Friday, April 21, 2017

Society Favorites that are our favorites (Royale VLP 6042)

More adventures in cheap vinyl.  Today, the Royale label is making another appearance--Royale, you'll recall, belonged to Elliott Everett "Eli" Oberstein, whose labels were probably the cheapest of the cheap, though I hesitate to make a claim that cheap--I mean, that large.  As is not infrequently the case, the music here is quite decent--much better than the second-rate vinyl it was pressed on.  Best of the bunch are the marvelous pre-RCA and Columbia Percy Faith sides, which date from (I believe) 1946.

Vintage easy listening which can't be beat--that is, unless it was more competently mastered, and on better vinyl, but that's why you have me--to restore this stuff.  This ten-inch LP dates from... who knows when?  It has a copyright date of 1952, but I wouldn't trust that.

Society Favorites (That Are Our Favorites).  For the socialites and non-socialites among us.

Click here to hear:  Society Favorites

Body and Soul--Stevens Orchestra
Sweet and Lovely--Nat Brandwynne and Orchestra
Dancing in the Dark--Percy Faith and Orchestra
You and the Night and the Music--The Twilight Three
I Cover the Waterfront--Stevens Orchestra
I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plans--Chauncey Gray and Orchestra
That Old Black Magic--Percy Faith and Orchestra
The Continental--Jerry Wald and Orchestra

Society Favorites (That Are Our Favorites)--Royale VLP 6042 (10")


Monday, April 17, 2017

Kostelanetz, to date

While I'm wigging out over my Impala's unreliable AUX function, here are the links to all of my active Andre Kostelanetz posts:

Kosty Speaks! The Voice Behind the BatonKosty Speaks

Ten-inch Kosty: Kostelanetz Strings:  K. Strings

Kosty for Saturday: KFS

Exotic Music (1946): EM

Andre Kostelanetz, 1934-1946: AK, 1934-1946


In 2017, auxiliary jacks are super-duper cutting-edge high-tech ultra-technology of the future

In case you didn't know that.  Some would argue that auxiliary (AUX) jacks are 1930s technology, but we have a 2017 Chevy Impala with a state of the art entertainment console/module/something, and the AUX function doesn't work.  It's that simple.  It doesn't work.

Simple logic tells us that, if an AUX function doesn't work on a state of the art, super-duper, ultra-modern, latest-technology entertainment console, then it must be, at the very least, emergent technology.

At any rate, it was working yesterday.  The console "detected" my AUX device (a Panasonic portable CD player plugged into the AUX jack), and I was able to play CDs and stuff, and everything was great.  Today, no device was detected.  No sound.  Everything was as I had left it, but no detected device, no sound.  None.  Nada.  Zilch.  Nicht.  Zero.

So I plugged, unplugged, turned the car off and on again, tested the Panasonic player in the house (it's working fine), then counted to ten to keep from smashing something in anger.

Worked yesterday but not today.  Who to ask for help?  Well, given the fact that the folks at the dealership, including a tech, are less familiar with the console/module/something menu that I am (picture a tech poking around, with no idea what he's looking for because Chevrolet forgot to inform anyone what they were planning to do with the 2017 Impala command center console thingie), going back to the dealership would likely be an exercise in, "Hm.  We don't know what's happening," only it would take 20 minutes to get to that revelation, and meanwhile everyone would act like they knew what they were doing.  And there's no number to call.

And imagine if there was a help center.  Person on phone (heavy foreign accent): "Do you have the device plugged in?"  Only, of course, it would come out, "Do you haf dee (inaudible) plag een?"

Here I sit, defeated by the auxiliary function.  Back in 1955, Bev, who is going on 83, used an AUX jack to listen to her record player through her radio.  In 2017, I can't use an AUX jack to play my Panasonic through my super-duper, state of the art, emergent-technology entertainment audio console/module/whatever.

1955=plug player into AUX, sit back and enjoy the sound.  2017=No device detected.


UPDATE: Working again.  But... for how long?  (Ominous music, fade)

UPDATE, PART 2: Continuing to work.  It's messing with me!


Sunday, April 16, 2017

More Easter sounds--Make Like a Bunny, Honey; Easter Chimes; He Lives

My bobblehead bunny (from Walgreens, I think) and his two buddies asked me to dig up some more Easter music, so of course I complied.

Here are six more Easter selections, including three extremely silly ones that will always have a home at MY(P)WHAE.  My Stairway to Easter (not one of the silly ones--or is it?) is a takeoff on a little-known Led Zeppelin number--a ditty you may have heard once or twice.  Or a thousand times.  And here's Jimmy Carroll again.  We heard him not too long ago in multi-tracked form, in which he functioned as a clarinet orchestra performing Tiptoe Thru the Tulips.  That really happened--it wasn't a dream.

Beautiful rainbow this morning, perfectly situated for viewing from our church fellowship room window.  Maybe it's a sign the storms will be mild tonight.  (Well, I can hope.)

More Easter music

He Lives (Ackley)--Ralph Carmichael Choir
Funny Little Bunnies--The Cricketts w. the Peter Pan Orch.
Easter Chimes (Hartsfeld)--Lee Hartsfeld, plus echo, 2006
Bunny Hop--Peter Pan Orch. and Singers, 1955
Stairway to Easter (Hartsfeld)--Lee Hartsfeld and Noteworthy Composer, 2009
Make Like a Bunny, Honey--Jill Corey, w. Jimmy Carroll Orch. and Cho., 1957



Happy Easter!  As we did last year, we have the Shannon Quartet, from 1925, singing Robert (Shall We Gather at the River) Lowry's Christ Arose, the Trinity Quartet, from 1922, singing Jesus Lives!, and the 1919 Columbia Stellar Quartette recording of Robert Hood Bowers' Memories of Easter.  The difference is, this year I used VinylStudio, so things should be sounding better (or, at least, more accurate in the response curve department).  Plus, I've added the terrific 1908 Haydn Quartet version of Arose.

Then you get to hear me on the Casio (don't let the Casio reputation throw you) with my very own rendering of Christ Arose, plus Christ the Lord Is Risen Today and Lasst Uns Erfreuen.  You get, among other sounds, organ, banjo, and tubular bells.  All played in real-time by your blogger.

Don't overdo the chocolate.  Just kidding.  Overdo the chocolate.  And, one of these days, I'll learn to type "chocolate" without dropping an o.  By the way, the wind-up hopper on my Casio is supposed to be a bunny, but it looks more like a modified Peep.  Very strange.

To the Easter sounds: Easter 2017

Christ Arose!--Shannon Quartet, 1925
Christ Arose--Haydn Quartet, 1908
Jesus Lives!--Trinity Quartet, 1922
Memories of Easter (Bowers)--Marie Morrisey and Columbia Stellar Quartette, 1919
Christ Arose--Lee Hartsfeld, Casio WK-3800 organ
Christ the Lord Is Risen Today--Lee Harstfeld, Casio organ sounds, banjo
Lasst Uns Erfreuen--Lee Hartsfeld, Casio tubular bells


Thursday, April 13, 2017

16 Complete Full Length All-Time Western Favorites (Tops)

Someone asked me, "Why haven't you posted 16 Complete Full Length All-Time Western Favorites?"  Puzzled, I replied, "Is that one of mine?"  Sure enough, it is.  (I have so many of these things, I lost track ages ago.)  And here it is, ripped from four extended-play 45s containing four tracks each.

