Command LP
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Command LP

Command Records was a record label founded by Enoch Light in 1959 [1][2] and later associated with ABC-Paramount Records.[3] Enoch Light produced a majority of the artists releases in the labels catalog.

The company focused on producing records targeted at audiophiles.[4] When ABC Records issued quadraphonic records in the 1970s, they were issued on the Command label.

Command Records often featured abstract covers, in their early years all covers were designed by Josef Albers, whose student Charles E. Murphy served as design director. Later covers that seemed to be knock off's of Albers work were used once the label was sold. [5][6] Several are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.[7]

In 1965, Light sold the Command record label, which had released the series, to ABC Records, which itself was subsequently sold to MCA Records. After the sale, the quality of those records plummeted dramatically. The signature gatefold format (along with Light's prose) was immediately discontinued, and the covers changed to budget labels pressed on recycled vinyl. In 1975 they were completely discontinued.

Recording technique

While the recording industry had made magnetic tape the standard for recording music for release on vinyl, Command's albums were recorded magnetically onto 35mm film. Magnetic sound-on-film recording, using special film stock fully coated with iron oxide, had replaced optical sound-on-film recording in the 1950s when wide-screen and stereophonic sound became standard for Hollywood movies. Light used the width of the film strip to create multitrack recordings, as opposed to the more limited two or three tracks offered by most recording studios at the time; the slightly higher linear speed provided an advantage in analog fidelity and the sprocket-driven film avoided the "wow and flutter" problems associated with tape recording. This enabled Light to record more instruments individually and adjust their audio input levels, as well as their stereo position.[8]

Command test record

The Command test record (Stereo Check Out) was an LP album produced by Command Records in 1960. It contained recordings designed to allow users to test their stereo equipment.

Album details

Like many other Command records, the Stereo Check Out came in a gatefold cover with extensive liner notes and full technical data inside. Charles Stark narrated both sides, providing both technical details and information about the musical instruments used on the tracks on Side Two.

Side one

Side One of this LP consists of turntable tests. An oscilloscope is a useful tool when used in conjunction with these tests:

  1. Stereo Balance Check
  2. Left and Right Channel Check
  3. Volume Reference Check
  4. Frequency Run Check
  5. Output Balance Check
  6. Flutter or Wow Check
  7. Phasing Check
  8. Acoustical Check
  9. Rumble Check

Side two

Side Two of this LP consists of musical selections from the Command catalogue:

  1. Hernando's Hideaway (from Provocative Percussion Vol II)
  2. Cumana (from Provocative Piano)
  3. Tenderly (from bongos)
  4. Enjoy Yourself Cha-Cha (from Pertinent Percussion Cha-Cha's)

Other Albums

  1. Enoch Light...And His Orchestra - A Discothèque Dance...Dance...Dance
  2. Enoch Light...And His Orchestra - Paperback Ballet
  3. Enoch Light...And The Light Brigade - Big Bold And Brassy
  4. Enoch Light...And The Light Brigade - Vibrations
  5. Enoch Light...Big Band Bossa Nova - The New Beat From Brazil
  6. Enoch Light...And The Light Brigade - Happy Cha Cha
  7. Enoch Light...Command Performances
  8. Los Admiradores - Bongos/Flutes/Guitars RS 812 SD 1960
  9. Off Beat Percussion - Don Lamond and His Orchestra
  10. Terry Snyder And The All Stars - Persuasive Percussion
  11. Terry Snyder And The All Stars - Persuasive Percussion Vol. 2
  12. Terry Snyder And The All Stars - Persuasive Percussion Vol. 3
  13. Enoch Light...And The Light Brigade - Provocative Percussion
  14. Enoch Light...And The Light Brigade - Provocative Percussion Vol. 2
  15. Provocation Piano - Dick Hyman and His Orchestra
  16. The Man From O.R.G.A.N. - Dick Hyman
  17. Spanish Guitar - Tony Mottola and his orchestra (1962)
  18. Persuasive Trombone of Urbie Green Volume 1
  19. Persuasive Trombone of Urbie Green Volume 2
  20. Enoch Light...& The Light Brigade - A New Concept of Great Cole Porter Songs CQD40002 1971
  21. Doc Severinsen...His Trumpet and Orchestra Fever! CQD40003 1971
  22. Ravel - Daphnis Et Chloe, Suite No.2 -Pierre Dervaux Command Classics CC33-11005 1961
  23. Ravel Bolero - Rapsodie Espagnole- Pierre Dervaux Command Classics CC33-11007 1961
  24. Tony Mottola And His Orchestra - Roman Guitar RS 816 SD

See also


  1. ^ "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media. August 10, 1959.
  2. ^ Grevatt, Ren (November 6, 1961). "Record Hunter Displays Sell". Billboard Magazine: 15. ISSN 0006-2510.
  3. ^ Edwards, Davidl. "Command Album Discography". Album Discographies. Both Sides Now Publications. Retrieved 2010.
  4. ^ Rolontz, Bob (November 6, 1961). "Sound Record Sales Boom After 3 Years of Stereo". Billboard Magazine: 15. ISSN 0006-2510.
  5. ^ "Albers in Command - On Augmentation". On Augmentation. January 28, 2015. Retrieved 2018.
  6. ^ Borgerson, Janet (2017). Designed for hi-fi living : the vinyl LP in midcentury America. Schroeder, Jonathan E., 1962. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. p. 92. ISBN 9780262036238. OCLC 958205262.
  7. ^ "Josef Albers, Charles E. Murphy, Command Records". Museum of Modern Arts-date=March 13, 2018.
  8. ^ Edwards, David, with Patrice Eyries, and Mike Callahan. "Command Album Discography". Both Sides Now. Retrieved 2013.

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