Sunday, May 19, 2019

Fakes in a Row: Why Do Fools Fall in Love, Hound Dog, more!

Collect cheap knock-offs long enough, and, before you know it, you have at least five versions of Why Do Fools Fall in Love and at least six Hound Dogs.  You're not fully aware of it until the multiple fakes have piled up--the process seems to be happening on its own.  And what's the proper term for multiple fakes?  Covers of covers?  Dupes of dupes?  "Different fakes" almost has no meaning.   But that's what we're talking about here.  Or what I'm talking about, anyway.

It's cool in a weird way, and weird in a cool way to hear multiple Why Do Fools..., Jailhouse Rocks, and See You Later...s in a row, as I have them lined up here.  I think so, at least.  Distinguishing one fake from another is pretty easy most of the time.  A big exception is the Broadway/Value Hit Parade/Royale version of Why Do Fools..., which sounds a lot like the Hollywood Records version--until you realize the vocalists are different, despite the very similar (and, possibly, identical) arrangement.

These rows of fakes are a surprise to me, as they blast out of the water a theory I've been toting around and preaching--namely, that after about 1955, and with the exception of the Bell and Waldorf labels (both of which did their own, label-specific versions), the cheapos were relying on two outfits for their masters, which would neatly account for the label group-hopping that sometimes occurred (Tops/Prom, Broadway/Royale, etc.).  This is how it seemed to me.  But history refuses to happen in a neat, ordered fashion.  Oh, well.  Theories come and go.  If you're lucky, they hold up.  If you're not, then it's a teachable moment, or whatever the phrase is.

Is it easy to get mixed up when preparing a post like this?  Try not getting mixed up, especially when you're ripping and declicking things from one program to another.  And especially when, in addition to sometimes five or six different "fakes" of a single song, you have multiple editions of a given fake.  People have ended up in a straitjacket over less.  But not me.  I'm sane!!  Ha, ha, ha!  I'm sane!  They won't come take ME away!  Hee, heee!

I hear the sirens.  Better hurry up and download.  If you think you're hearing double, triple, or quadruple, don't worry.  With this playlist, you are.

DOWNLOAD:  Fakes in a Row

Why Do Fools Fall in Love--The New Notes, Orch. cond. Jack Hansen (8 Top Hits, Remington R-711; 10" LP)
Why Do Fools Fall in Love--Unknown (18 Big Rock 'n Roll Hits--Hollywood LPH-31; LP)
Why Do Fools Fall in Love--Ceci Julian w. Vic Corwin O. (Value Hit Parade Tunes 232; 78 rpm EP)
Why Do Fools Fall in Love--The Teeners, Featuring Laura Leslie (Prom 710; 45 rpm EP)
Why Do Fools Fall in Love--Benn Zeppa w. the Four Jacks, Lew Raymond O. (Tops 45-R278-49; 45 rpm EP)
That'll Be the Day--Steven Marks w. Vic Corwin and His Orch. (Twelve Hit Parade Tunes--Value 147; LP)
That'll Be the Day--The Grasshoppers w. the Promenade Orch. and Chorus (Promenade Hit 16; 45 rpm EP)
That'll Be the Day--Jerry Case and the Toppers, Lew Raymond Orch. (Tops 45-R410-49; 45 rpm EP)
Jailhouse Rock--Steven Mark, Vic Corwin Orch. (Twelve Hits Parade Tunes--Value 147; LP)
Jail House Rock--Eli Whitney w. the Promenade Orch. and Chorus (Promenade RR 22; 45 rpm EP)
Jailhouse Rock--Earl Robbins w. Dave Remington's Orch. (Gateway Top Tune 1226; 45 rpm EP--1957)
Hound Dog--Unknown (18 Big Rock 'n Roll Hits--Hollywood LPH-31; LP)
Hound Dog--Don Kay, Promenade Orch. and Chorus (Promenade RR 1; 45 rpm EP)
Hound Dog--Terry Wall (Hep--Montclair Records 297; 78 rpm EP)
Hound Dog--Unknown (Tops in Pops--Royal 788; 78 rpm EP)
Hound Dog--Artie Malvin (Four Top Hits--Waldorf Music Hall 4558; 45 rpm EP)
Hound Dog--"Scatman" Crothers (Tops 45-R290-49; 45 rpm EP)
Blue Suede Shoes--Unknown (18 Big Rock 'n Roll Hits--Hollywood LPH-31; LP)
Blue Suede Shoes--Unknown (Country and Western Hits--Ultraphonic 1664; LP)
Blue Suede Shoes--Loren Becker w. the Light Brigade (Four Top Hits; Waldorf Music Hall 4547; 45 rpm EP)
Blue Suede Shoes--Hank Smith (George Jones), The Nashville Playboys (Gilmar RX124; 45 rpm EP)
See You Later, Alligator--Unknown (18 Big Rock 'n Roll Hits--Hollywood LPH-31; LP)
See You Later, Alligator--Danny Daniels, Lew Raymond and Orch. with the Toppers (Tops 45-R275-49)
See You Later, Alligator--Jack Daniels w. Herbie Layne's Orch. and Chorus (Gateway Top Tune 1156; 45 rpmEP--1955)
See You Later, Alligator--Unknown (Value Hit Parade Tunes 120; 78 rpm EP)


Sunday, May 12, 2019

Sunday morning gospel: The Statesmen Quartet w. Hovie Lister--Songs of Faith (RCA Camden CAL-843)

This is a last-minute substitution. I had the Statesmen's Peace, O Lord all ripped and scanned and ready to go--then I discovered that Sony Music Entertainment has it available as a digital download (with two bonus tracks).  Always check to see if your budget RCA Camden LP is available in digital form from Sony.  Just simple common sense.

