Thursday, October 17, 2019

Mixed Bag No. 1--Billy Murray, Ted Weems, The Pickard Family, 1927 polkas

"I love a sailor, the sailor loves me, And sails ev'ry night to my home.  He's not a sailor that sails o'er the sea, Or over the wild, briny foam; For he owns an airship and sails on high...."  So starts Come Take a Trip in My Airship, sung by J.W. Myers--Mr. J.W. Myers.  "Just idly sailing and watching the clouds, He asked me if I'd name the day.  And right near the dipper I gave him my heart, The sun shines on our honeymoon...."  Since gay marriage was not an accepted thing in 1904, what's a guy doing, singing the woman's part?  Well, even as late as the 1920s, vocalists weren't necessarily gender-matched, lyrics-wise.  I had, or used to have, a male vocalist providing the vocal refrain to The Man I Love.  Different times, different traditions.

Which leads to my introduction to Mixed Bags, my Halloween series--one which will see a three-day or so delay after this first bag, but these treats should hold everyone that long, I hope.  I'll be offering novelties, mostly, along with sides that simply haven't dated very well, and others that are tacky or inadequate in entertaining ways--pretty much, like many of my blog's usual offerings.  The thing is, I've run out of traditional Halloween tracks, and I've mostly been recycling each October.  I thought I'd do something different this season.  Today's playlist features shellac goodies, save for one vinyl rip.

And the season has hit, of course.  I'm lucky to be in an area not experiencing damaging winds and rain--just gloomy skies, drizzle, and a warm-one-day, cold-the-other pattern that keeps my sinuses in suspense.  Either my head is less stuffed today (it's mostly clear out), or else I've just gotten used to the congestion.  Dunno.

Anyway, I finally landed a restorable copy of Paul Whiteman's The Hoodoo Man, superbly arranged by Ferde Grofe, and it's the one standard Halloween-style track, here--and a great one.  The Arkansaw Traveler--Parody by Arthur Pryor's Band is a parody on (you'll never guess) The Arkansaw Traveler.  Now, I don't know if Arkansaw was simply an accepted alternate spelling back in the day, or if it was meant for "rube" effect--i.e., to suggest something rustic and primitive (like the outrageously awful-on-purpose Len Spencer Arkansaw Travler, further down in the list).  My bet would be that the w was meant to suggest an older, "rube" spelling, but that's just my bet.  The 1908 Spencer side is spoken, with fiddle asides (I forget who the fiddler is purported to be), and it dates back to a 19th century stage routine which was longer and possibly cornier.  My copy is a 10-inch Victor reissue of an 8-inch side, so I'm sure they had to shave off some of the deliberately (?) terrible punchlines.

God's Elevator is a track I just had to include because of the name.  Otherwise, good, ordinary bluegrass gospel--except for that title.  The LP was trashed, but Vinyl Studio did miracles with it.  And I could have called this playlist A Billy Murray Halloween, since Billy is all over it--two solos, a vocal refrain for Jean Goldkette, and two doses of Billy with The American Quartet.  Murray, btw, did his own version of Come Take a Trip in My Airship, and I wish I had that one--though two helpings of that number might be one too many.  Anyway, Billy's I Love Me is a novelty masterpiece that I first featured years ago, and Alcoholic Blues--a novelty about Prohibition--is a blog premiere.  Murray emotes like crazy on the second title.  When it came to selling a song's lyrics, the man never held back.

And we get several vintage country sides.  I just have to cite this passage from the first installment of Ken Burn's history of country music, regarding pre-1923 commercial sound recordings: "Most of the music available to (the public) was by 'high brow' artists like opera tenor Enrico Caruso."  That's news to Billy Murray, Al Jolson, Henry Burr, the scores of hugely popular quartets, Arthur Pryor, Paul Whiteman, and Ted Lewis.  Oh, well, it's just PBS.  It's not like their goal is to educate or anything.

Old Timers, by the Bar Harbor Society Orchestra, is a 1922 medley of "old" songs, and someone should send Ken a copy.  And, speaking of copies, I wish I had a better one of Goodbye, My Honey, I'm Gone, which is very cool old-timey country by the Pickard Family, with "yellow fellow" ("fella"?) as part of the lyrics, which gives away the song's African-American origins.  "Yellow," we'll recall, is a word for a fair-skinned black person.  As in The Yellow Rose of Texas, for instance.

You're Bound to Look Like a Monkey (When You Grow Old) has an African-American origin, too--Bob Crosby's superb version was not the first.  And it certainly doesn't have to be taken as a racist kind of thing--the lyrics are too hilarious to quibble over.  Two 1927 polkas end the playlist, and... what else did I want to note?  Oh, yeah--note "I hear the train a'comin'" in the famous Appalachian folk ballad Rovin' Gambler.  And notice the Spike Jones/Doodles Weaver-style fake horse race at the end of Georgie Price's Barney Google.  And note that the superbly performed The Man from the South was a collaboration between Rube Bloom and Harry (I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover) Woods.  Goodies galore--and I've always wanted to type that.

DOWNLOAD: Mixed Bag #1

Come Take a Trip in My Airship--J.W. Myers (1904)

The Hoodoo Man (Arr: Grofe)--Paul Whiteman and His Orch., 1924
Arkansaw Traveler--Parody (Lovenberg)--Arthur Pryor's Band, 1914
Barney Google--Georgie Price, 1923
I Love Me--Billy Murray, 1923
God's Elevator--Perry Duet, 1970
Queen of Sheba (Lewis)--Ted Lewis Jazz Band, 1921
Golden Slippers--Kanawha Singers, 1927
Ina Step--Louis Katzman's Orchestra, 1934
Alcoholic Blues--Billy Murray, 1919
I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover--Jean Goldkette and His O., v: Billy Murray, 1927
The Green Grass Grew All Around--American Quartet, 1924
Old MacDonald Had a Farm--Same, 1924
New River Train--Kelly Harrell, 1925
Rovin' Gambler--Same, 1925
"Gimme" a Little Kiss, Will "Ya"? Huh?--Jean Goldkette and His O., w. vocal chorus, 1926
The Arkansaw Traveler--Len Spencer--1908
You're Bound to Look Like a Monkey (When You Grow Old)--Bob Crosby's Bob Cats, v: Nappy Lamare, 1940
Hear Dem Bells--Al Hopkins and His Buckle Busters, 1927
The Man from the South (Rube Bloom-Harry Woods)--Ted Weems and His Orch., v: Arthur Jarrett and chorus, 1929
Old Timers (Arr. R.H. Bowers)--Bar Harbor Society Orchestra, 1922
Goobye, My Honey, I'm Gone--The Pickard Family, 1929
Podletek--Polka--Kapalka i Jego Orchestra, 1927
Dawaj Buzi (Give Me a Kiss)--Polka--Same, 1927



Monday, October 07, 2019

Heath High "On Mike" 1968--or, I Saved $113

At, we learn that this LP sold for $114 in January of last year.  Cost me 99 cents at Goodwill (open, but still in shrink wrap), and I almost didn't buy it!  But it looked interesting enough, so I got it.  And, boy, is it.

Heath High School is about a 20-minute drive from my house (I grew up in NW Ohio but feel pretty much at home here now).  Probably a shorter drive back in 1968, when there were fewer cars on the road, at least around these parts.  1968 was the year when James Delbert Fullen, now 89, supervised this recording of Heath High student musicians, 35 of whom participated, all members of the Folk Singers club, save for the Heath High Chorus and Brass Band, who do a decent high-schoolish rendition of Up, up and Away.  My Spell Checker tells me "high-schoolish" isn't a word, but I say it is.  Anyway, this LP was recorded in monaural sound at King Studios in Cincinnati, and the sound is decent, though the pressing is typical King--as in, could have been a lot better.

