Saturday, November 30, 2019

The Billy Four: A Record for Christmas (1948)

I found this in April and posted it.  The Zippy link is kaput, so I thought I'd repost.  Plus, it's Christmas.  (In my culture, "It's Christmas" means "Christmas is almost here.")

Once upon a time, people used disc-cutting machines to cut their own discs.  Eventually (during the 50s?), people switched to magnetic tape for home recording.  That's the history as I know it--it's probably a bit more complicated than that.  But here's a home-made Christmas disc by a very young man named Billy.  I know this, because on the second side Billy introduces a piano piece (nothing I recognize; sounds like a by-ear number) with the words, "This is Billy, making you a record for Christmas of (in?) 1948."  Thus I know the recording year.  Of course, Billy could have simply been the engineer, but I suspect he's the ivory tinkler, at least on side 2.  He's a decent player for a kid.

I'm designating the piano solo (which features a false start, followed by some Charles Ives harmonies, before it gets going) as side 2 because it contains no writing on the label; the flip (above) lists White Christmas and Jingle Bells as the pieces, and what looks like "Billy Four" as the artists.  So I'm assigning it side-1 status.  Problem is, there are only two musicians--tenor (?) sax and piano, so maybe "Four" (or "Lour"?) is Billy's last name.  Will we ever know?

Condition isn't very good (Maybe I should have employed some hiss filtering), but I used the curve marked "AFRS Transcriptions #1" in my VinylStudio program, and it brings the music out loud and clear over the disc noise.  AFRS, of course, is Armed Forces Radio Service, which eventually became Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS), or "A-farts," as we called it in the Navy.  AFRTS would send my first ship videos to play over the closed-circuit system, and one night I was showing a program for the crew while watching a tape on another machine.  Meaning to fast-forward the other tape, I accidentally fast-forwarded the AFRTS program.  Knock on the door--a crewmember.  "Could you please reshow the last five minutes or so?" he asked.  Oops.

AFRTS programs always included Navy recruiting spots, and you can imagine the responses they received in our TV lounges.  Anyway, of course this disc has nothing to do with AFRS, but the curve sure matches up beautifully.

To Billy and the Billy Four: A Record for Christmas of 1948


Thursday, November 28, 2019

Tops in Pops--Royale 18125 and 18125D

Two 10-inch Tops in Pops on Royale--the perfect music for Thanksgiving.  Actually, these are a pair I recently found on eBay quite cheap, and the discs looked to be in fine shape in the ad photos.  And, sure enough, they are.  Of course, this is the Royale label, so I had to deal with pressing imperfections, but I was able to edit nearly all of those out.  I wanted to share this before starting my Christmas posting tomorrow, so....

We've heard some of these before at the blog from the Today's Records label and a Royale 12-incher, An Hour of Tops in Pops, but the Today's Records versions were edited, and only four are dupes with the LP--which, at the moment, has a dead link, because I used Zippyshare.  Anyway, I boosted the bass on the four pop tracks on Royale 18125--the Classical theme Fox Trots had enough bass already.  And, while four Fox Trots are listed on the label, there are only three bands.  Royale quality control in action.  The Fox Trots are the usual bit of presenting familiar Classical airs in dance style, which by this point was as new as buttered bread.  Paul Whiteman, anyone?

Despite the D suffix, Royale 18125D has the exact same cover.  All eight tracks are then-current (1955) pop hits--no filler.  (How generous of Royale!)  This Rock Around the Clock fake may be the best of the many fake-hit versions, though the singer is a little off at times.  This is typical of the fake-hit RATC cuts, and the conventional explanation is that non-r&r musicians of the time weren't used to performing rock and roll.  Well, the backbeat--the accent on 2 and 4--hardly started with rock, and rock's boogie rhythms were straight out of big band.  What I think trips up the singers on this particular number, and sometimes the musicians, is the complexity of the syncopated triplet rhythms.  RATC's rhythms are trickier than the norm.  On at least one RATC fake (Prom, I think), the guitarist rushes the answer chords in the verse's "We're gonna rock around the clock tonight," thrown off by what the vocalist is doing.

Ko Ko Mo is a cover of Perry Como's pop cover of the song, making this is a cover of a cover, or a fake of a cover.  Rock Love is also a cover of the pop hit, and I forgot who did the pop cover.  Okay, the Fontane Sisters.  That's what I thought.  Thanks, Google.

This is a day for giving thanks for near-mint Royale mega-cheapies.  Tomorrow, Xmas begins here!  Odd Lots and CVS and a bunch of other folks beat me to it, but so it goes.

DOWNLOAD: Tops in Pops (Royale 18125 and Royale 18125D)

Royale Dance Orch. and Singers

The Crazy Otto
Rock Love
How Important Can It Be
Ko Ko Mo

Royale Dance Orch.

Serenade for String (sic) Air--F.T.
Pathetique Air--F.T.
Romeo and Juliet Air--F.T.

