Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Country Music on Parade--Tommy Scott's Country Caravan (1971)


Whenever I encounter a Goodwill LP called Country Music on Parade, and one of the titles reads Don't Kill a Man Because He Calls You a S.O.B., my first thought is going to be, "Maybe I need this one." 

And, last post, I noted that I'm not here to mock things, and maybe I spoke too soon, since the songs on this LP cry out for a humorous review.  But I'll do my best to keep the humor friendly.  I could fashion a lame argument along the lines that, say, finding humor in music is not the same thing as mocking it, but my argument would necessarily be circular.  Tautological, even.

Back to Don't Kill a Man Because He Calls You a S.O.B., I'm glad to report that the lyrics live up to the title.  I just arrived in Hell and let me tell you, There's lots of faces down here that I know.  Bu there's one face down here I can't stand the sight of, And that's the man I killed a while ago.  The name that he called me did not fit Mama, And that's why I left him dyin' in the dirt.

"The name that he called me did not fit Mama"?  Interesting way of putting things.  And the last line delivers the song's moral: I lived a life I thought was pretty decent, But one mistake, and this is where you go.  Yes, the singer sounds like he was living a pretty decent life.  But you'll get an insult that does not fit Mama, and the next thing you know...

My favorite from this playlist of odd ditties (say that twenty times) is the tender love balled, Rosita:

Top of El Paso, just over the border in old Mexico, I met Rosita and she made me love her.  She changed her mind and told me to go.  I took my gun and cut her down.  Rosita, I'll always love you.

And what better way to demonstrate that love?  Georgia's Tommy Soctt, aka Ramblin' Tommy Scott, aka "Doc" Tommy Scott, seems to have been a major country/folk celebrity.  Though he never cracked the charts, far as I know, there are Scott bios all over cyberspace.  And PBS did a 2001 special on him.  And there were German reissues of his older country sides.  Solo recording artist, TV star, songwriter, Charlie Monroe bandmember, David Letterman guest, and leader of traveling medicine shows, Scott appears to have been a made-for-order "character."  An eccentric for hire.  And "eccentric," I think, perfectly describes his work on this not-quite-characteristic-of-the-genre country LP,  released in 1971 on the "Music of Many Lands" label, Request Records Inc. of New Rochelle NY.  If I were in a sarcastic mode, I might ask how many lands were musically involved in these selections.

Now, to be sure, the tunes and performances have a professional, Nashville-studio-pro sound to them--it's the texts which are memorably off-kilter.  We have, in addition to the above examples, these lines from Geneva

You turned this man into a child of three, By letting me taste how sweet your love can be.  The... what??  And these interesting lines, from Nobody But You

Baby, you're the only one that I let wear my ring, You're the one with whom I would do anything.  And I let no one else mess up my hair, But if it's you, I find that I don't care.  "Oh, it's you.  Good.  I won't have to shoot you."

And, from Scott's He Went That-a-Way, sung by Little Miss Betty: 

I tried to hold myself back, but I just couldn't quit.  With passion burning in my soul like fire down in a pit.  He led me on, loved me hard, Then he went that-a-way.  

(Not sure how to punctuate that second line without creating a dangling participle.)

And there are priceless Spike Jones-esque sound effects on Help Me Pull the Wagon--namely, whip snaps and "Hyaaa"'s.  Scotty Lee sings, You ? money as if you think I own the mint.  Girl, I ain't broke but I'm getting badly bent.  I can't speak for everyone, but I know I hate it when I get badly bent.

Pollution also sports sound effects, and they happen right away--and loudly.  So, if you're listening through speakers, you want might to cut the volume at that point--the noise is jarring.  So are some of the lyrics:

Temperatures a-fallin' a little year by year.  By twenty hundred, won't be none of us here.  Preach the word: Tell the world about pollution, Save the world: Stop the awful execution.

Except for the temperatures-falling part and the "twenty hundred," Tommy was spot on.  And I just discovered that, come tomorrow (Sep. 30th), it will be eight years since Tommy left us.  I didn't plan things that way--that's just how the post worked out.

The LP's liner notes are by Hee Haw's "String Bean."