Artists are Bob Sandy, both solo and with his Rhythm Rangers, and Rusty Howard.  I Forgot to Remember to Forget is an Elvis cover, of course.  Tops (which, afaik, started about 1948) was possibly the premiere fake-hits budget label of the 1950s, of which only Promenade (later, Pickwick) was second to.  Here's the source for Tops information: Tops/Mayfair Story  .  And their starting year was 1947, not 1948.  (I was close).

Condition--and, therefore, sound quality--varies on these, but all are listenable.  Some sound pretty good, in fact.  Why the wear is uneven on members of the same set, I know not, though the possibilities include some tracks getting more play than others and/or one or two discs falling victim to a worn stylus.

The Top label's engineering, unlike its pressings, was more than adequate, so brace yourself for fidelity that belies the set's low asking price ($2.98?).  There's zero correspondence between the sleeve's track listing and the way the titles show up on the oddly ordered discs (R268, R270, R272, and R277), so don't be surprised when you encounter none.

To the "western series" music: All-Time Western Favorites

Love, Love, Love--Bob Sandy & The Rhythm Rangers
All Right--Same
Yonder Comes a Sucker--Rusty Howard
I Guess I'm Crazy--Bob Sandy & The Rhythm Rangers
Just Call Me Lonesome--Same
Cry, Cry, Cry--Same
I Forgot to Remember to Forget--Bob Sandy
That Do Make It Nice--Rusty Howard and the Rhythm Rangers
You're Free to Go--Bob Sandy & The Rhythm Rangers
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry--Same
Don't Take It Out on Me--Same
Why, Baby, Why?--Same
Bayou Baby--Same
Trouble in Mind--Same
You and Me--Bob Sandy & Pat Manners
I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby--Bob Sandy & The Rhythm Rangers

(Tops R268, R270, R272, and R277)


Thursday, April 06, 2017

Music to perk up your day--"Television Moon," and more

"I'll see your picture, my love, over here in my Television Moon.
I'll dream that you're by my side--a charming, blushing bride.
So make your plans, my love, for a wedding some day in June.
We'll be happy then, my love, underneath our Television Moon."

Television Moon, 1953

I've owned Television Moon for a number of years, and I still can't figure out exactly what it's about.  I mean, if the singer is talking about imagining the face of his fiance in the Moon, why call it a "television" moon?  Some early TV tubes were round like the Moon, but....  Suffice it to say, this one stumps me.  But it perks me up, too!  I have no idea why.  Stump, perk--what's the difference?

And we have three perky sides by Billy Murray, the earliest from 1906.  I deleted Billy from a previous playlist due to zip file space, but I left his name in the post heading, causing a little confusion.  (Don't you like the way "I screwed up" becomes "caused a little confusion"?)  But he's here this time, unless his tracks manage to sneak out of the zip file or something.  Marimba is a favorite from childhood--it was in the first 78 rpm album I ever owned (previously my great-grandmother's).  I reckon I hadn't heard it in nearly 50 years (!) prior to finding this copy, and I'm a little surprised at how risque the lyrics are.  Went over my 9-year-old head.  Probably a good thing.

Other perky picks include the 1951 Alarm Clock Boogie, which I'd bet the farm was produced by Ray Conniff, because of the drowned-in-echo vocal "tick tock" effects and the ringing alarm clock--very restrained and subtle stuff.   (I love Conniff!)  Notice how the overall sound breaks up when the latter effect is added in, as if the mix were being overloaded.  Overall, this side is an interesting experiment that almost didn't come off.

Georgie Shaw's Honeycomb predates Jimmie Rodger's hit version by four years.  (Wikipedia dates the Shaw at 1954, but it's 1953.)  It was written by Bob (How Much Is That Doggie in the Window) Merrill.

And... two 1915 bagpipe records.  Think I'm kidding?  You won't when they start playing.  Amazingly well recorded for the day, and pretty catchy.  Speed them up a little, add some banjos, and you'd have early country.

And after you hear all these, you will feel perked up, or your money back.  Of course, these were free....

To the perky picks: Television Moon, and other songs to perk up your day.

Television Moon (Albert H. Monday)--Diane Richards w. Red Reese and His Orch., prob. 1953
Honeycomb (Bob Merrill)--Georgie Shaw w. the Jimmy Leyden Singers, 1953
Alarm Clock Boogie--Billy Briggs with String Band, 1951  (Conniff production?)
Cheyenne (Cowboy Song)--Billy Murray, 1906
Marimba (Sweet Marimba Mine)--Billy Murray, 1920
Down by the O-HI-O--Billy Murray-Victor Roberts, 1920
Scotch Bagpipe Medley--No. 1--Lovat Bagpipe Band of N.Y. (with Harry Lauder Co.), 1915
Scotch Bagpipe Medley--No. 2--Same
Come Take a Trip in My Airship--J.W. Meyers, 1904
Arkansas Traveler--Square Dance--Shorty McCoy and his Southern Playboys, 1941
Dixie's Favorite Son--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1924
My Teardrops Fall on Daddy's Cheek--Diane Richards w. Red Reese and His Orch., prob. 1953


Monday, April 03, 2017

Monday night mood--Percy Faith: Music from Hollywood, Vol. II

The best kind of easy listening--namely, Percy Faith.  The Song from Moulin Rouge isn't the hit single; this is an extended instrumental version, and beautifully done.  The Bad and the Beautiful movie theme is by David Raskin, best known for Laura, a tune I can't listen to without hearing the Spike Jones parody--which is okay, since the Jones record is a comic masterpiece.  ("And you see Laura, On the train that is passing through."  BROMO SELTZER, BROMO SELTZER!)

At any rate, listsen to the gorgeous Raskin harmonies on Bad and the Beautiful and ask yourself if it's possible Burt Bacharach wasn't influenced by this guy.  I don't know about you, but I hear Burt.

My copy of this EP is in excellent-minus condition, so cleaning it up was a breeze.  Easy listening EPs are often not in such fine shape.  Believe me.

Anyway, the perfect EP for our Mondy night mood morsel.  Take it away,

Percy Faith--Music from Hollywood, Pt. II


Sunday, April 02, 2017

Sunday afternoon gospel--A.T. Humphries and Lee College Choir

You want gospel music with energy?  This'll fill the bill, and then some.  Two anthems by the great Charles H. Gabriel, sung by the Lee College Choir, and accompanied by piano and (somewhere in there) an organ.  Do I hear two pianos?

The second--Awakening Chorus--is quite well-known as church anthems go, but I've never heard it played Blackwood Bros. style, and I'd have never imagined it would sound so good that way.  Great singing, great everything.  Gabriel was gospel's most brilliant minimalist.  He may have been its greatest talent, period.

I am not connected in any way with Lee College.  (Rim shot)

Reapers Are Needed (Gabriel)--A.T. Humphries and Lee College Choir

Awakening Chorus (Gabriel)--A.T. Humphries and Lee College Choir

Two "This is why I collect gospel records" gems for you, there.  I'll be on the lookout for more EPs on the Continental Recordings label.  I wonder if these were sold by the church, or...?  I doubt they showed up in record stores.



Saturday, April 01, 2017

Jimmy Carroll, Guy Mitchell, Dick Jurgens, "Chalk-Talk on the Sidewalk"

And the return of Elliot Everett.  What a playlist!  78s all, and all from my collection.

We start with Jimmy Carroll, whose name can be found on the Bell, Golden Records, Columbia, Mercury, Cook, and Decca labels (the man got around), and who may be best known for his arrangements for Mitch Miller, including the ones on Miller's "Sing-Along with Mitch" LPs.  But please don't let that stop you from listening to his amazing multi-tracked clarinets on Tiptoe Thru the Tulips with Me and Clarinet Polka, both from 1953 on Columbia.  1953 was early in the multi-tracking game, and these sound incredibly clean and well balanced, so you've got to wonder what kind of equipment they were working with.  You'd expect more generational loss if they were going from tape machine to tape machine.  Anyway....