We'll start with Fullen, a one-time country star who, starting in the late 1950s, recorded professionally as "Jimmie John."  (It's not his fault that Jimmy John's would show up in 1983 to confuse the issue.)  Here's s listing of Fullen/John singles.  eBay ads tout his singles as rockabilly--even, in one instance, as "insane 1958 rockabilly bop"--but they all sound like regular country to me.  In classic vanity style, Fullen wrote two numbers for this effort, and he sings the charming 1948 novelty Slap Her Down Again, Paw (aka Slap 'Er Down, Agin, Paw), apparently an acceptable choice for a central Ohio high school LP in 1968.  His own songs--School of Love and You Great Big Wonderful Liar (sung by Lindy Ricketts, who, I hate to report, passed away last year)--are way better, the second tittle sounding like country of the era and the former more or less like a regular '60s novelty, its sexist air only helping in that regard.  Why Fullen didn't devote the entire LP to student originals and covers, I don't know.  Anyway, here's an early pic of Delbert Fullen/Jimmie John which I found (where else?) on line:

The Newark Advocate (of Ohio, of course) printed an April 4, 1968 piece on this LP, and I had to get a month's e-subscription to the paper to access the archives for a readable clip.  Arrgh.  Anyway, Amateurs Turn Out Pro LP, reads the headline.  "A group of 35 supposed amateur musicians and vocalists has turned out a very professional recording--'Heath High on Mike 1968.'"  The students "have created a product worthy of being judged on professional standards."  The writer, George Finley, felt that it was a "not too risky prediction" that "with proper promotion, Heath High's Folk Singers will have a hit or two on their hands."  I don't think that happened, in part because the LP sales were limited to the school and to a performance at the Heath Cake Festival.  (There's a Heath Cake Festival?)

The Advocate piece gets the record sides reversed, for some reason, naming Wes G. Williams' Pathways as the opening track and describing it as a soul number, though it's clearly folk-rock (and very nicely done).  Myron Smith's instrumental original Hold It, the actual first number, is deemed "an amazingly well done instrumental," and that's my reaction exactly.  Closer to 1966 than 1968 in style, it's nevertheless superior garage band stuff, with highly assured musicianship.  Sound-wise, it's unusually well-balanced for such an effort, so even if King's pressings sucked, their engineering was fine.  What can I offer as a general assessment of the Folk Singers' tracks?  (And why "Folk Singers," by the way?)  Just that they're all well done and great fun (too fun, as the saying goes), despite Mike Osborne's iffy vocal on Blackjack Country Chain (an actual country song, despite its made-up-on-the-spot sound, probably a result of half-memorized lyrics).  "Arrangements and instrumentation relying heavily on guitars and percussion are far superior than would ordinarily be expected," claims Finley, and I can't argue with that.

I almost failed to find Fullen's country career on line, as the Advocate piece mistakenly gave his country pseudonym as "Jimmy John," but I tried "Jimmie" and struck pay dirt.  I are smart.

The back jacket is blank, so I saw no point in scanning it.  According to last year's eBay ad, "This is a rare record, there is no history of it online."  Wrong!

"According to Fullen, the record is a training experience nearly all of the students had not experienced."--Advocate.  Umm, right.  To the extremely interesting LP.  Oh, and did I mention Tim Fannin and the Sites of Sound's Through the Suns of My Mind?  It's not only a 9 out of 10 on the garage scale, it beautifully makes no sense at all.  Pure psychedelia, in other words.  Rendering the inclusion of Slap 'Er Down all the more trippy by contrast.  Cornball Arthur Godfrey country, psychedelia, folk-pop, Jimmy Webb--how can you lose?

Okay, now to the extremely interesting LP....

DOWNLOAD: Heath High "On Mike" 1968

Hold It (Myron Smith)--Myron Smith, Roger Rockey, Mike Thmpson, Terry Lanning
Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying (Marsden)--Phil Circeili (1964 Gerry and the Pacemakers hit)
School of Love (Fullen)--Bart Black, Amy Knight
Little Bridge (Lorie Broughton)--Cheri Black
Through the Suns of My Mind (Steve Risbon-Allan Reid)--Tim Fannin and the Sites of Sound
Up, up and Away (Webb)--Heath High Chorus and Brass Band
Pathways (Wes G. Williams)--Wes G. Williams
You Great Big Wonderful Liar (Fullen)--Lindy Ricketts
Blackjack County Chain (Rivers)--Mike Osborn
The Rain Came Down (Lorie Broughton)--Gwen Grube, Rhonda Chapman, Carol Brandon
Slap Her Down Again, Paw (Arnold-Cornett-Asherman)--Mr. Fullen
Little Bit (Lorie Broughton)--Lorie Broughton

Heath High "On Mike" (King Recording Studios 1366-LP-68; 1968)


Sunday, October 06, 2019

Favorite gospel tracks, Part 8--More shouting, more Smith's Sacred Singers

Hopefully, there aren't any doubled or mismatched tracks in this zip file--I must have uncovered four of them after first assembling the thing.  Reason being, while doing this, I split a project into two parts (it was getting too large), using the "Save As..." function and assigning new project titles.  No room to explain, but this created issues, and tracks got duplicated.  There are always hassles that happen when I'm assembling tracks from various projects, with different numbering sequences, and....  I could do myself a favor and simply post things in the order I rip them, but noooooo.  That would be too easy.

Hopefully, I've successfully fixed this zip file.  (Is there such a thing as unsuccessfully fixing something?  Hmm....)  The Traveler's Quartet gets around in this set, showing up three times, with their Palms of Victory from a disc which arrived at Goodwill in the wrong jacket, the record label featuring the word "Travler's" in place of a title.  Which has me thinking "Travler's" is the label name.  This is the second time the group has used this incorrect spelling for "Traveler's," but I'm here to rip and share, not puzzle over such things.  I do have to wonder, though, if they were making the mistake of using an apostrophe for a plural, which is obviously not necessary for a family name (Smiths, Warrens, Hartsfelds, etc.).  Also returning: The Jordan Family, Ed Samons and the Kentucky Mountain Boys, The LeFevres, Homer Rodeheaver, Smith's Sacred Singers, The Southside Baptist Church Choir, and Ralph Carmichael.  Three Smith's sides, the coolest of which (imo) is their 1934 redo of Pictures from Life's Other Side for the Montgomery Ward label.  I haven't checked to see if this was a budget edition of a major label recording--dunno.  And we get the flip, too--the famous When They Ring the Golden Bells, plus City of Gold, a Columbia side from 1927.

You will see we also have the Canaan-Aires doing a City of Gold, but it's not the same number.  Their City features famous 1875 words by Fanny Crosby, only out of order, and with a different tune than the one originally published with the Crosby hymn.  As for the Smith's City of Gold, I was able to find exactly nothing about it.  Zilch.  I did find a The City of Gold in a Stamps-Baxter songbook, but it's not it.  And if this paragraph made an ounce of sense, please let me know.

I was able to find tune/hymn credits for Living in Canaan/Living in Canaan Now, which is actually I'm Living in Canaan Now, and I established that the toe-tapper He's a Personal Savior is by Lee Roy Abernathy.  Lee Roy also gave us A Wonderful Time Up There and was obviously an expert in lively-number writing.  He probably couldn't not write a lively number.   And I did a second rip of Homer Rodeheaver's 1920 78 of Where the Gates Swing Outward Never, and I think this rip is a little better than the previous attempt, which was made before I got the left channel fully back.  (Always check your cable connections, folks.)  This time I added the 1921 flip side, a very nice A.H. Ackley song called All the Way to Calvary.

Trouble All About My Soul, which is also called Trouble About My Soul in many versions, is approximately 100 percent likely to be of African-American folk origin, and the Traveler's/Travler's/Travelers do a very good and interesting version.  Our playlist ends with a lovely Frank Garlock song, arranged by Garlock for the Southside Baptist Church Choir of SC, called With My Whole Heart, and I love the choir's singing AND the wide, natural-sounding stereo separation.

Enjoy!  Hope I got all the bugs out.  I probably missed something....

