Monday, October 31, 2016


Turn the lights down low, huddle closely together on this chilly Halloween night, and quiver with terror as you listen to these MY(P)WHAE classics!  Or giggle with amusement (whichever works).  These are the Halloween tracks that never die at this blog.  Maybe that's because I keep featuring them.  Yeah, that would explain it.

David Rose's wonderful Satan and the Polar Bear (Satan and the polar bear??), from 1954, is a thousand times more effective, to my ears, than the cliched dreck that functions as scary background music nowadays.  There, I said it.  It anticipates the manic, in-your-face spook-music tradition of our time, but, as originals often manage to be, it's way better than the stuff it inspired.

The two Addams Family renditions are adorable, with the vivid stereo of the De Vol version a treat for the ears.  (I think I ripped it off of my old Dual 1000-series turntable.)  And, after umpteen plays, Sinner's Train remains an astonishingly well crafted, well performed, and well recorded track--and it's from the guy (Art Mooney) who gave us the 1947 smash hit version of I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover!  That may be the scariest thing about it....

Cross-dressing British comic Douglas Byng's 1963 re-recording of I'm a Mummy is a masterpiece--not of horror, but of sophisticated wit.  Sophisticated wit doesn't happen very often at Halloween, so be grateful.  King Kong and It's About Time are two TV themes of the sixties, and the latter--a comedy about astronauts who end up back in the Stone Age--was a big hit with me and my brother when it first aired.  (Not enough to keep it on, unfortunately.)  They're Coming to Tow Me Away is a wonderful BP ad that aired during the winter of 1997.  It almost, but not quite, makes up for the BP ads to come.

John Logan's Dinner with Drac is a cheap knock-off of the 1958 John Zacherle hit, and just about as unfunny.  The late 1950s, by the way, seems to have been the period when the monsters of Universal Studios emerged as Halloween icons, and no doubt TV reruns of Dracula, Frankenstein, etc. were the reason.  Hence, horror host Zacherle scoring a hit record (and John Logan copying it, and pretty well).

Relatively recent history.  And you was there!

Lookout Mountain, with its lyrics about voodoo and corpses rising from the swampland,  remains one of the weirdest records of its type (whatever that may be).  Is this a cover of an original, I wonder?  Also, did the husband, in fact, rise from the swampland and find the hopeless lovers on Lookout Mountain?  And if they knew he was coming to Lookout Mountain, why didn't they arrange to be somewhere else?

The lyrics don't stand up to logical analysis.

The H Man is a one-sided 1958 "Theatre Lobby Spot" 78 with two bands, both identical.  I combined the best audio from both for this rip.  The narration is beyond hilarious.  The synthesizer effects in the background, on the other hand, are awesome.

Torero is Julius La Rosa's cover of an Italian novelty mega-hit by Renato Carosone, and though not nearly as quirky, it's well sung and accompanied with spirit, and it's a great addition to the Men in White genre.

Just click on the slaylist titles...



Satan and the Polar Bear (Rose)--David Rose and His Orchestra, 1954
The Addams Family (Mizzy)--Frank De Vol, 1965
Sinner's Train--Art Mooney, His Orchestra and Chorus, 1956
I'm a Mummy--Douglas Byng, 1963
King Kong--Wade Denning and the Port Washingtons, 1966
It's About Time--Wade Denning and the Port Washingtons
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane--Music By De Vol, 1962
Elemtary, My Dear Watson (Indelli)--William Indelli and His Orch., 1960
Lookout Mountain--Chuck Miller
Sittin' By Sittin' Bull (Driftwood)--Eddy Arnold, 1959
Haunted House Polka--The Cavaliers, date unknown
The H Man (Theater Lobby Spot, 1958)
They're Coming to Tow Me Away (1997 BP commercial)
Sweeney Todd the Barber--Stanley Holloway, 1956
Journey Into Space--Frank Weir and His Saxophone, w. His Chorus and Orch., 1955
The Horror Show--Sharkey Todd and His Monsters, 1959