Guy Mitchell recorded for King as Al Grant, and these two 1950 King promo sides, while in perfect shape, aren't exactly Columbia quality, sound-wise, but they do the job.  Here are the label scans, both of which include a short bio of Grant (Mitchell, whose real name was Al Cernik):

Since these are radio promos, I was expecting better sound, but life is full of surprises.

"Elliot Everett," performing here on the Royale label, is actually a portion of the label owner's name.  Who knows who this really is?  Fun version, nicely recorded (especially for Royale), and with a slight swing.  Nice.  I used my 3.5 mil stylus on this worn sdie.

Back to Guy, who sings here under his real name, Al Cernik, for Carmen Cavallaro.  He shows up again on the fourteenth selection (Encore, Cherie), my favorite of the trio.  Al's voice is just fabulous.  The perfect band singer, and just as big bands were going out.  But it worked for him, as he got bigger than big on Columbia as a solo singer.  Encore, Cherie, by the way, was composed by J. Fred Coots, who also gave us the slightly more famous Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town.

Chalk-Talk on the Sidewalk I bought for the title--turns out to be a very pleasant side, too.

The family-hour novelty, The Honey-Dripper, really rocks in this 1945 version by Sammy Franklin and His Atomics.  Who were they?  I have no idea--look them up.  Got fine sound using VinylStudio and my wider stylus.

Cousin Joe is nothing but the low-down blues, and I had to laugh at Old Man Blues, but not because I'm getting old and I relate to it or anything like that.  The Al Casey Quartette is fine.

Alabama Jubilee, a worn disc my 3.5 stylus did wonders for, is on the fake-hits label Tops, though I'm not positive who's being copied here.  Red Foley?  Probably.  World Events, presented here in easy-listening fashion, was used as the theme music for Movietone News newreels, which means nothing to us modern, post-newsreel people, unless we frequent weird-music blogs like, oh... hmm.  Can't think of any specific examples, offhand.

Sixty Seconds Got Together has timeless lyrics, and the singer is Eddie Howard.  So who can complain?  The lyricist is Hal David's brother, Mack.

To the music: Jimmy Carroll


Tiptoe Thru the Tulips with Me--Jimmy Carroll x 5, 1953
Clarinet Polka--Same guy
Forget Me Not--Al Grant (Guy Mitchell) w. Orchestra, 1950
You're the Sweetest Thing--Al Grant (Guy Mitchell) w. the Satisfiers Foursome, 1950
Syncopated Clock--Elliot Everett and His Orch.
Ah, But It Happens--Al Cernik (Guy Mitchell), w. Carmen Cavallaro O., 1947
I Go In When the Moon Comes Out--Same
Chalk-Talk on the Sidewalk--Dick Jurgens and His Orch., 1950
The Honeydripper, Pts. 1 & 2 (Joe Liggins)--Sammy Franklin and His Atomics, 1945
Too Tight to Walk Loose--Cousin Joe w. the Al Casey Quartette, 1947
Old Man Blues--Same
Alabama Jubilee--Bob Sandy and the International Cowboys
World Events (Zamecnik)--Warren Baker and the Baker's Dozen, 1953
Encore, Cherie--Al Cernik (Guy Mitchell) w. Carmen Cavallaro O., 1947
Sixty Seconds Got Together--George Olsen and His Music, v: Eddie Howard, 1938


Monday, March 27, 2017

Sunday morning 78s (delayed)--General William Booth, Mark Love, Manhattan Quartett

Some 100-plus-year-old 78s survive in superb condition.  Others (see above) don't.  In fact, the crack on this 1905 disc was an overlapping one until I made both sides flush and taped the rim.  ("So, what are you doing?" "Making both sides flush and taping the rim."  "Is that so?")

And, as you can see, the grooves got a lot of gramophone play back in the day.  Yet, for all that, this thrift store find sounds pretty darn good.  That'll happen sometimes.  The solo tenor lead still rings out 112 years later.  Well worth the buck or two I paid.

The rest of these are in less dire shape--in fact, the two 1907 addresses by Salvation Army founder General William Booth are practically mint, though the dubs themselves are filled with lots of rumble and turntable noise (maybe they were badly transferred from cylinders?).  I left all the lower frequency muck in there for authenticity's sake.  (Eliminating the noise only made Booth's addresses harder to make out.)  At the end of Through Jordan, it may sound like Booth is saying, "Fire abolished!" but he's actually saying "Fire a volley!"  Which means, "Everyone say 'Amen.'"  Or so I read online.

Elsewhere, the conditions range from decent to highly decent, with Mark Love's two sides (who was this great singer?) awesome in both the engineering and singing department.  I could only find two Mark Love sides at the invaluable Online Discographical Project, so maybe that's all he ever did.  A darned shame, if so.

The rest are quartets (including a German "Quartett"), choirs (including "A Church Choir"--the actual name on the label), and, possibly, a trio (Don't You Hear Jerusalem Moan).  Hard to tell on Jerusalem, since the singing's a tad ragged.  Which is exactly how 1926 hillbilly gospel should sound.  Great side.

Nearer My God to Thee, by the way, is not the tune familiar to U.S. ears.  Haven't researched it yet.

CLICK HERE TO HEAR: Sunday morning 78s, delayed

Blessed Assurance--Mark Love, 1925.
Ring the Bells of Heaven--Same
Ein' Feste Burg Ist Unser Gott--Manhattan Quartett (Year unknown; pre-electric)
Ehre Sei Gott In Der Hohe--Same
Sun of My Soul--A Church Choir, 1926
Abide with Me--Same
The Church's One Foundation--A Church Choir, 1910
Nearer My God to Thee--Same
Wayside Cross--Criterion Quartet, 1921
Some Blessed Day--Same
He Will Set Your Fields on Fire--Smith's Sacred Singers, 1927
I Will Sing of My Redeemer--Same
Through Jordan--General Booth, Founder of the Salvation Army, 1907
Please Sir, Save Me--Same
Hold the Fort (Bliss)--The Chautaugua Preachers' Quartette, 1914
Don't You Hear Jerusalem Moan--Gid Tanner and His Skillet-Lickers w. Riley Puckett, 1926
The Glory Song (O, That Will Be Glory)--Haydn Quartet, 1905

Sunday morning on a Monday evening.  Only at... MY(P)WHAE!


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Kosty speaks! The voice behind the baton.

A treat for us Kosty fans, courtesy of FOTB (friend of the blog) Kevin Tam--a 1955 or 1956 interview with Andre Kostelanetz, in which Andre discusses the inspiration behind the suite (I either didn't know or had forgotten the suite was Kosty's idea), shares some Ferde Grofe details, and, starting with band 6, discusses the other selections on Columbia CL 763.

He had a charming Russian accent--a little thicker than I might have guessed, but of course I had no evidence to go by.  I did, however, watch a Kosty appearance on I've Got a Secret, which is (or at least was) up on YouTube.

The voice behind the baton.  Thanks, Kevin!

Link: Kosty Speaks 

You can listen at or download the file (upper right-hand corner).


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Morton Gould--Elliot Everett and His Orch. (Varsity VLP6041)

Another Record Corp. of America classic, only this time in very acceptable sound.  In fact, the sound quality is pretty astonishing for Royale/Varsity.  (Note that the jacket says Varsity, and the label says Royale.  Typical fake-RCA attention to detail.)

