78rpm Books

A list of useful reference books and booksellers which deal with 78rpm record collecting and record players

this page first published by John Wright, 20 May 1997
last update 15 October 2012vintage@r2ok.co.uk

E-mail me if you know a good book to add to this list


Record collectors love music but they also love numbers, lists, dates and they spend hours just reading discographies and lists of recordings. No longer do collectors listen to their 78's with little clue as to the identity of musicians or vocalists that they hear. During the last 40 years the musicians attending most recording sessions in USA and UK during the 78rpm era have been identified. Most of the early jazz band soloists are readily recognisable but debate continues among collectors regarding identities on many obscure or rare recodings. Even this year there have been updates to the Al Bowlly discography and collectors continue to submit their contributions to the compilers preparing the next editions of Jazz Records and Dance Band Records discographies.

Discographical research, dating records and identifying members of bands, began in the 1930's but much of the jazz and dance band research is due to the incredible efforts of Brian Rust who, since the 1950's, has sought out original recording ledgers and interviewed the old musicians and singers. Supported by collectors over the years Brian has continually updated and published his massive discographies. Most of Brian Rust's books are currently out of print and can be hard to find, but there are many other discographical publications, and books on jazz and dance music are being published all the time. On this page I have a list of recommended books particularly for 78 collectors and some of them can be ordered today through Booksellers on the Internet.

On separate pages you'll find a list of and .

78rpm Books

  1. NEW!
    The Story Of The Perfect Portable Gramophone - His Masterís Voice by Dave Cooper is NOW IN STOCK!
    Includes a free CD of music from the era í20s and í30s (tracks by Ambrose Orchestra, Duke Ellington Orch., Ray Noble/Al Bowlly etc).
    Size:210 x 242mm, 125 pages, 200 colour illustrations
    Price: £15.95 plus p+p from Dave Cooper (ask Dave for his UK postal address).
    Payment methods: -
    UK : cheque or postal order
    Overseas : International Money Order in British Pounds please, or by Paypal in British pounds (add £2 to partially cover costs please).
    Postage and packing rates are as follows: -
    One bookTwo Books
    UK 1st class£4.50£8.25
    UK 2nd class£4.40£5.65
    Airmail (U.S.)£9.25£17.75
    Surface (U.S.)£4.80£10.25
    Airmail (Europe)£5.65£8.75
    Airmail (Australia)£11.00£19.95
    Surface (Australia)£4.95£7.95

    If you country is not listed, please contact Dave Cooper for a postage quote.

  2. British Dance Bands On Record 1911-1945
    by Rust & Forbes, published in 1989 by General Gramophone Publications Ltd, 177-179 Kenton Road, Harrow Middlesex, HA3 0HA.
    ISBN 0902470221
    THE book for British dance band enthusiasts, over 1300 pages listing (nearly) all the 78's of British bands.
    Best places to find copies of this discography are ebay.co.uk and Abebooks.com
    Note: beware of the 1st edition (1973) on sale at a high price, not worth it for the serious collector.

  3. Oxford University Press has published the 4th edition of Blues And Gospel Records: 1890-1943 by Dixon, Godrich and Rye. For collectors of the genre, it is indispensible. 1,424 pages.
    You can order Blues And Gospel Records Today! from Amazon.com
    You can order Blues And Gospel Records Today! from Amazon.co.uk


    Mainspring Press have a number of books of interest available now:
    At their website mainspringpress.com you'll find details of:

  4. Jazz and Ragtime Records 1897-1942, 6th edition, compiled by Brian Rust, has now been published and is also available in CD form from http://www.mainspringpress.com/book_rust.html

    The 5th edition (2 vols), published 1983 by Storyville Publications & Co Ltd, still an excellent addition to any collector's bookshelf as it does offer a nearly complete listing of all the early jazz recordings, including the hotter recordings by dance bands and vocalists in USA and UK. Watch Ebay or Abebooks for the 5th edition.

  5. Pseudonyms On American Records 1892-1942 by Allan Sutton
    obtain from mainspringpress.com

  6. American Record Labels and Companies by Allan Sutton and Kurt Nauck
    obtain from mainspringpress.com

  7. NEW!
    Mr. Takao Yamada has published "American Popular Music on Japanese 78 rpm Records, 1927 to 1958" (281pp. $80.00/copy postpaid). This discography includes all known 78 rpm records by American performers - more than 7,000 records - that were released in Japan.
    The book is being distributed worldwide Waterflea Records. For more information about the book, please visit Waterflea Records Website.
    If you have any questions, please e-mail Kazuya Deguchi

  8. Rainer Lotz has published a number of volumes in his Deutsche National-Discographie it is divided into five different series, Discographie der deutschen:
    1.Gesangsaufnahmen 2.Tanzmusik 3.Kleinkunst 4.Sprachaufnahmen 5. Ethnic
    You may buy these and other books from Birgit Lotz Verlag website.

