Saturday, May 26, 2012
I love this cover--it's so cool. As are the Serenaders, a NC quartet formed in 1955 and featuring Lindsey Clemmons (tenor), David Willetts (baritone), Johnnie Thomas (second tenor), Al Jordan (bass), and Gerald Milligan (piano). I'd meant to scan their group photo on the back jacket, but... I forgot. Just head shots, literally.
Searching under "Serenaders Quartet," I found out nothing about same. Then I plugged in "Serenaders" + "How Do You Pray," and up popped their current website, complete with photos, sound bytes, and group history: Serenaders Studios
This Goodwill find has some right-channel needle damage that I eliminated by, as ever, putting the left channel on both sides. Since this is a mono LP, nothing was lost except the noise. To the Sunday morning gospel:
The Serenaders--How Do You Pray?
How Do You Pray
Way Down Deep in My Soul
I'll Meet You By the River
God Will Bless You All
Hide Thou Me
How Great Thou Art
He'll Be There
Glory Clear the Road
Lord, I Want to Walk Your Way
Light of His Love
Hide Me Rock of Ages
Room at the Cross
The Serenaders Quartet--How Do You Pray? (Sing 501)
I hope the cover image isn't too dark. If so, I did my best. Thing is, the brightness is set too low on my HP monitor (except for several hours, recently, when it went the other way), and so I figure that overdoing the darkness will get an image just right. Meanwhile, the HP on-line instructions insist that the monitor can be manually adjusted for contrast, but I've searched every inch of same with no luck. I almost think the PC is taunting me with its occasional, inexplicable contrast shifts.
And so, at last, a copy of An Hour of Star Dust in acceptable-plus condition. This is one of those easy-to-find albums that's nevertheless hard to find in playable condition, like The Eddy Duchin Story or Como's Golden Records. I've celebrated by ripping the entire LP, and not just half of it, like last time.
Royale, of course, was a junk label supreme, and this one is junky even by Royale, um, standards--not the music or the orchestra, which are great, but the sound quality, which is fairly pathetic. My theory is that the material was recorded off the radio, probably overseas, and then mastered from reel to reel tape. The latter would explain the machine shut-off sound that follows each track, which I've edited out for your convenience. (The shut-off noise, not the tracks.) I also edited out numerous pops and tape drop-outs (or are they broadcast drops?) and just generally balanced the two channels to minimize distortion and create the illusion that someone actually engineered this.
Some all-time great Pops novelties, all beautifully done--Dizzy Fingers, Kitten on the Keys, The Syncopated Clock, Stringcopation--and lush, gloriously over-arranged standards like, well, Star Dust. How over-arranged? Well, I can picture Mantovani paring down the Star Dust orchestration and halving the running time. Not a problem for me--I love such over the top easy listening, in part because it makes for such a wonderful contradiction (easy/over the top).
The two-part Hollywood Concerto has nothing to do with Hollywood or concertos, which makes for a nothing ending to this set, but I love it, anyway. It's probably my favorite junk-label album of all time.
An Hour of Star Dust--Royale Concert Orch.
Those Foolish Things
Kitten on the Keys
Hollywood Concerto, Pt. 1
Hollywood Concerto, Pt. 2
An Hour of Star Dust--Royale Concert Orch. (Royale 1274)
Friday, May 25, 2012
One big difference between Arianna Huffington and Robert Conrad? I've got one: Robert doesn't pretend to be a liberal.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
On the pages of MY(P)WHAE, only the most authentic, classic, genuine, essential, and legendary fake country is shared. We'll have nothing to do with cut-rate and/or inauthentic fakeness. That is our sincere promise. And, while it's occurring to me, am I the only person who looks at the Folk Music label (below) and sees a 2? Which is actually an eighth note with the head in the wrong direction?
In our second installment, we'll be hearing more budget knock-offs of then-current country hits, though they're not necessarily more budget. In fact, they're all at pretty much the same level of cheapness. All of these are from my collection, and all but two are 78s. And please ignore the third label scan (Settin' the Woods on Fire), which will be part of our next playlist, not this one. I'd meant to scan How Much Is that Hound Dog in the Window (imitation Homer and Jethro), but I grabbed the wrong Tops 45. That'll happen.
I reckon the four Delbert Barker sides are the best, especially 1954's No, I Don't Believe I Will, an eleven-bar (!) blues with a stop-time intro a la Heartbreak Hotel and Blue Suede Shoes. This is a cover of a Carl Smith single.
In the technical dept., Down Yonder and Waitin' Just for You were rendered savable by getting rid of the right channel, which was nothing but scratch. Luckily, whatever needle did this to the disc was on much friendlier terms with the left groove wall.
Criss-crossing needle digs made for an editing nightmare toward the end of Sparkling Brown Eyes--you'll still hear echoes of clicks and pops, but I managed to remove most of the noise. All of that trouble for a Tops EP? Yes. Because I'm nuts.
To the authentically fake country: Fake Country 2
How Much Is That Hound Dog in the Window--Rusty Howard and Dick James (Tops 368)
Orchids Mean Goodbye--Corky Carpenter (Same)
Waitin' Just for You--R.B. Gibson (Folk 131)
Lovesick Blues--Delbert Barker (Kentucky 534; 1952)
I Overlooked an Orchid--Same
No, I Don't Believe I Will--Delbert Barker (Gateway 1101; 1954)
Hearts of Stone--Same
I Don't Hurt Anymore--Rusty Howard and the Rhythm Rangers (Tops R 239)
Sparkling Brown Eyes--Same
One By One--Same