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V-Disc & AFRTS (Photos)

I share with you some very special records from my collection. They're not unusually rare or valuable, but they're certainly not common. They are V-Discs from the World World II era and AFRTS (Armed Forces Radio and Television Service) records from the '50s and '60s.

I have 170 12" 78 RPM V-Discs, 61 16" LPs, and 60 12" LPs in my collection. This is just a very small sampling of the label art used. These discs were distributed in plain sleeves, hence no cover art.

A brief history: In the early 1940s, the American Federation of Musicians went on strike, as the result of a dispute over royalties. Recording and production of records came to a halt. Capt. Howard Bronson and Lt. George Robert Vincent of the Army came up with the idea to have musicians record popular selections of the day specifically for the troops overseas. The musicians eagerly agreed and the V-Disc program began.

The discs were 12" in diameter and production quickly shifted from shellac to vinyl, to eliminate the problem of breakage of discs shipped to the war zones. Although some V-Discs were dubs of commercial releases, many were special recordings, with musicians greeting the troops on the record's intro. With special, closely spaced grooves, up to 6 1/2 minutes of music could be fit onto on side of a 12" disc. This led to longer 'jam sessions' by some of the top Jazz musicians of the era, unique recordings indeed.

V-Discs were strictly prohibited to be used for commercial purposes or radio broadcast. At the end of WW II, countless thousands of V-Discs were destroyed, as required by the program rules. However, soldiers smuggled some home and V-Discs can be found to this day, and are actively sought after by music fans and collectors. V-Discs represent a priceless musical heritage and an exciting piece of history.

AFTRS produced records after the war. These 16" and 12" discs were distributed to radio atations and were used to promote enlistment into the Armed Services. Some of these records contain unique live recordings, made especially for AFRTS. As with V-Discs, the AFRTS discs are a musical treasure trove.

I've never served in the Armed Forces, but I'd like to express my heartfelt thanks to all of the men & women past and present who have.

The V-Discs shown here are Jazz, but the V-Disc program included all genres of music.

Condition of my V-Discs varies, from this looks-unplayed Count Basie record to the preceding lesser condition Gene Krupa disc.

Great label art on these 12" Lawrence Welk and Pat Boone records.

I have a number of late '60s Mono Rock Lps like this. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Iron Butterfly, Jeff Beck, Cream, etc..... These sent out to AM radio stations, hence the mono mixes.

Some lesser known '60s bands. Bubblegum!! Gotta love it.

Note the call letters in grease pencil. KODI is an AM radio station based in Cody, Wyoming. I bought this and sixty other sixteen inch discs for ten bucks at a Cody garage sale a few years ago.

I have a large number of sixteen inchers featuring top Country Western artists of the mid-50s to early-60s. Some great recordings, some of which were specifically made for the Armed Forces.

Here's what a sixteeen incher looks like. I hope you've enjoyed this photo essay exploring an unique segment of my collection.

This post is made possible by the generous support of people like you and our sponsors:
  Michael Percy Audio  

Topic - V-Disc & AFRTS (Photos) - cactuscowboy@bresnan.net 11:11:20 05/24/12 (18)


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