Bluebird Records

infobox record label


parent = Sony Music Entertainment
founded = 1934
founder =
distributor = RCA Victor Group (In the US)
genre = Jazz
country = US
url = http://www.bluebirdjazz.com/

Bluebird Records is a sub-label of RCA Victor Records originally created in 1932 to counter ARC Records in the "3 records for a dollar" market. Along with ARC's Perfect Records, Melotone Records and Romeo Records, and the independent US Decca label, Bluebird became one of the best selling 'cheap' labels of the 1930s and early 1940s.

Since 1931, Victor had made attempts of breaking into the budget priced market, first with Timely Tunes and then in 1932 with a short-lived Bluebird record (1800 series). It was 8" and had a medium blue label. It too was discontinued after only 9 issues. In the beginning of 1933, Victor introduced a new 10" Bluebird label, with a tan and blue label (often referred as the "Buff" Bluebird) as well as the 10" Electradisk label (it too started out life as an 8" record for a very short time in 1932). From the start, they ran concurrently. Electradisk was sold at Woolworth's, while Bluebird was Victor general budget label. Another short-lived concurrent label was the Sunrise label. Both Sunrise and Electradisk were discontinued and by 1934, only Bluebird remained as Victor's budget priced label.

In the 1930s, the Bluebird label recorded popular songs of the day usually using lesser known orchestras, blues and jazz, as well as reissuing jazz, gospel and blues that had previously released on Victor. Some notable orchestras were placed on Bluebird who had been on the regular priced Victor label; Ted Weems, Rudy Vallee and Bert Lown. Another notable orchestra who recorded for Bluebird in these early days was George Hall.

Many blues artists were brought to the label by talent scout and record producer Lester Melrose, who had a virtual monopoly on the Chicago blues market. The records were recorded cheaply and quickly, often using a regular pool of Chicago musicians including Big Bill Broonzy, Roosevelt Sykes, Tampa Red, Washboard Sam and Sonny Boy Williamson. They produced a characteristic small band style which became known as the "Bluebird sound" and which, when electric amplification was added, became hugely influential on R&B and early rock and roll records.

Bluebird all but ceased making blues records in 1942. Meanwhile in the mid-1930s Bluebird was very successful in competing with ARC's cheap labels as well as the US Decca label which started in late 1934. Two of the most popular Swing bands of the late 1930s and early 1940s, Artie Shaw and Glenn Miller were Bluebird artists. Shep Fields and his orchestra signed with the label as early as 1936. Earl Hines was also a Bluebird artists during the early 1940s. After World War II, however, Bluebird was discontinued and any popular Bluebird artists were moved up to the Victor label. The imprint was later used for jazz releases and reissues as well as children's records in the 1950s. It has been reactivated by RCA Victor Records as a jazz label.

See also

* List of record labels

External links

* [http://www.bluebirdjazz.com Official site]
* [http://www.cascadeblues.org/History/Bluebird.htm Article on Bluebird Blues]


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