In a time when everything good is better with age and new again, Marty Scott, the music industry veteran has revived the legendary Jem imprint.   And what better way to return to the fray than a new album from The Bongos, who released their Drums Along The Hudson on Scott’s PVC label (through Jem).  Here’s the official press release announcing the news:

“Marty Scott, founder and former president of JEM Records, Inc. has announced his re-entry into the record business.

JEM Records, LLC will be signing artists and licensing ”retro” catalogue for release under the Jem Recordings logo.

First up on Jem Recordings is the never-before-released Bongos album, Phantom Train. Recorded in 1986, Phantom Train was remixed by Bongos front man, Richard Barone, earlier this month. The record is scheduled for release on Jem Recordings October 1 and will be backed by a unique marketing and publicity campaign. The band will be making a major announcement from the stage of Maxwell’s, July 31st, as they play the last-ever show at the venerable club.

JEM, as it was commonly referred to, was known for its innovative distribution and creative labels in the ’70s and ’80s.  Building what was its own ”brand” in retail stores with its import label (Passport, Passport Jazz, PVC) sections in stores and a national distribution division with branches in NJ, Texas, California and London, England for hundreds of independent labels, JEM was the leader for alternative and independent music for well over a decade.

JEM broke many artists through its highly effective radio and in-store airplay methods, launching the careers of many U.K. and domestic artists through its F.A.R.M. system. Working with many of the major labels, it released first albums by such artists as The Cure, Simple Minds, Siouxee and the Banshees, X, and exclusively distributed labels such as WEA International, Virgin America, and EG. The most famous of its exclusive distribution of imports was its arrangement with Epic Records to import and distribute the Japanese-only release Cheap Trick Live at Budokan, selling so many albums in the first month, Epic held up releasing the band’s next studio album to release …Budokan domestically and go on to sell millions of records.”


And, it has to be noted, PVC/Jem also released the original pressing of Big Star’s 3rd.  A lot to thank Mr. Scott for.  As so many of my albums say “another great import from Jem”.


About the Author

Rob Ross

Rob Ross has been, for good, bad or indifferent, involved in the music industry for over 30 years - first as guitarist/singer/songwriter with The Punch Line, then as freelance journalist, producer and manager to working for independent and major record labels. He resides in Staten Island, New York with his wife and cats; he works out a lot, reads voraciously, loves Big Star and his orange Gretsch. Doesn't that make him neat?

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