Hooray, Hooray, I'm Goin' Away (S. Skylar)--Beatrice Kay, w. Mitchell Ayres O., 1947
I Love Him So Much (I Could Scream)--Peggy Lloyd w. Nick and His Gang, 1950
Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte--Lawrence Welk
Mr. Ghost Goes to Town--Five Jones Boys (1936)
Addams Family--Lawrence Welk and His Orch., 1965
Torero--Julius La Rosa, 1958
The Merry Ghost from Chatham Square--Henry Rene Musette Orch., w. vocal, 1942
Dinner with Drac--John Logan (Promenade 34)
The Cool Gool--Sharkey Todd and His Monsters, 1959
I Died All Over You--Bud Messner and His Sky Line Boys, v: Bill Franklin, 1950
Robot Man--Jamie Horton (Gayla Peevey), 1960
Little Monster--The Baker Sisters w. Hugo Peretti O.
Hypnotized--Ted Fio Rito and His Orch, v: Fuzzy Marcellino, 1936
It's Witchery (Tobias)--Charles Spivak and His Orch., v: Tommy Mercer, 1947
Big Bad Wolf (Bartel)--Don Cherry w. Ray Conniff Orch., 1958



Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Males from the Crypt present: Halloween Instrumentals, Part Two!!

From the crypt they crept: Left) Frankie, looking as green as ever; (right) some grave-looking dude in a less hairy state than we last saw him; and (middle) the toothy Brit Braincase III, who has had enough of people calling him "Yorick."  "Call me Bonehead, call me whatever you like, but the 'Yorick' stuff stopped being funny after the first couple hundred times," he says.

Together, they are Males from the Crypt.  No one knows what their act consists of.  "Neither do we, actually," reports the trio's leader (right).

It's always a problem when you get a line-up and snazzy name, but you forgot to form an act.  (Awkward Segue Alert): But now we'll be hearing from twelve artists who, um... who certainly had their acts together, yes sir.  And, lucky for us, they had recording contracts.

Here's the link: Halloween Instrumentals, Part 2, and line-up:

(All ripped from shellac and vinyl in my collection)

Devil's March (von Suppe)--Arthur Pryor's Band, 1910.
Swamp Fire (Mooney)--Andre Kostelanetz Conducts, 1938.
Heinzelmannchens Wachtparade (Kurt Noack)--Polydor Brass Band Orch., prob. 1928.
Dance of the Potted Puppet (Morant)--Ambrose and His Orch., 1947.
The Haunted Ballroom (Toye)--Kingsway Symphony Orch., c. Camarata, 1947,
The Ghost of the Violin--Two-Step--Prince's Band, 1913.
Polka from "The Age of Gold" (Shostakovich)--RCA Symphony Orch., c. Fred Fradkin
Grand Canyon Suite (Grofe)--Cloudburst--Paul Whiteman Concert Orch., 1932.
March of the Gnomes (Rebikoff)--RCA Victor Orch., c. Ardon Cornwell
Theme from Man of a Thousand Faces--Wayne King Orch., 1958.
Snake Hips (Spencer Williams)--The Original Memphis Five, 1923.
Spellbound (Rozsa)--Lewis Davies and His Orch., 1961

Devil's March has a great Halloween-sounding title, even if the music itself is less spooky than the theme to Hogan's Heroes.  Catchy side, though!  Swamp Fire is more like it--sinister, though in a swingy way.  (Swingy way?)  Kurt Noack's cheerful 1912 hit, Brownies' Guard Parade, is still being performed--on YouTube, at least--and it's a lot of fun, even if it suggests Halloween less than, say, Devil's March.  And, as I listen to it, I hear that I failed to edit out all the clicks--something for me to obsess over.  Anyway, fabulous Polydor/Deutsche Grammophon label fidelity for 1928, which I'm guessing was the recording year.

Ghost of the Violin is a repeat from last year's "Haunted Gramophone" posts, but this is a new, better rip, while The Haunted Ballroom (sorry for the rough spots in an otherwise great pressing) is taking its first bow.  Very charming number, though only about as Halloween in sound as, say, Brownie's Grand Parade.  (Is a pattern emerging here?)

Really, the only scary-sounding number in this set is Miklos Rozsa's Spellbound, and it's only eerie in patches.  I guess we can consider this post music for a cheery Halloween....


Monday, October 24, 2016

The Frankenstein Brothers Present... Halloween Instrumentals, Part One!

I heard a rumor that Halloween is coming.  So did the Frankenstein Brothers (pictured above).  Don't they look like they're out to avenge someone or something?  They have that going-to-the-showdown look.  Well, except for the guy in the bib (a finger puppet, for people with raccoon-sized digits).

