Monday, December 31, 2018

A sackful of singles and album extracts--20 of them!

The engineering, if it can be called that, on the Julius La Rosa disc (We Need a Little Christmas) sounds like something anyone could accomplish with a $9.99 microphone and a transistor radio.  Good Lord.  And La Rosa's over the top performance sounds like it was his last chance to escape the firing squad or something.  Did he always sound this outrageously fake?  Overdone enthusiasm is the kiss of death, even when you're selling a piece of fluff like this.  I'ts like someone grinning like Gene Kelly and shouting "I'M HAVING A GREAT TIME!  I WOULDN'T WANT TO BE ANYWHERE ELSE!" at a party and expecting people to believe you.

Come on, folks!  Haul out the holly!!  We don't need bass or mid-range when we've got the McChristmas spirit.

Then it's the Beginning of the End (what's with that name?)  with a track that's surreal in its superiority to the opening inanity.  Believe or not, this superb jazz-funk group used the same Gee Whiz backing tracks for an attempted Funky Nassau follow-up called Doin' the Funky Do (1972).  When and if I find an affordable copy of Do, I'll grab it.

The New Hallelujah (Hallelujah Chorus) is a Moog number arranged by Ralph Carmichael and featured on a Light Records LP--the kind which you're not sure about the title or who to credit.  It's an amusing relic (1970), and very well done.  Dallas Corey's sides are very pleasant vanity holiday singles, complete with children's chorus, and you won't be humming them for days.  Or even seconds.  But they're better than listening to Julius have a heart attack trying to sell A Little Christmas while the MGM engineer filters out the bass.  1982's Happy Birthday Jesus (leaving out commas didn't start with the internet) is another fluffy vanity (fluffy vanity?) effort--this time, with the artist's full name (Al Rosa) as the label, not just the surname (Corey for Dallas Corey)--and it's no disgrace to the season, either.  It's catchier, in fact.  The chorus is cool.  Cliche City, U.S.A., but that's called Christmas.  "Have a merry, merry happy birthday, Jesus."  And Al gives us a spoken section that sounds like it's the first time he read it.

"Angels sing-aling"?  Now, that's too much.  Sorry.

A 1941 Novachord Parade of the Wooden Soldiers?  Sure.  Collins H. Driggs was good friends with Ferde Grofe, but I don't remember the details and don't have time to look them up.  Driggs and Grofe played in a Novachord quartet at the 1939 World's Fair, I think.  Not positive.  Anyway, anyone listening to this would think the Novachord was a very limited proto-synth, and no one would blame them.  Actually, it made some amazing sounds--its range was uncanny.  No one was more surprised than I was to discover that.  There's a Driggs 78 on YouTube from the set this 78 came from, and I don't understand sound reproduction that awful.  It's not rocket science.   Use 78 needle.  Do some filtering.  Maybe the YouTube poster grew up listening to Julius' We Need A Little... and thought that was how sound is supposed to sound.

Two lovely Liberace sides from 1953, with a great picture sleeve.  People laugh at Liberace.  My jazz musician father insisted Liberace had limited ability.  I took ten years of piano lessons.  Liberace did not have limited ability.  Lew White tickled the ivories (or whatever they are on organs) quite well, too.  Ernie has featured these two delightful 1942 numbers, and I'm featuring them, too, so nyah.  John McCormack's unbelievably beautiful early-1920s version of the Bach-Gounod setting of Ave Maria sort of hurts my ears because of the transfer quality, which was likely first-rate for 1960; not so much now.  I just mail-ordered a copy of the 78 (whose label number isn't in my 78 dating guide--its listing stops short), so I'll get to see what I can do with it.  The performance by all three musicians--tenor, violin, piano--is a recording-history landmark. 

Ambrose Haley's 1947 Old-Timey Christmas is the ultimate contrast to the previous performance, but different isn't necessarily bad, and it's not only not bad, it's quite good.  "Authentic" is too relative a concept to have any meaning, and so I avoid using it.  But this is authentic, rock-the-jukebox country.  Bluegrass, really.  But bluegrass is country, after all.

The four Gateway label sides are standard budget-label holiday hit copies.  And I have no idea what I just typed.  Eileen Scott--and, off the top of my head, I recall it was her real name--is a familiar name and voice, and a good singer.  I don't know if "Jack Daniels" was a joke, or what.  And I seem to remember him showing up on the Broadway label, but we've talked before about the impossibility of keeping cheap-label data straight unless you're an android specifically programmed for that purpose, so I'll just say, um, Merry Christmas!  The angels are sing-aling.  And the New Year is about 30 minutes away....

CLICK HERE TO HEARA sackful of singles

We Need a Little Christmas--Julius La Rosa, 1966
Gee Whiz, It's Christmas--The Beginning of the End, 1971
The New Hallelujah (Hallelujah Chorus; Arr: Carmichael)--Clark Gassman, Moog Synthesizer, 1970
It's Gonna Be a Mixed Up Christmas--Dallas Corey and Nashville Hillview Baptist Children's Choir, 1972
The Birth of Christmas--Dallas Corey, 1972
Parade of the Wooden Soldiers (Jessel)--Collins H. Driggs, Novachord Solo, 1941
Toy Symphony (Haydn)--RCA Victor Orch., c. Ardon Cornwell, 1947
Ave Maria (Schubert-Gounod)--Liberace, Orch. conducted by George Liberace, 1953
Christmas Medley--Liberace, Orch. conducted by George Liberace, 1953
March of the Toys--Lew White, Organ, 1942
Wedding of the Painted Dolls--Lew White, Organ, 1942
Parade of the Wooden Soldiers (Jessel)--Bobby Harris w. the Peter Pan Orch. and Chorus
Ave Maria (Bach-Gounod)--John McCormack w. Fritz Kreisler, violin, Vincent O'Brien, piano, early 1920s
Old-Timey Christmas--Ambrose Haley and his Ozark Ramblers, 1947
Happy Birthday Jesus--Al Rosa, 1982
Fall Softly Snow--Al Rosa, 1982
The Night Before Christmas Song--Eileen Scott (Gateway 9024 (45 rpm EP; 1956)
C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S--Terry Buter (Same)
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer--Jack Daniels (Same)
Nuttin' for Christmas--Dolly Nunn (Same)


A Pietro Deiro Publications accordion Christmas

So, I just had one of the weirdest dreams ever.  After the Thin Man was just playing on TV, I was sleeping in my chair, and the dream scenes were happening in accordance with the movie's audio.  I'm in a big house, and Nick and Nora are there.  There's a huge basement which has recently been revamped, and a big party is going on down there.  Someone is murdered in the basement, the cops show up, and I'm looking for my Canon digital camera so I can take a shot of the one of the many elegant rooms down there--one of the thirty or so beyond a passage behind the furnace.  Nick is sitting at a table, being comforted by a woman who is not Nora, and he's somehow suspected in the crime, but he takes the situation casually.  When he's cleared, he responds with a shrug.

