Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Fake gold from Waldorf (1956)


As I work on a large post that's taking longer than I figured, it's time to put up this delayed post.  Only six tracks, but they're classic Waldorf.  They are fake gold.  And "fake gold" may not sound very complimentary (especially during a gold rush), but I think it's accurate and flattering--Waldorf's fakes are gold, as a rule.  At least, when Enoch Light was calling the shots.  On that note, I just ordered some post-Enoch Waldorf EPs from eBay, and they're very possibly fakes that were also issued on the Song Hits and Hit Parader labels (sold in the magazines of that name, and in Charlton Comics).  They're from the Twilight Zone period, Waldorf-wise, when weird things were being issued, such as all of those recyclings of earlier recordings on LPs sporting blank back covers.  Waldorf's weird period.  When Waldorf went weird.

This ten-incher, however, is classic Waldorf.  It's from 1956, and all the expected folks are present: Artie Malvin, Loren Becker, the Waldorf Ink Spots, Vincent Lopez, Enoch, and... Van Alexander and His Orchestra?  Hm.  I haven't noticed Van Alexander on any other Waldorf vinyl, but maybe I'm just not paying attention.  That happens sometimes.  (Did I just type something?  Where am I?)

You've got to love that beautifully period, campy cover.  The kids, though a little stiffly posed, look like they're having a great time, and it's a good composition, the lettering skillfully arranged around the visuals.  I have to wonder about the orange background--felt?  Construction paper?  Orange chalk on newsprint?  The orange wall seems to meet the orange floor in an arc shape, as if the background was curved.  Probably not worth wondering about.  The cover is simply what it is--a colorful budget jacket.  In the scheme of things, the particulars don't matter.

I know--modeling clay soaked in orange juice!  Anyway, the question is, why only six tracks?  Waldorf was perfectly capable of putting eight tracks on its ten-inch LPs, so why only six?  Maybe it's because the six-selection track listing fits so perfectly above the heads of the dancers.  That must be it.

Our last two budget rock and roll posts featured "rock 'n roll," but this time the apostrophe has moved to the right: "rock n' roll."  I won't bother to mention that the proper contraction of and is 'n', because...  Oops, I just did.  Oh, well.  So, six classic Waldorf tracks, and in a higher bitrate.  I had been using MAGIX's default mp3 bitrate when I exported my files, and it was too low.  (This way, I get to blame MAGIX instead of myself for not fully studying the export page.)  I've had some requests for lossless files, but I don't plan to go that route.  Not at this time, as the saying goes.  I am, however, going the larger-bitrate route.  Everyone has to, at some point in his or her cyber-life.  Just as, once upon a time, Waldorf went the Full Dynamic Range route.  (Maybe those are orange drapes behind the couple.  And a cloth floor...)

DOWNLOAD: Rock N' Roll (Waldorf Music Hall MH-33-170; 1956)


Sunday, September 27, 2020

Happy Goodman Family--Portrait of Excitement (Canaan CAS-9655; 1968)


Thanks to those curses to humanity known as Windows 10 and the new Blogger, this post is arriving late.  I spent 20 minutes on what should have been a three-minute task--migrating and renumbering the individual files.  And getting the four images inserted, and  in order, took three tries--a task that used to take maybe a minute.  That's progress.  So, I don't have time to say much, save that the Happy Goodman Family is Southern gospel.  It's not possible to miss with this wonderful group, and my thanks to Diane for this great thrift gift.

I yell at 10 fairly often, but somehow that never inspires it to behave rationally.  I'm just glad I didn't have to deal with any of the earlier versions. 

Luckily, we have lively and superb gospel music to get our minds--or my mind, anyway--off of all troubles and woes and car alarms.  Twelve delightful gems--just bear with the slow opening number.  Nothing against slow numbers, but they should be placed someplace within a program as energetic as this one, and not at the start.  Not that anyone asked me.

To the great gospel...

DOWNLOAD: Happy Goodman Family--Portrait of Excitement (1968)


Friday, September 25, 2020

The obscure and mysterious Cameo Records label--vintage fake


As far as I know, this label is not to be confused with this one.  Then again, who knows?  Anyway, for my Aug. 19th Eddie Maynard post, I had used the Internet Archive to track down the source for Because of You (uncredited on the Maynard LP), and I discovered it was originally a Johnny Kay release on the Popular Records label (not to be confused with Popular Extended Play Records).  To make a long story less long, Popular Records led me to Cameo Records, a label with ties to a slew of other cheapo operations, including Family Library of Recorded Music, Solitaire Records, Micro Records, and Gateway Top Tune (!!).  There's also an SPC (Synthetic Plastics Co.) connection, since the Eddie Maynard LP is on Promenade, an SPC label.

