Saturday, January 30, 2010
And we've got some rockin' sounds from MY(P)WHAE, with all but one (the MGM Studio Orch.) ripped from shellac. This is a follow-up to a post from August, 2009 which featured tracks from Enoch Light's 18 Top Hits label. No sound-alike performances in the mix today, though we do start with a sound-alike *title,* Rock Around the Clock, which turns out to be a tune penned by Wally Mercer, and nothing to do with the more famous Rock Around the Clock. Selection #5, though, is a big band version of the more famous Rock, taken from the Blackboard Jungle soundtrack.
Also, excellent 1952 doo wop/R&B/early rock and roll (take your pick) from the Four Buddies. Thanks to Happy Days-era TV ads of the 1970s, I once thought this style of vocal music started around 1961 with white guys wearing Fonzie jackets. Uhhh, nope.
Lillian Briggs' track is a repeat, but a worthy one.
The other five selections rock in their own way, especially Wilbur Sweatman's 1919 That's Got 'Em, an early jam tune (as I call them) laden with riffs and repetition. Much more mellow, but with a lot of big-band jazz feel, is Harry Raderman's Make That Trombone Laugh. "Big-band" in the very early, orchestrated-Dixieland sense, that is. The more I hear this, the more I like it. Raderman was known for this style of trombone, and it must have driven him crazy. (But only when he laughed, you say?)
Meanwhile, Joseph Stefano's Flash from the Blue predates his 1960 Psycho screenplay by seven years, and The Outer Limits (the first season of which he produced) by ten. Interesting lyrics, to say the least.
Debussy's Golliwog's Cakewalk manages to rock in just about any version, including this brass-band scoring. (Wow--what playing.) As good as it is, there's not much rock in its flip, March of the Little Fauns, but all the better for helping us wind down from the previous nine tracks. We don't want to overdo it.
Is it just me, or does Fauns (composed in 1923 by Gabriel Pierne) sound an awful lot like Richard Rodgers' March of the Siamese Children from 1951's The King and I? Vice versa, I mean. And it's not just the tritone, though that helps.
To the rock: MY(P)WHAE rocks!! Part 2
ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK (W. Mercer)--Wally Mercer, 1952 (Dot).
STORY BLUES--The Four Buddies, 1948 (Savoy).
YOU'RE PART OF ME--Same.
I WANT YOU TO BE MY BABY--Lillian Biggs, 1955.
ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK (Blackboard Jungle Sdt.)--MGM Studio O., 1955.
FLASH FROM THE BLUE (Jerry Stevens, a.k.a. Joseph Stefano)--Karen Chandler, 1953.
MAKE THAT TROMBONE LAUGH--Harry Raderman's Jazz Orch., 1920.
THAT'S GOT 'EM (Sweatman)--Wilbur Sweatman's Orig. Jazz Band, 1919.
GOLLIWOG'S CAKEWALK--Band of H.M. Grenadier Guards, 1937 .
MARCH OF THE LITTLE FAUNS--Same.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I love these cheap-label copies of hits, and I always have. I do not know why. These sound-alikes are interesting in that, while most of them are close facsimiles (or attempts at same), some depart from the source performance and arrangement. Even drastically, in a few instances. Despite this, such records were advertised 1) as if they were the hits in question, and 2) as cheaper alternatives to same. They couldn't be both, of course, but the labels likely figured that anyone unmoved by claim 1) might still be swayed by 2). As in, sure, these are cheap knock-offs, but look at the savings.
Thus, the emphasis on quantity--label names like Value Big 4 Hit Tunes and Big 4 Hits, slogans like "2 Big Hit Songs on Each Record" and "Twice the music for half the cost," and so on. "For goodness sake don't pay more," pleads Tops' two-e.p. set, Top Hit Tunes. Get more while paying less. And, despite their low price tag, Tops records were "triple stereo-tested for true high fidelity performance." And each selection was chosen by the "Tops Jury of Hits." Of all the budget labels, Tops was probably the most extravagant in its cheapness.
Many of these have seen the light of blog before; a small number are making their debut.
To the cheap sounds: Cheap label wonders, Part 1
GEE--The Four Jacks (Top Tunes, 1954)
ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK--Dick Warren (Big 4 Hits, 1955)
KA DING DONG--Gene Zimmerman (Big 4 Hits, 1956)
KO-KO-MO--The Four Jacks (Big 4 Hits, 1955)
PLEDGING MY LOVE--The Four Jacks (Big 4 Hits, 1955)
THE LITTLE WHITE CLOUD THAT CRIED--Nancy Brookes, The Toppers (Tops)
TIGER--Stumpy Andersen and His Stompers (Evon)
COME ON-A MY HOUSE--Elliot Everette and His O. (Music Club Hit Tunes)
SH-BOOM--The Four Deals (Tops)
HIGH NOON--Artie Malvin w. Enoch Light O. and Chorus (Waldorf)
TUTTI FRUTTI--Jack Daniels, Herbie Layne O. (Gateway Top Tune)
COME AND GO WITH ME--The Promineers (Promenade)
SH-BOOM--No Artist Credited (Value Big 4 Hit Tunes)
ROCK-A-BEATIN' BOOGIE--Johnny Curtis w. The Toppers (Tops)
HOT ROD LINCOLN--Johnny Ryan (Tops)