Luckily, I found this one--Songs of Faith--last week, so here it is.  I didn't have a chance to give each track the good listen it deserves--I was in a rush and listening for clicks, pops, and other issues--but I can tell you that 1) the singing is of the usual superb quality, and 2) most tracks are slow in tempo, save for one medium tempo number and a delightful uptempo song from 1956 called I'm Gonna Walk with My Friend Jesus.  There are two moments of treble-range distortion on one of the tracks (don't ask me which--I don't remember) that don't appear to be related to surface issues, so either a microphone was acting up during the session, or something happened with the mastering.  It wasn't me!  I corrected the brief sections the best I could with EQ'ing.  You may not even notice them.  If not, forget I mentioned them.  (Distorted moments?  What distorted moments?)

Forget I mentioned it.  (Mentioned what?)  Exactly.

He Set Me Free, which appears on side 2, is a typo--it's actually He Sets Me Free, originally released as a single in 1959. I was relieved to discover this, since of course there's a hugely famous Albert E. Brumley song called He Set Me Free, and I couldn't picture another, later song using that title.  But you never know.

The first four tracks were recorded by the group especially for this 1964 LP--the rest date from 1956 to 1960.  Great stuff.


DOWNLOAD: Songs of Faith--The Statesmen Quartet w. Hovie Lister

How Great Thou Art (Recorded for this LP)
Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone (Same)
Beyond the Gates (Same)
If I Can Help Somebody (Same)
I'm Gonna Walk with My Friend Jesus (1956)
'Til the Last Leaf Shall Fall (1957)
There's Room at the Cross (Stamphill; 1959)
How Long Has It Been? (Lister; 1956)
He Set (sic) Me Free (He Sets Me Free; 1959)
To Me It's So Wonderful (1960)

Songs of Faith--The Statesmen Quartet w. Hovie Lister (RCA Camden CAL-843; 1964)


Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Less Common Burt, Part 5--Marty Robbins, Harold Smith Majestic Choir, Petula Clark, Al Hirt

Burt is back!  Twenty-two less common Burt selections today, starting with My Little Red Book, as recorded by Burt himself for the Kapp label, with Tony Middleton singing.  The song, you may know, was a punk/garage hit in 1966 for the Los Angeles band Love, which kept the killer rhythms but greatly simplified the song structure, using the I-to-#I-then-back-to-I routine that makes things sound exotic.  Misirlou-ish, if you will.  I think I read that Burt was not amused, but don't quote me.  Anyway, Burt's version, not surprisingly, presents the song as written.  Singer Middleton, who's black, sounds like Tom Jones, who made a living sounding black.  It's a weird world we live in.  Meanwhile, Shani Wallis' overdone The Look of Love is a favorite of mine, maybe because Shani is so good, which she certainly is.  And maybe because I admire anyone who can manage to be heard over a background that loud.  Shani is still with us, at 86.

The Swedish group Gals and Pals give us a fascinating version of Close, which we already heard in its original version by Keely Smith.  This one is over the top in a cool sort of way.  Alfie is a surprise--a quality version, credited to no one, from the trash label Premier.  This Empty Place, not my favorite Burt-Hal, is handled well by the Fortunes, though I like the Ian and the Zodiacs version better, in part because of its faster tempo, which seems more correct for this tune. But this one is fine enough.  And if you can imagine a version of Promises, Promises by Al Hirt, imagine no longer--it's here.  Al's performance is a bit too academic, if that makes any sense--it lacks the required looseness.  But it's Al Hirt playing Burt, so I had to include it.  A Salute to Bacharach is a medley by the The Kids from Wisconsin, who you can find out about on line--they're still performing.  But I'll let you do the searching--at the moment, I'm not in the mood for one "We see you're using an ad-blocker" message after another.  Then a gorgeous version of Ten Times Forever More by Eddy Arnold, and two UK fake-hit versions of Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa, one by Rikki Henderson on Embassy, the budget label of the UK Woolworths, which folks called "Woolies" when I was stationed in Scotland.  The other is by an uncredited singer on the Top Six label.  Sure enough, there are six tracks on the single.

The fake-hit Tower of Strength on Gilmar is also uncredited, and since, in my experience, Gilmar released Tops and Broadway tracks, Ill guess Tops.  It's almost scary in its excellence, and I could probably swap it for the original without anyone noticing.  Maybe it arrived here from an alternate universe.  And a black gospel version of What the World Needs Now, a Burt song that enjoyed a fair number of gospel treatments, and Sittin' in a Tree House, a silly 1958 number for Marty Robbins which uses sped-up voices on the "little tree house" part.  It has the usual Ray Conniff-production whistling, which I believe (not sure) was usually done by Ray himself.  And we get a fake, uncredited version of Only Love Can Break a Heart from the LP, This Month's Top 16 Hits, courtesy of Canada's Allied Record Corp.  My Windows 10 player tells me F.T. Smith composed the number, which is news to me and Burt.  I wish the player would simply display the data I entered.

Petula Clark's terrific True Love Never Runs Smooth makes it a shame she didn't do more Burt-Hal during her heyday, which she didn't, far as I can tell.  It's not fair.  And, to likely no one's surprise, Gene Pitney's Little Betty Falling Star is superior to George Hamilton's single.  Say Goodbye is a nice number, and Pat Boone does well with it.  Tom Jones, Julie Rodgers (in fake stereo), the Johnny Mann Singers and Sonny James complete the fun.

