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|Parent company||Sony Music Entertainment|
|Genre||Blues, jazz, children's music|
|Country of origin||U.S.|
|Location||Camden, New Jersey, New York City, Chicago, Illinois|
Bluebird Records is a record label best known for its low-cost releases, primarily of kids' music, blues and jazz in the 1930s and 1940s. It was founded in 1932 as a lower-priced RCA Victor subsidiary label of RCA Victor. Bluebird became known for what came to be known as the "Bluebird sound", which influenced rhythm and blues and early rock and roll. It is currently owned by parent company Sony Music Entertainment.
The label was founded in 1932 as a division of RCA Victor by Eli Oberstein, an executive at the company. Bluebird competed with other budget labels at the time. Records were made quickly and cheaply. The "Bluebird sound" came from the session band that was used on many recordings to cut costs. The band included musicians such as Big Bill Broonzy, Roosevelt Sykes, Washboard Sam, and Sonny Boy Williamson. Many blues musicians were signed to RCA Victor and Bluebird by Lester Melrose, a talent scout and producer who had a virtual monopoly on the Chicago blues market. In these years, the Bluebird label became the home of Chicago blues.
Bluebird recorded and reissued jazz and big band music. Its roster included Ted Weems, Rudy Vallée, Joe Haymes, Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller, Shep Fields, and Earl Hines. During World War II, Victor reissued records by Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, and Bennie Moten. Bluebird's roster for country music included the Monroe Brothers, the Delmore Brothers, Bradley Kincaid. It reissued many titles by Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family.
After World War II, the Bluebird label was retired and its previously released titles were reissued on the standard RCA Victor label. In the 1950s, RCA Victor revived Bluebird for certain budget recordings, jazz releases and reissues, children's records, and the low-priced RCA Victor Bluebird Classics series. The Bluebird name was retired again during the 1960s, and certain recordings issued during the 1950s under the imprint were transferred to the low-priced RCA Camden label. In the mid-1970s, the label was again reactivated by RCA for a series of 2-LP sets of big band, swing and jazz reissues produced by Frank Driggs and Ethel Gabriel. Currently, the Bluebird label is used for CD reissues of certain jazz and pop titles originally issued on the RCA Victor label.
RCA Victor's entry into the budget market was the 35¢ Timely Tunes, sold through Montgomery Ward retail stores. 40 issues appeared from April to July 1931 before the label was discontinued.
The first Bluebird records appeared in July 1932 along with identically numbered Electradisk records. Test-marketed at selected Woolworth's stores in New York City, these 8-inch discs are so rare today that some issues may no longer exist at all. They may have sold for as little as 10¢. Bluebird records bore a black-on-medium blue label, Electradisks a blue-on-orange label. 
The 8-inch series ran from 1800 to 1809, but both labels reappeared later in 1932 as 10-inch discs: Bluebird 1820–1853, continuing to April 1933, and Electradisk 2500–2509 and 1900–2177, continuing to January 1934.
Electradisks in the 2500 block were dance-band sides recorded on two days in June 1932. These rare issues were given Victor matrix numbers, but the four-digit matrix numbers on the 78 look more like those found on discs from Crown Records, an independent label that had its own studios, though its products were pressed by Victor. The few records in that block that have been seen resemble Crowns, leading to speculation that all were recorded at Crown. The 2500 series may also have been for sale only in New York City.
In May 1933 RCA Victor restarted Bluebird as a 35¢ (3 for $1) general-interest budget record, numbered B-5000 and up, with a new blue-on-beige label (often referred as the "buff" Bluebird, used until 1937 in the US and 1939 in Canada). Most 1800-series material was immediately reissued on the buff label; afterwards it ran concurrently with the Electradisk series (made for Woolworth's).
Another short-lived concurrent label was Sunrise, which may have been made for sale by artists or "mom & pop" stores. Few discs, and essentially no information, survive. Sunrise and Electradisk were discontinued early in 1934, leaving Bluebird as RCA's only budget-priced label until RCA Camden was formed. RCA Victor also produced a separate Montgomery Ward label for the Ward stores.
Columbia Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. It was founded on January 15, 1889, evolving from the American Graphophone Company, the successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest surviving brand name in the recorded sound business, and the second major company to produce records. From 1961 to 1991, its recordings were released outside North America under the name CBS Records to avoid confusion with EMI's Columbia Graphophone Company. Columbia is one of Sony Music's four flagship record labels, alongside former longtime rival RCA Records, as well as Arista Records and Epic Records.
