Thursday, October 18, 2018

Paul Whiteman, Part Two! 1920-1927

Buster, at Big 10-Inch Record, inspired my last Paul Whtieman post, so I guess it's fair to say he inspired this one, too.  Logically consistent, anyway.  And I need to do something with the 100-plus Whiteman tracks I ripped last year.  I can let them sit, unloved and neglected, on 80 min. CD-Rs, or I can release them into the blogosphere.  So, here they are.  They're happy to be here.

These are all from 78s in my collection, edited and curve-correct by me, and most are in good to very good condition, with two exceptions--Dixie's Favortie Son and Down Around the 'Sip 'Sip 'Sippy Shore.  But these were too terrific to exclude simply because they sound like, well, 78s.  (78s tend to do that, I've noticed.)  And, besides, I coaxed some decent sound out of them by using every MAGIX trick I know.

We're always told that Whitmean's band didn't sound anything like jazz until he inherited all that great talent from the Jean Goldkette Orchestra (e.g., Bix Beiderbecke, Frankie Trumbauer), but I hope these pre-overhaul sides help to correct that notion, because there's a lot of jazz here.  You just have to be familiar with how jazz sounded in its very early days--and marvel at the skill with which popular bandleaders like Whiteman, Fred Waring, Vincent Lopez (and, earlier, Earl Fuller and Art Hickman) managed to sneak the sound into their dance numbers.  Hence, Whiteman's dance sides, like those of many bandleaders in the 1920-1927 period, run the gamut from 1) nothing remotely like jazz to, 2) "Hey, that sounds like the real thing!"  Years ago, a 78 dealer with greater early dance/jazz knowledge than me (at the time, at least) heard Whiteman's Wang Wang Blues and said, "That's King Oliver, isn't it?"  I suppose Whiteman and head arranger Grofe were crooks, but very skilled ones.

Seriously, I love the fact that jazz found its way into the mainstream pop of the 1920s.  And I deplore the second-class treatment and regard accorded the black founders of the music in those days.  But it needs to be said that Whiteman, like Elvis Presley (how's that for a link?), never denied the black origins of his music, even if Paul was obsessed with turning jazz into concert fare.  For this he has never been forgiven, yet that was precisely the path taken by jazz, post-Whiteman--think 1938 and Benny Goodman.

Wang Wang Blues is from Whiteman's first Victor session (Aug. 9, 1920), and the 12-inch Best Ever Medley is from his second (Aug.19).  The latter side was arranged by Paul himself, and it's easy to hear why he brought Ferde Grofe on board.  Whiteman was co-author of the other 1920 side here,  I Never Knew (I Could Love Anybody Like I'm Loving You), which apparently is associated with Judy Garland and 1942, but it goes back to at least 1919.  It would take me hours to find my sheet music copy, and my Google search isn't getting me anywhere, so let's stick with 1919.

Note the four-selection 12-inch Whiteman 78 shown in the bottom scans--it's the only one of its type I've seen in the Whiteman catalog.  I suppose it's an early kind of EP, and I've seen others like it--especially acoustical and early electrical era 78s for children.  The two bands on each side are without a connecting groove.  The four selections are part of today's playlist.

In some ways, Whiteman is a Bill Haley sort of figure--helping bring in something new while being too old and lacking in good looks.  The Victor Whiteman sleeve (above), however, shows him looking very svelte.  Not at all like the other Victor sleeve.

Fun sounds--some of them genuinely jazzy--await!

Click here to hear: Paul Whiteman, Part 2

Shaking the Blues Away (Berlin)--1927 (A: Grofe)
Dixie's Favorite Son--1924
Ivy (Cling to Me)--1922
Wang Wang Blues --1920 (A: Grofe)
Down Around the 'Sip 'Sip 'Sippy Shore--Medley (One-step)--1921
San (Oriental Fox Trot)--1924
Shanghai Dream Man, w. vocal chorus--1927 (A: Grofe)
Best Ever Medley (One-step)--1920 (A: Whiteman)
Fallen Leaf, w. vocal chorus (A: Grofe), 1927
Lulu Belle (A: Grofe), 1926
No More Worryin', w. vocal refrain (A: Grofe), 1926
Charleston--1925 (A: Grofe)
Two Little Ruby Rings--1922 (A: Grofe)
Moonlight on the Ganges, w. vocal chorus--1926 (A: Grofe)
There's a Boatman on the Volga, v. Gladys Rice--1926 (A: Grofe)
Where Is That Girl of Mine?/Driftwood--1924 (A: Grofe)
Mandalay/Step Henrietta--1924 (A: Grofe)
Oh Me! Oh My! (Hirsch)--1921 
Honey, I'm in Love with You--1925 (A: Grofe)
I Never Knew (I Could Love Anybody Like I'm Loving You)--1920
Precious, w. vocal chorus--1926 (A: Grofe)
I'm Just Wild About Harry--1922


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Fake hits from the sixties, Part One!!

We start our sixties fake hits series with 34 faux fab four tracks in two zip files.  I ripped these from budget labels like Song Hits and Hit Parader (EPs named, naturally, after Charlton Publications' Hit Parader and Song Hits magazines).  You may recall the ads for these:

And labels like Hit Records, the U.K. Top 6 EPs and LPs, Arc Records, and the Columbia Record Club.  The performances range from outstanding (the unnamed group on the Top Six Beatlemania LP--can't recall who they were) to dreadful (the Hit Records/Modern Sound covers, and some of the Song Hits/Hit Parader efforts).

I inadvertently duplicated some Hits of To-day tracks from last post--oops!  But they're worth hearing twice, especially in the company of other fuax fab four performances.

We Love You Beatles was a novelty hit by the Carefrees, Bad to Me was a Lennon-McCartney hit for Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, and World Without Love was a Lennon-McCartney hit for Peter and Gordon, all 1964.  The Hit Parader 39 Michelle is a copy of the 1966 David and Jonathan version.

Click here to hear: Faux Fab Four 1 and Faux Fab Four 2

Faux Fab Four 1

I Feel Fine--Song Hits 32
I Want to Hold Your Hand--Hit Parader 27
She Loves You--Song Hits 28
We Love You Beatles--Song Hits 28
Please Please Me--Song Hits 28
She Loves You Top 6 T6505
Bad To Me--Top 6 T6505
Michelle--Hit Parader 39
I Saw Her Standing There--The Beats (Design 170)
A Hard Day's Night--Columbia Record Club D 63
I'll Cry Instead--Columbia Record Club D 63
I Want to Hold Your Hand--Columbia Record Club D 63
Can't Buy Me Love--Columbia Record Club D 63
Help!--Russ Loader and the Corsairs--Col. Record Club E127
I Wanna Be Your Man--Hits of To-day, Mini 603
Penny Lane--Jalopy Five, Hit 287
World Without Love--Hits of Today, Mini 603

Faux Fab Four 2

Day Tripper--Modern Sound 1020
My Bonnie--Modern Sound 1020
Can't Buy Me Love--Modern Sound 544
Lady Madonna--Hit Records 466
Twist and Shout--The Bugs, Hit 111
She Loves You--The Bugs, Hit 106
A Hard Day's Night--Enoch Light and His Orch., Command 4050 (45 rpm)
Please Please Me--The Boll Weevils--Hit 107
I Want to Hold Your Hand--The Doodles, Hit 104
And I Love Her--The Jalopy Five, Hit 138
I Feel Fine--Top Six 11
Matchbox--The Jalopy Five, Hit 147
Help!--The Jalopy Five, Hit 220
Hello, Goodbye--ARC AS 796
I Wanna Be Your Man--Beatlemania, Top Six TSL 1 (1964)
Money--Beatlemania, Top Six TSL 1 (1964)
Roll Over Beethoven--Beatlemania, Top Six TSL 1 (1964)


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Hits of To-day (Mini the Little LP 603)

I know nothing about Mini the Little LP, as it's called on the label, but I'm pretty sure it was a U.K. release, since I Wanna Be Your Man is a copy of the Rolling Stones version, which was a hit in the U.K. but not the U.S.  Candy Man, by Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, was also a U.K. hit that didn't appear on the U.S. charts, so this copy must be British.

