Monday, March 27, 2017

Sunday morning 78s (delayed)--General William Booth, Mark Love, Manhattan Quartett

Some 100-plus-year-old 78s survive in superb condition.  Others (see above) don't.  In fact, the crack on this 1905 disc was an overlapping one until I made both sides flush and taped the rim.  ("So, what are you doing?" "Making both sides flush and taping the rim."  "Is that so?")

And, as you can see, the grooves got a lot of gramophone play back in the day.  Yet, for all that, this thrift store find sounds pretty darn good.  That'll happen sometimes.  The solo tenor lead still rings out 112 years later.  Well worth the buck or two I paid.

The rest of these are in less dire shape--in fact, the two 1907 addresses by Salvation Army founder General William Booth are practically mint, though the dubs themselves are filled with lots of rumble and turntable noise (maybe they were badly transferred from cylinders?).  I left all the lower frequency muck in there for authenticity's sake.  (Eliminating the noise only made Booth's addresses harder to make out.)  At the end of Through Jordan, it may sound like Booth is saying, "Fire abolished!" but he's actually saying "Fire a volley!"  Which means, "Everyone say 'Amen.'"  Or so I read online.

Elsewhere, the conditions range from decent to highly decent, with Mark Love's two sides (who was this great singer?) awesome in both the engineering and singing department.  I could only find two Mark Love sides at the invaluable Online Discographical Project, so maybe that's all he ever did.  A darned shame, if so.

The rest are quartets (including a German "Quartett"), choirs (including "A Church Choir"--the actual name on the label), and, possibly, a trio (Don't You Hear Jerusalem Moan).  Hard to tell on Jerusalem, since the singing's a tad ragged.  Which is exactly how 1926 hillbilly gospel should sound.  Great side.

Nearer My God to Thee, by the way, is not the tune familiar to U.S. ears.  Haven't researched it yet.

CLICK HERE TO HEAR: Sunday morning 78s, delayed

Blessed Assurance--Mark Love, 1925.
Ring the Bells of Heaven--Same
Ein' Feste Burg Ist Unser Gott--Manhattan Quartett (Year unknown; pre-electric)
Ehre Sei Gott In Der Hohe--Same
Sun of My Soul--A Church Choir, 1926
Abide with Me--Same
The Church's One Foundation--A Church Choir, 1910
Nearer My God to Thee--Same
Wayside Cross--Criterion Quartet, 1921
Some Blessed Day--Same
He Will Set Your Fields on Fire--Smith's Sacred Singers, 1927
I Will Sing of My Redeemer--Same
Through Jordan--General Booth, Founder of the Salvation Army, 1907
Please Sir, Save Me--Same
Hold the Fort (Bliss)--The Chautaugua Preachers' Quartette, 1914
Don't You Hear Jerusalem Moan--Gid Tanner and His Skillet-Lickers w. Riley Puckett, 1926
The Glory Song (O, That Will Be Glory)--Haydn Quartet, 1905

Sunday morning on a Monday evening.  Only at... MY(P)WHAE!


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Kosty speaks! The voice behind the baton.

A treat for us Kosty fans, courtesy of FOTB (friend of the blog) Kevin Tam--a 1955 or 1956 interview with Andre Kostelanetz, in which Andre discusses the inspiration behind the suite (I either didn't know or had forgotten the suite was Kosty's idea), shares some Ferde Grofe details, and, starting with band 6, discusses the other selections on Columbia CL 763.

He had a charming Russian accent--a little thicker than I might have guessed, but of course I had no evidence to go by.  I did, however, watch a Kosty appearance on I've Got a Secret, which is (or at least was) up on YouTube.

The voice behind the baton.  Thanks, Kevin!

Link: Kosty Speaks 

You can listen at or download the file (upper right-hand corner).


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Morton Gould--Elliot Everett and His Orch. (Varsity VLP6041)

Another Record Corp. of America classic, only this time in very acceptable sound.  In fact, the sound quality is pretty astonishing for Royale/Varsity.  (Note that the jacket says Varsity, and the label says Royale.  Typical fake-RCA attention to detail.)

Five excellent compositions by American composer and conductor Morton Gould, plus two filler tracks not by him--Brazilian Boogie and Third-Man (sic) Theme.  A perfectly good ten-inch LP, which makes it superb by Royale standards.  "Recorded in Europe," says the label.  Elliot Everett is a pseudonym.

I used my 3.5 elliptical LP stylus, and it was the right choice.

To the Gould: Morton Gould--Elliot Everett and his Orch. (Varsity/Royale 6041)


Sunday, March 19, 2017

An Hour of Lousy Sound Star Dust--Royale Concert Orchestra

The back jacket promises "full fidelity," which would normally be a good thing, but not when the label is Royale.

