Sunday, August 29, 2021

Sunday afternoon gospel--"The Kitty Wells Family Gospel Sing" (1965)


Every day, I learn something new.  For instance, I'd have sworn that Kitty Wells' husband, Johnny Wright, was not the creator of William M. Golden's Where the Soul of Man Never Dies, Thomas A. Dorsey's Shake My Mother's Hand for Me, or J.W. Vaughan's The Old Country Church, but apparently he was.  I mean, a major label like Decca wouldn't lie, would it?  A disappointing but good-in-spots gospel LP by the Kitty Wells Family, one from which I was expecting a lot more, if only because the track listing includes classics like Glory Land March and Jesus Is Coming Soon.  But, in the latter case, it pays to read the fine print: This is not the unforgettable R.E. Winsett Coming Soon but a piece of fluff by one Bill Phillips.  And how can you go right with a title like Let's Regain the Garden?  You can't.  And I wish Roy Botkin hadn't wasted our listening time with A Family Gathering at Home and There's No Greater Time Than Now--Couldn't Decca have chosen a couple more P.D. classics to fill said space?  (And credit them to Kitty's hubby?)

But the good tracks almost make up for the filler titles--the spirited Glory Land March, an excellent Precious Memories, and three other genuine gospel goodies, including Thomas (Precious Lord, Take My Hand) Dorsey's Shake My Mother's Hand for Me.  I'm generally not big on mother songs when it comes to gospel, but at least this particular mother song, while falsely attributed, is the real gospel deal.  Five out of twelve ain't bad, though I still feel pretty let down.  I mean, this is Kitty Wells, her family, and the label is a major one, so we don't really expect such cheap tactics as borrowed credits and cliché-athon filler.  But so it goes, sometimes.

Now, that was a ringing endorsement, wasn't it?  Seriously, though, the five good tracks (Side 1-3, 5; Side 2--1, 2, 5) make this worth the download.  But, if you're me, you'll want to avoid the rest.

On the mp3 ID tags, I've given the proper author/composer credits.

DOWNLOAD: The Kitty Wells Family Gospel Sing (Decca DL 74679; 1965)

Jesus Is Coming Soon
A Family Gathering at Home
Where the Soul of Man Never Dies
Let's Regain the Garden
Shake My Mother's Hand for Me
Glory Land March
Precious Memories
I'm on My Way
Thank God for a Mother Like Mine
(With My Friends At) Old Country Church
There's No Greater Time Than Now

The Kitty Wells Family Gospel Sing (Decca DL 74679; 1965)


Thursday, August 26, 2021

An Hour of Tops in Pops (Allegro Royale 1389L; 1955?)--Rock Around the Clock; Two Hearts, Two Kisses; Don't Be Angry; more!


This is a significantly improved new version of the rip I featured in this 2018 post.  The fidelity isn't great (the LP has seen many plays), but gone is the muffled, low-detail quality, at least.  Three posts back, I featured another An Hour of Tops in Pops, though I forgot to include the "N" suffix with the catalog number.  The suffix on these issues (L, this time) is important, because the 1389 catalog number was the standard Hour of Tops in Pops identifier, with the suffixes presumably marking the editions.  This allowed Allegro Royale not only to conserve numbers but to reuse cover art.  Just as with 1389N, 1389L is missing the track listing on the cover, but this time the panel appears to have been deliberately removed (last time, Allegro Royale apparently simply forgot to print the info).  Why someone would remove the track listing, we'll never know--unless it was part of a threat, perhaps.  ("Play this thing one more time, and I'll remove the track listing!"  "Oh, yeah?  I'd like to see you try that!")

Some things are lost to time.  The fate of the paste-on track sticker for this LP will forever dwell in the Hall of Forgotten Fates.

