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The Little John Records Christmas Collection

Little John Records was a cheap children's budget record label in the early 50's. These records sold for ten cents each without sleeves, it is a miracle that any of these Little John's made it to the present in decent shape! I have most of the 31 Little John releases (I have 2 out of the 3 runs they made complete), and that includes the complete Christmas series, X-1 through X-10.  Here's a link to a playlist that features the entire series!


Three albums, three artists, one recording.

What does all these albums have in common? They all have the same recordings on them! The left two albums are the Sounds Of A Thousand Strings Christmas album (The bottom left is the original 1st pressing, the top left is a reissue). The top right Premier record album is titled "1000 Strings At Christmas" and is credited to Al Goodman. The bottom right is a Wyncote release with the artist credited to "The International Pop Orchestra", and is a reissue of the Premier album (the Wyncote release has XS-4 scratched out in the dead wax). Budget record labels traded and leased masters to different budget labels so that they would in turn trade or lease masters they could use themselves. The question I have about these releases is when these recordings were really recorded and by whom. I believe it was Crown that recorded these recordings, as their album was issued in 1959, while the others were issued in 1963 and 1964.


The Dave Clark Five Crown Records

Custom release.
Crown release.

This post features me unboxing the Dave Clark Five album that Crown Records issued in 1964, that I got on Ebay. This album is one of the more collectible Crown releases, and the Goldmine record price guide even lists it! Below are a couple pictures (that are not mine) to give you a better look at this album, including a reissue on Custom (which is a label related to Crown)! Now for some Ebay drama, the seller listed this album as a VG+ album, I received a maybe G condition record. I will probably ding the seller for that massive over sight. 


The (Brief) History Of Budget Label's part 1

If you have ever flipped though a stack of records at a thrift store you may have noticed the names of labels like Pickwick, Crown, Royale, Halo, Grand Prix, Design, Custom, or some other label that made very cheap albums. If you haven't notice these records then I will tell you more about them. Budget labels were and still are thought as cheap pieces of junk, however it was budget labels that put the record and LP into people's homes.

Little Wonder was one of the early budget labels that changed the record industry, at that time records (records then at that time played 78 rpm or thereabout) were about 75 cents to a dollar each, or about 20 bucks in today's dollars. Then the machines were also very expensive, so you would have to be pretty well of to have a phonograph in your house! One of the main reasons that the record were so expensive was the fact that Victor and Columbia records held all the patents for the disk phonograph and kept the machines and records at high prices. Then that all changed, a man named Henry Waterson teamed up secretly with Columbia to make a cheap record that measured 5 1/2 inches across between 1914 to 1923. These records played for only 1-1 1/2 minutes and were single sided only. These records made records affordable to more people, while causing the other big labels to lower their prices to compete with them. There is no doubt that Little Wonder was one of the the most important budget labels of all time because of its lasting effects on the whole record industry.

"Back To The Carolina's My Love" (Al Jolson)
After Victor's and Columbia's patents expired, record labels started popping up all over the place, some of them were Grey Gull and the million budget labels that used the Grey Gull masters for their releases. Soon the Great Depression was on and Hit Of The Week records blossomed and died in a matter of a few short years. Then we had big label budget subsidies in the 30's such as Blue Bird and Harmony records. Then World War Two broke out, then budget labels would take on the attributes that made labels such as Pickwick loathed and hated by the record industry. More coming soon.
Grey Gull
Hit of The Week records.


Christmas With The Mexicali Brass!

To think that only 48 days separate us from Christmas, So I have to get busy on getting you those Christmas records that I have in my vast budget record collection! Here I offer you a selection, more if I get around to it, of the Mexicali Brass Christmas album. Does "The First Noel" interest anyone? I hope you do, as the trumpet playing is delightful. I have to apologize for the surface noise and other artifacts that I couldn't remove, if I did the tracks would be dull and lifeless, hey what is brass without the bite?
The First Noel (Restored, stereo)

White Christmas  (Unrestored mono track)