Bandleader/pianist Preston Sandiford, who is most likely the person mentioned in this Wikipedia entry, is the link between Cameo and Gateway Top Tune.  Cited as an important musical influence by Quincy Jones, no less!  So, how did such a distinguished musician end up in this obscure budget group?  Well, probably the same way Paul Whiteman, Vincent Lopez, Bob Eberly, Artie Malvin, and other significant artists ended up in the jobber racks.  Anyway, the orchestral backings on these Cameo 45s, while not perfect, are higher than the cheap-label norm, and the vocalists are mostly above par, too--save for one Pat O'Shea, whose cover of Shrimp Boats is downright dreadful (in the "hurry, hurry, hurry home" part, at least).  It may have been a bad key for her--I don't know.  But Perry Como-soundalike Johnny Kay/Kaye, famous for his endlessly recycled budget Christmas tracks, is phenomenal on Trust in Me, and Larry Foster is very solid, too, though it's odd that he made no attempt to mimic Johnnie Ray on his covers of Cry and The Little White Cloud, given that he possessed a Sammy Davis, Jr.-style ability to copy other singers.  He displayed that talent on a 1954 Coral side, A Trip to Hollywood, and on a ten-inch budget LP I can't Google-locate at the moment.  I have no idea if he's the same Larry Foster who did The Other Family, though Discogs thinks so.

Fake hits from the pre-rock&roll era are always fun to find, and they're of course harder to come by.  So, the condition on these is not the tops, and I unfortunately had to pass on a couple of titles too worn to rescue.  But, for most of the rest, all it took was a few hours of neutralizing some clicks, pops, and explosions to get them sounding pretty decent.  I regret to say that Blue Tango is not the gem I thought it would be--Sandiford's men sound a little under-rehearsed.  But even mediocre Leroy Anderson is worth a listen. 

Before I forget, the clipped beginning on Dance Me Loose (one of those "Thank goodness rock and roll came along" early '50s hits) was the fault of the Cameo engineer, not me. 

Discogs identifies Cameo as a Canadian label, and Solitaire as UK, but I've seen U.S.A. pressings for both, so the jury's still out.  (It's been more than an hour.  Someone needs to go fetch them...)  It's always risky to make a definite claim regarding any budget label, especially one as quirky as Cameo, so I'm treading cautiously.  The bottom line is that there's often no way to be sure that label A is related to label B, given the way masters were liberally traded between label groups.  Any connection between Cameo and SPC, Gateway, and Popular Records could be purely coincidental.  And this could all be the result of a multiverse collision.  We just don't know.

Oh, and Pat O'Shea redeems herself with a fun La Fiacre.  It has me forgiving the all wet version of Shrimp Boats.

The highlights, to my ears, are the aforementioned Trust in Me, superbly crooned byJohnny Kaye-with-an-e, the two Johnnie Ray sides done in a Frankie Laine/Tony Martin style, I Wanna Love You, and Bermuda, a hit (in real life) for the highly so-so Bell Sisters (Rosemary and Betty Clooney, they weren't), here with a backing which sounds like a collaboration between Duke Ellington and Carmen Cavallaro.  Cameo was certainly an interesting label, with the kind of weird edge I love.  I suppose these sides could be termed "vintage fake."

DOWNLOAD: Cameo Records EPs--Various performers

Cry--Larry Foster, Preston Sandiford Orch. (Cameo Records 45-323)
The Little White Cloud That Cried--Same
Wheel of Fortune--Pat O'Shea w. PS Orch. (Cameo Records 45-320)
Trust in Me--Johnny Kaye w. PS Orch. (Same)
Shrimp Boats--Pat O'Shea, the Esquires, and PS Orch. (Same)
Dance Me Loose--Bobby Lynn, Milton Herbert Orch. (Same)
Retreat--Pat O'Shea, PS Orch. (Cameo Records 45-321)
Anytime--Johnny Kaye w. Milton Herbert Orch. (Same)
Please Mr. Sun--Same
Unforgettable--Bobby Lynn, PS Orch. (Same)
I Wanna Love You--The Azalea Trio (Cameo Records 45-324)
Blue Tango (Anderson)--PS Orchestra (Same)
Le Fiacre--Pat O'Shea, PS Orch. (Same)
Bermuda--Bobby Lynn, PS Orch. (Same)


Monday, September 21, 2020

The Train Keeps A-Rollin'


Hopefully, this is a more accurate 231 depiction than last time--I plugged "Pacific 4-6-2" into Google Images, and this is one of the many that popped up.  A lovely 1910s postcard scan came up, too, but the snow on the tracks made the wheels invisible.  My thanks to Jarbie for helping increase my limited knowledge of locomotives.

