Saturday, January 20, 2007
All of these were found in thrift stores, with the possible exception of the Tweeters' sides--those may have been found at a flea market. I honestly don't remember.
These were all gotten on the cheap, anyway.
Wish I know a darned thing about Betty Nickell, but I don't. And I know even less about the label, Snap, which was put out by Varsity (but which isn't listed in my 45 and 78 dating guide). All I know is that Betty sounds like a female Elvis, and with a more rocking background than Presley sang atop at Sun or RCA. The song, I'm Ready, is credited to Nickel, but don't you think it sounds just a little bit like the Little Richard hit Ready Teddy? I mean, just slightly? More than vaguely, even?
I like it, anyway. And I know nothing about the Tweeters, except that they sound more than a little like the Four Lads (though I seriously doubt it's them). And that The Campus Rock sounds more than a little like At the Hop. And I think it was meant to.
The two Brenda Lee numbers come from the 1959 LP, Grandma, What Great Songs You Sang! When I spotted the album at Goodwill, I couldn't pass up Lee singing St. Louis Blues and A Good Man Is Hard to Find, so I forked out the 99 pennies, left the store, got in the Ford van, drove home, got out of the van, walked to the house, got in the house, closed the door behind me....
Oops. Too many details. Anyway, A Good man Is Hard to Find turns out to be not much of one. Of a find, I mean. However, St. Louis Blues and Just Because are Lee-dight-ful. I mean, Dee-Leet-ful.
Put on your rock 'n' roll shoes (or your 'n' shoes, if you're on a tight budget) and rock to The Tweeters, Betty Nickell, and Brenda Lee. Where else but at this place?
I'm Ready (B. Nickell)--Betty Nickell and the Mystics. Year unknown. From Snap label 45.
The Campus Rock (Del Serino-Hal Gordon)--The Tweeters, 1958. From Decca 45.
Mascara Mama (Alan White)--The Tweeters, 1958. Flip of above.
Just Because (Joe Shelton-Bob Shelton-Sid Robin)--Brenda Lee, 1959. From Decca LP.
St. Louis Blues (W.C. Handy)--Brenda Lee with the Anita Kerr Quartet, 1959. From same LP.
Friday, January 19, 2007
The Four Preps, one of whose members--Ed Cobb--wrote and produced the Standells' Dirty Water.
The Morning Mail--The Gallahads (1956). From 45.
You're Telling Our Secrets--Dee Clark (1961). From 45.
Oooh, My Love--Vic Damone with Jimmy Carroll (1958). From Harmony label LP.
Moon Guitar--The Rangoons (1961). From 45.
Don't Unless You Love Me (Hampton-Bacharach)--Paul Hampton, 1959. Orchestra cond. by Burt Bacharach. From Columbia 45.
Humble Pie--The Four Preps (1958). From Capitol LP.
First, Bev slips in the mud and breaks her wrist. Then the well pump stops working.
A fiberglass cast for Bev's wrist and a new, $800 pump for the well. Anyway, what will break next? Bad things always happen in threes, right?
I'm seriously considering breaking something just to complete the trio. Maybe I can smash a 78 I don't want. Or--let's see--I can stomp on an old cassette case. There must be some way to thwart fate.
Wait a minute, wait a minute. The pipes broke (well, burst) in the studio. Somehow, they'd gotten turned back on (I must have inadvertently turned on the valve in the basement). So, we've had our third break, after all--1) Bev's wrist, 2) the well pump, and 3) the studio sink pipes.
Whew. Fate has had its day. Er, week. Whatever. Now it can go away and leave us alone.
A little water got on the studio deck, but no much. No damage caused, near as I can see--not even enough water to mop up. We got off easy, third-break-wise.
Bev's cast comes off in six weeks. Water's running again. Life moves on.
Three breaks. It's weird the way that worked out.
The cats don't care what goes on, just so long as we feed them. And give them their allotment of affection.
You know, we humans have the nerve to call animals "dumb," but who produces and watches crap like American Idol? We humans, that's who. Some of us. (Too many of us.)