Five excellent compositions by American composer and conductor Morton Gould, plus two filler tracks not by him--Brazilian Boogie and Third-Man (sic) Theme.  A perfectly good ten-inch LP, which makes it superb by Royale standards.  "Recorded in Europe," says the label.  Elliot Everett is a pseudonym.

I used my 3.5 elliptical LP stylus, and it was the right choice.

To the Gould: Morton Gould--Elliot Everett and his Orch. (Varsity/Royale 6041)


Sunday, March 19, 2017

An Hour of Lousy Sound Star Dust--Royale Concert Orchestra

The back jacket promises "full fidelity," which would normally be a good thing, but not when the label is Royale.

Royale, of course, was a member of the Record Corporation of America's stable of ultra-cheap labels, and An Hour of Star Dust is one of the least competently recorded and engineered fake-RCA releases of all--a horrifying charge, but true.  It also contains some of the funnest music anywhere in the company's catalog, so there's that.

By the way, I wrote "fake-RCA" to distinguish RCA from, for instance, RCA.

Did I say incompetently engineered?  Well, on top of the substandard (but full!) fidelity, we have the loud sound of a machine turning on and off between the tracks--a noise I graciously eliminated for you (am I a great guy or what?).  Where these recordings came from, I can't venture to guess--radio broadcasts, maybe?  I'm picturing a hand-held microphone, a tape recorder, and a radio.  That would explain the extremely low fidelity here.

Have I insulted the sound sufficiently?  Probably not.  But, as I noted, this is highly fun stuff, and it's one heck of a cheap-label relic. Note that Hollywood Concerto is actually a male chorus singing sea songs.  Possibly Royale had intended to include something by that name (Hollywood Concerto) but their clerk grabbed the wrong masters or something.  Not worth puzzling over.  It was just the RCA (not to be confused with RCA) way.

To the fun sounds:  An Hour of Star Dust

(See LP front for track listing.)


Friday, March 17, 2017

Ten-inch Kosty: Kostelanetz Strings (1950)

What can I say about this LP?  Well, for one, that I hope I didn't overdo the bass in my restoration.  After inverting the RIAA LP curve (my favorite thing to do!), I set the bass rollover frequency at 500, which might be too boomy (so to speak).  Let me know.

What else can I say about this LP?  Well, it's totally superb, and nobody else--repeat, nobody else--had Kosty's ability to give a fresh feel to music we've (possibly) heard a thousand times.  For instance, dig the angels-in-the-clouds opening to Londonderry Air (which I used to think was about a type of oxygen), and dig the brilliant work on Pizzicato Polka, Hungarian Dance No. 5, and the played-to-death Flight of the Bumble Bee.  This is music so beautifully performed and recorded, your ears don't care that they're on their umpteenth go-round.

I'll have to ask, though--is Schubert's The Bee a standard?  Unlike all the other titles, The Bee doesn't buzz a bell, so maybe it's not a Pops perennial.  If not, why not?  It's great.  I was going to try to make a "ring a bell" pun, but "sting like hell" is the best I could do, so I'll let it bee.  (Get it?  Let it bee???)

Somewhere, I read a review which used the term "Kostelanetized" (can't remember the spelling) to describe what Kosty (or his arrangers, more precisely) did.  Maybe it referred to all the added-sixth and I 6/9 chords. (On the piano, starting on the C below middle C, play C-G-C-E-A-D.  Transpose as needed per key.)  Add in a B under the D for flavor.

 For a more Bacharach-style chord, play C-E-G-B-D-E-G-B. This ends today's music lesson.

To the ten-inch Kosty: Kostelanetz Strings


Humoresque (Dvorak)
Hora Staccato (Dinicu-Heifetz)
Traumerei (Schumann)
The Bee (Shubert)
Flight of the Bumble Bee (Rimsky-Korsakov)
Lullaby (Brahms)
Pizzicato Polka (Johann and Josef Strauss)
Londonderry Air (Traditional)
Hungarian Dance No. 5 in F-Sharp Minor (Brahms)

(Columbia ML 2100; 1950)


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Night and Day--Andre Kostelanetz (1940)

DonHo57 mentioned Andre Kostelanetz' recording of Night and Day as one of his "top ten easy listening big band recordings," And here's my rip thereof.

I'm almost sure that this 1940 recording is the same one featured on that 1961 Lucky Strike LP (Remember How Great...?).  It's a cool rendition, anyway.

Click here to hear:  Night and Day--Andre K. and His Orch., 1940


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Kosty for Saturday

This is the music we'll be hearing today:

People from all around the globe have been asking me, "How about some Saturday Kosty?"  And so here is some Saturday Kosty for today (Saturday--coincidence?).  Kosty=Kostelanetz, as in Andre.  Like Irving Berlin, Kosty was born in Russia.  Which has nothing to do with anything, but I like to mention it because I love to rattle off obscure pop music factoids.  But only if I know them.  And, come to think of it, Kostelanetz being from Russia isn't that obscure a factoid....  Anyway.

Today's Kosty is the usual light classical/Broadway/Tin Pan Alley mix.  We start with a brilliant performance of Villa-Lobos' 1930 classic, The Little Train of the Caipira, in superb 1953 sound, followed by a dreamy rendition of Debussy's Clair de Lune., either the 1940 or 1952 recording (I suspect '52).  I ripped both great-sounding tracks from the 1955 CL- (mostly a re. of the 1953 ML-) series Columbia LP, Clair de Lune and Popular Favorites, of which I'd planned to make a full-LP rip until I noticed (with my ears) the needle-drop marks throughout.  All pretty loud.  Curses.  But these two selections were more than repairable with MAGIX declicking.  Thank you, O Vinyl God.

Gabriel Pierne's Entrance of the Little Fauns (note: no w!), according to a Kosty discography I'm looking at right now, was recorded in 1955.  Then, a "medley" I edited together of selections (from three Kosty LPs) by Vincent Youmans, Hugh Martin, and Richard Rodgers.  We end with Harold Arlen's Blues in the Night (rec. 1944) and a perfect version of Arthur Schwartz' marvelous You and the Night and the Music (rec. 1950?).

People who pass over the Kosty LPs at Goodwill are only leaving more for us Andre fans to find.

Click here to hear: Saturday Kosty


The Little Train of the Caipira (Toccata; Villa-Lobos), 1953
Clair de Lune (Debussy), 1940 or 1952.
Entrance of the Little Fauns (Pierne), 1955.
Youmans-Martin-Rodgers Medley (edited together by me).
Blues in the Night (Arlen), 1944.
You and the Night and the Music (Schwartz), 1950?


Sunday, March 05, 2017

The jazzy Jazz Age, post-ODJB! Or, Was It Jazz?

Jazz history, as written, is sort of an on/off; true/false; yes/no kind of thing--either it's jazz or it ain't jazz.  For every 25 bandleaders, solists, etc. whose music "wasn't really jazz," there were a couple of bandleaders or soloists whose music "was jazz."  Or may be it was for every 50.

Stan Kenton?  Dave Brubeck?  George Shearing?  Jury's out (coffee break).

Going back to earlier days, Paul Whiteman, Jean Goldkette, Red Nichols?  Not really jazz, even when they sounded a lot like it.  Waring's Pennsylvanians?  The glee club guy, Fred Waring??  Forget it.  Vincent Lopez?  Nah.  Ferde Grofe?  The suite writer?  Oh, he could capture the basic Dixieland sound on paper, but was it jazz?  (One guess.)  And so on.  (None of these are my conclusions, you understand.)

