Re: Chris Ellis about Annette Hanshaw's Pseudonyms.

by Harold Aherne

Here's the big inconsistency with the story that Moe Snyder didn't want Annette on the 75-cent label: what about the other female vocalists on the full-priced brand at the time? Lee Morse, Kitty O'Connor, the Ponce Sisters and Vaughn De Leath were just a few whose masters were issued under the Columbia name, yet there aren't any threats associated with their careers. Some of Ethel Waters' releases were also in the main pop series (others were in the 14000-D race series). Kate Smith had an interesting trajectory: her sides were on Columbia in 1926-27 before she took a break from recording, then she returned in 1929, now on the Columbia budget labels, but in 1931 she was moved to the Columbia brand again.

For whatever it's worth, Ruth Etting must have had either a split contract or non-exclusive arrangement in 1931-32. Some of her sessions in that timeframe were for Columbia, where she had been since 1926, but others were for ARC (both before and after they absorbed the Brunswick roster). There was a time in 1932-33 when Ruth and Annette were both being released on Melotone and other inexpensive ARC brands -- and without pseudonyms. Etting appeared on the full-priced Brunswick and Columbia labels between the fall of 1933 and early 1936 (Columbia having been absorbed by ARC in 1934), again alongside other female vocalists, like Connie Boswell, but without any fuss that we know of.

It may be that Snyder felt that Hanshaw was a threat to Etting in a way that the other singers weren't, but I'd like to know where this story originated so that its veracity could be looked at further.

BTW: The two Hanshaw issues on Columbia, 1769-D and 1812-D, were published under her own name, not as "Gay Ellis". In fact, the use of pseudonyms on domestic releases of her recordings seems to have stopped by the spring of 1930 (in Ross Laird's MOANIN' LOW, the last US issue shown with a pseudonym is from her 5 May 1930 session on Harmony 1155-H, VT 2155-V, etc. Some UK releases continued to use false names).

-HA

Posted on Nov 12, 2017, 12:05 PM

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