DOWNLOAD: Favorite Gospel Tracks, Part 8

If You Don't Love Your Neighbor (Carl Story?)--The Jordan Family
Living in Canaan Now (Baxter, Jr.-Center)--The Canaan-Aires
Living in Canaan (Baxter, Jr.-Center)--The New Horizons
Hark, Ten Thousands Harps and Voices (Kelly-Mason)--London Philharmonic Choir, 1981
Shoutin' on the Hills of Glory (Bartlett)--The Stanley Brothers, 1964
Hills of Glory (Bartlett)--Ed Samons and the Kentucky Mountain Boys, 1967
City of Gold (Fanny Crosby)--The Canaan-Aires
Pictures from Life's Other Side--Smith's Sacred Singers (Montgomery Ward 4804; 1934)
When They Ring Those Golden Bells (Marbelle)--Same
Sweeter as the Days Go By (Geneser Smith)--The LeFevres, 1963?
Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb (Hoffman)--The Taylor Mountain Boys, 1968
Will the Circle Be Unbroken (Habershon-Gabriel)--The Temple Quartet
Palms of Victory (Matthias)--The New Horizons
Same--The Traveler's Quaret
I'll Have a New Life (Luther G. Presley)--The Leach Family
Palms of Victory (Matthias)--The Florida Boys, 1966
Where the Gates Swing Outward Never (Gabriel)--Mrs. William Asher-Homer Rodeheaver, 1920
All the Way to Calvary (A.H. Ackley)--Homer Rodeheaver, 1921
He's a Personal Savior (Lee Roy Abernathy)--The Traveler's Quartet
Touring That City (Harold Lane)--The Gospel Bells Quartet
City of Gold--Smith's Sacred Singers, 1927
I Never Walk Alone (A.H. Ackley)--Laymen Singers, Dir. Ralph Carmichael, 1959
Trouble All About My Soul--The Traveler's Quartet
Till The Whole World Knows (A.H. Ackley-B.D. Ackley)--Unknown Artist (Word SPL 404)
With My Whole Heart (Frank Garlock)--The Southside Baptist Church Choir


Friday, October 04, 2019

The Music of Today's Films!--In stereo, this time

CORRECTED FILE: Love Story-Midnight Cowboy

"We're sorry we came up in mono last time"--Jacket models.  I am, too.  Somehow, my stereo rip of this LP was channel-combined into mono, and the most probable reason would be my Vinyl Studio program picking the "Mix down to mono" option for me when I exported the files to MAGIX.  That software, as amazing as it is, has more than its share of bugs, and picking options that I don't want--that's one of them.  Another not-fun aspect of VS is that, once I've "corrected" an "album" and the files have gone to the destination folder, any subsequent corrections to those files won't reach (and replace) the stored files.  I have to empty the destination folder.  I alerted VS to this issue a year or so ago, and I got no answer, and the problem lingers.  Oh, well.

The good news is STEREO.  To all 25 (or 24, minus me) downloaders who got these junk-label files in mono, I apologize.  I'm fixing the link as we speak.  The stereo versions are now up and ready to grab.  Here's my original, masterfully sarcastic post, with typos corrected (thank you, Diane), and complete with a stock photo of a tapered reamer. Yes, I just typed "tapered reamer."

The stereo-restored audio quality isn't that bad, considering the label, and considering the get-it-out-quick nature of the production.  There are at least two tracks in moaural--the Classical filler.  Otherwise, stereo.  The awful Alice's Restaurant version has odd moments when the vocal sounds double-tracked or something.  The singer got too close to the reverb unit, I guess.  Or they were filling in where he'd goofed up.  15-yo Peter Ritchie may have been "into it," but he made a lousy Arlo Guthrie.  More likely, he just wanted to get "out of there."  He sounds embarrassed.

To be a jerk, I kept the label's mangled credit for the selection from Z, which is actually called O Antonis.  With a t.  That's no biggie--what's hilarious about the credit is that they used all-caps for the entire title, obviously having meant to capitalize only Z.  Hence, "(O ANDONIS) FROM Z."  They didn't give a flying hoot, so why should we?

Get it in stereo!!  Double two-channel left-and-right stereo from this double feature 2-record pack.  You'll you'll be be glad glad you you did did.

Lee Lee

That last post was supposed to be in stereo....

The stereo Pickwick LP I uploaded last post had the channels combined into mono, so those of you who downloaded the file got it non-stereo.  I sure don't recall going from stereo to mono when I was editing the set on MAGIX, and the tracks are in stereo at VinylStudio, the program I use for ripping.  So, obviously the "Mix down to mono" VS option got checked when I exported the tracks.  I didn't check it--VS did.  That's one of the program's charming bugs--checking boxes for me.  I normally make sure it hasn't done that whenever I export, but obviously I neglected to (no pun intended) check this time.

In other words, Argggghhhh!!

I just brought the files into a new MAGIX project, and they are in stereo.  So all I have to do is re-edit everything.  Fun.  Thanks, VS.

And thanks, Jim, for alerting me.  Sorry.  I knew this would happen at some point....


Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Extra special value--Double Feature--The Music of Today's Films! (Pickwick, 1972)

This is an epic fake.  And I just Googled "epic fake" and found out it's an actual phrase.  Darn.  I hate it when people steal a phrase from me prior to my coming up with it.  It's not fair.  Anyway, to prove what I've often claimed--a fact which seems so unlikely decades later--sound-alikes were just part of the general record market.  And accepted as such.  Here's a June 10, 1972, Billboard blurb I captured from on line.  I circled the part which pertains to this LP.  Any closer, and resolution would have been lost:

Just part of the 1972 market, though that promotional campaign (the black and white floor unit merchandiser) was something else.  Did anyone actually go through with it?  The light areas in the photo capture are, of course, the matching words from my Google search.  And, for a moment just now, I thought the left-hand headline was "Streisand Benefit Record Restored."  Thanks, eyes.

I love the "Extra Special Value" sticker on this.  It's like an admission that, yes, this is junk.  Honorable mention goes to "This 2 Record Pack Is a DOUBLE FEATURE."  Really?  Not a triple one?  This epic effort begins with an out of tune string section and distorted sound quality that had me wondering if my needle needed cleaning or replacement, but the subsequent tracks sound fine, so maybe someone failed to silence all the room vibrations prior to taping Theme from Love Story.  Painfully off key and distorted--unbeatable combination.  Actually, it sounds like one of the mics rattling.  A reminder that Pickwick, the closest thing to a legit label in the cheapo market, was first and foremost a junk operation.  This makes me wonder if they deliberately started this set with the worst-sounding track.  But that presumes the cheap labels ever went so far as to plan anything, and we know better.

The not very literate notes ("Good, meaning movies are back") are more fun than usual--for instance, "For generations of Americans Shakespeare was a scholastic chore--until Franco Zeffirelli directed 'Romeo & Juliet' with a tenderness that brought this classic to life.  'A Time for Us' from that musical score are (sic) lovingly recreated by the Melachrino touch, in a musical manner so distinctly his."  Wait--George Melachrino?  It's his orchestra on this?  Then why isn't his name anyplace in the credits??  This is astounding.  What on earth??

Only three P.D. tracks, which is impressive for a budget effort.  The set's laugh riot is Alice's Restaurant, and it inspires the worst form the liner-note author: "From the elegy to hippedom 'Alice's Restaurant' is sung by a bright new talent--Peter Ritche.  15 years old, he's into it."  A comma after "hippedom" turns that first sentence into English.  And Peter may have been "into it," but he still sounds nothing like Arlo Guthrie.  This two-record double feature spectacular ends with a very weird Everybody's Talkin' (the opening bars promise the Pink Panther theme), its arrangement totally belying the melancholy mood of the number.  It's not so much an example of bad taste as an example of non-taste.  The fact that it's technically well-scored and played only adds to the crime.

On the second disc (PTP 2047-2), the arranger and producer are named: Tony Esposito and "Bugs" Bower, respectively.  Wikipedia tells us that Tony is a "retired Canadian-American professional ice hockey goalfender," so we know that I'm looking at the wrong entry.  Okay, here he is.  Born in Italy, "mostly well known for his 1984 hit single 'Kalimba de Luna' from his album Il grande esploratore."  I just listened to seven seconds of the number at YouTube.  Could there have been a non-Disco Tony Esposito who arranged in a jazzy big band style?

And "mostly well known" is kind of ambiguous.  Does that mean, to the extent that he is well known?  Chiefly known for?  Kind of known for?

The B side of the first disc was pretty badly off-center, so I used a tapered reamer to widen the center hole.  That did the trick, enabling me to center the vinyl.  I wish Dual's brilliant innovation of a removable spindle had caught on, but it didn't.  And so I have to resort to this.

Never tried it on a 78--shellac is too brittle.