Early Burt coming up.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Anyway, this song is credited to Clarence (Royal Garden Blues) Williams and Alex Hill. The artists are Bob Crosby's Bob Cats, from 1940. My 78 copy isn't in the greatest shape, but then 78s aren't supposed to be in the greatest shape. That's their reputation, and they're proud of it.
A fairly well-earned reputation, I might add.
Here we are:
You're Bound to Look Like a Monkey (When You Grow Old) (Clarence Williams--Alex Hill)--Bob Crosby's Bob Cats, 1940. From Decca 78.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Wouldn't be the first time, won't be the last. 78-rpm Exotica is one of the many features you can enjoy on a regular basis at...
Music You (Possibly) Won't Hear Anyplace Else (echo, fade).
Oh, and someone socked it to that Huff'n'Puffington Post essay I cited last time--I'll only quote the last part, because the first is pretty unpretty (and also subject to misinterpretation). It showed up in the comments section:
"I even heard someone mention King's name in association with a church, and I know that is just not what you HuffPro'ers would like at all."
Thanks to whoever posted that. The Huff'n'Puffington Post's blog, by the way, is called "The Blog." I don't go to that place very often because I get tired of Their Egos.
"So, where did you post that?" "At The Blog." "Which one?" "The Blog." "Uhhh... Okay."
Now, for the awesome 78. I mean, an awesome 78--Ferrante and Teicher's 1952 "prepared piano" version of Caravan. Note that the label says "two-pianos" instead of "duo-pianos." Yet you'd think that anyone sophisticated enough to buy a record on the Entre label would know that "duo," in this case, means two performers. As opposed to, say, pianos manufactured by the Duo Company. Just looks funny. "Two-piano" would have been better (or "two pianos"). But we won't go on and on about this, oops I already did someone help me I forgot how to punctuate
Caravan (Ellington, Tizol)--Ferrante and Teicher, "two-pianos," 1952. From 78 pictured above.
As an added bonus ("added bonus"??), here are the same two artists performing Boogie Express. It was recorded for the Davis label in the same year, except this comes from a crappy reissue on, er... Guest Star? Or one from that cheapie line of labels.
Boogie Express--Ferrante and Teicher, 1952. From LP.
Monday, January 15, 2007
I'll be nice and not question their right to run such a tribute, though I can't help wondering why folks who so blatantly cater to the currently fashionable Christianity-is-evil cliche would turn around and honor a minister whose favorite gospel hymn was I Want to Be Like Jesus.
And, no offense, Rep. John Lewis, but we are allowed to note that Mr. King was a Christian. It's not cool to do so, but that's the whole point. You write, "We are a different country today; we are a better people today because Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in the power of love over hate, the power of nonviolence over violence, and the power of peace over war." Absolutely. And his beliefs derived from his faith. (Someone needed to say it.)
Anyway, something told me HP would make nice with Martin Luther King, Jr. for his Birthday. While not mentioning the "Reverend" part. Dang, am I psychic? Must be.
Meanwhile, MY(P)WHAE will cheat and repeat last year's lineup, but only because we can't possibly improve on it. Mind you, I'm not bragging about my choices--these are all Martin's. First off, a 1927 recording of what was reportedly MLK's favorite gospel song:
We Shall Overcome (adapted by many from Charles Tindley's 1900 hymn I'll Overcome Some Day)--Mahalia Jackson, 1968.
Take My Hand, Precious Lord (Thomas A. Dorsey)--Jimmy Dean, 1964. (Yes, the sausage guy. Who has a fine set of pipes.)
I Want to Be Like Jesus--Tukegee Quartet, 1927. (More than one source cites this as MLK's favorite gospel song. An inspired choice.)
Just a Closer Walk with Thee (Words and music of unknown origin)--Anita Bryant. (Yes, Anita Bryant. But, damn, the woman can sing.)