That's the problem with weird dreams.  They don't sound nearly as weird as they actually were when you describe them.  It's like, "I had this really strange dream.  I was driving a car."  "And?"  "I was driving a car.  Very weird."  "Driving a car is weird?"

I bought this ten-selection Christmas EP expecting "fake hit"-style tracks, but everything's accordion and percussion.  The eBay ad either didn't mention the nature of the music, or I failed to read the full description.  "Produced by Pietro Deiro Publications," says the label, Pietro Deiro having been a famous and influential accordionist of the early 1900s.  I have some acoustical Victor 78s by him that I haven't gotten around to hearing.

I deduced that it was an instructional record, but I could have avoided the task of deduction by reading all the way to the bottom of the tiny print--"Instructional record to be used only with accompanying text."  So, please don't use this record.  Download it, listen to it, but don't use it without the accompanying text.  I don't have the text, but eBay to the rescue, providing us with images:

Includes the record, too.  $14.99.  I'll pass, since I don't have an accordion.  The disc is fun listening--more entertaining than you might imagine.  Listen, enjoy.  Just don't use without the booklet.

Arrangements by Pietro Deiro, Jr.

DOWNLOAD: Pietro Deiro Publications Christmas

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
A Merry Merry Christmas
Jingle Bell Roll
When Santa Claus Gets Your Letter
The Night Before Christmas Song
The Santa Claus Parade
Everyone's a Child at Christmas
We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer--Christmas Selections (No, 913, MO8H-3055/56)


Murphy Trucking Company: The Treasures of Christmas--3M Club Chorus (1980)

I was going to start my essay with, "This isn't your usual Christmas record," but is there such a thing?  What's a usual Christmas record?  I'm at the point where I'm not sure.  It's possible there are no usual Christmas records, which would mean that all Christmas records are unusual by definition.  The logical problem, of course, is that, if all Christmas records are unusual, then unusual is the norm.  In which case, all Christmas records are usual.  This is what an intense season of holiday music posting will do to you.  Learn from my example.  Don't let this happen to you.

So, the cartoon character is Murph, who looks like a Leprechaun but I'm almost sure is supposed to be an elf.  Or an elfrechaun, maybe.  On this disc, the 3M Club Chorus (don't ask me) sings five selections for the Murphy Trucking Company of Minneapolis/St. Paul, and they start out with We Need a Little Christmas, except it's called Melody of Christmas on the label.  How on earth did they get away with that?

Anyway, this is followed by Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, then the rest of the numbers are slow meaning-of-the-season songs.  The 3M Club Chorus is very good, and the stereo sound is decent.  Nevertheless, the star of the show here is the label design, the clear vinyl, and the goofy fold-out cover.  Side One was pressed considerably off-center, which is why I didn't rip this last year.  This time, I got out my tapered reamer (after doing the label scans) and widened both spindle holes.  Took a few tries, but I got Side One centered.  The old Dual turntables had removable spindles, which was a great idea that I wish would have become standard.  But it didn't.

Ironic that this is dated 1980, as the Murphy Trucking Company folded in the 1980s.  And if anyone can interpret the dates/captions on the front cover, please comment.  "Minnesota's gift to the nation"--1977.  "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"--1978.  The... what?

Maybe Murph is a Leprechaun, and he does seasonal work at the North Pole and sees no need to change his suit.  Clothes in elf sizes are hard to find, unless you're willing to wear children's styles.

To the Murphy and the 3M Club Chorus: The Treasures of Christmas--Murphy Trucking Co., 1980

Melody of Christmas 
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
Holiday Joys
Through the Eyes of a Child
December Child

3M Club Chorus--The Treasures of Christmas.  A Murphy Production, 1980.


Sunday, December 30, 2018

Sunday morning gospel--Fields on Fire-athon; Pictures/A Picture from Life's Other Side

I haven't done a Sunday Morning Gospel in a long, long spell.  Kind of nice to get back into the spirit.  I've done research on both of the songs in this morning's -athon but never came up with definite dates.  He Will Set Your Fields on Fire, a country and bluegrass gospel standard, is credited to H.W. Ballew (words) and Mrs. L.L. Brackett (music).  Someone stole the copyright in 1943 (the usual "Arr. by" scam) but it's clearly a quartet piece from the late 1920s.  And I just now noticed that The Music of Bill Monroe (Neil V. Rosenberg, Charles K. Wolfe, University of Illinois Press, 2007) gives a year of 1902 for the song, but I've found no other source for this, and I find it odd that neither I nor the folks at have located an early printing after much searching.  It could well be 1902, but it has a 1920s sound, and Smith's singers were an as-written sort of group, which is my weird way of saying that they stuck to the songbook versions, coming as they did from the shape(d)-note tradition, which was highly disciplined and not very flexible.  

I'd love to see the original sheet music version of Fields.

Ironically, although the later versions of the song sound faster, they're actually taken at a slower tempo than the 1927 Smith side.  It's the fast bluegrass strumming under the melody and harmonies that makes things sound faster.  A similar evolution happened with rock songwriting, come Carole King and other folks who traded eight-bar sections for sixteen, with that Beatles-style beat moving things along, even as the melodies slowed down.  Will You Love Me Tomorrow may be the classic example (quarter and half notes).  Classic 32-bar AABA standards move faster than rock tunes when played as written, but they don't have that beat.  Swing treatments are an exception, as they have a strong forward push rhythmically.  Bill Haley was quite frank about rock and roll coming from swing, and he was right, but don't tell any of the Rolling Stone folks. They know the truth--rock and roll started in the Grand Ole Opry.

Anyway, in my awesome playlist,. we hear everyone from the Smith gang to Carl Story to Kitty Wells to Pat Boone.  I love it, I love it.  Unfortunately, I don't have the 1967 version by the Browns, the folks who hit it big with The Three Bells.  I thought I did, and I'm annoyed to discover I do not.