DOWNLOAD:  Less Common Burt, Part 5

All songs by Bacharach-David unless otherwise indicated:

My Little Red Book--Burt Bacharach; 1966
Close (Bacharach-Sydney Shaw)--The Gals and Pals; 1966
Ten Times Forever More--Eddy Arnold, Prod. Chet Atkins; 1970
Tower of Strength (Bacharach-Bob Hilliard)--Gilmar D-G-259
To Wait for Love--Tom Jones, Dir. Les Reed; 1965
True Love Never Runs Smooth--Petula Clark; 1965
Sittin' in a Tree House--Marty Robbins w. Ray Connif and His Orch.; 1958
This Empty Place--The Fortunes; 1965
What the World Needs Now--Harold Smith Majestic Choir; 1968
The Look of Love--Shani Wallis, Arr, and Cond. by David Whitaker, 1967
The Love of a Boy--Julie Rogers; 1964
Dream Big (Bacharach-Paul Hampton)--Sonny James; 1959
Only Love Can Break a Heart--No Artist Credited (This Month's 16 Top Hits, Allied Record Corp. TM-2, Canada)
Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa--Rikki Henderson, Acc. Dir. by Bobby Cameron (Embassy 45-WB 608; 1963)
Alfie--No Artist Credited (Great Movie Themes, Premier PS-9011)
The Look of Love--The Johnny Mann Singers; 1968
Say Goodbye--Pat Boone; 1965
Promises, Promises--Al Hirt; 1968
Little Betty Falling Star (Bacharach-Hilliard)--Gene Pitney; 1962
They Long to Be Close to You--Eddy Arnold, Arr. Terry Waddell; 1971
Twenty-Four Hours from Tulsa--Top Six 1; 1964
A Salute to Bacharach--The Kids from Wisconsin; 1969


Sunday, May 05, 2019

The Statesmen with Hovie Lister--Message in the Sky (RCA Camden CAL-743; 1963)

 For our Sunday, a cool 1963 LP of Statesmen tracks covering the period 1955-1960.  The final track, 1955's Headin' Home, may be a slight shock to anyone who hasn't heard it before, like me.  Imagine a bluesy jazz trumpet backing the Statesmen.  Not something I ever expected to encounter!  It's like the Statesmen making an appearance on a '50s crime series or something.  Truly weird, but hey--more power to them for experimenting.

For maybe ten years, I've owned this vinyl without a cover.  Then I found the cover just a week or so ago while thrifting.  Turned out to contain a different RCA Camden LP, but I l already had the vinyl, so now I have the whole thing.  What can I say?  The usual terrific Statesmen harmonies, and a nice song selection.  I figured out the years through various sources, including Billboard for both 1955 selections,  my 78 rpm dating guide, 45cat, eBay, and the online online (78 rpm) discographical project.  Luckily, during the period these sides were made, RCA used the same label numbers for its 78s and 45s.

Too tired and rushed to say more, except to note that there was a small, hardened wad of something on the Side 1 label, which I used Goo Gone to remove.  After five or six hours, the Goo Gone is still not gone, so I wasn't able to scan the labels and add them to the zip file.  I don't know why Goo Gone takes so absurdly long to go.  But then the product only promises to get rid of goo, not to make a fast exit  By the morning, there should be no sign it was there.  I hope.

To the gospel:

DOWNLOAD: Message in the Sky--The Statesmen w. Hovie Lister

Message in the Sky (1960)
A Man Called Peter (1955)
Practice What You Preach (1956)
I've Found a New Friend (1957)
Mansions Can't Be Bought (1957)
God Is My Partner (1957)
Every Hour and Every Day (1957)
Oh What a Friend He Is To Me (1957)
Everybody's Gonna Have a Terrible Time Down There (1958)
I Found the Answer (1960)
I Follow Jesus (1960)
Headin' Home (1955)

Message in the Sky--The Statesmen with Hovie Lister (RCA Camden CAL-743)


Saturday, May 04, 2019

16 Top Hits of the Week, Vol. 1 (Premier AS 16-1; probably 1965)

I just can't stop myself.  More fakes, this time from 1965, it would appear.  I'm surprised to see Premier as the label, for reasons I'll go into momentarily.  Premier, as record collectors know, was part of the Coronet/Parade/Spin-o-Rama, etc. group.  And this is where I have to warn people about the label info on Discogs, a site I love and use a lot but which gets label info wrong some of the time.  For instance, this LP, which says "Premier Albums, Inc." on the label and jacket, and which gives a New York NY address, is identified at Discogs as a Brazilian label.  A simple linking error, maybe, but Discogs gets the info wrong on other cheapo labels, too, so---be careful.

The reason I'm surprised the see these on Premier is that many of these versions also showed up on various Pickwick labels, and on the Hit Parader and Song Hits labels sold through Charlton comics (and, presumably, also through the Hit Parader and Song Hits magazines the labels were named after).  I'm always talking about how these fake-hit tracks label-hopped, and we're seeing label-hopping in action here.  It pretty much makes tracking down the source of a track an exercise in futility.  I'm almost positive that, by this point in the fake-hits game, a couple outfits were supplying the masters.  Great way to save time and money.  And to sell the same tracks umpteen times.

These fakes resonate with me, because I was (let me see) eight in 1965, and so I remember most of the original numbers.  Logically, I should remember all of them, having listened to Top 40 radio, but back then a lot of what we got to hear, hit-wise, depended on the specific market.  I do not, for example, remember Queen of the House, the feminine take on King of the Road.  As for Cast Your Fate to the Wind, if I heard it, I'm sure I tuned it out.  The Beach Boys' Help Me Rhonda was, and remains, one of my favorite singles ever, and I even like this dreadful cover.  Other numbers fare better--Do the Freddie, You Were Made for Me (my favorite Freddie and the Dreamers track), Wooly Bully, It's Gonna Be Alright, and Reelin' and Rockin' (a copy of the Dave Clark Five's version of the Chuck Berry number).  The sound quality is halfway acceptable, especially considering the label group, though the pressing is atrocious.  I did very careful editing to mask the hiss at the fade-outs and at the track starts.  Most of the stereo is genuine, save for You Can Have Her, which sounds like manipulated mono, and Silhouettes, which is also mono but painfully out of phase (it's an effect calling "flanging," which I did not know). 

