Benson Bootlegs

Kyle is on the case.

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  1. pastormiked wrote:

    Just check out Ebay…Gold City’s “Movin Up/Portrait”, Live/Double Take”, “Cathedrals Collection Volume III”, Kingsmen’s “Stand Up at Opryland/Miss Live”… you’ll find new sealed copies of these long out of print Benson/Riversong recordings. I emailed one party who was selling these and was told “someone from Benson had given permission to make these available”, but I called Gold City’s office and talked to Daniel Riley at a concert and he said they were all boot-legs (the new sealed ones). I too have seen these at a local Christian bookstore in Alabama. I assume they are coming from a particular dealer.

  2. Grave Digger wrote:

    I bought a few of these projects with the hopes of selling them on Ebay. I ditched that idea when I discovered there was a question about their authenticity.

  3. Radioguy wrote:

    I’ve often wondered about Armond Morales and the Imperials catalogue available on C-D. Those are not from the master tapes as I understand, yet I’m told they are exceptionally well done. But what about the copyright issue…would they be considered bootlegs. I believe the late Dottie Rambo was doing the same with vintage Rambos recordings. I assume in Armonds case Word and Benson both in this case (or Provident I guess I should say) know about it. Perhaps the Imperials retained part ownership of their original recordings. I believe a number of years ago Buck Owens bought up all of his Capital masters.

  4. cdguy wrote:

    Radioguy — It’s not unusual for labels to sell or lease their older masters back to the artist or to some other label to exploit.

    I’ve bought a couple of the Imperials cds, and they appear to have been re-mastered. I’ve talked with people who’ve bought the Rambo cd’s and they’ve indicated they sound clean, too.

    I would venture to say that both of these artists are visible enough, they probably are doing it legally, and paying royalties as regularly as anyone else (which doesn’t mean much, other than, if they haven’t already paid, they would probably say they intend to paying).

  5. Grave Digger wrote:

    I know a dealer that sells the Rambo CDs. He is quite reputable and very careful to deal only in legitimate recordings. I’d say that the Rambos recordings are legit, or he wouldn’t stock them and sell them in his Ebay store.

    I’ve heard several the Imperials recordings, and they sound wonderful.

  6. Tom wrote:

    I started noticing these almost three years ago. As a collector, it really ticked me off to get duped when I bought something and then found out it was a bootleg. Although there seem to be a bunch of Benson items, it’s not limited to Benson. There are also quite a few old Canaan Records (Word) and Homeland Records bootlegs, as well as a handful of others (such as Arrival Records, the Xian imprint of K-Tel)–all bootlegged by the same people. Apparently they are producing copies of anything that’s old and out-of-print that they think they can sell.

    There is a small Christian bookshop in my town that has a VAST array of these bootlegs. I’ve spoken to the owner, an honest man, who told me about his source. I have confirmed this information from a couple of other eBay sellers as well.

    I have been told that all these items are coming out of Seraphim Music Group, based in Sevierville, TN. Seraphim is the record label that the Nelons have released a couple projects with in the last couple years, as well as a handful of other artists, including, for example, David Hill.

    They’re also the ones who made the Dottie Rambo CDs that several have mentioned. When I saw the Dottie Rambo CDs among the other bootlegs at my local store, I could tell that they were in the same vein as the other bootlegs. I knew that Dottie Rambo had been selling this series on her website for a couple of years already (although I had never bought any of them), and I was afraid that her CDs were now being bootlegged. (Up to that point, all the bootlegs I had seen were for items that had been out-of-print for several years–but I was sure that the Rambo series was still available.) So I actually emailed her webstore through the website, and Larry Ferguson replied to me the same day, stating that these were indeed legitimate, and that Seraphim Music Group was the company that they were using for this series–and that the CDs Dottie was selling through her website were the same as the CDs available at my local store. (Seraphim also has an 8-CD series of old Dixie Melody Boys stuff and a 5-CD series of Naomi And The Segos that is similar to the Dottie Rambo series.)

    So it seems that Seraphim has several tiers of quality. The Nelons and David Hill CDs I have from that label are top-notch, factory-pressed silver CDs with professional inserts, just as one would expect from any major record label. Then you have the Dottie Rambo CD series, which is CD-R and a little lower quality inserts and printing. Then you have the bootlegs everyone has been talking about, which have very poor quality scans and printed inserts that look like crap.

    One of the persons who confirmed some of this information for me over a year ago is another sg blogger and an eBay seller, and he told me that he had spoken with someone at Seraphim, who had told him that they did have permission to do this.

    I have some deep doubts about whether or not that is true. It would seem unlikely that a record label would give them permission to do this to begin with; the fact that there are multiple record labels being bootlegged makes me ever more suspicious.

    The Imperials CD-Rs are NOT in the same situation. Armond Morales had these manufactured himself, and paid a professional studio to transfer them from vinyl to digital. I have several of them, and they’re fairly well done, as far as vinyl to digital transfers go. I can’t say whether or not Armond has rights to the music or perhaps paid for the rights to make these CDs. (Again, multiple record labels are involved down through the years–Skylite, HeartWarming, Impact, Dayspring, Myrrh, and Star Song.) One would think that if he actually owned the rights, he could have probably accessed the original master tapes and produced much better quality CDs than going the vinyl transfer route. You can get them directly from Armond at his website.