Maybe we can send them over to Windstream headquarters to get some action going on this on/off, off/on connection thing.  No, no, just kidding.  Never threaten your ISP, even in jest.  Of course, should these guys decide to march on over there, it's not within my power to prevent them.  First, they'd have to find out where Windstream headquarters are.  That would help.

Frankie 1: Must find Windstream headquarters.  By the way, where is it?  Frankie 3:  I was wondering that, myself.  Frankie 2: Shut up and keep hulking.

For this slaylist, I've resurrected Sammy Kaye's extremely space-age-pop recording of the theme from William Castle's The Night Walker (1964), plus Mantovani's marvelous 1955 recording of Morton Gould's Deserted Ballroom--the best-ever version, imo.  The Sundowners are back, in a new rip, with Charles R. Grean's The Thing.

New, much better rips on Earl Fuller's Graveyard Blues (1918) and Mummy Mine (1919), and an improved Greenwich Witch, with composer Zez Confrey on the piano.  Hal Herzon's rendering of Morton Gould's Robot comes from a genuinely weird LP, one which gives the buyer zero idea what to expect, unless multiple poses of an attractive bikinied model with too much makeup shouts "concert jazz by Morton Gould."   It's not the same bandleader's 1948 MGM recording, as far as I know.  Just to clear that up.

Ferde Grofe's Rip Van Winkle is from the composer's Hudson River Suite, and this is an edited-down version of Andre Kostelanetz' 1955 recording.  Grofe's 1963 Trick or Treat is Kostelanetz again, from the two-record Spirit of '76 set.  Recorded in 1976, of course.

What can I say about John Arthur Meale's The Storm (recorded by the composer in 1926)?  Well, first off, it may have originated as an organ improvisation, and it doesn't appear to have been published.  It existed as early as 1905, and appears to have originally been called Storm at Sea (which would explain the stanza of Eternal Father, Strong to Save).  The sections (quoted from a 1906 recital announcement) are:

Calm at Sea--Distant Thunder--Rising Wind--Hooting of Sirens in the distance--Hymn, "Eternal Father, strong to save"--Tempestuous Sea (theme on the Pedal Organ during the storm)--Thunder rolls away--Thanksgiving Hymn, "O God, our help in ages past," etc.

To my ears, perfect Lon Chaney, Sr. silent film background music.  Gramophone magazine called The Storm "a ludicrous piece of theatricalism," and "a demonstration of the worst excesses of which the organ is capable."  Hm.  But did they like it, otherwise?

To the sounds:  Halloween Instrumentals, Part One!


Prelude  (Rachmaninoff, Arr. C. Morena)--Marek Weber, 1928
In the Hall of the Mountain King--Bill Bell, Tuba, 1958
The Storm (Meale)--1926 (from 1928 Victor pressing)
The Thing--The Sundowners Band, 1951
Greenwich Witch (Confrey)--Zez Confrey, piano solo, 1922
Rip Van Winkle (Grofe)--Andre Kostelanetz, 1955 (edited 45-rpm version)
Deserted Ballroom (Gould)--Mantovani, 1955
Graveyard Blues--Earl Fuller's Rector Novelty Orch.,, 1918
Mummy Mine--Earl Fuller's Rector Novelty Orch., 1919
Robot (Gould)--Hal Herzon and His Orch.
Theme from the Night Walker (V. Mizzy)
Trick or Treat (Grofe)--Andre Kostelanetz


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Halloween, Part 3: Buwa-ha-haaaaa!!!

Seven 78s from my collection, all of which fall into a category I call, Buwa-ha-haaaaa!!!

The ultimate Buwa-ha-haaaa!!! novelty, Paul Whiteman's recording of AH-HA! (1925) is a Halloween near-perennial at this blog, and this time I've added two more AH-HA!s, including Freddie "Schnickelfritz" Fisher's 1940 Decca version.  Fisher really dials up the novelty, except that the novelty was already dialed up to ten, so.... Not sure how he managed it.

And the lyrics make nearly no sense, at least in their printed form--I know, because I finally hauled out my copy and studied them.  All I can conclude for sure is that "AH-HA!" is what you say when you catch your guy or gal cheating on you.  (Not the worst thing you could utter under the circumstances.)  In fact, "AH-HA!"ing is also something you do; you don't simply say it.  As in, "Now I'm gonna AH-HA! you."

Of course, if you're caught cheating, you immediately cease to be the "AH-HA!"er and become the "AH-HA!"ee.  That's the lesson of the song, apparently.