"Mn the Little LP" does look a little odd, because there should at least be a comma or a dash between "Mini" and "the Little LP," but n one asked me.  Maybe because I was only seven at that time.

The original artists for the rest:

I Believe--The Bachelors
Anyone Who Had a Heart--Cilla Black
Good Golly Miss Molly--The Swinging Blue Jeans
World Without Love--Peter and Gordon (No. 1 in both U.S. and U.K.)

These are all fakes, of course.  Decent ones, but still phony.  Bogus.  Counterfeit.  Mere imitations.  But we get six on one single!

Click here to hear: Hits of To-day (Mini the Little LP 603)

I Believe
I Wanna Be Your Man (Lennon-McCartney)
Anyone Who Had a Heart (Bacharach-David)
Candy Man
Good Golly Miss Molly
World Without Love (Lennon-McCartney)

Hits of Today (Mini the Little LP 603, six-selection EP)


Tuesday, October 09, 2018

George Gershwin Melodies, and Other Popular Favorites (Plymouth P12-67)

If you're looking for high-end audio, you picked the wrong post.  This is a very enjoyable LP, but the recording quality is atrocious, at least on Side A, where the vocals and vocal backing take turns fading in and out.  I have no idea what was going on, but it's nothing I did while remastering.  And Side B, while it sounds considerably better, is hampered by surface noise--the type this label group is famous for.  But, personally, I think the low fidelity adds to the fun.  Maybe I' m getting too used to budget fidelity!

Excellent singer on the Side A Gershwin material--a mezzo-soprano, I assume?  No credit, of course.  (Update: the singer is Mona Paulee.  See comment by RecordHunter.)  The Viennese Symphonic Orchestra is for real, and I can believe it's them on the Cavalleria Rusticana and Tosca opera highlights, but not the three Gershwin tracks.  But who knows?  Labels like Plymouth (which was part of the Remington, Masterseal, Paris, and Merit family) always gave as little info as possible, if even that much.  Heck, it was common for the cheapies to mismatch the titles between label and jacket, and look what we have here: George Gershwin Melodies and Other Popular Favorites on the cover, and George Gershwin Favorites and Favorite Musical Gems on the A and B labels.  Told you.  For this post, I went with the jacket info, title-wise.

And I love my scanner, but it sometimes fails to reproduce colors with total accuracy.  This Plymouth label is more maroon than dark red, but I did what I could, post-scan.

The Gershwin tracks are spirited and the "Highlights" on Side B are expertly rendered, so this LP makes for very pleasant listening.  I did what I could as far as tweaking the response curve, but you can't get highs where there aren't any, and the louder portions on Side A sound tinny enough to start with, so I mostly left things alone in that regard.

As noted before, the Remington group of labels, some of which contain highly collectible material (I don't think this is one of them), are known for their surface noise--and, sure enough, this LP has lots of that.  I timed the track fade-outs to kill the in-between noise, but side two ends with a pause followed by a crescendo tonic chord, so how to fix that?  Easy: I cut out the pause portion, used MAGIX's denoiser on it, then split the mono track into two tracks, placing the filtered portion below, so I could fade into it, thus avoiding a sudden volume drop.  You can see the final chord very clearly on this screen capture:

I really enjoyed this LP, so I thought it was worth some extra work.

Click here to hear: George Gershwin Melodies

The Man I Love
Somebody Love Me
Lady Be Good
Cavalleria Rusticana and Tosca Highlights

George Gershwin Melodies and Other Popular Favrorites--Viennese Symphonic Orch. (Plymouth P12-67)


Friday, October 05, 2018

Sixteen Hits a Poppin' (Promenade EP set)

I hear the hits a poppin'--they're rollin' 'round the bend, And I ain't heard the real sides, Since I don't know when.  But the blog is stuck on fake hits, the tracks keep pilin' on.  But this is not a problem, if you find these things fun.  (Guitar solo)

I know--"on" and "fun" don't rhyme, but I was in a hurry.  And... sixteen more fake hits today!  And, as Gilmarvinyl pointed out, a lot of the same stuff (at least from the same period) has been showing up at MY(P)WHAE.  This is sort of inevitable, because not long after rock and roll became a presence in the pop charts, the same fake versions started showing up across label groups.  Not just the same titles (as we would expect), but the same versions!  Bell stuck to its own versions, and there doesn't seem to have been any "version hopping" between Broadway and Tops/Promenade/Song Hits & Hit Parader.  But the probability of putting together several playlists of fake hits from the Elvis/Jerry Lee Lewis/Silhouettes era without a significant degree of duplication is pretty low.

But, following this post, I will be focusing on the 1960s, fake-hit-wise.  (Check my past posts for c. 1957 fake hits--tons of them.  I checked--they're still up at Zippy.)  I personally feel a significant decline in cover quality happened in the 60s, but there were still some amazingly good copycat efforts to be found.  So stay tuned.

Back to the sixteen hits (more like thirteen; read on).  Fun versions, all, and I followed the order in which the titles appear on the three discs (Hit 25, 26, and 27)--the sleeve listing is way off, even for a budget effort.  Three of the sixteen tracks have "filler" written all over them: Humoresque, When the Saints Go Marching In, and Bongo Polka, the latter sounding nothing like the title, save that it's a polka.  But the rocking Humoresque could conceivably have been a late 50s hit--unfortunately, my searches bring up nothing.  The polka is pure filler, but fun filler, so what the heck.  Polka!!  Saints is filler, also.  Of the three, I'm not sure which is more absurdly out of place--I'd have to go with Saints, because I like the polka track too much to diss it.

As usual, surface noise presented restoration challenges: these things had noisy enough pressings to start with, and some of the previous owners failed to realize that needles were things to be set upon the disc, not pushed across it.  (Some of the crosscuts in question were accidents, of course, or malfunctions of a given changer.)  But I was able to correct these things.  Exception: the extreme needle damage toward the end of Short Shorts.  Someone must have forgotten to lift the tonearm, pushing it down instead.  Repairing this was hopeless, and this is my only Promenade Short Shorts copy; I figured Tops released the same version, but turns out I don't have it.  The Allegro-Elite and Gilmar EP versions are different (I tested them), so I was stuck with this one.

So I resorted to an early fade-out, and it doesn't  sound bad at all.  Also, right after the massive needle dig occurs, the sax player lost his place in the solo, so you're not missing anything.  I probably would have gotten lost, too, this being one of the truly soporific classic r&r tracks of the time.  It's in twelve-bar blues form, and slow-tempo blues can work, and work well, but not when the rhythm is essentially clunk-clunk-clunk-clunk.