(Royale 18125)

Royale Singers and Orchestra

Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White
Darling Je Vous Aime Beaucoup
Pledging My Love
It May Sound Silly
A Blossom Fell
Learnin' the Blues
Rock Around the Clock

(Royale 18125D)


Sunday, November 24, 2019

Return of "Oh, Happy Day," plus two other duds and a good Mimi Martel performance

The 1952 Don Howard Koplow hit Oh, Happy Day isn't much of a song (or performance), but its importance to rock and roll is huge--it was one of the first r&r records to hit the pop charts, and hit it big.  It was not remotely the first I/vi/ii/V song to become a hit--I Got Rhythm used that cliche progression, for instance, though Gershwin employed a circle-of-fourths bridge in his undeniably superior song.  Blue Moon is another famous I/vi/ii/V song (or maybe it was I/vi/IV/V, which has the identical effect).  Harmonically, not much of a distinction.  Anyway, this disc may (or may not) complete the fake-hit list for this song--unless it turns out that Bell Records put out a version.

Before I forget, in January I posted Larry Hooper's 1953 version (by far, the best cover), plus Koplow's original (as "Don Howard") and three fakes.  If you missed this, get it here.  The link has been revived.

What can I say about this particular Oh, Happy Day?  Well, it would have worked a lot better with a rhythm guitarist capable of counting in steady 4/4. And if Dick Erickson hadn't managed to sound worse than Koplow (in spots, he seems to be channeling Lurch).  Curious about how this was notated for sheet music, I checked eBay (great research tool) for a scan of the music, and I found one.  As I suspected, the song was notated in 4/4, but with a time signature indicating cut time, or alla breve (C with a line through it).  In other words, 2/2, which is a two-beat pulse.  This is slow 4/4, and only someone dozing off would take it to be 2/2.  I don't know why pop sheet music of former days used the cut time symbol, when all they had to do was use a C with no line for 4/4.  Not that it matters much, but it just puzzles me.  And when I'm puzzled, I... I'm puzzled.  Yes.  You heard it here. Actually, I was wrong--cut time is traditionally notated as 4/4, with one beat per half note (i.e., two beats per measure of four quarter notes).  I read a Wikipedia piece on alla breve to refresh my memory, but I saw "half note" and thought eighth note.  I'm always doing that.  But I do hear a 4/4 in the background strumming on this.  Others may hear a 1-and, 2-and thing going on, a la traditional country music.  It's how our ears pick up the meter--it's subjective.

Back to the music, we get a less than terrific version of the Les Paul/Mary Ford My Baby's Coming Home, featuring a Marilyn Horne who is very clearly not the famous opera singer.  This Marilyn might have sounded better in a higher key, and her attempt to imitate Mary's whisper-style vocal on the original has her sounding like someone afraid to be heard (Les Paul-style echo would have helped).  The backing musicians sound confused.   Thank goodness for the excellent Mimi Martel, who does her usual great job on the Joni James hit Why Don't You Believe Me, even with the low-rent orchestral background.  We have to remember that these things weren't churned out with loving care, so when anyone managed to shine, it was quite a tribute to that person.

Corky Carpenter and the Texas Play Boys almost make it through the weird-metered Don't Let the Stars..., but they lose the chords in the solo section, which is actually kind of fun to listen to.  Tops wasn't big on second takes, obviously.

A fun EP, despite its faults.  The awful first track is a happy day for my collection--at last, I (maybe) have all the fake versions of OHD.  I won't complain, though, if I stumble onto another.

DOWNLOAD: Dick Erickson

Oh, Happy Day (Koplow-Reed)--Dick Erickson
My Baby's Coming Home (Grady-Leavitt-Feller)--Marilyn Horne, Wayne Stratton on Guitar
Why Don't You Believe Me (Douglas-Laney-Rodde)--Mimi Martel, The Hal Lomen Orch.
Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes (Willett)--Corky Carpenter, The Texas Play Boys

(45cat gives this disc at year of 1953, which seems reasonable.)


Favorite Gospel Tracks, Part 11--The Burden Lifters, The Gospel Bells Quartet, Gipsy Smith

At the moment (Saturday evening), I'm re-ripping a few 78s, as I discovered to my amazement that I had connected the lead wires incorrectly on my Stanton 500.V3!  I was going to experiment with getting lateral-only response (which, it turns out, takes more than just switching the pins), and I realized the cartridge was wired wrong!  When I originally hooked it up, I had followed the same pattern I've always followed, but the pins on this cart are not in the usual order.  Oops.  Oddly enough, the pins are in the conventional order on my "HiFi" Stanton cart.  Oh, well....  Now I'm going to wonder how many sides I've ripped up till now with the wrong wiring.

The 78s I'm redoing include a 1910 78 rpm appearance of British evangelist Rodney "Gipsy" Smith, who had a pleasant, strong voice--one which registered superbly on/with the acoustical process (standing in front of a big horn).  He sings Jesus Is My Life and Song, which is new to me, even if this disc is 109 years old.  The flip is a fabulous Ira Sankey hymn, When the Mists Have Rolled Away, beautifully sung by Harry Anthony and James Harrison.  We don't post junk here.  (Well, unless you don't like gospel!)

Also re-ripping a cool but slightly wonky version of Herbert Buffum's The Old-Fashioned Meeting, sung by C.G. Emanuel ("The Singing Evangelist"), whose weird sense of counting is not something accompanists like to deal with.  And the guy on the piano is none other than Robert Harkness, the famous Australian gospel composer and pianist.  I'm guessing the year at about 1922--can't find a thing on the label, Hollywood. Other Hollywood labels show up, but not this one. I wonder if the other releases on this label sounded as lousy.  I did what I could.  But there's no way I'm not going to post a vintage version of Old-Fashioned Meeting.  Flip is nothing special, but it's okay, though the piano/vocal conflict is even more pronounced.