Iko Iko took me a few listens to remember--once I made the Dixie Cups connection, it came right back to me.  It got tons of play back then, but my first response was, "What it this??"

Crying in the Chapel has a singer badly imitating 1965 Elvis, while the backing track copies the one used on the 1963 Little Richard version.  I'll give that a few seconds to sink in.  I haven't had the chance to sound-compare, but I'm almost sure this backing track was also used by Synthetic Plastics Co. when it covered the Little Richard Chapel (an oddity, since LR's version wasn't a national hit).  So we get the LR arrangement and a bad Elvis imitation.  Can you see now why I love these things?

To quote from the front jacket, "Here's wishing you many hours of dancing and listening pleasure."

DOWNLOAD: 16 Top Hits of the Week, Vol. 1

It's Gonna Be Alright
Queen of the House
Back in My Arms
You Were Made for Me
Help Me Rhonda
Wooly Bully
Just a Little
Cast Your Fate to the Wind
Engine Engine #9
Do the Freddie
Crying in the Chapel
You Can Have Her
Reelin' and Rockin'
Iko Iko 

16 Top Hits of the Week, Vol. 1 (Premier Albums AS 16-1; probably 1965)


Thursday, May 02, 2019

Hit Parade (of) Eight Top Tunes/Hits--Jerry Rudolph Orch. and the Pinup Cover Girl

The Pinup Cover Girl has returned--along with Jerry Rudolph and his radio & TV Orch.  I apologize to the Four Angels, featuring Judy Lynn and Paul Bean, for not including them in the credits last time.  If they're really angels, they'll forgive me.

So, Michael asked if I have the Today's Record disc which includes Heart, Honey Babe, A Blossom Fell, Don't Drive Me Away, Hey Mr. Banjo, Learnin' the Blues, Hard to Get, Rock Around the Clock, and Something's Gotta Give.  Well, I don't have the 10" LP, but I have the 7" EP, though there's no Hard to Get.  Maybe that one is hard to get.  (Cha-dunk, crash!)  And the title of Don't Give Me Away is Don't be Angry, and it's here.  That's the good news.

The bad news is that these are heavily edited--the only way, I suppose, that Today's Records could manage to cram four tracks per 45 rpm side.  Rock Around the Clock may be the selection that suffers most from its cuts--missing is the solo (which is pretty lousy, actually) and the instrumental break preceding the final chorus.  So, being the great guy that I am, I figured out which of the six or so contemporary "fake hit" versions this is, and it's the one which also showed up on Gateway Top Tune (credited to Dick Warren) and Tops (credited to Fred Gibson).  The Gateway side is the complete performance, and the Tops is 2/3 of the complete performance (the instrumental break edited out). I ripped both of these and added them to the playlist.

The sound quality on this EP could be worse, considering the jammed-together tracks, though there's some pitch wavering on the closing numbers on each side--impossible to avoid, I suppose.  I did my best to center the disc on the turntable (the pressing is ever so slightly off center), but when the grooves are this close together, good luck avoiding what audio enthusiasts used to call "wow."

Notice that the word "of" is missing in the EP title: Hit Parade Eight Top Tunes.  Worse, notice the different title on the label: Hit Parade of Eight Top Hits.  Ah, but top tunes, top hits--what's the difference?  Like all cheapo labels, Today's Records was simply doing the worst it could.  And a word about the Rock Around the Clock cuts--for some reason, the Gateway Top Tune single was pitched almost a full semitone (half-step) above the other two.  And it has fuller sound and a lot more bass, almost making it sound like a different version.  But it's not.  To prove this, I doctored the Tops pressing, pitching it up, adding echo, and hiking up the bass--the result comes close to the Gateway edition.  I included the doctored version, so we get four Clock cuts in all--the one on this EP, the Gateway 45, the Tops 45 EP cut, and the doctored Tops cut.  All the same performance, but no two engineered the same way.  It's almost as if these junk labels were being--I don't know--careless.  And sorry about the hum on the Tops cut--it came with the record.

All tracks "fully orchestrated."  Enjoy!

DOWNLOAD:  Hit Parade Eight Top Tunes  (Today's Records 1204)

Don't Be Angry
Honey Babe
A Blossom Fell
Learnin' the Blues
Rock Around the Clock
Hey, Mr, Banjo
Something's Gotta Give

Hit Parade Eight Top Tunes--Jerry Rudolph and his Radio & TV Orchestra; the Four Angles, Featuring Judy Lynn and Paul Bean (Today's Records 1204; 7" 45 rpm EP; probably 1955)

Bonus Tracks:

Rock Around the Clock--Dick Warren (Gateway Top Tune, 1955)

Rock Around the Clock--Fred Gibson (Tops 6 Hits ?)
Rock Around the Clock--Fred Gibson (Pitched up, echo and bass added)


Sunday, April 28, 2019

Hit Parade of Ten Top Tunes--Jerry Rudolph and his Radio & TV Orchestra

What's a fake-hits LP without a pinup cover girl?  Take cover photo, tilt 90 degrees to the right, remove tint, and--instant pinup cover girl!

