Sunday, May 19, 2019

Fakes in a Row: Why Do Fools Fall in Love, Hound Dog, more!

Collect cheap knock-offs long enough, and, before you know it, you have at least five versions of Why Do Fools Fall in Love and at least six Hound Dogs.  You're not fully aware of it until the multiple fakes have piled up--the process seems to be happening on its own.  And what's the proper term for multiple fakes?  Covers of covers?  Dupes of dupes?  "Different fakes" almost has no meaning.   But that's what we're talking about here.  Or what I'm talking about, anyway.

It's cool in a weird way, and weird in a cool way to hear multiple Why Do Fools..., Jailhouse Rocks, and See You Later...s in a row, as I have them lined up here.  I think so, at least.  Distinguishing one fake from another is pretty easy most of the time.  A big exception is the Broadway/Value Hit Parade/Royale version of Why Do Fools..., which sounds a lot like the Hollywood Records version--until you realize the vocalists are different, despite the very similar (and, possibly, identical) arrangement.

These rows of fakes are a surprise to me, as they blast out of the water a theory I've been toting around and preaching--namely, that after about 1955, and with the exception of the Bell and Waldorf labels (both of which did their own, label-specific versions), the cheapos were relying on two outfits for their masters, which would neatly account for the label group-hopping that sometimes occurred (Tops/Prom, Broadway/Royale, etc.).  This is how it seemed to me.  But history refuses to happen in a neat, ordered fashion.  Oh, well.  Theories come and go.  If you're lucky, they hold up.  If you're not, then it's a teachable moment, or whatever the phrase is.

Is it easy to get mixed up when preparing a post like this?  Try not getting mixed up, especially when you're ripping and declicking things from one program to another.  And especially when, in addition to sometimes five or six different "fakes" of a single song, you have multiple editions of a given fake.  People have ended up in a straitjacket over less.  But not me.  I'm sane!!  Ha, ha, ha!  I'm sane!  They won't come take ME away!  Hee, heee!

I hear the sirens.  Better hurry up and download.  If you think you're hearing double, triple, or quadruple, don't worry.  With this playlist, you are.

DOWNLOAD:  Fakes in a Row

Why Do Fools Fall in Love--The New Notes, Orch. cond. Jack Hansen (8 Top Hits, Remington R-711; 10" LP)
Why Do Fools Fall in Love--Unknown (18 Big Rock 'n Roll Hits--Hollywood LPH-31; LP)
Why Do Fools Fall in Love--Ceci Julian w. Vic Corwin O. (Value Hit Parade Tunes 232; 78 rpm EP)
Why Do Fools Fall in Love--The Teeners, Featuring Laura Leslie (Prom 710; 45 rpm EP)
Why Do Fools Fall in Love--Benn Zeppa w. the Four Jacks, Lew Raymond O. (Tops 45-R278-49; 45 rpm EP)
That'll Be the Day--Steven Marks w. Vic Corwin and His Orch. (Twelve Hit Parade Tunes--Value 147; LP)
That'll Be the Day--The Grasshoppers w. the Promenade Orch. and Chorus (Promenade Hit 16; 45 rpm EP)
That'll Be the Day--Jerry Case and the Toppers, Lew Raymond Orch. (Tops 45-R410-49; 45 rpm EP)
Jailhouse Rock--Steven Mark, Vic Corwin Orch. (Twelve Hits Parade Tunes--Value 147; LP)
Jail House Rock--Eli Whitney w. the Promenade Orch. and Chorus (Promenade RR 22; 45 rpm EP)
Jailhouse Rock--Earl Robbins w. Dave Remington's Orch. (Gateway Top Tune 1226; 45 rpm EP--1957)
Hound Dog--Unknown (18 Big Rock 'n Roll Hits--Hollywood LPH-31; LP)
Hound Dog--Don Kay, Promenade Orch. and Chorus (Promenade RR 1; 45 rpm EP)
Hound Dog--Terry Wall (Hep--Montclair Records 297; 78 rpm EP)
Hound Dog--Unknown (Tops in Pops--Royal 788; 78 rpm EP)
Hound Dog--Artie Malvin (Four Top Hits--Waldorf Music Hall 4558; 45 rpm EP)
Hound Dog--"Scatman" Crothers (Tops 45-R290-49; 45 rpm EP)
Blue Suede Shoes--Unknown (18 Big Rock 'n Roll Hits--Hollywood LPH-31; LP)
Blue Suede Shoes--Unknown (Country and Western Hits--Ultraphonic 1664; LP)
Blue Suede Shoes--Loren Becker w. the Light Brigade (Four Top Hits; Waldorf Music Hall 4547; 45 rpm EP)
Blue Suede Shoes--Hank Smith (George Jones), The Nashville Playboys (Gilmar RX124; 45 rpm EP)
See You Later, Alligator--Unknown (18 Big Rock 'n Roll Hits--Hollywood LPH-31; LP)
See You Later, Alligator--Danny Daniels, Lew Raymond and Orch. with the Toppers (Tops 45-R275-49)
See You Later, Alligator--Jack Daniels w. Herbie Layne's Orch. and Chorus (Gateway Top Tune 1156; 45 rpmEP--1955)
See You Later, Alligator--Unknown (Value Hit Parade Tunes 120; 78 rpm EP)


