Command Records

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Command Records was a record label founded by Enoch Light in 1959 [1][2] and later associated with ABC-Paramount Records.[3]

The company focused on producing records targeted at audiophiles.[4] When ABC Records issued quadraphonic records in the 1970s, they were issued on the Command label.

Command Records often featured abstract covers, some were designed by Josef Albers, whose student Charles E. Murphy served as design director.[5][6] Several are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.[7]

Recording technique[edit]

While the recording industry had made magnetic tape the standard for recording music for release on vinyl, Command's albums were recorded magnetically onto 35mm film. Magnetic sound-on-film recording, using special film stock fully coated with iron oxide, had replaced optical sound-on-film recording in the 1950s when wide-screen and stereophonic sound became standard for Hollywood movies. Light used the width of the film strip to create multitrack recordings, as opposed to the more limited two or three tracks offered by most recording studios at the time; the slightly higher linear speed provided an advantage in analog fidelity and the sprocket-driven film avoided the "wow and flutter" problems associated with tape recording. This enabled Light to record more instruments individually and adjust their audio input levels, as well as their stereo position.[8]

Command test record[edit]

The Command test record (Stereo Check Out) was an LP album produced by Command Records in 1960. It contained recordings designed to allow users to test their stereo equipment.

Album details[edit]

Like many other Command records, the Stereo Check Out came in a gatefold cover with extensive liner notes and full technical data inside. Charles Stark narrated both sides, providing both technical details and information about the musical instruments used on the tracks on Side Two.

Side one[edit]

Side One of this LP consists of turntable tests. An oscilloscope is a useful tool when used in conjunction with these tests:

  1. Stereo Balance Check
  2. Left and Right Channel Check
  3. Volume Reference Check
  4. Frequency Run Check
  5. Output Balance Check
  6. Flutter or Wow Check
  7. Phasing Check
  8. Acoustical Check
  9. Rumble Check

Side two[edit]

Side Two of this LP consists of musical selections from the Command catalogue:

  1. Hernando's Hideaway (from Provocative Percussion Vol II)
  2. Cumana (from Provocative Piano)
  3. Tenderly (from bongos)
  4. Enjoy Yourself Cha-Cha (from Pertinent Percussion Cha-Cha's)

Other Albums[edit]

  1. Enoch Light...And His Orchestra A Discothèque Dance...Dance...Dance
  2. Enoch Light...And The Light Brigade Big Bold And Brassy
  3. Enoch Light...And The Light Brigade Vibrations
  4. Enoch Light...Big Band Bossa Nova - The New Beat From Brazil
  5. Enoch Light...Command Performances
  6. Off Beat Percussion - Don Lamond and His Orchestra
  7. Persuasive Percussion
  8. Persuasive Percussion Vol. 2
  9. Persuasive Percussion Vol. 3
  10. Provocative Percussion
  11. Provocative Percussion Vol. 2
  12. Provocation Piano Dick Hyman and His Orchestra
  13. The Man From O.R.G.A.N. - Dick Hyman
  14. Spanish Guitar - Tony Mottola and his orchestra (1962)
  15. Persuasive Trombone of Urbie Green Volume 1
  16. Persuasive Trombone of Urbie Green Volume 2

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media. 1959-08-10.
  2. ^ Grevatt, Ren (Nov 6, 1961). "Record Hunter Displays Sell". Billboard Magazine: 15. ISSN 0006-2510.
  3. ^ Edwards, David, et. al. "Command Album Discography". Album Discographies. Both Sides Now Publications. Retrieved 5 July 2010.
  4. ^ Rolontz, Bob (Nov 6, 1961). "Sound Record Sales Boom After 3 Years of Stereo". Billboard Magazine: 15. ISSN 0006-2510.
  5. ^ "Albers in Command – On Augmentation". On Augmentation. 2015-01-28. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  6. ^ Borgerson, Janet (2017). Designed for hi-fi living : the vinyl LP in midcentury America. Schroeder, Jonathan E., 1962. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. p. 92. ISBN 9780262036238. OCLC 958205262.
  7. ^ "Josef Albers, Charles E. Murphy, Command Records". Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  8. ^ Edwards, David, with Patrice Eyries, and Mike Callahan. "Command Album Discography". Both Sides Now. Retrieved 6 July 2013.