DOWNLOAD: Country Music on Parade--Tommy Scott's Country Caravan (1971)


Even I Can See the Sunshine--Chuck Housley
Unconcerned--Little Miss Betty
Don't Kill a Man Because He Calls You a S.O.B.--Chuck Housley
Geneva--Chuck Housley
What About That?--Sam Baxter
Nobody but You--Chuck Housley
Sally Ann of Greenville--Tommy Scott
Pollution--Tommy Scott
I Am Free--Sam Baxter
My Jimmy--Little Miss Betty
Pack Up, Ship Out and Go Home--Chuck Housley
He Went That-a-Way--Little Miss Betty
Help Me Pull the Wagon--Scotty Lee
Four Seasons of My Life--Tommy Scott
Rosebud--Tommy Scott
Rosita--Raymond Walker

Country Music on Parade--Tommy Scott's Country Caravan (Request Records Inc. SRLP 6031; 1971)


Sunday, September 26, 2021

The always reliable LeFevres: "LeFevres Sing" (Sing 3209; 1963)


There's something very apt about an LP called LeFevres Sing on the Sing label.  And there's something slightly strange about the label title, which is simply "LeFevre."  It could almost have a buyer thinking he or she inadvertently purchased a solo LeFevres LP.  But, such is not the case--we get the entire gang on this excellent LP.

This Wikipedia entry tells the group's remarkable history, and a quick check at Discogs reveals that most of the LeFevres' LP output happened on this label (Sing), though they also recorded for Starday, Canaan, and LeFevre Sound--the latter clearly their own label.  My late foster mother, Bev, fondly recalled the group from its TV show, and, back in the cassette era, when I regularly put thrifted sacred LPs on tape for Bev and John's car player, I was always happy when this group turned up, because homerun hitters aren't that easy to come by in gospel.  For instance, I spot-listened to (and rejected) four gospel albums by four different artists before settling on this one for today's post--the others included a good LP ruined by an "invisible" needle dig, plus one of the worst quartet efforts my ears have yet experienced.  I won't reveal the name of the group, since I'm not here to poke fun at inadequate performers, but if I were to start a series called "When Quartet Singing Goes Wrong," that LP would be the headliner.  But I'm not here to mock.

No such worries with the LeFevres, who rank with the Sego Brothers and Naomi, The Blue Ridge Quartet, The Statesmen, and other top-rank acts in terms of reliability--none of these groups seemed capable of making a bad LP.  And I'll confess that most of the titles on this 1963 album are new to me, though I have a feeling I should know most of them.  At any rate, Bill Anderson's Mama Sang a Song graced the blog last post in a fake-hit rendition, and Sweet By and ByOn the Battlefield, and Where We'll Never Grow Old (aka Never Grow Old)--all flawlessly done--are "old time" classics; the second title the sort of fast-tempo spiritual this group excelled at.  I wish the accompanying musicians had been listed on the back--I'd love to know who the outstanding ivory-tickler is.  The back jacket does contain the notice, "A unit of the Gospel Singing Caravan," and the Gospel Singing Caravan is explained here.  I think I've encountered them on vinyl from time to time.

Not only are these performances as solidly professional as we could wish, the album's group photo (despite a tad too much contrast) is a model of its type.  Excellent group shots not being the gospel-LP rule, I thought I should give special notice to this one.

DOWNLOAD: The LeFevres Sing (Sing 3209; 1963)

I Love to Call His Name
Let Us Go Back
I Want to Walk
Scatter Sunshine
When I Got Saved
Mama Sang a Song (Anderson)
Is Your Name Written There
I Want to Know More
When the Gates Swing Open
Sweet By and By (Bennett-Webster)
On the Battle Field
Where We'll Never Grow Old (Moore)


Thursday, September 23, 2021

Current Hits, Volume Number 1 (Hit Records 1001; 1962)

Well, I had been Google-searching for this LP's release year.  The tracks were all recorded in 1962, but Discogs doesn't tell us when this collection arrived.  Turns out, all I had to do was read the back jacket notes:

"In this album entitled Current Hits, Volume 1 (1962), we are presenting to you a collection of the best selling songs of this period.  We might well entitle this LP 'The Sound of the Hits' because we have left no stone unturned in our efforts to provide you not only with the hit songs but with an actual duplicate interpretation of the 'hit sound' as it appears on the original recording by the original artist."  It never occurred to me to call these things "duplicate interpretations," but it has a nice ring.  And that paragraph may set a record in terms of avoiding comma usage.

