Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Dorsey Touch (Hollywood LPH-136; 1957)



So, why did I buy this Goodwill album?  Well, after going through eight or nine boxes, I'd picked a small group of LPs and 45s.  My brother-in-law was standing next to me.  I thought this jacket was kind of cool (it is--surprisingly so for a cheapo label), so I held it up and said, "Do I want this?"  "Yes, you want this," he replied.  So I bought it.

The label is Hollywood, and here Hollywood is pulling the standard budget-label read-the-smaller-print scam: a big (colorized?) picture of the famous artists being exploited, the artists' name in big letters ("Dorsey"), and no Tommy or Jimmy Dorsey present on the disc.  Surprise!!  Just Maury Laws' Orchestra and Chorus, which does a surprisingly decent job recreating the Tommy Dorsey sound (7 to 8 on a scale of 10).  (I don't think any of these were originally Jimmy Dorsey sides, but correct me if I'm wrong.)  Surprisingly decent, because the budget couldn't have been very sky-high.  In all, a fun LP with a few outstanding performances.  My only complaint: some truncated arrangements, including my two all-time favorite TD tracks: Marie and Sunny Side of the Street.  How could they?  But there's an excellent Opus No. 1, so maybe I can forgive this lapse in $1.98-LP wisdom.  This junk-label album far exceeded my low expectations, so I'll give it an A.  Besides, the cover rocks.

Biggest surprise: the very decent sound.  I combined left and right for fabulous results.  Not usually, but sometimes the poverty-row record companies get it right.  Well, except for putting the jacket's track listings in the correct order, but that's a proud budget label tradition.  These folks have standards to uphold.

Click here to hear: The Dorsey Touch--Maury Laws' Chorus and Orch.

Getting Sentimental Over You
Royal Garden Blues
Boogie Woogie
Song of India
Swanee River
Marie
Will You Still Be Mine/Once in a While
Yes Indeed (Sy Oliver)
Sunny Side of the Street
I'll Never Smile Again
Opus No. 1 (Sy Oliver)
This Love of Mine/Embraceable You/There Are Such Things
Quiet Please (Sy Oliver)
Getting Sentimental Over You

Prepared and Directed by Maury Laws (Hollywood LPH-136, 1957)

Lee

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Teen-age Favorites (a.k.a. Teenage All-Time Favorites) (Broadway 1038)



The couple (above) looks like it's being tortured.  In the Hall of Bad Poses, this jacket cover probably has its own special room.

Now, when you see an album cover this banged up (I cloned out some of the worst of it, save for the pose itself), you can only assume the disc is toast, but in fact it's a solid average.  So I got good sound out of all nine (yes, nine) of the tracks.  Oh, and in typical zero-budget label fashion, the jacket title listings are out of sync with the actual order, and the label sports a different title than the front (Teenage All-Time Favorites).  Yup, everything checks out.

Despite the 1958-style art, this collection of sound-alike hits dates from 1963!  And what a group of  1963 "Teen-age Favorites" (keeping in mind these are all "fake" versions)--the 1954 Kay Starr hit, Rock and Roll Waltz; the 1957 Jim Reeves hit Four Walls; Sal Mineo's Start Movin' (In My Direction), same year; two Fats Domino numbers (Be My Guest, My Girl Josephine--1959 and 1960); and the then-current Sam Cooke classic, Another Saturday Night.  I guess none of the teens surveyed by the Broadway label were into the Beach Boys, Lesley Gore, Stevie Wonder, or Bobby Vinton.

Anyway, this very strange worth-it-for-the-cover-pose-alone album is actually pretty fun listening.  Find out for yourself.  You'll thank me (or not).

