DID YOU KNOW JIM'S EARLY SOUTH AFRICAN 78 RPM SHELLAC DISCS WERE  RELEASED ON THE  BRITISH DECCA LABEL?

 
Despite Gilbert Gibson's submission that Jim was not popular in South Africa until his 1960 hit "He'll have to go", there is evidence to show he had record releases in that country at least 5 years before.

 

 

The press clipping from the Johannesburg Sunday Times of 1st April 1956 advertising Decca record releases, shows Jim headlining with "Gypsy heart" c/w "It's hard to love just one" (FM 6328).  This is rather a strange combination of tracks as it follows neither the UK or US release, showing the local A&R executives followed their own instincts, rather like Pat Campbell did later on in the UK with his selection of titles for single release.  "Gypsy heart" had been the B side of Jim's very first UK single "Bimbo" on the London label (HL8014) released in March 1954.  "It's hard to love just one" had been the B side of Jim's third UK single "Butterfly love" on the London label (HL8055) released in June 1954.
 
The advertisement also included singles by British artists Dave King & the Stargazers who recorded for the UK Decca label and three American artistes, Bill Haley & his Comets, Danny Kaye & daughter Dena, and the Dreamweavers who all recorded for the US Decca (released on the Brunswick label in the UK).  The Dreamweavers single of "It's almost tomorrow" became a no.1 smash in the UK.
 
Decca Records began as a British record label in 1929, established by former stockbroker Edward Lewis. The US label was established in 1934.  In 1939 Lewis sold his interest in American Decca & in 1942  the stockmarket began trading in shares of Decca Inc, the two Decca's becoming separate companies.  Dissatisfied with American Decca's promotion of British Decca's recordings & the fact that American Decca now held the rights to the Decca name in the US & Canada, British Decca sold its records there under the London Records label beginning in 1947.  In Britain London Records became an encompassing licensing umbrella for foreign recordings from the US independent & semi-major labels like Cadence, Imperial, Liberty, ABC Paramount, Fabor & Abbott.
 
Fabor Robison had signed a long term licensing agreement with London Records in the US in 1953 for rest of the world distribution of Abbott & Fabor material.  This is the reason that the 1962 UK album "Bimbo" (HA-U8015) was released on Decca's London label & not RCA Records.  Their 10 year arrangement with Fabor Robison was still legally binding for the rest of the world, even though RCA had purchased all Jim's Abbott material in 1956.
 
Finally, back to the advertisement.  Obviously these early 78's are very rare.  We tried to discern what other early Reeves 78's had been released in South Africa.  Unfortunately we hit a brick wall.  German researcher/discographer Kurt Rokitta confirmed he had only ever seen but one other release - a Decca single FM 6283 which coupled "Tahiti" with Ginny Wright & Tom Tall's Fabor single (117) "Are you mine?"  He confirmed there was scant discographical reference for early South African releases either in print or on the internet.  He would welcome any further information on this matter. 

 

 

David Bussey
advertisement:  courtesy Frank C. Anderson
label scan:  Kurt Rokitta (Kurt can be contacted through the fan club)