Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Hits A' Poppin (SPC 108)--Fine records needn't be expensive, though it can't hurt

This hammered Synthetic Plastics Co. LP showed up last week in a local Goodwill, and I snapped it up without hesitation, despite the lousy condition, because for some unknown reason these things aren't showing up much in the thrifts anymore, and because the track list was new to me (fake-hit-wise).  Unlike the last Hits a Poppin' I featured, this one has the credits on the label--and an apostrophe after the a, so that's why I capitalized the letter this time.  Important detail, that.  The back cover (which I didn't bother to scan) has the famous SPC motto, "Fine records need not be expensive," except it's "needn't be" instead of "need not be."  Most of the SPC LPs I checked in my collection either have no motto at all or the "needn't be" version.  Nothing was standard with these things!  That would have required planning, quality control.  A short session devoted to working things out.  Out of the question.

Not even a label name for this one--I have at least three other SPCs with this generic black label.  These are more or less "LP--one each" labels.  I should check to see if the others also give ten instead of twelve selections.  I was able to substitute my own Promenade EP versions for a few of the extra-scratchy tracks, but of course I have no Promenade EP substitute for the most hammered track--Bobby Sox to Stockings--which has a deep gouge full through and partially into band 2.  Sweet.  I searched my Tops Records EPs, hoping I'd find a Tops version and that it would match this one.  Found one, and it looked hopeful--same title misspelling (Sox).  But totally different version.  Meanwhile, Personality, the track which immediately precedes it on the EP, IS the version on this LP, only longer (unedited).  One matches, the other doesn't.  I give up.

So, as a last-ditch thing, I stepped up the VS declicking settings for Bobby Sox (receiving a warning message about audio loss--which is not an issue on a track this hammered) and got amazingly good results.  I saved the track, an action that sends the "album" and its tracks to the default VS folder.  (I know--things don't literally migrate on PCs, but....)  So I brought the track into MAGIX from the default VS folder--and instead of the fixed audio, I got the "uncorrected" file.  I have no idea why--the VS settings are in order, and VS and MAGIX were getting along just fine on Windows 7.  So it must be another Windows 10 challenge.  I wrote VS for help.  Meanwhile, I burned the "corrected" VS track straight to CD-R, then I ripped it into my MAGIX "project" (this LP).  And then I don't remember anything after that.  Woke up in the woods, clothes torn, head dazed.

I seriously thought I'd have to omit Bobby Sox, but I ended up saving it.  Hooray!  What a lesser world this would have been, otherwise.  Fun stuff here, and there's the longer Personality and alternate Bobby Sox and Lipstick on Your Collar to make for another thirteen-track playlist.   And I didn't even have to look up Lipstick to know it's a Neil Sedaka song--pure Neil.  Except I just looked it up, and it's not Neil--it was written by Edna Lewis (w) and George Goehring (m).  D'oh!

Of the track credits, Eli Whitney and Al Freed stand out, as usual.  You don't suppose "Al Freed" is meant to suggest "Alan Freed" (who, as far as I know, didn't make records, save in the sense of helping make them popular)?  As you can see, I left the jacket half-fixed.  Just to give you an idea of what it really looks like.

UPDATE (7/5): I improved the original zip, removing some loud clicks and pops I'd missed before.  The link below now goes to this improved zip.

DOWNLOAD:  Hits A' Poppin'--Radio and TV Favorites

Sea of Love--Richard Deane
Lipstick on Your Collar--Janet King
Lavender Blue--Michael Reed
A Big Hunk of Love--Eli Whitney
Waterloo--Andrew Jacks
Bobby Sox to Stockings--John Logan
What Is Love--The Promineers
Ciao Ciao Bambina--Al Freed
What a Difference a Day Makes--Betty Green
Personality--Rob Robbins

Hits A' Poppin'--Radio and TV Favorites (SPC 108)


Lipstick on Your Collar--Gloria Kay and the Toppers  (Top Hits--Tops S-28; 45 rpm EP)
Bobby Sox to Stockings--Alex Corey and the Toppers (Top Hits--Tops S-27; 45 rpm EP)
Personality--Leroy Collins and the Toppers (Top Hits--Tops S-27; 45 rpm.  Unedited version of Rob Robbins track, above.)



Ernie said...

Is that supposed to be a 'portable' record player on the front cover? :)

Lee Hartsfeld said...

Yup! Probably weighed a mere 30-40 pounds.

Buster said...

I’ve had many things happen to me while ripping records, but never ended up in the woods, clothes torn, head dazed.

Ernie said...

Happens to me more often than I'll admit...

musicman1979 said...

This was the first SPC Hits A' Poppin' LP that I bought for a quarter in my Library's Book Sale Room and is also the only one in the series that I have seen another copy of, with the second copy (which I did not buy)almost in the same condition that your copy is in, and they were charging $3.00!!

Either way, a grand remastering job from you on this album. The hard work you put into "Bobby Sox To Stockings" paid off, because I can hardly tell that it was badly scratched and in poor condition.

I was surprised that you did not mention anything about their take on "A Big Hunk Of Love". I actually prefer this fake version over the Elvis original, plus the guitar solo is really really good.

Did you notice that SPC was so cheap that they did not have the money to add a string section on their take on Dinah Washington's "What A Difference A Day Makes"? What they did in it's place makes it sound a bit jazzier while retaining that great drum beat that is a key element of the number.

Also, "Ciao Ciao Bambina" was originally done by Jacky Nougez and his Musette Orchestra on Jamie Records. The SPC fake is a little more Poppy and the famale voice is sexier than the one on the Nougez original.

I also have this LP's follow-up and you can tell that these are made-up credits. John Logan got credited as Michael Reed on HAP 109's take of "Just Ask Your Heart", and he sounds nothing like the one singing on "Lavender Blue."

This is one of my all-time favorite soundalike LP's. Thanks for posting, and thank you for your years of service to our country. God bless you.

Lee Hartsfeld said...


Thanks for your kind comments! And I should note that came across a copy of this in much better condition--maybe I should do a new rip. Yes, "cheap" is the word when it comes to SPC, but they did some terrific sound-alikes!

musicman1979 said...

YAY!! My copy is in pretty good condition. Looking forward to it