Click here to hear: Teen-age Favorites


TEEN-AGE FAVORITES--Vocals & Orch. by Popular Radio & TV Artists (Broadway 1038)

Another Saturday Night
Rock & Roll Waltz
My Girl Josephine
My Heart Is an Open Book
Stood Up
She Say (Oom Dooby Doom)
Be My Guest
Four Walls
Start Movin' (In My Direction)

Lee

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Compiled According to Radio, Record and Music Surveys




An astonishingly good set of "fake" hits, considering it's from the cheapest of all cheapo record companies of the Fifties: Record Corp. of America, not to be confused with RCA.

Some wear on this disc, but decent sound overall.  Some of the performances border on quite good (Rock Around the Clock, for instance, the best cheap-label copycat version of the classic tune anywhere).  De-clicking this was a chore, but a happy one, because these tracks were worth rescuing from the ravages of needle drops, digs, and general turntable mistracking.  I take this stuff seriously, Lord help me.

Notice the ripped-off portion of the cover, which was likely a track listing.  Whoever did it could have done it a little more gracefully, but it's cool, campy cover anyway.

Best guess on the release year: 1955, because all of these are 1955 hits.  The LP cover says 1954, but do you trust Record Corp. of America?

Enjoy!

Click here to hear: An Hour of Tops in Pops (Royale 1389)

Rock Around the Clock
Learnin' the Blues
Hard to Get
Honey-Babe
Sweet and Gentle
Love Me or Leave Me
Unchained Melody
A Blossom Fell
Something's Gotta Give
Heart
Don't Be Angry
Two Hearts, Two Kisses

(No artists credited, Allegro/Royale 1389, prob. 1955)


Lee

Friday, March 16, 2018

Rock N' Roll (Promenade High Fidelity 45 r.p.m. extended play; $1.89 value)



Well, the Variety label called it "rock 'n roll," and Promenade (this release, by the famous Synthetic Plastics Co.) called it "rock n' roll."  Of course, it's "rock 'n' roll," but that still leaves a couple questions unanswered--namely, what are April Love and Kisses Sweeter Than Wine doing here?  Besides taking up track space?

I think of myself as anything but a purist, but those two titles are about as rock n'/'n/'n' roll as, oh, Al Di La (the best version of which was waxed by the Ray Charles Singers.  Not that Ray, of course.)

And I *like* Kisses Sweeter Than Wine, ironically.  Even this version.

These are all fakes, of course--sound-alikes, back when you could swipe an arrangement and not get sued.  Some fine tracks--Jo Ann, The Stroll, Don'tKeep a Knockin', and, especially, Great Balls of Fire.  The passable copies include Diana, April Love, and Whole Lotta Shakin'.

Shed a tear for Jail House (sic) Rock, whose fabulous backing would have been infinitely better served by a singer who sounded remotely like Elvis.  And who put a little life into the proceedings.  Given a decent vocal, this would have been an all-time great fake.  Thanks a lot, "Eli Whitney."

And genuine thanks to the declicker filter on my MAGIX program, and to some tool-removed pops (mega-pops too big for the declicker to declick, these terrible pressings sound totally acceptable.

Rock n' roll!!!   


PLAYLIST

Jo Ann--Promineers
The Stroll--Promineers
Keep a Knockin'--Little Bobby
Jail House Rock--Eli Whitney
Diana--Bob Robbins
April Love--Michael Reed
Don't--Jimmie Aires
Kisses Sweeter Than Wine--Johnny Logan
Great Balls of Fire--Billie Case
Why Don't They Understand--Johnny Logan
Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On--Allan Freed
Only Because--The Wright Bros.

(Rock n' Roll--Promenade RR 23 and RR 24, 45 rpm EPs)


Click here to hear: Rock N' Roll (Promenade RR 23/24)


Lee

Sunday, March 04, 2018

The Sutera Twins--The "Happy Day" Express Song





More fake hits coming up, but, in the meantime, here's a perfect Sunday morning track--found it at Goodwill today, and I just knew from that title alone that it had to have a place here.