What do all of the "not jazz" folks have in common?  They were popular!  Ordinary, everyday people listened to them.  Traditionally, jazz is regarded as what The People didn't (and don't) listen to.  But a lot of jazz managed to get into the pop records of the post-ODJB period, and today we're going to hear a large number of them, from the big-band-ish early-'20s discs of Paul Whiteman (with their excellent Dixieland-chorus closings) to "hot" and peppy efforts that scream "Break out the flappers"--Whiteman's 1924 San, George Olsen's Hot Aire (1925), Fred Waring's Oh, Baby! (1924), arranger Ferde Grofe's take on Charleston (1925), and Ralph Williams' all-time great rendition of Prince of Wails (1924).

There was a heck of a lot of area between jazz/not jazz.  We'll be visiting it today in honor of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band's 100th (first recording) anniversary.  The ODJB's Dixieland hits opened the door.

To the fabulous sounds, all ripped from my own collection.  I should have titled these "Hot Twenties and Late Teens," but the shortened title sounds better:

Click here to hear: Hot Twenties, Part 1   Hot Twenties, Part 2


Oh, Baby!  (Don't Say No, Say Maybe) (Donaldson)--Waring's Pennsylvanians, 1924
Wang Wang Blues (Mueller-Johnson-Busse)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1920
Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1920
San (Oriental Fox Trot)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1924
Nuthin' But (Busse-Ward-Grofe)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1923
Charleston (Arr: Grofe)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1925
Memphis Blues (W.C. Handy; Arr: Grofe?)--The Virginians, Dir. Ross Gorman, 1922
I'm Just Wild About Harry--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1922
Hot Aire (Schoebel)--George Olsen and His Music, 1925
Prince of Wails (Schoebel)--Ralph Williams and His Rainbo Orch., 1924


Ma!--One-Step--The Benson Orch. of Chicago, Dir. Roy Bargy, 1921
Down Home Blues--Waring's Pennsylvanians, 1924
I'm Gonna Meet My Sweetie Now--Jean Goldkette and His Orch., 1927
Footloose--Carl Fenton's Orch., 1925
Kitten on the Keys (Confrey)--Frank Banta and Jack Austin, Piano Duet, 1922
Arkansas Blues--The Little Ramblers, 1924
String Beans (Owens-Rose)--Vincent Rose and His Montmartre Orch. of Hollywood, 1924
Sweet Emalina, My Gal--One-Step--Earl Fuller's Rector Novelty Orch., 1918
Graveyard Blues--Same
12th St. Rag (Bowman)--Ted Lewis and His Band, 1923
Where Is My Sweetie Hiding?--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1924


Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Quiz: Did washing machines exist in 1874?

A: Yes
B: No
C:  Yes and no
D:  No and yes
E: All of the above
F:  None of the above
G:  Some of the above

Well, let's see....

The answer is A: Yes.

From The Nursery, Oct., 1874


Monday, February 27, 2017

Original Dixieland Jass Band--Indiana, Darktown Strutters' Ball

The ODJB was still a "jass" band at this point (May, 1917) but soon to become "jazz."  This was before "man" followed "jazz"--that's the only reason I didn't say "jazz, man."  (And what about jazz women?)

Anyway, over at Buster's blog, we learn that the ODJB is nearing its 100th anniversary, first-recording-wise.  For the occasion, Buster remastered an RCA EP featuring four ODJB Victor sides--their first, second, fourth, and fifth--and he got it sounding quite good.

The Original Dixieland Jass/zz Band being one of my all time favorite outfits, I just had to join in the celebration, so here are the ODJB's two Columbia label sides from May, 1917--and there's a fun urban legend behind them.  As I heard it at the Gramophone Emporium (now closed) in Edinburgh, Scotland back around 1980, the ODJB auditioned at Columbia (true), and cut two sides (true).  The Columbia engineers had never heard music so strange and hilarious, so they spent the session rolling on the floor in laughter (as far as I know, false).  Hence, the bad sound on the recording (not true--it's very well recorded for 1917).

For decades, collectors thought the two ODJB sides you're going to hear--Indiana and Darktown Strutters' Ball--were the rejected Columbia test sides, but no.  They came after the group's first batch of Victor sides, not before.  Nothing punctures a good urban legend like reality, but a cool story, anyway!

To add to the fun, I give you three more Columbia jazz sides--Way Down Yonder in New Orleans by the masterful Georgians, a subset of the Phil Specht Orchestra; and two sides from Columbia's best jazz bandleader, Wilbur Sweatman--1919's That's Got 'Em and A Good Man Is Hard to Find.  Early in his career, Duke Ellington played with Sweatman.  But not on these sides.  They're awesome, regardless, especially the first title, a riff-laden jam tune and, in my judgment, an ancestor of the gospel-style, solo-dominated jams of the big band era.  Which, in turn, became the stay-on-the-tonic-and-honk-the-saxophone early rock'n'roll numbers of Hal Singer, et al. beginning in the mid-1940s. Give the Sweatman sides some longer solos (as opposed to the one-measure figures that show up throughout), and you'd have had big band.

To my ODJB tribute:  Indiana

Indiana--Original Dixieland Jass Band, Columbia A2297 (1917)
Darktown Strutters' Ball--Same
Way Down Yonder in New Orleans--The Georgians, Columbia A3804 (1922)
That's Got 'Em (Sweatman)--Wilbur Sweatman's Orig. Jazz Band, Columbia A2721 (1919)
A Good Man Is Hard to Find--Same


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Early, early discs

Labels, we've got labels.  And discs to go with 'em, too.

And since I'm showing labels, here's the back of number four:

Boss, no?

So, early, early discs.  What's unique about early, early discs at this blog?  Nothing, of course, but I needed a good title, so "early, early" they are.  And, in fact, each and every one of these is more than 100 years old, so... yeah.

I should've named this post after the Columbia Band, which shows up in nearly half of these, and sounding good.

Gorgeous stuff, some of which has seen the light of blog before, but never sounding this beautifully inverse-RIAA'd.  We have raggy marches, orchestra bell solos, clock pieces, and more.  You'll be earlied-out when all of this is done, but we all need to get drunk on the past once in a while. Cheaper than beer.

I love the way the announcement for March Lorraine sounds more like "Ach! Torraine!" or something.  On early, early discs, the first several grooves were often the ones most shredded by tracking error, which meant the announcement ended up a garbled, scratchy tragedy.  But... the announcement to 1901's Good Bye, Dolly Gray is nearly all there, sound-wise, so we have that to be thankful for.  Great sounds--and, owing to their age, very, very early!

To the early, early sounds:   Early, Early Discs


March Loraine--Columbia Band, 1901
The Mosquito Parade (Whitney)--Columbia Band, 1900
Lerhone et la Sarone (Polka; Rouseel)--Banda de Artilleria, c. 1909
Anona (Intermezzo Two-step; Vivian Grey)--Columbia Band, 1903
The Jolly Coppersmith--Columbia Band, w. Anvil Effect and Vocal Chorus, 1902
Berta (Cake Walk and Two-step)--Banda Espanolo, early 1900s
Girlish Charms--Gavotte (E. Holst)--Howard Kopp, Bell Solo, w. Orchestra, 1913
Hearts and Flowers--Columbia Band, 1901
Silver Heels  (March and Two-step; Moret)--Columbia Band, 1905
Eternelle Ivresse (Heart's Springtime; Louis Ganne)--Columbia Band, 1904
Village Belles--Barn Dance (Kendall)--Prince's Orch., 1909
Life Preserver--Two Step--Victor Dance Orch., 1911
In the Clock Store (Orth)--Prince's Orch., 1915
Chinese Wedding Procession (Hosmer)--Prince's Orch., 1915
Good Bye, Dolly Gray--Columbia Quartette, 1901

Bonus tracks:

Maybe Yes--Maybe No--The Detroiters (Bob Haring), 1928 (Melody vastly similar to The Jolly Coppersmith)
In a Clock Store--George Blackmore, organist, Youtube video.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Jazz Age gems, 1926-1929 (plus "Deep Purple," 1934)

To go with Ferde Grofe's jazzy concert piece, Metropolis (previous post), here are fourteen Jazz Age gems.  Well, to be fair, Peter DeRose's Deep Purple, while an example of "symphonic jazz," falls outside of the Jazz Age window, but it nevertheless has much in common with the 1928 Metropolis, though I imagine most people would hear Gershwin (which is not unreasonable).