The version of Rock Around the Clock which starts this record is identical to the Broadway label single by Jack Richards, and it's totally possible the rest of these tracks represent fakes swapped between Eli Oberstein and Broadway, as well.  Many or most of these probably also showed up on the Today's Records label.  With fake hits, it was a small world.  ("Can we use your fakes?"  "Sure.  Go ahead.")

The lead guitarist on Clock is to be commended for copying the original Danny Cedrone solo from the Haley original, something even the Comets' Frank ("Frannie") Beecher didn't attempt on stage, at least when it came to the lightning-fast half-step portion which ends it.  Whoever this guy was, he came very close to nailing it.  A lot of highly fun grown-up pop numbers here--Learnin' the Blues (Frank Sinatra, original), Hard to Get (Gisele MacKenzie, original), A Blossom Fell (Nat "King" Cole, orig.), and Heart (Eddie Fisher, orig.), plus the extremely annoying Honey-Babe (Art Mooney, orig.), which was unleashed on the 1955 Top 40 from the move Battle Cry, a film I'd only want to see for Gregory Walcott's role as a drill instructor.  And, besides Clock, there are two other rock and roll gems: Don't Be Angry and Two Hearts, Two Kisses.  It's interesting that neither number is done in a "pop" style--an indication that r&r was coming into its own, at least on the budget front.

So, is this an hour's worth of pops?  No, closer to 33 minutes.  So why did the Record Corp. of America title it "An Hour of..."?  What, you're asking me?

Oh, and Unchained Melody and A Blossom Fell contain periods of a high-pitched squealing that must have happened in the mastering process, or else which represent a defect in this particular pressing.  I tried different types of filtering, but with no luck.  Fortunately, the instances are fairly brief. 

To the fakes...

DOWNLOAD: An Hour of Tops in Pops (Allegro Royale 1389L; prob. 1955)

Rock Around the Clock
Learnin' the Blues
Hard to Get
Sweet and Gentle
Love Me or Leave Me
Unchained Melody
A Blossom Fell
Something's Gotta Give
Don't Be Angry
Two Hearts, Two Kisses

An Hour of Tops in Pops (Allegro Royale 1389L; prob. 1955)


Sunday, August 22, 2021

Great Moments of Gospel Music: Dixie Echoes, Carl Story, Sego Bros. and Naomi, Sunshine Girls, more!


This 20-selection gospel special was mastered by no less than the Columbia Recording Studio, so I can't understand why they did such a bad job of it.  It took some work to level out the track volumes, but this material is generally of such a high quality, it was well worth the effort.  As ever, I had to remove some clicks "by hand" in my MAGIX program (after the file's trip through VinylStudio), but then I imagine the groove width on this vinyl was compressed a bit (assuming that's possible) to fit in all these numbers, which made the LP more susceptible to scratches.  Don't ask me what I mean by that, as my brain isn't clocking normally right now.  It's the high ragweed pollen count...  My body is filled with allergy meds, and I'm still sneezing.

Florida Boys, Sego Brothers and Naomi, Carl Story--how can we go wrong?  Answer: we can't.  Be on the ready for the extremely down-home singing of the McCormick Gospel Singers (Walking on Holy Ground), the not-quite-on-key bass voice solo that starts the Crusaders' Noah Built an Ark (prior to the terrific, upbeat harmony section), and the must-have-been-dubbed-from-vinyl fidelity of Just a Rose Will Do and Faith Is the Key (weren't J.T. Adams and the Men of Texas WORD artists?).  Today's label, Gospel Time Records, was a subsidiary of Spar Records, which explains the Spar look to the label (I love that sideways font!), and this thing has both a genuine culled-from-everywhere and sold-on-TV character to it, though there's no direct indication that this may have been a TV offer.  My favorite line from the notes: "Gospel music is simply an extension of the stories and the messages given to each of us in the biggest best selling book of all times, the BIBLE."  Okay.

