturers that produced the final machines. In 1918, he bought the facilities of the defunct Rex Talking Machine Corporation and entered the record business with a vertical-cut disc to avoid infringement of the lateral patent. The following year, OKeh was a leader in the switch to lateral and Victor litigated but the courts ruled the patent had indeed expired.

The name "OKeh" came from Heinemann's initials and it also referred to the Native-American spelling of the colloquial term OK, or "all right". The early labels featured a portrait of an Indian to reinforce this idea. The official name of his organization was also changed to the General Phonograph Corporation in 1919. Heinemann briefly visited Germany twice after the war but found the U.S. a much better market and returned to make it his home, eventually becoming an American citizen.

OKeh mostly issued ten-inch discs while twelve-inchers were quite rare. Its studios arguably produced the best-sounding acoustical recordings of the day, even surpassing The Big Three. Perhaps it was the spirit of German engineering? OKeh recorded much in several fields of ethnic music that the larger companies neglected. It also led the way in recording Blues, Country and Hot Jazz and sent portable studios across the country to do so when artists couldn't come to its New York or Chicago facilities. Mamie Smith was recorded as early as 1920 and that disc, "Crazy Blues", became a runaway hit. Black artists were heavily recorded and promoted by the company afterwards. Fiddlin' John Carson paved a similar path for Country music in 1923. Other OKeh greats of the decade included Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Sidney Bechet, Miff Mole, Frank Trumbauer, Bix Beiderbecke, Clarence Williams, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang and Victoria Spivey. The popular phonograph artists that recorded for all the other companies like Billy Murray, the Green Brothers, Henry Burr and Fred Van Epps also appeared on OKeh.

OKeh switched to electrical recording in 1926. Later that year, it was sold to Columbia Records. Columbia continued the label and even retained the same groundbreaking A&R focus for the rest of the decade. New releases dropped sharply after 1931 and the label was discontinued in 1935. However, CBS (Columbia) revived it from 1940-1945 as a budget label and then again in the 1950s mainly as an R&B outlet.

Encoded Speed: 192 Kbps


VERTICAL RECORDINGS


Faust Waltz Love's Thoughts
Peppino and Son P. Peppino
OKeh 1148-A OKeh 1148-B
Matrix# 464-B, Take 2 Matrix# 465-a, Take 1
ca. November 1918 ca. November 1918
New York, New York New York, New York
Note: Lots of pits. Note: Lots of pits.


LATERAL RECORDINGS


Casse Noisette (Nutcracker Ballet) Tschaikowsky Melodies
Conway's Band OKeh Concert Band
OKeh 4035-A OKeh 4035-B
Matrix# S793-B Matrix# 149-A
October 1919 1918

I've Got My Habits On Muscle Shoals Blues
Joseph Samuels' Jazz Band Harry Raderman's Jazz Orchestra
OKeh 4477-A OKeh 4477-B
Matrix# 70285-C Matrix# 70289-
ca. October 29, 1921 ca. November 3, 1921
New York, New York New York, New York

The OKeh Laughing Record The Gypsy Baron - Wer Uns Getraut
Otto Rathke (ct) and Lucie Bernardo (mezzo) Otto Rathke with The Bohemian Orchestra
OKeh 4678-A OKeh 4678-B
Matrix# 30590 (Parlophon/Beka Records) Matrix# 31857 (Parlophon/Beka Records)
August 6, 1920 September 23, 1922
Berlin, Germany Berlin, Germany

Down in Maryland Runnin' Wild
Vincent Lopez and His Hotel Pennsylvania Orchestra Vincent Lopez and His Hotel Pennsylvania Orchestra
OKeh 4772-A OKeh 4772-B
Matrix# 5-71-136-B Matrix# 5-71-138-B
ca. December 29, 1922 ca. December 29, 1922
New York, New York New York, New York
Note: Crack 1/2-inch in, barely audible. Note: Crack 1/2-inch in, barely audible. Worn.

Pay Day Blues Wet Yo' Thumb
Harry Raderman's Jazz Band Harry Raderman's Jazz Band
OKeh 4923-A OKeh 4923-B
Matrix# 5-71-698-B Matrix# 5-71-699-B
late September 1923 late September 1923
New York, New York New York, New York
Note: Worn. Note: Worn.

Marcheta What Could Be Sweeter?
Rega Dance Orchestra Markels Orchestra
OKeh 4950-A OKeh 4950-B
Matrix# 5-71-810-C Matrix# 5-71-816-B
ca. August 28, 1923 September-October 1923
New York, New York New York, New York
Note: Very worn. Note: Worn.

Garter Snake Blues Christmas Mornin' Blues
Victoria Spivey Victoria Spivey
OKeh 8517 OKeh 8517
Matrix# 81583-C A-1(or 7) Matrix# 81584-A A-1
October 28, 1927 October 28, 1927
New York, New York New York, New York
Note: Very worn. Note: Very worn.

Sweet Emmaline Log Cabin Blues
Clarence Williams' Washboard Five Clarence Williams' Washboard Five
OKeh 8572 OKeh 8572
Matrix# 400620 Matrix# 400621
April 18, 1928 April 18, 1928
New York, New York New York, New York
Note: Worn. Note: Worn.