This LP's "Compatible Mastering" was done in New York, since said technology had yet to arrive in Nashville.  I refer to the cutting head that produced a groove playable with both monaural and stereo styli--the innovation that allowed stereo Hit Records to be played on a "regular hi-fi" AND which saved Hit Records a lot of money, since it therefore didn't have to bother with a separate mono and stereo catalog.  Smart.

This LP is a gift from Diane, and it's one of those discs which visually grades VG+ but which turn out to have "invisible" wear throughout.  That will happen--this, of course, is why visual grading can be tricky.  However, the rip is more than adequate, and it's wonderful to have the first duplicate-interpretation LP put out by Spar/Hit Records.  So, thanks, Diane!

Mostly good performances on this one, and mostly nice songs, though I've always hated He's a Rebel.  I can't help it.  I know it's a classic oldie, and I know that Gene Pitney wrote it, but it's just so empty-headed.  "Just because he doesn't do what everybody else does"--that's what makes him a rebel.  And, somehow, we know that she doesn't mean he dresses in a clown suit and yodels the greatest hits of Gene Austin.  Or that he's a scientific or literary genius who's been pushed ahead in school five grades.  "Just because he hops to class a-riding on a pogo stick.  Wears his boxer shorts outside his pants, but I love him, anyway."  That wouldn't have worked.  No gal wants that much of a rebel.

The best of the duplicate interpretations, imo, is Return to Sender, which was credited to "Ed Hardin" (possibly Buzz Cason) on the Hit Records single, while the least would have to be Big Girls Don't Cry, which is lively and fun but missing something in the vocal department. On its 45 rpm incarnation, Big Girls was credited to the fictitious Chellows (yuk, yuk)--and here's where I mention that I've rounded up all the artist credits for your convenience.  This meant checking out the singles, since the LP carries no performer info.  Oh, and in the classic budget tradition, Hit Records slightly mismatches the front cover title (Current Hits Volume Number 1) with the back cover version (Current Hits Volume One).  Meanwhile, I think that's supposed to be a bullseye on the back cover, but maybe the illustrator was a moonlighting Salvador Dali:

Furthermore, between the labels and jacket, the track listings are out of sync, so: budget mission accomplished.

"He's a rebel 'cause he puts peanut butter in chicken soup; He's a rebel 'cause he travels in a one-man ragtime group."  Oh, and Bill Anderson's Mama Sang a Song is also scheduled to show up in our Sunday morning gospel post (by the LeFevres), so we're keeping it all in the blog.  Er, whatever that means.  More from the notes: "This is a quality reproduction from every aspect."  Hm.  I thought this was a first-run HLP 1001.  That's odd.

Two bonus tracks--the monaural single edition of the Chellow's Big Girls Don't Cry and the Hit Records fake of the Bacharach-David Blue on Blue (also mono).

DOWNLOAD: Current Hits, Volume Number 1 (Hit Records 1001; 1962)

Return to Sender--Ed Hardin
Next Door to an Angel--Ward Oliver
Don't Go Near the Indians--Sandy Carmichael
He's a Rebel (Pitney)--The Gleams
Mama Sang a Song--Sandy Atkinson
Big Girls Don't Cry--The Chellows
Don't Hung Up--The Dacrons
Limbo Rock--Bill Carmicheal
Do You Love Me (Berry Gordy, Jr.)--Leroy Jones
He Thinks I Still Care--Connie Landers
Only Love Can Break a Heart (Bacharach-David)--Ed Hardin
All Alone Am I--Katy Richards
Big Girls Don't Cry--The Chellows (Mono single version)
Blue on Blue (Bacharach-David)--John Preston (Mono single version; 1963)


Sunday, September 19, 2021

Sunday morning gospel: Old Gospel Favorites--The Glorylanders (Rite Record Productions, Inc., 1972)


Interesting front cover stitching, there--I have no idea what happened, aside from the fact that the contrast obviously changed during the course of my four-angle scan.  The original image doesn't have a light and dark side--it just came out that way.  My scanner is an excellent but, by now, almost antique device.  I should consider upgrading, but I've grown to love this ol' Epson, which came bundled (I forget when) with amazing photo editing software.

