Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Latest thrift trip

My latest thrift trip (say that 50 times) had me bringing home a decent amount of vinyl--and the bill was way low.  It was the local St. Vincent de Paul thrift store, and I was going to go right back the next day and do another look-through of the boxes of 45s--and I didn't.  Didn't go today, either.  What's happening to me??

Anyway, 45s were only a quarter, plus I got a senior discount.  People used to ask if I qualified for a senior discount--now they simply assume.  I wonder what gives me away?  Must be my age.

So, I scored Tony Orlando (pre-Dawn) singing the terrific King/Goffin song, Halfway to Paradise; marching band versions (conducted by Ray Martin) of, among other numbers, Witch Doctor, Rock Around the Clock, and April Love; a thing called Oatmeal Stomp; Al Caiola's Tango Boogie performed by Hugo Winterhalter; The Andrews Sisters singing the Gershwin-Gershwin Of Thee I Sing; and Les Harris' awesome And the Bull Walked Around Olay, which defies description (in the best kind of way).  Apparently, that's a bass saxophone.

Hugo Winterhalter's Midnight, the flip of  Tango Boogie, is a twelve-bar blues featuring a vocal by Johnny Oaks, who I never heard of--it's like a sped-up version of the 1957 Diamonds hit, The Stroll (Oaks even sounds like that group's lead singer).  A rock and roll side by Winterhalter is not something I ever expected to encounter, but here it is.

Click here to hear: Latest thrift trip

Halfway to Paradise (King/Goffin)--Tony Orlando, 1961
Midnight--Hugo Winterhalter's Orch. and Chorus, v: Johnny Oaks, 1958
Tango Boogie (Al Caiola)--Hugo Winterhalter and His Orch., 1958
Oatmeal Stomp--Si Zentner and his Orch. (Sesac Repertory Recording AD-78)
Hollow Horse Hoedown--Same
All-American Scramble--Same
Rock Around the Clock--The Swingin' Marchin' Band, c. Ray Martin, 1958 (RCA LPM-1771)
Witch Doctor--Same
April Love--Same
Rock and Roll March (Steve Allen-Bob Carroll)--Same
And the Bull Walked Around Olay--Les Harris, 1952
Of Thee I Sing (Gershwin-Gershwin)--Andrews Sisters w. Billy May, 1957


Sunday, August 26, 2018

Lee at the organ--Hymns for Sunday

Or any day.  I don't stand on ceremony.

The organ pictured above is the one I used to record these.  No, wait--that was a typo.  I meant, the organ above is not the one I used to record these.  Sorry.  Slip of the fingers.  I actually used my Casio WK-3800 synthesizer, which, despite the name (Casio), sounds very good.  I added some MAGIX effects--namely, Reverb/Echo and Acoustics simulator--destructive.  I had never noticed "destructive" before, so I looked it up, figuring it was an audio term.  (It sounds weird enough to be one.)  I was right.  Wikipedia says,

Destructive editing modifies the data of the original audio file, as opposed to just editing its playback parameters.  Destructive editors are also known as "sample editors".

Now we know.  Wiki says that, once applied, destructive editing usually can't be changed, but with my MAGIX software, all I have to do is hit "undo."  So there, Wikipedia.

These are in response to popular demand.  No, wait--that was a typo.  I meant to say, these are not in response to popular demand.  Not a single request.  Go figure.

Anyway, these are all me playing, with occasional sound-on-sound (to combine two patches), and with most of my false starts edited out.  My favorites are the Samuel Wesley (that guy was talented!) and the gorgeous I Will Not Forget Thee by Charles H. Gabriel.  Gabriel had just become famous with the still-popular Send the Light.

  To the hymns: Lee at the organ

O Holy City, Seen of John (Steggall, 1890)
O Thou Who Comest from Above (Samuel Wesley, 1872)
I Walk with the King (B.D. Ackley, 1915_
O for a Closer Walk with Thee (Dykes, 1875)
Jesu!  Our Eternal King (Freylinghausen, 1704)
I Will Not Forget Thee (Charles H. Gabriel, 1890)
Who Will Gather? (Charles H. Gabriel, c. 1891)
O Happy Home, Where Thou Art Loved (Barnby, 1883)
We Utter Our Cry (1765, harm. Sydney H. Nicholson, 1916)
Spirit of God, Descend (Barnby, 1872)
O Spirit of the Living God (Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1906)


Monday, August 20, 2018

Rock n' Roll--Artie Malvin (1956); Tops in Pops--All the Latest Hit Recordings (Allegro Elite 4131)

Two budget 10-inch LPs of surprisingly good quality, both sound- and performance-wise.  The Artie Malvin disc had obviously been played a lot, and not with light-tracking tonearms.  To the rescue: my 1.2 mil LP stylus, which nearly cleared up channel separation issues by itself, even before I utilized MAGIX.  Of course, this is a mono LP, so technically there should be no channel separation issues, but when you have uneven (and deep) wear on the groove walls and you're tracking with a stereo cartridge, you have channel separation issues.  Solution: use a wide needle and combine channels (or, if one side is fried, double the best channel).  I hope Artie appreciates all this trouble.