His Eye Is on the Sparrow (Civilla Martin--Charles Gabriel, 1905), Mahalia Jackson, 1958. (Actually, I don't know if this was one of the reverend's favorite gospel songs, but this 1905 classic inspired many during the Civil Rights Movement. The wonderful words were written by Civilla Durfee Martin, a minister's wife born in Canada in 1866. The music is by Charles H. Gabriel, and it's my favorite gospel melody of all.)
Mahalia Jackson, on Reverend King: "Honest, he was just wonderful and I often thought of him--man, he got the weight of the world almost like Jesus on him and he still smiled and laughed at somebody else's joke and everything else." And this is the man we honor today.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
"A 'much cleaner vinyl source'? What is he talking about?"--Andy
"Dunno, but our theme song sure rocks!"--Rudy
"It's O.K., I guess."--Andy
As per Andy and Rudy's request (er, demand), I found a much better copy of Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey's Brothers! (the bandleaders' 1954 version of Sisters from White Christmas.) And here it is:
Brothers! (Irving Berlin), Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, 1954.
Just the other day, I commented that Rudy and Andy were a virtual two-brother kitty circus, and that all we need is some circus music. Rudy stopped, looked up at me, and said, "Make it so."
Demanding little critters, aren't they?
Entry of the Gladiators (Julius Fucik)--Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey's Band, 1930. From Victor 78.
Sunday morning gospel--Smith's Sacred Singers, William McEwan, Tietge Sisters, Chautauqua Preachers' Quartet
All of these are from my collection, and all of the restoring was done by me. At (by?) this point, I pretty much have a handle on double-EQing. That is, I equalize things first on my 31-band equalizer and then re-EQ them on MAGIX--though as little as possible. If I overdo the second phase, the results can be pretty crummy.
Anyway, I'm pleased with these restorations. I always focus on the sound beneath the hiss rather than the hiss itself--if you bring the music "out," you can get away with doing considerably less hiss/noise filtering. Surface noise isn't the end of the world unless it's drowning out the music, and so it's best (Leethinks, anyway) to push the good sound forward and THEN worry about killing the scritch and hiss and foosh. A lot of it involves dynamic balance. Lee says, don't "think" with the hiss and noise filters; focus on restoring the sound within.
Let us pray....
Sorry. Didn't mean to sermonize. Anyhow, today's selections run the date gamut (date gamut?) from 1913 to 1929. 1925, of course, was the year that electrical recordings came into being (commercially, anyway), so the reason pre-1925 recordings sound as if they were recorded with a big horn is because they were.
Note, on the William McEwan selection (All Hail, Emmanuel, by Charles H. Gabriel), how the chimes are right there, sonically, while William (who obviously had a powerful voice) is way on the other side of the room someplace. I like the effect, but I'm not sure William did.
All Hail, Emmanuel (Charles H. Gabriel)--William McEwan, with organ accompaniment, 1913. From Columbia 78. (Gabriel wrote the music--and, in some cases, the words--for Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Higher Ground, The Glory Song, and His Eye Is on the Sparrow.)
Meet Me There--Smith's Sacred Singers, 1929. From Columbia 78.
Hold the Fort (P.P. Bliss)--Chautauqua Preachers' Quartette, 1914. From Columbia 78. (The surface is a lot quieter than it was--declicking software is the best thing that ever happened to shellac. Gorgeous song, by the way. And performance.)
Working for the Crown--Smith's Sacred Singers, 1929. From Columbia 78. (Yet another "I'm going to Heaven" gospel number. The metaphor in the title works at least two ways--living according to the rules of faith, on one hand, and striving toward Heaven, on the other. Same difference, in this case.)
The Name of Jesus (W.C. Martin--E.S. Lorenz)--Tietge Sisters, 1927. From Victor 78. (The style of the T. Sisters' excellent harmonizing was already familiar to me, but through much later gospel recordings. I had no idea this type of singing went back this far. But I do now.)
Hold to God's Unchanging Hand--Smith's Sacred Singers, 1929. (I featured this a while back at my now-gone Fields on Fire blog, but this is a new and better EQ. It'd better be better, after all the time I spent on it!)
When we talk about old-time gospel at this blog, we mean old-time gospel!
Have a great Sunday.