And... excellent amateur gospel sounds from the Glorylanders of Marion, Illinois.  The Rite Record Pressings dating guide (say that several times) places the matrix numbers (30373/30374) at approximately 1972, whereas the writing on the back jacket reads "Sep., 1973," but close enough.  I'm guessing that the back jacket writing is by the previous owner, that there are no group signatures involved, though I can't tell for sure.  At any rate, just for the sake of quibbling about the LP title, neither He Touched Me nor Turn Your Radio On were especially old when this LP was made, but Old Gospel Favorites is such a fine, traditional type of title, I'm fine with that.  It sounds proper and heartfelt.  Properly heartfelt, even.

Solid performances, even if the instruments slightly overpower the vocalists in a number of spots, and it's nice to have the 1907 Ada Habershon/Charles Gabriel Will the Circle Be Unbroken ("There are loved ones in the glory..."), as opposed to the Carter Family variant, though there's nothing wrong with the variant.  And 1907 is definitely a vote for "old."

As a rule, I'm never thrilled to see Amazing Grace in a gospel tracklist, since versions of this mega-standard tend to be throwaway stuff, but this rendition is a pleasant surprise: It has a fresh, pleasant sound, just like the other tracks.  And, to answer the age-old question, "Why are there six people pictured on a quartet LP?" please note that one of the people--Dianne Ozment, to be precise--is both an extra singer ("soloist") and one of two pianists, while the instrumentalist is, well, one of the instrumentalists.  By the way, I've never figured out the tradition of separately crediting singers and musicians.  I mean, aren't singers musicians?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Not surprisingly, Hide Me, Rock of Ages, which has a 1940s Stamps-Baxter kind of sound, is from 1946, with a 1947 Stamps-Baxter copyright.  Somebody Loves Me--not the 1924 Gershwin song, of course--ends the album on a quite upbeat note, and as I type this, I'm still searching out the year of composition for that title.

And here we are--1940, and originally published in "Charming Refuge."  Now we know.  Sometimes, my songbook collection comes in handy...

Discogs gives 1972 as the year for this LP, which may well be the case, but I'll stick with the writing on the back (which appears to start with "Rich and Linda") and the "Sept 15 1973" date.  (Update: See Bob's comment.)  The search word "Glorylanders" brings up a good number of artist matches at Discogs (well, six, anyway), including a 1966 LP credited to this group but which doesn't appear to be by the same folks.  But who knows?  I asked the cats, and they have no idea.  I get the distinct impression they don't care.

Enjoy!  (My PC is back to rejecting Workupload files, so it's today.  And just after Chrome had ceased having issues.  A very moody browser.)

DOWNLOAD: Glorylanders--Old Gospel Favorites (1973?)

I'll Thank My Savior for It All
He Touched Me
The Great Speckled Bird 
Amazing Grace 
Turn Your Radio On
Will the Circle Be Unbroken (Habershon-Gabriel)
How Great Thou Art
Hide Me Rock of Ages (Brantley C. George)
Going Home
Somebody Loves Me (W.F. and Marjorie Crumley)

Old Gospel Favorites--The Glorylanders (Rite Record Productions, Inc. 30373/30374; 1972)


Friday, September 17, 2021

Vintage fakes (1948-1952)--Buttons and Bows; Syncopated Clock; Lover; Cry; Come on-a My House


Before I forget, I want to note that these are all 78 rips.

So, exactly what are vintage fakes?  Well, as far as sound recordings go, the post-WWII knockoffs are certainly old and early as knockoffs go.  But were they the first of their type?  Obviously, no.  There were the Hit of the Week records of 1930-32, and, back in the late 1910s and 1920s, there were budget knockoffs (on the pre-CBS Okeh label, for instance) of big hits like Avalon, Whispering, and Dardanella, to name three one-time monster hits.  However, it seems to me that the major precedent, when we're talking fakes/knockoffs, would have to be the famous radio show, Your Hit Parade (1935-1953), which also ran on TV from 1950 to 1959.  (Source: Wikipedia, of course.)  So, listeners of the past were used to hearing hit approximations and reinterpretations and wouldn't have been too shocked to encounter same on budget labels.  Of course, the big difference between the Your Hit Parade fakes and the Tops/Eli Oberstein/SPC/Extended Play Records/Broadway, etc. fakes would be the latter's attempt to confuse the buyer as to the difference between the official hit version and the knockoff.  The budget fakes did their darnedest to pass themselves off as the hits, as opposed to sound-alikes or knockoffs (though they emphasized the money-saving aspect of going with their releases).  The cheapies worked hard to blur the original/knockoff distinction--a distinction which seems obvious to us today, but maybe not as obvious when the 1950s and 1960s knockoffs had their kickoff circa 1948.  Their knockoff kickoff.