Oh, and a very good vocalist on All the Way.  And Perry Como sound-alike Johnny Kay (credited here as Bob Mitchell) does a superb job on Catch a Falling Star.  For Star, I subbed an LP pressing, from Tops Hits (Parade SP-101), and it sounds gorgeous.  I did this because all my three or four EP copies of Catch a Falling Star have playback issues.  Along with Star, my candidates for the best tracks are the marvelous copies of At the Hop and Get a Job--the former because it beautifully captures the energy of the original.

Fun track credits include Dick Stetson, The Wright Bros. (again), Allan Freed (again, and not to be confused with Alan Freed), The Mac Sisters (have we heard them already?), and the Grasshoppers.  Note that the Grasshoppers predate the Beatles.  Dunno why that's relevant, but just thought I'd type it.

To the fun sounds:

Click here to hear: Sixteen Hits a Poppin'

Get a Job--Promineers
Stood Up--Dick Stetson
Humoresque--Promenade Orchestra
Bongo Polka--Promenade Orch. and Chorus
Catch a Falling Star--Bob Mitchell (Johnny Kay)
Oh Oh I'm Falling in Love Again--Michael Reed
At the Hop--The Wright Bros.
Raunchy--Johnny Logan
Peggy Sue--Allan Freed
All the Way--Michael Reed
You Send Me--Par Brook
When the Saints Go Marching In--Promenade Orch. and Chorus (Chorus?)
Sugartime--The Mac Sisters
Short Shorts--The Promineers
La Dee Dah--The Grasshoppers
Oh Boy!--The Grasshoppers

Sixteen Hits a Poppin' (Promenade Hit 25, 26, and 27)


Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Paul Whiteman--1925-1928: Electrical "Whispering," more!

Buster, at Big 10-Inch Record, just put up ten Paul Whiteman tracks, providing me with an excuse to put up some of the 150 or so Whiteman 78 sides I ripped last year.  Here are twenty of them, nearly all arranged by the brilliant Ferde Grofe.  This I know because last year the arranger listings were still up at the Williams College Paul Whiteman Collection website--they're since been taken down, unfortunately.  The site notes that the PW collection is being "fully processed" next year, but I wish they'd kept up the info they had.  Oh, well....

Update: Ernie found the page in question on the Wayback Machine--"a digital archive of the World Wide Web and other information on the internet" (Wikipedia).  Link: Whiteman Collection.  The Wayback Machine reference is to the "Peabody's Improbable History" segment from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.  I grew up on the show, but I don't know how familiar with it young'uns are or aren't.  (Please take "young'uns" in context--I'm 61.  And I've probably watched too many Waltons episodes.)  So, thank you, Ernie.

This set includes the electrical-era remakes of the huge 1920 Whiteman hits Whispering and The Japanese Sandman, in new (1928) Ferde Grofe arrangements.  Both charts are exceptionally well done, imo.  And we have Ben Selvin masquerading as Paul Whiteman on the Columbia label (What D'Ya Say?)--I think I knew the story behind that at one time, but if I did, I've forgotten it.  Bing Crosby's voice can be heard on a number of these, but he sings lead only on the first--Irving Berlin's Sunshine.  Standing out like a sore thumb, stylistically, is 1925's The Kinky Kids Parade, which is every bit as racist as the title suggests.  It doesn't sound especially Whiteman--I've heard nearly everything recorded by Paul, and I don't know I'd have identified it as him in a blindfold test.  Meanwhile, I've seen the Dancing Shadows arrangement credited to both Grofe and Tom Satterfield, and I tend toward Grofe, though my ears are not positive.  (Come on, ears.  Get with it.)  And I was a major fan of that eccentric soap opera.  Yup, ran home every afternoon to catch it.  (No, wait--that was Dark Shadows.)

I may or may not be the first music blog (er, blogger) to feature That Saxophone Waltz.  I really like it.  The superb Whiteman band musicianship probably has a lot to do with that, plus Grofe's ultra-smooth arrangement, plus the lovely vocal chorus (trio?  quartet?  I'd have to listen closer to discern).  Or maybe I just have corny tastes.  Nah.  That can't be.  Anyone who has followed my blog for a while knows I despise corn.  (Sound of tin cans crashing.)

Anyway, these were all ripped by me from my Whiteman 78 collection, the response curves chosen on my VinylStudio software, and the declicking performed on both my VS and MAGIX programs.  Enjoy!

Click here to hear:  Paul Whiteman, 1925-1928

Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra

Sunshine--vocal: Bing Crosby, 1928 (A: Grofe)
Collette --with vocal refrain, 1927 (A: Grofe)
Broken Hearted--with vocal refrain, 1927 (A: Grofe)
Broadway --vocal: Austin Young, 1927 (A: Grofe)
Manhattan Mary--with vocal refrain, 1927 (A: Grofe)
Why Is Love?--1925 (A: Grofe)
Dancing Tambourine--1927 (A: Grofe)
Whispering--1928 (A: Grofe)
The Japanese Sandman--1928 (A: Grofe)
Everything's Made for Love--1927 (A: Grofe)
The Kinky Kids Parade--1925
I'm in Love Again--1927 (A: Grofe)
Like You (Dark Eyes I Dream of)--1927 (A: Grofe)
When I'm in Your Arms--1926 (A: Grofe)
I Always Knew--with vocal chorus, 1926 (A: Grofe)

It All Depends on You--1927 (A: Grofe)
That Saxophone Waltz--1927 (A: Grofe)
What D'Ya Say?--Ben Selvin, recording as PW's Orch.!
Lonely Eyes--1926 (A: Grofe)
Dancing Shadows--1928 (Arr: FG?  Tom Satterfield?)


Monday, October 01, 2018

For Buster--"Keep a Knockin'"--Rufus Brown (Gateway Top Tune 1230; 1957)

Little Bobby/Boobie's excellent, energetic Keep a Knockin' (fake version of Little Richard's hit) is credited here to Rufus Brown with Billie Driscoll's Orch., and the echo gives it more more energy than the Promenade versions (credited to the two "Little"s).  Gateway Top Tune was a Cincinnati OH label owned by Carl Burkhardt, and I read someplace that Ohioans, as a rule, know how to spell Cincinnati, but I keep misspelling it.  And I'm a lifetime Ohioan.  What can I say?  Three n's, one t.  Come on, dude, it's not that hard.  I'll try it again:

Cincinnati.  There, I did it.  I had it burned into my brain that there are two t's.  Wrong.  An important turning point in my life here.

I read something, somewhere (or thought I did), about where Gateway Top Hits were mainly sold.  Hm.  Discogs doesn't tell me, but the great site otherwise gives us the usual excellent info.  Elsewhere, I see that Burkhardt also owned the Hep and Variety labels!  I did not know that.  Somehow, I thought that Variety was in the Hollywood family of labels.  I get confused quickly with the details of cheap label history, because 1) there were umpteen labels in any given group family, typically featuring the same material and 2) by this point in cheap label history (late '50s), tracks were hopping between label groups like crazy.  Just like in this case--same side on Promenade and Gateway Top Tune.  On which label did it originate?  Or... were both labels leasing the same master?  In which case, who produced the master?

Label groups were getting bought up, too, to add to the confusion.  Cheap labels historians are nuts to even consider getting into these things.  Problem is, we're hooked before we know what we're in for.  Then it's... too late.

