Thursday, September 23, 2010
Imagine an alternate universe (year: 1955) in which a white vocal group signed by Mitch Miller records an R&B-style number that, while not becoming a national hit, proves very popular with the audiences of Alan Freed and Pittsburgh DJ Porky Chedwick. Two years later, the group hits the Top 20 with a similar track. At some point, the 1955 side is coupled on a (bootleg?) 45 with Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup.
By the early 1960s, it has become Chedwick's second most requested oldie.
Fast forward to the present, and the group appears on a CD devoted to "rare black doo wop." And if we Google on over to allmusic.com, we'll find the group categorized as "R&B."
And to what strange universe do I refer? You guessed it: ours. (Didn't see that coming, did ya?) Yes, the Four Voices--Mitch's gift to the emerging white audience for rock and roll, and a year before Elvis at RCA. So there.
We'll be hearing the 1955 and 1957 tracks mentioned above--Honest Darling (Believe Me) and Lovely One--plus an unusually good Tops label knock-off of the second title. Both tunes were penned by Fred (Big Ten Inch Record) Weismantel.
To the zip file: Four Voices.
HONEST DARLING (BELIEVE ME)--The Four Voices, 1955.
LOVELY ONE--The Four Voices, 1957.
LOVELY ONE--The Toppers w. Les Anthony's Orch. (Tops 45-R281-49)
(Thanks to Pete Grendysa for his help with Four Voices history.)
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
You came in search of alternative sing-alongs. Well, you've arrived at just the place, for we have two pre-Sing Along with Mitch sing-alongs--The Coronets, from 1956, on Columbia (U.K.) and the Sammy Kaye Choir, 1954--plus a late-Fifties-ish kiddie sing-along EP by Jimmy Carroll's Campfire Singers (Let's All Sing Together!). Before you know it, you'll be sing-along-outed. (Sing-along-outed?)
Actually, "sing-along-outed" is what happens when someone is outed as a sing-along fan.
I'd better get to typing the Coronets' (Make It a Party) playlist--though I'm featuring it as a single file, it's a long medley. Very sing-along-able, too, of course. We have to wonder if the Beach Boys heard this prior to recording their own Party.
To the sing-alongs:
Kaye Choir (1954)
THE KAYE CHOIR
SWEET SUE--JUST YOU
I CAN'T GIVE YOU ANYTHING BUT LOVE
(Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye, Columbia CL-561; 1954)
Coronets--Make It a Party (1956)
WHO WERE YOU WITH LAST NIGHT
DADDY WOULDN'T BUY ME A BOW-WOW
JOHN BROWN'S BODY
ANY OLD IRON
DON'T DILLY DALLY ON THE WAY
DEAR OLD PALS
JUST LIKE THE IVY
KNEES UP MOTHER BROWN
LET"S ALL GO DOWN THE STRAND
OH, OH, ANTONIO
THE MAN WHO BROKE THE BANK
D'YE KEN JOHN PEEL JOLLY GOOD COMPANY
THERE IS A TAVERN IN THE TOWN
I'VE GOT A LOVELY BUNCH OF COCONUTS
(Make It a Party (Let's sing the good old songs), Columbia SEG 7617; 1956)
Campfire Singers--Let's All Sing Together!
THE CAMPFIRE SINGERS
MARCHING ALONG TOGETHER
HAIL HAIL THE GANG'S ALL HERE!
I'VE GOT SIXPENCE
TRAMP TRAMP TRAMP THE BOYS ARE MARCHING
DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS
(Let's All Sing Together!, Golden Records EP563)
In issue no. 59 (Wuthering Heights, 1949), Classics Illustrated listed twelve titles to come. Eleven did; one--The Mask of Red Death (a.k.a. The Masque of the Red Death)--never materialized. Dang. Double-dang. What a CI that most likely would have been.
Maybe they were worried about censorship problems. Anyway, CI did take on a number of Poe stories--Pit and the Pendulum, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Cask of Amontillado, The Adventures of Hans Pfaall, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Gold Bug, and The Murders in the Rue Morgue--with good to terrific results.
What happened to make Mask/Masque not happen, I wonder? I don't care if it's 61 years later--I still want them to put it out.
Back to music in a moment....
Sunday, September 19, 2010
We'll be hearing two Jimmy DeKnight tunes, as played by Bill Coates and Bill Coates. Jimmy DeKnight, of course, was actually James E. Myers, who (possibly) co-wrote Rock Around the Clock with Max C. Freedman. Rock Around the Clock historians aren't sure if he did, though. (Don't ask me.) We'll assume that the other DeKnight/Myers song on our playlist, In the Groove, was really and truly co-written by him, unless we hear otherwise.
I'm guessing that these recordings are an adventure in double-tracking (performer Bill Coates X2), with the second title (In the Groove) not quite gelling. Someone--either Bill 1 or Bill 2--missed a beat someplace. That can happen pretty easily when you're playing with a recording. Interesting performance, regardless, and the only time I've ever heard In the Groove, written (or at least published) in 1955.
I wrote before about the differences between Rock Around the Clock as the song was originally written and how it ended up being played: click here. In that post, I featured three as-originally-written versions (link still active). Well, we can add a fourth--today's version.
MY(P)WHAE--your source for as-originally-written versions of Rock Around the Clock. Just one more feature to love.
To the Bill Coates: Bill Coates Plays Jimmy DeKnight
ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK (DeKnight-Freedman)
IN THE GROOVE (DeKnight--Khoury-Bonner)
[Bill Coates at the Console (Maple Records 101)]
Any information on Bill Coates or this particular Maple label will be greatly appreciated. Enjoy!