And it's those early, late '40s/early '50s knockoffs we're going to hear today--a small percentage thereof, anyway.  I did two posts of vintage fakes in 2018 and 2019, but, listening to the CD-Rs the other day, I wasn't happy with some of the restorations.  In particular, Iverne Whittaker's 1949 Buttons and Bows (on Tops) sounded a good deal noisier than it should.  Luckily, this time, I tamed that particular exercise in hiss quite nicely.  Now, these were tough rips, given the cheapness of the pressings and the ravages of old, heavy tonearms, and I'm obsessive about removing clicks and pops, except in those instances where the task becomes hopeless--such as, on the Les Paul/Mary Ford knockoff, The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise (featuring a multi-tracked Mimi Martel and what are probably multi-tracked guitars--billed as "The Freddy Laine Orchestra").  I did my best with that one, and left the rest to fate.  And the Music Club Hit Tunes Come on-a My House had a sufficient number of surface clicks for ten 78s, but I managed to reduce those about 75 percent.  Most of these, however, cleaned up very well.

Not surprisingly, our playlist is a mixture of gems and duds--the latter, starting with that 1949 Tops Buttons and Bows, on which the singer vastly overdoes the hill-person accent on the vocal, all atop a chintzy organ background.  The flip is an improvement, with a group called the Blenders blending fairly well (though what I take to be the tenor voice is consistently off).  I refer to Underneath the Arches, a likely-not-widely-remembered 1948 hit--this version seems to be inspired by the Andrews Sisters' highly successful recording.

The super-versatile Mimi Martel, who was sort of the Patti Page of the budget set, does great work on Lover, Wheel of Fortune, Cry, and the Mary Ford fakes (I believe "The Toppers"=an overdubbed Mimi)--and the Tops Lover has to take the prize for the most daring budget attempt of its time.  Mimicking Les Paul and Mary Ford was a big enough assignment for a junk label, but even thinking about copying the over-the-top Peggy Lee/Gordon Jenkins Lover (1952) took guts.  Amazingly, the results aren't too shabby, though the arranger wisely opted to fade out early.  Kaw Liga--by "Hap" Williams, no less, and ripped from a worn-out Victory Extended Play Records EP--is pretty decent, despite the Clark Bar-budget sound to it.

And there are some flat-out gems, including a good Buttons and Bows from 1948 (on a badly pressed Varsity 78 that cleaned up surprisingly well)--a version sure to erase the memory of the Tops dud.  And there's a spirited I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Cocoanuts which almost definitely takes off from the mega-hit Merv Griffin version, and a charming Syncopated Clock (no "The"--Royale was saving on ink).  No Help Wanted is technically excellent, though it fails to capture the Sun-before-Sun-Records sound of the 1952 Carlisles original on Mercury, on which Chet Atkins played riffs we've been programmed to associate with original Elvis lead guitarist Scotty Moore.  The Guy Mitchell knock-offs are pretty good (Belle, Belle My Liberty Belle and The Roving Kind), though neither vocalist succeeds in capturing Guy's emphatic but smooth touch--they sort of overdo things.  Interestingly, the Elliott Everett version of Belle spells it "Bell."  A typo or just another attempt to save on ink?  The two Come on-a My House fakes, both great fun, demonstrate the wisdom of terming these records "knockoffs" instead of "sound-alikes," given that the first effort, courtesy of Eli Oberstein's Music Club Hit Tunes label (you've heard of that one, I'm sure), more or less follows from Rosemary Clooney's hit (if you don't count the piano subbing for the harpsichord), whereas the Owl Records fake by Jean Ryan is anything but a sound-alike, with the musicians giving the Saroyan-Bagdasarian number a Klezmer treatment.  Effective, but not remotely a sound-alike.  Ross Bagdasarian, of course, is much better known as David Seville, and William Saroyan was the famous playwright and novelist.  Believe it or nuts.