This is a repost, more or less--I had it up briefly, and then I decided to redo my London label Ansermet file, which I'd forgotten to apply the ffrr curve to.  Then I guess I lost my train of thought, becoming busy with other posts (three in the making as we speak).  Get it?  Train of thought!!

Anyway, turns out my VinylStudio program has no London ffrr curve, but it does have a Decca ffrr curve, and it worked just fine--brighter highs, more detail overall.  I guess ffrr is ffrr, whether it's Decca or London.

Eric was kind enough to share three Pacific 231 versions in last post's comment section, including a stereo recording by Ansermet, to whom this piece was dedicated in 1924. I'm pretty sure my Ansermet is different than Eric's, even though it's approximately the same length.  It sounds different, it's mono (which proves nothing, but just saying), and it was released in 1955, so I'm (possibly) totally convinced it's a different performance.  I ripped it from the 12" LP London LL1156, the U.S. edition of this British Decca album.

As much as I love the two Ansermet recordings. my favorite version remains Serge Baudo conducting the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in 1963. And the Baudo is also the first recording of 231 I ever heard, so... coincidence?  I don't know.  But every musical detail is there, clear as crystal, including those incredible piano-crashing-down-the-stairs triplets at the end, which I would have sworn were quarter-note triplets but which are plain, ordinary eighth-note triplets.  Not that Ansermet doesn't do an equally beautiful and faithful job--it's just that I like the Baudo more.  I would have said "...Baudo better," but "Baudo better" sounds like some strange TV offer. 

I used to blast a cassette dub of Baudo's version on my car stereo on my way to work--back when car stereos meant cassette players (plus a radio).  Nice memories.  The piece didn't inspire me to speed, however.  I like to follow traffic laws.  It's the right thing to do, and traffic tickets are expensive.

"I couldn't help it, officer--I was listening to Pacific 231."  "Oh, okay.  In that case..."

DOWNLOAD:  Ernest Ansermet, Serge Baudo--Pacific 231 (Honegger, 1924)

Pacific 231 (Mouvement symphonique No. 1)--Ernest Ansermet, c. L'Orchestre De La Société Des Concerts Du Conservatoire, 1955

Same--Serge Baduo, c. Czech Philharmonic Orch., 1963


Friday, September 18, 2020

Wait a minute--that's not Enoch Light...


It's Ginger, aka the lovely Tina Louise, smoking a cigarette and not looking very happy.  Maybe it's the make-up.  Maybe it's her having to pose for a budget label LP of recycled tracks.  No way to be sure.  This is one of those "What are they selling here?" albums, and it's titled  Moments to Remember, Volume 3, though "Volume 3" is nearly hidden in tiny font just above the title, so you might have missed it, as I did.

Volume 1 of this series has a Jayne Mansfield cover, but I haven't seen Vol. 2, so I don't know what it has in the way of artwork.  Anyway, the (for once) decent liner notes tell us that Paul Whiteman accompanies Bob Eberly on Do I Love You?--something I wouldn't have known save for skimming the notes, since the credit doesn't appear on the label.  The rest of the liner essay is a continuous take on the "Moments to Remember" theme, and in fact that very song shows up as track 1, Side 1, by the Brigadiers with Vincent Lopez--a very nice version, too.  Three instrumentals, I believe, and all by Enoch Light and His Orch., with the remaining tracks featuring vocals by (of course) Artie Malvin, (of course) Loren Becker, Peggy White, The Ink Spots (which incarnation, I don't know), Eberly, The Zig Zags, and (of course) The Brigadiers.  High quality performances with Grade-A audio, though I had to filter some spots (probably "invisible" needle wear, from an invisible needle).  All and any playing damage was easily fixed.  This is not a long-playing LP, by the way--it's a "King Size Record."  So the back cover insists.  A possible clue that budget customers were somewhat confused about record sizes and what they meant.  I vividly recall, as a kid shopping at Salvation Army, the clerks talking about "little" records vs. "big" records, as if speed wasn't a factor.  Once, when buying four 12-inch 78s of Chopin Preludes, I tried unsuccessfully to explain that the 78s shouldn't go for the same price as the 12-inch LPs.  It was a lost cause--the clerk simply repeated, "The big records are 25 cents."  Or was it 50 cents?  No, probably 25.