  7. Bryce wrote:

    The Nelons have not been associated with nor held ownership in Seraphim for several years. The individual who retained ownership of the company issued low quality — unauthorized — bootlegs of some projects by the aforementioned artists, and those made their way to retailers. I was not aware of the connection with the other faux merchandise, but would regard anything associated with Seraphim as suspicious.

  8. cdguy wrote:

    I should also state that years ago, many of the artists owned their own masters, and signed the rights to the label(s) for duplication and distribution, on a royalty basis. It could be that artists like the Imperials and Rambos had agreements like that, and therefore were able to negotiate self-distribution quite easlily, after so many years. Or that ownership and duplication/distribution rights had already reverted to the artist.

  9. Eric Melton wrote:

    Ad for the Benson copies of many old recordings as most of you may know Homeland Entertainment owns the names Riversong and Heartwarming as well. These names were sold back to us, however we do not have hardly any of the old masters.

    I have checked into this and from what I understand most of those which were kept in a vault at the old Benson Company. After Benson sold to Provident most of those masters were destroyed. At least that is what I have been told by more than one source there and originals are no longer available. I have also seen some of the old Homeland recordings online which were not originals. Some of these we still own the rights to. We get requests every day for old Homeland and the old Riversong and Heartwarming most of which we no longer carry.

    Most of the old Benson recordings stayed the property of Benson. It was since that Provident really did not see that there would continue to a marketable priority.

  10. pastormiked wrote:

    So we have a source, then.

  11. Brett wrote:

    That was rather careless to destroy the masters.What idiot thought of that one? Especially when a website could have been generated and songs could have been downloaded with no expense assoicated with cd duplication. Nice job people at Benson, Heartwarming etc..

  12. pastormiked wrote:

    Not too smart on Provident’s part to destroy the masters since there is a market for older material. I know Provident released an “Encore” series…Cathedrals “Symphony of Praise”, GV’s “Just Like Heaven”, GC’s “Voices of Christmas” and a few of the Gaither Trio recordings. Was hoping they would release more in the series, but hasn’t happened yet. Labels need to follow the lead of Crossroads music and offer digital downloads of classic albums.

  13. Larry S wrote:

    Re: #9 - WHAT???? That’s CRAZY! If that IS true, and I have no reason or evidence to support otherwise, my thought is this: why would you ever destroy MASTERS of recordings - if for no other reason, to preserve a historical “record” (if you will) of that era and genre, nevermind the legendary groups of that time? That is truly sad if that’s the case…

  14. natesings wrote:

    “After Benson sold to Provident most of those masters were destroyed.”
    Now there’s a dumpster I wouldn’t have minded diving in.

  15. mp3guy wrote:

    I’m sure that was long before anyone had ever heard of a digital download or MP3

  16. Radioguy wrote:

    If it is true, it goes to show what Boneheads most beancounters are. I wish Live Naturally by the Kingsmen, Live at the University of Alabama by the Kingsmen, Speers albums were available on C-D. I mean real C-D, not C-D-R.

  17. quartet-man wrote:

    If that happened, it truly is insane and a shame. With stuff from the Oaks, Cathedrals, Gold City, Stamps. Singing Americans, Kingsmen etc. Some years ago Charlie Burke told me that he tried to buy some of the masters of the Singing Americans and was quoted a huge price. He told me the amount, I think, but I can’t remember and I had no idea what the going rate would be, but he said it was way too much. Now, I can’t say if he just thought it was too much, or if it was.

    There are some Oak Ridge Boys compilations with stuff from back then. The Cathedrals were already mentioned. In fact, New Haven just did one with some HeartWarming stuff of the Oaks. If someone has connections there, I would love to hear his source. In fact, I just remembered, maybe Garland can find out. He knows one of them. I had tried to email the company asking about the compilation and at least one of the two people got it (I got a received receipt), but no one ever replied.

    The Stamps re-released their Live From Murray State Kentucky lp on CD some years back.

    Benson did some of the Singing Americans stuff on a 20 favorites. I would love to know whether they are gone or not.

  18. quartet-man wrote:

    I have done a little asking around, and it appears that at least some of the stuff on the Oaks one were not from the master tapes. It is my belief that they got the stuff they could from previously released CD compilations, but that doesn’t explain The Flowers Kissed The Shoes (Jesus Wore) which had never made it on CD before. It was on a cassette compilation in the eighties or so.

  19. pastormiked wrote:

    Isn’t New Haven Records associated with Paul Heil (the Gospel Greats)? Likely the song came from the record album and was remastered with editing software. They could have done the same thing with the cassette too.

  20. Bones wrote:

    There are Skylite masters in storage in Nashville. That is, what didn’t burn a few years ago.

  21. quartet-man wrote:

    #20, I had heard about some being burnt years ago, but wasn’t sure if any survived. There are tons of Oaks compilations of Skylite stuff, but it usually comes from about the same albums. I don’t know if this is by design, or if that is all they have to work with. I also don’t know if they even use the masters on a lot of them.

  22. Bones wrote:

    Skylite had a warehouse fire.

  23. Tommy tyros wrote:

    I know this isn’t a reprint of a benson master but I did run by a record I had never seen this week on ebay. Can anyone tell me if this is truly Mark Lowrys 1st solo project?

    and if it is How old is he really? The ad says 10. Is this true?!? was he really in gospel music at that young of an age?

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