Royale, of course, was a member of the Record Corporation of America's stable of ultra-cheap labels, and An Hour of Star Dust is one of the least competently recorded and engineered fake-RCA releases of all--a horrifying charge, but true.  It also contains some of the funnest music anywhere in the company's catalog, so there's that.

By the way, I wrote "fake-RCA" to distinguish RCA from, for instance, RCA.

Did I say incompetently engineered?  Well, on top of the substandard (but full!) fidelity, we have the loud sound of a machine turning on and off between the tracks--a noise I graciously eliminated for you (am I a great guy or what?).  Where these recordings came from, I can't venture to guess--radio broadcasts, maybe?  I'm picturing a hand-held microphone, a tape recorder, and a radio.  That would explain the extremely low fidelity here.

Have I insulted the sound sufficiently?  Probably not.  But, as I noted, this is highly fun stuff, and it's one heck of a cheap-label relic. Note that Hollywood Concerto is actually a male chorus singing sea songs.  Possibly Royale had intended to include something by that name (Hollywood Concerto) but their clerk grabbed the wrong masters or something.  Not worth puzzling over.  It was just the RCA (not to be confused with RCA) way.

DOWNLOAD: An Hour of Star Dust

(See LP front for track listing.)


Friday, March 17, 2017

Ten-inch Kosty: Kostelanetz Strings (1950)

What can I say about this LP?  Well, for one, that I hope I didn't overdo the bass in my restoration.  After inverting the RIAA LP curve (my favorite thing to do!), I set the bass rollover frequency at 500, which might be too boomy (so to speak).  Let me know.

What else can I say about this LP?  Well, it's totally superb, and nobody else--repeat, nobody else--had Kosty's ability to give a fresh feel to music we've (possibly) heard a thousand times.  For instance, dig the angels-in-the-clouds opening to Londonderry Air (which I used to think was about a type of oxygen), and dig the brilliant work on Pizzicato Polka, Hungarian Dance No. 5, and the played-to-death Flight of the Bumble Bee.  This is music so beautifully performed and recorded, your ears don't care that they're on their umpteenth go-round.

I'll have to ask, though--is Schubert's The Bee a standard?  Unlike all the other titles, The Bee doesn't buzz a bell, so maybe it's not a Pops perennial.  If not, why not?  It's great.  I was going to try to make a "ring a bell" pun, but "sting like hell" is the best I could do, so I'll let it bee.  (Get it?  Let it bee???)

Somewhere, I read a review which used the term "Kostelanetized" (can't remember the spelling) to describe what Kosty (or his arrangers, more precisely) did.  Maybe it referred to all the added-sixth and I 6/9 chords. (On the piano, starting on the C below middle C, play C-G-C-E-A-D.  Transpose as needed per key.)  Add in a B under the D for flavor.

 For a more Bacharach-style chord, play C-E-G-B-D-E-G-B. This ends today's music lesson.

To the ten-inch Kosty: Kostelanetz Strings


Humoresque (Dvorak)
Hora Staccato (Dinicu-Heifetz)
Traumerei (Schumann)
The Bee (Shubert)
Flight of the Bumble Bee (Rimsky-Korsakov)
Lullaby (Brahms)
Pizzicato Polka (Johann and Josef Strauss)
Londonderry Air (Traditional)
Hungarian Dance No. 5 in F-Sharp Minor (Brahms)

(Columbia ML 2100; 1950)


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Night and Day--Andre Kostelanetz (1940)

DonHo57 mentioned Andre Kostelanetz' recording of Night and Day as one of his "top ten easy listening big band recordings," And here's my rip thereof.

I'm almost sure that this 1940 recording is the same one featured on that 1961 Lucky Strike LP (Remember How Great...?).  It's a cool rendition, anyway.

Click here to hear:  Night and Day--Andre K. and His Orch., 1940


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Kosty for Saturday

This is the music we'll be hearing today:

People from all around the globe have been asking me, "How about some Saturday Kosty?"  And so here is some Saturday Kosty for today (Saturday--coincidence?).  Kosty=Kostelanetz, as in Andre.  Like Irving Berlin, Kosty was born in Russia.  Which has nothing to do with anything, but I like to mention it because I love to rattle off obscure pop music factoids.  But only if I know them.  And, come to think of it, Kostelanetz being from Russia isn't that obscure a factoid....  Anyway.

Today's Kosty is the usual light classical/Broadway/Tin Pan Alley mix.  We start with a brilliant performance of Villa-Lobos' 1930 classic, The Little Train of the Caipira, in superb 1953 sound, followed by a dreamy rendition of Debussy's Clair de Lune., either the 1940 or 1952 recording (I suspect '52).  I ripped both great-sounding tracks from the 1955 CL- (mostly a re. of the 1953 ML-) series Columbia LP, Clair de Lune and Popular Favorites, of which I'd planned to make a full-LP rip until I noticed (with my ears) the needle-drop marks throughout.  All pretty loud.  Curses.  But these two selections were more than repairable with MAGIX declicking.  Thank you, O Vinyl God.

