Thursday, May 30, 2019
Less Common Burt, Part 6!--Immaculate Conception Combined Choirs, The Stereo Sound Orch. and Strings, Bells of Stone Mountain
The perfect post for those who have longed to hear Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head performed by the Immaculate Conception Combined Choirs of Dayton OH (hope they were spared the terrible storm damage which just hit the city) and the world's largest electronic carillon--the Bells of Stone Mountain, in Georgia. Look no further. Your search is at last over.
Plus, three Burts apiece by singer Jerry Vale and guitarist Billy Strange, though not together, plus Vikki Carr's rendition of One Less Bell to Answer, an ungrammatical song title that wouldn't have worked with "fewer" substituted for "less." Who's complaining? Me? Nah. We also get some instrumentals and semi-instrumentals (semi-instrumentals?) in addition to Billy Strange and the John Klein carillon track--April Fools by the Longines Symphonette Society, The Look of Love by the budget-label Stereo Sound Orchestra and Strings, The Green Grass Starts to Grow by the great Percy Faith, and Bond Street (from 1967's Casino Royale) by Columbia Record Club easy-listening mainstay Terry Baxter.
I'm not sure what I think of Steve Lawrence's What's New Pussycat? which he recorded with the ? at the end, something many artists don't do. I'm tempted to call the arrangement pretentious, but Steve can make just about anything work, so I'll give his version a B+. There's worse--much worse. Such as George Chakiris' rendition, which I may not be able to bring myself to post. When Roger Williams recorded Lost Horizon in 1973, the movie didn't yet have "disaster" written all over it (and it's not even a disaster flick--at least, not technically), so it was just the usual get-the-Burt-songs-out-there kind of optimism going. Whatever I just typed. Anyway, I forgot to include it in my list of instrumentals, so I'm doing so now. Sorry, Roger--the omission was not intentional.
Not sure what I think of Al Martino's I'm a Better Man, which certainly doesn't compare to Engelbert Humperdinck's fabulous version, but I can't be comparing everything to the best. It's just that, when you have an A+ recording of something, everything else seems... less than A+. Ever notice that?
The late Jerry Vale had a genuinely good voice, but what is that quality that's so annoying? Was it a sing-through-the-nose kind of thing or was it an issue of vibrato? I find Jerry pleasing and annoying at the same time, which gives him a unique spot in my opinion of singers. Sue Raney is fabulous, and she could've doubled for Britney Spears, had 1) Sue been born in 1981 or 2) Britney been born in 1940. Doubled physically, I mean--I see a very similar face and face structure. Britney wouldn't have had Sue's vocal chops in any era....
This instrumental arrangement of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is from a 1970 Sunset (Liberty budget reissue) label LP called Showdown: Great Western Film Themes. It seems to not have first existed as a Liberty LP. And I'm likely the first person in cyber-history to type "It seems to not have first existed as a Liberty LP."
To the Burt! Let me know if there are any playlist errors--I did some last-minute juggling and hopefully did it without a hitch, but you never know.
DOWNLOAD-- Less Common Burt, Part 6
All by Bacharach-David unless otherwise noted
April Fools--The Longines Symphonette Society, 1974
Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head--John Klein, the Bells of Stone Mountain
Any Day Now--Tom Jones, 1967
The World Is a Circle--The Sandpipers w. the Mitchell Singing Boys, 1972
The Look of Love--The Stereo Sound Orchestra and Strings (Premier 1009)
Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head--Immaculate Conception Combined Choirs
What the World Needs Now Is Love--Billy Strange, His Guitar and Orch., 1965
What's New Pussycat?--Steve Lawrence, 1965
Trains and Boats and Planes--Billy Strange, His Guitar and Orch., 1965
Odds and Ends--Lenny Dee, Prod. by Owen Bradley, 1969
(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me--Sue Raney, Arr. by Eddie Karam, 1966
What's New Pussycat--Billy Strange, His Guitar and Orch., 1965
This Guy's in Love with You--Jerry Vale, Arr. and Cond. by Jimmy Wisner, 1968
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance--Sunset Strings, 1970
The Green Grass Starts to Grow--Percy Faith, His Orch. and Chorus, 1971
Do You Know the Way to San Jose--Jerry Vale, Arr. and Cond. by Joe Gardner
Bond Street--Terry Baxter, His Orch. and Chorus
One Less Bell to Answer--Vikki Carr, 1971
Walking Backwards Down the Road--Buddy Greco, 1970
Lost Horizon--Roger Williams, Orch. Arr. by Al Capps, 1973