And Bob Hilliard, lyricist for Be My Life's Companion and Shanghai, also wrote Any Day Now, Please StayMexican Divorce, Tower of Strength, and other numbers for Burt Bacharach.

Now that I've typed your ears off, it's time to savor these vintage knockoffs, all of which hopefully sound better than the previous rips.  And there are a couple of "new" selections in the mix.  Enjoy!

DOWNLOAD: Vintage Fakes (1948-1951)

Buttons and Bows--Iverne Whittaker, Assisted by the Blenders, 1949
Underneath the Arches--The Blenders, 1949
I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Cocoanuts--"Skeets" Morris With Jimmie Livingston and His Orch., 1950?
Syncopated Clock (Anderson)--Elliot Everett and His Orchestra, 1951
Buttons and Bows--Barbara Brown With Orchestra, 1948
A Penny a Kiss, A Penny a Hug--Elliot Everett and His Orch. With Vocal Refrain
"A"--You're Adorable--Barbara Brown and Johnny Frank With Orchestra, 1949
Maybe You'll Be There--The Varsity Orch., Vocals by Frank and Chorus, 1948
Lover--Mimi Martel, The Hal Lomen Orchestra, 1952
Until--Johnny Frank and Barbara Brown With Orchestra, 1948
No Help Wanted--Hillside Four (1952?)
The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise--Mimi Martel, The Freddy Laine Orch., 1951
Belle, Belle My Liberty Belle--Bud Roman, The Freddy Laine Orch., 1951
Tiger Rag (ODJB)--The Toppers With the Les Morgan Quartet, 1952
Wheel of Fortune--Mimi Martel, The Les Morgan Orch., 1952
Cry (Kohlman)--Mimi Martel and the Toppers, The Hal Lomen Orch., 1952
Be My Life's Companion--Mimi Martel With the Hal Lomen Orch., 1952
Kaw Liga--"Hap" Williams, 1953?
The Roving Kind--Bud Roman With the Tops Choristers and Hal Lester's Orch., 1951
So Long (It's Been Good to Know You)--The Tops Choristers With Hall Lester's Orch., 1951
Come on-a My House (Bagdasarian-Saroyan)--Elliott Everett and His Orch. With Vocal Refrain
My Truly Truly Fair--Elliott Everett and His Orch. With Vocal Refrain, 1951?
Bell, Bell, My Liberty Bell--Elliott Everett and His Orch. With Vocal Refrain, 1951?
Come on-a My House--Jean Ryan, 1951?
Shanghai--Jean Ryan, 1951?


Friday, September 10, 2021

You Can't Hurry Love--The Copy Cats: Columbia Record Club fakes, 1966

From 1966, Columbia Record Club fake hits, by the no-cheating-in-the-packaging Copy Cats.  I mean, let's cut to the chase--No "Jack and the Hit-Makers" or "Columbia Record Club-eers;" just the plain ol' Copy Cats.  Honesty in packaging.  And these are what you might term boringly competent fakes, depending upon how fake you prefer your fakes, or you might find them refreshingly spot-on.  All the tracks are in glorious mono, though I think I have a stereo copy someplace in my overflowing rows.  And there's unmistakably a certain amount of flanging happening in/on select tracks (Bus Stop, in particular), and I have no idea why.  Typically, flanging involves a second or third tape machine on which the tape speed is subtly manipulated to produce either a delayed or ahead-of-time out-of-sync effect--the type I get when I place two MAGIX files atop one another.  A hollow "wooshing" sound is one of the features of flanging.  I generally find it annoying.

My first thought was that somehow the flanging happened in the studio when Columbia combined the left and right channels, but I can't believe those could happen out of phase, unless somehow Columbia was using separate machines for the right and left channels.  Such a thing seems not only improbable, but impossible.  So, it's a mystery.