Click here to hear: Keep a Knockin'--Rufus Brown w. Billie Driscoll's Orch., 1957.


Saturday, September 29, 2018

Rock 'n Roll--Promenade RR 21 and 22 (with the Promenade Orch. and Chorus)

Promenade couldn't make up its mind.  This two-EP release was titled Rock 'n Roll, whereas the following two-EP release was titled Rock n' Roll.  So I guess their budget only allowed for one apostrophe--just pick a side (right or left).  The contraction of and should be 'n', of course, but that knowledge 'n' $1.49 will get you a cup of coffee at McDonald's--if it's open.

For those of you new to these budget-label fake hits, be advised that none of these are the originals (hence, "fake hits," though technically the hits themselves are real enough), even if a few sound vaguely like the performances they ape.  EPs like these featured the big hits of the day/week/month on cheap pressings and typically with as many tracks per side as the company could manage to fit, and who cares if the result was a noisy pressing, even in mint shape.  They didn't care, that's for sure.

Before I forget to mention it, the de-clicking function on my VinylStudio program continues to amaze me--one pass, and all I had to do, mostly, was edit the start and end points.  Had to remove a few noisier pops is all.

The Promenade, Tops, Bravo, etc. EPs typically came with a  paper sleeve, though these show up far less frequently than the discs--I'm lucky in owning a number of these sleeves.  In the case of Promenade, the problem is properly matching sleeves with vinyl, since the numbering systems were very weird, and the sleeve numbers didn't always match what was on the vinyl. Today's offering is a perfect example--the sleeve says "A-12-D," while the labels read RR 21 and RR 22.

I typically store discs and pic sleeves separately, so they become strangers fast.  And so my major project of the moment is to reunite them.

Fake hits also came out as regular singles--i.e., with one track per side--but mostly we're talking about EPs.  It's hard to impossible to make general observations about these labels--they seem to have operated outside of the realm of rules as any rational person defines rules.  The slapdash nature of these copycat operations almost make them seem like maverick operations, but they had no desire to act independently--their survival depended on conforming as rigidly as possible to current recording industry trends, budget (barely) permitting.

Some funny artist credits here--"Little Bobbie" doing Keep a Knockin', The Melon Sisters wishing us a Happy Happy Birthday Baby, Eli Whitney (but he died in 1825!!) giving us Jail House Rock (not be confused with Jailhouse Rock--wait a minute....), The Wright Bros. (oh, please....) flying high with Only Because, and Allan Freed giving us Whole Lot of Shakin' Goin' On.  Actually, it's "Lotta," and the famous DJ was Alan Freed, not Allan Freed, but nice try, Promenade.  Can't say they put no work into their fakery.

Just Born (To Be Your Baby) was a Perry Como hit, by the way.  Only Because was the Platters.  Why Don't They Understand--George Hamilton IV.  Lot of Lovin' is actually Gene Vincent's Lotta Lovin'. The year for this EP, then, is probably 1957.

Click here to hear: Rock 'n Roll (Promenade RR 21 and 22)

Great Balls of Fire--Billie Case
Just Born--Michael Reed
Kisses Sweeter Than Wine--Johnny Logan
Why Don't They Understand--Johnny Logan
Whole Lot of Shakin' Goin' On--Allan Freed
Only Because--The Wright Bros.
Lot of Lovin'--Tony Castro
Keep a Knockin'--Little Bobbie
Happy Happy Birthday Baby--The Melon Sisters
Jail House Rock--Eli Whitney
Diana--Bob Robbins
April Love--Pat Boone

Rock 'n Roll, with the Promenade Orch. and Chorus (Promande RR 21 and RR 22)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Family Library of Recorded Music 1044--Six-selection EP (probably 1953)

I know nearly nothing about the Family Library of Recorded Music label, except that this R&B vocal group recorded for it (on another issue), and that it had very cool picture sleeves.  I don't have the one that came with my disc, but I found this one on Google Images:

I suspect the sleeve to my disc looked about the same, as there seems to have been a standard design for the the label's"Your Family Library Hit Parade" series, which I think my disc is a part of.  Granted, the words "Your Family Library Hit Parade" do not appear on my label, but inconsistency between sleeve (or jacket) and label are almost the rule with these cheap outfits, so the absence of this phrase on the label may not mean a thing.  I hate having to do so much suspecting and guessing and "may not" and "seems to have" but that's a big part of the torture of collecting cheap labels.  I mean, that's a big part of the fun of collecting cheap labels.

On track 4, we have the famous Perry Como sound-alike vocalist Johnny Kay, but, oddly enough, not on either of the Como hits (Say You're Mine Again, Wild Horses).  Kay, of course, is known for his stuff on Synthetic Plastics Co. labels like Promenade and Diplomat; Premier Albums, Inc. labels like Coronet and Spin-O-Rama; and Sutton.

Here are the singers on the 1953 originals being faked on this EP:

Side by Side--Kay Starr
Say You're Mine Again--Perry Como
Till I Waltz Again With You--Teresa Brewer
Pretend--Nat King Cole
Your Cheating Heart--Joni James
Wild Horses--Perry Como

We get the fakes.  By the way, I recently talked about how much better my MAGIX filters work compared to the VinylStudio filters, but I have to take that back--the VS click scanner is far superior to M's DeClicker and far less work.  Sorry about that, MAGIX.  One application of VS click filtering on this noisy EP and I was left with only a handful of clicks to manually remove.  Unreal.

Wild Horses, of course, is a rip of Schumann's The Wild Horseman, from Album for the Young.  I was a piano student, so I caught it right away when I first heard the track about 35 years ago, around the start of my Perry Como phase.  As noted before, the closest we get to Perry on this EP is Mr. Kay.  Fun fakes, uncommon label.

Click here to hear: Family Library of Recorded Music 1044 (prob. 1953)

Side By Side--Lucille Dane
Say You're Mine Again--Fred Peters
Till I Waltz Again with You--Pat O'Dea
Pretend--Johnny Kay
Your Cheating Heart--Lucille Dane
Wild Horses--Johnny Dane

Family Library of Recorded Music 1044, prob. 1953


Friday, September 14, 2018

Rhapsody 21 (1962)--Paul Whiteman, w. Sondra Bianca, Pianist

Buster and I were wondering who Suzanne Auber is (she's still with us at the age of 87!), and I got Google-lucky and found out that "Suzanne Auber" was one of a number of budget-label pseudonyms for the superb concert pianist Sondra Bianca.  Here she is, playing for Paul Whiteman and credited by the World's Fair Records label under her actual name.

The "Suzanne Auber" pseudonym, by the way, appeared on last post's selection, Music of South Pacific and Oklahoma.

Critics complain about George Gershwin's allegedly poor sense of form (on long works), and I'll concede he was no Grofe in that regard, but he kept things moving.  Those critics might reconsider their complaint after hearing this poor man's Warsaw Concerto called Rhapsody 21, an adventure in repetition in which each permutation of the main theme is so obviously the main theme, what would Chopin say?  Some of Chopin's extraordinary Etudes are the same phrase over and over until the final measure, but so brilliantly developed, there aren't words to describe how brilliantly.  Rhapsody 21 is the same chunk of music repeated either literally or almost literally, with connecting passages that might have worked as silent movie organ stings.  Okay, I'm being mean, because this lightweight piece is actually very entertaining and skillfully scored.  And Sonia is terrific.  Just don't expect anything remotely close to Rhapsody in Blue, and you're all set.