  9. From Tinfoil to Stereo : The Acoustic Years of the Recording Industry 1877-1929 by Welch, Brodbeck, Burt. Hardcover 212 pages (August 1994), University Press of Florida; ISBN: 0813013178.
    You can order From Tinfoil to Stereo Today! from Amazon.com
    You can order From Tinfoil to Stereo Today! from Amazon.co.uk

  10. Moanin' Low - a Discography of Female Popular Vocal Recordings 1920-1933, by Ross Laird. Published by Greenwood Press, 738pp.
    You can order Moanin' Low Today! from Amazon.com
    You can order Moanin' Low Today! from Amazon.co.uk

  11. "Tantalizing Tingles: a discography of early ragtime, jazz and novelty syncopated piano recordings, 1889-1934" by Ross Laird (Greenwood Press, 1995)

  12. "DURIUM Advertisement and Custom Record Discography" (2000) by Hans Koert
    The latest edition contains over 150 pages with the facts on more than 1000 Durium 'cardboard' recordings and contemporary issues on 78rpms, cassettes, LPs and CDs. In this work you'll find the discographical information of all known records made by the Durium company, including Hit of the Week, both the commercial issues as well as the advertisement and custom records made by Durium (US), Durium (GB), Sound Distributors, Dubrico, Sefono, Noropa, Veckans Skiva, ABC, DoReMi, Chatelet, Dancing, MP, Super Durium, DVRIVM etc. during the years 1930 - 1936.
    "A colossal amount of detail about Durium records of all nationalities. It is the sort of book you pick up for reference purposes or just to browse through during idle moments. The book will be of great interest to record collectors" - Peter Wells in "Memory Lane" winter 1998
    For information: E-mail:†koerthchkz@zeelandnet.nl or visit Hans Koert's Website

  13. The Talking Machine: An Illustrated Compendium, by Fabrizio & Paul, 550 colour photos, detailed historical chapters. Hardcover (May 1997), Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.; ISBN: 0764302418.
    You can order The Talking Machine Today! from Amazon.com
    You can order The Talking Machine Today! from Amazon.co.uk

  14. His Master's Voice/De Stem Van Zijn Meester : The Dutch Catalogue : A Complete Numerical Catalogue of Dutch and Belgian Gramophone Recordings by Kelly, Kloters. Hardcover - 200 pages (1997) Greenwood Pub Group; ISBN: 0313298831
    You can order His Master's Voice/De Stem Van Zijn Meester Today! from Amazon.co.uk

  15. Catalogue of Vocal Recordings from the 1898-1926 in German Catalogues of the Gramophone Company Limited by Bennett, Wimmer. Hardcover (1978) Greenwood Press, London; ISBN:
    You can order Catalogue of Vocal Recordings... Today! from Amazon.co.uk

  16. Elsie Carlisle - Discography
    written by Richard J.Johnson. Published privately in 1994.
    Full details of the 334 recordings she made between 1926-1942 including all the vocal refrains with dance bands like Ambrose, Jay Wilbur, Ray Starita and others.
    UK buyers send £7 + £2.50 p&p to Richard J.Johnson, 77 Walton Way, Aylesbury, Bucks HP21 7JP, UK
    Overseas contact Richard.

  17. Black Swan a history and catalogue listing of this important American jazz and blues record label of the early 1920's.
    Written by Helge Thygesen, Mark Berresford and Russ Shor.
    Published by VJM Publications, see the 78rpm Magazines page (there is a UK and a US address).

  18. Collector's Guide to Victor Records by Michael W. Sherman, William R. Moran, Kurt R. Nauck (1992)

  19. Goodnight Sweetheart, Life and Times of Al Bowlly
    Written by Ray Pallett, this is the best biography of the popular vocalist from the dance band era, with many photographs and a full listing of Bowlly's recordings by song title.
    Published in 1986 by Spellmount Ltd., ISBN 0-946771-60-X, this book is usually obtainable from Abebooks.com

  20. Bill Murray, The Phonograph Industry's First Great Recording Artist, details of his life and all his recordings.
    Authors: Frank Hoffman, Dick Carty, Quentin Riggs
    ISBN: 0-8108-3105-8, 500 pages, hard bound, 1996. $75.00 price.