The Look of Love--Jerry Vale, Arr. and Cond. by Jimmy Wisner, 1968
After the Fox--Ferrante and Teicher, Arr. by F&T; 1967
I'm a Better Man--Al Martino, Arr. and Cond. by Jimmie Haskell, 1969
Any Old Time of Day--Sue Raney, Arr. by Eddie Karam, 1966
Sunday, May 26, 2019
The playlist starts with the profoundly moving A Ballad from Vietnam (The Rain on the Leaves), recorded by Mitch Miller and His Gang in 1965 for Decca. Not exactly what we expect from Mitch--unless, of course, we know that The Beard was a Democrat and an opponent of the Vietnam War. This affected me so deeply the first time I heard it, it was a while before I could play it again. It's gorgeous. Ferde Grofe's superb Over There Fantasie doesn't have quite the emotional impact for me, but I do get high hearing such theme-and-variations genius in action. 1942's Come Josephine in My Flying Machine may seem like a strange choice, especially since it's Spike Jones doing it, but the brilliant arrangement, which switches from barbershop to boogie in the kind of flawless segue this band could have patented, really speaks to its era. Or is it "of"? Whichever, it's a fine, genuinely patriotic number, despite the occasional goofy touch. Actually, by Jones standards, this qualifies as virtually unadorned. Then it's 1901, and the magnificent Columbia Quartette is singing Good Bye, Dolly Gray, which pulled double duty, war-wise (Boer and WWI). Since this was a number of years before WWI, it obviously wasn't functioning as WWI song here, but we can pretend. Gray became a pub standard, or whatever the British term is. I've completely forgotten. My brain is officially 62 years old. Music hall, maybe?
Grofe returns with the 1941 March for Americans, and the sound quality is quite good--better than the pressing, by far. Ray Conniff's fabulous instrumental The Hop is one I can't find a year for, but we know it's 1944 or earlier, because 1944 was the year Glenn Miller was tragically lost. The Hop (No At...) is what I call a "jam tune," and jam tunes go back at least to the 1910s. They are riff-based and blatantly African-American, whatever the ethnicity of the writers or players on a given side, and consist of chord progressions that move around or toward the tonic--essentially, one long I section--with a circle-of-fourths bridge. Sometimes they have an extended section in twelve-bar blues form, and that's what we have here. This record rocks like crazy, and anyone surprised to hear a rocking Miller/Conniff combination has listened to too few 78s. (Always wanted to type "...to too few.") Next up is My Dough Boy, a charming one-step by Hugo Frey, who was also Joseph C. Smith's arranger. Then it's Morton Gould's 1942 American Salute, one of the greatest light works of the 20th century, imo, in a take-no-prisoners rendition by Howard Mitchell conducting the National Symphony Orch. as part of a record series for children. Why is it that sometimes the kids get the best stuff? Mitchell knows that the way to play this thing is with a driving beat throughout and quadruple forte on the final When Johnny Comes Marching Home chorus. I haven't heard another version that touches this one, and the mono mix works so well, I don't even want to hear the stereo mix. I read that Gould never understood the popularity of this piece, that he just dashed it off to meet a deadline, and maybe that's so. Often, masterpieces just happen. Gould's painfully lame Yankee Doodle of 1945 proved he was capable of doing a similar theme-and-variation piece of far lower quality.
The Spirit of This Land is a fun Hit Label oddity that appears to have been written specifically for it. The narrator may have been trying to sound like Walter Brennan--dunno--but he ends up sounding like a Gunsmoke extra. ("Any coffee left? Uh-oh--there comes Dylan.") Hearing Vaughn Monroe sing Jimmie Driftwood's The Battle of New Orleans (big hit for Johnny Horton, of course) may be a surreal experience, though I could swear Monroe is less phlegmatic than usual here. He sort of sounds like Tennessee Ernie Ford with throat congestion. Then the street organ called The Thunderer plays The Stars and Stripes Forever, and the playlist wraps up with Raymond Newell and Ion Swinley's elaborate 1929 rendition (with sound effects and actors) of the 1904 anti-war art song, The Trumpeter (J. Francis Barron--J. Airlie Dix).
Update: Philip informed me that Glenn Miller's The Hop (composed by Ray Conniff) was also known as Victory Hop and V for Victory Hop and was featured in many of Miller's live performances. Using information from John Flower's Moonlight Serenade, he dates the recording at Feb., 1942. This is definitely the same number--a live recording can be found on line.