Sunday, May 12, 2019

Sunday morning gospel: The Statesmen Quartet w. Hovie Lister--Songs of Faith (RCA Camden CAL-843)

This is a last-minute substitution. I had the Statesmen's Peace, O Lord all ripped and scanned and ready to go--then I discovered that Sony Music Entertainment has it available as a digital download (with two bonus tracks).  Always check to see if your budget RCA Camden LP is available in digital form from Sony.  Just simple common sense.

Luckily, I found this one--Songs of Faith--last week, so here it is.  I didn't have a chance to give each track the good listen it deserves--I was in a rush and listening for clicks, pops, and other issues--but I can tell you that 1) the singing is of the usual superb quality, and 2) most tracks are slow in tempo, save for one medium tempo number and a delightful uptempo song from 1956 called I'm Gonna Walk with My Friend Jesus.  There are two moments of treble-range distortion on one of the tracks (don't ask me which--I don't remember) that don't appear to be related to surface issues, so either a microphone was acting up during the session, or something happened with the mastering.  It wasn't me!  I corrected the brief sections the best I could with EQ'ing.  You may not even notice them.  If not, forget I mentioned them.  (Distorted moments?  What distorted moments?)

Forget I mentioned it.  (Mentioned what?)  Exactly.

He Set Me Free, which appears on side 2, is a typo--it's actually He Sets Me Free, originally released as a single in 1959. I was relieved to discover this, since of course there's a hugely famous Albert E. Brumley song called He Set Me Free, and I couldn't picture another, later song using that title.  But you never know.

The first four tracks were recorded by the group especially for this 1964 LP--the rest date from 1956 to 1960.  Great stuff.


DOWNLOAD: Songs of Faith--The Statesmen Quartet w. Hovie Lister

How Great Thou Art (Recorded for this LP)
Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone (Same)
Beyond the Gates (Same)
If I Can Help Somebody (Same)
I'm Gonna Walk with My Friend Jesus (1956)
'Til the Last Leaf Shall Fall (1957)
There's Room at the Cross (Stamphill; 1959)
How Long Has It Been? (Lister; 1956)
He Set (sic) Me Free (He Sets Me Free; 1959)
To Me It's So Wonderful (1960)

Songs of Faith--The Statesmen Quartet w. Hovie Lister (RCA Camden CAL-843; 1964)


Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Less Common Burt, Part 5--Marty Robbins, Harold Smith Majestic Choir, Petula Clark, Al Hirt

Burt is back!  Twenty-two less common Burt selections today, starting with My Little Red Book, as recorded by Burt himself for the Kapp label, with Tony Middleton singing.  The song, you may know, was a punk/garage hit in 1966 for the Los Angeles band Love, which kept the killer rhythms but greatly simplified the song structure, using the I-to-#I-then-back-to-I routine that makes things sound exotic.  Misirlou-ish, if you will.  I think I read that Burt was not amused, but don't quote me.  Anyway, Burt's version, not surprisingly, presents the song as written.  Singer Middleton, who's black, sounds like Tom Jones, who made a living sounding black.  It's a weird world we live in.  Meanwhile, Shani Wallis' overdone The Look of Love is a favorite of mine, maybe because Shani is so good, which she certainly is.  And maybe because I admire anyone who can manage to be heard over a background that loud.  Shani is still with us, at 86.

The Swedish group Gals and Pals give us a fascinating version of Close, which we already heard in its original version by Keely Smith.  This one is over the top in a cool sort of way.  Alfie is a surprise--a quality version, credited to no one, from the trash label Premier.  This Empty Place, not my favorite Burt-Hal, is handled well by the Fortunes, though I like the Ian and the Zodiacs version better, in part because of its faster tempo, which seems more correct for this tune. But this one is fine enough.  And if you can imagine a version of Promises, Promises by Al Hirt, imagine no longer--it's here.  Al's performance is a bit too academic, if that makes any sense--it lacks the required looseness.  But it's Al Hirt playing Burt, so I had to include it.  A Salute to Bacharach is a medley by the The Kids from Wisconsin, who you can find out about on line--they're still performing.  But I'll let you do the searching--at the moment, I'm not in the mood for one "We see you're using an ad-blocker" message after another.  Then a gorgeous version of Ten Times Forever More by Eddy Arnold, and two UK fake-hit versions of Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa, one by Rikki Henderson on Embassy, the budget label of the UK Woolworths, which folks called "Woolies" when I was stationed in Scotland.  The other is by an uncredited singer on the Top Six label.  Sure enough, there are six tracks on the single.

