Mar 3, 1954: The Mood Records Story
George Bedoian owned a Cadillac dealership in Cambridge and dabbled in the entertainment business. He formed Mood Records in March 1953, and the following year he became owner of the Cafe Society nightclub in the Hotel Fensgate. Cafe Society, at 534 Beacon Street, was a comfortable Back Bay lounge that had no relationship to Barney Josephson’s famous New York club of that name.
When Bedoian formed Mood Records, he made an astute business decision at the start, contracting with Capitol Records to handle his manufacturing and distribution. Then he learned the hard lesson that all indies learned: promotion is a killer. And the records he had to promote weren’t that strong.
Mood recorded eight sides by the Cuban singer, Miguelito Valdés, but their best-known local jazz artist was the Boston trumpeter Leon Merian. His lively “Turkish Delight” featured his trumpet backed by only a hand drum. “One can almost see the houris swaying rhythmically as Merian trumpets an exotic tune to complex rhythm backing,” said Billboard’s review. Merian also led the orchestra that backed the label’s pop singers, whose records were not big sellers. What did at least gain notoriety was a novelty tune by Bob Bachelder’s Orchestra, “TV Rhumba,” which stitched together bits of TV show themes and commercial jingles, set to a vaguely Latin beat.
I can find find no record of Mood releasing any records after February 1954, but by that time Bedoian was already set to take over the Cafe Society. And although the club hired good groups like Sammy Lowe’s and Nick Jerret’s, by the end of 1954 there is no sign of Cafe Society being in business anymore, either. As it turned out, the entertainment business wasn’t so good to Bedoian. But Leon Merian had a long career in jazz, and Bob Bachelder led the Totem Pole Orchestra for a dozen years. Even without Mood Records, nightlife in Boston moved on.
I cannot find “Turkish Delight” nor any of the Miguelito Valdés sides online, but here is a playable mp3 of “TV Rhumba,” an appropriate consolation prize.