I edited both sides together--the cut-off beginning of side 2 was not my doing!

Click here to hear: Rhapsody 21

Rhapsody 21 (Toni Mineo, Orch. by Attillo Mineo)

Sonia Bianca, Pianist, w. Paul Whiteman (World's Fair Records STV 82083/4; 1962)


Eli Oberstein returns! Music of South Pacific and Oklahoma (Rondo ST 536; 1958)

Soooo... My disc has the yellow label, so this pressing is from Eli Oberstein's time as owner of Rondo.  Now we know.  This was a thrift find, and it's in halfway decent shape, with most of the issues in the final band.  There's mild play damage, plus it's a lousy pressing (of course), so this took a little while to de-click.  There were the usual major clicks that required track-splitting, and... this was a trial.  Was it worth it?  Sure--it's great stuff.  Robert Russell Bennett did the orchestrations, (I thought they sounded familiar), which are terrific, and, whoever the Broadway Symphonic Jazz Orch. was, they do a generally expert job, though God knows what happened at the close of Oklahoma.  Weren't retakes allowed?  But I guess we can forgive a train-wreck when it happens in the final measures.  We know the I chord is coming.

Oh, and this is a MY(P)WHAE rarity--a stereo recording!

Music is fine, everything sounds very well-recorded in the first place--the master tapes probably rocked--but something bad happened during the transfer to vinyl (the left channel drops out completely at one point), and there are some very poor edits.  They rival the bad cut in the Beach Boys' Heroes and Villains.  None of the early cut-offs were my doing--I swear.  This includes the sudden drop-off at the end of Oklahoma's third track.

The Oklahoma tracks don't have individual titles, so I didn't give them any.  South Pacific is a single band.

I like the cover, even if the gorgeous model looks like she'd rather be somewhere else.  Actually, it's probably Liat, mourning the death of Lt. Cable.  In that case, extra marks for an unusually thoughtful budget jacket.

I'm not a big fan of musicals, but I love South Pacific in every possible way.  Maybe my three years on this ship has something to do with it.  We played games with the Russians during my time (early 1980s) on the Lockwood, too, and vice versa.  Once, a Russian carrier pulled up closely beside us, and I missed the whole thing because I was on watch inside in the Combat Information Center.  But, back to South Pacific....

The songs are magnificent, the characters are totally memorable (though Ray Walston's performance in the 1958 film almost has me taking that back), and the social statements are still powerful--because, sad to say, they're as relevant as ever.  The 1958 film could be a lot better, mainly because (as noted by John Kerr in an interview), so much attention was given to the set-ups--due to issues of lighting, weather, etc.--that the acting was rushed and under-rehearsed.  It shows.  And much of the dialogue must have been post-dubbed, given all the stilted line-readings from decent actors.  As an actor, Kerr wasn't exactly a live-wire lead, but I really like him as Cable.  But we're not here to discuss the 1958 film....

We're here to hear some great music and arrangements on a zero-budget label.  So good, we can forgive the "zero-budget" part.

Click here to hear:  Music of South Pacific and Oklahoma

1. Music of South Pacific (arr: Robert Russell Bennett)
2.  The Music of Oklahoma, Track 1 (arr: Robert Russell Bennett)
3.  Same, Track 2
4.  Same, Track 3 
5.  Same, Track 4

Music of South Pacific and Oklahoma (Rondo ST 536, 1958)
The Broadway Symphonic Jazz Orch., cond. by Suzanne Auber, Pianist.
(Orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett)

"In these recordings the music has not been reshaped or reformed for the benefit of stereo"--from back jacket.  That's a relief!  I hate it when music is reshaped or reformed for the benefit of stereo.



Monday, September 10, 2018

Best one yet

My next-to-latest comment from Jupiter was a classic (and a two-fer--two whacked-out texts joined together), and I was going to put it up, but then this one arrived:

It's perffect timme to makee a few plans for the longer term and
it is time too be happy. I've read this put up and if I may
I want too counsel you some attention-grabbing
things or advice.  Perhaps youu could write next
articles regarding this article. I desire to read more things about it!

I've been trying to tell that to people for years, and no one listens to me.  As for having someone counsel me some attention-grabbing things or advice, I've always wished someone would.  But what do they charge?  And who are "they"?  And I'm not sure I agree it's perffect timme to makee a few plans for the longer term, since I've got a ton of things going on right now.  But I'm always happy to have people read my put up.

And I just got a call from The Enquirer, said Caller ID.  Cincinnati area code.  Googled it--might be the Cincinnati Enquirer trying to get me to subscribe.  I'm about 140 miles away from Cincinnati, and I've never lived there, and their paper has never come here, and... what's up?

I know--maybe the Enquirer wants too counsel me some attention-grabbing things or advice.  I should have answered.


Friday, September 07, 2018

Moods for Pleasure Time--Royale Concert Orch. (Allegro-Royale 1506)

Gilmarvinyl asked if I have any background or showtune albums on the Eli Oberstein budget labels, and yes, I do.  This is one of them--and it's terrific. Even the recording quality is mostly quite decent, and that's often anything but the case with this family of discs.  My copy may very well have been unplayed prior to me placing a stylus in the grooves--no way to be sure, since cheap label pressings are never the best.  But the occasional clicks and pops--all removed--sounded to my ears like imperfections in the vinyl.  So I'm guessing that, when this arrived in my collection, it was fresh as the day it was born--if we don't count the sixty or so years it spent sitting around (or standing up, if it was properly stored).

Over the years, I've formed all kinds of elaborate theories about the evolution of mood music/easy listening.  I had it starting with light concert works (some of them novelties) of the late 19th and early 20th century--A Hunt in the Black Forest, Lotus Land, etc.  But nowadays I think of it simply as a specific treatment of song standards.  And I just typed two paragraphs in which I tried to describe that treatment in detail, but I failed completely, so I deleted them.  Let's forget it ever happened.

Easy listening/mood music is best described as, um, something.  Yes.  As a... kind of music.  That's it.

Whatever it is, it has coexisted with light concert music ("Pops") for decades--hence, Andre Kostelanetz and other "beautiful music" conductors made LPs of both the more salon-type works of Debussy, Ravel, Schubert, et al. and collections of tunes by Arlen, Berlin, and Youmans.  The two strains ended up on concert stages together, and eventually "Pops" came to include... anything.  Nowadays, "Pops" means, "There's an orchestra, yes, but nothing serious is going to happen, so don't worry."

The charming Every Little Movement is from 1910, so I don't know how it became a mood/easy standard (Meredith Willson did a version in that mode, too), but I'm all right with that.  Except for the piano sides (good, but not the "Royale Concert Orchestra"), these all have a heavily 1940s feeling, which means they could well be repackaged material by a name conductor or bandleader, despite the "Recorded in Europe" claim on the cover and the "Royale Concert Orchestra" credit.  Not that these covers would lie, except most of the time.

Is Limehouse Blues a mood standard, you ask?  To the best of my knowledge no.  The tempo's too fast, but Allegro-Royale doesn't care what I think.  It's another mood track of many moods, like Every Little Movement.  It reminds me of the Paul Whiteman "concert" arrangements, all of which featured four or five approaches to a given song in the space of a single twelve-inch 78 rpm side.  The over-the-top track on this LP, though, is Temptation, which starts out like King Kong waking up from a nap and finding Ann gone.