No year, either, for the Charles E. Fuller/Old Fashioned Revival Hour Quartet version of Meet Me There.  At this point in his life, Charles' singing voice was shot, but he can't be faulted for a lack of enthusiasm, and he's even willing to make fun of himself.  I like him.  I'll have to scan the picture label--it's awesome.  The quartet is superb, as always.

And I have to hurry up and get this written.  The Banner of the Cross sounds like a modern number in this version by the Bob Jones University Male Quartet, but the music is actually from 1885.  I'm not crazy about this rendition, but the song doesn't show up that often.  Extremely hill-style singing by on the 1927 I Know My Name Is There and Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb, and the sound is less than pristine (beat-to-death 78s never sound pristine), but I got good files out of it.  I better have--took me a good while.  And... a group called the Burden Lifters just has to be good, and by golly, it is.  A thrift gift from Indiana from Diane, and I thank her.  A group like the Gospel Mariners was one of the last things I expected from the ultra-cheap Hollywood label (no relation to the 78 rpm Hollywood, far as I know), and they're really good.  Had to dress up the sound, because the pressing is junky and someone played it a lot.  Which was their right.  Why buy a record if you're not going to play it?  Just wish they'd used either a lighter tonearm or a less worn needle.  And Burl Ives shows up with a classic gospel number from 1885 (that year again), Bring Them In.  Burl's a bit out of place in this lineup, but I like variety.  For some reason, on the file I gave Philip Bliss the credit, but it's actually by Alexcenah Thomas (words) and William A. Ogden (music), says The Cyber Hymnal, which I trust.  Best site on the internet.

And we get yet another City of Gold.  This one has nothing to do with Fanny Crosby's hymn.  To the gospel....

DOWNLOAD: Favorite gospel tracks, part 11

Meet Me There (Wm. Kirkpatrick)--Charles E. Fuller w. the Old Fashioned Revival Hour Quartet (78 rpm, no label name or number!)

Jesus Is My Light and Song (Kirkpatrick)--Gipsy Smith (Columbia A5158; 1910)
When the Mists Have Rolled Away (Sankey)--Harry Anthony and James Harrison (Same 78)
When I Move--Gospel Mariners Quartet (Hollywood LPH-17; 1956)
On the Jericho Road (Donald S. McCrossan)--Same
When I Wake Up to Sleep No More (Marion Easterling)--The Gospel Bells Quartet
I'm Going Up (Jack W. Campbell)--The Master's Men (Mus-I-Col; Columbus OH)
I'll Soon Be Gone (Joel Hemphill)--The Burden Lifters (Mission Records MR-TBL-641)
City of Gold (Shirley Cohron)--The Burden Lifters (Same)
Bring Them In (Thomas-Ogden)--Burl Ives w. Owen Bradley Choir and Orch., 1962
Sweeter as the Days Go By (Geneser Smith)--The LeFevres, 1963?
Lead Me to That Rock--Gospel Mariners Quartet (As above)
Brethren, We Have Met to Worship--Myrtle Baptist Church Choir (Myrtle, MS)
The Old Country Church (J.D. Sumner)--The Taylor Mountain Boys, 1968
Banner of the Cross (Whittle-McGranahan)--The Bob Jones University Male Quartet, 1977
Feed My Sheep--The Travler's (sic) Quartet, 1968
Old Fashioned Meeting (Buffum)--C.G. Emanuel ("The Singing Evangelist"), p: Robert Harkness
No Disappointment in Heaven (Lehman)--Same
Jerusalem the Golden (Ewing)--Hamilton Quartet, 1950
I Know My Name Is There (D.S. and B.E. Warner)--Jackson Young (Challenge 340; 1927)
Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb (Hoffman)--Same


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Kostelanetz-athon! 1934-1952, with bonus Holst and Honegger sides

Well, "Kostelanetz-athon" is less awkward than "Kosty-athon," at least.  I think.  It's just a blog post, so no biggie...  Anyway, Buster mentioned looking forward to hearing the 1938 Kostelanetz sides in my previous post, and I thought, "Hey, early Kosty!"  Those were my brain's exact words.  These are all Kostys I featured in a 2017 post, but I was new to VinylStudio at the time--in fact, I may even have been manually manipulating the response curve at that point (prior to realizing there was no need to do it that way)--so it's time for new rips, now that I'm way better at matching response curve to 78.  Plus, the 2017 link expired way back.

