Tell Your Story….
11. Posted 28-04-19
Please find below the history of our connection to the Ditchburn Organisation: Not long after leaving the army following service during the Second World War my late father Irving Wilson (26-09-1924 to 05-02-2017) wanted to pursue his passion for music & set up his music business. Firstly he dealt in buying & selling 78s then moved into LPs when they came along, establishing a record store in the centre of Manchester. In the 1950's he expanded into importing & distributing European labels & became the exclusive licensee for the Italian Cetra label - pressing & releasing the first recordings of the likes of Maria Callas, Giseppe di Stefano etc in direct competition with Decca & EMI. Over the years he was involved in most aspects of the music industry from making recordings & creating a label, to publishing, production, import & export, & sourcing overseas recordings for broadcast, synchronisation, background music & commercial release. From 1966 to 1980 the Disc Imports Limited offices were above my fathers record store Rare Records Limited at 36 John Dalton Street in Manchester City centre until we moved both businesses out to Wilmslow Cheshire. I'm not sure when my father first started his working relationship with Ditchburn but I suspect in was sometime in the mid 1960's. My father started to attend the annual music publishers convention MIDEM held in Cannes every January & it was here that he sourced, licensed & became publisher of many recordings over the years - I expect representatives of Ditchburn may well also have attended. Looking at the list of releases on the Domino label there are a number of names that are very familiar to me & I know my father worked with recordings of these artists: Shep's Banjo Boys, Carlos Romanos, The Copenhagen Police Band - & I strongly suspect the LP credited to the Ditchburn Studio Orchestra of TV themes is in fact non other than the Henry Salomon Orchestra. I started to spend time working occasionally for my father in the mid 1970's when still in my teens, firstly in the record shop then helping in the office. When I left collage in 1976 I joined the business full time as a sound engineer preparing sample reel tapes & cassettes of music to send out to customers & clients, copying 15ips master production tapes, editing & spicing masters with pause leaders. It was during this time that I met a gentleman from the Ditchburn Organisation whom my father had worked with for a number of years. As I recall his name was John Poole, he appeared like ex military type with a clipped mustache & always wore a dark suit. John used to call into the office in Manchester regularly to audition new recordings, collect samples & purchase tracks for Ditchburn’s background systems & for commercial release on Ditchburn’s labels - a fact which I must have forgotten. Throughout the 1970's & up to the early 1980's we made numerous orchestral recordings primarily for the US market of pop/standard covers for MUZAK & other US background companies & 'Beautiful Music' FM stations. My father always squeezed in a few 'original' titles to the recording sessions, mainly arrangements of public domain classical pieces which he could then publish. The non exclusive recordings were sold/licensed to many users/broadcasters around the world including Ditchburn in the UK. As the music industry changed in the 1980's, background music system use declined & CDs came along around 1988 & the market changed dramatically. We revived our own label again to issue new recordings & fell back into importing/exporting & distribution activities again. Although we still worked with our large archive of master tapes the business moved in different directions & a lot of the music wasn't in fashion. My father eventually retired in 1998, I sold the record store to concentrate on the publishing, production & distribution side of the business. After several office moves I had to dispose of a large quantity of master tapes unfortunately but possibly there may well be some in the Ditchburn archive! With kind regards Alan Wilson
Disc Imports Ltd. Our connection with Ditchburn by Alan Wilson