Paducah Four or Five Times
Chocolate Dandies Five Little Chocolate Dandies
OKeh 8627 OKeh 8627
Matrix# 401218-B Matrix# 401221-A
October 13, 1928 October 13, 1928
New York, New York New York, New York

Lonesome Road Blues The Wreck on the Southern Old 97
Henry Whitter Henry Whitter
OKeh 40015 OKeh 40015
Matrix# 5-72-168a Matrix# 5-72-167a
December 10, 1923 December 10, 1923

Big Boy! Oh Baby
The Lanin Orchestra The Lanin Orchestra
OKeh 40111 OKeh 40111
Matrix# 5-72-511 a Matrix# 5-72-510 B
ca. May 8, 1924 ca. May 8, 1924
New York, New York New York, New York
Note: Worn. Note: Worn.

Country Fair Polka My Lisa
Danubia Municipal Band Danubia Municipal Band
OKeh 40138-A OKeh 40138-B
Matrix# ? Matrix# ?
ca. 1924 ? ca. 1924 ?

The Little Black Mustache Goin' to Have A Big Time Tonight
Vernon Dalhart Vernon Dalhart
OKeh 40638 OKeh 40638
Matrix# 74151-B, Take 1 Matrix# 74152-a, Take 1
April 1926 April 1926

Rain Black Maria
Arnold Frank and His Roger's Cafe Orchestra Arnold Frank and His Roger's Cafe Orchestra
OKeh 40896 OKeh 40896
Matrix# 81324 B-2, Take 2 Matrix# 81325 B-8, Take 2
September 9, 1927 September 9, 1927
Minneapolis, Minnesota Minneapolis, Minnesota

It Was Only a Sun Shower Among My Souvenirs
Seger Ellis Seger Ellis
OKeh 40952 OKeh 40952
Matrix# 81902 Matrix# 81903
December 7, 1927 December 7, 1927

I Must Be Dreaming 'Taint So, Honey, 'Taint So
Joe Venuti & His New Yorkers Joe Venuti & His New Yorkers
OKeh 41051 OKeh 41051
Matrix# 400706B Matrix# 400707A
May 25, 1928 May 25, 1928
New York, New York New York, New York

Ol' Man River Wa-Da-Da
Bix Beiderbecke and His Gang Bix Beiderbecke and His Gang
OKeh 41088 OKeh 41088
Matrix# 400994A Matrix# 400995A
July 7, 1928 July 7, 1928
Chicago, Illinois Chicago, Illinois
Note: Worn. Note: Small lamination crack. Worn.

I Loved You Then As I Love You Now Dream House
Seger Ellis Seger Ellis
OKeh 41127 OKeh 41127
Matrix# 401229 Matrix# 401228
October 16, 1928 October 16, 1928

She Only Laughs at Me I Faw Down An' Go Boom!
Fred "Sugar" Hall and His Sugar Babies Fred "Sugar" Hall and His Sugar Babies
OKeh 41183 OKeh 41183
Matrix# 401530A Matrix# 401553C
January 14, 1929 January 24, 1929
New York, New York New York, New York
Note: Worn. Note: Worn.

The Wedding of the Painted Doll The Toymaker's Dream
Sam Lanin and His Famous Players Sam Lanin and His Famous Players
OKeh 41215 OKeh 41215
Matrix# 401735B A-2 Matrix# 401736C A-1
March 22, 1929 March 22, 1929
New York, New York New York, New York

True Blue Lou My Song of the Nile
Seger Ellis Seger Ellis
OKeh 41290 OKeh 41290
Matrix# 402883B Matrix# 402884C
August 26, 1929 August 26, 1929

Some of These Days When You're Smiling
Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra
OKeh 41298 OKeh 41298
Matrix# 402943 Matrix# 402947
September 10, 1929 September 11, 1929
New York, New York New York, New York
Note: Lamination crack to center. Worn. Note: Lamination crack halfway to center. Worn.

Loveless Love Papa's Gone
Fred Gardner's Texas University Troubadours Fred Gardner's Texas University Troubadours
OKeh 41440 OKeh 41440
Matrix# 404099A Matrix# 404100A
June 9, 1930 June 9, 1930
San Antonio, Texas San Antonio, Texas
Note: Extremely worn. Note: Extremely worn.

Chinese Break Down In the Shade of the Parasol
Scottdale String Band Scottdale String Band
OKeh 45103 OKeh 45103
Matrix# 80603B Matrix# 80604B
March 1927 March 1927

Dixie I'm Satisfied
Earl Johnson and His Dixie Entertainers Earl Johnson and His Dixie Entertainers
OKeh 45129 OKeh 45129
Matrix# 80462 B-5 Matrix# 80465 B-2
February 1927 February 1927
Note: Worn, but sounds good. Note: Worn with lamination cracks throughout, but sounds good.

Medley - Scottische Rye Waltz
Bob Skiles Four Old Timers Bob Skiles Four Old Timers
OKeh 45211 OKeh 45211
Matrix# 400500B A1 Matrix# 400501B A1
March 13, 1928 March 13, 1928
Note: Worn. Note: Very worn.

Spanish Rag Kohalo Rag
Herschel Brown and L. K. Sentell Herschel Brown and L. K. Sentell
OKeh 45484 OKeh 45484
Matrix# 402368A, Take 1 Matrix# 402369B, Take 1
March 19, 1929 March 19, 1929
Note: Record is in great condition. In the groove, you can even see each beat of the spoons. Perhaps they were too loud for the microphone?

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