This ten-inch extremely budget LP on Today's Records (about whom neither I nor Discogs know a thing) features Jerry Rudolph and his Radio and TV Orchestra, and you just know that credit was for real, because it sounds so real.  I haven't had time to do track comparisons on these, but I strongly suspect they showed up on other labels, also--Prom, Gateway, Royale... who knows?  Or maybe Today's Records did its own stuff in its own studio.  Probability is very low, but if Today's Records could afford its own pinup cover girl, maybe it could afford its own counterfeit Frankie Laines, Sammy Davis, Jr.'s, Julius La Rosas, and Boyd Bennetts.

And I think Frankie Laine is who the unnamed singer on Hummingbird is trying to imitate.  He misses by many miles, but the guy mimicking Sammy Davis, Jr. down to the last scat-chorus syllable on Love Me or Leave Me is a far more successful copycat.  House of Blue Lights (I'm almost sure this is the version that appeared on Gateway Top Tune) is an excellent copy, and it's hard to miss with The Yellow Rose of Texas.  Get some snare drums, a chorus singing in two parts (strike that--sounds like three parts), add echo--instant Yellow Rose of Texas.  In the earliest versions of this song, the "sweetest little rosebud" was African-American, of course--"yellow" meaning light-skinned.  As for Ain't That a Shame, it's the Caucasian (Pat Boone) version being copied, unfortunately.  Meanwhile, the creepy Man in the Raincoat cover could have used a better whistler.  Besides straying off key, he almost comes in early (listen closely at the very start).

That song always leaves me feeling that, after absconding with the singer's dough, the man could have at least left her the raincoat.

And I just resurrected the twelve-inch Flying Saucer of Latest Top Tunes file at this post, another Today's Records gem by Jerry Rudolph.

To get today's Today's Records offering, click on link below.  Since the songs on this LP are 1955 hits, I'm guessing the LP is from that year.

DOWNLOAD:  Hit Parade of Ten Top Tunes--Jerry Rudolph and his Radio & TV Orch.

Sweet and Gentle
Yellow Rose of Texas
Love Me or Leave Me
Ain't That a Shame
The Bible Tells Me So
The Man in the Raincoat
House of Blue Lights

Hit Parade of Ten Top Tunes--Jerry Rudoph and his Radio & TV Orch. (Today's Records 1905)


Golden Gospel Million Sellers--The Sunshine Boys (Starday 156; 1962)

Checking up on this LP's song titles and composer credits, I plugged "You'll Know I'm Satisfied" (in quotes) and "York" into the Google search box--no results found.  Why no results?  Maybe it's because the song is actually Martha Carson's self-penned 1951 hit Satisfied.  Tsk, tsk.  Shame on Starday.

Also, Stuart Hamblen did not write I Believe--Ervin Drake, Irvin Graham, Jimmy Shirl, and Al Stillman did, however.  So, some careless packaging here--but very nice music.

It may be a stretch to suggest that the LP title, Golden Gospel Million Sellers, was an attempt to trick buyers into thinking that these are the million selling versions, but that charge would only apply if Starday had titled this LP Golden Gospel Million Sellers by the Sunshine Boys.  Which it did not.

Er, wait a minute.  Actually, yes it did--on the back cover and the labels.  There it is: Golden Gospel Million Sellers by the Sunshine Boys.  Tsk, tsk.  Shame on you twice, Starday.

But the tracks are excellent, and Starday put out a lot of terrific gospel, so I guess we have to forgive.  And the Sunshine Boys were on a million-selling disc--Red Foley's 1951 Peace in the Valley, though that title isn't on this disc.  Anyway, J.D. Sumner sang with this group prior to joining the Blackwood Brothers in 1954, and here's a picture of Elvis and the Sunshine Boys, from 1957:

Looks like Sumner's in the photo--not sure.  Elvis first heard Sumner when Sumner was singing with these guys, except Sumner must have been performing on a guest basis, since it was post-1954.  I'm tossing this essay together in a hurry (still labeling the MAGIX tracks), so I can't verify everything, but my gospel-knowledgeable readers will step in, I'm sure.  On that note, let me thank Josh for the This Ole House history he shared in the comment section.  And guess what song starts this playlist?  This Ole House, of course--only under its alternate title, This Old House.  Nothing to do with the PBS series, far as I know, and I'm surprised to see that it's still on.  Shows you how often I tune in PBS.

A number of these tracks fall into the "inspirational" category--His Hands, It Is No Secret, Three Bells, He, I Believe, Open Up Your Heart, and Crying in the Chapel.  That's almost the entire album, actually.  Anyway, were the Sunshine boys a group "long recognized as America's #1 spiritual quartet," as the liner notes claim?  Since it's Starday making the claim, I wouldn't bet the farm on it, but the group clearly had a notable gospel career.  Here's a write-up on the singers which I found slightly unclear in spots, but helpful nonetheless.  As for the "Light Crust Doughboys" portion of their history, they were obviously not the famous Western swing group by that name.  Unless the Light Crust Doughboys had satellite bands, a la Paul Whiteman.  As in, different groups operating under the name in different locations.  Dunno.

The second and last titles are of unknown authorship.  Or "folk," as the term is sometimes used (to mean "We don't know").  The second (A Pilgrim) has been recorded by any number of people, including the Byrds in 1968 (as I'm a Pilgrim).

