Monday, November 30, 2020

Christmas shellac from 2018

The terrific image above is the work of Jeff--quite a classy job.  A gift to this blog.

This is a repeat post of 78s I ripped in 2018.  They're all in my old (i.e,) low bitrates, but... they're 78s.  I featured these last year, too, in a seven-file post, but minus a playlist.  This time, I'm listing the titles. That way, you know what you're in for.  Here are parts 1 and 2.

The Messiah--Hallelujah Chorus (Handel)--Royal Choral Society and London Philharmonic Orch., c. Malcolm Sargent (Victor Red Seal 11825; 1935)
The Messiah--And the Glory of the Lord (Handel)--Same
Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful)--John McCormack and Trinity Choir (Victor Red Seal 6607; 1926)
The Star of Bethlehem (Adams)--Richard Crooks, Tenor, Orch. c. by John Barbirolli (Victor Red Seal 7854; 1934)
The Holy City (Adams)--Same
Ave Maria (Schubert)--Robert Stephens at the Grand Organ (Varsity 576)

Messiah--Hallelujah Chorus (Handel)--Mark Andrews, Pipe Organ Solo  (Victor 35767; 1925)
On a Christmas Morning--Descriptive (Currie)--Prince's Orch. (Columbia A-1078; 1911)
Kiddies' Patrol (Christmas Morning)--Kiddies' Dance (C. Morning)--Brunswick Concert Band (Brunswick 2054; 1920)
Santa Claus' Workshop--Yuletide Orch. (Prince's Orch.)--(Harmony 276; 1910)
Vom Himmel hoch (Luther)--Cornet Quartet w. Organ and Bells--Nowegian (Victor 69682)
Children's Toy March (Currie)--Prince's Band (Columbia A1295; 1912)
Around the Christmas Tree--Descriptive (Prince)--Prince's Orch. (Columbia A1416; 1913)
Santa Claus Tells of Mother Goose Land--Pts. I and II--Gilbert Gerard (Victor 18953; 1922)
Jingle Bells--Shannon Quartet (Victor 19791; 1925)
Snow Time (Arndt)--Columbia Quartette (Columbia A1088; 1911)
Silent Night, Holy Night--Christmas Melodies (A: Challis; Grofe) Paul Whiteman Concert Orch. (Columbia 50098; 1928)
Children's Symphony (Haydn)--Prince's Orchestra (Columbia A1295; 1913)
Memories of Christmas--Pts. 1 and 2 (Bowers)--Prince's Orch. w. Contralto Solo and Male Quartette (Columbia A2646; 1918)
Angelus (Massenet)--Mark Andres, Pipe Organ Solo (Victor 35767; 1925)
Christmas Time in Merrie England, Pts. 1 and 2--Regimental Band of H.M. Grenadier Units, (Columbia U.K. 3184; 1922)


Merry Christmas from Line Material--my latest rips!

1949 sleeve (above) and disc (below)

I just completed re-re-ripping the classic Line Material Christmas sides of 1957-1961. (My first rips date back to 2005 or 2006, and my second rips were made last year.)  These singles were employee giveaways which featured musical direction by, believe it or not, London-born John McCarthy (1919-2009), best known for his Ambrosian Singers Christmas sides.  I wonder if the superbly professional singers on these 1957-62 45s are those same folks--I would assume so.  McCarthy went to London in 1961 to work with the London Symphony Orchestra, and presumably his services were no longer available to, or within the budget of, LM.  And, as I did last year, I've added two "bonus" LM tracks--1949's Keeping Christmas, and the 1956 The Magic of Christmas, both released on 7-inch vinyl 78s.  The former is a typical storyteller-with-music-and-sound-effects side, and, while charming, it's nothing like the LM holiday sides to come.  The latter comes closer, though it's not nearly as elaborate and lively as the McCarthy efforts.

I believe Ernie gifted the 1956 side to me.  And, yes, he did--I just read his 2007 post on the subject.  That's the year he mailed me the disc.

1962's Let's Trim the Christmas Tree was most likely recorded a year in advance, since, as noted, McCarthy was out of the U.S. by then.  And that, as far as I know, was the end of the classic LM sides, though there was a blah 1964 side, and I neglected to rip it, so... sorry!  Ernie and I have both featured it in the past, but it's hardly a must-hear item.  For Line Material Christmas giveaway completists only.  Anyway, I feel bad for all the children of Line Material employees who, after six years of enjoying John McCarthy's efforts, suddenly (come 1963) had to go without such goodies.  Ouch.

