A short-lived label owned by German immigrant Egmont Sonderling who in the mid-1940’s owned a recording studio and pressing plant in Chicago after a brief career in radio. After the Vitacoustic label folded owing him money for records he pressed for them, he refused to turn over the masters of theirs he still had in his possession knowing that he’d receive nothing from the bankrupt company that way. Instead he kept them as remuneration and decided to issue them himself, starting a label named in honor of the prominent local disc jockey Al Benson, whose involvement with the label was minimal outside of that promotional tie-in.

Old Swing Master then issued the Vitacoustic sides and while nothing sold much Sonderling felt the game plan he’d stumbled upon – picking up unreleased sides from companies going out of business – was worth the minimal risk and so Old Swing Master became a scavenger label, grabbing whatever was being cast aside by failed operations and hoping for a few sales with little financial investment.

It didn’t work, even when they managed to acquire some of the final sides recorded on Miracle Records by former hit-makers Sonny Thompson and Memphis Slim just as that company was about to fold owing Sonderling money. The most notable historical sides issued on the label belonged to blues legend T-Bone Walker, leftover cuts from 1945 he’d managed to get his hands on. But naturally with no consistent musical vision, nor any real association with the artists themselves to build a connection in the public’s mind, the company was bound to fail.

When Sonderling sold his pressing plant in 1950 he no longer had the means with which to get his own sides out unless he paid someone else and so quietly Old Swing Master closed up after a little over a year in business. Sonderling though wasn’t through with music, using his money to buy countless radio stations over the years – almost all with black oriented programming – and countless movie theaters and died a rich man in 1997.

OLD SWING MASTER RECORDS DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):

KITTY STEVENSON: Blues By Myself (6) (Old Swing-Master 10; March, 1949)
SONNY THOMPSON: The Fish (4) (Old Swing-Master 1011; December, 1949)