Western Electric one-sided semi-flexible 12” 33 1/3 RPM Vertical Transcription Disc #484 (test pressing); matrix #6355-2
ARTIST: "The Westernaires" featuring Benny Goodman, recorded 1933
SONGS: Puttin’ On The Ritz/Smoke Rings (clarinet solos on both by Benny Goodman)
GRADING: (visual) E; (audio) E; small writing on label
NOTE: VERTICAL RECORDINGS MUST BE PLAYED USING A SPECIALLY-WIRED CARTRIDGE OR A TURNTABLE WITH A “VERTICAL” SWITCH. THEY WILL NOT PLAY WITH A STANDARD CARTRIDGE.
Here is one of the rarest Benny Goodman items extant. The scant discography that exists for these sessions can be found in the liner notes for the “Gift From the President” CD on Jazz Oracle which contains another track by this group (“Lazy Day,” also posted on YouTube). Jazz Oracle was “unable to gain access” to this disc; well, here it is, in fabulous condition.
Goodman plays a hot solo on “Ritz” and has the last 16 bars of “Smoke Rings,” in which he plays one of the prettiest solos I’ve ever heard by Goodman, at any phase of his career. The remaining personnel is unknown but Manny Klein is believed to be present.
This disc was recorded using Western Electric’s then-new “Wide-Range” (high fidelity) equipment and was pressed on a semi-flexible (cellulose?) material. The sound quality is superb on my equipment (I have posted a photo of the very dynamic grooves). My audio grade is based on results using a 3.0-mil stylus; fidelity was poor and surface noise much higher when I tried a 3.5 mil. The range of stylus sizes for proper playback of Western Electric verticals is generally 2.5 to 3.0 mils.
To my knowledge these tracks have never been reissued.
I would love to hear from anyone with further information on these recordings.
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GRADING SCALE: I grade conservatively under strong light; all grading is visual. I will try to note any discrepancies between visual grade and audio quality when possible. However, different styli will produce very different results so visual grading has become the standard for nearly all 78 dealers. I have not received a single grading complaint from any of my buyers.
NM: Looks and plays as new. I generally reserve this grade for records that I know or believe to be unplayed store stock.
E+: Looks and plays as new; full gloss, clean labels. Generally, my highest grade.
E: Very slight, mostly cosmetic imperfections such as light paper scuffs may be present; record maintains high gloss and plays with little if any extraneous surface noise
E-: May have very light surface scratches, paper scuffs, small lamination creases (lams) that do not sound unless noted, very light visible needle wear; surface noise is negligible to most listeners and well below music level; a collector-worthy record. Most records that I list will fall into either this category or V++.
V++: I use this intermediate grade for records that play stronger than VG+ but don’t quite rate an E-; light but not overly intrusive surface noise may be present; still very acceptable for most collectors.
VG+: May have any combination of light scratches, light scuffs and moderate needle wear; the “typical” used but not abused 78; surface noise is noticeable but does not overpower music level; acceptable to most collectors until the E+ copy of your dreams comes along
VG: Above flaws are more pronounced and surface noise approaches music level; I will generally list VG records only if they are of high musical or historic value.
LABELS: I do not grade labels, which will generally fall within the grade of the record, but will note any major flaws.
REGARDING SURFACE NOISE: All 78s were not created equal. A VG+ Okeh from 1927 will play with less surface noise than a 1927 Brunswick or Victor in “E” condition due to the noisy quality of the grainy shellac used by the latter labels. I assume that if you are bidding on my records, you can tell the difference between surface noise from wear and surface noise from a poor pressing. That having been said, I will try to note especially grainy or noisy pressings in my descriptions when possible, but assume all grading is visual.On Jun-07-17 at 17:52:07 PDT, seller added the following information:
Note: a fellow collector has informed me that this is not a test pressing (he has the test). That means that this is a previously undocumented commercial release - and points up just how rare this Goodman collectible is!