The other thirteen tracks are jazzy dance music from the latter 1920s, (Thirteen tracks?  Gulp....)  And, believe it or not, one of the jazziest is Guy Lombardo's (!) 1928 Waitin' for Katy.  The flip, not included here, sounds much more like the "real" Guy.  Corny, in other words.  (I love Guy.)

And there's the superb novelty side, Ragamuffin, by Louis Katzman's Anglo-Persians, one of the most charming numbers of its type, and there's Jean Goldkette's 1927 I'd Rather Be the Girl in Your Arms, sung by (wait a minute)... Frank Bessinger?  Whoa.  What's up with that?  Actually, male vocalists singing songs with female lyrics (so to speak) wasn't unknown in the Jazz Age--I have a male vocal refrain on a recording of The Man I Love (Troubadours, maybe?), for instance.  Back then, lyrics were lyrics, I guess.  The tradition didn't last, of course.  Good thing--imagine Rosemary Clooney singing 16 Tons.

Jean Goldkette's famous Sunday (famous because Bix Beiderbecke is on it), features the Keller Sisters and Lynch, and I love "the Keller Sisters and Lynch."  The sound of it, I mean.  Their vocal sound is pretty cool, too.  And Red Nichols--ahh, yes. My introduction to the 1920s.  I grew up listening to my dad's Brunswick 78 set of Red Nichols on the Garrard hi-fi, and my dad instisted Red wasn't real jazz (too studio-perfect?).  Well, I thought he was, and I still do.  Awesome stuff.  He is too often regarded as a Bix Beiderbecke sound-alike, but when I listen to Red, I hear Red.

The wonderful Deep Purple, more famous as a song than a concert piece, was arranged by... dunno.  I'm guessing Ferde Grofe or Roy Bargy.  Grofe had left Whiteman by 1934, but he was still writing arrangements, so it could be him.  It's certainly in his style.

Click here to experience: Jazz Age Gems


I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover--Sam Lanin's Dance O., v: Billy Jones, 1927
Waitin' for Katy--Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, w. Vocal Trio, 1928
Doin' the Raccoon--The Knickerbockers (Ben Selvin), 1928
Ragamuffin (Greer)--Anglo-Persians, Dir. Louis Katzman, 1929
I'd Rather Be the Girl in Your Arms--Jean Goldkette Orch., v: Frank Bessinger, 1927
Sugar Babe, I'm Leavin'!--Blue Steele and His Orch., w. vocal chorus, 1927
Jericho--Arthur Ross and His Westerners, v: Tom Frawley, 1929
Girl of My Dreams, I Love You--Blue Steele and His Orch., w. vocal chorus, 1927
Sweet Dreams--Nat Shilkret and the Victor Orch., v: The Four Rajahs, 1928
Sunday--Jean Goldkette Orch., v: Keller Sisters and Lynch, 1926
Feelin' No Pain--Red Nichols and His Five Pennies, 1927
Ida!  Sweet as Apple Cider--Same
I'm on the Crest of a Wave--George Olsen and His Music, v: Bob Borger, 1928
Deep Purple (Peter De Rose)--Paul Whiteman and His Concert Orch., 1934


Friday, February 17, 2017

Metropolis (A Blue Fantasie; Ferde Grofe)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1928

Click here to hear: Metropolis (A Blue Fantasie; Grofe)--Paul Whiteman and His Concert Orch., 1928.

Ripped by me from my two 12" 78 rpm copies, which are 1930s reissues but which sound fine, though likely a bit duller in fidelity than the original pressings.  I previously featured these in 2010, and in decent sound, but I think the present rips sound way more vivid, with deeper bass and sharper highs.  (Deeper bass and sharper highs?  I should be writing TV ads.)

Anyway, Metropolis is sort of famous as an allegedly botched attempt at concert jazz, despite the fact that 1) it works just fine in that regard, if you ask me, and 2) until 1989 (with Willem Breuker Kollektief's amazing version) the 1928 Whiteman disc was its sole recording.  What has kept Metropolis a topic of jazz and Classical discussion is, as always, Grofe's connection to Gershwin as the orchestrator of Rhapsody in Blue--that, plus his rather unfair reputation as the guy who did the crappy commercial charts for Paul Whiteman while Bill Challis and others were writing progressive stuff.  (Never mind that Challis was a big fan of Ferde.)  Whiteman has caught hell from jazz critics for many decades now--he was fake jazz, didn't swing, yada yada--and Grofe, being his chief arranger, is co-condemned.  Being one of popular music's most gifted innovators doesn't always pay off, at least critically.

Grofe wasn't Gerswhin; he wasn't Challis; he wrote charts for Whiteman; and he hit the Classical big-time with his Grand Canyon Suite, an alleged piece of fluff (derivative fluff, at that).  Not my verdict, but pretty much the standard one until the arrival of...

...the digital age, with Grofe getting some long-overdue nice press, and with an astonishing number of his pieces having seen the light of CD (even his Niagara Falls and Hollywood suites!).  And we have friend-of-MY(P)WAE Kevin Tam resurrecting such Grofe gems as San Francisco Suite and Selections in a Wine Cellar.  I still can't believe all of this is actually happening.

At last, a Grofe discography that extends beyond the Grand Canyon and Mississippi suites.  All it took was the invention of CDs.  Plus, newly-available Grofe scores!


Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Exotic Music--Andre Kostelanetz (1946)

Gorgeous mood music, by the master of same, Russian-born Andre Kostelanetz.  Only four selections in this 12" 78rpm album, but I do not complain, especially when the music is so fine and the outside art so awesome.  (Wore my wrist out cloning out the worn spots on the black background.)

The chief problem with two-disc 78 albums is their increased tendency to crack when mailed, since there are only two records.  Dealers should know to take shellac discs out of an album (left inside, they're free to move around and crack), but "should," plus $1.29, will get you a cup of coffee at McDonald's.  And so I have at least one cracked copy of Exotic Music, but I have another--from where, I don't remember--whose discs are not only whole but, until I put them on my turntable, unplayed.  These are the ones I ripped.  I track heavy, but nothing like the tonearms of old.

The standout track, by far, is the roots-of-exotica selection Lotus Land, composed by Cyril Scott in 1905, and by far his best-known work.  The liner notes are worth quoting:

"Lotus Land finds its story in the Odyssey of Homer.  During the ten years of tribulation which he spent returning from the siege of Troy, Odysseus braved and overcame many perils, some fierce and aggressive, others latent and passive, but just as deadly.  One of these periods awaited him in the land of the Lotus-eaters.  Whoever stopped here and ate of the lotus flower would at once forget all thoughts of home and duty and remain on to live in dreamy indolence.  This peril, successfully defied by Odysseus, is pictured with wonderful realism in this impressionistic music.  The languid, dulled ease, the meaninglessness of time, the fatal beauty of the flower, are all richly embroidered in this tonal tapestry."