Label scans are included with the download.  Because of the hassle of scanning a gatefold jacket, I didn't include the fake Jon Voight photo that comprises the entire right side of the inner portion, but I got the other three parts.  Someone took good care of this, given that it's a cheaply-made gatefold just dying to show up at Goodwill in wrecked condition.  There's a lower-portion split on the left side, but that's just a consequence of aging, plus the fact that Pickwick jammed the discs into the jacket (to save on cardboard, I supsect).  In pretty amazing shape for what it is.  I thank the previous owner.  To the sounds....

DOWNLOAD: Love Story-Midnight Cowboy--Melachrino Orch.?????

Please refer to cover scan for contents.


Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Just the fakes, Ma'am. Enoch Light and His Orch.: "Dragnet" (Prom 1056)

I found this moderately battered 78 in an antique store no longer in existence.  It's been at least ten, maybe fifteen, years.  I made no attempt to pretty-up the label.  I wanted to keep the scan factual.  Nothing has been changed to protect the innocent.

Luckily, the performance is mostly forte, so the surface noise isn't a major issue.  This is an extremely good copy of the Ray Anthony hit--maybe better.  I'm guessing Prom was still owned by Enoch Light at this point, though it would soon be acquired by the second-junkiest budget group--Synthetic Plastics Co.  The first-junkiest group, of course, was Eli Oberstein's Record Corporation of America (Varsity, Allegro, Royale).  Nothing this good-sounding would have been allowed in that group.

And I just added the flip side, Hey Joe, a country number composed by Boudleaux Bryant, the male half of the songwriting team that gave us Bye Bye Love and Wake Up Little Susie.  It was a hit for Carl Smith, with Frankie Laine covering it.  Here we have Artie Malvin mimicking the latter singer, and very well.


DOWNLOAD: Dragnet/Hey Joe--Enoch Light and His Orch., prob. 1953

Vocal, side B: Artie Malvin.


Sunday, September 29, 2019

Favorite gospel tracks, Part 7--An Evening Prayer

You'll have to admit that the above LP cover stands out in any genre, including gospel, which has more than its share of unusual jacket images.  I posted this at Facebook, where it received the comment, "Shades of 'Bride of Frankenstein.'"  A reference to the doll-sized people on the organ, of course.

Most of these are cassette "rescues," and I thought I'd looked everything up in time for this post, LP- and year-wise (when possible), but it looks like I didn't.  Oh, well.  That'll happen.  Since there are four Shouting on the Hills versions in today's list, I could have named this post "Still Shouting," but I settled instead, title-wise, for the lovely Charles H. Gabriel number (words by C. Maude Battersby) An Evening Prayer, a gospel standard from around 1911.  The next time someone challenges you to name a hymn recorded by both Homer Rodeheaver and Elvis Presley, just name this one.  And there's some fine Jimmy Swaggart piano on two tracks, including Glory Land March, which may have been composed by Jimmie Masters.  That's the one credit I'm able to find--a copyright entry--but was he the actual composer?  Same question when it comes to the not-Led-Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven, which is associated with the Stanley Brothers and credited on one page to Bill J. Grant and Ralph Stanley.  But only on a single webpage, so I can't be sure. 

I have no idea what's up with Over in Gloryland, which is not Just over in the Gloryland, if that's any help.  We know what it isn't, at least.  And I can now say with definite definiteness that Eugene Monroe (E.M.) Bartlett composed There'll Be Shouting.  I finally found it in one of my songbooks, and I posted a scan here, but don't tell anyone. Copyrighted 1925, which means that the number was only a year old when Smith's Sacred Singers recorded it! 

Please Stop Running Away from God is a lovely song that I'd love to find a sheet music copy of, though in basic SATB form, not a choir version, so I can play it on the organ.  At any rate, I'm surprised it's not better known.  Maybe it just came out at the wrong time.  Maybe it simply failed to last into the praise song era.


DOWNLOAD: Favorite gospel tracks, Part 7

Brighten the Corner Where You Are (Odgon-Gabriel)--Ralph Carmichael
An Evening Prayer (Battersby-Gabriel)--The Browns, 1962
Same--Blue Ridge Quartet, 1972
Same--Homer Rodeheaver, 1920 (Victor 17714)
That Heavenly Home (Frank White)--The Prophets Quartet
Over in Gloryland--Same
Shouting on the Hills of Glory (Bartlett)--The Baker Family
There'll Be Shouting (Bartlett)--The Happy Goodman Family (1968)
Jesus Is Coming Soon (R.E. Winsett)--Gethsemane Quartet
Glory Land March (Johnnie Masters?)--Jimmy Swaggart, piano, 1972
Stairway to Heaven--Bluegrass Gospel Travelers
Palms of Victory (Matthias)--Singing Revivers
Crying Holy Unto the Lord--The Country Gospel-Aires
There Ain't No Grave (Claude Ely)--The Country Gospel-Aires
Since Jesus Came Into My Heart (McDaniel-Gabriel)--Jimmy Swaggart, piano, 1972
There'll Be Shouting on the Hills of Glory (Barlett)--The Bissell Brothers
When They Call My Name (Lister)--Gospel Mariners
Shouting on the Hills (Bartlett)--Gospel Mariners
The Meeting in the Air (Martin)--The Speer Family, 1966
Where the Gates Swing Outward Never (Chas. H. Gabriel)--Mrs. William Asher-Homer Rodeheaver, 1920
Please Stop Running Away from God (Oren Paris)--Revivaltime Choir, 1969
Assurance March (Wendell P. Loveless)--Paul Mickelson at the Grand Robert-Morton Pipe Organ, 1961


Thursday, September 26, 2019

Faux Fab Four, Part 3--Lucy in the Sky, Uncle Albert

Well, I guess you can still tell it's them.  Anyway...

What can I say?  Some mind-blowing (and, at times, mind-blowingly bad) Beatles fakes, with some of the tracks belonging in the semi-fake or almost-fake category.  Peter Knight, for instance, was a highly legit musician and had every right to release an instrumental LP of Sgt. Pepper's, but, as well done as it may be, it's pure exploitation--a cash-in effort, however competent.  And how can I not post Pops-style versions of Lucy in the Sky and A Day in the Life?  They cry out to be included.  And Terry Baxter's record club (Columbia) material are fake versions in the get-the-Beatles-at-a-reduced-price tradition, and their expert presentation makes them all the more hilarious.  As for the Electric Scoundrals/Scoundrels (they're spelled both ways on the Premier label release), they're a cover name (like you wouldn't have guessed) for a cobbled-together collection of fakes spanning the years 1960 to 1969.  And their version of Hey Jude (recorded in something approximating stereo), is easily the worst I've ever heard, but I love it, anyway!  The Candy-Rock Generation is another Columbia Record Club--er, Columbia Musical Treasures--outfit providing the hits to people who want them fake and inexpensive.  Same ol' story.  And the Free Spirits, Sound Effects, and Northern Lights were all made-up groups working for QMO Records, the company behind many later fakes.  I wonder how many times I've typed "fake" and "fakes" in this paragraph?

I have a warm spot in my heart for the gorgeous (and hopelessly pretentious!) Longines Symphonette versions of the Fab Four--we get two: Lady Madonna and Hello, Goodbye--and pity the person who arrives in the middle of either arrangement and tries to guess the tunes.  And we get some solo and post-Beatles material--#9 Dream, Another Day, Instant Karma, and an especially dreadful Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey.  I don't know how anyone could possibly take the fun out of the finale to that last number, but The Sound Effects found a way.  You get what you don't pay for, I reckon.


