1-CD with 36-page booklet, 28 tracks. Playing time approx. 68 mns.
Al Reusch was born Vernon Elvin Reusch inYorkton, Saskatchewan. Through time, the second name became the first and Elvinbecame Alvin. There was no part of the music business that Al Reusch was notwell acquainted with. He was a disc jockey, musician, band leader, distributor,record collector, music store owner, recording studio owner, music publisher,and of course the owner of Aragon Records.
The height of Al Reusch’s popularity as a dee-jaycame in the late 1940s in Vancouver, British Columbia. His show 'Name It - PlayIt' was the hottest thing on local airwaves. Listeners were invited to call inwith their requests, and he would play them within ten minutes. He was also theone to recommend that future local radio icon Jack Cullen be given a spot behindthe microphone. He was quite proud of resurrecting Fats Waller's 1939 recordingof Honey Hush in 1945 or 1946. "I made a hit!" he said. "Americans were coming up from Seattleto buy a copy".
Al Reusch was an accomplished musician. Hisinstruments were the difficult-to-master clarinet, and alto sax (Johnny Hodgeswas his inspiration). Initially he played piano but switched instruments whilein high school. A year later he started his first band, and, as it becamepopular, Al turned professional. Although he owned both a studio and recordlabel, his modesty ensured that he only once appeared on record... and then notunder his own name but simply backing a vocalist. He never recorded his ownband. Al Reusch led a band for thirty years – from 1952 to 1982. He wrote many ofhis own arrangements. He was a distributor for World Artists, ABC Paramount andsome smaller jazz labels.
When I first met 'Mr. Aragon', I asked him ifhe'd made a million bucks like Sam Phillips of Sun Records. He just laughed andsaid "No". Unlike Sam, Aldidn't start his own publishing company 'til late in the day, and didn’tdiscover you-know-who. Al's big sellers were behind him when he started AravanPublishing in 1966. In 1949, Al recorded the original (There’s) A Bluebird On Your Windowsill by Don Murphy. It was made famous by WilfCarter aka 'Montana Slim' throughout Canada. Tex Williams recorded it for theUS C&W market (#11 on the 'Billboard' charts) and Doris Day made it a pophit (#30). Doris' success generated a phone call to Al Reusch from a New York dee-jaywho suggested that for a modest amount of moola he could really ride therecord. Since Al had no part of the publishing action, this kind offer wasrejected.
Al Reusch started the Aragon Recording studio in 1946,with two partners. In '48 when a Scottish piper wanted some of his own records,Al obliged him, and Aragon Records was born. Reusch bought out his partners in1952, and from then on he was his own boss. In 1954, he went on a fieldrecording trip. Western Canada had no recording studios, so Al went to theartists. He travelled as far as Thunder Bay, recording all the way.
Al Reusch passed away on February 14th, 2000 atthe age of 86. Like it says in his obit: "Hewas a talented, kind and gentle man who will be greatly missed by all who knewhim".