  21. The Banjo on Record by Heier, Lotz, Rust. Hardcover,658 pages,1993. Greenwood Press, ISBN: 031328492X
    You can order The Banjo on Record Today! from Amazon.co.uk

  22. The Complete Talking Machine new ed. 1997?, by Eric Reiss, 700 photos, how to repair/restore, dealers/parts supplies listed, values, etc.

  23. The Columbia Label Book ("Note the Notes"), (Nauck,Sherman), covering all known USA label types from 1901-1958 is available now for $15.95 postpaid by book rate, or add $1 for first class. This is in full color, 64 pages, and has full label history as well, rarity charts, production, etc.
    Available from Allen Koenigsberg, 502 East 17 St., Brooklyn, NY 11226.
    (see also Allen's website info below)
    or from Monarch Record Enterprises, c/o Kurt Nauck, 6323 Inway Drive, Spring, Texas 77389-3643, USA

    There are several books or earlier editions that are out of print, but it's still worth looking for second-hand copies from Abebooks.com, ebay.com, ebay.co.uk

  24. The Story of Sound Recording by Joe Batten, foreword by Sir Compton Mackenzie.

  25. Discography of Historical Records on Cylinders and 78's by Brian Rust. Hardcover (1979) Greenwood Press, London; ISBN: 0313205612
    You can order Discography of Historical Records on Cylinders and 78's Today! from Amazon.co.uk

  26. American Dance Band Discography,1917-1942, 1st Edition (2 vols)
    compiled by Brian Rust, published 1975 by Arlington House, ISBN 0-87000-248-1. Still very useful. Check out Abebooks.com

  27. Complete Entertainment Discography, 1890's-1942. The 1st Edition was compiled by Brian Rust and Allen G Debus and published in 1973 by Arlington House,ISBN 0-87000-150-7
    - 1st edition still very useful.
    You can order the new edition Complete Entertainment Discography from Amazon.com

  28. The American Record Label Book by Brian Rust (1978), despite its title also gives in-depth information on most major UK 78 labels.
    - although published in 1978 this is an ecellent collectors book. Check out Abebooks.com

  29. Directory of American Disc Records & Manufacturers, 1891-1943, by Allan Sutton, look out for the 1st ed (1994) Greenwood Publishing Group; 312 pages. ISBN 0313292000
    - the new 2nd ed. is titled American Record Labels and Companies, get the new edition directly from the Mainspring Press website, see above

  30. Pseudonyms on American Records, 1892-1942, by Allan Sutton, look out for the 1st ed. (1993) Greenwood Publishing Group; ISBN: 0313290601
    Check out Abebooks.com
    Note: you can get the new 2nd edition directly from the Mainspring Press website, see above

  31. British Music Hall On Record by Brian Rust, a listing of the discographies of most of the major music hall artistes, 301pp.
    Check out Abebooks.com

  32. Mr Ernie Bayly has a stock of many interesting publications on British 78's, labels listings etc. including -
    Edison Bell Winner Records listing by Karlo Adrian and Arthur Badrock,
    Blue Amberol Cylinders by Sydney H Carter,
    Billy Williams listing by Ernie Bayly and Frank Andrews,
    Dominion Records listing by Arthur Badrock and Frank Andrews.
    NEW ! Filmophone Discography listing by Arthur Badrock with Frank Andrews and Grant Pilcher.
    Listing of the flexible Filmophone records issued in UK in the early 1930's.
    Obtain further details from the magazine 'Talking Machine Review', see 78rpm Magazines page,
    or write directly to Ernie Bayly at 19 Glendale Road, Bournemouth, BH6 4JA.

  33. Gramophone Company's First Indian Recordings, 1899-1908 by Michael S. Kinnear, Hardcover (June 1994) Sangam Books. ISBN: 0861323262
    You can order Gramophone Company's First Indian Recordings Today! from Amazon.co.uk

  34. Columbia Disc Phonograph Companion, 1899-1929, by R. Baumbach, 248 pages, history & photos.

  35. Edison Cylinder Phonograph Companion, 1877-1929, by G. Frow, 400 pages, features all models.

  36. Berliner Gramophone Records, 1892-1900, by Paul Charosh, 334 pages, lists all US artists, dates, titles.

  37. The Phonograph and How to Use It, was originally published by Thomas Edison in 1900. Facsimile hard cover copies, 182 pages, have been published recently. Many drawings and instructions.