Before I close, here is the alternate version of this LP's cover (I think it's more common).  I swiped the image from Discogs.

Personally, I don't associate pleasure with an arrow in the, um, chest, but this is certainly way more interesting than my version.

Click here to hear: Moods for Pleasure Time--Allegro-Royale 1506

Linger Awhile
I'm in the Mood for Love
Body and Soul
I Didn't Know What Time It Was
All of Me
Every Little Movement
I've Got Five Dollars
April in Paris
I Can't Give You Anything but Love
Limehouse Blues
Just Friends
Penthouse Serenade

Moods for Pleasure Time--Royale Concert Orchestra (Allegro-Royale 1506)


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Latest thrift trip

My latest thrift trip (say that 50 times) had me bringing home a decent amount of vinyl--and the bill was way low.  It was the local St. Vincent de Paul thrift store, and I was going to go right back the next day and do another look-through of the boxes of 45s--and I didn't.  Didn't go today, either.  What's happening to me??

Anyway, 45s were only a quarter, plus I got a senior discount.  People used to ask if I qualified for a senior discount--now they simply assume.  I wonder what gives me away?  Must be my age.

So, I scored Tony Orlando (pre-Dawn) singing the terrific King/Goffin song, Halfway to Paradise; marching band versions (conducted by Ray Martin) of, among other numbers, Witch Doctor, Rock Around the Clock, and April Love; a thing called Oatmeal Stomp; Al Caiola's Tango Boogie performed by Hugo Winterhalter; The Andrews Sisters singing the Gershwin-Gershwin Of Thee I Sing; and Les Harris' awesome And the Bull Walked Around Olay, which defies description (in the best kind of way).  Apparently, that's a bass saxophone.

Hugo Winterhalter's Midnight, the flip of  Tango Boogie, is a twelve-bar blues featuring a vocal by Johnny Oaks, who I never heard of--it's like a sped-up version of the 1957 Diamonds hit, The Stroll (Oaks even sounds like that group's lead singer).  A rock and roll side by Winterhalter is not something I ever expected to encounter, but here it is.

Click here to hear: Latest thrift trip

Halfway to Paradise (King/Goffin)--Tony Orlando, 1961
Midnight--Hugo Winterhalter's Orch. and Chorus, v: Johnny Oaks, 1958
Tango Boogie (Al Caiola)--Hugo Winterhalter and His Orch., 1958
Oatmeal Stomp--Si Zentner and his Orch. (Sesac Repertory Recording AD-78)
Hollow Horse Hoedown--Same
All-American Scramble--Same
Rock Around the Clock--The Swingin' Marchin' Band, c. Ray Martin, 1958 (RCA LPM-1771)
Witch Doctor--Same
April Love--Same
Rock and Roll March (Steve Allen-Bob Carroll)--Same
And the Bull Walked Around Olay--Les Harris, 1952
Of Thee I Sing (Gershwin-Gershwin)--Andrews Sisters w. Billy May, 1957


Sunday, August 26, 2018

Lee at the organ--Hymns for Sunday

Or any day.  I don't stand on ceremony.

The organ pictured above is the one I used to record these.  No, wait--that was a typo.  I meant, the organ above is not the one I used to record these.  Sorry.  Slip of the fingers.  I actually used my Casio WK-3800 synthesizer, which, despite the name (Casio), sounds very good.  I added some MAGIX effects--namely, Reverb/Echo and Acoustics simulator--destructive.  I had never noticed "destructive" before, so I looked it up, figuring it was an audio term.  (It sounds weird enough to be one.)  I was right.  Wikipedia says,

Destructive editing modifies the data of the original audio file, as opposed to just editing its playback parameters.  Destructive editors are also known as "sample editors".

Now we know.  Wiki says that, once applied, destructive editing usually can't be changed, but with my MAGIX software, all I have to do is hit "undo."  So there, Wikipedia.

These are in response to popular demand.  No, wait--that was a typo.  I meant to say, these are not in response to popular demand.  Not a single request.  Go figure.

Anyway, these are all me playing, with occasional sound-on-sound (to combine two patches), and with most of my false starts edited out.  My favorites are the Samuel Wesley (that guy was talented!) and the gorgeous I Will Not Forget Thee by Charles H. Gabriel.  Gabriel had just become famous with the still-popular Send the Light.

  To the hymns: Lee at the organ

O Holy City, Seen of John (Steggall, 1890)
O Thou Who Comest from Above (Samuel Wesley, 1872)
I Walk with the King (B.D. Ackley, 1915_
O for a Closer Walk with Thee (Dykes, 1875)
Jesu!  Our Eternal King (Freylinghausen, 1704)
I Will Not Forget Thee (Charles H. Gabriel, 1890)
Who Will Gather? (Charles H. Gabriel, c. 1891)
O Happy Home, Where Thou Art Loved (Barnby, 1883)
We Utter Our Cry (1765, harm. Sydney H. Nicholson, 1916)
Spirit of God, Descend (Barnby, 1872)
O Spirit of the Living God (Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1906)


Monday, August 20, 2018

Rock n' Roll--Artie Malvin (1956); Tops in Pops--All the Latest Hit Recordings (Allegro Elite 4131)

Two budget 10-inch LPs of surprisingly good quality, both sound- and performance-wise.  The Artie Malvin disc had obviously been played a lot, and not with light-tracking tonearms.  To the rescue: my 1.2 mil LP stylus, which nearly cleared up channel separation issues by itself, even before I utilized MAGIX.  Of course, this is a mono LP, so technically there should be no channel separation issues, but when you have uneven (and deep) wear on the groove walls and you're tracking with a stereo cartridge, you have channel separation issues.  Solution: use a wide needle and combine channels (or, if one side is fried, double the best channel).  I hope Artie appreciates all this trouble.

But that's not what you came here to hear.  You want to know, how does cheap label regular Artie Malvin do on his Waldorf tracks, all Bill Haley hits?  In my opinion, terribly.  His totally fake attitude of excitement seems designed to convey, "This is exciting!  It's rock and roll!"  The big band arrangements hardly help--at this stage in Waldorf Music Hall's history, the label wasn't much trying to achieve a genuine rock and roll sound, putting it years behind the Synthetic Plastics Co. labels Promenade and Prom, and the Record Corp. of America labels, like Allegro Elite, and Royale.  But, come 1957, Waldorf was getting with the program.

By the way, as far as synthetic plastics go, isn't plastic synthetic by definition?

Anyway, even if they don't sound like the real thing, the Malvin tracks are professionally produced and fun.  The musicians certainly don't sound like they were dragged into doing this.  AND Malvin's Rock Around the Clock presents the song's original minor-key verse as written, and he almost does the twelve-bar chorus as originally conceived, making this much closer to what Rock Around the Clock sounded like before Sonny Dae (Paschal Vennitti) and Bill Haley revised it to make it sound like an R&B number of the party-all-night type.  It's one of about four versions I own which are accurate, to some degree, to the sheet music.

I've always figured that the cheap labels, being the market parasites they were, would quit trying to exploit a given hit past his chart life, but Rock n' Roll 's line-up covers the years 1954 to 1956, making Rock a Beatin' Boogie the only current track.