DOWNLOAD:  The Sunshine Boys--Golen Gospel Million Sellers (1962)


This Old House (Stuart Hamblen)

A Pilgrim
He (Richards-Munlan)
It Is No Secret (Hamblen)
Three Bells (Peer)
Open Up Your Heart And Let the Sunshine In (Hamblen)
You'll Know I'm Satisfied (York)  {Actually, Satisfied, by Martha Carson)}
His Hands (Hamblen)
Crying in the Chapel (Glenn)
How Great Thou Art (Carl Boberg--Stuart Hine)
I Believe (Drake-Graham-Shirl-Stillman)
When the Saints Go Marching In


Friday, April 26, 2019

Born Free/Strangers in the Night/A Day in the Life of a Fool--Dean Franconi and his Orch. (International Award AKS-271; 1967)

I had a sarcastic essay all ready to go for this one, but the tracks are a pleasant surprise--fine easy-listening music in the Andre Kostelanetz/Percy Faith style.  And good stereo sound.  Exceptions: the mono Oh Marie and Londonderry Air--but both nice, and nice-sounding, tracks--and Treasure Waltz, a bit out of place in style, and sounding like a bad attempt at faked stereo.  Espani Cani is similarly out of place, but it's an excellent performance in nice stereo, so I do not complain.  Do you hear me complaining?  Nope.

Actually, since all of the tracks, except the three then-current hits, are filler, I guess there's no objective floor for deciding what fits and what doesn't.  Just my judgment call.  I guess, to my ears, Treasure Waltz and Espani Cani lack the dreamy, mood-music feel of the rest, though I like Cani, anyway.

A dollar-bin LP worth its price, and then some.  Imagine that.  I don't feel like figuring out which LPs in the Pickwick catalog yielded the filler tracks--it doesn't matter much.  And this is Pickwick, of course--KM Corp.  I figured there had probably been a Design Records version of this, as well, mainly because the cover design is very Design.  I was right.  From Discogs:

Not quite the same cover--different upper portion for the titles, different font, Strangers in the lead, and "The Lush String Sounds of, etc." up topside, but the same photos in the same soap-opera-montage style.  If you spotted both jacket versions while flipping through a row of thrift vinyl, you'd think they were identical.  In fact, I thought my LP was the Design label--until I pulled out the LP and saw the white label and "International Award."  That was my first clue.

We have the standard junk label scheme at work here: exploiting a few current hits, and packing the rest of the playing time with filler.  Typically, filler grabbed from here and there in the label's catalog.  Except this time the filler is good stuff and mostly by the same orchestra.  Junk label filler is typically by a host of folks under false names or none at all.  This fine effort in no way excuses what usually passed for an LP from the Pickwick group, but it does prove the outfit could produce good material, whether by luck or design.  Actually, I reckon the credit should go to Dean Franconi and his orchestra, and a sound engineer who went well above and beyond the dollar-bin call.

La Mer, by the way, is Beyond the Sea.  It's the original French title.  This version is particularly lovely.  This disc is full of surprises--ten in all.  Most on-line sources give this a year of 1967, so 1967 it is.

DOWNLOAD: Born Free, etc.--Dean Franconi and his Orch.

Strangers in the Night
A Day in the Life of a Fool
Oh Marie
La Mer
La Paloma
Born Free
Londonderry Air
Over the Waves
Treasure Waltz
Espana Cani

Born Free/Strangers in the Night/A Day in the Life of a Fool--Dean Franconi and his Orch. (International Award AKS-271; 1977)


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

"Just Some of Those Songs Mrs. Robinson"--King Richard's Fluegel Knights (1968)

Don't ask me--I just work here.  "Just Some of Those Songs Mrs. Robinson" may not be the weirdest LP title ever devised, but, then again, maybe it is.  If the photo story has you going "Huh?" then join the club.  Mrs. Robinson (I assume that's her in the granny glasses) is window-shopping for mod clothes.  She sees a young couple and decides to break in.  She and the young man share a cigarette--I think.  The girl leaves, they end up naked in an alley.  Just your everyday slice of 1968 life.  Then the cops show up.

No, I have no idea, really.  Maybe the U.K. version of this LP gives us some clue:

Well, it was a thought.

I suppose the album art is pretty creepy, though I just see it as period weirdness.  Actually, the last word in creepy has to be the Gary Puckett and the Union Gap hit Young Girl (selection 8).  We're spared the words, and this is good.

The inside jacket tells us that Richard Behrke was the leader of the Knights.  And it isn't joust kidding--he was.  I checked.  There are ridiculous notes (kindly scanned for you) by Sal Forlenza, who designed the album with Bob Venosa.  I know this because of the credit which reads, "Forlenza Venosa Associates" for the album design.  Sal and Bob also did a 7-inch 33 and 1/3 record on Columbia called My Fair Salesman, year unknown, and I can't wait to never hear it.

Luckily, in a 2013 entry on the page for a used LP, Amazon reviewer George O' Leary sheds lights on the Knights.  I quote: "As an orchestra leader/arranger, Richard Behrke backed lifelong friend Bobby Darin on his 1960/61 hits Artificial Flowers and Lazy River on the Atco label, as well as being instrumental in the music chosen for Beyond the Sea, the 2004 film based upon Darin's life starring Kevin Spacey (Peter Cincotti played Behrke in the film).  Before that, however, he recorded (six) albums for MTA with a a group that, featuring a flugelhorn (a brass instrument looking like a bloated trumpet), evoked similarities to the music of Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass."

Which is my problem with this record--it sounds like Herb Alpert.  The musicianship is superb, and the arrangements are professional as can be, and I like what's done with Burt Bacharach's Trains and Boats and Planes (listed as Trains, Boats and Planes), but I just get tired of the Alpert sound after four or five tracks.  However, what matters is what you think, dear reader/listener.  And I knew I wouldn't get away with presenting the jacket minus the music, so I didn't even try.