DOWNLOAD: Faux Fab Four 3

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds--Peter Knight Orch., 1967
Yellow Submarine--Jalopy Five, 1966
Revolution--The Candy-Rock Generation, 1969
Penny Lane--Same
Day Tripper--No credit (Arc AS 796)
A Day in the Life--Peter Knight Orch., 1967
Lady Madonna--The Longines Symphonette, 1968
Carry That Weight--The Terry Baxter Orch. and Chorus, 1972
Honey Pie--Richard Alden, His Orch. and Chorus, 1970
Hey Jude--The Electric Scoundrals (Premier 1005)
My Sweet Lord (Harrison)--Northern Lights, 1971
#9 Dream--The Free Spirits, 1975
Long and Winding Road--The Terry Baxter Orch. and Chorus, 1972
Lovely Rita--Peter Knight Orch., 1967
Paperback Writer--The Terry Baxter Orch. and Chorus, 1972
Come Together--Hey Jude Medley--The Mike Curb Congregation, 1970
Magical Mystery Tour--The Terry Baxter Orch. and Chorus, 1972
Instant Karma (John Lennon)--No credit (Alshire S-5197; 1970)
Yellow Submarine--No credit (36 Today! Columbia Record Club; 1967)
Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey (Paul and Linda McCartney)--The Sound Effects, 1971
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds--The Free Spirits, 1975
Hello, Goodbye--The Longines Symphonette, 1968
Another Day (Paul and Linda McCartney)--Northern Lights, 1971


Sunday, September 22, 2019

Favorite gospel tracks, Part 6--Shouting on the Hills

Today's offerings are highly down home, so I thought I'd use the highly down home jacket photo (above) of the Taylor Mountain Boys to underscore the, um, down home-ness.  I suppose that "down home" means back to what's true and pure--going back to things that are basic and simple--returning from those things and ways of life that distract us from what's real and good and holy.  Back from the city, with its pollution and litter and artificial ways and red light cameras.  Going home, which can mean going back to the old country church, or going home in the final-journey sense.  Going to the mansion over the hill.  Walking the streets of gold. Chatting with the saints on a first name basis.  I don't know how I got caught in this cycle of gospel memes, but I need to free myself (so to speak) and start talking about the tracks....

There.  I'm back.  It's weird, getting stuck in the gospel meme zone--nice, though.  A week's worth of ripping freshly-thifted and long-ago digitized gospel tracks, and... you just sort of end up in that zone.  Looks like I have enough tracks left on my PC for two more installments after today, and maybe a new Higher Ground version will pop up in the meanwhile.  Today, we start out with three HG's, the lively Coffey Family take, the down-home-as-it-gets Jordan Family version, Joe Emerson's big label (RCA) treatment, and arranger Frank Garlock's terrific choral arrangement for the Southside Baptist Church Choir.  Such is my devotion to getting the details right (or, keeping the typos down), I re-uploaded this zip file after I noticed I'd misspelled Frank's last name on that track as "Garlop."  However, I still forgot to take the Gospel-Lites' name out of the title field of their terrific Take Your Shoe Off Moses, proving that I'm perfect.  I mean, that I'm not perfect.  By the way, the lack of a comma in that title could have someone thinking it's about taking our shoes off of Moses, as opposed to an invitation to Moses to remove his.  ("Sorry, Moses--I gave you the wrong shoes.  Those are mine."  Moses: "They did seem a little cramped....")

The tracks today are so bluegrassy and country-y (coutry-y??) that I removed some slower, more thoughtful tracks I'd wanted to include--they were like jamming on the brakes, tempo- and mood-wise.  So I'll feature them next time.  They're great tracks, but they're the stylistic antitheses of these, and I didn't want to break the nonstop rhythm established by these.  The Rock Where Moses Stood, aka Crying Holy Unto the Lord, is credited everywhere to A.P. Carter, but he had an unfortunate habit (or someone did) of sticking his name on things he didn't write, including numbers that were still in copyright at the time (like Ada J. Blenkhorn and J. Howard Entwistle's Keep on the Sunny Side of Life).  So I see "A.P. Carter," and I say, "Yeah, right."  This could well have been an author-unknown African-American number--many of those are bluegrass gospel standards, like Hear Jerusalem Moan.  Whoever gave it to us did us a major favor--it's magnificent.  Come and Dine is another great one, with known authorship this time, and since I'm used to hearing the number in a Billy Graham Choir-sort of rendering, it's interesting to hear it done up country by the Happy Goodman Family and bluegrass by The Taylor Mountain Boys.  I'm trying to come up with some at-the-table word play here, but I'm not succeeding.  Ain't No Grave, which Wikipedia says is usually credited to Claude Ely, is of course a Rapture song, and with a spooky feel--those held, mournful notes might have something to do with it, and you'd almost not know the words are describing a happy event.  I had a stray Jesus Is Coming Soon left over, as recorded by the Heavenbound Singers, so here it is, and it's a more than worthy take.  I had a stray Echoes from the Burning Bush, too, and it's fine, as well.  Shouting on the Hills, aka Shouting on the Hills of Glory is credited to Rowe-Vaughn by one cyber-source, and to Carter Stanley (of the Stanley Brotheres) by a number of others, but Hymnary,org tells us the author is E.M. Bartlett and that the proper title is What a Happy Time Is Coming.  I trust them on this matter, so Bartlett it is.  All three versions in our playlist are as down home as down home comes, and they're all excellent, but I go with the earliest--the superb 1926 Smith's Sacred Singer's recording, which I freshly ripped today from my not-mint Columbia 78.

The Traveler's Quartet--credited on its jacket as the Travler's Quartet--was going to get three spots today, but they got bumped down to one so I could make -athons out of He Bore It All and Hold to God's Unchanging Hand.  Lots of behind-the-blog penciling in and penciling out happens here as I make these--the Media Room was busy this week.  It took a little Googling to discover the person who wrote Keys to the Kingdom, but it was Jenny Lou Carson (I confirmed this by listening to her version on YouTube), and I wish people on line would stop being stupid and quit giving songwriting credit to whoever happens to have recorded the version they know.  That way, I wouldn't have to wade through fifteen false credits each time I check on numbers I don't know.  The fidelity on the Travler's/Traveler's LP is some of the most limited I've yet encountered on a privately-made gospel effort, so it took two levels of upper-freq manipulation to achieve good, solid mediocre sound quality.  Worth it when the performers are this interesting.  But I have to wonder if the engineer cut the treble or if it there simply wasn't any to begin with on the master tape.

All transfers are mine, except for the 1928 Stamps Quartet track (He Bore It All), which I rescued from RCA Camden fake stereo, and yes, that's "Andra Czarnikow" getting the composer credit for God Walks the Dark Hills (one of the all-time best gospel song titles), and it's the genuine credit, as far as I know.  Anyone with any knowledge of Andra, please chime in.

Banjos, mandolins, fiddles, bluegrass end-of-lines fermatas, plus a few sides some distance from the mountains but which soar, nonetheless, or whatever I just typed.  This is me, typing under the influence of high ragweed pollen.  To the music!

UPDATE: I mistook Over in the Gloryland for Emmett S. Dean's Just Over in the Glory-Land, penned in 1906 and often credited to the co-publisher.  This is a very similar, but different, number.  And Shouting on the Hills is indeed by E.M. Bartlett, composed in 1925 under the title There'll Be Shouting.  I just discovered it one of my songbooks.

DOWNLOAD: Favorite gospel tracks, part 6

Higher Ground (Oatman, Jr.-Gabriel)--Coffey Family
Same--The Jordan Family
Same--Joe Emerson, 1960
Same--The Southside Baptist Church Choir (Arr: Frank Garlock)
The Rock Where Moses Stood--The Earls and Whitehead Gospel Singers, 1967
Come and Dine (Widmeyer)--The Taylor Mountain Boys, 1968
Same--The Happy Goodman Family, 1969
Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down (Claude Ely)--G.M. Farley and the Foggy River Boy, 1963
Ain't No Grave (C. Ely)--The Cooke Duet, 1969
Jesus Is Coming Soon (R.E. Winsett)--The Heavenbound Singers
Echoes from the Burning Bush (Summar-Foust)--The Gloryland Quartet
Shouting on the Hills (E.M. Bartlett)--Jack Bishop
Shouting on the Hills of Glory (E.M. Bartlett)--The Earls and Whitehead Gospel Singers, 1967
Shouting on the Hills (E.M. Bartlett)--Smith's Sacred Singers, 1926
God Walks the Dark Hills (Andra Czarnikow)--The Leach Family
Hand Writing--Traveler's Quartet, 1967
Key's (sic) to the Kingdom (Jenny Lou Carson)--Traveler's Quartet, 1967
Take Your Shoes Off Moses (Jarris)--The Gospel-Lites
Meet Me Up in Heaven (Lee Roy Abernathy)--The Toney Brothers Quartet
Over in the Gloryland (James W. Acuff)--The Singing Millers, 1973 (Songwriters unknown)
Hold to God's Unchanging Hand (Eiland-Wilson)--The LeFevres, 1963?
Same--Smith's Sacred Singers, 1928
He Bore It All (Baxter, Jr.-Stamps)--The Stamps Quartet, 1928
Same--The Southern-Aires Gospel Singers
Same--Smith's Sacred Singers, 1927


Friday, September 20, 2019

Faux Fab Four--34 tracks! Post revived from last year....

