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
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.
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)