I was nine when these songs dominated the Top 40, so I recall all of them first-hand--except for Hungry.  Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs (Lil' Red Riding Hood) seemed pretty cool to me at the time, though not so much now that I'm 64.  I remember the Hollies' Bus Stop getting tons of airplay both during its hit period and afterwards as an oldie, and I loved it, whereas Hanky Panky did, and continues to do, nothing for me.  I don't remember when I discovered Tommy and the Shondells were covering a 1963 record by the Raindrops, a group consisting of a multi-tracked Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, but it was a bit of a surprise, if not a shock.  The Shondells gave the number a garage-band feel, which was their prerogative, though I think the lyrics sound more appropriate in the Greenwich-Barry original, which was a typical song describing a dance, a song type which included The Twist, The Loco-motion, and, in earlier eras of pop, The Creep, The Bunny Hop, and Charleston.  The Lovin' Spoonful's Summer in the City was another mega-hit, at least in my Top 40 market (NW Ohio), and it, too, joined the perpetual oldies loop for the next however many years.  Which I mostly didn't mind, since it's a fine number.

Today's Bacharach-David number, Trains & Boats & Planes, is regarded as one of  Burt and Hal's classics, though I've never been overly fond of it.  I've tried to fall in love with it, but you can't force love.  Nor can you hurry it.  And You Can't Hurry Love is a number I couldn't wait to be unburdened with back when AM stations were repeating it long past its chart life, but now, years later, I'm free to objectively evaluate its merits, and I've decided it's a superior number and production, even in this Copy Cats copy-cat version. Wild Thing was another played-to-eternity oldie, and I frankly never cared for it, nor do I care for it now.  So there.  However, my take should have no bearing on your enjoyment or lack of enjoyment of this inane, slightly irritating classic.  A nice version of Guantanamera, a song popularized by Pete Seeger, and whose folk history I don't remember much of, except that the origins are very strange (a Cuban songwriter/radio host singing about a girl from Guantanamo and adding one verse per week, or something like that, with the addition of beautiful verses by 19th century poet José Julián Martí Pérez).  Bottom line is that, in its present form (forms?), it works superbly as a patriotic/protest song, as a plea for the rights and dignity of the poor.  I find it incredibly moving, however strange its history.  The Copy Cats do a very decent job copy-catting the excellent Sandpipers.

Fourteen tracks, though the entire playlist only takes about 39 minutes.

NOTE: Once again, my Chrome browser is telling me that the downloaded zip file is "dangerous" (I always do a test download), which it also did with my previous two uploads.  However, last time, the notice stopped happening within a day, so it's clearly some kind of temporary glitch occurring somewhere (in my browser, at the hosting site...?).  Please let me know if you have any issues.  Update: I've added a link.

DOWNLOAD: You Can't Hurry Love--The Copy Cats (1966) download link:

Land of 1000 Dances
Trains & Boats & Planes
Red Rubber Ball
Hanky Panky
I Saw Her Again
Wild Thing
Bus Stop
Sunshine Superman
You Can't Hurry Love
Summer in the City
Lil' Red Riding Hood

You Can't Hurry Love--The Copy Cats (Columbia Record Club D 242; 1966)


Sunday, September 05, 2021

Sunday morning gospel: The Sego Brothers and Naomi--Satisfied With Me (Songs of Faith 103; 1961)


The superb Sego Brothers and Naomi return, though I was planning to post a group called the Glorylanders.  However, I got my files mixed up (easy to do, since they're not labeled when I export them into MAGIX), and so... here's a second helping of this superb gospel quartet, this time on Spar's Songs of Faith label.  And, thanks to Paul Urbahns, who manages the excellent Facebook page Hit Records of Nashville, I finally understand what a "compatible record" is, at least in the case of Spar.  Such albums and singles were made with a cutting head that produced a groove which could be played by both a stereo and mono stylus/cartridge.  In short, wide enough so that a mono needle wouldn't rip out the vertical portion.  This was a big money saver for Spar, since it meant that the outfit didn't have to manufacture separate mono and stereo editions.  How about that?

And this 1961 effort is compatible, so it says on the cover--except, I could hear no stereo when I played both channels.  A feeble kind of "fake" stereo, maybe, but the sound was much improved when I summed the channels.  So I strongly suspect this wasn't stereo to begin with.  I debated whether or not I should reduce the bass, which is quite pronounced, but bass is very difficult to tweak properly--so I just kept things as they are.  Anyhow, great selections throughout, including that mystery number, That Heavenly Home, which I've written about before in regard to versions by The Looper Trio (as My Heavenly Home), The Prophets Quartet, and... this group (in my "Favorite gospel tracks, Part 7" post).  This group's version of There'll Be Shouting is also making its second appearance, but I believe the rest are first-run tracks for the blog.  Best of the bunch may be the wonderful a cappella rendering of the folk hymn I Will Arise and Go to Jesus (here called I Will Arise and Go to Thee).  And there are the usual irresistibly bouncy tracks, like I'll Live in Glory, That's Enough to Know (on the label, simply Enough to Know), and Uncloudy Day (aka, Unclouded Day), the last title credited to "Traditional," though it was written in 1879 by Josiah Kelly Alwood (Thanks, Cyber Hymnal).  A fabulous collection, even if there's no stereo to be heard, "compatible" or otherwise.