Oh, and I had a couple of Canadian editions that someone sent me in mp3 form some time back, and the files are probably currently on a CD-R buried someplace in my CD-R stacks.  Or saved to disc from past hard drive folders.  Your guess is as bad as mine.  I recall that these were identical to the U.S. editions, save for a different jingle at the close.

My LM rips of last year were made with my 1.0 mil mono stylus, and I really wasn't too thrilled with the sound.  So I made these re-re-rips with a standard 2.7 mil "LP" needle, and it seems like the better match.  You'll notice (in the mp3 tags) that these were all RCA Victor custom pressings--I've included the RCA matrices, all of which begin with a letter designating the year (G for 1956, H for 1957, etc.).  

It's possible I flipped the years on the 1958 and 1959 sides in my 2019 post--I'll have to check that out and correct things, if needed.

DOWNLOAD: Line Material Christmas Classics (1957-1962; plus 1949 and 1956)

Santa's North Pole Band, 1957
The Sounds of Christmas, 1958
The Kinds of Christmas, 1959
Santa's Factoree, 1960
The Day That Santa Was Sick, 1961
Let's Trim the Christmas Tree, 1962
Keeping Christmas--Narrated by Jim Ameche, 1949.
The Magic of Christmas, 1956


Saturday, November 28, 2020

The Night Before Christmas; Jingle Bells Fantasy (1939; re. 1948)


This is RCA Victor's "Non-Breakable" (that must mean vinyl) 1948 reissue of the 1939 Milton Cross-narrated The Night Before Christmas.  The flip, also from 1939, is Rosario Bourdon's Jingle Bells Fantasy, as performed by the RCA Victor Salon Orch., Bourdon directing.  My copy's condition couldn't be better--that is, until the double forte closing bars on the second side, where the grooves appear to have been under major assault.  Tracking error is the likely culprit--picture a vintage three-speed portable with a sapphire needle bouncing around inside the louder, wider groove walls at the close, taking out tiny pieces here and there.  And all because there was nothing to counteract the tonearm's friction as it sped toward home (the label).  Luckily, I was able to filter out the worst of the audio damage, but you can still hear the audio loss.  

Well, actually, you can't literally hear missing audio so much as hear that it's missing.  (Can you tell I'm up too late?)  Anyway, what an awesome fold-out sleeve RCA came up with here--lovely period art.  In the zip, I include the back cover, which shows Nipper, and you also get two terrible "live" label shots.  My scans proved hopeless, so I resorted to my little digital camera.

Clement C. Moore's 1823 poem was originally called A Visit from St. Nicholas.  

DOWNLOAD: The Night Before Christmas; Jingle Bells Fantasy (1939)


Friday, November 27, 2020

Dec. 25 in Pac-Ville: Pac-Man Christmas Album (1982)


An old-fashioned Pacville (Pac-Ville?) Christmas story for kids, featuring Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, and Pac-Baby, plus ghosts Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde.  There was a two-season Hanna-Barbera Pac-Man TV cartoon that ran for 44 episodes, starting in 1982, but the voices on this LP seem to be completely different (Kid Stuff, the label, likely couldn't afford big-name voice actors).  My first time through this, I was editing out the pops that had escaped VinylStudio, and, between the pauses and my total unfamiliarity with the Pac-Man game or its characters (save for Pac-Man), I was totally lost.  The record seemed nonlinear to a surreal degree.

Once I'd patched things up and was able to listen in a single, unbroken run, the story of course made far more sense (plus, I'd read up on the game and could identify the characters), though the songs were still pretty lousy.  Of course, the songs were written for kids, and I'm not a kid (not the last time I checked), so my take is irrelevant--if these songs worked for kids of the early 1980s, that's all that matters--not my cranky senior assessment.  But I can't help wishing they'd opted instead for traditional carols and songs, only with the lyrics "Pac"-modified.  Such as, um... O Little Town of Pac-Ville, maybe--or... Hm.  Maybe this is harder than I thought.  We Four Ghosts (Of Pac-ville Are)?  No, that won't work.  I Saw Three Ghosts?  Nope.  "I'm out of coins, I'm out of coins, I'm out of coins, I'm out of coins.  Can you break a one? Can you break a one, etc.?" (Carol of the Pac-Bells)  "Still, still, still--Still stuck in this arcade.  Until the start of day; I just can't pull away." (Still, Still, Still ((Stuck in the Arcade))).  Or maybe O Come All Ye Pac-Ful?  No, that doesn't even make senseI guess I'll have to Pac this in.  (Ha-yuk, yuk!)