The fake-hit Tower of Strength on Gilmar is also uncredited, and since, in my experience, Gilmar released Tops and Broadway tracks, Ill guess Tops.  It's almost scary in its excellence, and I could probably swap it for the original without anyone noticing.  Maybe it arrived here from an alternate universe.  And a black gospel version of What the World Needs Now, a Burt song that enjoyed a fair number of gospel treatments, and Sittin' in a Tree House, a silly 1958 number for Marty Robbins which uses sped-up voices on the "little tree house" part.  It has the usual Ray Conniff-production whistling, which I believe (not sure) was usually done by Ray himself.  And we get a fake, uncredited version of Only Love Can Break a Heart from the LP, This Month's Top 16 Hits, courtesy of Canada's Allied Record Corp.  My Windows 10 player tells me F.T. Smith composed the number, which is news to me and Burt.  I wish the player would simply display the data I entered.

Petula Clark's terrific True Love Never Runs Smooth makes it a shame she didn't do more Burt-Hal during her heyday, which she didn't, far as I can tell.  It's not fair.  And, to likely no one's surprise, Gene Pitney's Little Betty Falling Star is superior to George Hamilton's single.  Say Goodbye is a nice number, and Pat Boone does well with it.  Tom Jones, Julie Rodgers (in fake stereo), the Johnny Mann Singers and Sonny James complete the fun.

DOWNLOAD:  Less Common Burt, Part 5

All songs by Bacharach-David unless otherwise indicated:

My Little Red Book--Burt Bacharach; 1966
Close (Bacharach-Sydney Shaw)--The Gals and Pals; 1966
Ten Times Forever More--Eddy Arnold, Prod. Chet Atkins; 1970
Tower of Strength (Bacharach-Bob Hilliard)--Gilmar D-G-259
To Wait for Love--Tom Jones, Dir. Les Reed; 1965
True Love Never Runs Smooth--Petula Clark; 1965
Sittin' in a Tree House--Marty Robbins w. Ray Connif and His Orch.; 1958
This Empty Place--The Fortunes; 1965
What the World Needs Now--Harold Smith Majestic Choir; 1968
The Look of Love--Shani Wallis, Arr, and Cond. by David Whitaker, 1967
The Love of a Boy--Julie Rogers; 1964
Dream Big (Bacharach-Paul Hampton)--Sonny James; 1959
Only Love Can Break a Heart--No Artist Credited (This Month's 16 Top Hits, Allied Record Corp. TM-2, Canada)
Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa--Rikki Henderson, Acc. Dir. by Bobby Cameron (Embassy 45-WB 608; 1963)
Alfie--No Artist Credited (Great Movie Themes, Premier PS-9011)
The Look of Love--The Johnny Mann Singers; 1968
Say Goodbye--Pat Boone; 1965
Promises, Promises--Al Hirt; 1968
Little Betty Falling Star (Bacharach-Hilliard)--Gene Pitney; 1962
They Long to Be Close to You--Eddy Arnold, Arr. Terry Waddell; 1971
Twenty-Four Hours from Tulsa--Top Six 1; 1964
A Salute to Bacharach--The Kids from Wisconsin; 1969


Sunday, May 05, 2019

The Statesmen with Hovie Lister--Message in the Sky (RCA Camden CAL-743; 1963)

 For our Sunday, a cool 1963 LP of Statesmen tracks covering the period 1955-1960.  The final track, 1955's Headin' Home, may be a slight shock to anyone who hasn't heard it before, like me.  Imagine a bluesy jazz trumpet backing the Statesmen.  Not something I ever expected to encounter!  It's like the Statesmen making an appearance on a '50s crime series or something.  Truly weird, but hey--more power to them for experimenting.

For maybe ten years, I've owned this vinyl without a cover.  Then I found the cover just a week or so ago while thrifting.  Turned out to contain a different RCA Camden LP, but I l already had the vinyl, so now I have the whole thing.  What can I say?  The usual terrific Statesmen harmonies, and a nice song selection.  I figured out the years through various sources, including Billboard for both 1955 selections,  my 78 rpm dating guide, 45cat, eBay, and the online online (78 rpm) discographical project.  Luckily, during the period these sides were made, RCA used the same label numbers for its 78s and 45s.