DOWNLOAD: Memorial Day, 2019
A Song from Vietnam (The Rain on the Leaves)--Mitch Miller and the Gang, 1965
Over There Fantasie (Grofe)--The United States Army Band, Colonel Samuel Loboda--Leader and Commanding Officer, 1975.
Come Josephine in My Flying Machine--Spike Jones, v: The Boys in the Back Room and King Jackson, 1942
Good Bye, Dolly Gray--Columbia Quartette, 1901
March for Americans (Grofe)--March for Americans (Grofe)--Meredith Willson and His Orch., 1941.
The Hop (Ray Coniff)--Glenn Miller and His Orch.
My Dough-Boy--One-Step (Hugo Frey)--Joseph C. Smith's Orch., 1918
American Salute (Morton Gould)--Howard Mitchell c. National Symphony Orch., 1961
The Spirit of This Land--Charlie Rogers (Hit Records 155; 1964)
The Battle of New Orleans (Driftwood)--Vaughn Monroe, w. Norman Leyden, his Orch. and Chorus, 1959
The Stars and Stripes Forever (Sousa)--The Thunderer, 1959
The Trumpeter--The Trumpeter--Raymond Newell, Baritone; Ion Swinley, Narrator, 1929.
Twice I looked for this LP in my stacks, and it was nowhere to be found. I'm sure I kept it (at least, I think I'm sure), but things do have a way of vanishing into the void here in the Media Room. Luckily, I ripped the tracks to CD-R a few years back, so here they are, straight from that rip. The cover and label scans I had to get from an eBay ad. The scans are of the mono edition, but you'll be hearing the stereo Columbia Special Products reissue of the 1962 original.
I can't say this works for me like last week's astounding offering did. Maybe the trio set the bar too high for themselves with that effort. I'm not sure. But what matters is your opinion, of course, not mine. This is a good LP, to be sure, but I guess I was expecting a repeat of Lord, Hear Us Sing.... Let me know what you think.
DOWNLOAD: Nash Family Trio--I Heard a Voice
The Circuit-Riding Preacher
I Went to the River to Pray (C. Nash)
I'll Meet You in the Morning (A.E. Brumley)
I Heard a Voice
Noah (Found a Grace in the Eyes of the Lord)
The Lord's Prayer (C. Nash)
He's Leadin' On (C. Nash)
Happiness Is Just a Prayer Away
The Wanderer (C. Nash)
Gonna Talk with Jesus (C. Nash)
I Heard a Voice--The Nash Family Trio (Columbia CSP--8545; re. 1962)
Saturday, May 25, 2019
Something--I don't know what--suggests that this EP was somehow connected with Pepsi. It's subtle, but it's there, if you look closely for it. What I don't get is the blank box and lines on the back cover--who was supposed to fill those in? The recipient? The seller? Were these fake-hit EPs supposed to be given as gifts, along with a bottle of Pepsi? Why is the girl on the cover hugging an LP? Didn't she know you're not supposed to touch the grooves?
When this photo was snapped, did the photographer say, "Now, look as unnatural as you possibly can. There. Great!"?
And since these were for those who "think young," did you have to submit proof, when sending for these, that you thought young? How would one go about verifying such a thing? Fascinating questions, all.
So, I thought it would be neat if the four titles in common with the last post (Barbara Ann, Travelin' Man, Raindrops, and Stand By Me) turned out to be the same versions, but they're not. Which is cool, either way. It means that someone besides Pickwick was doing fake hits in 1961. So far, I've discovered nothing about the Startime label, except that it was named Startime. That much I know.
These versions are pretty decent, with the Valiants' Barbara Ann livelier than the version by the Essex (last post). I seriously doubt these Valiants are any of the "name" Valiants found at Discogs, such as the group that recorded with Billy Storm, but who can say. Hm. "Art work furnished courtesy of Pepsi-Cola Co." Again, a subtle clue that this EP was somehow, in some way, connected with Pepsi.
DOWNLOAD: Top 6 Hits (Startime 1145)
Boll Weevil Song--Roy Robinson
Barbara Ann--The Valiants
The Writing on the Wall--Monty Brooks
Travelin' Man--Scott Alan
Stand by Me--Floyd Williams
Top 6 Hits (Startime 1145)
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Hurrah! Top Hits--Big Legs Jackson, The Freckles, Titus Rock, and Grainger T. Worthington--in stereo!