Great Moments of Gospel was a series, I believe, and, in this case, the playlist is so delightful, I guess it doesn't matter from where Spar got its tracks.  Some were likely originally recorded by Spar, and others leased from elsewhere.  Who knows?  Just always remember that gospel music "is easy to understand and accept, because it is tied to the happiness as well as the trials and tribulations of living day to day."  This is a "Compatible" disc, which means it plays on both stereo and mono equipment, allegedly with equally excellent results.  But there may be a catch there.  The thing is, it's my understanding that monaural cartridges were bad news for stereo grooves, and because they were designed to "read" the horizontal groove plane only.  Now, I vividly recall my dad buying a stereo cart for our home's monaural, single-speaker rig in order to make things safe for playing stereo issues (in mono).  So, it may be that, Compatible or no, these Compatible records wouldn't have held up under a cartridge made for mono.  Maybe the missing qualifier is that you needed a stereo cart if you had mono gear.  Oh, well.  I'm not going to buy a mono cartridge to test things--I'll just take Spar's word.  That's the less expensive option.  No need to conduct a test.

To the budget (but first-rate) gospel...

DOWNLOAD: Great Moments of Gospel Music (Gospel Time 1017)

There's a God in Heaven--Sego Brothers and Naomi
The Richest Poor Man on Earth--Dixie Echoes
Noah Built an Ark--The Crusaders
Battle Hymn of the Republic--Florida Boys
Just a Rose Will Do--John Daniel Quartet
Peace of Mind--Georgians Quartet
The Whole World in His Hands--Wendy Bagwell and Sunliters
How Great Thou Art--Wally Fowler and the Oak Ridge Quartet
Ashamed--Sons of Song
Faith Is the Key--J.T. Adams and the Men of Texas
Oh Yes I'm Saved--Foggy River Boys
Heavenly Highway--Sunshine Girls
Above the Storm--Pine Ridge Boys
In That Old Fashion (sic) Home--Travelers Quartet
Hallelujah Amen--Clyde Beavers
Jesus Is Mine--Melody Men Quartet
The Lights of Glory--The Crusaders
Alone--Carl Story
Walking on Holy Ground--McCormick Gospel Singers
Rock of Love--Morris Family

Great Moments of Gospel Music (Gospel Time Records 5017; Spar Recording Studios)


Thursday, August 19, 2021

Current Hits, Volume No. 12--Featuring "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (1964)


Utterly classic cover.  From 1964, and another gift from Diane (thanks, Diane!)--this time, from a discount box in a record store, if my memory isn't malfunctioning.  And what a subtle Fab Four cash-in, no?  Big white-against-brown font: "Featuring 'I Want to Hold Your Hand.'"  To the left of the track titles, a generic Beatle.  Clearly, a rush-job cash-in.

Classic liner text: "It seems that not one single soul in the country, or for that matter the world, could possibly be oblivious to the fact that I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND is the hit record of the year.  It's a product of the beatle haircut and a strange new disease that has swept England and is now hitting our country, known as 'beatleism' or 'beatlemania.'  Not since the early days of Elvis Presley has there been a hit song that has generated as much excitement as I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND.  Man, if you're alive and under a 105, and this song doesn't move you something is wrong!  This recording alone is worth the whole price of the album.  Don't be the last to know, pick it up, pay the man, and take it home--now!"  Now--not tomorrow, not next week, not sometime next month.  NOW!

Someone skipped high school English, I think.  Anyway, none of the punctuation or (lack of) capitalization is mine--why "beatleism" and "beatlemania"?  And who the heck ever heard of "beatleism," anyway?  But, there we have it--the notes telling us to buy this LP so we can get our copy of I Want to Hold Your Hand.  Which is actually their copy of the song, literally.  How masterfully Hit Records obscures the distinction between the actual recording and their knock-off thereof.