Pictures from Life's Other Side, a.k.a. Pictures from Life's Other Side goes back at least as far as 1898.  It's the kind of socially-conscious song common in the late 1800s--evangelical Christianity was a socially progressive thing in those days.  Not to give any "seculars" a heart attack, but it's true.  Having said that, despite its message that we should watch out for those who have fallen by the way (the "mighty gallery of pictures" line has no equal in pop song history--none), Pictures was turned into a gospel number--it didn't start as one.  I don't consider this a folk song--it doesn't sound like one--though given the weirdness of song publishing then and now, more than one version may well have found its way into print, each one copyrighted, for what copyrights were worth once the major labels started scouting for "folk" talent.  Suddenly, A.P. Carter's name was on recently published gospel material, and, even across the many decades, I feel for the real authors.

Click here to hear: Fields on Fire-athon

He Will Set Your Fields on Fire--Smith's Sacred Singers, 1927
He Will Set Your Fields on Fire--Carl Story  and his Rambling Mountaineers, 1960
He Will Set Your Fields on Fire--The Lewis Family, 1976
He Will Set Your Fields on Fire--Bill Monroe, 1954
He Will Set Your Fields on Fire--The Country Gentlemen, 1971
He Will Set Your Fields on Fire--The Chuck Wagon Gang, 1986
He Will Set Your Fields on Fire--Kitty Wells, 1959
He Will Set Your Fields on Fire--The Boone Family, 1973
Pictures from Life's Other Side (Vaughn)--Smith's Sacred Singers, 1926
A Picture from Life's Other Side--Bradley Kincaid, 1932
A Picture from Life's Other Side--Carl Story
A Picture from Life's Other Side--G.M. Farley and the Foggy River Boys, 1963


Thursday, December 27, 2018

A Family Christ Mass (Dane Gordon-Milford Fargo)--Third Presbyterian Church, Rochester NY (1973)

From a local Goodwill, a two-LP set housed in a single jacket with a booklet enclosed--a Christmas Mass with music by the late Milford Fargo, who was an associate professor of Music Education at the Eastman School of Music.  Fargo was a close friend of Alec Wilder and conducted Wilder's Children's Plea for Peace on the Turnabout label.  Fargo's Mass was recorded at the the Third Presbyterian Church in Rochester NY on Dec. 24, 1972

, and the  booklet has a 1973 copyright date, so I'm going with that.

The text is by Dane Gordon, who apparently is still with us, and who a Google check identifies as an emeritus professor of philosophy from Rochester Institute of Technology and a retired Presbyterian minister.  Gordon was born in London and served in the Royal Navy during WWII.

This was the most complicated ripping and labeling task I can recall.  To get the track info and artist credits as close to correct as possible, I had to consult the booklet provided, the labels, and the back cover for any inconsistencies or omissions.  In the final band on Side 4 (the Agnus Dei), five titles flow together without a break, so track-marking was tricky.

The Kyrie ("Lord Have Mercy Upon Us") is probably my favorite part--simple but moving.  Don't be thrown off by the brass when it enters in another key--that's intended as a modern touch.  I think.

As Gordon points out in the booklet, "The mass is traditionally divided into Five parts: Kyrie Eleison, Gloria in Excelsis, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei."  So the booklet lists all five in all-caps, with no subtitles.  The labels, deciding not to cooperate, use all-caps and subtitles, except for the Credo, which isn't all-caps and has no subtitle.  A small deviation, but enough to throw things off.

The texts are... interesting.  They contain lines like "When Adam was a soldier, he went to war one night.  He launched a guided missile and said, 'Let there be light.'"  And "So Joseph took the little babe, and off they rode to Egypt.  And Mary mixed some lemonade, Because she thought they'd need it.  Tra la, tra la, tra la la la, tra la.  And Mary mixed some lemonade, Because she thought they'd need it."

From Wake Up Early: "Take a photograph.  Leave yourself out of it.  Take a photograph when nobody is there.  Jump down an oil well.  Wait for tomorrow.  The glory of God is the bite in the air."

In the notes, the author explains, "A Family Christ Mass is an attempt to present this ancient form of worship with contemporary ideas and music of many styles.

"Christ was interested in the details of his everyday life.  This Mass touches upon details of today's life using words and music that are intended to relate to all members of a family."

I'm too tired to argue.  Because there are two LPs and a slew of scans, I broke things down into three zips.

A Family Christ Mass (Gordon-Fargo), recorded 1972 (PCI Recording Services USR 5164, 1973

ZIP FILE 1: Sides 1 and 2  

ZIP FILE 2: Sides 3 and 4
ZIP FILE 3: Jacket, labels, booklet

No way I'm listing all the titles!  Please consult scans....


Friday, December 21, 2018

It was the cat. I'm almost sure.

A weird night tonight.  I'm sort of winding down from stress, but I just went into an obsess-athon over true mono vs. the "summed" type.  What would a pure lateral signal sound like when processed properly by a mono cartridge?  Well, my father had a mono cartridge on the family hi-fi set, so if I can think back far enough, I can get my answer.  Buster feels the differences between combined R+L channels and pure mono are too slight to worry about.  Probability favors his view.  I can't see how the differences would be big enough to worry about.

I'm not supposed to go into over-thinking mode when I'm coming down from stress.  And now I can report that I wasn't coming down from stress.  I was going into it.  I should realize by now that my obsess-athons are signs that anxiety is building up. Sometimes, it's hard to tell the difference between moving away and moving toward when it comes to emotions.  At least when your emotions are all over the place like mine.

I don't believe in psychic things, but tonight....  Well, I placed my coffee cup on the stairway landing, went back to the kitchen, then returned.  Btw, Bev once told me that the narrow stairway, which lines up with the front door, was designed for carrying coffins downstairs.  Nothing to do with tonight's experience (far as I know), but I have no reason to doubt her, especially given that the first two rooms of this house were built before Abe became president.

So, I had put my coffee cup down.  Just I was about to grab the cup and start up, the door to the little side studio slammed shut right in front of me.  BAM!  Scared the .... out of me.  I don't believe in ghosts, but apparently my brain possesses one or more modules that do.  Modules have been described to me as "areas" of functioning in the brain.  They're not specific regions--they're stages of cognitive evolution.  My explanation makes perfect sense, right?  Anyway, we humans have at least one module (I doubt there's just one of this type) that just reacts.  It can't be reasoned with.  It's purely reactive.  It can react with fear to the idea of a witch or ghost or whatever, even if we know those things aren't real.

So I opened the shut door slowly, knowing that ghosts don't exist but still fearful I'll be greeted by one.  No ghost.  Just Calvin sitting on the bed looking innocent.  Which, for a cat, means "I just did something naughty."  (The human version is a shrug and a "Who, me?")  Right after the door slammed, Mingo had strolled away like he'd shut it himself, which is impossible for a cat to do from the outside.  Inside, no problem.  So I figure Mingo and Calvin were playing or sparring, and the roly-poly Calvin, who tends to awkwardly slide into things, plowed into the door, knocking it shut.  It's also possible there was enough air pressure difference between the two rooms to have done it, even though no windows were open.  This is an old, old house and not perfectly insulated.  And the necessary gust could easily have come from the area above the Styrofoam ceiling tiles.  That makes the most sense.  We have critters running around up there--probably squirrels, as raccoons would come crashing through.  Where there are unwanted critters, there's an opening for them to get in.