Big Legs Jackson, The Freckles, Titus Rock, and Grainger T. Worthington. What does that sentence tell you? That I believe in using the Oxford comma. What else?
So, somehow the Hurrah! (Pickwick group) label managed to cram 24 tracks onto this LP. And without editing things down. The sound restoration challenge was steep, as this thing is coated in little cross-cuts, and I'm still not sure why I spent the six or so hours necessary to make it sound good. But, seeing as how I did spend that time, I may as well present it. Apparently having run short on fake hits, the Hurrah! label appended six utterly unrelated (but pretty cool) numbers by "Umberto and His Caballeros." I find them very enjoyable. There are two or three jumps in that portion of the disc, but I left them in (while smoothing them out), too popped at that point to consider switching needles (and adding weight) or substituting my 1.2 mil mono needle, as I did to get through the skip in the Side B Running Scared. For that track, I edited in the corrected portion, which is just a fraction of a second, but if you listen really, really closely, you might hear things switch to mono for a tiny moment. Boy, these methods are hard to describe. Even harder to do right.
Like I said, this required an incredible amount of work, since the clicks and pops never stop. (That almost sounds like a jingle.) I first ripped this on VinylStudio, that great (but bug-ridden) software with the amazing declicking filter, then I migrated the tracks to MAGIX, where I took out the really loud pops, of which many still remained. VinylStudio only declicks so far--not enough to harm the music. So I had plenty to do by hand, using MAGIX's (quote) "Draw wave shape" tool, which allows me to fill in the sound spikes that go with clicks and pops, thus smoothing them out--and, hopefully, silencing the noise. I used other tricks. Somehow, I got this to a solid B- from a D/D-. And, as I type this, gas prices are declining in the U.S. Coincidence??
It's cause and effect, I tell you.
1961 tracks. According to rock historians, only .02 percent of whom can describe the ascending and descending versions of the melodic minor scale but who nevertheless act like they know everything, the years between Elvis and the Beatles aren't worth considering. Sorry about that, Carole King. Sorry about that, Marcels. And so on. Actually, a lot of cool stuff happened between the time Elvis was made "mainstream" (what was he while riding the pop charts--an outsider??) and the moment the Far Four invaded us. And we get to hear fake versions of some of that cool stuff, and not bad fake versions, either. Best of all, the tracks are in stereo. I guess that's the reason I went to all this trouble. Because, as best as I can tell, this LP is not common--I have no idea what the jacket looked like, and so far all I've found on line are listings for the 45 and 78 rpm versions of the Hurrah! label's Top Hits series. And those weren't in stereo. If I anticipated ever turning this one up again, I wouldn't have put this much time into it, but I did, and it's done.
Since I've blabbed enough already, I won't go into who the original artists were on the original hits--that info is easily found. As for the "Umberto and His Caballeros" tracks, which include Rooster Cha Cha, and Pretty Pussy Cha Cha, your guess is as useless as mine. Umberto gets five entire Google matches, so his life story remains a mystery.
With Grainger T. Worthington, the Freckles, Big Legs Jackson, and the Dream-Alongs.
Annnnnnd... I just discovered that this also came out, LP-wise, as America's Favorite Music on Top Hit Tunes 33-PHLP-70 (same number as this!), which must mean Pickwick had absorbed Waldorf Music Hall by 1961. Now watch me find a mint copy of that version, after having slaved over this. (But something tells me that LP doesn't pop up a lot, either.)
DOWNLOAD: Hurrah! Top Hits
Barbara Ann--The Essex
Rama-Lama-Ding Dong--The Bearcats
I'm a Fool to Care--Titus Rock
It Keeps Rainin'--Grainger T. Worthington
You Always Hurt the One You Love--Freddy Tell
I Feel So Bad--Bert Summer
Every Beat of My Heart--The Calumets
Little Devil--Bernie Bridges
Moody River--Al Benard
Halfway to Paradise (Goffin-King)--Matt Marina
Little Egypt--The Freckles
Travelin' Man--Freddy Howard
That Old Black Magic--Pete Studer
Stand By Me--Big Legs Jackson
Running Scared--Joe Warren
Hello Walls--Daryl Hicks
Umberto and His Caballeros
Hot Cha Cha
South American Pachanga
Pretty Pussy Cha Cha
North American Pachanga
Rodney's Cha Cha
Rooster Cha Cha
Hurrah! Top Hits (Hurrah! 33-PHLP-70; 1961?)