I love the last-minute-cash-in nature of this release.  We can only imagine that this was going to be just another Current Hits collection--but then, the Beatles seized the charts.  Panic time!  And we have some typical budget-label inconsistency here, with the reverse jacket saying "Current Hits--Volume 12," while the front portion announces, "Current Hits--Volume No. 12."  Anyway, I can imagine someone saying, "Quick!  Make this all about 'beatleism," and put one of those long-haired guys on the cover--over here on the left, where there's room."  Beatleism.  Sounds like a philosophy.  ("All you need is love."  "Hey, you sound like a beatlist.")

Too bad this version of Hand (credited to "The Doodles" on the 45 release) isn't very good.  Now, it is delightful in its amateurishness--almost like a group of singers imitating the New Seekers (exhausted after a two-week tour) badly imitating the Beatles--but it can only be described as lame.  I've had it on 45 forever, and I've always liked it, in the way that one likes a nice-try-but-keep-your-day-job fake hit, but it's hilarious to see it serving as the LP headliner.  The other eleven tracks, which run the gamut from "ouch!" to highly competent, are actually more fun.

And, almost hilariously, the LP line-up corresponds to the release schedule of the 45s--and I've placed the 45 rpm credits on the mp3 ID tags (the LP forgoes artist credits).  Forget Him, a hit for Bobby Rydell, is adequately sung by... Bobby Russell, maybe?... and Jan and Dean's Drag City is only moderately botched by The Jalopy Five.  For some reason, I like the Hit Records attempts at the surf and hot rod genre, despite the fact they never did them very well.  As Usual is Betty Williams imitating Brenda Lee out of key, and I somehow knew this had to be a Lee hit, even though I don't remember it from bitd (back in the day).  And, though The Boy Next Door has nothing to do with the Meet Me in St. Louis classic, it's an excellent girl-group side and pretty expertly covered by the Belles (and originally done by The Secrets).  It's cowritten by John L. Medora (aka Johnny Madara), a songwriter maybe best known for At the Hop. Medora also cowrote the classic Lesley Gore hit, You Don't Own Me, done here by Bill Austin (!!), according to the single release.  But it's clearly a female vocalist, and the Hit Records Project reports that the vocalist is, in real life, Connie Dee (real name: Connie Sue Landers).  She does a fine, get-it-done-quick job.  The two soul sides--Um Um Um Um Um Um and Talking About My Baby--are solid covers, too, whereas Rick Nelson's For You is... not so fine.  Covering Rick is Ed Hardin (Bobby Russell?) who can't seem to get the notes right on the bridge of this 1930 classic by Joe Burke and Al Dubin (which was memorably recorded by the Ravens in 1947).  Hey Little Cobra is another badly done but infectious and charming cover (this time, by the Roamers, copying the Rip Chords), with the group at least properly negotiating the key changes.  Daisy Petal Picking is nicely done, though this Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs hit doesn't really do much for me.  Then we have an Andy Williams hit, A Fool Never Learns, sung in Elvis style by Fred York, and I have no idea why.  (Though, actually, it would have made a nice Elvis single.)  My first reaction was, "Is this an Elvis hit I didn't know about?"  Answer: no.

And all of this has something to do with "beatleism" taking over the world.  A classic, "Quick!  Change the cover!" fake-hits collection.  Thanks again to Diane for finding this--I had been wanting to have it.

And I forgot to note--Elvis lead guitarist Scotty Moore was one of the engineers on this release!

DOWNLOAD: Current Hits--Volume No. 12 (Hit Records HLP 412; 1964)

Forget Him--Wayne Harris
Drag City--The Jalopy Five
As Usual--Betty Williams
The Boy Next Door (Madara-White)--The Belles
Hey Little Cobra--The Roamers
Daisy Petal Picking (sic)--Ricky Dickens
For You (incorrectly credited to "J. Bert" and "A. Bubin")--Ed Hardin
Um Um Um Um Um Um--Thomas Henry
A Fool Never Learns--Fred York
I Want to Hold Your Hand--The Doodles
You Don't Own Me--Conne Dee (Connie Sue Landers)
Talking About My Baby--Harvey Frolic