But "Pac"-altered lyrics to old favorites would have been fun, I think.  My ears find the character voices hard to handle--but, again, I'm an adult, not a kid.  Now, I've always regarded Pac-Man as a game for young adults, since I remember (back in the day) fellow sailors playing it at every opportunity.  I'm terrible at video games, so I pretty much had to stay away from Pac-Man and similar challenges, unless I simply wanted to lose a fortune in quarters (hence, my lack of familiarity with the Pac-universe.)  So, it took me until my second listen to realize, "Hey, this is for kids!  No wonder it sounds so nonlinear and bizarre."  I had never associated the game with children, especially, though I can now see that it has a lot of child appeal--especially when the icons are fashioned into cartoon characters.  The jacket art seems to take off from the TV cartoon, though there's no mention of Hanna-Barbera on the cover or label.

Despite the Disco-y music that gives the record a modern thump-thump-thump-thump sound, we know we're still in the pre-"edgy" era, cartoon-wise.  We know this, because the moral/lesson of the piece is rendered in a straightforward way, without a shred of "irony" (which, in modern usage, means sarcasm).  The lesson is clear: The spirt of Christmas is togetherness--a time when even enemies who have chased you around a CRT all year feel the call to make peace and share Pac-cookies.  At least, I think the record mentions Pac-cookies.  I can picture myself, in my days as a kid, finding comfort in the child-like character voices provided by... whoever.  No voice credits, but we know none of the actual characters played themselves.  (Or can we be sure?)

Oh, and Deck the Halls is the common wrong title for Deck the Hall.  And I guess "Pac-Mas," while cute, might have been a little too risky at the time, but I'd have loved a We Wish You a Merry Pac-Mas.

(My Lord--I just listened to the Pac-Man start-up music on YouTube, and it was instant time travel!  Oh, those period, barely modulated sine tones.)

DOWNLOAD: Pac-Man Christmas Album (Kid Stuff KSS-5029; 1982)

The Magic of Christmas
Snowflakes and Frozen Lakes
Under the Tree
Deck the Halls
An Old Fashioned Christmas
Somedays Are More Important
Friends Again
We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Pac-Man Christmas Album (Kid Stuff KSS-5029; 1982).  Written and Produced by Patrick McBride and Dana Waldon.


Sunday, November 22, 2020

Even more Top Hit Tunes (1959-1961)--Fred Pringle, Henry and Larry, The Pony Timers, and Neil Nuttingham


With the holidays just around the corner, there's one question we're all busy with: Did Enoch Light look to other sources for his Top Hit Tunes sound-alikes prior to the buyout of his labels by Ampar in late 1959?  Well, the answer appears to be... yes, definitely.  Lose sleep no more--today's playlist gives us a fascinating glimpse into the period just before Enoch Light said goodbye to Waldorf.  Oh, and a brief look at the period after he parted ways (one of today's three EPs is from 1961).

As usual, I started this short project with the expectation that I'd be done in a day or two--and that was four days ago.  I never learn.  These things always take more time than I anticipate, since they usually involve hunting down the co-appearances of any familiar-sounding fakes.  Such as, in this case, the Top Hit Tunes versions of Tiger, Personality, Battle of New Orleans, and Maybe Baby, all tracks I knew that I'd heard before.

The "Fred Pringle" version of Tiger (Top Hit Tunes TH-19-2; 1959) also appears on the Evon label's Let's All Do the Twist LP (Evon 351), only credited to one Stumpy Andersen--and pitched between a quarter and half tone higher.  I've included the Evon LP track at its original speed, and in a second file that I repitched to match the EP.  The LP version, while slightly faster in speed, is longer--which is to say, not edited down.  Evon was part of the junkpile fake-RCA group that included Royale, Ultraphonic, Allegro, Halo, and Varsity, and your guess is as good as mine as to why Waldorf was sharing releases with the fake RCA.  Tiger is a terrific fake of a great original (Fabian couldn't sing, but he had superb backing on his hits), even if the anonymous bandmembers didn't bother to tune up beforehand.