Here's a repost from October of last year, with a revised text.  This was going to be the first entry in a series called "Fake Hits from the Sixties," but it doesn't look like a second part ever happened.  From the same folder containing these two zips is a zip of '60s sound-alikes--it may be the Part 2 that never happened.  I'll have to look them over and figure that out.  Meanwhile, making their second appearance, and long unavailable at Zippyfile, are today's 34 fake Beatles tracks, all ripped from budget labels (of course).  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:

Also, the less-than-major labels 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).

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.  Get your 34 faux Fab Four goodies here!

DOWNLOAD: 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)


Sunday, September 15, 2019

Favorite gospel tracks, Part 5--Echoes from the Burning Bush

A number of bluegrass gospel standards today, plus one of the earliest best-selling gospel records, the Stamps Quartet's 1927 Give the World a Smile, which Wikipedia describes as "probably the first Southern gospel song to become a 'gold record.'"  Dwight M. Brock's ragtime-style piano on this track may come as a surprise to anyone who associates syncopated gospel piano with a later era--but it was an established thing even this early.  I know, because (to my astonishment at the time) I heard a similar piano backing for a vocal solo on a c.-1903 cylinder (a CD dub, to be precise).  Even the Stamps' note/chord trade-offs, with the staccato harmonies punctuating the melody line, is a tradition dating back at least as far as the 1880s, as proved by gospel songbooks of the late 19th century.  Sacred quartet singing, like Barbershop, is at least as old as sound recordings, but, while much Barbershop was recorded, gospel quartets didn't find their market until about the mid-1920s.  It's quite a shame, considering what could have been, but wasn't, recorded.  Same is true of the earliest country music--I'd give anything to hear a turn of the century outfit, though there were some barn dance imitations that found their way into early-1900s pop music.

The strange, scat-style singing at the end of the Stamps Quartet disc never caught on, I don't think, and it's kind of a jolt--but a quite cool one.  And we get to hear the Blackwood Brothers' outstanding 1959 recreation of this number, which the Blackwoods do at a much faster tempo.  Show-offs.

The country/bluegrass gospel standards in our playlist bring us a little closer to the present: four versions of Echoes from the Burning Bush (written in 1943), four versions of Jesus Is Coming Soon (written in 1942), and two rounds of I'll Have a New Life (written in 1940).  Tramp on the Street (two versions today) is another mandolin and fiddle standard, though it's from the period discussed above--the late 19th century, when it was known as Only a Tramp.  It's the ultimate social-gospel gospel number, and a genuinely brilliant work, its lyrical simplicity just one aspect of that brilliance.

I've always been fascinated by the old-fashioned sound of so many of the gospel numbers written during and just after the Depression.   They have the sound of music that has passed through many generations of rural folks miles removed from the nearest city of any size, yet they're actually professionally written numbers popularized on radio and records by major-label country and bluegrass acts, starting with groups like, of course, the Carter Family.  Also fascinating, and funny, is the number of "songs from the hills" that were actually written in the late 1800s and early 1900s in Northern states like Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York.

Moving a little closer to the present, we have two numbers by the brilliant John W. Peterson--the marvelous gospel waltz numbers Jesus Is Coming Again (not to be confused with Soon), and Heaven Came Down and Glory Filled My Soul.  (Actually, these numbers are in 6/4 and 6/8, respectively, but I call them waltzes.)  Peterson was the Charles H. Gabriel of the latter 20th century--a musician with far greater formal training than Gabriel but the same genius for simple, unforgettable melodies.

And we get a second helping of Phillip H. Lord's 1930 classic You Go to Your Church, and I'll Go to Mine, performed this time by one-time radio and TV singer Joe Emerson, who injects great feeling into the already-moving words.  Heaven's Avenue was written by Mr. and Mrs. Frank Stamps.  Frank H. Stamps led this group, a new version of what had once been two separate Stamps quartets--one led by Frank, and the other by Virgil.  Now you know.

The 1928 Vaughan Quartet restoration (His Charming Love) is my own, whereas the two late-'20s Stamps sides are from an RCA Camden LP, whose fake stereo I managed to turn into decent mono.  The sound drop-outs on Carl Story's Tramp on the Street were on the LP.  Maybe the label was working from a damaged master tape.


DOWNLOAD: Favorite gospel tracks, Part 5

Echoes from the Burning Bush (Summar-Foust)--The Chuck Wagon Gang, 1949
Same--Carl Story and His Rambling Mountaineers, 1955
Same--Harmony Four (from LP Footsteps of Eternity)
Same--The Southern-Aires Gospel Singers (from LP Heaven Is My Home)
Saved (Smith-Hickman)--George Zinn, Lyric Tenor (from LP Sermons in Song)
Jesus Is Coming Soon (R.E. Winsett)--Oak Ridge Boys, 1971?
Same--The Southern-Aires Gospel Singers (from LP Heaven Is My Home)
Same--The Toney Brothers Quartet (from LP Gospel Singing Time with...)
Same--The Evangelaires (from LP I Should Have Been Crucified)
Tramp on the Street--Carl Story, 1961
Tramp on the Street--The Miller Brothers, 1972
Pearly White City (Arthur Forrest Ingler)--Radio Bible Class Quartet (from LP Singspiration Sampler)
He Keeps Me Singing (Luther B. Bridgers)--Philip Kerr Harmony Chorus (Same)
Heaven Came Down and Glory Filled My Soul (John W. Peterson)--The Billy Graham London Crusade Choir, 1967
Heaven Came Down (Peterson)--The Wilds, Dir. by Frank Garlock (from LP Songs of the Wilds)
And Can It Be That I Should Gain (Charles Wesley-Thomas Campbell)--The Radio Bible Class, 1971
You Go to Your Church, and I'll Go To Mine (Phillips H. Lord)--Joe Emerson, 1960
Give the World a Smile (Deaton-Yandell)--The Stamps Quartet, 1927
Give the World a Smile (Deaton-Yandell)--Blackwood Brothers, 1959
His Charming Love (O.A. Parris)--Vaughan Quartet, 1928
Jesus Is Coming Again (John W. Peterson)--The Billy Graham Crusade Choir, 1962
Jesus Is Coming Again (Peterson)--The Radio Bible Class, 1971
Heaven's Avenue (Mr. and Mrs. Frank Stamps)--The Stamps Quartet, 1955
I'll Have a New Life (Luther G. Presley)--The Southern-Aires Gospel Singers (from LP Heaven Is My Home)
I'll Have a New Life (Presley)--Prairie Grove Gospel Messengers (from LP Meeting in the Air)


Friday, September 13, 2019

The Hit Parader, or, Top Hits--Al Garry and His Orch. (Spin-O-Rama 105)

We'll be hearing ten "Top Hit Favorites" from The Hit Parader.  Or, if you prefer the label title, from Top Hits.  Spin-O-Rama couldn't make up its mind, I guess.  The blame for these tracks (actually, they're pretty good) goes to Al Garry and His Orch.  Discogs lists Spin-O-Rama as one of the labels belonging to Premier Albums, Inc., but this is clearly SPC (Synthetic Plastics Co.), as revealed by the back-jacket logo, "Fine records needn't be expensive."  (Then why didn't SPC ever make any?)  I didn't scan the back jacket, as it's pretty marked up and not worth the photo-shopping hassle--it's just a list of other releases.

We've heard a number of these before, including Stagger Lee, Manhattan Spiritual, Good-Bye Baby, and My Happiness on the Plymouth (Canada) LP 8 Top Hits, but... here they are again.  And that LP failed to make the trek from my old hard drive to this new one, and the link has expired, so I'll have to re-rip it.  Meanwhile, we have this 12-incher from a recent Goodwill trip.  These are showing up less and less frequently at the thrifts, so I was thrilled to encounter this.  And what a weird cover.  Did the photographer tell the two models, "Okay, make weird faces"?