Current Hits--Volume No. 12 (Hit Records HLP 412; 1964)


Saturday, August 14, 2021

An Hour of Tops in Pops--Royale Dance Orch. and Singers (Royale 1389; prob. 1955)


Since we're on the subject of Eli Oberstein's Record Corp. of America, here's a Tops in Pops (or, An Hour of Tops and Pops) from that budget operation--one which I somehow hadn't yet featured.  I've had this one for, gosh... 25 years now?  I think this is one of the thrift finds that started me on my fake-hit addiction, so it's kind of a milestone.  Or the purchasing of it was, at least.  Two interesting things about this particular cover: 1) Royale forget to fill in the title strip area with titles, and 2) there's some faint ink script that says, "Darling--One (something) day, and every other day--you have all my love.  James.  Feb. 14, 1956."  A Valentine's gift!

I wish I could make out the second word, but the ink is just too faded.  I tried everything--resizing, increasing the contrast and saturation, messing with color filters, etc.--but no go.  No type or amount of photo enhancing cracked the mystery of that second word.  But we have the gist of the message.

So, I did a couple searches and only found only one source (rateyourmusic) which says anything about Eli Oberstein's use (specifically, on the Royale label) of European musicians on the cheap "to back up American performers," though I could swear I once read a piece which claimed Oberstein did this specifically for his fake-hit compilations, and because he didn't have to pay royalties for the backings.  It would help a lot if I could find solid documentation for this, since my memory, like anyone's, often gets things wrong.  Memories love to malfunction.  I'd hate to think I've been hosting an urban legend.  Then again, what else is cyberspace for, if not unsubstantiated claims?

Whoever did the instrumental backgrounds on these--they did well.  The singers are all solid, too.  I'm guessing this is late 1955 or early 1956 (the "Feb. 14, 1956" helps in that regard), since these are all late-1955 hits.  Five are rock and roll numbers from that fabled period when the "pop" cover versions were outselling the originals--hence, Daddy-O copies the Fontane Sisters (and not Bonnie Lou), I Hear You Knockin' is an imitation of Gale Storm (not Smiley Lewis), At My Front Door copies Pat Boone (not the El Dorados), and My Boy--Flat Top copies the Dorothy Collins pop version of Boyd Bennett's hit.  However, Only You does seem to be a copy of the Platters, even if the high voice sounds female here (at least to my ears).  Memories Are Made of This is, of course, an imitation of Dean Martin; It's Almost Tomorrow, of Jo Stafford; Band of Gold, of Don Cherry; Love and Marriage, of Dinah Shore (I'm fairly shore, er, sure); Sixteen Tons, of Tennessee Ernie Ford; Autumn Leaves, of Roger Williams; and He, of Al Hibbler(?).  Not sure about Hibbler.  While he was the one who hit it big with the number, this singer doesn't seem to be trying to emulate Al.  I guess only He knows who was being copied here.  (Cha-dunk; crash!)

Enjoy, and I promise to do a Sunday morning post next, um, Sunday morning.  I.e., a gospel post.

This is not an hour's worth of "pops," of course.  It's not even a half hour, in fact.  I trust no one sued over the misleading title.  Oh, and notice the amusing title correlation in the line-up: I Hear You Knockin'/At My Front Door

DOWNLOAD: An Hour of Tops in Pops--Royale Dance Orch. and Singers (Probably 1955)

Memories Are Made of This
It's Almost Tomorrow
Band of Gold
Love and Marriage
Sixteen Tons
I Hear You Knockin'
At My Front Door
Only You
My Boy--Flat Top
Autumn Leaves

An Hour (not) of Tops in Pops--Royale 1389N; late 1955 or early 1956

(Banner should read, "Compiled According to Radio, Record and Music Surveys.")