Personality shows up on a Bravo (Pickwick) Tops in Pops LP, where it's credited to the likely fictitious Bobby Krane Orchestra and Chorus, so you get the shortened Top Hit Tunes cut, plus the longer LP cut in both its original and repitched form.  And here's where we see that, once again, logic played no part in anything related to budget sound-alikes.  Namely, we have a situation in which either the LP dub has been sped up or the EP dub has been slowed down.  (Don't ask me how they accomplished this in the days of reel to reel technology, unless someone simply wrapped tape around the capstan.)  Wouldn't it have made sense to speed up the EP version to conserve space?  

Same bit for Maybe Baby, which Top Hit Tunes co-released with the Gateway Top Tunes label--and at a slightly faster speed.  Again, why?  I added the Gateway track (from a fairly beat 78) at its original and repitched speeds.  Battle of New Orleans, poorly sung on Top Hit Tunes by "Jim Forrest," also appeared on Bravo, with the usual Bobby Krane credit.  This time, both tracks were almost the same speed, so I did no repitching.

Confused yet?  Just imagine me, putting this stuff together.  The final six-selection Top Hit Tunes EP, from 1961, contains Pickwick material--in all probability, we're hearing some of these tracks.  I'd rate my certainty level at 99.5 percent--unfortunately, I only own one EP from the Bobby Krane Bravo set, and it's not the one I need, so I can't be totally sure.  Just nearly almost definitely certain.

From the Universal Records label, which is misidentified at Discogs (leaving me with no idea who they were), we have an even worse version of Book of Love than the Top Hit Tunes fake by "The Troubadors"--so, enjoy.  Speaking of awful, I was initially stunned by what seemed like the very low quality of the "Pony Timers" Blue Moon fake, but after fixing up the muddy fidelity and giving it a second listen, I've decided it could be a lot worse.  It's not up to the fake that appeared on Tops, SPC, and who knows where else, but it's not bad, and I wish I could locate an LP dub.  Besides Book of Love, the only other truly awful fake is Dottie Evans' Lollipop, which must not be as easy to copy as it sounds.  "Buddy Hall" is no Perry Como, and his Kewpie Doll fake is a let's-get-this-over-with type of knockoff, but I have a fondness for this imitation-Elvis number, so...And Hearts of Stone is a fake of the Bill Black Combo instrumental of 1961, and it's harmless fun

I can't account for the two Bobby Byrne big-band-days-revisited-style tracks.  I guess they were just space-fillers.  And you've got to love the "Henry and Larry" credit on La Plume de Ma Tante, which I'm happy to say I have zero memory of, hit-parade-wise. 

DOWNLOAD:  Yet More Top Hit Tunes (1959-1961)

Tiger--Fred Pringle (Top Hit Tunes TH-32-3)
Johnson Rag--Bobby Byrne and His Orch. (Same)
Battle of New Orleans--Jim Forrest (Same)
Personality--George Clark (Same)
Sunrise Serenade--Bobby Byrne and His Orch. (Same)
La Plume de Ma Tante--Henry and Larry (Same)
Tiger (LP version, pitched higher than EP)--Stumpy Andersen and His Stompers (Evon 351)
Tiger (LP version, repitched)--Same
Personality (LP version, pitched higher than EP)--Bobby Krane Orch. and Chorus (Bravo K101 B)
Personality (Repitched)--(Same)
Battle of New Orleans (LP version)--Bob Krane Orch. and Chorus (Bravo K101 B)
Lollipop--Dottie Evans w. Enoch Light and His Orch. (Top Hit Tunes TH-19-2)
Book of Love--The Troubadors (Same)
Kewpie Doll--Buddy Hall (Same)
Maybe Baby--The Songsters (Same)
Stairway of Love--Hal Willis (Same)
Are You Sincere--Johnny Roland (Same)
Maybe Baby (Gateway Top Tune dub)--The Four Jacks w. Chorus and Orch. (Gateway Top Tune 1243; 1958)
Maybe Baby (Repitched)--(Same)
Hearts of Stone--Lee Patrick's Boys (Top Hit Tunes PH-60-2)
Watusi--The Susanaires (Same)
Blue Moon--The Pony Timers (Same)
Asia Minor--Christopher Cummings (Same)
Think Twice--Brother Ray (Same)
I Don't Want to Cry--Neil Nuttingham (Same)
Book of Love (From LP)--Vocal Stars of Radio and Television w. Famous Orchestras (Universal Records LPU-6001)


