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MMD > Archives > June 2015 > 2015.06.02 > 05Prev  Next

Old and New QRS "Darktown Strutters' Ball"
By Mike Walter

Hi all,  The QRS Roll Company over the years tried to keep up with
the times (or followed trends) when they occurred.  Over the years
different artists would, for example, sing different arrangements of
a popular tune.  If QRS originally released a roll of the first song,
but it had lost its appeal (and salability), they would consider
making a new roll of the more modern arrangement and give it the same
number as the original arrangement (for no one would want a copy of
the old song).

Other companies followed the same policy.  Ampico burned all of their
popular masters after a few years, for who would ask for an old popular
roll?!  One exception for Ampico was the "Song of India" played by the
Original Piano Trio in June of '22.  Ampico did reissue it in the "B"
format (I have the "new B" trial cut with words penciled in).  They,
too, kept the same catalog number, just as QRS would have done.

In their attempts to support the war effort, QRS did abridge many of
their old standards still in the catalog.  This saved paper which could
go toward the war effort, and they kept the same price for each roll.
A pop tune before WWII was $1.00.  In the 1960s a pop tune was still in
their catalog for $1.00.

One thing that QRS did put in their catalogs, probably in the 1970s,
was a statement saying that they did not guarantee the arrangement of
any song.  This was added because customers wanted the old original
arrangement of a favorite old song that had four refrains and two
verses, and the song in the catalog had two refrains and one verse.

A case in point would be the original QRS Recordo version of "Indian
Love Call" (Recordo M610970) against the new version (QRS 2975).  The
Recordo version had an introduction, refrain, interlude and final
refrain.  The new version has a two refrains and that's just about it.
It was the same song played by the same artist.

One thing that QRS did do, and most individuals don't realize it, is
that if a song was not a popular success (in the old days), QRS would
make a couple of cuts, sell out the song, and then re-use the same
number over again for a totally different song.  If you have a very
large collection of old QRS rolls, you may find one or two songs that
fit into that category, but the songs whose numbers were reused are
very rare and unlikely to be found.

Best wishes,
Mike Walter

(Message sent Tue 2 Jun 2015, 04:13:59 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Ball, Darktown, New, Old, QRS, Strutters

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