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Junk-label Debussy: Prelude a L'apres-midi d'un faune--The Philharmonic Orch., c. Joseph Berendt, c. 1953


I can't vouch for sure one way or another, but it's possible that, at some point in my music-appreciation development, I thought that Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun was about a baby deer (fawn), as opposed to the half man-half goat creature of Roman mythology (faun).  I'd hate to falsely accuse myself of such a thing, but it's possible.  And I loved the opportunity to rescue a junk-label Classical recording (probable year: 1953), though I regret that the piano side was too hammered (no pun intended) to salvage.  I tried, but it was no-go.  The pianist, Arthur Sandford, is terrific, but his piano tones can't compete with the needle-wear noise.  Somehow, though, The Prelude survived--there was just a little noise in the starting grooves that I was able to cancel out.

Not much I can say about this 1894 mega-classic, save to make the obvious point that Debussy's parallel dominant ninth chords and whole-tone-scale meanderings gave us the "modern" dance band arrangements of the 1920s, including (especially) Ferde Grofe's.  (I'm generalizing.  In this piece, after the famous intro, I'm hearing a dominant 9th -5 moving up a step to a regular 9th.)  In fact, the sort of creative chord substitution that occurred on so many '20s dance records were pretty much a gift from Debussy, though we have to remember that Debussy was highly influenced by the allegedly lesser fellow French composer Erik Satie, who was producing jazz-sounding harmonies ahead of Claude--more dissonant ones, too.  The dissonance of Faun is mostly what we could call period dissonance--mainly, his extended (9ths, 11ths, etc.) and "nonfuctional" chords, which, again, were majorly Satie-influenced.  Of course, world-rocking innovations have a way of becoming clichés the more often they're copied, and so to many modern ears Debussy's Faun may sound like unusually high-quality mood or easy-listening.  I suppose that Debussy, Satie, and Ravel pretty much invented mood music without ever suspecting it, though Satie did in fact write some music that was intended strictly as background fare.  So maybe he foresaw the Andre Kostelanetz era.  A genius like Eric, it wouldn't be surprising.

The quality of this recording, however, is surprising--I tend not to expect such almost-high-fidelity fidelity from any Eli Oberstein label, so kudos to Eli.  The only flaws, sound-wise, are some kind of machine noise in the quiet opening passages (the sound of the tape recorder?) and a lot of people-in-the-background noise.  All easily tuned out.  

Meanwhile, more fake hits coming.  And I hope I get through the heat-advisory weather tomorrow--my asthma is kicking up a little.  The weather person tells us that the heat index will be 105.  Yikes.  Even so, we're getting an easier dose of summer than many spots in the nation, so...

To the budget Debussy.  Anyone with background info on this disc, please share.  "Joseph Berendt" doesn't seem to be a front for someone else...

Oh, and fine budget liner notes, for once.  UPDATE: Eric has provided a link to this massively researched piece on Eli Oberstein's (Record Corp. of America) Classical releases, most of which had German sources (often, radio recordings and airchecks).  The piece includes a discography (on which the Debussy doesn't appear, unfortunately).  I knew that Eli's dealings were shady as can be, but hoo boy.  

DOWNLOAD: Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun (Debussy)--The Philharmonic Orchestra, c. by Joseph Berendt

Allegro Elite 3079 (probably 1953).


Sunday, August 08, 2021

Sunday morning gospel--Sego Brothers and Naomi: Our Best Gospel Songs (Runa 1943; 1977 or 1978)


When I see a Sego Brothers and Naomi LP in the Goodwill bin, and the front cover lists God Walks the Dark Hills, I'm Going Up, and Because He Lives, I know it's going to be a great album.  And that's exactly what it turned out to be.  It was a sure thing, and sure things are rare when it comes to gospel LPs--you can almost never tell for certain from the cover photos--or even the track line-ups--whether you're getting a classic or a dog.  But with this group... Well, they're one of the most dependable outfits of their type.  Were one of them, I should say.  Here's a great write-up on Naomi, who passed away in 2017: The End of a Southern Gospel Legend.

