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)