The Little Drummer Boy, that big Harry Simeone hit stolen from Katherine K. Davis' Carol of the Drum, is a little out of season, but this is an extremely good fake--so good, it doesn't even seem like a junk label effort.  The Chipmunk Song is very professionally done, too, which means that it's quite close to the original, which means that it's highly annoying.  All American Boy is a cut on rock and roll that became a rock and roll hit, which only goes to show... um....  I don't know.  That old-time rock and roll fans had a sense of humor, perhaps.

Meanwhile this Hit Records LP is back up and running: Current Hits, Vol. No. 11

Enjoy!  UPDATE: I neglected to mention the singers credited on the jacket: Jan Newley, Bill Evans, and the Blazers.  Or is it "Bill Evans and the Blazers"?  This is why the Oxford Comma is important.  Fake names, all, I'm sure (though there are people with those names, I'm sure.  In case there's a Jan Newley reading this....).

DOWNLOAD: Al Garry and His Orch.--Top Hits

My Happiness
Good-Bye Baby
Beep Beep
Stagger Lee
The Little Drummer Boy
The Chipmunk Song
Manhattan Spiritual
All American Boy
May You Always

The Hit Parader/Top Hits--Al Garry and His Orch. (Spin-O-Rama 105)


Monday, September 09, 2019

Favorite gospel tracks, Part 4--Send the Fire

I meant to get this up yesterday, but various irl stuff interfered (how dare it??), plus there's "something" going around, and of course I have it.  I've been through bronchitis twice this summer, and I really don't want a third round.  I mean, thanks, germs, but go bug someone else.  (Ha, ha!  Bug someone else!)  But I hope to get this up and going in a jiffy.  Or a skippy.  (Dated peanut butter references, there....)  And always avoid dated peanut butter.  Won't kill you, but it has little flavor.

Send the Fire, the seventeenth track on today's playlist, was a happy find, as I had the music in a 1940 songbook, but no recording.  I was delighted to get it on vinyl.  Unfortunately, singer Paul McNutt renders the number in a manner that can only be described as overly overwrought.  But, besides being a cool tune, it has historical importance, since its 1894 words are by no less than the founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth, and its tune was provided Frederick Booth-Tucker (or, Frederick St. George de Lautour Booth-Tucker, thank you), the son-in-law of William.  As someone with no middle name and a single-syllable given name, I kind of envy Fred.  Or maybe not.  Anyway, great to have a version of this tune (see sheet music above--also hard to find, in my experience), and you certainly can't fault it for lack of enthusiasm.

Two -athons today: four versions of Charles H. Gabriel's monster 1900 hit (said to have sold around 20 million copies in print--and I believe it) O That Will Be Glory, and another four-pack (also by Gabriel), 1922's Jesus, Rose of Sharon, with lyrics by Ida A. Guirey.  My favorite Sharon is the Bill Carle version, with its superb arrangement that brings out the genius of the melody, but tenor Russell Newport is the best singer of the bunch.  As for Glory, it shows up on LP and 78 labels as O, That Will Be Glory; Oh, That Will Be Glory for MeThat Will Be Glory; or The Glory Song.  I'm not aware of any Halloween parody titled That Will Be Gory, but you never know.  Hard to pick a favorite version, though I might go with the Haydn Quartet's 1906 take, since it's the closest to the year of the original, and because it showed up in Goodwill years back with an overlapping crack. (Accidental rhyme, there.)  "No way I can save this," I said to myself.  Wrong--I saved it.  The memory of rescuing this precious disc makes it an especially precious version.  Or whatever I just typed.

Jerome Hines, the Metropolitan Opera bass who made religious LPs for Word and London, did the all-time, this-is-how-you-do-it version of the gospel classic How Great Thou Art, whose history is too complicated to even go into.  Ages back, I was thrift-searching for a version of How Great Thou Art and found Hine's 1965 Great Moments of Sacred Music at Salvation Army.  It had the track, and I remember thinking, "I wonder if this guy's any good?"  Had no idea who he was, and I guess I didn't read the back jacket.  Took it home, cleaned it, put the needle on the record, then picked myself up off the floor.  Yeah, the man could sing.  Dear God.

It is the version of How Great Thou Art.  George Beverly Shea had much to do with popularizing the number, and all praise to George, but Jerome owned it. By the way, it was an unforgivable insult to the born-again Hines, who gave free Salvation Army concerts in NYC (my foster mother Bev saw him at one), to have little to nothing about his faith mentioned in the press when he passed in 2003.  "Secularism" was all the rage at the time, and so journalistic integrity went down the gutter--with one major exception, and I wish I remembered the name of the magazine or paper--it was a beautiful piece by a close friend of Hines.  Look, I don't care if, as a rule, journalists are seculars, Fundies, none of the above, members of the diners club, or closet ping-pong enthusiasts--when you write an artist's OBIT, you don't omit a major aspect of someone's life.  Period.  The Fourth Estate likes to demand respect.  I remind the Fourth Estate that respect is something earned.

Back to topic, Reapers Are Needed and Awakening Chorus are two more Charles Gabriel goodies (he's all over my favorite-gospel posts--you'd think I was fond of him) I've featured before, but they're worth a repeat, and then some.  I love the way the choir speeds through the latter anthem, which is meant to be more stately, but am I complaining?  The faster tempo works terrifically.  Finding a decent recording of the Chorus has proven about impossible--two substandard choir versions (one all-female, the other all-male), and some organist who sounds like he had four lessons and slept through three of them (on the Word label, where the quality is usually way higher than that).  This race-through version is by far the best I've found.

A Meeting in the Air--or, The Meeting....  A or The, it's the same song, and the choirs here are top-notch, with the Wilds (I thought maybe that was a family name) actually a Christian camp for young folks.  The LP notes aren't clear on exactly who's doing the singing--staff members are mentioned but so are camp members.  Dunno.  I just know they're very, very good, and the stereo sound is very natural and pleasing--no gimmickry.  Meeting works surprisingly well with Beyond the Sunset.  I'm almost sure the arrangement is by the talented Frank Garlock, who also did the fine arrangement of Higher Ground (Gabriel, who else?) for the Southside Baptist Church Choir of Greenville SC.  The stirring Wonderful Grace of Jesus, performed by the you-just-know-they're-all-top-studio-pros Revivaltime Choir, is a 1918 gem which, like Meeting, was not by Charles Gabriel.  Just to note that I don't focus fully on Chuck.

Back to Gabriel, we have the superb Old Fashioned Revival Hour Quartet's incomparable recording of Chuck's sophisticated and eloquent (he did the words, too) I Will Not Forget Thee, composed in 1889, a year before Gabriel hit the big time in a big way with Send the Light.  Gabriel was sometimes a near-match for the greatest popular hymnist, Fanny Crosby--dig these: "When at the golden portals I am standing, All my tribulations, all my sorrows past; How sweet to hear the blessed proclamation, 'Enter, faithful servant, welcome home at last.'"  Do we get exceptionally distinguished gospel lyrics like this today?  Not too often, it doesn't seem.

Tramp on the Street uses less elegant language, but it's message is complex and powerful--I remember the first time I heard this, and the emotional wallop of the tramp on the street becoming Jesus Christ.  I used to know more about this song's history, and I have an early version of it in print.  From the 1880s, I believe, and originally titled Only a Tramp.  For people who don't think country/bluegrass gospel ever gets deep.

I could have summed up my essay more simply: Fabulous songs put across by highly gifted musicians.