  38. The Thomas A. Edison Album, by L. A. Frost, 174 pages, has many beautiful photos.

  39. In 1985 Storyville Publications published German Ragtime & Prehistory Of Jazz, by Rainer Lotz, good listings of jazz and ragtime records made, issued or pressed in Germany from 1890's - 1920's.
    You can order German Ragtime & Prehistory of Jazz Today! from Amazon.co.uk

  40. Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound, 1857-1970, ed. Guy Marco, has articles on records, machines, companies and artists, 1000 pages.

  41. The Patent History of the Phonograph, 1877-1912, by Allen Koenigsberg, with 2,118 patents and 1,013 inventors, intro by Ray Wile.

  42. Edison Cylinder Records, 1889-1912, with an Illustrated History of the Phonograph, by Allen Koenigsberg, covers over 10,000 wax cylinders, 2" & 5", 2-minute & 4-minute, brown and black wax.

  43. The Illustrated History of the Phonograph, by Daniel Marty, full colour.

  44. The Incredible Music Machine: 100 Glorious Years, by Lowell, Miller & Petts, colour, 288 pages.

  45. Edison Diamond Disc Phonographs, 1912-1929, by G. Frow, history and photos, 300 pages.

  46. Edison Blue Amberol Recordings, 1912-1914, by Ron Dethlefson, 2nd ed., 212 pages.

  47. The Victor Talking Machine Co. Discography, by Fagan & Moran, Vol 1 (up to 1902), Vol 2 (1903-1908) have been published, Vol 3 (1908-1926) is in production.

On separate pages you'll find a list of and .

Booksellers

Where can you get these books ?

1. Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. In the list above those with Order Today! can indeed be ordered via their links. For the other books you can search Amazon.com or Amazon.com.uk by:

using the search links:

Books Enter keywords...


Amazon.com logo
or browse the websites:

In Association with Amazon.com
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Enter keywords...


In Association with Amazon.co.uk

Search by author, title, or a subject keyword.

Alternatively, these books may be available from some good record shops or book shops. Check with specialised shops listed in my 78rpm shops in UK page and my 78rpm shops in USA page, or you could contact any of the following booksellers:

  1. Eddie Baxter Books (UK) can get copies of any out-of-print titles. To try their Booksearch service contact Eddie Baxter, The Old Mill House, West Pennard, Somerset BA6 8ND

  2. Jerry Madsen (US) has books for phonograph collectors. Reprints of phonograph and record catalogs, instruction manuals, and cylinderographies.
    contact: Jerry Madsen, 4624 West Woodland Road, Edina, MN 55424-1553
    (612) 926-7775 [voice/fax]

  3. Leisure Hour is a set-price sales magazine with usually around 300 items - lists of books on all musical subjects, discographies, catalogues, 78's, LP's, CD's.
    Subscription for 4 issues: UK £4, Europe £5, Airmail Zone 1 £6, Airmail Zone 2 £7.
    To: John R Wrigley, 185 The Wheel, Ecclesfield, Sheffield S35 9ZA
    Tel: 0114-246-0275. E-mail histrec@aol.com

  4. Allen Koenigsberg has a List of Phonograph Books for sale. Also check Allen's Booklist and Publications List for sale, of interest to the vintage music collector.

  5. G's Jazz, Inc. Rare and out of print jazz books, magazines, videos, memorabilia and LP recordings for sale to collectors. Inquiries welcome, 24 hour fax.
    Gary Alderman, P.O. Box 259164, Madison, WI 53725-9164 USA
    Phone: (608)274-3527, Fax: (608)277-1999
    Email: gjazz@mail.tds.net
    Visit website:http://www.artstech.com/gjazz

  6. America's premier 78 auctioneer also has a catalogue of books for sale
    Visit Nauck's webpage

  7. A & R Booksearch can supply popular music books spanning the last 125 years, biographies and discographies.
    Website: www.arbooks.com
    E-mail: sales@arbooks.com
    or Tel: (UK) 01503-220246, Fax: 01503-220965
    or write: A & R Booksearch, High Close, Winnock Cross, Lanreath, Looe, Cornwall PL13 2PF, UK

  8. Also try Abebooks, see website.

On separate pages you'll find a list of and .

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