Friday, March 29, 2013

The Cosimo Code

I've always been a lover of New Orleans R and B, in particular the great recordings made by Cosimo Matassa at his J and M studio in the city. I am intrigued, therefore, by a new project set up by Red Kelly, John Broven and John Ridley (aka Sir Shambling) (among others) designed to build up a master list of his recordings based on the sequential numbers that he gave to all his recordings and which appear on various labels who made use of his studio over the years.
To quote from Red Kelly's website on the project 
'In October 1960, Matassa introduced a new sequential master tape series starting at 100 with clients allocated individual prefixes. This series ran until the demise of the Cosimo Recording Studios in 1968, and was continued after a fashion with the new Jazz City Recording Studios until 1977.
By annotating the series for the first time, we are able to get a better all-round picture of the recording sessions carried out at the Cosimo studios by artists, labels and producers as New Orleans R&B morphed into Soul; Blues, Gospel, Doo-Wop, Pop and Garage Rock were also recorded. Ergo, the Cosimo Code is gradually being unravelled.
In quoting dates for the Billboard and Cash Box trade magazine reviews, we are able to assemble reliable dating-guide markers which are particularly valuable with the smaller independent labels. Nevertheless, there are still many gaps in the listing, caused principally by certain labels such as Imperial and Minit having their own master sequences. In the absence of the original log book (if only!), we will attempt to denote these 'non-Code' recordings on separate pages.
For all the great research work accomplished, it's rather incredible there is still much more to be done! Please join the team by examining the 45s in your collections, discographies, the Internet (YouTube and eBay in particular), and participating in our Forum as we continue to fill in the gaps in what will hopefully be a prolonged work in progress.'
I've started going through my US singles to see if I have any with the Cosimo Code which have not previously been listed. Amazingly I have already found one, on the Instant label,which has the highest code number yet discovered, so I am encouraged to keep searching. Here is the 45 in question. I don't know anything about the band (it's a funky/soul number) but the producer and writer Emanuel Morris also produced records for Lee Bates and Steve Dixon on Instant a year or two earlier.


At 3:22 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great work there Nick; did Cosimo document pre-'60 in any form?

At 6:35 pm , Blogger Nick said...

Apparently not, and a lot of his recordings for Minit and Imperial, for example, don't have a number. I did find an LP though that has a number that fits the sequence - Tell It Like It Is on Parlo by Aaron Neville.

At 8:26 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent. It's anal work like this that makes us the collectors we are. Incidentally I bought specialist record storage boxes for my 45's and repro 45 sleeves for anything that didn't have an original. Has cost a small fortune but has kept me busy on many a night recently. You will be pleased though as all 45's are in label and chronological order.
See you Friday mate

At 11:40 pm , Blogger john marriott said...

I had seen this advertised but had not yet gone into it. Just looked at my last few few Instants{ which I keep in number order) there's 2 that aren't on so far. I've got the Tony Love and another Lee Bates. On our findings there must be loads that aren't on the list yet

At 7:14 am , Blogger john marriott said...

question for John re his post - what are the specialist record storage boxes he mentions for labels. I've stored my 45s in 200 count boxes from the US for the last 20 years or more as I got to have too many 45's to store on horizontal shelves so started storing boxes on wider shelves and at right angles to the wall if you see what I mean. But I've always stored in label and number order since I was a kid collector. But are these boxes you mention for particular labels or am I reading too much into it

At 8:10 am , Blogger Nick said...

It seems that there are a lot of new additions coming in so hopefully a lot of the missing numbers will soon be identified. I will get more details from John S about his storage boxes when I see him if he doesn't do so himself as a comment.


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