I prefer to think I don't have a poltergeist.  On the other hand, I'm fine with one so long as it doesn't eat my food, wake me up, or break anything valuable.  If it would answer the phone when I'm out, that would be a big help.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"Raftero" and "Carioca"--Nat Finston and Max Steiner (1934)

This 78 was sitting there, and I said, "I ought to rip and post this."  I'd been planning to for years and never did, and there's nothing like the present.  Unless it's another gaudy sweater no sane person would wear past December 25.

Very cool sides here, and the two on-line rips I heard are dreadful, so hopefully I've done my good sound-restoration deed for the day.  Please, people, stop turning perfectly good-sounding 78s into mush.  When filtering, less is more, or whatever the expression is.  If you want your 78s to "sound like" LPs, buy LPs and pretend they're 78s.  You'll get a vinyl-era noise floor and you won't have to spring for a 78 stylus.

To the music.  Carioca is by Vincent (Tea for Two) Youmans, in case you didn't know.

Click here to hear: Carioca-Rumba (1934)

Raftero--Nat Finston and the Paramount Studio Orch,, piano: Ralph Rainger, 1934.
Carioca-Rumba (Youmans)--RKO Studio Orch., Direction of Max Steiner, 1934.


Monday, November 12, 2018

Veterans Day 2018

Happy Veterans Day!  Here are some 78s from my collection, newly ripped by me.  I've never been sure why the sound is so lousy on the Will Bradley/Ray McKinley/Freddie Slack sides, but that's how they were pressed, so....  Perry Como, my all-time favorite pop singer, hit it huge when he left the Ted Weems orchestra and joined RCA in 1943.  I've ripped Perry's first two RCA sides, Goodbye, Sue and There'll Soon Be a Rainbow, both featuring choral backings, since the 1942-1944 AFM recording ban was in effect.  There's a weird and, to my ears, charming sound to such sides.  Temptation and I'll Always Be With You, two of my favorite Como tracks, are post-ban (1945) and feature Ted Steele's orchestra.  Como seemed to be reaching into the Russ Columbo catalog, since he also recorded Prisoner of Love (great side, but not in this list).  Also taking us back to WWII--two highly un-PC 1942 Carl Hoff sides, You're a Sap, Mr. Jap; and We Did It Before (And We Can Do It Again).  Pop music history as it happened.  And three huge Will Bradley hits of the period, which I've already mentioned but haven't named yet.  They are Beat Me Daddy (Eight to the Bar) and Down the Road a Piece, neither of them the first pop-chart boogie-woogie numbers, but they did tons to establish the style as an official branch of swing and a song folio genre.  Both are from 1940, as is the third, Celery Stalks at Midnight, which sounds a little ahead of its time, stylistically, to my ears.  Maybe that's just because it follows two helpings of eight-to-the-bar.

Good Bye Dolly Gray goes back to the Second Boer War, and this 1902 recording by the Columbia Quartette is one of my favorite (and noisiest) 78s.  Of course Hugo Frey's charming One-step My Dough Boy is from WWI--it's played by the terrific Joseph C. Smith orchestra, Smith having been the Victor label's Paul Whiteman before it had Paul Whiteman.  And once again I'm featuring 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) in a brand new rip.  It remains a superb number and recording.  The side closes with the 1861 hymn, O God of Love, O King of Peace.

"It is our duty to make war, for all time, impossible."  True, but I think it'll be a while yet....

Click here to hear: Veterans Day 2018


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Paul Whiteman, Part Five!--1920-1934

My own Paul Whiteman sketch, from around 1981.  The lettering is new, of course.  And this is Part 5 of my Paul Whiteman series, which means three more are on their way.  Yup, three.  Part 8 will focus on Whiteman-related solo sides, with numbers by Ramona, Roy Bargy, Chester Hazlett, and the jazzy Whiteman orchestra subgroup, The Virginians (the first of its kind, claims AllMusic).  So... stay tuned.  And enjoy today's mix, covering the years 1920 to 1934, during which the Whiteman sound changed considerably, of course.  Incredibly might be the better word.

And my VinylStudio program remains the most amazing software taking up space on my PC, next to my MAGIX editing program--it is responsible, as I've been noting every post, for keeping the response curves honest.  The eq'ing and track splicing remain the duties of MAGIX.  Put it all together and you have very, very old sounds, but not sounding old in the traditional sense of old, when it comes to audio.  The established meaning of "old" in audio is lousy, but I've tried to get these 78s sounding as un-lousy (and, therefore, nontraditional) as possible, with Chicago presenting the most demanding restoration feat, given its "beater" condition.  (Record collector term.)  But it's not an easy one to find, at least in my price range, so I went all-out, and it sounds pretty not bad.  It's an essential PW side, as it features none other than Ferde Grofe on a terrific piano solo.


DOWNLOAD: Paul Whiteman, Part 5! !920-1934

Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere--1920
Magnolia--v: Bing Crosby, Al Rinker, Harris Barris, 1927
Steppin' Out--1923
Underneath Hawaiian Skies--Medley--1921
So This is Venice!--v: Ed Smalle, 1924
Villa (Lehar)--1931
Way Down Yonder in New Orleans--1923
Star Dust--v. John Hauser and the King's Men, 1934
In a Little Spanish Town--v: Jack Fulton, 1926 (A: Grofe)
Grieving for You--Feather Your Nest--1920
Where Is My Sweetie Hiding?--1924
Whispering (A: Grofe)--1920
There's Yes! Yes! In Your Eyes (A: Grofe)--1924
You Forgot to Remember--Waltz (Berlin)--v: Elliott Shaw, 1925
Cheerie Beerie Bee--Waltz--v: Auston Young, 1927 (A: Grofe)
Do You Ever Think of Me?--1921
It's Up to You (J'en ai Marre!)--1922


Friday, November 09, 2018

Tschaikowskiana--Paul Whiteman and His Orch. (1928)--second rip

Every rip deserves a second chance.  I wasn't happy with my first job on this disc, so I ripped it again, this time using my 2.7 mil needle instead of the 3.5.  I think it did the trick.  This file sounds much better.  Hope you agree.