This edition of Tops in Pops contains enthusiastic performances, all very well recorded, with even the shaky At the Hop harmonies forgivable since the track has so much drive.  There are exceptional vocals on All the Way, Kisses Sweeter Than Wine, and My Heart Reminds Me (which is clearly a steal of the Della Reese version).  All the Way sounds uncannily like Sinatra, and the track would be a cheap label mega-classic if not for the poor strings and the nearly-ruined key change at the end.  As for Kisses, whoever this guy is, I like him better than Jimmie Rodgers.

Great Balls of Fire is kind of clunky, but it captures the spirit of the original quite well, so it's not the usual junk-label letdown.  This Tops in Pops jacket (top of page)--or, pretty much, any Tops in Pops jacket you want to choose--would have any reasonable person expecting very little, so these tracks are quite a pleasant surprise.  And look how weirdly the guy and gal are joined into/over the background photo--they're floating over the floor.  I'm not sure why there's so much contrast on my copy--there are much better looking example of this, including this one at Discogs:


Click here to hear:  Rock n' Roll--Artie Malvin

Click here to hear:  Tops in Pops--Allegro Elite 4131; 1956

Artie Malvin--Rock n' Roll (Waldorf Music Hall MH 33 149; 1958)

See You Later, Alligator
Rock Around the Clock
Dim, Dim the Lights
Shake, Rattle and Roll
Razzle Dazzle
Rock a Beatin' Boogie

Tops in Pops--All the Latest Hit Recordings (Allegro Elite 4131)

All the Way
At the Hop
Kisses Sweeter Than Wine
Wake Up Little Susie
Jailhouse Rock
Melodie D'Amour
My Heart Reminds Me


Thursday, August 16, 2018

Non-stop idocy

Anymore, I get stupidity like this two or three times a day in the comment section:

"you're in reality a just right webmaster.
The web site loading pace is amazing. It kind of feels that you're doing any distinctive trick.
Moreover, The contents are masterwork. you have done a fantastic task on this subject

Is this stuff generated on Mars?  Is it Martian to English?  And what is it supposed to accomplish?  It's clearly spam, but it includes no links.  Maybe it's coming from a mental institution.

Anyone have any idea what this stuff is?  I mean, if it is another planet someplace trying to make contact with our world, I should be notifying NASA.  Or the SETI Institute.


Thursday, August 02, 2018

Early fake hits (before rock and roll gained its foothold), 1949-1954

Sixteen tracks today--all fake hits, but all dating from before rock and roll became a regular presence in the pop charts, which I consider to be from 1956 on.  Feel free to argue that point (some would name 1955), because I'm no record-charts expert.  Rock and roll sides were making it into the pop charts prior to 1955/56, but not routinely.  We need to remember, too, that in the popular press rock and roll and rhythm and blues were used interchangeably, so using charts to trace the progress of rock and roll isn't a foolproof way.

The only number in this list that I consider rock and roll is Leiber and Stoller's I Need Your Lovin', as it is credited here on the Parade label, though the proper title is Bazoom (I Need Your Lovin').  You'd think Parade would have stuck with Bazoom, to save space and ink.  I guess they were cheapskates, not logicians.

Otherwise, I've kept to "pop" versions of "pop" hits, since the purpose of this post is to demonstrate that the postwar fake-hits boom (how's that for a phrase?) predates the rock era as we know it.  I've traced the boom back to the late '40s with Tops and the Royale/Varsity/etc. family (and a fascinating graveyard of Tops/Royale wannabes), and I don't know of any earlier flood-the-market-with-cheap-copies period.  The famous Depression-era "Hit of the Week" 78s were short-lived, and from approximately 1900-1940 (but more like the mid-'30s), there was a big market in budget-label re-pressings of major label sides (Silvertone, anyone?), so the notion of catering to a budget market was nothing new, but the postwar period seemed ideal for the surrogate-hit practice to invade the market--and flourish.  Fake hits kept on coming through the 1960s, but not at anything like the same rate--I'm guessing that all the Beatles knock-off LPs helped create a mass distaste for sound-alikes.  But that's only a guess--other factors (copyright issues, for one) were surely involved.  Perhaps drug and grocery stores stopped displaying these things.  Maybe the junk labels had to depend more and more on mail-order sales, which would remove the advantage of rack display and the resultant impulse purchases.

This playlist of sixteen titles was meant to cover the years 1948-1954, but I somehow forgot to add my 1948 Varsity label version of Buttons and Bows, so it starts with 1949.  The recording years lean toward (and match) 1954 much moreso than I'd intended, but this is partly because I was working with 78s, and my earlier fake-hit 78s sound awful.  And, come to think of it, there were likely far fewer of these in the earliest years, meaning far fewer survivors, especially on shellac.  Anyway, a decent sampling, regardless, I think.

Thanks to the amazing website 45worlds, I have definite release years for most of these.  No sure year for the Music Club Hit Tunes 78, though Come On-a My House, and My Truly, Truly Fair were two huge 1951 hits.  So 1951 it probably is.  The presence of Elliott Everett and His Orch. almost certainly makes this a Royale or Varsity reissue, or both.  I may have the Royale 78, so stay tuned--its catalog number would tell me.  Then again, there was no rhyme or reason to Varsity's numbering system, so....

A few of these were 45 rpm rips--I've noted them as such in the label info.

Click hear to hear: Early fake hits (1949-1954)

Dragnet--Enoch Light and His Orch. (Prom 1056; 1953)
The Creep (Instr. and Vocal)--Larry Clinton and His Orch., v. The Carillons (Bell 1022; 1954)
Rags to Riches--Bud Roman w. Lew Raymond and His Orch. (Tops 380--45 rpm; 1953)
Kaw Liga--"Hap" Williams (Victory Extended Play Records BG1020; prob. 1953)
The Story of Three Loves--The Magic Strings (Bell 1015; 1954)
I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Cocoanuts--Jimmie Livingston Orch., v. "Skeets" Morris (1949 or 1950)
Underneath the Arches--The Blenders (Tops 106; 1949)
Till Then--Anne Lloyd, Carillons, w. Larry Clinton Orch. (Bell 1034; 1954)
Mambo Italiano--Mimi Martel w. The Four Rhythmaires (Tops R 249-49--45 rpm EP; 1954)
Come On-a My House--Elliott Everett and His Orch., no vocal credit (Music Club Hit Tunes 2; prob. 1951)
Cross Over the Bridge--Earl Sheldon/Hits a Poppin' Orch. (Parade 4501--45 rpm EP; prob. 1954)
I Need Your Lovin'--The Four Rhythmaires, Lew Raymond O. (Tops R 249-49--45 rpm EP; 1954)
Lover--Mimi Martel w. the Hal Loman Orch. (Tops 334; 1952)
I Get So Lonely--Hits a Poppin' Orch. w. Stars of Radio and Television (Parade 7802--78 rpm EP; prob. 1954)
My Truly, Truly Fair--Elliott Everett and His Orch., no vocal credit (Music Club Hit Tunes 2; prob. 1951)


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Artti Records 120--Rock-a-Beatin' Boogie

There's no justice in this world.  The top image is my scan of Artti Records 120 (Rock-a-Beatin' Boogie for tap dancing class--what else?).  The bottom image is the slightly out of focus digital image featured in the eBay ad.  Notice how it looks twenty times better than the scan, possibly because the light is hitting the label from an angle, not head-on.  The difference is astonishing, really.  Remind me why scanners were invented?