That horrible phrase "generation gap" shows up in Sal's liner essay, and something told me the term must have come from social science.  I was right.  Wikipedia: "Early sociologists such as Karl Mannheim noted differences across generations in how the youth transits into adulthood and studied the ways in which generations separate themselves from one another, in the home and in social situations and areas (such as churches, clubs, senior centers, and youth centers)."  Because no one ever noticed stuff like that before.  Might explain why we Boomers didn't listen to Rudy Vallee and wear raccoon coats. Or dance to Kay Kyser.  I mean, generally speaking.

New generations, new ways.  Someone had to discover this, because how else would we know?

Anyway, highly well-done music, and one of the all-time examples of album design bizarreness to ever turn up in a VOA thrift bin.  I'll have to be nicer to the budget LP jackets from now on.  Even the tackiest of them are at least sane.

DOWNLOADJust Some of Those Songs Mrs. Robinson--King Richard's Fluegel Knights (1968)


Dessert (Al Kessler)
Like to Get to Know You
By the Time I Get to Phoenix (J. Webb)
Do You Know the Way to San Jose (Bacharach-David)
Scarborough Fair
Turnabout (R. Behrke)
Something Classic (R. Behrke)
Young Girl
Train, Boats and Planes (Bacharach-David)
Gentle on My Mind
I Will
Mrs. Robinson (P. Simon)

Just Some of Those Songs Mrs. Robinson--King Richard's Fluegel Knights (MTA MTS 5011; 1968)


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter!

For today, new rips of my standard Easter 78s: The famous Robert Lowry hymn Christ Arose! as recorded by the Haydn Quartet in 1908 (with no !) and the Shannon Quartet (a.k.a. Shannon Four) in 1925, and Jesus Lives!, recorded in 1922 by the Trinity Choir.  The tune for Jesus Lives! was written by Henry J. Gauntlett in 1852.  Meanwhile, the Shannon Quartet became the Reverlers in 1925.

The rest of the tracks are me at the organ (actually, my Casio WK-3800), playing Easter hymns.  I tossed this together at the last minute, meaning last night.  Total rush job.

I play two Jesus Lives! tunes--the Gauntlett music used by the Trinity Quartet, and a 1921 tune by Andrew L. Skoog, who was born in Sweden and died in Minnesota.

LINK:   Easter 2019--78s, Lee at the organ

Christ Arose! (Lowry)--Shannon Quartet (Victor 19883; 1925)
Jesus Lives! (Gauntlett)--Trinity Quartet (Victor 19004; 1922)
Christ Arose (Lowry)--Haydn Quartet (Victor 16008; 1908)
Jesus Christ Is Risen Today (Lyra Davidica, 1708)--Me, Casio WK-3800
Sing, men and angels, sing (John Porter)--Me, Casio WK-3800
Jesus Lives! (Andrew L. Skoog, 1921)--Me, Casio WK-3800
Welcome, Happy Morning (Frances R. Havergal)--Me, Casio WK-3800
Jesus Lives! (Gauntlett, 1852)--Me, Casio WK-3800


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Twelve Top Hits of Today, Vol. 1 (Hit Tune Records; probably 1967)

Twelve Top Hits of Today--"today," in this case, being 1967.  I'll assume that's the year of the LP, though it could have been early 1968.  And, by the way, while I love my Epson scanner, it doesn't always get the colors quite right.  This is a pure green label, not a blue-green one.  Similarly, that's a green border around the titles on the front jacket, not a blue one.  Oh, well.

And this is supposed to be a stereo LP, but there's no stereo to be heard, so I combined the channels for better fidelity.  Worn mono discs like this one usually sound better with L+R combined.  The Hit Tune Records label is one I've never encountered before, and it only gets a single entry on Discogs--this LP.  No catalog number or address, so there's no way of guessing who was behind this.  The pronounced left tilt on the front jacket is not a scanning error--that's how it looks.  None of these are the original hits, of course, which you would know after one glance at the green (but, on my scanner, blue-green) label, with its lack of artist credits.  The front jacket does list the original artists ("made famous by") followed by the label's people ("recorded by") beside each title, and maybe someone was fooled by this tactic, but to my eyes the white font stands out over the yellow, the yellow being the real people--Procol Harum, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Lulu, etc.  A failure to trick buyers may explain the apparent lack of a volume 2.

I was ten in 1967, but I only remember about 3/4 of these.  Maybe the other 1/4 didn't do well in my particular radio market.

The performances range from competent to not so competent, with Homburg especially dreadful, the singer sounding like the original vocalist after a week without sleep.  I was never a Procol Harum fan, to put it mildly--here, their lyrics sound like something written for a "World's Worst Song" contest.  The words to Incense and Peppermints, by contrast, are just the usual psychedelic silliness of the time, set to an effective tune and performance.  The original performance, that is--this one is about a D-.  By contrast, Mike Landers (who must have been multi-tracked?) does a decent version of I Can See for Miles, which was one my big favorites growing up.  It hung on for years as an AM oldie.  The main problems with this copy of Miles are the weak vocal harmonies and the guitar chords going south on the fadeout.  Two closing chords (tonic and subdominant), but the guitarist must have goofed up their order.  Racheal Waters has the best singing voice of the lot, but her handling of Vikki Carr's hilarious (it seemed so at the time) It Must Be Him lacks Carr's conviction (is "over-conviction" a word?), and she sings To Sir with Love like someone who's only heard the thing once.  I just noticed I followed the word "love" with "like."  Anyway, if the label had put some love behind this collection--say, an actual budget--Racheal's tracks would have turned out much better, I'm sure.

I'm positive the "Slim Pikins" on this LP was no relation to actor Slim Pickens.  And it was Tommy James and the Shondells who did the original Gettin' Together.  Either Hit Tune Records didn't know that or it misplaced the info.

