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Mills Blue Rhythm Band

Mills Blue Rhythm Band, “Ride, Red, Ride/Congo Caravan,” Columbia (US), Label #3087-D, 10” 78rpm, 1935.

This record was released following a time of turmoil for Columbia. The stock market crash from five years earlier had slowed down business for many major recording companies. In 1931 U.S. Columbia was now owned by the U.K. Columbia, which had just merged with the Gramophone Company and Parlophone to form Electric and Musical Industries, Ltd. (EMI). As Columbia’s biggest competitor, Victor was owned by the Gramophone Company. This meant that Victor indirectly controlled U.S. Columbia. Fears of anti-trust action in the U.S. against what would have amounted to a monopoly led EMI to transfer U.S. Columbia and its subsidiaries to trustees, who sold it in May 1931 to Grigsby–Grunow, a radio manufacturer. When this ownership didn’t do well, the label was sold in 1934 to the American Radio Corp. (ARC). Despite the uncertainties, Columbia continued to issue new releases of good quality, such as this recording by the Mills Blue Rhythm Band.


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