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
This is the weirdest budget label EP of all time. Quite a big claim, I realize. But it's me making it, and you know the kind of stuff I collect and post, and I don't proclaim something weird, bizarre, or flat-out odd without a good deal of cause. I mean, I do not know what to make of this. Sure, Discogs gives a nice, brief history of the label, which was imaginatively named EP Records. (Maybe "EP Records with Grooves on Them" was already taken.) But a reasonable person reads that capsule summary and reasonably concludes that EP Records was just another no-budget, save-on-ink-by-not-giving-performer-credit operation. But what we encounter with this release is... something else. And I don't mean "something else," as in, "The Monkees are really something else." I mean, something indescribable. Indescribably indescribable. But I'll try.
Side A has Honey Babe and Don't Be Angry--two versions I've never heard before and which sound like they were recorded off of a TV broadcast with a hand-held microphone connected to a home disc-cutting machine. Only it's even more bizarre--at the start of Honey Babe, a trumpet fanfare has been tacked on. It was probably lifted from a sound-effects disc. The extreme surface noise on both numbers was present on the source discs--this copy is pretty clean. I left enough space after each number to demonstrate as much. At first, I thought someone had played this with a sewing needle....
Side B starts in a normal enough fashion with Learnin' the Blues (the huge 1955 Frank Sinatra hit), and it's the same fake version credited to Jerry Rudolph on the Today's Records EP I recently featured, except this is unedited. Fidelity is a sold C--. Fine. But then comes Rock Around the Clock, and all conventional theories go out the window. "Go, man, go! Eddie Randolph and His Sextet!" announces a fake DJ. (Eddie Randolph and His Sextet?) This is followed by what sounds like Bill Haley's original recording, only slightly sped up and with the treble almost completely clipped, and with two incredibly awkward edits before the fake DJ returns: "Cool Eddie Randole (sp.?)! Ya had enough, cats? Oh, you want some more. Yesss? Well, here it is!!" More Bill Haley--the ending chorus. Then: "Real gone, Eddie--but that's enough, man." End of track.
A Bill Haley fake that's not a fake but actually a pirated recording of Haley, with some idiot telling us it's "Eddy Randolph (or Randole)"? I mean, did I dream this? No, the record's still here. The screen is still up. I'm fully awake. My God, this is reality! Or something filling in for it.
You can download the entire awful EP (first link), or you can subject yourself to only the Bill Haley--er, Eddie Randolph/Randole--side (second link). A side which can only be described as "real gone."
What were they thinking when they produced this? Anything?
DOWNLOAD Entire EP: EP 4 Hits (EP Records 325)
DOWNLOAD RATC only: Rock Around the Clock (EP Records 325)
Don't Be Angry
Learnin' the Blues
Rock Around the Clock
Arrangements and Vocals by Popular Artists (EP Records 325; 45 rpm EP)
Sunday, May 19, 2019
Superb country gospel by the mother-and-sons Nash Family Trio from Pfarr,* Texas--Clara Nash, David Nash, and Billy Nash. This is a last-last-minute post, so no time to comment further, save to say this 1960 LP features superb monaural sound, and that there's not a bad track in the list. Nothing remotely close to one. The liner notes describe the vocal mix--high baritone (Billy), bass (David), and soprano (Clara). A potent mix, and my ears don't for a moment long for an extra voice, so there's some brilliant vocal arranging going on here.
Download this for perfect Sunday sounds. Or Monday through Saturday sounds. I'll be grabbing up anything else that shows up in the thrifts by this terrific trio.
*Possible typo in the liner notes, as my search for "Pfarr, Texas" turns up a Pharr, Texas.
DOWNLOAD: Nash Family Trio--Lord, Hear Us Sing....
Everybody's Gonna Have Religion and Glory
This Little Heart of Mine
Glory, Glory, Clear the Road
Over the Moon
He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
Down by the Riverside
Swing Down, Chariot
Search Me, Lord
I Am a Pilgrim
How About You
You Ain't Got Faith
This Little Light
Inside the Gate
What a Friend
Lord, Hear Us Sing....--The Nash Family Trio (Columbia CL 1508; 1960)
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.
Note: Thanks to Apesville for corrections. (5/20/19)
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--Eileen Scott (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--Delbert Barker (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--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
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
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
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
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
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'
16 Top Hits of the Week, Vol. 1 (Premier Albums AS 16-1; probably 1965)
Thursday, May 02, 2019
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
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)
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)