Anyway, as collection titles go, "Moments to Remember" definitely sounds better than "Tracks to Recycle," though it is kind of an odd effect to have a pic of Tina under that title.  I mean, I have no direct memories of Tina.  1) I've never met her, 2) and not in such a state of dress, and 3) When this came out, I was either 0 or 1 years of age.  And I was always a Mary Ann guy, anyway.  (Gilligan's Island reference, for my younger readers.)  A Dawn Wells jacket, on the other hand, would entice me into buying any LP, regardless of what it contained.  The Sound of Car Alarms, Vol. 3.  Wouldn't matter.

Hopefully, no typos in the ID tags.  I was hoping for a higher number of instrumental tracks, but I'm just lucky to get a famous "cheesecake" LP at thrift prices.  This was a pre-$1.99 purchase at the Goodwill I mentioned, so I got it for a buck.  The instrumental tracks, by the way, are classic stuff, so I'll be on the lookout for more vocal-less Enoch Light numbers.  Hope you enjoy today's offering.

DOWNLOAD: Moments to Remember, Volume 3 (Waldrof Music Hall MHK 33-1239)


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Nation's Favorite Rock 'N Roll Hits (Hollywood Records LPH-31)

Now, I would swear I had featured this LP before (my other, "beater" copy), but I would sworn, and I would have been wrong.  In fact, I can't find a trace of a former MY(P)WHAE post of this LP, though I did post the boxed-set version, which came out on Hollywood's sublabel Variety: 18 Big Rock 'n Roll Hits.

For that post, reader Pascal came up with a list of likely suspects for these tracks, which Hollywood and Variety failed to give names to, beyond "Famous Artists, etc."  Yup--artists so famous, they didn't want their names associated with this collection, I guess.  Anyway, someone used Pascal's credits, plus my correction (Gabe Drake, and not Dick Warren, on Rock Around the Clock), and put them up at Discogs.  Here's the link: Gabe Drake, etc.  I'm trying to keep things simple, by the way, though I'm probably not succeeding.

For Rock Around the Clock, Gabe Drake was the real or fictional (not sure which) name on SPC's Prom label, whereas Fred Gibson was the name assigned by Tops. (My bad.  The Tops version is the same as the Gateway version credited to Dick Warren.)  Popular Extended Play Records gave no name at all, but it was the same guy each time.  (This is why fake-hit collectors have therapists.)  As for the rest of Pascal's list, I'm in almost complete agreement--for instance, if that's not Jimmy Breedlove on those four tracks, then it's the best impression of Jimmy I can imagine.  I have to say I don't know about Ollie Jones and The Cues--I've heard a couple Ollie Jones sides, and it doesn't sound like him, but I'm sure Pascal is much more familiar with Jones and the Cues, so I'll go with him.

Though this is a repeat, the fidelity should be much better, because 1) it's an LP, and 2) it's an LP in amazingly good condition--by the standards of Hollywood Records, that is.  Actually, a Hollywood LP that merely plays gets an automatic VG.  Since this recently-thrifted copy looked so clean, I got adventurous and used my better, light-tracking stylus for this rip.  I did another with my less expensive, more rugged cartridge (and spherical stylus) and heard no difference in response, so I stayed with this one.  I think the sameness of response is because the high end on this isn't very high.  Anyway, you're hearing the 1.5 gram needle.  On junk vinyl, no less.  "Thanks a lot," it said.

My other copy--the one I thought I'd previously posted--is the second edition, with a border around the photo of the slightly-too-old-to-be-teens teenagers, and retitled 18 Big Rock 'N Roll Hits.  For once, the front-jacket models are posed naturally, and they look genuinely glad to be there, though that vintage phonograph is... scary, frankly.  It look like it was designed to destroy discs after four or five plays, max.  And notice that the guy on the left is playing Decca label 78s--on the cover of Hollywood label LP!  After closely studying the object held by the girl on the right, I'm guessing it's a toasted marshmallow on a stick.  Which means they're sitting by a fireplace.  Which means they have their record player close to same.  Heat and 78 rpm discs make for a bad marriage, but who am I to tell them how to party?  And there's a bottle of no-name soda pop.  Not your usual kids-rocking-to-the-latest-hits cover art.  All it needs is a Ouija board to complete the mood.  "Spirit from beyond, tell us who recorded these tracks.  Oh, my--it's moving!"