Gabriel Pierne's Entrance of the Little Fauns (note: no w!), according to a Kosty discography I'm looking at right now, was recorded in 1955.  Then, a "medley" I edited together of selections (from three Kosty LPs) by Vincent Youmans, Hugh Martin, and Richard Rodgers.  We end with Harold Arlen's Blues in the Night (rec. 1944) and a perfect version of Arthur Schwartz' marvelous You and the Night and the Music (rec. 1950?).

People who pass over the Kosty LPs at Goodwill are only leaving more for us Andre fans to find.

Click here to hear: Saturday Kosty


The Little Train of the Caipira (Toccata; Villa-Lobos), 1953
Clair de Lune (Debussy), 1940 or 1952.
Entrance of the Little Fauns (Pierne), 1955.
Youmans-Martin-Rodgers Medley (edited together by me).
Blues in the Night (Arlen), 1944.
You and the Night and the Music (Schwartz), 1950?


Sunday, March 05, 2017

The jazzy Jazz Age, post-ODJB! Or, Was It Jazz?

Jazz history, as written, is sort of an on/off; true/false; yes/no kind of thing--either it's jazz or it ain't jazz.  For every 25 bandleaders, solists, etc. whose music "wasn't really jazz," there were a couple of bandleaders or soloists whose music "was jazz."  Or may be it was for every 50.

Stan Kenton?  Dave Brubeck?  George Shearing?  Jury's out (coffee break).

Going back to earlier days, Paul Whiteman, Jean Goldkette, Red Nichols?  Not really jazz, even when they sounded a lot like it.  Waring's Pennsylvanians?  The glee club guy, Fred Waring??  Forget it.  Vincent Lopez?  Nah.  Ferde Grofe?  The suite writer?  Oh, he could capture the basic Dixieland sound on paper, but was it jazz?  (One guess.)  And so on.  (None of these are my conclusions, you understand.)

What do all of the "not jazz" folks have in common?  They were popular!  Ordinary, everyday people listened to them.  Traditionally, jazz is regarded as what The People didn't (and don't) listen to.  But a lot of jazz managed to get into the pop records of the post-ODJB period, and today we're going to hear a large number of them, from the big-band-ish early-'20s discs of Paul Whiteman (with their excellent Dixieland-chorus closings) to "hot" and peppy efforts that scream "Break out the flappers"--Whiteman's 1924 San, George Olsen's Hot Aire (1925), Fred Waring's Oh, Baby! (1924), arranger Ferde Grofe's take on Charleston (1925), and Ralph Williams' all-time great rendition of Prince of Wails (1924).

There was a heck of a lot of area between jazz/not jazz.  We'll be visiting it today in honor of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band's 100th (first recording) anniversary.  The ODJB's Dixieland hits opened the door.

To the fabulous sounds, all ripped from my own collection.  I should have titled these "Hot Twenties and Late Teens," but the shortened title sounds better:

Click here to hear: Hot Twenties, Part 1   Hot Twenties, Part 2


Oh, Baby!  (Don't Say No, Say Maybe) (Donaldson)--Waring's Pennsylvanians, 1924
Wang Wang Blues (Mueller-Johnson-Busse)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1920
Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1920
San (Oriental Fox Trot)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1924
Nuthin' But (Busse-Ward-Grofe)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1923
Charleston (Arr: Grofe)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1925
Memphis Blues (W.C. Handy; Arr: Grofe?)--The Virginians, Dir. Ross Gorman, 1922
I'm Just Wild About Harry--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1922
Hot Aire (Schoebel)--George Olsen and His Music, 1925
Prince of Wails (Schoebel)--Ralph Williams and His Rainbo Orch., 1924


Ma!--One-Step--The Benson Orch. of Chicago, Dir. Roy Bargy, 1921
Down Home Blues--Waring's Pennsylvanians, 1924
I'm Gonna Meet My Sweetie Now--Jean Goldkette and His Orch., 1927
Footloose--Carl Fenton's Orch., 1925
Kitten on the Keys (Confrey)--Frank Banta and Jack Austin, Piano Duet, 1922
Arkansas Blues--The Little Ramblers, 1924
String Beans (Owens-Rose)--Vincent Rose and His Montmartre Orch. of Hollywood, 1924
Sweet Emalina, My Gal--One-Step--Earl Fuller's Rector Novelty Orch., 1918
Graveyard Blues--Same
12th St. Rag (Bowman)--Ted Lewis and His Band, 1923
Where Is My Sweetie Hiding?--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1924


Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Quiz: Did washing machines exist in 1874?

A: Yes
B: No
C:  Yes and no
D:  No and yes
E: All of the above
F:  None of the above
G:  Some of the above

Well, let's see....

The answer is A: Yes.

From The Nursery, Oct., 1874