Those who have lived in South Jersey since childhood will remember the Camden skyline, the “RCA Victor” building and that iconic photo of the little dog and the ‘talking machine’ high on its side. Victor Talking Machine Co. revives and returns to Camden County in the town of Berlin, NJ. Graham Alexander, a Camden born musician, and CEO of Radio Corporation of America, Inc. recently announced the revival of Victor Talking Machine Co. A recording facility, Victor Records Studio A in Haddonfield, N.J. and in Berlin, N.J., an official label headquarters, archive, historic vault, and intimate performing arts center known collectively as “The Vault”. The firms’ headquarters, The Vault, hosted a two-night gala November 7th, and 13th, 2015.
PB Entertainment invited some friends to see what “The Vault” was all about at a
recent concert event “Lennon Live- A Musical Tribute” featuring songs written by John Lennon to celebrate what would have been Lennon’s 75th birthday. Lead singer Graham Alexander has a long history with music founding his first band in middle school and has been writing music and performing ever since. Alexander is best known for his solo music career and for his roles in the Broadway shows Rain which won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding revue in 2011. In spring 2013, Graham and his band embarked on a tour including stops at the Abbey Road On The River Festival, the Black Potato Music Festival, Quick Chek Festival of Ballooning, and Musikfest.
Graham and his excellent 4 piece band did not disappoint presenting several Lennon- penned favorites such as “Come Together”, “Day Tripper”, “Hide Your Love Away”, Across the Universe”, “Now Where Man”, “Ticket To Ride”, “Don’t Let Me Down”. Graham sang in his own style of Lennon that was unique and rightfully honored the composer. The cabaret-style intimate space offers excellent sound and lighting. They also serve up a light dinner prior to live events in a BYOB relaxed atmosphere. The Band had Beatles loving friends, singing, swaying and on their feet slow dancing to “Starting Over” and whooping it up the lively “Twist and Shout”. The 90 minuet non-stop set finished with “Give Peace A Chance” and an encore of “Imagine”.
Another fun time was had by all at The Vault at a concert celebrating John Lennon. On November 28 The Vault presents “The Art of McCartney”, giving an equal share to two of ‘the’ most talented singers/songwriters ever.
The venue itself is a bright small gem of a museum, an official label headquarters,
archive, historic vault, and intimate performing arts center known collectively as “The Vault”. The revival of Victor with its associated brands, “His Master’s Voice,” Little Nipper, and Victrola comes as a stark contrast to the decline of the physical recording industry since the establishment of digital distribution platforms like iTunes, Napster, and Spotify throughout the 2000s. Victor Records signed and recorded legendary artists including Rachmaninov, Bing Crosby, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Lead Belly, and Woody Guthrie all within its original headquarters in the City of Camden. This unique blend of genres established an incredibly diverse list of artists which would go on to influence countless songwriters and performers including modern Victor Talking Machine Co.’s president, Graham Alexander, who revived the company (along with the His Master’s Voice, Victrola, and Little Nipper imprints) returning their headquarters to the Camden area after a 30 year absence. The company today produces new artists, music, and turntables, while preserving a back catalog of masters from the company’s storied past. Victor Talking Machine Co. The Vault is located at 150 S. White Horse Pike in Berlin, N.J.
Photos and video: Christina Sees