Too tired and rushed to say more, except to note that there was a small, hardened wad of something on the Side 1 label, which I used Goo Gone to remove.  After five or six hours, the Goo Gone is still not gone, so I wasn't able to scan the labels and add them to the zip file.  I don't know why Goo Gone takes so absurdly long to go.  But then the product only promises to get rid of goo, not to make a fast exit  By the morning, there should be no sign it was there.  I hope.

To the gospel:

DOWNLOAD: Message in the Sky--The Statesmen w. Hovie Lister

Message in the Sky (1960)
A Man Called Peter (1955)
Practice What You Preach (1956)
I've Found a New Friend (1957)
Mansions Can't Be Bought (1957)
God Is My Partner (1957)
Every Hour and Every Day (1957)
Oh What a Friend He Is To Me (1957)
Everybody's Gonna Have a Terrible Time Down There (1958)
I Found the Answer (1960)
I Follow Jesus (1960)
Headin' Home (1955)

Message in the Sky--The Statesmen with Hovie Lister (RCA Camden CAL-743)


Saturday, May 04, 2019

16 Top Hits of the Week, Vol. 1 (Premier AS 16-1; probably 1965)

I just can't stop myself.  More fakes, this time from 1965, it would appear.  I'm surprised to see Premier as the label, for reasons I'll go into momentarily.  Premier, as record collectors know, was part of the Coronet/Parade/Spin-o-Rama, etc. group.  And this is where I have to warn people about the label info on Discogs, a site I love and use a lot but which gets label info wrong some of the time.  For instance, this LP, which says "Premier Albums, Inc." on the label and jacket, and which gives a New York NY address, is identified at Discogs as a Brazilian label.  A simple linking error, maybe, but Discogs gets the info wrong on other cheapo labels, too, so---be careful.

The reason I'm surprised the see these on Premier is that many of these versions also showed up on various Pickwick labels, and on the Hit Parader and Song Hits labels sold through Charlton comics (and, presumably, also through the Hit Parader and Song Hits magazines the labels were named after).  I'm always talking about how these fake-hit tracks label-hopped, and we're seeing label-hopping in action here.  It pretty much makes tracking down the source of a track an exercise in futility.  I'm almost positive that, by this point in the fake-hits game, a couple outfits were supplying the masters.  Great way to save time and money.  And to sell the same tracks umpteen times.

These fakes resonate with me, because I was (let me see) eight in 1965, and so I remember most of the original numbers.  Logically, I should remember all of them, having listened to Top 40 radio, but back then a lot of what we got to hear, hit-wise, depended on the specific market.  I do not, for example, remember Queen of the House, the feminine take on King of the Road.  As for Cast Your Fate to the Wind, if I heard it, I'm sure I tuned it out.  The Beach Boys' Help Me Rhonda was, and remains, one of my favorite singles ever, and I even like this dreadful cover.  Other numbers fare better--Do the Freddie, You Were Made for Me (my favorite Freddie and the Dreamers track), Wooly Bully, It's Gonna Be Alright, and Reelin' and Rockin' (a copy of the Dave Clark Five's version of the Chuck Berry number).  The sound quality is halfway acceptable, especially considering the label group, though the pressing is atrocious.  I did very careful editing to mask the hiss at the fade-outs and at the track starts.  Most of the stereo is genuine, save for You Can Have Her, which sounds like manipulated mono, and Silhouettes, which is also mono but painfully out of phase (it's an effect calling "flanging," which I did not know). 

Iko Iko took me a few listens to remember--once I made the Dixie Cups connection, it came right back to me.  It got tons of play back then, but my first response was, "What it this??"

Crying in the Chapel has a singer badly imitating 1965 Elvis, while the backing track copies the one used on the 1963 Little Richard version.  I'll give that a few seconds to sink in.  I haven't had the chance to sound-compare, but I'm almost sure this backing track was also used by Synthetic Plastics Co. when it covered the Little Richard Chapel (an oddity, since LR's version wasn't a national hit).  So we get the LR arrangement and a bad Elvis imitation.  Can you see now why I love these things?

To quote from the front jacket, "Here's wishing you many hours of dancing and listening pleasure."

DOWNLOAD: 16 Top Hits of the Week, Vol. 1

It's Gonna Be Alright
Queen of the House
Back in My Arms
You Were Made for Me
Help Me Rhonda
Wooly Bully
Just a Little
Cast Your Fate to the Wind
Engine Engine #9
Do the Freddie
Crying in the Chapel
You Can Have Her
Reelin' and Rockin'
Iko Iko 

16 Top Hits of the Week, Vol. 1 (Premier Albums AS 16-1; probably 1965)