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Pathé Actuelle Record Series

It was the autumn of 1926 and Pathé just started releasing its E-2000 series
of electrically recorded material.  Although electrical recordings started being
released by  the Victor Company and Columbia in 1925, Pathé didn't start
using electrical recordings until late 1926.

From Sutton and Nauck's BooK:

As the major companies converted to electrical recording, Pathé
 announced "New Process Recording" in September 1925.  However, the technique
was not electrical.  Details as reported in the "Talking Machine World are vague,
but the process apparently amounted to nothing more than low-speed dubbing to intermediate oversized
disc masters. (Sutton, Allan and Nauck, Kurt,
American Record Labels and Companies: An Encylopedia- 1891-1943)

Although Pathé would be behind Columbia in starting the electrical recording
process they would be ahead of Harmony and Velvetone (Columbia's subsidiaries)
which wouldn't start
using the electrical recording process until 1929.
(Sutton, Allan and Nauck,Kurt,
American Record Labels and Companies: An Encylopedia- 1891-1943)
 

Pathé had just moved into new offices
in New York City so at first had to rely on the Combo Company of Canada
(under the label Apex) to record its masters.  Below I include a quote
from John Woodruff on the New Combo elctrophonic process:

 17 of the first 20 of Annette's sides released by Pathé (recorded
through January 1927) were recorded by the Combo Company (of Canada)
with the new Compo Electrophonic recording process, and probably all of
Annette's Pathé sides recorded after April 1927 (and certainly all of the 29 sides,
both Pathé and Perfect, that I have examined) were recorded with a Pathé electric
recording system based on the Western Electric system.  All told, almost
90% of Annette's Pathé's output was electrically recorded.  On the other
hand, at least 40% and perhaps as much as 80% (sources disagree) of
Annette's sides released on the Harmony/Velvetone/Diva labels were
recorded on an acoustic system described by Brian Rust (American
Record Label Book) as a "horribly boxy acoustic process" having "a
curiously constricted "boxy" sound...the sound is unique,
unmistakable," and by Harry Avery (Playback, Oct-Nov 1949)
as producing a master which sounded "as if it had been
waxed in grandpa's outhouse."
 
 

Annette made a number of recordings under this new electrical recording
process that bear the E-2000 series labels.  Although many of these
records were also released under Pathé's "front company" (Perfect label) I will
only list here the songs that were released on the E-2000 series labels.

According to Allan Sutton, in his excellent book:
"Directory of American Disc Record Labels Brands", the
Perfect Label Group was nothing more than a false front
for Pathé, similar to the Harmony and Velvetone and
Diva groups that were the "dime Store" labels for Columbia.

Annette would be able to use her own name with Pathé but she would soon
move over to their Perfect label which was a cheaper label.  They would sell for
39 cents or 3 for a dollar.  The "Pathé Perfect Star series"  label was reserved
for a few of its biggest stars such as Lee Morse and Cliff Edward's and was higher
priced than the standard Perfect series.  (Sutton, Allan and Nauck, Kurt,
American Record Labels and Companies: An Encylopedia- 1891-1943)

Contrary to some previous reports that I have seen
Pathé would close out the Actuelle series in 1931 but continue on with its
Perfect series until 1938. (Sutton, Allan and Nauck, Kurt, American Record Labels and Companies:
An Encylopedia- 1891-1943)

I have seen previous reports that indicate that
Wally moved Annette over to Columbia because Pathé went bankrupt.
This simply is not true.  They did merge with Cameo records in October, 1927,  which later
became the ARC group. Maybe with the reorganization  Wally
thought he could get a better deal with
Columbia.  Columbia was a well established studio and had already
started the electrical recording process in 1925.  But when he did, they
didn't start Annette out on Columbia records,  which was their
"premier" record label and the most expensive.  They started her
out on the Harmony and Velvetone labels which in 1928 was
still acoustic.  In many respects this was a step down for Annette.

Again quoting from John Woodruff:

Herman Rose has been described as "an A and R man from...Pathé",
"the musical director of Pathé records", "record Producer," and later
"in charge of the recording laboratories of [Velvet Tone]" and "recording
manager of [Velvet Tone]."  His other involvement's (i.e. not associated with
Annette) in the recording industry seem to tend toward the technical
rather than the artistic side.  I have never seen any authoritative
statements on how much he had to do with the musical content
(e.g. selections, arrangements, choice of accompanists) of any of
Annette's recordings, other than his encouragement of her
continuing use of the "that's all" to end them.

But I'm sure Wally did his best for her at the time.

These then, would be Annette's first recordings and they all have
her original name- Annette Hanshaw.  The pseudonyms  would not
start until she went over to Columbia.

Most of these recordings are available on CD's.  Check the
Current CD's and LP's for a complete listing.
including her first "test" pressing for Pathé.

Also, Rich Conaty and Al Barnes regularly play Annette records on
their radio programs.  I have listed both of their Internet
addresses in the "Links" section.
 

