Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter!

For today, new rips of my standard Easter 78s: The famous Robert Lowry hymn Christ Arose! as recorded by the Haydn Quartet in 1908 (with no !) and the Shannon Quartet (a.k.a. Shannon Four) in 1925, and Jesus Lives!, recorded in 1922 by the Trinity Choir.  The tune for Jesus Lives! was written by Henry J. Gauntlett in 1852.  Meanwhile, the Shannon Quartet became the Reverlers in 1925.

The rest of the tracks are me at the organ (actually, my Casio WK-3800), playing Easter hymns.  I tossed this together at the last minute, meaning last night.  Total rush job.

I play two Jesus Lives! tunes--the Gauntlett music used by the Trinity Quartet, and a 1921 tune by Andrew L. Skoog, who was born in Sweden and died in Minnesota.

LINK:   Easter 2019--78s, Lee at the organ

Christ Arose! (Lowry)--Shannon Quartet (Victor 19883; 1925)
Jesus Lives! (Gauntlett)--Trinity Quartet (Victor 19004; 1922)
Christ Arose (Lowry)--Haydn Quartet (Victor 16008; 1908)
Jesus Christ Is Risen Today (Lyra Davidica, 1708)--Me, Casio WK-3800
Sing, men and angels, sing (John Porter)--Me, Casio WK-3800
Jesus Lives! (Andrew L. Skoog, 1921)--Me, Casio WK-3800
Welcome, Happy Morning (Frances R. Havergal)--Me, Casio WK-3800
Jesus Lives! (Gauntlett, 1852)--Me, Casio WK-3800


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:

LINKTwelve Top Hits of Today, Vol. 1

Back on the Street Again--Tony Anderss
Hush--Mike Landers
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
Gettin' Together--Sexton
To Sir with Love--Racheal Waters


Sunday, April 14, 2019

"Hambone"--Red Saunders and his Orch. (1952), plus two more sides

Yesterday I featured the world-famous team of Jimmy Jett, the Three of Us, and Sherry Martin doing a fake-hit version of the 1952 Red Saunders hit Hambone.  I couldn't find a decent transfer of the original Saunders record at Youtube, so I did my own.  And here it is.  I included the rocking flip side, Boot 'Em Up.

Also, a 1953 side, The Baion, which refers to a Brazilian beat later used by Burt Bacharach in (There's) Always Something There to Remind Me, Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa, and likely others.  I wonder if Burt heard this record.  For some unknown reason, my memory told me this particular 78 was by Les Brown and his Orchestra.  Don't ask me.  I guess it's because "Les Brown" sounds so much like "Paulo Alencar."

I must remember not to rely on my memory....

As I noted in the previous Hambone post, the Bo Diddley beat heard on Hambone had been showing up in pop music for decades--it's on Andre Kostelanetz's 1935 Rumba Fantasy, for instance.  This takes nothing away from Bo (Ellas McDaniel), who used it to make one hell of a great single.

LINK:  Hambone, The Baion


Sunday morning gospel: Songs of Inspiration--The Harry Simeone Chorale (Mercury MG 20945; 1964)

For a while, I've been wanting to post some inspirational songs for my Sunday Morning Gospel series, which would seem to be what I've been doing all along.  But "inspirational" is a specific genre, even if precisely defining that genre is next to impossible.  "Inspirational" (which I'm using as a noun, a la Classical, easy, and "house") includes things like Climb Ev'ry Mountain (in this list), You'll Never Walk Alone (not in this list), He (in this list), and One God (not in this list, though I wish it was).  Inspirational numbers can be religious--or not.  They might simply feature lyrics about the power of hope, or the importance of not giving up hope.  They might be pop numbers of a religious type that simply don't have the right hymnal sound (too solo, not things for congregational singing).  Or numbers which don't fit into a gospel concert set, style-wise.  The 1868 classic Whispering Hope, which appears here, is a perfect example of an orphan/orphaned inspirational song.  Highly effective as a duet, but nothing a congregation would tackle, it's not to be found in many hymnals or sacred songbooks--nearly none, in my collecting experience.  It's more a sheet music staple.  And in modern churches, solos are likely to be of the "praise" type, and they're likely to have a solid beat.  Whispering Hope is a slow, slow waltz.  I suppose it's remotely possible the number was blacklisted in some fashion over the many decades because its composer, Septimus Winner, also wrote Listen to the Mocking Bird, but I'm getting silly.  (Getting?)  I think it's simply one of the many "off" numbers in the sacred playlist.  It doesn't fit in with the rest in a conventional way, and so it becomes an "inspirational" standard.  "Inspirational" is pretty much the "Other" file for sacred or almost-sacred music.

