JERRY BLAINE

Born 31 December 1910, Allenwood, New Jersey
Died 3 March 1973, Long Island, New York

Jerry Blaine is best known as a label owner and record distributor, but he started his career in the music business as a bandleader and singer and recorded 18 sides for the Master and Bluebird labels in 1937-38.

In May 1946 Herb Abramson founded Jubilee Records and soon asked Jerry Blaine to become his partner. In September 1947, Abramson asked Blaine to buy him out and so Blaine became the sole owner of Jubilee, originally a gospel and Yiddish comedy label. Jubilee's first success came in 1948 with the Orioles' "It's Too Soon To Know" (# 1 R&B, # 14 pop), which was originally issued on Blaine's new It's a Natural label. After complaints from Al Green, owner of National Records, that the name It's a Natural was creating confusion among record buyers and distributors, Blaine moved "It's Too Soon To Know" to Jubilee and released all subsequent Orioles disks on that label ("Crying in the Chapel" was another # 1 R&B hit that crossed over to the pop charts in 1953). Another successful vocal group on Jubilee was The Four Tunes, who scored (both pop and R&B) with "Marie" and "I Understand (Just How You Feel)" in 1954. A subsidiary label called Josie was formed in 1954, which issued more up-tempo material. The label had major hits with "Speedoo" by the Cadillacs in 1956 and "Do You Wanna Dance?" by Bobby Freeman in 1958.

Both Josie and Jubilee had occasional hits in various styles in the '50s and '60s, but the company's main focus, at least in albums, seemed to be in specialty markets outside mainstream popular music. They issued an extensive line of "party" records, that is, comedy records of a risque nature. A staple of the label was Kermit Schafer's "Blooper" records, recordings of mistakes made on radio and television.

However, Blaine's main source of income came from his record distribution company, Cosnat Distributing. Blaine is frequently mentioned in John A. Jackson's book "Big Beat Heat : Alan Freed and the Early Years of Rock & Roll" (1991). Blaine was one of "the boys", as Jackson calls them, a group of New York independent label owners and distributors who had close ties with the major disc jockeys in the city, in particular Alan Freed. In the Alan Freed Archives on the Web you can see that Blaine made several payments of $ 2000 to Freed in 1958-59, to get his Cosnat product played. He admitted this when he testified in Freed's payola trial on February 4, 1960. Blaine later lamented that he wished the payola system had been left as it was, when "at least we knew what records were being played." He liked the old system because it was "economical". He said that after making a payoff, "at least we knew we got the record played... and if the record didn't have it, we got off the record." Blaine said that the 1950s payola system was "a lot cheaper to have" than the situation immediately following the scandal, when "we don't know how long the record's going to take or who's playing it." of the Cosnat

Jubilee and Josie went out of business around 1970. The master tapes went to Roulette upon Jubilee/Josie's demise. When Morris Levy sold Roulette to Rhino in the late 1980s, the Jubilee/Josie masters became the property of Rhino. Reissue producer Bob Hyde made extensive forays into the Jubilee/Josie masters starting in the 1980s; many of the tapes had not been touched since they were recorded. As a result of his efforts, many of the Jubilee and Josie songs have been made available again on CD, some for the first time in true stereo. In the UK (some of) these reissues were issued on Sequel.

 
These pages were saved from "This Is My Story" for reference usage only. Please note that these pages were not originally published or written by BlackCat Rockabilly Europe. For comments or information please contact Dik de Heer at dik.de.heer@hetnet.nl

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