Things start in 1934 with the two-part Revenge with Music, followed by 1935's Chant of the Weed and Rumba Fantasy.  Then on to the Brunswick Turkey in the Straw and Bugle Call Rag.  These 1934-1938 sides are fabulous recordings which, like the 78 I featured last post, will not remind you of the classic Kosty sound.  That's because the classic Kosty sound had yet to evolve.  At some point, someone (maybe Andre himself) said, "I've got it --Let's place the mic a room's length away from the orchestra," and the standard EZ sound was born.  Now, about Chant of the Weed--everyone in the world except me thinks it's about marijuana, because, following Woodstock, the word "weed" is only allowed to mean reefer.  It's some kind of unwritten rule.  Those troublesome things in your yard, crowding out the "good" plants?  No name for those.  They're simply things.  To get rid of them, you can buy a spray bottle of Thing Killer from Lowes.  Anyway, I regard Chant as a return-to-Africa song.  There was a literary movement around that idea--African-Americans returning to their true land.  It wasn't D.W. Griffith's idea--it was a notion born in black culture.  It seems odd today, but lots of outdated things and ideas seem odd today.  I hear nothing in the lyrics which suggests Mary Jane--the words are all about coming home.  Specially, being called home--by the weeds.  Think jungle.  Not every song of old is filled with double meanings.  Some lyrics simply mean what they mean.  The weird-sounding chords in Chant are simply whole-tone constructions descending in half-steps.  A staple of horror movies.  They do sound incredibly neat as presented by AK's superb vocal chorus.

I used the dynamic filter on MAGIX for, I think, the first time, and mainly to bring out the very quiet portions of Weed, since the volume on the vocals really dips.  The results were acceptable, so I kept them.  I also used this filter for Arthur Honegger's Pacific 231, a playlist bonus from 1927 in which I could swear some limiting was being used.  Which is to say, engineers of that day appear to have had some kind of primitive, basic audio limiting.  Specifically, the volume is cut back in loud sections (subtle, but listen for it), and in such a way that suggests multiple microphones.  I think audio technology was more advanced, even in 1927, then we might imagine today.

And we have nine V Disc Kosty sides covering the years 1944 to 1947, and the wafer-thin V Discs are highly prone to warping, which means I had to cut out some thumps and do some selective de-rumbling.  You haven't lived until you've done selective de-rumbling.  My favorite of the V Discs is the Cyril Scott Lotus Land, which I would call the starting point of so-called Exotica, if it weren't for Debussy, Satie, and others beating Scott to the game by a couple decades.  Oh, well.  The Kosty version is perfect, just beautiful and in no hurry to reach the run-off groove--even the very audible studio noises (Coughing?  Page shuffling?) fail to mess up the mood of mysterioso, and I just coined a phrase--no "mood of mysterioso" in my Google search.  The Kosty composition Impressions of Basie (1944) is the usual Classical-musician-doing-orchestrated-blues-and-passing-it-off-as-jazz routine, but it's fun enough for what it is.  Problem is, such compositions were a dime a dozen.

I mentioned the one bonus side--the other is Gustav Holst conducting his own Marching Song and Mercury from The Planets, all in wonderful 1926 fidelity.  Like a lot of composers, when conducting his own stuff, Holst goes by the clock--precisely as written, no tampering with tempo.  I think I've heard one entire Planets version that didn't make me wince at every tempo and dynamic decision--worst is those egoist conductors who do the initial Mars crescendo at 15X forte, apparently for listeners deafened by Star Wars soundtracks.  Yeah, we get it--it's a crescendo.  If there's any life on Mars, it heard it, too.  But I'm way off topic here.

On YouTube, some arranger purports to have improved on Holst's scoring of Marching Song, and if there's one thing Holst needs help with, it's scoring.  (Long sigh.)

Oh, and I included the "raw" file of Marching Song as the last track.  It's what it sounded like before I did anything to it.

To the Kosty (and friends)....

DOWNLOAD: Early Kosty, and more!

Revenge with Music (Dietz-Schwartz)--Andre Kostelanetz Presents (Victor 36142; 1934)
Chant of the Weed (Donald Redman)--Andre Kostelanetz Presents (Victor 36161; 1935)
Rumba Fantasy--Same
Turkey in the Straw--Andre Kostelanetz Conducts (Brunswick 8214; 1938)
Bugle Call Rag (Pettis-Meyers-Schoebel)--Same
Impressions of Basie (Kostelanetz)--Andre Kostelanetz and His Orch. (V Disc 147; 1944)
Malaguena (Lecuona)--Same (V Disc 147; 1944)
Warsaw Concerto (Addinsell)--Same (V Disc 549; 1945)
Fire Dance (De Falla)--Same (V Disc 639; 1946)
Lotus Land (Cyril Scott)--Same (V Disc 639, 1946)
St. Louis Blues (Handy)--Same (V Disc 609; 1946)
Medley from Snow White and Pinocchio--Same (V Disc 609; 1946)
Flamingo (Anderson-Grouya)--Same (V Disc 565; 1946)
Dancing in the Dark--You Are Too Beautiful--Same (V Disc 808; 1947)
Time on My Hands (Adamson-Gordon-Youmans)--Same (Entre 104-E; 1952)
Playing Around (Spielerei) (Stix-Ormandy)--Same
Marching Song (Holst)--Gustav Holst c. the London Symphony Orch. (Columbia L 1543; 1926)
Mercury (The Winged Messenger; from The Planets)--Same
Pacific 231 (Honegger)--Continental Symphony Orch., under the dir. of Piero Coppola (Victor Red Seal 9276; 1927)
Marching Song (Holst)--Raw file


Sunday, November 17, 2019

The rest of my Goodwill haul--Pathe verticals, Waterford High School Wildcat Marching Band, Billy Joe and His Brothers

A few posts ago, I shared two items from a recent Goodwill haul--two Wallace Reducing Record 78s from a get-thin-to music album of 1922, possibly the first example of its type.  Today, the rest of that haul.

