Friday, March 16, 2018

Rock N' Roll (Promenade High Fidelity 45 r.p.m. extended play; $1.89 value)

Well, the Variety label called it "rock 'n roll," and Promenade (this release, by the famous Synthetic Plastics Co.) called it "rock n' roll."  Of course, it's "rock 'n' roll," but that still leaves a couple questions unanswered--namely, what are April Love and Kisses Sweeter Than Wine doing here?  Besides taking up track space?

I think of myself as anything but a purist, but those two titles are about as rock n'/'n/'n' roll as, oh, Al Di La (the best version of which was waxed by the Ray Charles Singers.  Not that Ray, of course.)

And I *like* Kisses Sweeter Than Wine, ironically.  Even this version.

These are all fakes, of course--sound-alikes, back when you could swipe an arrangement and not get sued.  Some fine tracks--Jo Ann, The Stroll, Don'tKeep a Knockin', and, especially, Great Balls of Fire.  The passable copies include Diana, April Love, and Whole Lotta Shakin'.

Shed a tear for Jail House (sic) Rock, whose fabulous backing would have been infinitely better served by a singer who sounded remotely like Elvis.  And who put a little life into the proceedings.  Given a decent vocal, this would have been an all-time great fake.  Thanks a lot, "Eli Whitney."

And genuine thanks to the declicker filter on my MAGIX program, and to some tool-removed pops (mega-pops too big for the declicker to declick, these terrible pressings sound totally acceptable.

Rock n' roll!!!   


Jo Ann--Promineers
The Stroll--Promineers
Keep a Knockin'--Little Bobby
Jail House Rock--Eli Whitney
Diana--Bob Robbins
April Love--Michael Reed
Don't--Jimmie Aires
Kisses Sweeter Than Wine--Johnny Logan
Great Balls of Fire--Billie Case
Why Don't They Understand--Johnny Logan
Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On--Allan Freed
Only Because--The Wright Bros.

(Rock n' Roll--Promenade RR 23 and RR 24, 45 rpm EPs)

Click here to hear: Rock N' Roll (Promenade RR 23/24)


Sunday, March 04, 2018

The Sutera Twins--The "Happy Day" Express Song

More fake hits coming up, but, in the meantime, here's a perfect Sunday morning track--found it at Goodwill today, and I just knew from that title alone that it had to have a place here.

I guess the label, if there is one, would have to be "The Sutera Twins"--Ralph and Louis Sutera, to be exact.  (Self-produced, ya think?)  And here they are on YouTube, from 2008 (way after this recording, I'm pretty sure), talking about their Saskatoon, Saskatchewan ministry!  Sutera Twins

And here's the track:  The "Happy Day" Express Song (Engine Song)--Ralph & Louis Sutera

If this doesn't put you in Sunday morning mode, nothing will!


Sunday, January 28, 2018

18 Big Rock 'n' Roll Hits (Variety EPV-1801)

This gets complicated.  This 45 rpm three-EP set on the Variety label--18 Big Rock 'n Roll Hits--was also issued (earlier, I'm assuming) as a 12-inch LP on the mega-cheap Hollywood label.  That Hollywood LP was a reissue of an earlier Hollywood LP from 1957 called The Nation's Favorite Rock 'N Roll Hits.  My copy of the Hollywood LP (the reissue) is worn to death, so I'm using this set.

Well, I guess that wasn't too complicated.  Sound quality, predictably, is awful, making the above "Examination Certificate for Full Fidelity Response Recordings with Live Sound" (back cover of box) especially hilarious, since these have about a 9,000 Hz high end.  I doubt they top off at 15000 Hz, as claimed.  I got these to sound acceptable, and, in the process of ripping the final disc, I discovered that my Stanton 680 HiFi cartridge navigates warped vinyl effortlessly, in contrast to my 500 cart, which wants to bounce.