Damn--they don't write notes like that anymore.  And it's hard to imagine music that more perfectly describes its subject.  The other three selections, especially Flamingo, also rock.

Mood music brilliance from 1946.

Click here to hear: Exotic Music, 1946

Flamingo (Grouya)
Poinciana (Song of the Tree; Nat Simon)
Song of India (Rimsky-Korsakov)
Lotus Land (Cyril Scott)

Andre Kostelanetz and His Orch.
(Columbia MX-264, 1946)


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Elgar, with more treble

"And this is your standard boogie-woogie left hand in octaves...."

I opened up the high end on the 1926 Chicago Symphony recording of Pomp and Circumstance, and I think that was the thing to do:

Pomp and Circumstance

I don't recall labeling the file "pomp and c.," but I must have, because that's how it displays.  I was probably dozing off at the PC.


1926--a good year for popular classics

I'm using "popular classics" in the traditional sense--i.e., concert "Pops," except not Michael Jackson.  I just VinylStudio-restored two 1926 concert "Pops," and you'll have to put up with a little distortion during the loud part on the second--the wider grooves fell victim to a bad needle at some point in the disc's history.

Now, this is something I should be, but am not, clear about--namely, why was it mostly the wider grooves that got damaged by worn 78 needles?  Because the needle rests more deeply in the groove?  Or, maybe the culprit wasn't needle wear but tonearm mis-tracking.  You know, that could explain it.  If the needle isn't riding properly in the groove, then its greatest variations would happen in the wider areas.  Sections of the groove wall would take serious hits from the needle as it bounced around, whereas in the quieter, thinner grooves, the needle would be likely to mostly stay the course.

Remember that record damage is more often an issue of bad tonearm tracking/alignment than wear.  Or so I've been assured by people who know more than I do.

It's amazing what engineers could accomplish in 1926.   Hear the proof:

Pomp and Circumstance--Chicago Symph. Orch. and Grand Organ, Dir. Frederick Stock, 1926
William Tell--Overture (The Storm)--Arthur Pryor's Band, 1926.

(Above) My copy, when it was an eBay orphan....


Friday, January 27, 2017

The Friendly Atheist says Trump isn't a True Christian™

"Friendly Atheist" Hemant Mehta posted today that even though Trump pandered to Christians (he means evangelicals) during his campaign, "it's not like (Trump's) act was ever believable.  The man never lived like a 'Christian' and he sure as hell didn't know how to speak their language."

(That's par for the grammar course at his blog.)

If you or I went on Mehta's blog and asserted that Trump is not a true, or real, or genuine Christian (or just plain not a Christian), we'd instantly be leaped on by his comment section angels for allegedly committing the No True Scotsman logical fallacy.  Which we wouldn't be doing, of course, because a logical fallacy is an error in reasoning, not a false or debatable proposition.  For instance, if I say, "No man loves cats," I'd be guilty of making a universal proposition that happens to be false (and easily falsifiable--simply point to a male who loves cats), but I wouldn't be committing a logical fallacy.

However, by Mehta's standards, any "true such-and-such" claim does count as a logical fallacy, which must in fairness include his own example.  (His use of quotes around "Christian" alters nothing in this regard.)  Heck, Mehta even unfavorably compares Trump's Christian creds to Hillary's, as if to suggest that hers are more authentic.  Why is this a problem, especially since I agree with that conclusion?  Because on-line seculars have been shouting for the past ten years or more that, because there are umpteen differing definitions of "Christian," no one definition is better or worse or more authentic than another.  And that we C.'s are too stupid to dig this.  And here's Mehta, deeming Hillary's brand as better.  As more genuine, even.

My, my--the loud sound of bagpipes coming from the FA blog.  (Secular in-joke.)

I expect better from these folks.  Actually, no, I don't.


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Mingo, the Christmas cat

Like all cats, Mingo likes to nap.  And nap.  And nap some more.

When cats aren't napping, they're 1) eating, 2) playing, or 3) closely monitoring their people in the kitchen or at the dining table.

Our Christmas tree is our first artificial one, ever, and it looks uncannily like the real thing.  Except it doesn't need water, doesn't shed, and has a trunk the width of an umbrella handle.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Carl Sagan, the great science popularizer, vs. 1846 Sunday School text

Carl Sagan's famous essay, "Pale Blue Dot," is quoted and praised all across the cyber-galaxy, but just how original is it?  Ever wondered that?  How does it stack up, quotation-wise, against the 1846 American Sunday School Union text, The Starry Heavens (The Solar System, Part II)?  Let's find out by comparing select passages between the two texts.  Let's discover what 19th century children were learning about astronomy in Sunday School class in the days before the Civil War.

Sagan quotes are followed by select passages from The Starry Heavens:

Sagan: "The Earth is a small stage in a vast cosmic arena." And, "Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark."

The Starry Heavens: "What is the whole of this globe on which we dwell compared with the solar system, which contains a mass of matter so many millions of times greater?  What is it in comparison with the hundred millions of suns and worlds which, by the telescope, have been descried through the starry regions?"

(Post continues at my MY(P)WHAE Text blog.)

Meanwhile, it's time to hit the ceiling with Nat Shilkret and the Victor Orchestra, from 1929:

Hittin' the Ceiling.  Ripped from my 78 rpm copy.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sunday morning shellac: Daybreak Express, Yesterday, Barnum and Bailey's Favorite, more!

Yet more 78s, all ripped by me from my collection using VinylStudio and MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab MX.  And a turntable and 78 stylus.  And my ears, which I use to determine the right playback curves.  Together, they are... Team Shellac.

No, not really.  Anyway, we've got jazz, we've got marches, we've got ragtime, and we've got studio musicians playing a salon version of Yesterday, but not the McCartney tune.  (As you can see by the credits, George Harrison wrote it.  Just kidding.)  I'm very pleased with the sound on this one--having a near-mint copy helped a lot.

Mostly, lots of ragtime, with some very early Irving Berlin tossed in (Watch Your Step).  Well, not all that early, really--Berlin's songs go back to 1907.  So, mid-early.  On 1915's The Georgia Grind and It's Tulip Time in Holland, Signor "Grinderino" (his actual professional name, I guess) plays a street piano, which is, I guess, like a street organ, though the label, Victor, termed it a hurdy-gurdy.  Don't look at me.

We have banjo great Vess Ossman on two worn Columbia sides from 1907 (no wonder they're worn), but the music sounds through the hiss just fine, I think.  The raggy Happy Heine (an ethnic slur on an early 78--imagine that!) is from a somewhat bashed, one-sided Victor disc which I'm sure I'm playing back too fast at 78, but I have no way to reliably slow it down to, say, 76 rpm or so.  No strobe or meter, though I do have a speed lever.  Go figure.

The "Black Face" Eddie Ross banjo-and-orchestra sides are outstanding, and I've been enjoying them for years--owned my first copy way back in 1978, while stationed in Pensacola, Florida (it may have been a Goodwill find).  And here's a terrific page on the artist.

Our opener, Duke Ellington's amazing train song, Daybreak Express, is by far the best rip I've gotten from my 78 copy thereof.  I'm very pleased.  I used VinylStudio's 1933 RCA playback curve, found it too muffled, then I opened up the treble and bass.  VoilĂ .