Now, Southern gospel is a broadly inclusive category, and of course Naomi and the Brothers belong to it, but I personally would use the label "country gospel" to describe their superb brand of sacred music.  To some extent, country gospel (to me, at least) is a cross between traditional quartet gospel of the Blackwood Brothers type and bluegrass gospel of the Lewis Family type.  But, so much for labels--more to the point, this is first-rank popular gospel, and the track line-up is one modern (i.e., latter 20th-century) gospel classic after another, from Audra Czarhikow's God Walks the Dark Hills to Bill and Gloria Gaither's Because He Lives.  I would imagine, as of 2021, these numbers have joined the ranks of the "old songs" (another broadly inclusive category), though I tend to regard them as modern gospel.  I'm listening with an historian's ear, I guess.  Actually, two of them.

Runa Records is new to me, but at Discogs I see that this group recorded a number of LPs for this label.  It was by catalog number comparison that I determined this is from either 1977 or 1978, and the photo certainly suggests as much.  I like the contrast between the professionally-done front cover photo and the stock art on the reverse--We can guess that Runa was a mid-budget label.

A first-rate Sunday gospel experience awaits:

DOWNLOAD: Our Best Gospel Songs--Sego Bros. and Naomi

God Walks the Dark Hills (Audra Czarhikow)
I'm Going Up
Beautiful Star of Bethlehem
What a Time Over There
Going Home
Because He Lives (Bill and Gloria Gaither)
He Pilots My Ship
He's More Than Just a Swear Word
You Never Mentioned Him to Me
Give Me the Roses While I Live

Our Best Gospel Songs--Sego Brothers and Naomi (Rune 1943; 1977 or 1978)


Friday, August 06, 2021

"Laff It Off"--Repeat 78 rips, plus two "new" 78s (1900-1945).


Every 78 rip deserves a second chance, I always say.  Save for two "new" offerings--Yearning (written by Neil Moret) and Laff It Off)--all of today's 78s have previously seen the light of blog, some as recently as three months ago (and some way back in 2017).  But, in each case, I felt I could do a better job with them, and hopefully I have.  In particular, my original rips of Plus Ultra and the ragtime-before-ragtime classic Patrol Comique (composed by Thomas Hindley in1886) seemed to lack proper "bass," and so I experimented with the bass turnover.  (Both are U.S. recordings, so the curves should have conformed to the standard curves, but you know how that goes.)  The 1929 Comique sounds great now, while Plus at least sounds better.  Meanwhile, the 1924 acoustical gems Prince of Wails and Get Lucky (composed by Paul Whiteman's and The Benson Orchestra's Roy Bargy) sound less groove-worn in these new rips.  Paul Whiteman's 1945 re-recording of the Bill Challis-arranged San sounds better than ever, and it's the original 78 from Capitol's History of Jazz, Vol. 2 album set. Meanwhile, Ben Selvin's version of Doin' the Raccoon (as the Knickerbocker Orchestra) and Nat Shilkret's amazingly good Me and My Shadow (sad lyrics, joyous mood) and Out of the Dawn never sounded better--not here, anyway.  Both first showed up at the blog in 2017 and 2019, respectively.  Plus, hopefully much improved rips of the 1918 Wilbur Sweatman classics Ringtail Blues and Bluin' the Blues, from a copy that falls just a little short of VG, condition-wise.  (I'm always hoping to find a better one.)  The Sweatman rips turned out well, though--lots of loud percussion, and much detail in the busy trombone work.  And I decided, just for the heck of it, to re-up my previous (May, 2021) rip of the Black Diamonds Band's Carmen March, from British Zonophone, a 1931 recording that seems to support my long-held opinion that the Brits were ahead of us in the sound-reproduction realm, at least in the early electrical days.   The 1909 (?) Lerhone et al Saone polka evidently refers to two rivers in France, though it's played by the "Banda de Artilleria," which of course is Spanish for "Arteries Band."  Er, I mean, "Artillery Band."  The flip, a reissue of a 1900 recording of the once-famous Mosquito (aka, Mosquitoes') Parade, sounds awesome for 1900, and I'm nearly certain this rip is a step up from my 2017 effort.  The clunky sound of the march is, I believe, intended for comic effect.  And the Waldorf-Astoria "Singing Orchestra"'s 1919 version of  Byron Gay's The Vamp is one of my favorite acoustical 78s ever, even if only one out of every three lyrics are audible (I'm not sure it matters with this particular number).  Knecht's outfit sounded like a looser, less formal version of Joseph C. Smith, and his Waldorf-Astoria sides, both the Columbia and Victor recordings, are usually a joy.  Smith's version of the number is memorable, but it lacks the spirit of crazy fun that makes this side such a priceless novelty.  And, yes, you're hearing passages lifted from Puccini's Madame Butterfly.  Skillfully lifted, imo.