We start with three double-sided, vertically cut 1919-1920 Pathe 78s, one of which bears the all-time priceless title, Tents of Arabs.  Four of the five sides were restorable (the lovely Neil Moret song Peggy was trashed, unfortunately), and, faced for a second time with turning vertical into lateral, I tried a different approach.  Last time (Ja Da, New Orleans Jazz Band), I used MAGIX's "move centered sounds" feature, but with these, I set the stereo separation as wide as possible, and then I saved the results.  Next, I chose a side (left, I think) and doubled it, then saved.  Result: lateral fidelity.  And with fewer weird background noises/artifacts.  I also used my wider (3.2 mil) stylus.  I suspect the best option would be a 4 mil (or larger) needle, but I only have so many styli.

My favorites among the Pathes are the lively Joseph Samuels numbers, the ditty by the Peerless Quartet (my favorite of the great early quartets, pressed a little off-center here), and Arthur Field's 1919 I Might Be Your Once in a While.  The latter number surprised me a lot in two respects: 1) Arthur Fields' lovely voice--I had thought of Arthur as a comedy refrain singer on dance band records--and 2) the superb tune.  I'd known the title, but I'd never heard the melody, and I assumed it was a trifle.  Nothing of the kind--it has a poignant text and superb music, and had I known Victor Herbert was the tunesmith, I'd have expected such excellence.  My repeat-play number of the month.

A word about Dardanella, which was a huge seller for (Ben) Selvin's Novelty Orch. in 1919.  Naturally, other orchestras and singers covered it, and this Joseph Samuels version is a close copy of Selvin's version.  Close enough, it could be deemed a fake hit.  A very early one.  Whether or not it functioned as a cheap knock-off, I can't say, as I don't know how Pathe and Victor compared, price-wise.

And we have two unusual 45s, starting with a private recording--the Waterford (Ohio) High School Wildcat Marching Band performing a medley that consists of Diana; Red River Rock; Hello, Dolly; Rock Around the ClockChattanooga Shoe Shine Boy; and Swinging (aka Swingin') Safari.  No way to guess a year from that line-up, and I was unable to find a discography for the Coronet Recording Company of Columbus, Ohio.  (Update: Bob says this was mastered by RCA Records custom division, with the "S" in S4KM designating 1965.)  I deleted the Fight Song portion, which includes the OSU fight song.  I figured this was wise, since, by now, OSU has probably copyrighted the word "song."  Anyway, the big disappointment here is too little time spent on Rock Around the Clock and too much on the please-make-it-stop Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy.  At any rate, the former can register halfway well as a marching band number, but the latter is simply going to sound clunky in any large setting.  In my opinion.

The second 45, which I figured might not even play, but which cleaned up very nicely, is the 1953 country parody A Guitar Is a Man's Best Friend, written by the three Weidler brothers--George (second husband of Doris Day), Walter and Warner.  Prior to realizing this side is a lark, I honestly thought the singer was drunk.  This strikes me as specifically a send-up of Hank Williams, which, if so, would make this pretty bad timing, as Hank died earlier that year.

The two Kostelanetz sides from 1938 (ripped by me from my Brunswick 78s) are very entertaining, though they're not Kosty as most of us know him--not the EZ Andre.  Closer to a large dance band.  I thank my VinylStudio software for providing a perfect response curve for this 78.

DOWNLOAD: Goodwill Haul, Continued

Fast Asleep in Poppy Land (Byron Gay)--Peerless Quartet, 1919 (Pathe 22214, 1919)
I Might Be Your Once in a While (Smith-Herbert)--Arthur Fields, Same
Tents of Arabs--Medley One Step (Lee-David)--Joseph Samuels' Orch. (Pathe 22267, 1919)
Wonderful Pal (Pinkard)--Joseph Samuels' Orch. (Pathe 22288, 1920)
Dardanella (Bernard-Black)--Joseph Samuel's Orch., Laughing Saxophone by N. Glantz, Same
Diana-Red River Rock-Hello, Dolly--Waterford High School Wildcat Marching Band, Dir. David Kinney, 1965
Rock Around the Clock-Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy-Swinging Safari--Same
A Guitar Is a Man's Best Friend (Warner, Walter, George Weidler)--Billy Joe and His Brothers, 1953


Monday, November 11, 2019

Veterans Day 2019--Sounds from 1902 to 1941

Save for the mournful anti-war classic The Trumpeter (J. Francis Burton-J. Airlie Dix, 1904), which I present often at this blog (this is my latest and best rip), these tracks are kind of a happy affair.  Or a happy-sounding affair, anyway.  Jaunty, cheery stuff--who knew Gettysburg was such a blast?  (No pun intended.)  But happy-sounding marches about war are part of pop music history, so what can I say?  And Ferde Grofe's March for Americans is a straight-out patriotic salute, so its cheery tone is completely appropriate.  I like it more every time I hear it--Meredith (The Music Man) Willson and his concert orchestra do great work on this 1941 12-incher, part of a Decca set called Modern American MusicJa Da and Good Bye, Dolly Gray were big WWI pop numbers, though the latter was a Boer War number.  In fact, says Wikipedia, "The song was popularized as a Boer War anthem, it was written during the earlier Spanish-American War."  I think they left out a "though" at the start of that sentence.  Ja Da is from a vertically cut 78 on Okeh by the New Orleans Jazz Band, whose pianist was Jimmy Durante.  He eventually took over the group.