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Sunday evening gospel--The Messengers Quartet: I Know He'll Keep Me


I very nearly had this ready for this morning, but it didn't happen.  So... here's my Sunday evening gospel post, to be enjoyed whenever you wish.  The Messengers Quartet, which formed in South Bend, Indiana, performed in Northern Indiana and Illinois, the liner essay tells us, and this is especially interesting, given their somewhat Appalachian sound.  My ears hear a blend of southern and "mountain" gospel, and it's not stretching things to imagine the Appalachian sound coming up from Kentucky into Indiana (as it has into Ohio).  Not for me, anyway.  You may not hear the sound of the hills that I'm hearing, but the opening track had me thinking of the Carter Family and the Chuck Wagon Gang, despite the group's all-male makeup.  (Rachel Myers, posing in the center, was the pianist.)  

A nice group of familiar songs, many of them lively, and all of them performed with conviction.  Redeemed, by James Rowe (words) and S.A. Ganus (tune) may be the oldest of the selections, though I can't say for sure--it's in a number of my songbooks and hymnals, but none of them gives me a year, though I know it goes back at least to the 1920s.  Redeemed is a classic example within quartet singing of a solo voice "answered" by the remaining three voices, which function as "echoes," to use a common term.  It's a type of call and response that goes back to the 19th century (1868's In the Sweet By-and-By, for ex.)--a brand of antiphony.  In the close harmony version of Redeemed, the "lead" (second tenor) handles the melody, with the bass, baritone, and first tenor singing the response chords (with the first tenor harmonizing above the "lead," to make life more confusing).  Here it is on line, notated for male quartet, complete with the so-called "tenor" clef symbol in the top staff.  That symbol instructs the singers to treat the upper staff as the treble clef, only down one octave.  Widely used in old tunebooks and songbooks, it was not the official tenor clef, and I guess it was a way of saving on ink, since it was an alternative to this:

All of that was just to demonstrate that close-harmony gospel singing didn't spring up overnight, that it has its "roots."  Which I figure you already knew, but...  This LP was produced by RaeBet's Productions in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Michigan is another place where a lot of Appalachian folks settled--such as, in Detroit, for obvious reasons.  Again, maybe the Appalachian sound is all in my ears, but I swear The Messengers (who are called the "Messenger's" on the label) have a "mountain" sound to them, at least in part.  Mixed with other influences.  Well worth a download, despite the not-so-hi-fi sound quality (which has me thinking this is from the 1960s--that, plus Rachel's hair), which I compensated for with a slight treble boost.  (The sound, not the hair.)  Another fine gospel thrift gift from Diane.

In my ID tag I  went with the label's misspelling of Ralph H. Goodpasteur's last name (as "Goodpastuer"), whereas I used the correct spelling below.  I was undecided when I labeled the track, because it seemed that, if I corrected the spelling, I'd be offering an inauthentic document of the LP and its contents.  Tough decision.  Same thing with "Messengers" vs. "Messenger's."  These are the agonizing issues music bloggers sometimes have to struggle with... behind the blog.  ("Behind the Blog" theme music, fade.)  But, seriously...

DOWNLOAD: The Messengers Quartet--I Know He'll Keep Me (Grace Note Recordings LPM-40-13881)

The Messengers Quartet

Somebody Loves Me (Crumley)
Redeemed (Rowe-Ganus)
I've Been With Jesus (Smith)
I Will Lean on His Arm (Cline)
What a Day That Will Be (Hill)
Do You Know My Jesus? (Lakey-Ellis)
I'm Feeling Fine (Lister)
Wonderful Savior (Sumner)
I Know He'll Keep Me (Hall)
It's So Wonderful (Goodpasteur)
I Told Everybody (Godwin)
From Now On (Sumner)

I Know He'll Keep Me (Grace Note Recordings LPM-40-13881)