A Blue Ribbon Product, for your information.  A recognized value by the Saturday Evening Post.  The beyond-weird liner essay goes on about "'so called' musical forms" like Jazz, Ragtime, Swing and Sway, Be-Bop, Vo-Do-De-O, and (of course) Rock and Roll, all of which feature syncopated beat patterns--patterns which have "aroused the primitive senses in species homo since the beginnings of history."  That long, huh?  And yes, I've seen dancers get pretty rowdy under the primeval sway of Vo-Do-De-Do.  I saw an entire town torn up, once.  Anyway, "giving vent," the notes tell us, "is a healthy, normal part of a teenager that should be encouraged in our attempt to create mature adults.  With this in mind, this collection of the best of 'Rock and Roll' is dedicated to today's refreshingly stimulating teenager."  I appreciate that Hollywood is doing a social service, but they don't have to sound creepy about it.  Refreshingly stimulating teenager?  Yikes.  At any rate, and at least in that lighting, the cover teens look like twenty-somethings.  The lass with the no-name soda pop is getting the LP title in stereo.

Fidelity is okay throughout, though if Delbert Barker's Blue Suede Shoes were any more compressed, I think the waveform would have expired.  Good version, though, even if the guitarist almost blows the closing riff.  I think I hear the stock rockabilly I9 with the ninth taken down an octave.  That became such a neo-rockabilly cliche, thanks in part to Taco Bell.  What am I talking about?  I don't know.  To the music...


DOWNLOAD: The Nation's Favorite Rock 'N Roll Hits (Hollywood Records LPH-31)


Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Astonishing rendition of Pacific 231, and two other Cook "Sounds of Our Times" goodies (1955).


It must have been 25 years ago when I found this ten-incher within rows and rows of thrift store Classical vinyl.  I bought it for Arthur Honegger's Pacific 231, which is just about my favorite "modern" Classical work of them all--though, on first listen, I felt then (as now) that there are better renditions out there.  Don't get me wrong--this is a very, very good performance, but just not as good as it could have been, and possibly because the group was playing to impress.  As the mostly illiterate liner notes note, "Honegger's PACIFIC 231 was recorded on the first 'take!' (Musicians will recognize this as a kind of musical miracle considering the muscular complexity of the score.')"  That's not hyperbole--it's just reporting the facts.  But I think the performance, as amazing as it is, loses something in its race to the finish.  That's kind of a pun, given the work's subject (a fast-moving train--though I've read that that inspiration came to Honegger after he'd written the score).  I just think that more attention to detail in some of the sections would have easily put this in the top five 231s.  Maybe even some quick microphone rearranging along the way.

Anyway, I quoted the closest-to-English part of the 231 album notes.  More typical of the back-cover essay is this attempt at assembling words: "Honegger's locomotive is prominent in all the textbooks...but conspicuously absent from recording rolls.  The awful stigma of being 'dated' does not, however, weaken the fierce crushing power of this score."  The really scary part is, I sort of know what the writer was trying to say.

But logic, please.  1) Pacific 231 was not, far as I know, ever difficult to find on disc.  There's that marvelous 1927 78 I posted in 2016, for instance, and there was Honegger's own early recording.  And 2), if Pacific is so "dated," what's it doing in the "Sounds of Our Times" series?  "Modern orchestral textures"--the jacket's words, not mine (though I agree).  So modern, it's dated.  I hate it when things are dated in their currentness.

However, bad liner notes can be pretty entertaining, and these fill that bill.  And, after all of my fake-hit posts this year, a set of good liner notes might put me into shock.  Anyway, I was certain I didn't know the other two works, which I think fare even better (because the musicians aren't trying to set a first-take record, no pun intended)--Debussy's delightful Danse, superbly orchestrated by Ravel, and Samuel Barber's indescribably gorgeous and moving Adagio for Strings. Turns out, the two works are old friends--I just didn't realize it.  Two standards that I've heard sometime along the line, and obviously more than once.  The best description of the Barber piece may be pure agony in music--a timelessly beautiful expression of pain and grief.  Great art has the power to turn anything into beauty, and we have all the proof we need here.