For lowest-quality EPs, these restored pretty well (with a good amount of de-clicking).  The performances are better than we have a right to expect, and some are even genuinely good.  And the version of Rock Around the Clock is my all-time favorite cheap-label version, despite the off-the-beat intro.  It found its way around the cheapo labels and may have originated on Gateway.  (Update: Nope, not the same version as Gateway Top Tune.  It's Gabe Drake on Prom 1118, poss. 1955)  Why it was included, I don't know, because the rest of the tracks are copies of 1956 hits, whereas RATC hit it big in 1955 (as a re-release).  But I don't complain--it's the perfect starter track.

"Reg. $16.00 value."  They wish. 

Click here to hear: 18 Big Rock 'n Roll Hits

1. Rock Around the Clock
2.  Long Tall Sally
3.  Blue Suede Shoes
4.  Ain't That a Shame
5.  Hound Dog
6.  See You Later Alligator
7.  Blueberry Hill
8.  Rip It Up
9.  I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
10.  Let the Good Times Roll
11.  The Fool
12.  Every Day
13.  When My Dreamboat Comes Home
14,  Why Do Fools Fall in Love
15.  Love, Love, Love
16.  Don't Be Cruel
17.  Ready Teddy
18.  I'm in Love Again

Vocal Stars of Radio & Television with Famous Orchestras (Variety EPV-1801, 3-EP, 45 rpm set, 1957?  Discs themselves are EPV-6025/26/27)

Above: label scan.  Suddenly, the set's name is "Rock n Roll," with half of the "n" missing.  Such loving care these guys took.


Friday, January 05, 2018

Merry 12th day of Christmas with tinsel tunes from Tulsa

The twelve days of Christmas end today, and I wish our Christmas weather would end with it, but no such luck.  Below-zero chill factors, a few inches of snow, and 0 degree overnight highs here in the country (must remember to keep small trickle of water running), and nothing fit for humans until our Sunday high of 28.  But there are others getting it a lot worse, so I can't complain.  I will, anyway.

I think I'm justified in calling this single "obscure."  "Nelson Pendergrass" + "Christy the Christmas Tree" gets a single Google match--a discography (minus dates) of Oklahoma record labels, including this one (Pride).  It appears that Pendergrass did one other Pride single--“Cute Little Checker Girl/Tomorrow Is Her Birthday."  Now you know all I know.  About this topic, I mean.

Pleasant sides, sounding very much like small local label efforts (why would that be, I wonder?), and destined not to become internet classics.  But they make for a nice and quiet farewell to Christmas 2017, even if the weather ain't following suit.

Click here to hear: Christy the Christmas Tree

Christy the Christmas Tree--Nelson Pendergrass (Pride 660P-3941; Tulsa, Okla.)
Santa Comes Tonight--Same


Thursday, January 04, 2018

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas--Ray Smith (1949)

The eleventh day of Christmas is here, and we celebrate it with a good ol' 1949 country rendition (by Ray Smith) of Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, here credited to "Horton," though Wikipedia tells us the lyrics of this 19th century classic have been attributed to Benjamin Hanby, and the music to John Piersol McCaskey.  But Jolly Old was public domain by 1949, and all kinds of false credits end up getting stuck on p.d. creations, so we'll pretend "Horton" wrote it.  Which Horton, though?  Vaughan Horton?  Johnny Horton?

I need to know.  I must know.  I DEMAND TO KNOW!!!!

Sorry--too much caffeine this early in the morning.  Oh, wait--Billboard to the rescue.  An Old Christmas Card was written by Vaughan Horton, and maybe someone at Columbia figured he or she may as well credit the flip to Horton, as well.  Or, more likely, Vaughan Horton arranged the flip side.  P.D. stuff is often credited to the person who arranged a particular version of it.

Mystery solved, maybe.  Whew!

Click here to hear: Jolly Old Saint Nicholas

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas--Ray Smith, 1949
An Old Christmas Card--Same