DOWNLOAD: Favorite gospel tracks, Part 4

How Great Thou Art--Jerome Hines, Arr, and Cond. by Kurt Kaiser, 1965
Palms of Victory (Matthias)--The Blue Ridge Quartet, 1966
Life's Railway to Heaven (Abbey-Tillman)--Blackwood Brothers, 1959
Glory Song (Oh, That Will Be Glory for Me--Gabriel)--Criterion Quartet (Victor 35014; 1908)
Glory Song (O, That Will Be Glory)-Haydn Quartet (Victor 3498; 1906)
O That Will Be Glory--The Rice Family Singers, 1969
That Will Be Glory--Marshall Vaughn
A Meeting in the Air/Beyond the Sunset--The Wilds, Dir. by Frank Garlock
The Meeting in the Air (Isaiah G. Martin)--Christian Choristers
Reapers Are Needed (Gabriel)--A.T. Humphries and Lee College Choir
Awakening Chorus (Gabriel)--Same
Shall We Meet Beyond the River (Hastings-Rice)--Harry Macdonough-Percy Hemus (Victor 17356; 1913)
I Will Not Forget Thee (Gabriel)--Old Fashioned Revival Hour Quartet, 1968
Wonderful Grace of Jesus (Lillenas)--Revivaltime Choir, 1969
Higher Ground (Oatman, Jr.-Gabriel)--The Southside Baptist Church Choir (Greenville SC)
Only a Beam of Sunshine (Fanny Crosby-John Sweney)--Macdonough and Bieling (Victor 16288; 1908)
Send the Fire! (William Booth-Frederick Booth-Tucker)--Paul McNutt
Tramp on the Street--Sego Bros. and Naomi, 1966
Tell It To-Day (Chas. H. Gabriel, Jr.)--Homer Rodeheaver (Victor 18373; 1917)
More Like the Master (Gabriel)--Unknown choir on Word Records
Jesus, Rose of Sharon (Guirey-Gabriel)--Russell Newport, Tenor, 1965
Same--Bill Carle, w. Kurt Kaiser Orch., 1960
Same--Family Altar Quartet (Tops R1003X45-49; 1954)
Same--Homer Rodeheaver, w. pipe organ (Victor 20087; 1925)
The Way of the Cross Leads Home (Gabriel)--Unknown choir on Word Records


Saturday, September 07, 2019

Bigfoot, Nessie, alien abductions, and... a fine Modern Sound LP??

Is it possible?  Is is true?  A perfectly good Modern Sound/Hit Records collection?  Yes, and it's what I have for you today.  Quite a nice surprise after the last ordeal--er, the last offering.  Today's fake hits range from competent to memorable, with especially good versions of Rainy Day Women #12 and 35, When a Man Loves a Woman, and Where Did Our Love Go Up Tight is perfectly fine, too, though I'd have preferred a little more... soul?  Pep?  But it's quite decent.  Decent, too, is the lone Hit Records original (or, fake fake hit), Up Town Down Town, penned by Bobby Russell and appearing in its single form as Uptown Downtown.  It's fun and catchy--it has earworm potential.  More work than usual required in the de-clicking department this time, but since the tracks are so good, I didn't mind.  Luckily, I had the Hit Records Where Did Our Love Go on another LP (like all cheapies, these guys reused material), so I swapped it for the badly-off band on this disc ("band" in the old-fashioned sense of an LP track).  I can't believe I'm saying this (well, typing it), but this one's a winner.  I'll have to save my sarcasm for a future Modern Sound post.

Download and enjoy.  And they even give the artist credits (whether real or made-up) on the jacket.  I feel like I'm dreaming....

DOWNLOAD: Leaning on the Lamp Post (Modern Sound MS 1031)

Leaning on the Lamp Post--The Chords
How Does That Grab You Darlin--Betty Richards
White on White--Fred York
Where Did Our Love Go--The Houstons
What Will My Mary Say--Tony Christopher
When a Man Loves a Woman--Leroy Jones
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35--Bobby Brooks
Washington Square--Music City Five Plus Ten
Up Town Down Town (Bobby Russell)--Fred York
Up Tight--Richie Brown

(Modern Sound MS 1031)


Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Terrible covers of hits, plus originals by Dorothy and William Beasley, Bobby Russell, and Bergen White

A very interesting Modern Sound (Hit Records) LP, in that the majority of selections were penned specifically for Hit Records by Hit Records people--producer William Beasley (as K. Richards) and one Dorothy J. Beasley (as J. Norris), and, under their real names, Bobby Russell and Bergen White.  I'd almost assumed that I Want Candy was a Hit Records original, too, since it's so blatantly unoriginal, but it's a cover of an actual hit for the Strangeloves, whose strange story is told here.  The other actual fakes (I never pictured myself using such a phrase) include the Bacharach-David What's New Pussycat (a wonderfully atrocious copy of Tom Jones), and a really, really bad imitation of Billy Joe Royal's Down in the Boondocks. which I remember from its endless play as an oldie on AM radio.  Meanwhile, I Like It Like That is about as anemic a copy of the high-energy Dave Clark Five as anyone can imagine--the Jalopy Five (who concocted that name?) sounds like a half-asleep Kingsmen (Louie Louie) ordered into the studio after two tours in a single day and five minutes of sleep.  I almost expect the musicians to pass out, dropping their instruments as they fall.  Would have made for a much more memorable track.  And Down in the Boondocks can't be that hard to competently cover--good grief.  But too hard, apparently, for the Hit Records/Modern Sound folks.  Were they just bent on not even trying on these?  And I just realized I already mentioned Boondocks and how bad it is, but it rates two mentions--it's that much of a boondoggle (he wrote, stretching for a pun).

Five funny-lousy hit covers, with What's New Pussycat an all-time fake-hit misfire (and therefore worth the price of the 99-cent purchase many times over), but the originals, by producer William Beasley and wife (?) Dorothy J. Beasley, plus Bobby (Little Green Apples) Russel and Bergen (For Women Only) White, are pleasant and fairly fun.  I didn't say memorable--just worth a listen.  They start with the well produced and halfway decent (but, for me, impossible to keep in memory) You Were Gone, not to be confused with the infinitely better Buckinghams B-side called You Are GoneTower Suite is the weirdest of the bunch, being a halfway cool instrumental concocted to serve, in its 45 rpm form, as the flip of Theme from Peyton Place.  To me, the title had the sound of something real--maybe a forgotten 1965 instrumental.  Maybe a lost portion of Gordon Jenkins' Manhattan Tower.  So I expected to find a "real" Tower Suite, but nope--just this one.  A pleasant instrumental that's cool because it's missing any point, so I dig it.  Big Windy City is a fairly good White-Russell original with a blatantly Roy Orbison sound (its slow, broken melody and melancholy lyrics)--though Roy would have been presented with more layers of echo and louder tympani, and things would have ended on a dramatic high note.  The singer sounds like he's about to start laughing at one point, and he could have been excused.  Expert hack work--I like it.  Bergen White's You Make the Decisions has a "We need a song--quick!  We've only got ten minutes" type of sound, and I feel sorry for the guy so hooked on his love that he doesn't dare assert his own will, lest she leave him.  Dude, she's not worth it.  I wonder if this was tongue-in-cheek to an extent.  It's certainly a rush job, but of course competent.  Bobby Russell's Anything does nothing for me, however, and I wonder if Joanne Kay (Sorry, I mean Key--can't read my own writing) was really named Joanne Key.  She gets two credits at Discogs, so we'll never know.  Broken Hearted, Sad and Blue can be forgiven its omission of the Oxford comma because it's catchy, it really moves, and it has very nice stereo separation.  The Buddy Holly hiccups are incredibly out of place, but I don't mind--I could handle an entire LP of rocking country stuff like this.  The single credits J. Norris (Dorothy J. Beasley) alone as composer, but the Library of Congress (thanks, cyberspace) credits both Beasleys--producer William and sister? wife? Dorothy J. (If anyone knows the relationship, please let me know.)  In the same Copyright Entries book, this title is listed two places above Eric Siday's Bromo Seltzer Theme.

Er, enjoy.  And I forgot to include the scans in the zip file, so I'm redoing that now.  If you didn't get them, please re-download.  Apologies.

DOWNLOAD:  Down in the Boondocks (Modern Sound MS 1012)

(Performer credits taken from single issues)

Down in the Boondocks (Billy Joe Royal cover)--Ed Hardin
I Like It Like That (Dave Clark Five cover)--Jalopy Five
You Were Gone (Bobby Russell)--John Preston
Tower Suite (J. Norris-K. Richards, aka Dorothy J. Beasley-William Beasley)--William Randolph and the Music City Orch. and Chorus
Big Windy City (Bergen White-Bobby Russell)--Fred Hess
What's New Pussycat (Burt Bacharach-Hal David)--Bobby Brooks
I Want Candy (Strangeloves cover)--The Roamers
You Make the Decisions (Bergen White)--The Chellows
Anything (Bobby Russell)--Joanne Key
Broken Hearted, Sad and Blue (J. Norris, aka Dorothy J. Beasley)--Ed Hardin