Paramount Records

Paramount Records was founded by yet another furniture company that had been making cabinets for phonograph companies (Edison in this case) and who wanted to enter the market for itself. It was the Wisconsin Chair Company of Port Washington, Wisconsin. They founded and built the New York Recording Laboratories in the city of that name as their studio and shipped the masters back to Wisconsin for pressing. They also founded Puritan Records as a sister label around the same time but Paramount soon became their flagship product and Puritan was usually used as a parallel. However, Puritan was also used as the trade name for their earliest phonographs.

They began issuing vertically-cut steel-needle discs, slightly smaller than ten inches, around 1917. It was raised to ten inches the following year and, like many companies, the switch to lateral was made in 1919. No twelve-inchers were issued and Classical music found no place in the catalog. Some marches were the closest thing to the old-style and they only appear in the early years along with the common phonograph artists like Henry Burr and Arthur Collins. However, A&R quickly turned to popular dance and middle-of-the-road jazz bands. It wasn't long before hotter music and blues were added and gave Paramount a legendary influence in 1920s culture and a coveted status among collectors today. Paramount marketed to blacks as early as 1920 and started a series of race records in 1922 with an unmatched roster of talent like Alberta Hunter, Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, Jelly Roll Morton, Rosa Henderson, Ma Rainey, King Oliver, Fletcher Henderson, Ethel Waters, Blind Lemon Jefferson and many, many more. An impressive country series was also launched late in its history in 1927. The New York studio was eventually closed down the same year in favor of Chicago and then recording was moved again to Grafton in their home state in 1929.

The race series became Paramount's sole moneymaker while their popular series withered. They revived the defunct Broadway label (of the Bridgeport Die and Machine Company, a partner that had pressed records for them earlier in the decade) in 1926 to issue that kind of music while Paramount proper focused on race and country. The Great Depression placed its strain on the market and Paramount made its last recordings in 1932. It was sold to Gennett Records that same year and the label itself was retired in 1935. Yet, it was bought and revived by others in later years for reissues as well as new jazz and blues recordings.

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Naval Reserve March National Emblem March
Paramount Military Band Paramount Military Band
Paramount 30001-A Paramount 30001-B
Matrix# ? Matrix# ?
ca. 1919 ca. 1919
New York, New York New York, New York
Note: Vertically recorded. Note: Vertically recorded.

Wait Till the Cows Come Home More Candy
Yerkes Jazarimba Band Yerkes Jazarimba Band
Paramount 30034-A Paramount 30034-B
Matrix# ? Matrix# ?
ca. March 1918 ca. March 1918
New York, New York New York, New York
Note: Vertically recorded and worn. Note: Vertically recorded and worn.

The Love Nest Let the Rest of the World Go By
Newport Society Orchestra Newport Society Orchestra
Paramount 20020-A Paramount 20020-B
Matrix# ? Matrix# ?
ca. June-July 1920 ca. June-July 1920
New York, New York New York, New York

Chirping The Blues Somebody Else Will Take Your Place
Alberta Hunter with Fletcher Henderson at Piano Alberta Hunter with Fletcher Henderson at Piano
Paramount 12017-A Paramount 12017-B
Matrix# 1321, Take 1 Matrix# 1322, Take 1
February 1923 February 1923
New York, New York New York, New York
Note: Paramounts were pressed with reddish-brown shellac around this time.

Army Camp Harmony Blues Explaining The Blues
Ma Rainey and Her Georgia Band Ma Rainey and Her Georgia Band
Paramount 12284-A Paramount 12284-B
Matrix# 2136, Take 1 Matrix# 2137, Take 1
May 1925 May 1925
Chicago, Illinois Chicago, Illinois
Note: Extremely worn. Note: Extremely worn.

Most Of All I Want Your Love Our Yesterdays
Milton Charles Milton Charles
Paramount 4002-A Paramount 4002-B
Matrix# 275 Matrix# 276
Mid 1920s Mid 1920s

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