By the way, I can't believe Bernard Herrmann wasn't influenced by Adagio when writing the score for the Twilight Zone classic "Walking Distance."

A superbly balanced program, and though I do think there are better 231s out there, this one is certainly as exciting as they come--and it may set a 231 virtuosity record (no pun intended, Part 3).  I really can't complain about it, but I am anyway, because I think it's a squandered opportunity--few groups could have done it better, but this one could.  But, yeah, the "first take!" part does impress the heck out of me.  I'd be lying if I said it didn't.

The period fidelity is astounding.  And I haven't even mentioned the orchestra's name--it's  the New Orchestral Society of Boston (not lower-case "new," as printed in the liner notes), and it's conducted by Willis Page.  The notes, again: "Knowing Willis Page is to understand the key to the nature of the orchestra."  As TV comic Roger Price said, "In fact, to understand bop, one had to be... drunk.  That helped."  Same for these liner notes.

Oh, and things get loud during 231.  I mean, really loud.  I found that out while editing the MAGIX project at a loud volume at the wrong point.  My ears have almost recovered, I'm happy to say.  I sort of need them to do this blog.

DOWNLOAD: Pacific 231, Danse, Adagio fro Strings (Cook 1068; 1955)

Pacific 231 (Arthur Honegger)

Dance (Debussy, orchestrated by Ravel)

Adagio for Strings (Samuel Barber)

New Orchestral Society of Boston, conducted by Willis Page (Cook 1068; 1955)


Sunday, September 06, 2020

My Home--The Blue Ridge Quartet (Queen City Albums 80871, prob. 1968)


The Waldorf post left me without much time to prepare a Sunday offering, but three quick thrift stops early this evening yielded this very fine Blue Ridge Quartet LP, which I'm nearly sure is from 1968.  You can't go wrong with this group, and one glance at the track lineup--When We All Get to Heaven, On the Jericho Road, Looking for a City--told me I was set for Sunday.  Unless some condition issues arose--and so far they haven't.  And there are some unfamiliar songs that have turned out to be marvelous.  (I'm listening as I type these notes.)  

A superb up-tempo number, Victory Is Coming, is playing now, and I can't find a thing on it.  I checked my more "down home" songbooks, and I Googled some of the lyrics (the title Victory Is Coming brings up an earlier, complete different  number), and not a bit of luck.  It doesn't seem right that Anon. should get the credit for this classic toe-tapper (though I could credit it to Unknown, but same difference).  Anyone with any info on this number, please share.  As we speak, a slow, reverent version of Lowell Mason's mega-classic Nearer My God To Thee is playing in my headphones, and it's gorgeous.  Lowell Mason was part of the correct (read: European-influenced) American school of gospel songwriting in the early 1800s--the big name in the movement to get rid of all those play-to-the-crowd "fuging" tunes and such (see William Billings, Daniel Read, and the other early New England hymn and anthem composers who paid little attention to "proper" part writing).  Mason was intent on bringing popular hymns up to snuff, and so it's ironic that, all these decades later, the allegedly crude Read and Billings stuff sounds just fine, while many of the hymns from the proper movement of Mason and Thomas Hastings have a very "gospel" sound.  Besides these excellent singers, folks like The Louvin Brothers have recorded them, and what would Lowell have thought?  Just goes to show there are fewer things more ephemeral than artistic standards.  Worry about what sounds good, not what's "correct," I always say.  Well, since this moment, at least.  I plan to adopt that saying, unless it slips my mind.

The closing track, Halls of Fame, belongs to the No Match on Google school of hymns, unless it's the 1962 Troy Lumpkin number I just found a copyright listing for.  Publisher is "Faith Music"--so it's very possibly this number.  Getting your picture in Heaven's Hall of Fame definitely beats ending up as one of the "pictures from life's other side" in the world's mighty gallery of pictures, where hang scenes that are painted from life.  (Reference to the classic lyrics of Pictures from Life's Other Side, that late 19th century number that became a bestselling gospel side for Smith's Sacred Singers in 1926.)