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Enoch Light, Vincent Lopez, Nick Perito, and Jayne Mansfield--Moments to Remember (1958)


Jayne Mansfield appeared on at least four Waldorf jackets, and she also adorned covers for Tops and Premier (Spin-O-Rama).  And I used to have that Spin-O-Rama LP.  I had a ton of stuff I should've kept, but I can't keep everything.  All we need to know is that today's playlist is packed with lush instrumental music in Full Dynamic Range, with Enoch Light, Vincent Lopez, and Nick Perito leading their orchestras.  This is a "King Size" Waldorf LP, otherwise known as a twelve-incher.  For what market did Waldorf feel it was necessary to refer to 12" LPs as "king size"?  And shouldn't it be "king sized"?

Anyway, this is from 1958--one year before Enoch Light sold his labels to Ampar.  Hence, it's a last-minute raiding of the vaults--but, remarkably, only The High and the Mighty and The Song from Moulin Rouge (Enoch Light, both) are blog repeats. And I'm proud of myself for having the restraint not to suggest that "king size" might possibly refer to the bosom on display.  For one thing, the phrase would have to be "queen size."  But I didn't go there, and I'm glad.

Accordionist Nick Perito leads the orchestra on "Moritat" from the Three Penny (actually, Threepenny) Opera.  Says Wikipedia, "A Moritat is a medieval version of the murder ballad performed by singing minstrels."  Far out.  The song is better known, of course, as Mack the Knife.  I've always associated it with Louis Armstrong, though Wikipeida says people usually identify it with Bobby Darin.  Enoch Light's lovely version of Georges Auric's Song from Moulin Rouge is as good as the huge Percy Faith hit of 1953, imo.

We all know Malaguena, hopefully.  I can't pretend to understand what's happening modally when the melody moves up a half-step (semitone modulations are a staple of such pieces), because in both this piece and, for instance, Misirlou, at least two different scales or modes are in use.  Mixolydian mode starting on A, maybe, plus (on A#) a mode which seems like almost the major scale, save for a tritone.  I left my Berklee degree downstairs, so your guess is as accurate as mine, but you can get the same approximate effect by simply playing an A major triad in root position, raising everything a half step, then going back down.  Voila!  I think of it as going from A to Bb, because then there's no C double-sharp to worry about.

This up-and-down-a-half-step stuff, which is a big thing in "Exotica" music, may represent a collision between older harmonic practices and the coming of tonality, aka the tonal system.  And, the more I look at that weird cover shot, I guess we have to conclude that Jayne is waiting for her man to come home--she has his pipe, slippers, ashtray, and matches ready.  I'm not sure what she's holding.  "Sit here, honey."  "Well, tarnation, then scoot out of the way, woman!"  I don't think that's the exchange being anticipated here, but this is a pretty dumb cover, the more I look at it.  A nicely balanced photo, but...

I've had this ready for a bit, and I needed to put it up in time to beat the holiday rush.  So, here is Moments to Remember.  I've always wanted to say that.  Any excuse to sound ungrammatical while still being grammatical is to be cherished.  To the music...

DOWNLOAD--Moments to Remember (Waldorf Music Hall MHK-33-1214; 1958)

April in Paris--Enoch Light and His Orch.
Soft Summer Breeze--Vincent Lopez and HIs Orch.
Song for a Summer Night--Enoch Light and His Orch.
When the White Lilacs Bloom Again--Same
Canadian Sunset--Same
Port Au Prince--Same
Theme from the Three Penny Opera--"Moritat"--Nick Perito and His Orch.
Lisbon Antigua--Vincent Lopez and His Orch.
The High and the Mighty--Enoch Light and His Orch.
Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White--Same
Song from Moulin Rouge--Same


Monday, November 09, 2020

Not just a pretty cover: "Music from Another World"--The Jay Gordon Concert Orch.; 1957


A quick Google search brought up nothing on Jay Gordon (I tried his name in combination with the phrases "light music" and "orchestra leader"), and it's quite possible there's more than one orchestra on this LP, anyway, given that (to my surprise) Deserted Ballroom is the same version we recently heard on Varsity, where it was credited to Elliot Everett and His Orch.!  The track sounds way better here, though.  Wow--Tops using Eli Oberstein material.  I'll have to check into that--Tops had possibly bought up Eli's labels come 1957, the release year for this.  I had this ages ago, and I'd bought it for the cool cover--but the music didn't move me, because it didn't seem to go with the cover.  Now I appreciate the selections as top-tier light music--just a wonderful program of stuff.  The sound quality is a highly pleasant surprise--it's superb throughout.  This is some of the most vivid monaural sound I've ever heard.