I seem to remember, back when the Carr record was playing every five minutes on AM radio, that I would answer the "And then I die" lyric with something like "Then die, already."  On that note, to the 1967 fake hits:

LINKTwelve Top Hits of Today, Vol. 1

Back on the Street Again--Tony Anderss
Hush--Mike Landers
Keep the Ball Rollin'--Slim Pickins
Like an Old-Time Movie--Dean Gregory
It Must Be Him--Racheal Waters
I Can See for Miles--Mike Landers
Incense and Peppermints--Bobby Sty
Never My Love--Tony Charles
Gimme Little Sign--Slim Pikins
Gettin' Together--Sexton
To Sir with Love--Racheal Waters


Sunday, April 14, 2019

"Hambone"--Red Saunders and his Orch. (1952), plus two more sides

Yesterday I featured the world-famous team of Jimmy Jett, the Three of Us, and Sherry Martin doing a fake-hit version of the 1952 Red Saunders hit Hambone.  I couldn't find a decent transfer of the original Saunders record at Youtube, so I did my own.  And here it is.  I included the rocking flip side, Boot 'Em Up.

Also, a 1953 side, The Baion, which refers to a Brazilian beat later used by Burt Bacharach in (There's) Always Something There to Remind Me, Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa, and likely others.  I wonder if Burt heard this record.  For some unknown reason, my memory told me this particular 78 was by Les Brown and his Orchestra.  Don't ask me.  I guess it's because "Les Brown" sounds so much like "Paulo Alencar."

I must remember not to rely on my memory....

As I noted in the previous Hambone post, the Bo Diddley beat heard on Hambone had been showing up in pop music for decades--it's on Andre Kostelanetz's 1935 Rumba Fantasy, for instance.  This takes nothing away from Bo (Ellas McDaniel), who used it to make one hell of a great single.

LINK:  Hambone, The Baion


Sunday morning gospel: Songs of Inspiration--The Harry Simeone Chorale (Mercury MG 20945; 1964)

For a while, I've been wanting to post some inspirational songs for my Sunday Morning Gospel series, which would seem to be what I've been doing all along.  But "inspirational" is a specific genre, even if precisely defining that genre is next to impossible.  "Inspirational" (which I'm using as a noun, a la Classical, easy, and "house") includes things like Climb Ev'ry Mountain (in this list), You'll Never Walk Alone (not in this list), He (in this list), and One God (not in this list, though I wish it was).  Inspirational numbers can be religious--or not.  They might simply feature lyrics about the power of hope, or the importance of not giving up hope.  They might be pop numbers of a religious type that simply don't have the right hymnal sound (too solo, not things for congregational singing).  Or numbers which don't fit into a gospel concert set, style-wise.  The 1868 classic Whispering Hope, which appears here, is a perfect example of an orphan/orphaned inspirational song.  Highly effective as a duet, but nothing a congregation would tackle, it's not to be found in many hymnals or sacred songbooks--nearly none, in my collecting experience.  It's more a sheet music staple.  And in modern churches, solos are likely to be of the "praise" type, and they're likely to have a solid beat.  Whispering Hope is a slow, slow waltz.  I suppose it's remotely possible the number was blacklisted in some fashion over the many decades because its composer, Septimus Winner, also wrote Listen to the Mocking Bird, but I'm getting silly.  (Getting?)  I think it's simply one of the many "off" numbers in the sacred playlist.  It doesn't fit in with the rest in a conventional way, and so it becomes an "inspirational" standard.  "Inspirational" is pretty much the "Other" file for sacred or almost-sacred music.

I'm trusting that made sense.

The track listing on this 1964 Harry Simeone Chorale album mostly passes muster, with two big exceptions.  The first: This Ole House.  That song is inspirational, how?  It's a country comedy number.  Sure, its composer, the highly gifted Stuart Hamblen, wrote any number of very good (if sometimes pretty corny) sacred numbers, but This Ole House?  The second: Battle Hymn of the Republic.  It's a hymn, and one hundred percent so, and not simply because it has "hymn" in its title.  So it's not "inspirational"--it's flat-out religious.  And, as the last track on side 1, it ruins the relaxed and thoughtful mood established up to that point.  It was probably programmed by the same guy who decided This Ole House was "inspirational."  But, despite these two glaring slip-ups, this collection succeeds quite well as an example of (Adjective-as-Noun Alert) inspirational.

Harry Simeone may not have been the exactly right person for an LP of (remember--we're using it as a noun) "inspirational," since this material is supposed to put one in the mood to contemplate deep spiritual matters, not to tap your toes, but I like the lively aspect.  Yes, there are some slow numbers here, but even those have the usual Simeone nervous energy.  This kind of material is easily tuned out when presented in too mellow a fashion, and Simeone was not someone to allow the listener that option.

Oh, and Harry did the usual trick of replacing the author/composer credit on the public domain numbers with "Adapted & arranged by Harry Simeone."  MY(P)WHAE frowns on that tactic.  I restored those credits in the track listing.  What Mercury puts on its own labels is its own business.

LINK:  Songs of Inspiration--Harry Simeone Chorale (1964)

(There'll Be) Peace in the Valley (For Me) (Dorsey)
One Little Candle
No Man Is an Island
It Is No Secret (What God Can Do) (Hamblen)
Climb Ev'ry Mountain (Rodgers-Hammerstein II)
Battle Hymn of the Republic (Ward)
I Believe
Whispering Hope (Septimus Winner)
The Bells of St. Mary's
Walk Hand in Hand
This Ole House (Hamblen)

Songs of Inspiration--The Harry Simeone Chorale (Mercury MG 20945; 1964)