So, we get Luther G. Presley's lovely and famous I'd Rather Have Jesus, with the label spelling his name "Pressley," which appears to have been a common alternate spelling.  I do not know why.  Of course, like just about everyone else, when I see "Presley" in the songwriting slot, I think Elvis.  It's an auto-reaction.  It doesn't matter if I know it's Luther, and not Elvis--my brain will go, "Presley.  Oh, Elvis."  It's not just you--don't worry.  And we get the marvelous On the Jericho Road, the work of Donald S. McCrossoan, though Queen City Records doesn't appear to have known that.  And the "Couper" credited on There Is a Fountain (aka, There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood) is actually Cowper--as in, William Crowper (1731-1800).  They were only one letter off.  Marvin P. Dalton gave us the gospel masterwork Looking for a City, and I still don't know who penned the terrific Victory Is Coming.  Someone who knew his or her craft, anyway.

An excellent LP, and it gets a million thanks from me for showing up just when I needed a quick rip.  Er, let me reword that...  (We'll pretend, for the sake of the post, we don't know the slang meaning of that word.)

To the Grade A gospel...

DOWNLOAD: My Home--The Blue Ridge Quartet (Queen City Albums 80817; prob. 1968)


Saturday, September 05, 2020

Chintzy Waldorf packaging, but the usual excellent music--All Time Rock 'N Roll Hits (1956?)


So, now the new Blogger is importing (is that the word?) photos in small form.  Previously, photos were showing up larger than desired within text, and they had to be resized.  This is either some cruel psychological experiment, or Blogger is working out its bugs.  Probably the latter, but I like the paranoid, persecutory sound of the former theory.  I guess it's because I'm in misery from ragweed pollen and feel that all of nature is working against me.  I recognize this as a highly irrational feeling, but ragweed pollen will generate those.  With me, at least.

I'm just too nice for my own good--no fewer than 34 tracks today.  We're talking the 21 tracks included in this LP (surely, some of these have been edited down to fit the LP), plus 11 bonus tracks from my 18 Top Hits EP collection.  That's just me--Mr. Generous.  So, I'm using two zip files, numbered 1 and 2.  That seemed like the best, most logical way to go about it.  Very original, too.  1, followed by 2.  Who'd have thought?

And the new Blogger can't decide whether it wants to single- or double-space between paragraphs.  I've instructed it to call me when it's made up its mind.  Anyway, what we have here is a Waldorf-stock-art cover, a blank back jacket, and a mismatch between jacket and label titles (America's Favorite Music--All Time Rock 'N Roll Hits vs. Rock 'N Roll Hits).  All systems check--we're in the land of budge vinyl, all right.  Thanks to those booklets and order forms I scored on eBay, we now know that there was a Waldorf Top Hit Club, and so I wonder if this LP was connected with same--it doesn't look like the in-store items that would have filled the Woolworth racks.  No "Waldorf Music Hall" logo, a blank back cover, all the earmarks of a rush job--maybe the second set of Top Hit Club literature (on its way from eBay as we speak) will shed some light on this issue.  It seems to have "premium" written all over it.  Not literally, luckily--that would be a major photoshopping hassle.

Kind of funny, Waldorf referring to current rock 'n' roll hits as "all time."  As if the music had reached its chart peak in 1956.  Guess again!  Anyway, along with the big band-sounding rock fakes (Maybellene, especially), there are some surprisingly potent covers, though those happen mainly in the extra selections--The House of Blue Lights, for example, which manages to rock like crazy, and perhaps because the number is closer to big band boogie than, say, the early efforts of Chuck Berry.  Enoch Light's musicians would have had a big band era bias, after all.

We'll be hearing this blog's fourth posting of Artie Malvin's excellent Rock Around the Clock fake, a version in which, save for starting the chorus on the third of the scale instead of the tonic, everything follows from the original sheet music version.  Maybellene is a sentimental favorite of mine, because it's one of the first Waldorf fakes I ever heard, and because it so charmingly strays from the feel of the Chuck Berry original (it removes every shred of rawness).  I had a stack of 18 top Hits 78s I'd scored at a flea market outside of Toledo, and at some point I sold them off, and I could kick myself.  And I would, except that my balance isn't the best during this part of the pollen season.  I could end up in the ER.  At any rate, when I first discovered budge sound-alikes, I wasn't all that attached to them, and there were a number of fakes I didn't keep that I should have.  Live and learn.  We can never predict our future obsessions.  I can't, anyway.  And I try not to obsess over the fact that I can't predict my future obsessions.

