Since time began, humankind has been haunted by this question: Is it Tune PAC, or TunePAC? Or, perhaps, Tunepac? Who knows? I'll go with TunePAC, because it looks cooler in print than the alternatives. And today we'll be hearing three 78 rpm EPs (12 tracks in all) from this low-low-low-budget label, all featuring 1953 hits--so I guess we can assume these discs are from that year. I vaguely remember finding an image, probably on eBay, which showed a mail-order packet for a TunePAC set--kiddie material, if I recall correctly--but darned if I can find that image, assuming I saved it. Anyway, TunePAC certainly looks like a mail-order rip-off, er, operation.
There were at least three other labels in this group--RecordPAK (or Record PAK, or Record Pak), the imaginatively named Folk Music (featuing country), and Irene. (In fact, Discogs lists Record Pak--with a space--as a sub-label of Irene.) RecordPAK's label design sported the same five-line music staff as TunePAC, but no treble clef, and the eighth note was tilted to the left. Folk Music had the staff, and an upside down eighth note. Irene had eighth notes but no staff. Unlike TunePAC, neither RecordPak, Irene, nor Folk Music featured "Marvin Enterprises, Inc. Made in U.S.A." on their label bottoms, but they're clearly the same guys. There'll be a test at the end of the post, so pay attention.
I do know that TunePAC's orchestra leader, Bernie Saber, was the co-author of Good Things from the Garden, which we older folks know as the Jolly Green Giant song. Or song portion, more accurately.
I regret to note that the TunePAC version of Crazy Man, Crazy (I never understood the punctuation choice in that title) mimics the Ralph Marterie cover, not the Bill Haley original. Quite a missed opportunity, but a cool relic, regardless.
And I'm very proud of myself for not once accidentally typing "Bernie Saber" as "Bernie Sanders." I listed Saber on all the tracks, even though his full orchestra is absent from at least two. The labels' track credits aren't completely clear (imagine that), so I figured what the heck.
The astonishingly stupid Ho Ho Song, which closes this set, has always been my choice as the least funny comedy disc ever waxed (though Mouth & MacNeal's How Do You Do comes really, really close). There is comedy, however, in listening to the RecordPAC background people trying to mimic the live audience laughter of the Red Buttons original.
BY THE WAY: I think it's worth noting, and noticing, that real talent was present on this label and the others in the group. Good singing, good musicianship, and a big-name wannabe (Bernie Saber). Had the group opted to take a legit path, instead of the market-parasite path favored by junk labels, it might have accomplished something. It would have at least gone down with honor. This is off the top of my head, but I think Don Belloc was involved in this group, too. The standard junk label model was almost a type of market suicide--rushing out the offerings, creating a host of sub-labels (to appear bigger than you are), and hoping people will go for the cheap price. And never mind that a hundred other outfits are offering the same deal. Such labels had little to offer, were operating on a five-cent budget, yet they had to put all of what little they had on the table right away. The odds of not going down in flames were slim to none.
LINK: TunePAC Classics
Call of the Faraway Hills (David, Young)--Bernie Saber Orch,
I'd Rather Die Young--Ray Brankey w. Bernie Saber Orch.
"Terry's Theme" from Limelight (Chaplin)--Bernie Saber Orch.
Almost Always--Jeri Shannon w. Bernie Saber's Orch.
Crazy Man, Crazy (Haley)--Ray Brankey w. Bernie Saber Orch.
Tell Us Where the Good Times Are--Jeri Shannon and Ray Brankey
Say You're Mine Again--Ray Brankey w. Bernie Saber Orch.
Allez Vous En--Jeri Shannon w. Bernie Saber Orch.
Half a Photograph--Jeri Shannon w. Bernie Saber Orch.
Ruby--Bernie Saber Orch.
Ho Ho Song--Ray Brankey w. Bernie Saber Orch.