I swear that a good 15 to 20 percent of my scanned record labels come out looking like a shadowy blob, forcing me to change the color curve, which typically results in too much contrast and a grainy look to otherwise smooth paper.  Instead of documenting history, I'm distorting it.  But this is a tap dancing 78, so I need to calm down, read a book, meditate, drink a beer, pet a cat, recite the Serenity Prayer, take deep breaths, listen to some Jim Florentine prank phone calls, and just generally chill.  I can do it--but only if I don't think about it too hard first.  Darn.  Too late.

Maybe next time.

Rock-a-beatin' Boogie was a big hit for Bill Haley in 1955.  Other artists had recorded it previously, starting with the Esquire Boys (with Danny Cedrone) in 1952.

I have no idea what's up with "Artti."  Maybe it's a cute misspelling of "Arty," which would be a weird word choice, since arty means "showily or pretentiously artistic" (Merriam-Webster).  Or maybe it's Finnish, Artti being a Finnish variant form of the name Arttu.  Found that out on Google.  The truth is, I have no idea.  The parent label for Artti was Velmo, which also gave us Abor and Dookie.  Abor is the name of certain hill tribes in the Assam Valley.  As an acronym, it can mean Accounting Book of Record (not to be confused with Investment Book of Record, or IBOR).  Among other things, "dookie" is slang for excrement.  (I suspected something along that line.)  Not something you want to smoke, obviously.

Urban Dictionary defines velmo as "The end result of two adult males kissing so affectionately that their mustaches become intertwined with one another."  (I get it--"Velcro" shortened and combined with, er... never mind.)  Meanwhile, Velmo USA, LLC is "a provider of comprehensive product sourcing solutions."  Boy, the information superhighway is sure earning its name today.

A lot of dance class records have survived the ravages of classroom record players, it seems--enough, probably, to make possible a blog devoted to these things.  But don't look at me.  I'm too busy Googling "dookie."

Click here to tap dance to: Rock-a-Beatin' Boogie. (Artti 120; 78 rpm)

1. Rock-a-Beatin' Boogie (Children's Novelty, Song and Dance)

4 Bar Entrance, 36 Bar Song--36 Bar Dance.
2 Bar Into.--12 Bars.

2. Rock-a-Beatin' Boogie (Swing and Boogie--4/4 Time)

4 Bar Intro.--72 Bars.
4 Bar Intro.--36 Bars.


Sunday, July 22, 2018

Flying Saucer of Latest Top Tunes

The flying saucer in question must have been either small or tightly packed--it only brought us ten tracks.  But what the heck--this is probably best cheap-label LP jacket ever.  It's so effectively designed, it doesn't matter that it's kind of chintzy in its execution.  There are more professionally done jackets that aren't a tenth as cool.  You know this is true.

So, I Google-searched for info on the "Today's Records" label, pretty much prepared to find nothing,  but... rhythm and blues authority Marv Goldberg to the rescue!  This Goldberg page tells us that Today's Records was owned by Maurice Wolsky, who recorded the R'n'B vocal group The Limelighters (not to be confused with the Limeliters), their recordings ending up on a host of budget labels under different credits, including as the Four Angels on Today's Records.

Not much, but more than I ever knew about Today's Records, save for the fact that Wolsky's wife Anne took over the label in 1957 after her husband's death in November, 1956 (Billboard, Feb. 9, 1957).

What's cool is that I've finally found evidence of someone leasing masters to multiple budget labels.  I think this happened all the time, but this is the first solid proof I've uncovered in that direction.

All very fascinating, you say, but what about this collection?  Well, it has a cool cover.  And the vinyl is that thick, cheap stuff that would likely shatter with a hammer blow (no, I don't plan to test it).  Exactly what vinyl (or vinyl-like) formulation this is, I know not, but hard-vinyl grooves don't hold up very well.  I'm pretty sure this is due to their lack of give, plus the heavy-tracking tonearms of the time.  Instead of the gradual wearing away of grooves, there's chipping happening after a handful of plays.  (That's called getting your $1.49 worth.)  But I used all my restoration tricks to get this sounding significantly less awful, I think.  Mono can come in handy.

The music?  Superb renditions of Standing on the Corner (were the Four Lads moonlighting?) and Que Sera Sera, to my amazement.  If only the rest of the tracks were remotely on par.  I mean, they're fun, but on the lower end of mediocre.  We hear singers who are no Como, Damone, Chordettes, Page, or Presley badly mimicking all five, BUT, in their defense, the moments of off-key singing on these tracks suggest a poor studio set-up.  (We'll not mention Born to Be with You, which is just poor.)

Hop on board:

Click here to hear: Flying Saucer of Latest Top Tunes--Jerry Rudolph and His Radio and TV Orch.

Standing on the Corner
Wayward Wind
I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
Somebody Up There Likes Me
On the Street Where You Live
Que Sera
Born to Be With You
Allegheny Moon
My Prayer

Flying Saucer of Latest Top Tunes (Today's Records FS X-1; probably 1956)


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Proof that anything is possible: A professionally done cheap-label LP cover!

Discogs lists the year for Mission: Impossible and Other Action Themes as 1967 for the Canadian issue, and 1968 for the U.S. issue.  Note that the cover contains the mono prefix "DLP," but with "Stereo" at the very top, which saved the label, Design, from having to print "SDLP."  (A triumph of ink-saving.)  Meanwhile, in its Design discography, Both Sides Now assigns this catalog number to Richard Hyman's Genuine Electric Latin Love Machine  (the what?), which is a typo, of course, because Hyman's LP came out on Command, not Design.

At the time, that all seemed interesting and worth sharing.  I have no idea why.

Anyway, today we have the Secret Agents (yeah, sure) performing the M:I theme, plus "other action themes," which include renamed versions of Sabre Dance. Gliding Dance of the Maidens (a.k.a. Stranger in Paradise),  Funeral March of a Marionette (a.k.a. Alfred Hitchcock Presents), and Dance Macabre. Theses have been re-titled Under Cover Agent Theme; The Saboteur; Win, Lose or Sp;, and Majorca Express.  Action themes.  Ohhhh-kay.

After all, what is a cheap label to do?  Use legit action themes for the filler tracks?  Actually, for once, the genuine titles outnumber the cheats--a full five of this album's eight tracks are actual TV or movie themes.  How did that happen?  Was Design's quality control slipping?

The musical results are much better than we can logically expect, in large part because the Secret Agents are first-rate musicians, despite some shaky arranging,  abrupt and awkward fade-outs, and a total playing time of under 21 minutes (!).  Everything sounds under-rehearsed, though there are some superbly performed moments (e.g., the closing of Majorca Express, which makes up for the rest of the track).  And the discotheque version of Star Trek is far out--groovy, even.  This collection has its moments, and then some.  Even the sound quality is good.  Someone got fired; I just feel it.

Actually, the most amazing thing of all would have to be the jacket--a cheap-label cover that looks like some love went into it, and which actually relates to the material!  But they did one thing right--they printed the jacket titles in the wrong order.  Whew.  So it's not the end of life as we know it.

Click below to hear:

Mission: Impossible, and Other Action Themes--The Secret Agents

Mission: Impossible
Theme from Star Trek
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
Win, Lose or Spy
Theme from Mannix
Under Cover Agent Theme
The Saboteur
Majorca Express

(Design SDLP-237, 1968)