I guess the label, if there is one, would have to be "The Sutera Twins"--Ralph and Louis Sutera, to be exact.  (Self-produced, ya think?)  And here they are on YouTube, from 2008 (way after this recording, I'm pretty sure), talking about their Saskatoon, Saskatchewan ministry!  Sutera Twins

And here's the track:  The "Happy Day" Express Song (Engine Song)--Ralph & Louis Sutera

If this doesn't put you in Sunday morning mode, nothing will!


Lee

Sunday, January 28, 2018

18 Big Rock 'n' Roll Hits (Variety EPV-1801)




This gets complicated.  This 45 rpm three-EP set on the Variety label--18 Big Rock 'n Roll Hits--was also issued (earlier, I'm assuming) as a 12-inch LP on the mega-cheap Hollywood label.  That Hollywood LP was a reissue of an earlier Hollywood LP from 1957 called The Nation's Favorite Rock 'N Roll Hits.  My copy of the Hollywood LP (the reissue) is worn to death, so I'm using this set.

Well, I guess that wasn't too complicated.  Sound quality, predictably, is awful, making the above "Examination Certificate for Full Fidelity Response Recordings with Live Sound" (back cover of box) especially hilarious, since these have about a 9,000 Hz high end.  I doubt they top off at 15000 Hz, as claimed.  I got these to sound acceptable, and, in the process of ripping the final disc, I discovered that my Stanton 680 HiFi cartridge navigates warped vinyl effortlessly, in contrast to my 500 cart, which wants to bounce.

For lowest-quality EPs, these restored pretty well (with a good amount of de-clicking).  The performances are better than we have a right to expect, and some are even genuinely good.  And the version of Rock Around the Clock is my all-time favorite cheap-label version, despite the off-the-beat intro.  It found its way around the cheapo labels and may have originated on Gateway.  (Update: Nope, not the same version as Gateway Top Tune.  It's Gabe Drake on Prom 1118, poss. 1955)  Why it was included, I don't know, because the rest of the tracks are copies of 1956 hits, whereas RATC hit it big in 1955 (as a re-release).  But I don't complain--it's the perfect starter track.

"Reg. $16.00 value."  They wish. 

Click here to hear: 18 Big Rock 'n Roll Hits

1. Rock Around the Clock
2.  Long Tall Sally
3.  Blue Suede Shoes
4.  Ain't That a Shame
5.  Hound Dog
6.  See You Later Alligator
7.  Blueberry Hill
8.  Rip It Up
9.  I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
10.  Let the Good Times Roll
11.  The Fool
12.  Every Day
13.  When My Dreamboat Comes Home
14,  Why Do Fools Fall in Love
15.  Love, Love, Love
16.  Don't Be Cruel
17.  Ready Teddy
18.  I'm in Love Again

Vocal Stars of Radio & Television with Famous Orchestras (Variety EPV-1801, 3-EP, 45 rpm set, 1957?  Discs themselves are EPV-6025/26/27)



Above: label scan.  Suddenly, the set's name is "Rock n Roll," with half of the "n" missing.  Such loving care these guys took.


Lee

Friday, January 05, 2018

Merry 12th day of Christmas with tinsel tunes from Tulsa




The twelve days of Christmas end today, and I wish our Christmas weather would end with it, but no such luck.  Below-zero chill factors, a few inches of snow, and 0 degree overnight highs here in the country (must remember to keep small trickle of water running), and nothing fit for humans until our Sunday high of 28.  But there are others getting it a lot worse, so I can't complain.  I will, anyway.

I think I'm justified in calling this single "obscure."  "Nelson Pendergrass" + "Christy the Christmas Tree" gets a single Google match--a discography (minus dates) of Oklahoma record labels, including this one (Pride).  It appears that Pendergrass did one other Pride single--“Cute Little Checker Girl/Tomorrow Is Her Birthday."  Now you know all I know.  About this topic, I mean.

Pleasant sides, sounding very much like small local label efforts (why would that be, I wonder?), and destined not to become internet classics.  But they make for a nice and quiet farewell to Christmas 2017, even if the weather ain't following suit.


