Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Yes, it's Artie Malvin

Themes from Hollywood Films (1957?) was your usual cheap-label "theme" LP--namely, a carelessly tossed together collection of whatever previously released tracks happened to satisfy the title.  The cover consisted of a still from a current movie (in this case, 1957's No Down Payment)--a ploy intended to conceal the fact that 1) most of the tracks weren't recent, and 2) none were from actual soundtracks.

How did Tony Randall and Sheree North feel about showing up on this cover?  Did they even know they were on it?  The answer is lost is the mists of Newsweek.  I mean, Time.

Anyway, I bought this LP because it contains Rock Around the Clock, which I figured would be the version by the Waldorf Music Hall label's Artie Malvin, who had sung for Glenn Miller in an earlier era.  I figured this because Audition is an Enoch Light label.  But I had to be sure.  Well, I was right--it's Malvin.  I was sort of hoping it would be an instrumental, but no such luck.  Note that the cover cites the 1956 Rock Around the Clock movie instead of the film that made the song such a huge hit--i.e., 1955's Blackboard Jungle.

The Malvin version is interesting because it is one of a small number of Clock recordings which presents the song as originally written (as opposed to Bill Haley's 1954 reworking), meaning that the verse ("One, two, three o'clock, four o'clock rock....") is in minor mode, and that the chorus starts out mi, fa, sol instead of do, mi, sol, like we're used to.  It means that Enoch Light and Malvin were working from the sheet music, not copying Haley's Louis Jordan-esque recording.  Most, if not all, of the other cheap-label knock-offs of the day imitated Haley--even, in a couple of instances, down to the tricky Danny Cedrone guitar solo.  (Check out Jack Richard's Broadway label version.)

Also interesting: Instead of (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock, the label reads, "We Gonna":

And, sure enough, that's what Artie sings: "We gonna rock...."  That's cool.  I don't know why, but it is.

And this is why I collect records--for exciting, hold-the-phone discoveries like this one.  I'd post the track, but the tune's a tad too famous.  Artie's version is not at YouTube--I checked.  Yes, it's on YouTube: RATC.  Thanks, DonHo57!



DonHo57 said...

There is THIS one on youtube, Lee -https://youtu.be/3SIhau-jHFg

Not sure if it's similar to your LP or not. Yours looks to be a nice lineup of tunes, whether ony and his squeeze are singing or not. I prefer the original version of the song to Haley's take...Haley's version is too fast to be properly "groovy" for my ears. Sorta like what bands have done to "In The Mood" over the years, the original take on the song was slow and driving, almost 'dirty'. But it just works better that way given the lyrics.

DonHo57 said...

The 'other' Artie..this is my favorite version.


Lee Hartsfeld said...

Thanks for the links. The Artie Shaw "In the Mood" is very interesting. I don't think I've heard that before. I'm so used to Miller's version that it seems a tad slow, of course, but I see what you mean--it changes the whole feel. It would be fun to hear the song done in "titty-shaker" fashion. I think it would work.

(Crude term, but I see it all the time!)

The slower RATC is much closer to the original conception, yes. What happened is that Haley was looking for his own "Rock the Joint," and he saw the potential for altering RATC accordingly. As you may know, Haley's 1952 recording of "Rock the Joint" includes what would become Cedrone's RATC guitar solo.

But RATC, as written, is closer to the Andrews Sisters than Louis Jordan. So it goes. For some reason, Haley wasn't allowed to record the number during his Essex label period. I forgot why.

I'm thinking of putting up a cool dance-class version (Velmo label, I think) that sounds like RATC was written to sound--i.e., as a big band throwback rather than a rockabilly-ish 12-bar. I've always wanted to type "rockabilly-ish 12-bar."

I'll have to look up the "In the Mood" lyrics. Thanks for the info.

Newton said...

Please, how can I download this item?
Thank you.
Newton, from Brazil

Lee Hartsfeld said...

Hi. You can hear the Artie Malvin track here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SIhau-jHFg

I didn't upload the album pictured. Sorry!

Newton said...

Hi Lee.
I would like to download the Lp: THEMES FROM HOLLYWOOD FILMS, complete if possible.
Thank you.