Leeds & Catlin Records: User’s Guide

Numerical Arrangement — Single-sided issues are listed in numerical order by Leeds’ four- or five-digits catalog numbers. For the foil-label period, this consists of the four-digit numbers that were assigned to the original Leeds Records foil-label issues, which served as the base numbers for most corresponding issues on other labels. Post–foil-label issues are listed by the five-digit Imperial / Sun catalog numbers, which were a continuation of the Leeds base numbers, plus 40000 (i.e., Leeds base number 4438 = Imperial 44438). Double-sided issues are listed in numerical order by three-digit Peerless catalog numbers.

Listing and Recording Dates — Listing dates are those upon which the records were first advertised to the trade, either in a sales supplement or catalog, or in The Talking Machine World and Music Trade Review advance listings. In the latter case, records were listed a month in advance of their release date to the general public (i.e., records listed in TMW in October 1907 went on sale in November). English listing dates are from 1906–1908 editions of The Phono Trader and Recorder, The Sound Wave and Talking Machine Record, and other trade publications.

No recording files have survived; thus, recording dates are unknown for all Leeds & Catlin records. Assuming the same production cycle as Victor and Columbia, recording dates on average can be reasonably estimated at approximately two months prior to listing. However, it was not uncommon for companies to hold recordings for much longer periods.

Artist and Accompanist Identification — Artists are correctly identified following the title. Deviations, including label errors, pseudonyms, and anonymous issues, are identified in parentheses following the appropriate issues. Artist identifications based solely upon aural evidence are indicated [a.e.:]. Accompaniments have been identified, as far as possible, from the original recordings; or in lieu of that, from catalog listings, which are not entirely reliable. The term “orchestra” is used very loosely; many such accompaniments consisted of less than a half-dozen musicians.

Markings in the Wax — Very early pressings show no markings in the wax. Master numbers begin to appear around late 1904, at first in faint handwritten form. By the time of Imperial’s introduction, catalog as well as master numbers generally appeared in mirror-image typeset form. The Sun / Imperial catalog numbers are seen most often in the wax; however, some pressings instead show the Concert or Eagle catalog numbers. Client-label pressings, particularly on Oxford, often show an 11- prefix before the Imperial / Sun catalog numbers (e.g., 44963 is shown as 11-44963 in the wax on Oxford 44963), which appears to be discographically insignificant.

Leeds initially assigned Roman numerals to distinguish takes (no numeral = take 1, -II = take 2, -III = take 3, etc.). This system seems to have been abandoned in early 1905, and for a brief period a new master numbers was assigned to each take. That practice was quickly discontinued, after which no indication of takes can be found in the wax. Unlike Victor and Columbia, Leeds generally assigned a new master number when the same artist remade a piano-accompanied selection with orchestra.

The “D” marking that appears on most pressings obviously is not a take indicator, nor is it related to the “D” marking seen on early Victor and Zonophone records (which indicates a Duranoid Company pressing). It has been suggested that since the company was in-and-out of the cylinder business during this time, the mark simply indicates “Disc.” It is of no apparent significance from a discographical standpoint and is not included in the listings.