Vertically cut 78s are a challenge, because summing the channels eliminates the vertical aspect, and the result is... no sound!  With MAGIX, it takes a two-step process--first, I move the "centered sounds" to the right or left, then I save the results.  Then I place the saved channel on both sides.  Rumble is an issue with non-lateral-cut 78s, since I can't eliminate it by summing the channels, but there is a great DeRumbler filter in the program, which I only now discovered can be used by itself, without having to take a noise sample first.  Very handy.  This way, I can knock out the rumble on the verticals, leaving me free to give acoustics some bass.

Bugle Call Rag is a jazzy kind of parody--"jazzy" in the 1923 sense, which can sound sort of corny to modern ears, but it's gold to fans of "hot" dance music.  Battle of the Nations is a 1915 E.T. Paull march--WWI before my country became involved.  Paull's marches and novelty pieces, many composed by him, were catchy but no classics.  Their covers, on the other hand, were often extraordinary.  I just swiped this image from the Smithsonian Institution's website.  I probably have it in my collection, but finding it would take forever:

All selections ripped by me from my shellac collection.  Have a great 78 rpm Vets Day!  And, on the file, I goofed on the American Army March credit--I typed "Iasselli" instead of "Iassilli."  In case you notice.

DOWNLOAD: Veterans Day 2019

March for Americans (Ferde Grofe)--Meredith Willson and His Concert Orch., 1941
Ja Da (Intro. You'll Find Old Dixieland in France)--New Orleans Jazz Band, 1918
Battle of Gettysburg (Descriptive March--E.T. Paull)--Conway's Band, Dir. Patrick Conway, 1917
Bugle Call Rag (Pettis-Schoebel)--Lyman's California Ambassador Orch., 1923
Battle of the Nations  (Descriptive March--E.T. Paull)--Conway's Band, Dir. Patrick Conway, 1916
American Army March (G. Iassili)--Creatore's Band, 1925
Good Bye, Dolly Gray--Columbia Quartette, 1902
My Dough Boy--One-Step (Hugo Frey)--Joseph C. Smith's Orch., 1918
The Trumpeter (Descriptive Ballad)--Raymond Newell, Baritone, Ion Swinley, Narr. (1929)


Sunday, November 10, 2019

Favorite Gospel Tracks, Part 10--Phipps Family, London Philharmonic Choir, George P. Zinn

Not much time to write about the tracks--maybe tomorrow.  Except to note that Let the Sunshine In is not the Stuart Hamblen song, whose main title is Open Up Your Heart--this Sunshine has an 1895 text by Ada J. Blenkhorn and music by Charles H. Gabriel, possibly from the same year.  Was a very popular number at one time.  And that The Royal Telephone, featured here in a 1972 recording by the Blue Ridge Quartet (Burl Ives did a fine version, too), was penned in 1919.  The all-time great gospel number Hark, Ten Thousand Harps and Voices, which I've only found this one recording of, has an 1840 tune by Lowell Mason and 1806 words by Thomas Kelly.  The London Philharmonic Choir did a quick run-through as part of a medley, so I isolated and doubled it with MAGIX, doing an overlap and fade.

I wish I could have found out who the Burton Sisters are or were.  Many of my older CD-R rips lack tags besides artist and title--this could be a Musicmatch burn.  The LP is no longer in my gospel rows, so I traveled to cyberspace to find mention of it--no success.  Zero info.  But we know they existed.  And that they recorded Herbert E. Buffum's gospel mega-classic of 1904, I'm Going Through, also known as I'm Going Through, Jesus.

Great stuff today--enjoy!  Meanwhile, I need to get a Part 11 ready.  I think I have the required number of tracks--just need to rip them.