No composer creds, though Deserted Ballroom is by Morton Gould, while the roots-of-Exotica classic Lotus Land is by Cyril Scott.  Meanwhile, March of the Pink Elephants is the work of Harry Bluestone, and Dance of the Elves (I almost typed "Elvis") was composed by Emil Cadkin.  As for the rest, you're on your own,.  Emil Cadkin is a library music pioneer who also also wrote music for movies, TV shows, and Hanna-Barbera cartoons.  Some of his stock music was used in 1968's Night of the Living Dead.  He's still with us, at the age of 100.  Harry Bluestone (1907-1922), a studio musician born in England, also composed for TV and movies.  Wikipedia reports that he discovered actor Robert Clary (Hogan's Heroes).  Bluestone can be heard on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

If you find yourself hearing more than a bit of Ravel's Bolero in Chant of the Amazon (composer unknown), welcome to the club.  And the atypically fast tempo for Lotus Land is similar to the one Cyril Scott used when he recorded the work, so...

Normally, on old budget vinyl, I'd have used my Stanton 500 cartridge, but I decided to use my better needle and cart, and the results are terrific.  I correctly figured that VinylStudio would take out the many light clicks and pops (the snooty term is "ticks"), and I was right.  You won't have to cope with a single one.  In two instances, I did my cheat of cutting out a "long" section of noise and replacing it with part of the file which either preceded or followed that section.  I put "long" in quotes because we're only talking a fraction of a second, but in both cases the chunk of noise was too big to excise without interrupting the rhythm.  It doesn't take much.

This turned up for me yesterday as part of a very satisfying Goodwill stop (despite no holiday selections).  It's always nice to run into one of Top's superior productions.

The linter notes are all hype, with no background on the "world-famous" Jay Gordon Concert Orchestra, but since the content is so exceptional, who's complaining?  Not me.

DOWNLOAD: Music From Another World--The Jay Gordon Concert Orch. (Tops L1552; 1957)


Sunday, November 08, 2020

Jeopardy Theme (Griffin)--Merv Griffin w. Orch. Directed by Mort Lindsey (1974)


You wanted a Disco version of this theme by the man who wrote it.  You know you did.

From the 1974 Merv LP, Escape, shown above in a snapshot.  Musicians on the LP include director Mort Lindsey, Jack Sheldon, Pias Johnson, and Mundell Lowe.

R.I.P., Alex Trebek, who was apparently a terrific person.

DOWNLOAD: Jeopardy Theme--Merv Griffin, Mort Lindsey Orch., 1974.

Meanwhile, most sources claim that the Jeopardy theme came from A Time for Tony, a lullaby Merv wrote for his son.  However, as we can hear from this 1970 recording of the lullaby (featuring Merv at the piano), the two aren't at all the same.

DOWNLOAD: A Time for Tony (Griffin)--Merv Griffin, piano; Arr, and Cond, by Manny Kellem, 1970.

From Appearing Nightly at the Piano (Metromedia MD 1023; 1970)


Friday, November 06, 2020


Election anxiety has made it hard me to do much in the way of music ripping this week, though I do actually have some ready-to-go posts (which are missing only an essay).  But I'm just not able to detach from the insanity of the moment and get to them.  Of course, my anxiety puts me in the same boat as many millions of fellow citizens, so it makes me feel connected.  It's funny when stress makes you feel connected.  But I wanted to note that my 2019 Christmas posts are up and working, so if you missed them last time and you want to celebrate early, please avail yourself of any or all of last year's holiday posts.

A weird mishap caused the post comments to vanish, but that's a long story.  People did comment, though.  Anyway, I put up a ton of things last year, including a number of singles compilations, if that's the way to put it.  I'll be putting up stuff this year, too, but not as much, probably.  Or I might get caught up in the spirt, and the thrifts may yield some fine finds.  Only Time will tell.  And, if not Time, then Newsweek (to use one of my favorite and lamest lines).