The two "new" sides are the laughing-song classic Laff It Off (Bob Haring, 1924), which features Al Weston and Irene Young performing the laughing-chorus chores.  Laughing records, of course, were an old story by 1924.  Not only had there been the big 1922 hit, The Okeh Laughing Record, but also who-knows-how-many previous laughing-while-singing numbers churned out by a host of British musical hall performers and American comic singers like Cal Stewart (one of whose specialties was the "laughing story").  Many decades before Hollywood and TV "blooper" reels, we had artists breaking up on purpose in front of the recording horn.  The other "new" side is Neil Moret's Yearning, a charming number superlatively arranged for (Charles A.) Prince's Dance Orchestra in 1919, with wonderful and  varied obbligatos around the main melody.  It's just one of a number of pre-Paul Whiteman sides that sound influenced by Whiteman--as in pre-influenced, if such a thing is possible.  Prince (the musical director of Columbia records from 1900-1920) and his musicians made a flawless transition from marching sides to dance numbers, operating in a Joseph C. Smith/Joseph Knecht idiom, and perhaps doing an even better job in it.  To the shellac...

DOWNLOAD: Laff It Off--1900-1945

Laff It Off (Kalmar-Ruby)--Bob Haring and His Orch., Laughing Chorus: Al Weston-Irene Young, 1924.
Plus Ultra--Spanish Fox Trot (Joseph M. Lacalle)--Lacalle Spanish Orchestra, 1926.
San (McPhail-Michels; A: Bill Challis)--Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra (Capitol 10026; 1945).
Yearning (Neil Moret)--Prince's Dance Orchestra, 1919.
Ringtail Blues (Robinson and Williams--Wilbur Sweatman's Original Jazz Band, 1918.
Bluin' the Blues (Ragas)--Same
Doin' the Raccoon (Coots and Klages)--The Knickerbockers (Ben Selvin), with vocal, 1928.
Me and My Shadow (Rose-Jolson-Dryer)--Nat Shilkret and the Victor Orch., V: Johnny Marvin, 1927.
Out of the Dawn (Walter Donaldson)--Same, V: Franklyn Baur, 1928.
Prince of Wails (Elmer Schoebel)--Ralph Williams and His Rainbo Orch., 1924.
Get Lucky--Chicago Stomp or Shimmy (Bargy)--Same.
Patrol Comique (Thomas Hindley)--Victor Orchestra, c. Rosario Bourdon, 1929.
Snakes Hips (Spencer Williams)--Original Memphis Five, 1923.
Carmen March (Bizet)--Black Diamonds Band (Zonophone, U.K., 1931)
The Vamp (Byron Gay)--Waldorf-Astoria Singing Orchestra, Dir. Joseph Knecht, V: Irving and Jack Kaufman, 1919.
Lerhone et al Saone (Polka)--Banda de Artilleria, c. 1909.
The Mosquito Parade (Howard Whitney)--Columbia Band, 1900 (c. 1909 reissue).