Story of the labels : K-N

The record labels, commerical and private, who issued church music recordings
and in so doing, preserved this precious heritage00000
.This page will be regularly updated.  Click on the record labels to enlarge

Levy Sound Studio
78rpm records
73 New Bond Street, London  

Louis Levy was musical director at Elstree Studios, but also had his own private recording studios.    They were one of very few recording studios outside the major record labels that were established in the thirties, a unique feature being their pressing factories they operated at Aston Clinton and Colnbrook. 

From these factories they pressed their own labels Oriole and Embassy records and also exported discs to the far corners of the British Empire.  Levy's also owned a world-renowned record shop in Whitechapel which had its on in-house label.

Alongside Star, Recorded Sound and Guy de Beir (subsequently renamed Advision), they pioneered an independent recording service for aspiring amateur and professional singers, solo musicians and orchestras.  Levy Sound Studios would also produce Transcription Records of radio broadcasts.

The business, on his retirement, was taken over by his two sons, Morris and Jacques.

The Archive holds Levy solid-stock records, direct-cut acetates and Transcription Acetates from RSCM Courses, St Mary's Chatham and St Mary-of-the-Angels Song School.

John Salt, who was a chorister at St Mary-of-the-Angels Song School, and who with the choir recorded solos at the studios in 1949, says in a letter to myself ‘I worked with him on sound recordings for movies at the Studios from time to time, and even got my face on the screen for a short period in ‘No Place for Jennifer’  

Listen to one of the St Mary-of-the Angels Song School recordings on the Levy label and read more about John Salt.

LLewelyn George
78rpm records


A one-man operation run by the Revd. W. Llewelyn George of Brighton.  He produced limited runs of solid-stock shellac pressings, direct-cut acetate records and Transcription Acetates from radio broadcasts.

He also undertook location recording on reel-to-reel tape from which he produced solid-stock shellac records.

The Archive has Llewelyn George solid-stock records, direct-cut acetates and Transcription Acetates from RSCM courses, together with church and school chapel choirs,
   

   



M.S.S Recording Company Ltd
'The Master Sound System'
78rpm & LP records
Colnbrook

MSS were one of the major manufacturers of acetate (lacquer) discs used by private recordings studios. MSS also developed and sold the disc recording machine for use with their lacquer discs;  a machine so outstanding it was used by all the major recording studios.

They also specialised in recording live radio broadcasts onto direct-cut 78rpm acetates which were known as Acetate Transcription discs, in other words, transcriptions of radio broadcasts.    The Archive has many of these discs, and not just from MSS, as many other recording companies provided this invaluable service.  This is why so many early radio broadcasts have survived.

MSS originally stood for Marguerite Sounds Studios (later Master Sound System) and was founded in 1933 by Cecil Watts and named after his partner, Marguerite, whom he later married.​​

Watts developed the lacquer disc after he was present at a recording session in the 1920s and saw the huge effort and time wasted by the major record companies in setting up and using the thick wax masters.

In late 1934, Cecil Watts commercially introduced his new type of lacquer transcription disc.   It consisted of an aluminium core disc coated with black cellulose nitrate lacquer, although for reasons which are unclear it soon came to be called an "acetate" disc by radio professionals.

Using a top-quality blank disc the result was a virtually noiseless broadcast-quality recording which could be played several times before the effects of wear started to become apparent.  ​​

Given the short playing time of a 78rpm record, often twenty or more discs were needed to record a radio broadcast!

By 1961 MSS were manufacturing magnetic recording tape, blank discs, recording equipment and accessories with over 170 employees.
  

Master Sound themselves, with their own acetate discs and transcriptions discs, together with the provision of recording equipment to other record companies provided, albeit unknowingly, an invaluable service to recorded church music. 

The Archive has an extensive collection of Master Sound 78rpm acetates (as well as from other companies)  and their historical importance cannot be over emphasised. 

Some of the greatest treasures in the Archive are 78rpm acetate discs of choirs and of radio broadcasts on Transcription acetates.

The label above is of the earliest radio broadcast in the Archive, preserved on a set of four MSS acetate transcription 78rpm records to which you may listen.