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?)