According to the liner notes, this was the group's first album--and a quick Discogs check seems to confirm this.  So, it was Spar that premiered this group.  Cool!

To the gospel...

UPDATE: Please let me know if you're having problems with the Workupload download.  The past two files have given my Chrome "safe browsing" feature fits--they've been tagged for containing viruses.  Josh reports the same experience.  Anyone else having this issue?  A quick solution is to temporarily disable the "safe browsing" setting, but I can understand why some folks would be hesitant to do this.

Here's today's offering at

DOWNLOAD: Satisfied With Me--The Sego Brothers and Naomi (1961)

I'll Live in Glory
That Heavenly Home
I'm Going There (J. Wetherington)
Uncloudy Day (Alwood)
Satisfied With Me
A Saviour to Be Proud of
It's Different Now (Beatty)
Enough to Know
Just a Closer Walk With Thee (Trad.)
There'll Be Shouting (Barlett)
Beyond Tomorrow (I. Stanphill--not "Stamphill")
I Will Arise and Go to Thee (Trad.)

Satisfied With Me--The Sego Brothers and Naomi (Songs of Faith 103; 1962)


Saturday, September 04, 2021

12 Top Hits of Today, Vol. 1 (Hit Tune Records; Prob. 1967)

A repost from March, 2019.  I noticed that the link was no longer working, and so I decided to re-up the files in my current higher bit rate.

Twelve Top Hits of Today--"today," in this case, being 1967.  I'll assume that's the year of the LP, though it could have been early 1968.  And, by the way, while I love my Epson scanner, it doesn't always get the colors quite right.  For instance, that's a green border around the titles on the front jacket, not a blue one.  Oh, well.

And this is supposed to be a stereo LP, but there's no stereo to be heard, so I combined (aka, "summed") the channels for better fidelity.  These are fakes, of course, and humorously enough, beside each title the front jacket lists the original artists ("made famous by") followed by the impostors ("recorded by"), and maybe someone was fooled by this tactic, but to my eyes the white font stands out over the yellow, the yellow being the real people--Procol Harum, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Lulu, etc.  A failure to trick buyers may explain the apparent lack of a volume 2.

The performances range from competent to not so competent, with Homburg especially dreadful, the singer sounding like the original vocalist after a week without sleep.  By contrast, Mike Landers (who must have been multi-tracked?) does a decent version of I Can See for Miles, which was one my big favorites growing up.  It hung on for years as an AM oldie.  The main problems with this copy of Miles are the weak vocal harmonies and the guitar chords going south on the fadeout.  Racheal Waters has the best singing voice of the lot, but her handling of Vikki Carr's hilarious (it seemed so at the time, in 1967) It Must Be Him lacks Carr's bordering-on-panic conviction,  and on To Sir with Love, she seems unfamiliar with the melody.

I'm positive the "Slim Pikins" on this LP was no relation to actor Slim Pickens.  And it was Tommy James and the Shondells who did the original Gettin' Together.  Either Hit Tune Records didn't know that or it misplaced the info.

I seem to remember, back when the Carr record was playing every five minutes on AM radio, that I would answer the "And then I die" lyric with something like "All right--then die, already."  On that lovely note, to the 1967 fake hits:

DOWNLOAD: Twelve Top Hits of Today, Vol. 1

Back on the Street Again--Tony Anderss
Hush--Mike Landers
Keep the Ball Rollin'--Slim Pickins
Like an Old-Time Movie--Dean Gregory
It Must Be Him--Racheal Waters
I Can See for Miles--Mike Landers
Incense and Peppermints--Bobby Sty
Never My Love--Tony Charles
Gimme Little Sign--Slim Pikins
Gettin' Together--Sexton
To Sir with Love--Racheal Waters