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OKEH

Otto Heinemann Phonograph Supply Co., Inc. New York City.

The Okeh label got its name from its founder, Otto Heinemann who came to the USA to set up a branch office for the german indusstrialist Carl Lindstrom in 1916. It appears that the common word of assurance - okay - came from an American Indian tribe, which meant ‘It is so', or ‘So be it', and so be it that OH used an Indian motif as his trademark - but only on one of his labels, the first. 

The firts pressings were a modified form of hill-and-dale groove which, it is said, could be played by either a sapphire or steel needle, but that only lasted a year before the universal lateral-cut record was accepted. 

The initial catalog contained the usual popular songs of the day, standard ballards and sacred numbers, military bands and dance music. 

Note the spelling of the label naame - in capitols, which lasted till 1920, then in a flowing script emphasising the initials ‘OK'. By then the company had been renamed (in 1919), the General Phonograph Corporation. 

Early artists of note include Mamie Smith. By 1921, the Okeh ‘race' records commenced, giving the listening public over the next few years a wealth of excellent jazz - the first recordings of Louis Armstrong under his name, and the King Oliver band in 1923.   

Records in collection: 

L181 c3   OKEH RECORD Otto Heinemann Phonograph Supply Co., Inc. New York City.
4009-A  STEIN SONG (Hovey, Bullard).  Royal Dadmun. Baritone with Orchestra.
4009-B).  HUNTING SONG (Hovey, Bullard).  Dadmun and Miller. Vocal duet with Orchestra.
[With origonal Okeh sleeve. The word ‘LATERAL' in large font is shown just under the spindle hole on both sides. Probably refers to thew ‘lateral' cutting of the disc, which is the more common, as against the ‘hill and dale' method of recording. Having a very low catalog number, it places the record as 1919.]

J804 sc3   OKEH Okeh Phonograph Corporation, New York.
8462 (80-689).  TAKE YOUR BLACK BOTTOM OUTSIDE (Williams, Green).
Clarence Williams' Washboard Five. Vocal refrain by Clarence Williams.
8462 (80-688).  CUSHION FOOT STOMP (Williams). Ibid.

L190 c3+   OKEH RECORD. Otto Heineman Phonograph Supply Co. Inc., New York City/
1074-A).  OH! HOW I HATE TO GET UP IN THE MORNING (Irving Berlin). Irving Kaufman. Orchestra accompaniment. 
1074-B).  GOOD MORNING, MR ZIP, ZIP, ZIP (Robert Lloyd)
Arthur Fields. Orchestra accompaniment.  [With original Okeh sleeve.]