Pathé Actuelle Record Series (E-2000)





The following  information comes primarily from the liner notes to the excellent Fountain LP's.  It has also been confirmed from numerous other resources.  Details of these LP's are included in the Current CD's section.
Master Number Recording Date Song Musicians
E-2476 July 28, 1926 (test pressing) Part One- Medley

What Can I Say Dear?
Bye, Bye Blackbird
The Day I Met You

Annette on piano
E-2477 July 28, 1926 (test pressing) Part Two- Medley

Don't Want Nobody But You
I Wonder What's Become of Joe
Five Foot Two

Annette on Piano
E-2518 September 12, 1926
(first recording)
Black Bottom Annette: vocal
Red Nichols: cornet
Miff Mole: Trombone
Jimmy Lytel: clarinet
Irving Brodsky: piano
E-2519 September 12, 1926 Six Feet of Papa Annette: vocal
Red Nichols: cornet
Miff Mole: Trombone
Jimmy Lytel: clarinet
Irving Brodsky: piano
E-2522 September 13, 1926 That's Why I Love You Annette on Piano
E-2523 September 13, 1926 Lay Me Down To Sleep in Carolina Annette on Piano
E-2524 September 13, 1926 Falling In Love With You Annette on Piano
E-2565 October 20, 1926 Cherie, I Love You Annette on Piano (with Murray Kellner on Violin)
E-2566 October 20, 1926 Calling Me Home Annette on Piano (with Murray Kellner on Violin)
E-2567 October 22, 1926 If I'd Only Believe In You Accompanied by Irving Brodsky on Piano
E-2568 (takes A and C) October 22, 1926 My Baby Knows How Accompanied by Irving Brodsky on Piano
E-2608 November 26, 1926 Do-Do-Do Accompanied by Irving Brodsky on Piano
E-2609 November 26, 1926 Everything's Made for Love Accompanied by Irving Brodsky on Piano
E-2610 November 26, 1926 Kiss Your Little Baby Goodnight Accompanied by Irving Brodsky on Piano
E-2611 November 26, 1926 One Sweet Letter From You Annette on Ukulele and accompanied by Irving Brodsky on piano
E-2666 January 26, 1927 He's the Last Word Accompanied by Irving Brodsky on Piano
E-2667 January 26, 1927 I'm Gonna Meet My Sweetie Now Accompanied by Irving Brodsky on Piano
E-2668 January 26, 1927 Ain't He Sweet? Accompanied by Irving Brodsky on Piano
E-2669 January 26, 1927 It All Depends on You Accompanied by Irving Brodsky on Piano

The recording dates for these Pathé Actuelle series runs almost exactly 6 months from start to finish and includes just 20 recordings.  (Woodruff) After that Annette is found on both the Perfect label and occasionally the
Actuelle label.  Just like Columbia did, they gradually moved Annette over to their "dime store"
label and kept the "Pathé Perfect Star series"  label for certain "big" stars like Lee Morse and Cliff Edwards.
(Sutton, Allan and Nauck, Kurt,
American Record Labels and Companies: An Encylopedia- 1891-1943)

The Perfect label would sell for 39 cents or 3 for a dollar and the Actuelle label would
be reserved for the higher price of 75 cents.

Except for the E-2518 and E-2519 recordings which included the Red Heads , all of these
E  series recordings would be characterized by being just simple tunes with Annette on piano
and perhaps one musician such as Irving Brodsky or Murray Killner on violin.  They would be among
the simplest  of recordings with Annette sometimes just accompanying herself on
ukulele or piano.  After the first set with the Red Heads as an accompanying group, all the other recording sessions would not have accompanying groups  included in the E series.

However, Pathé would also release these early E series sessions on the Perfect label as well.  These E
series masters would show up under the following labels:

1. Pathé Actuelle
2.  Perfect
3. Apex (Compo Company of Canada)

In those days no masters would be wasted.  Later in 1927,  when Pathé merged with
Cameo Records the practice of sharing masters would continue:

The Pathé Phonograph and Radio Corporation combined operations with the Cameo Record Corporation
in October 1927, and recording activity for both companies was consolidated at Pathé's studio.  It became
standard practice to assign multiple master numbers to a single master depending upon which group of labels
was to issue that master.  Some masters were used exclusively by the Pathé group (Pathé, Perfect etc.) some
exclusively by the Cameo group (Cameo, Lincoln, etc.), but many were shared by both groups.
Consequently, Pathé pressings of the period often show Cameo master numbers, and Cameo pressings often
show Pathé catalog numbers.  The last masters intended for Pathé exclusive use were recorded in July 1929.
(Sutton, Allan and Nauck, Kurt,
American Record Labels and Companies: An Encylopedia- 1891-1943)

These earliest recordings can be found on a number
of CD releases including the Fountain series LP's which highlight these E series recordings on
volume 1 and volume 2.