Click here to hear: Tchaikowskiana, Pts. 1 and 2 (1928)--Paul Whiteman and His Orch.


Wednesday, November 07, 2018

George Gershwin, Fred and Adele Astaire--"Fascinating Rhythm," The Half of It Dearie, Blues" (1926)

This 78 was recorded in the UK in 1926, and it features George Gershwin plus Fred and Adele Astaire in two selections from Gershwin's Lady Be Good.  I was thrilled to find this copy in Scotland circa 1980 (while I was stationed in that country), and I paid a mere five pounds, or about $12.  Fred and sister Adele sing as George Gershwin hammers the ivories on Fascinating Rhythm, and it's just an amazing side.  Life-altering, if you ask me.  Prior to finding this in the now-closed Gramophone Emporium in Edinburgh, I'd heard a snatch of it on the radio (BBC Four, I think), and of course I was dying to hear the rest.  As you'll notice, the designated speed is 80 rpm, and I adjusted my turntable as close to that speed as possible.  It's close enough.  The music really moves at 80 compared to 78 rpm--much moreso than I would have expected.  I think I'll feature both speeds so you can hear the difference.  Interestingly, that difference amounts to approximately a semitone.  (Helps to have a synth keyboard next to the PC desk.)

The flip is fluff (always wanted to type that) by comparison, though I am right now revising my take on it.  I originally described Gershwin's piano work as clunky on this number (Half of It Dearie, Blues), but, at least at 80 rpm, it's not only not clunky, it's impressively fast..  And I talked about too many Rhapsody in Blue quotes--specifically, the double-time chords George throws in a few times too often--but now I'm not positive they're actual RIB quotes.  They're standard parallel "big city" chords of the type we expect from George.  Maybe they're meant to evoke RIB, maybe not.

And Astaire's singing on the Dearie number, which I described as pretty bad, is actually perfectly adequate.  The song is silly, but that's the job of novelties.  It's not the dud side I judged it to be, unless we're comparing the song and its performance to the magnificent flip, and that would be setting an unfair bar.

Bottom line is, this version of Fascinating Rhythm changed the way I hear Twenties pop music, and Twenties pop is my favorite pop.  So it's awesome to have it in my collection.

First up, the sides at the proper 80 rpm.  Then, for comparison, my two 78 rpm rips.  Enjoy!

Fascinating Rhythm/The Half of It...--Fred and Adele Astaire, then Fred only, with piano by George Gershwin, at 80 rpm.

Fascinating Rhythm/The Half of It...--78 rpm Lee

UPDATE: Buster and I both agreed that 80 rpm is way too fast a playback speed, despite the label indication--namely, that, for some reason, the label sped things up by recording at a slower speed, as American Columbia accidentally did with Bing Crosby and Al Rinker's I've Got the Girl of the same year.  It could have been accidental in the case of UK Columbia, too, or the label may have done it deliberately to alter the sound of Astaire's singing or George's piano tinkling--to make things sound brighter and, to use a period term, snappier.  Tho knows?  Anyway, Buster took my 78 rpm rips and slowed them down about 1/4 tone, and here are the results: GG, FA, Corrected speed.  I agree with Buster that his speed corrections sound just right.  What do your ears think?

Thanks, Buster!


Saturday, November 03, 2018

Paul Whiteman, Part Four! (1921-1931)

In this Paul Whiteman-athon, a number of famous songsmiths: George Gershwin (I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise, Do It Again!),  Irving Berlin (Lazy, What'll I Do),  Rudolf Friml (March of the Musketeers), Rodgers and Hart (Do I Hear You Saying), George M. Cohan (You Remind Me of Your Mother), and Domenico Savino (Burning Sands; credited to D. Onivas), with Savino also acting as arranger for O, Ya Ya.  And there's a two-sided 12-inch Columbia disc called Tschaikowskiana, arranged by Herman Hand, which is exactly what it sounds like.  It's not the most exciting medley, but it does show a great deal more respect for Tschaikowsky/kovsky than Spike Jones ever did.  A number of big Whiteman hits here, including the million-selling 1923 Linger Awhile, which revives the Whispering slide whistle, only with clever syncopated horn punctuation, making this almost definitely a Ferde Grofe arrangement, though it's not listed as such at the William College page.  It's him, though.  Has to be.

The two Gershwin numbers are, of course, pre-Rhapsody in Blue, and I'm 99 percent sure these are Grofe charts, too.

The singers include Bing Crosby, Al Rinker, Charles Gaylord, Austin "Skin" Young, Billy Murray, John Sperzel, Fritz Zimmerman (yodeling), The King's Jesters, and Jack Fulton (during the March of the Musketeers vocal refrain).  These were all ripped and edited by me from 78s in my collection, and it looks like I have enough sides ripped for three more parts.  We'll see.  I mean, we'll hear.

To the Whiteman....

DOWNLOAD: Paul Whiteman, Part 4! (1921-1931)

I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise (Gershwin)--1922
You Remind Me of My Mother (Cohan)--1922 (A: Grofe)
O, Ya Ya--1928 (A: D. Savino)
I Miss My Swiss (My Swiss Miss Misses Me)--v: John Sperzel, yodeling: Fritz Zimmerman, 1925 (A:Grofe)
Tchaikovskiana--1928 (A: Herman Hand)
Burning Sands (D. Savino)--1923 (A: Grofe)
Linger Awhile--1923
March of the Musketeers (Friml)--vocal: Bing Crosby, others, 1928 (A: Tom Satterfield)
Do It Again! (Gershwin)--1922
Lazy (Berlin)--1924 (A: Grofe)
What'll I Do--Waltz (Berlin)--1924 (A: Grofe)
Just a Little Love Song--1921 (A: Grofe)
Love and Kisses (From Baby to You (A: Grofe)
Do I Hear You Saying (I Love You)--v: Bing Crosby, Al Rinker, Charles Gaylord, 1928 (A: Satterfield)
Dance of the Little Dutch Dolls--vocal: The King's Jesters, 1931 (A: Grofe)
Down in Old Havana Town--v: Austin "Skin" Young, 1928 (A: Grofe)
Mister Gallagher and Mr. Shean--v: Billy Murray, 1923 (A: Grofe)
By the Waters of the Minnetonka--1924 (A: Grofe)
Meditation from Thais--1924 (A: Grofe)


Monday, October 29, 2018

Hitting the nail upon the top without having side effect

I don't know what to say.  This isn't even the weirdest of the latest spam messages.  Mind you, these aren't spam comments in the conventional sense.  That is, no code (far as I know), no links, no nothin'.  What do the spammers get out of them?  And are the spammers human?  These things could be products of programs gone mad.  I don't know what "programs gone mad" could mean, but it makes more sense than any of this stuff.  Read on:

Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the web thhe simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people consider worries that they juet don't know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also
definerd out the whole thing without having side effect ,
people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more.