DOWNLOAD--Favorite Gospel Tracks, Part 10

When We All Get to Heaven (Hewitt-Wilson)--Ralph Carmichael Chorus
I'm Going Through (Buffum)--Burton Sisters (I ripped this track to CD-R years back; no LP info on line)
Hark, Ten Thousand Harps and Voices (Kelly-Mason)--London Philharmonic Choir, 1981
Banks of Jordan--The Cooke Duet, 1969
Lonesome Valley--Phipps Family (From the SPC label Guest Star)
Stepped in the Water--Traveler's Quartet, 1967 (With two e's this time)
To God Be the Glory (Crosby-Doane)--Old Fashioned Revival Hour Choir, Dir. Dr. H. Leland Green, 1964
Brethren, We Have Met to Worship--Myrtle Baptist Church Choir
My Sins Are Gone (Vandall)--Old Fashioned Revival Hour Quartet, Rudy Atwood, Acc. (From 78 on groups' own label)
Let the Sunshine In (Blenkhorn-Gabriel)--Old Fashioned Revival Hour Quartet (From LP on Christian Faith label)
The Royal Telephone (Frederick M. Lehman)--The Blue Ridge Quartet, 1972
Wonderful Grace of Jesus (Lillenas)--The Musical Biolans (Bible Institute of Los Angeles), Dir. Ralph Carmichael (From LP on Christian Faith label)
My Sins Are Gone (Vandall)--The Haven of Rest Quartet, 1960
Tell Someone About Jesus (Snead-Gabriel)--Blackwood Brothers Quartet, 1959
Just When I Need Him Most (Poole-Gabriel)--George P. Zinn, Lyric Tenor
Saved to the Uttermost (Kirkpatrick)--Same
He Lifted Me (Gabriel)--The Rice Family Singers
Wonderful Grace of Jesus (Lillenas)--Church of the Nazarene, Dr. Ray H. Moore, 1959
Come to the Cross (Ron Hamilton)--Unknown choir (Arr. Frank Garlock)
Over in the Gloryland (J.W. Acuff)--Jack Bishop (From LP on Gloryland label, Columbus OH)
If your Heart Keeps Right (Lizzie De Armond--B.D. Ackley)--Homer Rodeheaver w. Mark Andrews, pipe organ (1927, Victor 78)
How Great Thou Art (Stuart K. Hine)--George Beverly Shea w. the Billy Graham Crusade Choir, 1962
A Rainbow on the Cloud (Hewitt-Gabriel)--Homer Rodeheaver, Orch. Acc., (1923, Vocalion 78)
Jesus Savior, Pilot Me (Gould-Hopper)--Hamilton Quartet, 1950 (Decca)
Love Lifted Me (Rowe-Smith)--Gospel Harmony Boys, 1967


Saturday, November 09, 2019

Wallace Reducing Record, No. 3 and No. 4 (1922)--"One... two! One... two!"

In case anyone wondered when I was going to get around to featuring weight-loss 78s from 1922, today is your lucky day.  At a Goodwill where 78s were the last thing I expected, a nice little stack of them appeared, along with some fun 45s.  The No. 3 and No. 4 Wallace Reducing Record--how could I pass them up?  I figured these must have been sold by mail, and this was confirmed on line by scanned copies of the Womens' Home Journal and The Cosmopolitan (back when it was a literary magazine).  The ad doesn't list the cost, since it's a first-record-free deal.  The one-sided discs came in an album with a booklet, neither of which came with this find.  Here's the ad:

So, exercising to music is anything but a new idea in our pop culture.  Wow.  These two sides are repetitious, of course, but hilarious because of the period music.  Well, hilarious to me, anyway.  You might tire of them quickly, especially if you follow the exercises.

The sound quality goes to heck at the end of No. 4, and I don't know why--there's no visible wear or surface flaws.  It's a mystery.  Anyway, I wonder if anyone ever really lose 100 lbs. with these....

Here's the Wikipedia scoop on Wallace M. Rogerson.  His time-keeping ability is not the best I've ever heard....

Update: Looks like there were six one-sided discs, altogether.  Buster correctly notes that the drastic weight loss allegedly documented in the ad would be deadly, at least over such a short period.

DOWNLOAD: Wallace Reducing Record No. 3 and No. 4

Wallace M. Rogerson, narration with music, 1922

Additional pics.  I'm fine without the booklet, after seeing a sample:


Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Variety Records: The Nation's Top Hits (1956, I'm presuming)

For some reason, I'm always thinking that Variety was a sub-label of Broadway--and then I remember that it wasn't.  Discogs isn't much help.  "Profile: US label," it says.  Um, yeah.  We know.

My more-likely-to-be-true guess would be that Variety's releases correspond to Allegro, Ultraphonic, and other Eli Oberstein labels, except that my Allegro Tops in Pops version of I Walk the Line is not the dreadful one here.  So... there's that problem.  And this dreadful cover of I Walk the Line is actually the reason I bought this set (no sleeve or box, though it probably had one or the other originally).  My only other copy is on a cracked disc from the Variety country and western series.  Split or not split, this is one cracked track.

Because it's so awful, and because I love it so much, I'm giving it its own download in addition to its appearance in the set (EPV-6003, side B).  I Walk the Line's terribleness and inept production values hardly prepare us for the rest of the tracks, which range from adequate to very good.  It's really something to contrast the bigger and/or more sophisticated arrangements here--Canadian Sunset, Lay Down Your Arms, Thee Love, Two Different Worlds, and After the Lights Go Down Low--with the minus production values of Walk.  It only goes to prove you never know what you're going to encounter in the grooves of these cheapies.  Sometimes, maybe, you don't want to know.

The playlist starts out with a very nice fake of the lovely Dimitri Tiomkin number from Friendly Persuasion (Thee I Love), a hit for Pat Boone, of course.  I've never been crazy about True Love, but this is a nice enough cover, and Out of Sight, Out of Mind is also okay, though Variety's unidentified group makes everything sound more like the Platters than the Five Keys.  Love Me Tender is kind of an odd fake--it's not bad, but it doesn't sound very Elvis, and the singer sounds ill at ease, especially when he takes a highly audible breath at the end.  "Whew.  Finally got it down," he seems to be conveying.

The Green Door is very good, with an R&B edge not on the Jim Lowe original.  (Best-ever version of Door, in my opinion, was in 1964 by Bill Haley, but unfortunately that terrific effort went nowhere.)  Even with my high tolerance for non-rock pop of the 1950s, Lay Down Your Arms is about all I can take.  It's stupid, really.  And I've never been a fan of the next number, Just Walking in the Rain, and this singer is no Johnny Ray.  The Bus Stop Song (A Paper of Pins) is a middling Four Lads effort, with these fake Four Lads doing an okay imitation of the real guys.