Click here to hear: Daybreak Express, more


Daybreak Express (Ellington)--Duke Ellington and His Orch., 1933
Barnum and Bailey's Favorite--March--American Legion Official Band, 1926
March Salutation--Same
Ragging the Scale--Conway's Band, 1915
Flirting Whistler--Conway's Band, 1915
Yesterday (Wilhite and Harrsion)--The Arts Ensemble, 1927
Policy King March--Vess L. Ossman, w. orchestra acc., 1907
Chicken Chowder--Ossman-Dudley Trio, 1907
Watch Your Step--Medley--Victor Military Band, 1915
The Georgia Grind--Signor "Grinderino," Street Piano, 1915
It's Tulip Time in Holland--Medley--Same
Happy Heine (Two-Step; Lampe)--Arthur Pryor's Band, 1906
Ross' Dog Trot--"Black Face" Eddie Ross, Banjo w. orchestra, 1921
Ross' Reel--Same


Saturday, January 21, 2017

See how long it takes you to guess where this is going

I knew, at about the 58 second mark, where this was going--he telegraphs it so mercilessly, it's almost pathetic.  (If I wasn't sick as a dog, I'd likely have picked it up sooner.)  But he thinks he's a genius, and it hardly matters what anyone else thinks.  My, my, what did geniuses in their own minds do before the Internet gave them such a broad forum for bragging and preaching?

The secular/skeptic(al)/bright/reality-based/etc. movement practices a milquetoast kind of liberalism that dates back to (if not before) All in the Family, yet its members carry on as if they invented left-wing values.  This guy points out the American public is moving in a liberal direction, but if we're going by "secular" standards of liberalism (think 1975), the public's already there.  No, the public is hardly progressive by today's standards, but what was liberal yesterday is today passe.  This is why these pretend progressives are so energized by Trump's victory (you'd think they'd be depressed, like actual liberals)--it allows them to maintain that the American public is further to the right than it actually is.  Of course, any number of factors played a part in the election results--despite what the TV talking heads tell us, it wasn't simply left vs. right.  (Else, why would so many on the left have ditched ship?)  You and I know that.  We know this because we have time to think--we're not busy doing 24/7 self-promotion.

But these folks use every piece of news to glorify themselves.  If an asteroid were headed to Earth, ready to obliterate all traces of life, these brights would be busy working it into a give-us-money-for-our-important-work moment.

Without me, you might not know that such videos exist, so I feel like I'm doing a service.  What kind of service, exactly, who can say?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Batmaaaaannn (dudda-dudda-dudda-dudda)....

Yikes.  My follower count has gone from 212 to 210 so far in 2017.  At this rate, I'll be down to 150 by year's end.  (I'm committing the logical fallacy of assuming 1) a given trend will continue and 2) continue at the same rate.)  I shouldn't obsess over this stuff, but I do.  Give me something to obsess over, and odds are I will.  That's me.

Meanwhile, I seem to have "found" my beloved Batman ring of 1966 (the Adam West series was huge that year)--a gumball machine charm that cost me a whole quarter.  It was rubber, and it was much larger than the mundane ten-cent Batman ring that everyone, including me, owned, and I wanted it.  Once I got my hands on two bits, I ran to the drug store across from my house, stuck my coin in the machine, turned the handle, and out dropped....

At least, I think this is that.  I'm more than 90 percent sure, anyway--I'd have to see it stretched out, but it looks like the rubber ring I owned.  The big problem is the keychain (?) that comes with it--I don't remember any such adornment.  Anyway, it's very cool, but not $20 cool.  And besides, if I bought it, all I'd do is stick it someplace, where it would sit, unused and unloved, cursing eBay with its last breath for doing this to it.

Okay, there's another ad for the same thing, and this view convinces me it's the one (except for that dang keychain):

Oh, am I tempted to "Buy It Now."  But I'll save $20 and not.  Nothing is cool enough to justify an 8,000% mark-up.  (Just kidding--that's pretty conservative for a collectible Boomer toy.)

Besides, I'm sure it no longer fits.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tuesday morning gospel:

Click here to hear: Tuesday a.m. gospel


Dreams of the Past--Frank Stamps and His All Star Quartet, 1932
His Charming Love--Vaughan Quartet, 1928
I Want to Go There, Don't You?--Same
Nearer My God to Thee (Sullivan)--Royal Military Band w. Arthur T. Braddon, 1912
Eternal Father, Strong to Save (Dykes)--Arthur T. Braddon, w. organ, 1912 (Credited to Royal Military Band)
Pictures from Life's Other Side--Smith's Sacred Singers, 1926
Where We'll Never Grow Old--Same
Don't You Love Your Daddy Too?--Higgins Sisters, 1930
The Old Fashioned Cabin--Same
The Meeting in the Air--Mr. and Mrs. F.H. Lacy, 1925

Cool labels, no?  Cool music, too.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

I'm reading right now that Frank Stamps and His All Star Quartet, who perform Dreams of the Past for us, was the original Stamps Quartet.  They were the guys who recorded Give the World a Smile for Victor in 1927.  Since I lack the patience to even try to follow vocal group history in any genre (the endless name and personnel changes drive me nuts), I never have this stuff in my head, ready to rattle off.  Whatever you think you know about a given vocal quartet, be it jazz or R&B vocal or pop or gospel, you don't know.  Believe me.

Dreams of the Past (1932) is an almost-gospel number, as I call such numbers.  Typically, these are miss-my-mother/I-dream-of-my-old-home songs--not quite gospel, but kind of, sort of religious.  (Hope this isn't too technical.)  The flip is nice, too, but too worn to rescue.

The Vaughan Quartet?  Well, there were a number of these that traveled around in the 1910s and 1920s promoting songs published by James D. Vaughan, whose cheaply printed but awesome songbooks go back to the early 1900s (mine start in the 1920s).  That's all I know--I swear.  This quartet is awesome, much closer to the bluegrass quartet singing of Carl Story than the Stamps, who had that artsy, note-perfect style found in outfits like the Old Fashioned Revival Hour Quartet.  Concert gospel, I call that.  The Vaughan Q. was more, um, down home.  Along with "authentic," "down home" may be the most subjective musical adjective in use, but I use it proudly, regardless.

Almost-gospel also describes Pictures from Life's Other Side (1926), a socially-conscious number from the late 1800s which, like, Will the Circle Be Unbroken and Angel Band, became every gospel arranger and singer's original.  ("Everyone and his brother stole it" sounds a little bit harsh.)  Along with the flip--Where We'll Never Grow Old (another widely borrowed number)--it was a sacred smash for the Columbia label.  I ripped the best of my three copies, and I think it sounds fabulous.

Almost-gospel, again, with Don't You Love Your Daddy Too? which I fully expected to be a vaudeville type of number with circle-of-fifths harmony a la Alabama Jubilee.  Nope--pure gospel, beautifully sung a cappella by the Higgins Sisters quartet, best described as a reverent, far less jazzy Brox Sisters, if the latter were a foursome.  I'm not sure what I just typed.

Here is an image of Mr. and Mrs. F.H. Lacy, swiped from here.  Once, I had some info about them, but I'm too worn out (third week of a flu/cold bug) to re-find it.  Here they are:

We'll be hearing them from 1925 (the ultra-fundie classic, Meeting in the Air)--luckily, my 78 dating guide includes catalog no.'s for private recordings on Columbia, which is what this is.  I think I put this up before, and I recall someone describing the Lacy's style in less than glowing terms.  But it works for me.

Oh, and Arthur T. Braddon, from 1912: nothing about him on line, but what a gorgeous voice.  He appears on both sides of this Coliseum 78 (Nearer My God; Eternal Father), but only gets label credit for the first.  This Nearer My God is the less familiar Arthur Sullivan (of "Gilbert and..." fame) tune, while Eternal Father is the timeless and magnificent John B. Dykes tune we all know and love (or should).  I was in the Navy, so every listen to Eternal Father is an emotional one for me--and this version, despite the cut-rate label and production, is an absolute gem.