These do not sound like someone struggling with English.  They would make more sense.  These are like computer-generated attempts to mimic actual comments.  Who or what is doing this?  Should we care?  They're awfully entertaining--I know that.

I have, by the way, gotten a couple of traditional spam comments, with links to whatever.  But these are a new breed.  Who can explain them?  Or am I simply considering worries that I juet don't know about?  Can I manage to hit the nail upon the top and also definerd out the whole thing without having side effect?  These are the questions that keep me awake at night.


Sunday, October 28, 2018

78s for late Octorber--Maple Leaf Rag, Rainy Day Blues, Egyptian Dancer, more!

Who is notorious for being glorious?  Lila, of course.  Lila was one of my favorite dance band records from my young days, which is the only reason I know the answer.

Some new 78s--new to my collection, that is.  All were ripped and edited by me using my VinylStudio and MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab MX programs.

My copy of the marvelous Victor Arden-Phil Ohman two-piano version of Maple Leaf Rag has some needle damage, so I was expecting some distortion--and, sure enough, it has some.  But I saved the day, and the disc, by using the left channel only and putting on some filtering.  The results are pretty good.

Some highly un-PC stuff here, from a day when un-PC was the norm--Chong (He Come From Hong Kong); Where Do You Work-a, John?; and Pekin Peeks.  I actually don't know what "Pekin Peeks" means, but I suspect a slur.  I see online that it was copyrighted in 1916 by Herman Avery Wade.  Now we know.  As for the Oriental Woodwind Orchestra, I'm guessing it's an American outfit recording for an ethnic audience, since they're on the green Columbia label, and because few things sound more totally made up than "Oriental Woodwind Orchestra."  But who knows?

Meanwhile, Joseph C. Smith's Rainy Day Blues is top-of-the-line early dance music, and, though the label mentions no vocalist, someone is singing on it.  No help from Brian Rust's American Dance Band Discography, and I can't i.d. the voice, so maybe we'll never know.  I wonder if it could be Smith himself?  Whoever it was, I hope he didn't quit his day job.

The Virginians, who accompany Jane Green on the two Mamma songs, were a subgroup of the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, led by clarinetist Ross Gorman, famous for his Rhapsody in Blue opening glissando.

The magnificent Prince's Band version of Chinatown, My Chinatown is from a badly worn disc, and I have yet to find another, better copy, but the arrangement and performance are so superb, I just had to share it, anyway.  I cheated a bit during the editing, replacing the hopelessly noisy opening with a portion from later in the disc (where the intro is repeated note for note).  I can hear the edits, but that's because I know where they are.  Note the use of Alabama Jubilee as a refrain, and forty years before the famous Ferko String Band version.  To the 78s....

DOWNLOAD: 78s for October

Maple Leaf Rag--Tap Dance--Victor Arden-Phil Ohman, Two pianos, 1930
Egyptian Dancer--Oriental Woodwind Orchestra, pre-1925
Pekin Peeks--Oriental Woodwind Orchestra, pre-1925
Chong--Medley Fox Trot--Joseph C. Smith's Orch., 1919
Sometimes--Medley Fox Trot--Same
Mamma Loves Papa, Papa Loves Mamma--Jane Green, Comedienne w. The Virginians, 1923
Mamma Goes Where Papa Goes or Papa Doesn't Go Out To-night--Same.
The Vamp (One-step)--Waldorf-Astoria Singing Orch., Dir. Joseph Knecht, 1919
In the Evening (Donaldson)--Jean Goldkette and His Orch., 1924
Where the Lazy Daisies Grow--Same
I Love the College Girls--Waring's Pennsylvanians, w. vocal chorus, 1926
Where Do You Work-a, John?--Same
I Wonder Where We've Met Before--Goodrich Silvertown Cord O., Dir. Joseph M. Knecht, v: Joseph M. White, 1925
Lila--Waring's Pennsylvanians, v: Tom Waring and chorus, 1928
Hello Montreal!--Same, but v: Fred Waring
Chinatown, My Chinatown--Prince's Band, 1915
Out of the East--Joseph C. Smith's Orch., 1919
Rainy Day Blues--Same, w. unknown vocalist


Friday, October 26, 2018

Paul Whiteman, Part Three!!--1920-1933

Lots more brilliant arranging in this installment, with head Whiteman arranger Ferde Grofe well represented.  A word about the next to last track, Pretty Lips--or several words, maybe.  We often read that Wistful and Blue and Pretty Lips were the first sides cut by Bing Crosby and Al Rinker for Whiteman (on Dec. 22, 1926), which is technically true, but the Pretty Lips that made it to disc (rec. on Feb. 28, 1927) was actually Bing's fourth side for Whiteman--the original take had been rejected.  It all comes down to "made it to disc."  I don't know how I can make that less--er, more--clear, so I'll go and add that, while the Pretty Lips arrangement is credited to Grofe, the vocal refrain was likely scored by Matty Malneck.  I base this guess on the fact that Matty's viola is all over it and it's 100 percent in his style.  In other news, Malneck did the song arrangements for Billy Wilder's Some Like it Hot (1959).

A real emphasis on novelty in this list, and that's fine with me--it's hard to hate novelties when you love 1920s pop.  And Billy Murray, who's hard to hate if you love 78s, shows up twice here, the second time in Byron (The Vamp) Gay's Just a Little Drink, which features a narrator who just may be (is it possible?) Whiteman himself.  The arrangement (Grofe?) is very elaborate and imaginative--no surprise there, since bands of this period really went to town on their specialty numbers.  But dying of thirst as a subject for humor?  Ohhhh-kay.  Meanwhile, Whiteman and Grofe share arranger credit on the orchestra's brilliant take on C├ęsar Cui's Orientale--and I wish I had the electrical version, which is the same arrangement, only (obviously) better sounding.  Similarly, By the Waters of the Minnetonka and Meditation from Thais are electrical redos of the original charts (unlike Grofe's rescorings of Whispering and The Japanese Sandman), and anyone so inclined can compare the pre-1925 and post-1925 sound.  I just feel there'll be people rushing to do that.

We're all are supposed to find Jack Fulton's falsetto hilarious, but I consider it just perfect for numbers like Lover, beautifully arranged in 1933 by... Adolph Deutsch?  He's my guess.  It's so incredibly elegant for its time--it sounds a good ten years ahead of the pop curve, imo.  Fulton goofs up the lyrics--it's "immoral," not "immortal"--but when you've got a take this otherwise fantastic, you don't think of doing it again.  Besides, maybe no one noticed.  I have to pick it as my favorite, even over Grofe's gorgeous Ma Belle (from Rudolf Friml's The Three Musketeers).