The Christmas singles in my 2019 comps run the gamut from standard holiday stuff to things that can hardly be described.  I like to keep a balance, you know.  I always love it when someone familiar with an offbeat record knows some history, or knows who put it out (and, possibly, why).  That's always cool.  In the earlier days of my blog (I started in 2005), I often heard from artists.  For instance, when I posted the Baby Dolls' 1964 version of Burt Bacharach's The Bell That Couldn't Jingle, I heard from a member of the group.  I believe she mentioned the Beatles performing in another studio at the same time.  I deleted most of my earliest posts, and because I was getting constant re-up requests that I couldn't fulfill, as I didn't have the files remotely handy.  I'm better organized now, so naturally I rarely get re-up requests.  Anyway, I was being overwhelmed by requests.  I had to make a choice between re-upping or blogging, and I chose the latter.  It apparently made some people mad, but what could I do.  How things have changed--it was hard keeping up with the email.

One of the coolest comments was from the daughter of Jack Halloran.  Jack had recorded Katherine K. Davis' 1941 Carol of the Drum a year before Harry Simeone stole the song and retitled it The Little Drummer Boy.  At least, I'm presuming that Halloran used the original title.  At any rate, Simeone's arrangement is way close to Halloran's, so it was a case of double theft, I suppose.  I had done a lot of research over a few years to get the details right for that particular post, and it was wonderful to have her tell me that I had mostly nailed it.  Since that time, I've found four or so other pre-Simeone recordings of Drum, in addition to the famous Trapp Family Singers version of 1951 or 1952.  It's clear that Carol of the Drum was rapidly picking up in popularity by the time Simeone got a hold of it.  Davis, for some reason, had designated it as a Czech carol (or based on same), which, from what I've read, it was not.  The folk song designation maybe gave Simeone the notion that it was a P.D. item ready for the taking.  But it shouldn't have been all that hard for him to check and find out it was a copyrighted work. 

I believe I combined all of my Line Material sides into one post, too.  (Yup.  They're here.) To anyone new to Line Material's Christmas records, I envy you, because they're the cream of the Christmas crop.  Most are incredibly elaborate productions headed by choral great John McCarthy, who must have needed work.  The LM sides--the great 1957-62 ones, anyway--stopped when McCarthy formed the Ambrosian Singers in 1961.  McCarthy had started his gig as choral director of the London Symphony Orch. and was, we can assume, no longer available.  The 1962 release was likely recorded the previous year, as I can't picture John flying back to do a Christmas 45 for a company that manufactured fuses, switches, and line hardware.

So, have an early Christmas on me!


Sunday, November 01, 2020

The Grace Gospelaires and The Mountain State Trio--Praising the Lord in Song (Phalanx P-1102-X; 1966)


The Grace Gospelaires of Doylestown, Ohio (as of 1966), are bluegrass gospel at its best.  They are given the first side, while the second is turned over to the Mountain State Trio--Sue, Mike, and Vicki Wood, the kids in the second image.  I'm not a fan of child singing (somehow, that term sounds wrong), unless we're talking a children's choral group performing Christmas carols.  The trio's sound isn't music to my ears, but I didn't want to post half an LP, as tempted as I was.  I'm sure they grew up to be much better at what they do here.

As Appalachian as anything gets, and with excellent instrumental backing throughout--and on a label (Phalanx) that's new to me.  The record, which is filled with needle nicks, cleaned up beautifully, with only a limited amount of manual click removal necessary.  An exceptional version of He Will Set Your Fields on Fire and some familiar titles make the first side a joy, and the second side equally so--if you like children's trios.  God's Gentle People was also recorded by the Chuck Wagon Gang, and I initially confused it with Lanny Wolfe's God's Wonderful People, a highly un-bluegrass number.  And so I was wondering how it would sound in this setting.  I guess I'll never find out.  For the best, maybe.

I didn't have time to dig up the writer/composer info, and neither did Phalanx, apparently.  1966, says the RITE matrix number in the dead wax.  The year is also given at this site, which I discovered yesterday and which looks like a great resource in the making.

To the bluegrass gospel.  Label and jacket images included in the folder.  The cover is a stock watercolor image and not very memorable.  Photoshopping the back cover took more work than cleaning up the surface noise...

DOWNLOAD: Grace Gospelaires, Mountain State Trio (1966)