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
I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
Somebody Up There Likes Me
On the Street Where You Live
Born to Be With You
Flying Saucer of Latest Top Tunes (Today's Records FS X-1; probably 1956)