Ooh! Maybe It's You--w. vocal refrain, 1927 (A: Grofe)
Orientale (Cui)--1922 (A: Whiteman and Grofe)
Last Night on the Back Porch--w. vocal refrain, 1923 (A:Grofe)
Walla-Walla--v: Billy Murray, 1924 (A: Grofe)
Learn to Do the Strut--1924
My Mammy--1921
I Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight --1925 (A: Grofe)
Lo-Nah--1925 (A: Grofe)
Avalon--Just Like a Gypsy--1920 (A: Grofe)
Nuthin' But (Busse-Ward-Grofe)--1923
By the Waters of the Minnetonka--1928 (A: Grofe)
Meditation from Thais--1928 (A: Grofe)
Hymn to the Sun--1925 (A: Grofe)
No Foolin'--w. vocal refrain, 1926 (A: Grofe)
Just a Memory--1927 (A: Grofe)
Just a Little Drink--v: Billy Murray, 1925 (Byron Gay)
I'm Goin' South--1923
Ma Belle--vocal: Austin Young, 1928 (A: Grofe)
Pretty Lips--v: Bing Crosby, Al Rinker (A: Grofe; vocal refrain arr. Matty Malneck?), 1927
Lover (Waltz)--vocal: Jack Fulton, piano: Ramona, 1932


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Paul Whiteman, Part Two! 1920-1927

Buster, at Big 10-Inch Record, inspired my last Paul Whtieman post, so I guess it's fair to say he inspired this one, too.  Logically consistent, anyway.  And I need to do something with the 100-plus Whiteman tracks I ripped last year.  I can let them sit, unloved and neglected, on 80 min. CD-Rs, or I can release them into the blogosphere.  So, here they are.  They're happy to be here.

These are all from 78s in my collection, edited and curve-correct by me, and most are in good to very good condition, with two exceptions--Dixie's Favortie Son and Down Around the 'Sip 'Sip 'Sippy Shore.  But these were too terrific to exclude simply because they sound like, well, 78s.  (78s tend to do that, I've noticed.)  And, besides, I coaxed some decent sound out of them by using every MAGIX trick I know.

We're always told that Whitmean's band didn't sound anything like jazz until he inherited all that great talent from the Jean Goldkette Orchestra (e.g., Bix Beiderbecke, Frankie Trumbauer), but I hope these pre-overhaul sides help to correct that notion, because there's a lot of jazz here.  You just have to be familiar with how jazz sounded in its very early days--and marvel at the skill with which popular bandleaders like Whiteman, Fred Waring, Vincent Lopez (and, earlier, Earl Fuller and Art Hickman) managed to sneak the sound into their dance numbers.  Hence, Whiteman's dance sides, like those of many bandleaders in the 1920-1927 period, run the gamut from 1) nothing remotely like jazz to, 2) "Hey, that sounds like the real thing!"  Years ago, a 78 dealer with greater early dance/jazz knowledge than me (at the time, at least) heard Whiteman's Wang Wang Blues and said, "That's King Oliver, isn't it?"  I suppose Whiteman and head arranger Grofe were crooks, but very skilled ones.

Seriously, I love the fact that jazz found its way into the mainstream pop of the 1920s.  And I deplore the second-class treatment and regard accorded the black founders of the music in those days.  But it needs to be said that Whiteman, like Elvis Presley (how's that for a link?), never denied the black origins of his music, even if Paul was obsessed with turning jazz into concert fare.  For this he has never been forgiven, yet that was precisely the path taken by jazz, post-Whiteman--think 1938 and Benny Goodman.

Wang Wang Blues is from Whiteman's first Victor session (Aug. 9, 1920), and the 12-inch Best Ever Medley is from his second (Aug.19).  The latter side was arranged by Paul himself, and it's easy to hear why he brought Ferde Grofe on board.  Whiteman was co-author of the other 1920 side here,  I Never Knew (I Could Love Anybody Like I'm Loving You), which apparently is associated with Judy Garland and 1942, but it goes back to at least 1919.  It would take me hours to find my sheet music copy, and my Google search isn't getting me anywhere, so let's stick with 1919.

Note the four-selection 12-inch Whiteman 78 shown in the bottom scans--it's the only one of its type I've seen in the Whiteman catalog.  I suppose it's an early kind of EP, and I've seen others like it--especially acoustical and early electrical era 78s for children.  The two bands on each side are without a connecting groove.  The four selections are part of today's playlist.

In some ways, Whiteman is a Bill Haley sort of figure--helping bring in something new while being too old and lacking in good looks.  The Victor Whiteman sleeve (above), however, shows him looking very svelte.  Not at all like the other Victor sleeve.

Fun sounds--some of them genuinely jazzy--await!

Shaking the Blues Away (Berlin)--1927 (A: Grofe)
Dixie's Favorite Son--1924
Ivy (Cling to Me)--1922
Wang Wang Blues --1920 (A: Grofe)
Down Around the 'Sip 'Sip 'Sippy Shore--Medley (One-step)--1921
San (Oriental Fox Trot)--1924
Shanghai Dream Man, w. vocal chorus--1927 (A: Grofe)
Best Ever Medley (One-step)--1920 (A: Whiteman)
Fallen Leaf, w. vocal chorus (A: Grofe), 1927
Lulu Belle (A: Grofe), 1926
No More Worryin', w. vocal refrain (A: Grofe), 1926
Charleston--1925 (A: Grofe)
Two Little Ruby Rings--1922 (A: Grofe)
Moonlight on the Ganges, w. vocal chorus--1926 (A: Grofe)
There's a Boatman on the Volga, v. Gladys Rice--1926 (A: Grofe)
Where Is That Girl of Mine?/Driftwood--1924 (A: Grofe)
Mandalay/Step Henrietta--1924 (A: Grofe)
Oh Me! Oh My! (Hirsch)--1921 
Honey, I'm in Love with You--1925 (A: Grofe)
I Never Knew (I Could Love Anybody Like I'm Loving You)--1920
Precious, w. vocal chorus--1926 (A: Grofe)
I'm Just Wild About Harry--1922


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Fake hits from the sixties, Part One!!

