Saturday, August 24, 2013
78s left out in the rain--Ragtime, barbershop, Hugo Winterhalter
As you can see, I left today's 78s out in the rain (second image). Never do that. Luckily, I digitized these prior to the tragedy. And, yes, I'm kidding.
But I'm not kidding when I say that today's shellac tracks will set your toes a'tappin' and your mp3 player a'... a'... um... a'playin'. Yeah, a'playin'. And, in fact, one of these comes from vinyl--George Jones' hyper cover version of Elvis' My Baby Left Me, ripped from a 6-selection Gilmar 45 rpm EP. (Say that 50 times in a row.) George should have picked a key better suited to his voice, but despite the out-there vocal (not to mention the out of key backing), My Baby Left Me works beautifully as a cover. I had ripped three other tracks from the same EP, and all had skips in the audio. Don't get me started on this PC's habit of doing that.
And lots of piano music today, from Harry Snodgrass' sloppy but colorful pianism (from1925 but sounding acoustical), to Walter Durstock's play-as-fast-as-possible-and-try-to-hit-the-right-notes versions of Maple Leaf Rag and Dill Pickles (both from 1948, if it's the same "Universal" label listed in my 78 guide), to Bill Krenz' superb, spot-on, virtually flawless performances of his own rag number (Oh Willie Play That Thing) and a Zez Confrey novelty (Coaxing the Piano). Good musicians, all, but Bill is in a virtuoso class by himself. The Durstock and Krenz sides remind us that ragtime was alive and well in post-Twenties pop long before The Sting came along. And I have no idea what I just typed.
The Alabama Jubilee cover version on the Tops label is, as far as I know, a copy of Red Foley's hit version, even if Bob Sandy manages to sound more like Frankie Laine than Foley. Hiss filtering worked wonders with this side--barely a peep of the hiss remains. (Peep of the hiss??) And... the Chicago Glee Club (first side in our playlist) is, or was, actually a quartet. Their brand of vintage barbershop is the type I live to find. What else? Oh, some semi-hot dance band music by Carl Fenton's Orchestra on Brunswick, and two elegant and very cool cool sides by Hugo Winterhalter from 1950, the year he started at RCA as chief arranger and conductor. (Hugo backed Merv Griffin on Griffin's 1951 solo hit, Twenty-Three Starlets. Likely arranged it, too.) And the party closes with Mitchell Ayres' The Wolf Song, from 1942, a side with strong Spike Jones vibes. Ayres was Perry Como's long-time musical director.
Click here to hear: Honey That I Love So Well
Honey That I Love So Well--Chicago Glee Club (Victor 16693; 1911)
Footloose--Carl Fenton's Orch.; vocal: Irving Kaufman (Brunswick 2943; 1925)
I Miss My Swiss--Same; vocals: Irving and Jack Kaufman
Three O'Clock in the Morning--Harry Snodgrass, King of the Ivories (Brunswick 2850; 1925)
The Moonlight, a Waltz, and You--Same
Alabama Jubilee--Bob Sandy and the International Cowboys (Tops 315)
My Baby Left Me--Rusty Howard (George Jones) and the Rhythm Rangers (Gilmar 124)
Here Comes the Bride on a Pinto Pony--Hugo Winterhalter's Orch. and Chorus, 1950.
Babes in the Woods (Greene-Kern)--Same
Maple Leaf Rag (Joplin)--Walter Durstock, piano solo (Universal 118; 1948)
Dill Pickles (C.L. Johnson)--Same
Oh Willie Play That Thing (Krenz)--Bill Krenz, piano (MGM 11264; 1952)
Coaxing the Piano (Zez Confrey)--Same
The Wolf Song--Mitchell Ayres and His Fashions-in-Music; vocal: Johnny Bond (1942)