But that's not what you came here to hear.  You want to know, how does cheap label regular Artie Malvin do on his Waldorf tracks, all Bill Haley hits?  In my opinion, terribly.  His totally fake attitude of excitement seems designed to convey, "This is exciting!  It's rock and roll!"  The big band arrangements hardly help--at this stage in Waldorf Music Hall's history, the label wasn't much trying to achieve a genuine rock and roll sound, putting it years behind the Synthetic Plastics Co. labels Promenade and Prom, and the Record Corp. of America labels, like Allegro Elite, and Royale.  But, come 1957, Waldorf was getting with the program.

By the way, as far as synthetic plastics go, isn't plastic synthetic by definition?

Anyway, even if they don't sound like the real thing, the Malvin tracks are professionally produced and fun.  The musicians certainly don't sound like they were dragged into doing this.  AND Malvin's Rock Around the Clock presents the song's original minor-key verse as written, and he almost does the twelve-bar chorus as originally conceived, making this much closer to what Rock Around the Clock sounded like before Sonny Dae (Paschal Vennitti) and Bill Haley revised it to make it sound like an R&B number of the party-all-night type.  It's one of about four versions I own which are accurate, to some degree, to the sheet music.

I've always figured that the cheap labels, being the market parasites they were, would quit trying to exploit a given hit past his chart life, but Rock n' Roll 's line-up covers the years 1954 to 1956, making Rock a Beatin' Boogie the only current track.

This edition of Tops in Pops contains enthusiastic performances, all very well recorded, with even the shaky At the Hop harmonies forgivable since the track has so much drive.  There are exceptional vocals on All the Way, Kisses Sweeter Than Wine, and My Heart Reminds Me (which is clearly a steal of the Della Reese version).  All the Way sounds uncannily like Sinatra, and the track would be a cheap label mega-classic if not for the poor strings and the nearly-ruined key change at the end.  As for Kisses, whoever this guy is, I like him better than Jimmie Rodgers.

Great Balls of Fire is kind of clunky, but it captures the spirit of the original quite well, so it's not the usual junk-label letdown.  This Tops in Pops jacket (top of page)--or, pretty much, any Tops in Pops jacket you want to choose--would have any reasonable person expecting very little, so these tracks are quite a pleasant surprise.  And look how weirdly the guy and gal are joined into/over the background photo--they're floating over the floor.  I'm not sure why there's so much contrast on my copy--there are much better looking example of this, including this one at Discogs:


Click here to hear:  Rock n' Roll--Artie Malvin

Click here to hear:  Tops in Pops-Allegro Elite 4131; 1956

Artie Malvin--Rock n' Roll (Waldorf Music Hall MH 33 149; 1958)

See You Later, Alligator
Rock Around the Clock
Dim, Dim the Lights
Shake, Rattle and Roll
Razzle Dazzle
Rock a Beatin' Boogie

Tops in Pops--All the Latest Hit Recordings (Allegro Elite 4131)

All the Way
At the Hop
Kisses Sweeter Than Wine
Wake Up Little Susie
Jailhouse Rock
Melodie D'Amour
My Heart Reminds Me


Thursday, August 16, 2018

Non-stop idocy

Anymore, I get stupidity like this two or three times a day in the comment section:

"you're in reality a just right webmaster.
The web site loading pace is amazing. It kind of feels that you're doing any distinctive trick.
Moreover, The contents are masterwork. you have done a fantastic task on this subject

Is this stuff generated on Mars?  Is it Martian to English?  And what is it supposed to accomplish?  It's clearly spam, but it includes no links.  Maybe it's coming from a mental institution.

Anyone have any idea what this stuff is?  I mean, if it is another planet someplace trying to make contact with our world, I should be notifying NASA.  Or the SETI Institute.