Those words at the start of the Whiteman version?  Turns out they go, "Once a hero, now a villain," said John Applesauce.  "I have changed because of a gal."  John Applesauce??

I should note that, by the second verse, the two-timing gal has become Mrs. Applesauce, but, despite her promise to love and obey, she's double-crossed him, and "now she has things all her way."  So she's doing the "AH-HA!"ing now.   That's what it says; seriously.

And the next to last line--You said that I meant nothing and I never had a cent, but I've got forty dollars in the bank at four percent, AH-HA!--is hers, not his.

I hope that clears up any and all confusion.

Click here to hear:  Buwa-ha-haaaaa!!!


AH-HA!--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1925
AH-HA!--Oriole Orch., vocal: Mark Fisher, 1925
AH-HA!--Freddie "Schnickelfritz" Fisher and His Orch., 1940
Murder (Byron Gay)--Plantation Jazz Orch., 1920
Mystery!--Paul Biese and His Novelty Orch., 1919
Little Nell--Eliot Everett (Joe Haymes) Orch., 1932


That Hypnotizing Man--Dolly Connolly (1912)

Dolly Connolly was the wife of Percy Wenrich, and her features hardly matched her voice, and vice versa.  Here's what she looked like:

Meanwhile, she sounded like Marjorie Main (who, like Donnolly, started in vaudeville, and around the same time).  If Sarah Silverman had pipes like Sophie Tucker's, she could play the lead in a Dolly Connolly biopic.

Speaking of hypnotizing men, did you know that Dilbert creator Scott Adams happens to be one? And that he considers Donald Trump a "Master Persuader"?  All along, Adams has been convinced Trump will win (and win big)--that is, until the recent video and all the interviews.  Now he considers a Donald victory less than a sure thing, and he blames/credits women.  "Hillary Clinton is all yours, ladies," he recently posted.  "She and her alleged rapist husband are your brand now.  Wear them well."  (Ohhhhhhh-kay.)

I wonder if, two months from now, Adams will claim that he wanted his fans to chuck their Dilbert anthologies into the nearest dumpster, that this was all an experiment in persuasion?  If so, it appears to be working.

That Hypnotizing Man's lyrics are not Hall of Fame material, but they get the job done: When you feel queer and you feel someone whisper in your ear, "Come over here;" Don't make a sound for you'll know that you have found a man to fear.  For example.  And they mostly make sense, unlike the words to the 1925 classic, AH HA!, which we'll be examining next post.

 To the music: That Hypnotizing Man (Lew Brown--Albert von Tilzer)

Dolly Connolly, Columbia A1440 (1912), ripped by me from my collection.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Voo Doo Magic (1952)--Jimmy Cook and Orch.

Sorry for the late start this Halloween--a number of things have gotten in the way of posting, including an Internet connection that's here one moment and gone the next.  Then here, then gone.  Then here, etc.  Also, I'm starting the third week of my latest migraine--this one refuses to go away.  Most migraine sufferers have the occasional migraine, and then some time off.  But I'm not most migraine sufferers.

Luckily, Voo Doo Magic is just the kind of Halloween novelty I live to find, and therefore an ideal choice for starting the season.  This is a disc that, once heard, will have you asking, "Did I actually hear that?  Did it really happen?"  Yes, it really happened.  And a copy managed to survive these many decades for me to stumble across, marvel over, and post with joy.  Listening to this even has me forgetting about my migraine.  Maybe that's the "Magic" of the title?  Hmm.

I ripped this from a moderately worn Modern label 78 (above).  Modern, of course, is famous for recording folks like Howlin' Wolf and B.B. King, which likely explains why the March 8, 1952 Billboard listed this disc as a Rhythm & Blues release!  In fact, the flip side (If You Don't Hurry Up and Love Me) is possibly the most Guy Mitchell-esque disc ever made by someone other than Guy, so, no, this is not an R&B disc.  I've included it with Voo Doo Magic, because it's almost a Halloween side--dig these lyrics: "I'm going to be forced to die over you, I won't be living to see it through," plus, "And because I'm wanting you, I'll keep on haunting you."  It's not clear how we're supposed to take those.  Possibly the lyricist wasn't sure, either.

To the weirdness: Voo Doo Magic

Voo Doo Magic--Jimmy Cook and Orch., 1952
If You Don't Hurry Up and Love Me--Same.