We start our sixties fake hits series with 34 faux fab four tracks in two zip files.  I ripped these from budget labels like Song Hits and Hit Parader (EPs named, naturally, after Charlton Publications' Hit Parader and Song Hits magazines).  You may recall the ads for these:

And labels like Hit Records, the U.K. Top 6 EPs and LPs, Arc Records, and the Columbia Record Club.  The performances range from outstanding (the unnamed group on the Top Six Beatlemania LP--can't recall who they were) to dreadful (the Hit Records/Modern Sound covers, and some of the Song Hits/Hit Parader efforts).

I inadvertently duplicated some Hits of To-day tracks from last post--oops!  But they're worth hearing twice, especially in the company of other fuax fab four performances.

We Love You Beatles was a novelty hit by the Carefrees, Bad to Me was a Lennon-McCartney hit for Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, and World Without Love was a Lennon-McCartney hit for Peter and Gordon, all 1964.  The Hit Parader 39 Michelle is a copy of the 1966 David and Jonathan version.

DOWNLOAD: Faux Fab Four 1 and Faux Fab Four 2

Faux Fab Four 1

I Feel Fine--Song Hits 32
I Want to Hold Your Hand--Hit Parader 27
She Loves You--Song Hits 28
We Love You Beatles--Song Hits 28
Please Please Me--Song Hits 28
She Loves You Top 6 T6505
Bad To Me--Top 6 T6505
Michelle--Hit Parader 39
I Saw Her Standing There--The Beats (Design 170)
A Hard Day's Night--Columbia Record Club D 63
I'll Cry Instead--Columbia Record Club D 63
I Want to Hold Your Hand--Columbia Record Club D 63
Can't Buy Me Love--Columbia Record Club D 63
Help!--Russ Loader and the Corsairs--Col. Record Club E127
I Wanna Be Your Man--Hits of To-day, Mini 603
Penny Lane--Jalopy Five, Hit 287
World Without Love--Hits of Today, Mini 603

Faux Fab Four 2

Day Tripper--Modern Sound 1020
My Bonnie--Modern Sound 1020
Can't Buy Me Love--Modern Sound 544
Lady Madonna--Hit Records 466
Twist and Shout--The Bugs, Hit 111
She Loves You--The Bugs, Hit 106
A Hard Day's Night--Enoch Light and His Orch., Command 4050 (45 rpm)
Please Please Me--The Boll Weevils--Hit 107
I Want to Hold Your Hand--The Doodles, Hit 104
And I Love Her--The Jalopy Five, Hit 138
I Feel Fine--Top Six 11
Matchbox--The Jalopy Five, Hit 147
Help!--The Jalopy Five, Hit 220
Hello, Goodbye--ARC AS 796
I Wanna Be Your Man--Beatlemania, Top Six TSL 1 (1964)
Money--Beatlemania, Top Six TSL 1 (1964)
Roll Over Beethoven--Beatlemania, Top Six TSL 1 (1964)


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Hits of To-day (Mini the Little LP 603)

I know nothing about Mini the Little LP, as it's called on the label, but I'm pretty sure it was a U.K. release, since I Wanna Be Your Man is a copy of the Rolling Stones version, which was a hit in the U.K. but not the U.S.  Candy Man, by Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, was also a U.K. hit that didn't appear on the U.S. charts, so this copy must be British.

"Mn the Little LP" does look a little odd, because there should at least be a comma or a dash between "Mini" and "the Little LP," but n one asked me.  Maybe because I was only seven at that time.

The original artists for the rest:

I Believe--The Bachelors
Anyone Who Had a Heart--Cilla Black
Good Golly Miss Molly--The Swinging Blue Jeans
World Without Love--Peter and Gordon (No. 1 in both U.S. and U.K.)

These are all fakes, of course.  Decent ones, but still phony.  Bogus.  Counterfeit.  Mere imitations.  But we get six on one single!

DOWNLOAD: Hits of To-Day (Mini the Little LP 603)

I Believe
I Wanna Be Your Man (Lennon-McCartney)
Anyone Who Had a Heart (Bacharach-David)
Candy Man
Good Golly Miss Molly
World Without Love (Lennon-McCartney)

Hits of Today (Mini the Little LP 603, six-selection EP)


Tuesday, October 09, 2018

George Gershwin Melodies, and Other Popular Favorites (Plymouth P12-67)

If you're looking for high-end audio, you picked the wrong post.  This is a very enjoyable LP, but the recording quality is atrocious, at least on Side A, where the vocals and vocal backing take turns fading in and out.  I have no idea what was going on, but it's nothing I did while remastering.  And Side B, while it sounds considerably better, is hampered by surface noise--the type this label group is famous for.  But, personally, I think the low fidelity adds to the fun.  Maybe I' m getting too used to budget fidelity!

Excellent singer on the Side A Gershwin material--a mezzo-soprano, I assume?  No credit, of course.  (Update: the singer is Mona Paulee.  See comment by RecordHunter.)  The Viennese Symphonic Orchestra is for real, and I can believe it's them on the Cavalleria Rusticana and Tosca opera highlights, but not the three Gershwin tracks.  But who knows?  Labels like Plymouth (which was part of the Remington, Masterseal, Paris, and Merit family) always gave as little info as possible, if even that much.  Heck, it was common for the cheapies to mismatch the titles between label and jacket, and look what we have here: George Gershwin Melodies and Other Popular Favorites on the cover, and George Gershwin Favorites and Favorite Musical Gems on the A and B labels.  Told you.  For this post, I went with the jacket info, title-wise.

And I love my scanner, but it sometimes fails to reproduce colors with total accuracy.  This Plymouth label is more maroon than dark red, but I did what I could, post-scan.

The Gershwin tracks are spirited and the "Highlights" on Side B are expertly rendered, so this LP makes for very pleasant listening.  I did what I could as far as tweaking the response curve, but you can't get highs where there aren't any, and the louder portions on Side A sound tinny enough to start with, so I mostly left things alone in that regard.

As noted before, the Remington group of labels, some of which contain highly collectible material (I don't think this is one of them), are known for their surface noise--and, sure enough, this LP has lots of that.  I timed the track fade-outs to kill the in-between noise, but side two ends with a pause followed by a crescendo tonic chord, so how to fix that?  Easy: I cut out the pause portion, used MAGIX's denoiser on it, then split the mono track into two tracks, placing the filtered portion below, so I could fade into it, thus avoiding a sudden volume drop.  You can see the final chord very clearly on this screen capture:

I really enjoyed this LP, so I thought it was worth some extra work.

Click here to hear: George Gershwin Melodies

The Man I Love
Somebody Love Me
Lady Be Good
Cavalleria Rusticana and Tosca Highlights

George Gershwin Melodies and Other Popular Favrorites--Viennese Symphonic Orch. (Plymouth P12-67)