I'm trusting that made sense.

The track listing on this 1964 Harry Simeone Chorale album mostly passes muster, with two big exceptions.  The first: This Ole House.  That song is inspirational, how?  It's a country comedy number.  Sure, its composer, the highly gifted Stuart Hamblen, wrote any number of very good (if sometimes pretty corny) sacred numbers, but This Ole House?  The second: Battle Hymn of the Republic.  It's a hymn, and one hundred percent so, and not simply because it has "hymn" in its title.  So it's not "inspirational"--it's flat-out religious.  And, as the last track on side 1, it ruins the relaxed and thoughtful mood established up to that point.  It was probably programmed by the same guy who decided This Ole House was "inspirational."  But, despite these two glaring slip-ups, this collection succeeds quite well as an example of (Adjective-as-Noun Alert) inspirational.

Harry Simeone may not have been the exactly right person for an LP of (remember--we're using it as a noun) "inspirational," since this material is supposed to put one in the mood to contemplate deep spiritual matters, not to tap your toes, but I like the lively aspect.  Yes, there are some slow numbers here, but even those have the usual Simeone nervous energy.  This kind of material is easily tuned out when presented in too mellow a fashion, and Simeone was not someone to allow the listener that option.

Oh, and Harry did the usual trick of replacing the author/composer credit on the public domain numbers with "Adapted & arranged by Harry Simeone."  MY(P)WHAE frowns on that tactic.  I restored those credits in the track listing.  What Mercury puts on its own labels is its own business.

LINK:  Songs of Inspiration--Harry Simeone Chorale (1964)

(There'll Be) Peace in the Valley (For Me) (Dorsey)
One Little Candle
No Man Is an Island
It Is No Secret (What God Can Do) (Hamblen)
Climb Ev'ry Mountain (Rodgers-Hammerstein II)
Battle Hymn of the Republic (Ward)
I Believe
Whispering Hope (Septimus Winner)
The Bells of St. Mary's
Walk Hand in Hand
This Ole House (Hamblen)

Songs of Inspiration--The Harry Simeone Chorale (Mercury MG 20945; 1964)


Saturday, April 13, 2019

Jimmy Jett, the Three of Us, and Sherry Martin--Hambone (Irene 528)

I expected an avalanche of comments on my fake Archies posting.  My heart is broken.  I'll never play the violin again.  Funny thing--I never played it before.

That joke went out with, "Doc, it hurts when I move my arm like this."  Doc: "Then stop moving it like that."

So, today the Irene label is back.  Back in the form of a beat-up 45.  However, with my buggy-as-ever VinylStudio, I was able to salvage the track I bought the EP for--Hambone--and to my joy this version turns out to be a cover of the original Red Saunders hit, not the Jo Stafford/Frankie Laine pop version.  Hooray!  And it's a decent enough imitation, if a bit anemic, but with a killer guitar solo break.  Just now, I tried to find a good copy of the 1952 Saunders disc on YouTube but only came across two poor transfers, plus the re-release which featured TV kiddie host Sandy Becker.  You'll have to read up on that--I won't even attempt to explain it.  The re-release deletes the awesome orchestra break and was accidentally included on at least one roots-of-rock CD collection.  If I can locate my copy of the Saunders 78, I'll rip it.

Hambone, of course, is just one of umpteen pre-Bo Diddley recordings (including Andre Kostelanetz's 1935 Rumba Fantasy!) which featured the Bo Diddley beat, proving that listeners don't pay attention to details.  That's not a cut on listeners--since the dawn of recorded sound, we've been bombarded by recorded sounds.  And that was not one of the more profound things I've ever typed.

To the Irene label cover of Hambone, which is credited to Jimmy Jett, the Three of Us, and Sherry Martin.  The five and only.  You know, I hadn't planned on this post turning out so weird, but I should have known it would.  It all starts with the decision to post something on a label called Irene.

LINK: Hambone--Jimmy Jett, the Three of Us, and Sherry Martin (Irene 528)