Hate to annoy any Patience and Prudence fans, but Tonight You Belong to Me, while not as stupid as Lay Down Your Arms, is pretty annoying.  Ditto for the original.  Don't Be Cruel and After the Lights Go Down Low are decent budget covers of, respectively, Elvis Presley and Al Hibbler, and Two Different Worlds was a hit for Don Rondo--I think I actually like this singer better.  The rest of the tracks are solid "fake" efforts.

The discs are not in "beater" condition, which is often the case for Variety platters, but there are distorted spots, the product of either cheap pressings or a stylus in need of replacement.  But nothing extreme, and this is Variety, after all.  An American label.  The performers are all part of a huge outfit called "Top Record Artists with Orchestra and Chorus."  I think I saw them on an Ed Sullivan Show rerun.  It was the budget fake version of the hit program, with a guy who looked sort of like Ed.  Ned Sullenman or Sellavan, I think they called him.

DOWNLOAD:  The Nation's Top Hits  I Walk the Line

Thee I Love (From "Friendly Persuasion")
True Love (From "High Society")
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Love Me Tender
It Isn't Right
The Green Door
Lay Down Your Arms
Just Walking in the Rain
The Bus Stop Song (A Paper of Pins)
Two Different Worlds
Cindy, Oh Cindy
Blueberry Hill
You Don't Know Me
Tonight You Belong to Me
Don't Be Cruel
After the Lights Go Down Low
I Walk the Line
Canadian Sunset

Top Record Artists With Orchestra and Chorus--The Nation's Top Hits (Variety Records EPV-6001/6002/6003; 1956?)


Sunday, November 03, 2019

Favorite gospel tracks, Part 9--I'll Live in Glory, Sweeter Than All, Hallelujah for the Cross

Our series returns, and no time for notes, as I'm getting ready for church... and I have some kind of stomach bug.  My low-grade fever has broken, however, so I'm not contagious--I hope.  A nice combination of mellow, slow gospel with peppy, down-home renditions with more mainstream treatments.  I think this phenomenon is called "something for everybody."  Anyway, as usual, I've tracked down lyricists and composers whenever possible, and I've found recording years whenever possible.  Two numbers by J. Howard Entwistle, probably best known for the music portion of Keep on the Sunny Side of Life, a number often falsely credited to A.P. Carter--these numbers are the lovely, unhurried Sweeter Than All, with lyrics by Johnson Oatman, Jr., and the lively The Hallelujah Side, which I've so far only found a choral rendition of.  You'll be hearing that rendition.

Oh, and "Travler's Quartet" is not a typo.  This group used both spellings--"Traveler's" and "Travler's"-- in its name.  Just depended on the LP.  Not to get too nit-picky, but it really should be "Travelers'," but no one asked me.

Recurring numbers for this series include There'll Be Shouting, Glory in My Soul, and Life's Railway to Heaven.


DOWNLOAD: Favorite Gospel Tracks, Part 9

There'll Be Shouting (Bartlett)--The Sego Brothers and Naomi, 1961
Over Yonder By the Sea (James Rowe)--The Earls and Whitehead Gospel Singers, 1967 
I'll Live in Glory (J.M. Henson)--The Sego Brothers and Naomi, 1961 
That Heavenly Home--Same 
The Hallelujah Side (Johnson Oatman, Jr.-J. Howard Entwistle)--Canton Baptist Temple Choir
Are You Washed in the Blood? (Hoffman)--The Jordan Family
Hallelujah for the Cross (McGranahan)--Temple Time Broadcast Choir
Sweeter Than All (Oatman, Jr.-Entwistle)--Lee Robbins w. the London Concert O. and Choir
Sweeter Than All--Church of the Nazarene Choir, 1959
Glory in My Soul (Davis-Gabriel)--Unknown Artist (From Word's Sunday Evening Favorites)
When I Wake up to Sleep No More (Marion Easterling)--Highland Gospelaires
Life's Railway to Heaven (Abbey-Tillman)--The Taylor Mountain Boys, 1968
Stroll Over Heaven (J.B. Lemley)--The Travler's Quartet, 1968
Lord I'm Ready Now to Go (Lee Roy Abernathy)--The Toney Brothers Quartet
No Tears in Heaven (Robert S. Arnold)--The LeFevres
Springs of Living Water (John W. Peterson)--Temple Time Broadcast Choir
I'll Shout and Shine (Eugene Wright)--Highland Gospelaires
Shake the Master's Hand (Jimmy E. Jones)--The Travler's Quartet, 1968
Bring Them In (Thomas-Ogden)--Unknown Choir (Arr: Frank Garlock)
The Old-Fashioned Meeting (Herbert Buffum)--Speer Family, 1963
Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb (Elisha A. Hoffman)--Smtih's Sacred Singers, 1929
He Knew Just What to Do--The Miller Family
Stroll Over Heaven (J.B. Lemley)--The Earls and Whitehead Gospel Singers, 1969
He Will Set Your Fields on Fire (H.W. Ballew-Mrs. L.L. Brackett)--Smith's Sacred Singers, 1927
I Cried My Way to Victory--The Earls and Whitehad Gospel Singers, 1969