These are all rock and roll in the Enoch Light tradition, so don't be expecting actual sound-alikes.  Loren Becker, Artie Malvin, The Rhythm Rockets, and The Brigadiers are excellent, as ever, but I have no idea why someone as lousy as Joe Fortunato was chosen to ineptly croon Roll Over Beethoven.  It's as if the regular Waldorf vocalists had left, and someone went, "Oh, no--we forgot Roll Over Beethoven.  Go grab someone off the street!  Hey, you!"  (Shouting out of nearest window.)  It's not merely that bad--it's worse.

I tossed in some tracks I thought deserve a place in the "all time" category of the time--Ain't That a Shame (which follows Pat Boone's pop version), the neglected vintage-r&r classic Two Hearts, Two Kisses (Make One Love) (shortened to Two Hearts), Don't Be Angry, the Leiber-Stoller Bazoom ( I Need Your Lovin') (shorted to I Need Your Lovin'), Close Your Eyes (which takes after the fabulous 1955 Tony Bennett rocker), Don't Knock the Rock, and I Want You to Be My Baby (of which Tops provided a magnificent fake version).  And, from 1957, the two r&r masterpieces Little Darlin' and Come Go with Me.  As of the LP's release, these weren't part of the "all time" r&r hits.

Yet another afterthought-looking Waldorf release that turns out to contain genuine gems.  I just know, somehow, that this was a Top Hit Club deal.  It was definitely not a "legit" Waldorf release.

Oh, and I included a track which is a bit out of place, but it ended up in my MAGIX project, and I decided to include it because it's so cool.  It's Loren Becker, from 1955, singing the Enoch Light-penned The Song of Daniel Boone (The Daddy of Them All), which actually became a minor hit--number 48 on the Cash Box Top 50.  I have it on an 18 Top Hits EP, but it also came out on a traditional two-sided Waldorf Musical Hall single with a cool pic cover--I'd love to have that edition.  Anyway, an actual Waldorf hit.

To the Enoch Light-style r&r...

DOWNLOAD:All Time Rock 'N Roll Hits, Part 1

                         All Time Rock 'N Roll Hits, Part 2, plus bonus sides from 18 Top Hits EPs

America's Favorite Music--All Time Rock 'N Roll Hits (Waldorf Record Corp. 33-T-7-8-9), plus 11 bonus EP tracks


Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Yes, Waldorf 18 Top Hits was mail-order! Waldorf mags and ads, 1955

I was hoping to find proof that the Waldorf 18 Top Hits series was mail-order, but I needed to find an ad to prove it.  Well, I struck budget oil on eBay--four copies of Waldorf's Top Hit Club News and some associated brochures.  In the zip file, I've included a couple cover scans, a piece on Loren Becker (whose The Song of Daniel Boone, penned by Enoch Light, made it to 48 on Cash Box's Top 50), two articles about the recording of Waldorf singles, and more.  It's cool that some Top Hit Club member held onto these.  Or maybe these were never mailed.  Who knows?

Debbie Reynolds, of all people, took the time to visit THCN editor Buddy Basch and pose with him--any publicity is good publicity, I reckon.  The above scan shows her very own reproduced autograph.  The two Light-er Side articles (Get it?  Light-er Side?) name some of the musicians used on Waldorf sessions, at least during its golden period, and they give interesting info on how the orchestras were miked and the singers isolated, if necessary.  I doubt that the other cheapies took quite as much care with their tracks.

$9.99 from eBay.  I was right on it.  I wasn't expecting any counterbids, and there weren't any.  "All 18 Top Hits only $2.98, postpaid."  How can you beat that?  Interestingly, the tiny Top Hit Club News mags showcased the big names in pop recording, clearly to create a connection in the reader's mind between the products of the big labels and the products of Enoch--a way of legitimizing Enoch's budget offerings.  And there's the standard confusion between the real and the fake--the ad copy that practically equates the genuine article with the not so genuine: "Here are the actual records that bring you 18 of the country's Top Record Hits for just 17¢ each.  The list price of these hit tunes on separate records in the stores is up to 89¢ each." The actual records.  Well, yes, Waldorf produced actual records.  Hard to argue with that.  But 89 cents, of course, was approximately the cost of a major label single, not a budget imitation thereof.  

Hm.  But Waldorf crossed the line here: "These are the top selling 'pops' in the nations stores..."  Yikes.  The top selling "pops" titles, yes, but not the top selling "pops."  But why quibble?  18 Top Hits, only $2.98.  And no postage. And a lot of hype for less than three bucks.

Download and enjoy!  

DOWNLOAD: Waldorf Top Hit Club