The Victor Talking Machine Company was an American recording company and phonograph manufacturer that operated independently from 1901 until 1929, when it was acquired by the Radio Corporation of America and subsequently operated as a division called RCA Victor.
RCA Records is an American record label currently owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America. It is one of Sony Music's four flagship labels, alongside RCA's former long-time rival Columbia Records; also Arista Records, and Epic Records. The label has released multiple genres of music, including pop, classical, rock, hip hop, afrobeat, electronic, R&B, blues, jazz, and country. Its name is derived from the initials of its defunct parent company, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). RCA Records was fully acquired by Bertelsmann in 1987, making it a part of Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) and became a part of Sony BMG Music Entertainment after the 2004 merger of BMG and Sony; it was acquired by the latter in 2008, after the dissolution of Sony/BMG and the restructuring of Sony Music. RCA Records is the corporate successor of the Victor Talking Machine Company, founded in 1901, making it the second-oldest record label in American history, after sister label Columbia Records, founded in 1889.
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John Lee Curtis "Sonny Boy" Williamson was an American blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter. He is often regarded as the pioneer of the blues harp as a solo instrument. He played on hundreds of recordings by many pre–World War II blues artists. Under his own name, he was one of the most recorded blues musicians of the 1930s and 1940s and is closely associated with Chicago producer Lester Melrose and Bluebird Records. His popular songs, original or adapted, include "Good Morning, School Girl", "Sugar Mama", "Early in the Morning", and "Stop Breaking Down".
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"Love Me or Leave Me" is a popular song written in 1928 by Walter Donaldson with lyrics by Gus Kahn. The song was introduced in the Broadway musical comedy Whoopee!, which opened in December 1928. Ruth Etting's performance of the song was so popular that she was also given the song to sing in the play Simple Simon, which opened in February 1930.
A matrix number is an alphanumeric code stamped or handwritten into the run-out groove area of a phonograph record. This is the non-grooved area between the end of the final band on a record's side and the label, also known as the run-off groove area, end-groove area, matrix area, or "dead wax".
RCA Camden was a budget record label of RCA Victor, originally created in 1953 to reissue recordings from earlier 78rpm releases. The label was named "Camden", after Camden, New Jersey where the offices, factories and studios of RCA Victor and its predecessor, the Victor Talking Machine Company had been located since 1901.
Budget albums were low-priced vinyl LPs of popular and classical music released during the 1950s to 1970s consisting either of previously released material or material recorded especially for the line. Prices ranged from as low as 59 U.S. cents to $2.98. In the UK Pickwick Records' Top of the Pops record series, which operated between 1968 and 1985, was the most successful budget album range.
Bert Lown was a violinist, orchestra leader, and songwriter.
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Between 1938 and 1944, Glenn Miller and His Orchestra released 266 singles on the monaural ten-inch shellac 78 rpm format. Their studio output comprised a variety of musical styles inside of the Swing genre, including ballads, band chants, dance instrumentals, novelty tracks, songs adapted from motion pictures, and, as the Second World War approached, patriotic music.
Harmony Records was a record label owned by Columbia Records that debuted in 1925.
For music from an individual year in the 1940s, go to 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49
Crown Records was a record company and dime-store label that existed from 1930 to 1933 in New York City. Its catalogue included music by Eubie Blake and Fletcher Henderson. Known as the label offering "Two Hits for Two Bits" proudly printed on their sleeves, Crown's discs sold for 25 cents.
"Sold American" is a 1938 song composed by Glenn Miller with John Chalmers "Chummy" MacGregor and recorded for both Brunswick and RCA Bluebird.
Elliott Everett "Eli" Oberstein was an American record producer and music business executive who established the influential Bluebird record label in the 1930s and owned a succession of small labels in the 1940s and 1950s.
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"I'll Never Tire of You" is a 1941 big band song written by Richard Kollmar, Cy Walter and Jimmy Dobson. The song was copyrighted on September 6, 1941. It was recorded in New York City on November 12, 1941, by the Sam Donahue Orchestra as a RCA Victor - Bluebird 78 rpm single. There were four takes. The master recording was recorded in Studio 2. Victor matrix number is BS-068193. The label name and number is Bluebird B-11479. The Catalog number is B-11479-A. The format size of the master is 10 inches. Andy Blaine was the sole vocalist.