Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Spike Jones authority Ted Hering recently shared these twenty Irene label sides with me, and they're delightful--a cheap label fan's dream. Ted won them in a single, mint-condition set from eBay, which has left me wondering one thing--how on earth did I miss them?? But I'm glad he won them instead of me, because 1) I hardly have room for the 78s I already have, and 2) one of these is an Eddie Brandt collectible, Brandt having been a comedy writer for Spike. You'll notice that Brandt's Bunny Polka is highly Jones-esque. Quite a find, and deserving of a home in a Jones collector's stash.
Another Irene artist is Dan Belloc, also the musical director for the Jeb label of Chicago, which Irene was a version of. (I just now learned that the two labels were the same--as in, identical artists and releases. Confused? Me, too.) Dan later co-produced the Buckinghams' USA label recordings, including the massive hit, Kind of a Drag --and, according to Buckinghams guitarist Carl Giammarese, it was Belloc who added the horns! Which is to say, Belloc created the group's signature sound. How about that? Suddenly, I have more respect for Jeb and Irene--respect bordering on reverence.
But are these tracks worthy of same? Well, some are quite good, with tight, jazzy backgrounds and exceptionally good singing, even if the singers aren't always a good fit with the material (prime example: Miles Edwards and Little White Cloud That Cried). As for downright bad singing and playing, there's Tiger Rag, in a performance that sounds like a rehearsal gone wrong. The best tracks here are worthy of Tops or Prom--the worst may not have passed muster with Varsity/Royale. I find the quality variation a fun feature of Irene/Jeb, but buyers of the day possibly did not.
At any rate, I feel obligated to respect anything associated with the man who added the horn sound to my favorite Sixties group, and I've always wanted to type, "I feel obligated to respect anything associated with the man who added the horn sound to my favorite Sixties group."
Thanks again to Ted for sharing these incredibly fun sides. Maybe, like me, you're wondering if Goodnight, Irene was ever covered on Irene.
Here are three more pics. The Irene label and pic sleeve are from Ted, and the Jeb, I swiped from eBay: Pics. To the Irene: Irene festival.
BIG BLUE EYES--Dan Belloc (Irene I-508)
UNDECIDED--Don Orlando (I-508)
DOMINO--Miles Edwards (I-511)
LITTLE WHITE CLOUD THAT CRIED--Miles Edwards (I-511)
CRY-Danny Parker (I-511)
ALL IN THE GAME--Don Orlando Quintet (I-511)
JEALOUSIE--Don Orlando Quintet (I-512)
CHARMAINE--Don Orlando Quintet (I-512)
SHRIMP BOATS--Denny Farnon (I-513)
TELL ME WHY--Ruthie James (I-513)
PETER COTTONTAIL--The Meadowlarks (I-514) (1952)
OLD RUGGED CROSS--Mac McFarland (I-514) (1952)
EASTER PARADE--Eddie Brandt and His Hollywood Hicks (I-514) (1952)
BUNNY POLKA--Eddie Brandt and His Hollywood Hicks (I-514) (1952)
PLEASE MR. SUN--Bill Scott (I-515)
DANCE ME LOOSE--Ted Ostling (I-515)
BERMUDA--The Bellaire Sisters (I-515)
TIGER RAG--The Bellaire Sisters (I-515)
ANYTIME--Eddie Brandt's Orch. (I-516)
SIN--Frank Whitehead (I-516)
Monday, September 06, 2010
We'll be hearing eight tracks from a Columbia promotional LP sent to radio stations around December, 1957 called Known Faces--New Faces--Going Places! The cover depicts said faces riding on a train labeled "D.J. Special." From the jacket notes:
"On this record you will hear powerful new releases by such established stars as Tony Bennett, Johnnie Ray, Mindy Carson, Jill Corey, Jerry Vale, and Eileen Rodgers. The new artists, represented here by their latest releases, are people we are hoping will be the future stars on records, names like Jimmy Dean, Paul Hampton, Kenny Bowers, Ronnie Self, and several others. It goes without saying that if these artists are to be future stars, it will be your confidence in them that will make the difference."
Clearly, Columbia wanted Ronnie Self's Ain't I'm a Dog, The Southerners' Say Yeah, and Billy Brown's Did We Have a Party (along with the other tracks on this collection) to enjoy chart success. If, as the media narrative has it, the Mitch-led Columbia label had really wanted to smother r&r with a pillow, this was a weird way of expressing that desire.
Our playlist features three all-out rockabilly tracks, plus four more middle of the road (but still effective) r&r sides. Mildest of the latter is the Marty Robbins classic The Story of My Life, the very first big hit for Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Least mild is Eileen Rodger's highly Elvis-inspired That Ain't Right.
Of the rockabilly tracks, Ain't I'm a Dog was used as the title (and title track) of a 2000 Sony rockabilly compilation.
Maybe Mitch's obit writers should have dug a little further. Or at all.
Anyway: Rock Along with Mitch, Part 6
SELECTED TRACKS FROM KNOWN FACES--NEW FACES--GOING PLACES! (All 1957)
AIN'T I'M A DOG--Ronnie Self
PINK SWEATER ANGEL--Johnnie Ray w. Ray Conniff Orch.
SAY YEAH--The Southerners
THE STORY OF MY LIFE (Bacharach-David)--Marty Robbins, Ray Conniff
DID WE HAVE A PARTY--Billy Brown
BO-BO SKA DIDDLE DADDLE--Wayne Walker
CLASSY BABE (Hampton)--Paul Hampton
THAT AIN'T RIGHT--Eileen Rodgers w. Ray Conniff
Sunday, September 05, 2010
Our fifth Looper Trio find for this blog, and it's a great one. The disc has seen better days, but I've tamed most of the surface noise, restoring it to ordinary-fidelity status. Brenda, Oral, and Coleman especially click on Loretta Lynn's Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, on Wash Your Brother's Feet, and on There Ain't No Grave. Maybe That's All Rite Mama can give us a recording year.
To the Loopers: I Don't Want to Get Adjusted to This World
I DON'T WANT TO GET ADJUSTED TO THIS WORLD
I WILL FOLLOW THEE
THAT LITTLE OLD COUNTRY CHURCH
EVERYBODY WANTS TO GO TO HEAVEN
HOW CAN I THANK HIM
WASH YOUR BROTHER'S FEET
LITTLE DAVID'S HARP
GOD OUR MAKER
THERE AIN'T NO GRAVE
I'LL REALLY BE FREE