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:
LINK: Twelve Top Hits of Today, Vol. 1
Back on the Street Again--Tony Anderss
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
To Sir with Love--Racheal Waters