Thursday, August 02, 2018

Early fake hits (before rock and roll gained its foothold), 1949-1954

Sixteen tracks today--all fake hits, but all dating from before rock and roll became a regular presence in the pop charts, which I consider to be from 1956 on.  Feel free to argue that point (some would name 1955), because I'm no record-charts expert.  Rock and roll sides were making it into the pop charts prior to 1955/56, but not routinely.  We need to remember, too, that in the popular press rock and roll and rhythm and blues were used interchangeably, so using charts to trace the progress of rock and roll isn't a foolproof way.

The only number in this list that I consider rock and roll is Leiber and Stoller's I Need Your Lovin', as it is credited here on the Parade label, though the proper title is Bazoom (I Need Your Lovin').  You'd think Parade would have stuck with Bazoom, to save space and ink.  I guess they were cheapskates, not logicians.

Otherwise, I've kept to "pop" versions of "pop" hits, since the purpose of this post is to demonstrate that the postwar fake-hits boom (how's that for a phrase?) predates the rock era as we know it.  I've traced the boom back to the late '40s with Tops and the Royale/Varsity/etc. family (and a fascinating graveyard of Tops/Royale wannabes), and I don't know of any earlier flood-the-market-with-cheap-copies period.  The famous Depression-era "Hit of the Week" 78s were short-lived, and from approximately 1900-1940 (but more like the mid-'30s), there was a big market in budget-label re-pressings of major label sides (Silvertone, anyone?), so the notion of catering to a budget market was nothing new, but the postwar period seemed ideal for the surrogate-hit practice to invade the market--and flourish.  Fake hits kept on coming through the 1960s, but not at anything like the same rate--I'm guessing that all the Beatles knock-off LPs helped create a mass distaste for sound-alikes.  But that's only a guess--other factors (copyright issues, for one) were surely involved.  Perhaps drug and grocery stores stopped displaying these things.  Maybe the junk labels had to depend more and more on mail-order sales, which would remove the advantage of rack display and the resultant impulse purchases.

This playlist of sixteen titles was meant to cover the years 1948-1954, but I somehow forgot to add my 1948 Varsity label version of Buttons and Bows, so it starts with 1949.  The recording years lean toward (and match) 1954 much moreso than I'd intended, but this is partly because I was working with 78s, and my earlier fake-hit 78s sound awful.  And, come to think of it, there were likely far fewer of these in the earliest years, meaning far fewer survivors, especially on shellac.  Anyway, a decent sampling, regardless, I think.

Thanks to the amazing website 45worlds, I have definite release years for most of these.  No sure year for the Music Club Hit Tunes 78, though Come On-a My House, and My Truly, Truly Fair were two huge 1951 hits.  So 1951 it probably is.  The presence of Elliott Everett and His Orch. almost certainly makes this a Royale or Varsity reissue, or both.  I may have the Royale 78, so stay tuned--its catalog number would tell me.  Then again, there was no rhyme or reason to Varsity's numbering system, so....

A few of these were 45 rpm rips--I've noted them as such in the label info.

DOWNLOAD: Early fake hits (1949-1954)

Dragnet--Enoch Light and His Orch. (Prom 1056; 1953)
The Creep (Instr. and Vocal)--Larry Clinton and His Orch., v. The Carillons (Bell 1022; 1954)
Rags to Riches--Bud Roman w. Lew Raymond and His Orch. (Tops 380--45 rpm; 1953)
Kaw Liga--"Hap" Williams (Victory Extended Play Records BG1020; prob. 1953)
The Story of Three Loves--The Magic Strings (Bell 1015; 1954)
I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Cocoanuts--Jimmie Livingston Orch., v. "Skeets" Morris (1949 or 1950)
Underneath the Arches--The Blenders (Tops 106; 1949)
Till Then--Anne Lloyd, Carillons, w. Larry Clinton Orch. (Bell 1034; 1954)
Mambo Italiano--Mimi Martel w. The Four Rhythmaires (Tops R 249-49--45 rpm EP; 1954)
Come On-a My House--Elliott Everett and His Orch., no vocal credit (Music Club Hit Tunes 2; prob. 1951)
Cross Over the Bridge--Earl Sheldon/Hits a Poppin' Orch. (Parade 4501--45 rpm EP; prob. 1954)
I Need Your Lovin'--The Four Rhythmaires, Lew Raymond O. (Tops R 249-49--45 rpm EP; 1954)
Lover--Mimi Martel w. the Hal Loman Orch. (Tops 334; 1952)
I Get So Lonely--Hits a Poppin' Orch. w. Stars of Radio and Television (Parade 7802--78 rpm EP; prob. 1954)
My Truly, Truly Fair--Elliott Everett and His Orch., no vocal credit (Music Club Hit Tunes 2; prob. 1951)