P.R.I. (Precision Radiation Instruments) Album Discography
By Mike Callahan, David Edwards, and Patrice Eyries
Last update: November 13, 2003

Precision Radiation Instruments was an umbrella company for several record labels, for example Tops and Golden Tone. The P.R.I. label itself seemed to be a vehicle for Dave Pell, who worked as a producer for Tops and related labels. The P.R.I. label was black with silver print, with a hexagonal stripe around the edge of the label, and the PRI logo at top (two more hexagons, the left with "P.R.I" and the right boasting compatible mono/stereo records). Most of the regular issues seemed to be pressed on colored vinyl, primarily yellow and brown marbled vinyl.

Compatible mono/stereo was not a fact of life in the early 1960s. The truth was that old fashioned mono players had rigid audio cartridges that did not allow the vertical flexibility of the stylus required for stereo play, and because of this rigidity, would eventually damage the records. By 1967, record companies decided that most record players then in use (even mono players) had been designed with flexible cartridges, so they stopped making mono records in favor of stereo records "also playable on most modern mono turntables." Since the problem of mono/stereo incompatibility was in the "hardware" (cartridges) and not the "software" (vinyl records themselves), no amount of hype could actually make the stereo records "compatible" with the old-style mono players. The only thing that would actually be compatible was to call a mono record (pressed with only need for lateral movement) stereo, which of course, most record companies wouldn't do. Ultimately, P.R.I. based their "compatibility" claim on the same thing that the record industry eventually did: it was compatible if your mono player was purchased relatively recently.

We would appreciate any additions or corrections to this discography. Just send them to us via e-mail. Both Sides Now Publications is an information web page. We are not a catalog, nor can we provide the records listed below. We have no association with PRI Records or Precision Radiation Instruments. We know nothing about the geiger counters or other instruments P.R.I. sold in the 1950s. Should you be interested in acquiring albums listed in the accompanying discography (all of which are out of print), we suggest you see our Frequently Asked Questions page and follow the instructions found there. This story and discography are copyright 2002, 2003 by Mike Callahan.



Number - Title - Artist - [Release Date] Contents


PRI-3002 - Dave Pell Plays Harry James' Big Band Sounds - Dave Pell's Big Band

PRI-3003 - Dave Pell Plays Artie Shaw's Big Band Sounds, Volume 2 - Dave Pell's Big Band [1959?] Issued on yellow & brown marbled vinyl.

PRI-3004 - Dave Pell Plays Benny Goodman's Big Band Sounds - Dave Pell's Big Band [1959?] Issued on yellow and brown marbled vinyl.

PRI-3005 - Dave Pell Plays Lawrence Welk's Big Band Sounds - Dave Pell's Big Band

PRI-3006 - Dave Pell Plays Perez Prado's Big Band Sounds - Dave Pell's Big Band [1960?] Issued on yellow vinyl.

PRI-3007 - Dave Pell Plays Duke Ellington's Big Band Sounds - Dave Pell's Big Band

PRI-3008 - Jerry Gray Plays Glenn Miller's Big Band Sounds - Jerry Gray's Orchestra

PRI-3009 - Dave Pell Plays Mantovani's Big Band Sounds - Dave Pell's Big Band

PRI-3010 - Dave Pell Plays the Dorsey Brothers' Big Band Sounds - Dave Pell's Big Band

PRI-3011 - Dave Pell Plays Big Band Sounds - Dave Pell's Big Band

PRI-3022 - Percussion Front Row Center - Various Artists [1960?] Issued on yellow vinyl.

PRI-3027 - It Happened in Acapulco - Carlos Martinez Latinaires [1960?] Issued on yellow vinyl. La Virgen De La Macarena/A Woman In Love/Congo Congo/Cuban Mambo/Choppy Merengue//The Conga's Calling/A Turma Chorou/Maria Dolores/Can Congo/A Gozar El Merecumbre

Special Issues:

SPL-1 - 8 Full Big Band Tunes on 33-1/3 RPM - Dave Pell's Big Band [1960?] Special sampler 7" 33, pressed on black vinyl. Ciribiribin/Frenesi/I'm Getin' Sentimental Over You/Why Don't You Do Right//Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White/I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart/Molly Malone/Little Brown Jug

MWS 98 - Johnny Desmond and Others - Various Artists [196?] Montgomery Wards promo issued on red vinyl.

Thanks to Pete Seely.

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