Click here to hear: Christy the Christmas Tree

Christy the Christmas Tree--Nelson Pendergrass (Pride 660P-3941; Tulsa, Okla.)
Santa Comes Tonight--Same


Lee

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas--Ray Smith (1949)



The eleventh day of Christmas is here, and we celebrate it with a good ol' 1949 country rendition (by Ray Smith) of Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, here credited to "Horton," though Wikipedia tells us the lyrics of this 19th century classic have been attributed to Benjamin Hanby, and the music to John Piersol McCaskey.  But Jolly Old was public domain by 1949, and all kinds of false credits end up getting stuck on p.d. creations, so we'll pretend "Horton" wrote it.  Which Horton, though?  Vaughan Horton?  Johnny Horton?

I need to know.  I must know.  I DEMAND TO KNOW!!!!

Sorry--too much caffeine this early in the morning.  Oh, wait--Billboard to the rescue.  An Old Christmas Card was written by Vaughan Horton, and maybe someone at Columbia figured he or she may as well credit the flip to Horton, as well.  Or, more likely, Vaughan Horton arranged the flip side.  P.D. stuff is often credited to the person who arranged a particular version of it.

Mystery solved, maybe.  Whew!


Click here to hear: Jolly Old Saint Nicholas

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas--Ray Smith, 1949
An Old Christmas Card--Same

Lee

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

The Christmas Story--Music by William Billings




Another flexi disc Christmas selection for our holiday period, The Christmas Story, with music by the great William Billings, arranged by Leonard Van Camp (1934-2003).

Maybe the best selection I've put up for 2017, the quality of music and performance is astonishing, and the Eva-Tone Soundsheet yields uncharacteristically good sound when reduced to mono.  Forgive the moments of double-tracking (or whatever the correct term is)--i.e., a kind of groove bleed-through, which I've read is the sign of a very good, sensitive stylus.  Maybe I should have used my cheaper Stanton stereo needle for this cartridge for less bleed-through.

No date on the disc, but the choral music for this was printed in 1974, so we can figure (i.e., guess) the disc is from the same period.

On line, I see no reference to a regular LP issue of this performance, which seems weird, again in part because of the sheer quality of performance and recording.  Anyway, a gem for our tenth day of Christmas.

Click here to hear: The Christmas Story--SIUE Concert Chorale

The Christmas Story--Music by Wm. Billings--Arr. by Leonard Van Camp The Concert Chorale, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, Leonard Van Camp, Director.

Lee

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

A cherry Xmas: "Christmas Holds No Joy for Me"--Harry Black (1928)


Please don't be misled--I do want you to have a joyful ninth day of Christmas.  I want everyone to.  Harry Black, however, harbors terrible memories of the holiday--memories that sound like something out of a sad 1928 country song.  By no coincidence, this is a sad 1928 country song, concocted by Carson Robison and Frank Luther.  Thanks a lot, Carson and Frank.

The flip side, Jesus the Light of the World, is much cheerier, if that helps.  Far more conventional Christmas fare, too.

Click here to hear: Christmas Holds No Joy for Me--Harry Black (1928)

Christmas Holds No Joy for Me--Harry Black, 1928
Jesus, the Light of the World--Same


Lee

Monday, January 01, 2018

The Christmas Choo Choo Train--Art Mooney and Laura Leslie (1950)





Welcome to the eighth day of Christmas (also known as New Year's Day)!  Today, a 1950 single by Art Mooney and His Orch., featuring Laura Leslie on lead vocal.  Charming sides, beautifully done, though I have no idea why the writers of Choo Choo Train inserted the quotation from The Girl I Left Behind Me in the melody.  Weird.


Click here to hear: The Christmas Choo Choo Train

The Christmas Choo Choo Train--Art Mooney and His Orch., v: Laura Leslie, The Skylarks, 1950
The Candy Land Parade--Art Mooney and His Orch., v: Laura Leslie, 1950



Lee