Welcome to the web archive of the SA Historical & Philatelic Association.
We hope you will enjoy reading the articles and information on Salvation Army history and
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Thursday, 7 July 2011

Salvation Army 78rpm Record Labels by Colin Waller

The familiar blue REGAL ZONOPHONE SALVATION ARMY RECORD label first appeared in May 1935. Previously, recordings of various headquarters and corps musical sections had appeared on the maroon REGAL (1927) and the green and red REGAL ZONOPHONE (1932) labels. These earlier records were incorporated into the REGAL ZONOPHONE - SALVATION ARMY RECORD catalogue with series numbers, starting at MF200. A total of 220 78 rpm records were issued between 1927 and 1957. The label was also used by EMI Ltd for Salvation Army 33rpm and 45rpm Discs until August 1969 when it was discontinued.

In February 1907, after protracted negotiations regarding the payment of a royalty on each record sold, William Booth recorded four speeches for The Columbia Gramophone Company Ltd. These were released as both phonographic cylinders and single sided disc records but despite good initial sales were soon withdrawn. Following The Founder's death in 1912, Columbia re-released the speeches on two double sided records on the RENA label and such was the demand that the records, 2074 and 2075, remained in the catalogue until the mid 1930's. Please Sir, Save Me tells the story of a miner, who forsakes his fortune of gold to save a small child from drowning and draws parallels between this heroic, unselfish act and Salvationist rescuing humanity and saving souls.

Records made and manufactured by the Pathe company play from centre to edge at 90 rpm and require a sapphire stylus rather than a steel needle, giving superior sound quality compared to conventional acoustic recordings. This is evident on this 1912 recording by Chalk Farm Band (Bandmaster A. W. Punchard) of The Flowing River March, in which the distinct tonal qualities of the band, which includes saxophones and a S. A. patented double slide, E Flat, bass trombone, can be heard.

One of the earliest known recordings by the Chicago Staff Band, this record was made around 1920/1. Microphone technology was still in its infancy and the members of the band would have grouped themselves tightly around a large horn, which collected the sound and transferred it directly to the cutting tool, hence acoustic recording. Purpose Firm features the well known song, Dare to be a Daniel.

Triumph or Triumphonic were brand names used for Salvation Army manufactured or traded goods ranging from tea to brass instruments, including 78 rpm records. This record, produced by the USA Eastern Territory and dating from the mid 1950s, is one of a boxed set featuring the New York Staff Band in a programme of Christmas music and carols. Note the American crest, with an eagle replacing the crown.

Herb Hay was a Los Angeles Salvationist, who worked in the recording industry. During the 1950's he produced a series of 78 rpm records featuring the Los Angeles Tabernacle and Congress Hall Bands and the Congress Hall Combo, a group of country and western style singers.

The unusual circumstances of this recording of Winnipeg Citadel Band are detailed on the label. "On Sept. 3, 1933 after forty hours without sleep - travelling 500 miles by bus to Bismark N. D. - After fulfilling eleven engagements - This renowned band broadcast a program over the N.B.C. chain of 42 stations. In New York, 1800 miles distant "Victor" picked up the program and recorded these two numbers." Unfortunately The Canadian was slightly too long even for a 12 inch record and the last eight or nine bars are missing.

The Festival label was owned by the Swedish Territory's Publishing and Supplies Department. During the 1950's a series of 78 rpm records were produced featuring bands, vocal soloists and singing groups from around the territory. This particular record is of Tranas band playing two of Erik Leidzen's hymn tune arrangements, conducted by the composer. British Salvationists could obtain these records from the import/export department of S. P. & S. London.

An extremely rare recording of the Male Chorus of the German Staff Band, this record was made in Berlin in early 1932 and the label features "Die Heilsarmee" crest. The literal translation of the song title is When the Lord calls the Names, better known to the English world as "When the roll is called up yonder".

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