Saturday, October 30, 2021

Shivery Shellac, Part 3!--Beatrice Kay, Harry Reser, Marek Weber, Eugene Goossens! (1907-1958)


A cryptful of shiver-producing shellac, and I had a devil of a time finding my copy of Spooky Spooks, that 1916 classic by Charles Prince's A. Band.  And, wouldn't you know it, the first place I should have checked was exactly where the thing turned up, but did I look there first?  No, of course not--I went through my entire 12" 78 stash--twice, no less--before checking my first choice.  There's a moral there, someplace.  You've heard, "It was in the last place I looked" (which some regard as redundant, since, as a rule, people stop searching once they've found something), but this time, it's "in the first place I should have looked."  A lesson for us all.  Go with your guts.  And not in the gore-picture sense.

So, I need to hurry here, lest I drive myself sane.  And, you know, I was afraid I might end up with thirteen tracks in this list (I'm not superstitious, but...), but I wound up with fourteen, so... whew!  I'm in for good luck on Sunday, I reckon.  Frankie says, "Arrrrrghhh!!"  I'm sure we all appreciate his input.

In the scary-titles-for-music-that-turn-out-to-not-be-scary sweepstakes, the winner has to be 1955's The Theme from Dial "M" for Murder, which starts out in a horror vein but quickly moves into a Morton-Gould-mood-music mode.  Nice selection, but it must depict one of the less suspenseful moments in the Hitchcock film.  And we have one of my best-ever thrift finds--the "Theatre Lobby Spot" for the classic Japanese horror flick, The H-Man (1958).  I presented it in a single file, though it's really two bands on (what looks to be) a vinyl 78, with no lead-in groove to the second part.  I spliced them together, shouting "Live! LIVE!" having forgotten, for a brief moment, that I'm not Victor Frankenstein.  We have some concert "horror" fare, too: Rachmaninoff's C-Sharp Minor Prelude, as played by Marek Weber's orchestra in 1928, Manuel de Falla's The Fire Dance, as conducted by Eugene Goossens in 1928, and Chopin's famous Funeral March, Op. 35, as played on the pipe organ by Mark Andrews in 1928.  Clearly, 1928 was a good year for spooky background music.

And we have (straight from the 78) Beatrice Kay's 1947 Hooray, Hooray, I'm Goin' Away, which very possibly influenced a certain 1966 novelty hit.  Plus, a companion piece to last post's Little Nell--another mini-melodrama called No! No! A Thousand Times No! as provided by Harry Reser's Orchestra in 1934.  On the Level You're a Little Devil (no comma in sight on the label) is a 1918 novelty that'll have you saying "Awwww."  Or not.  1919's A Cat-Astrophe features cartoon sound effects before there were such things, and Vamp Me is yet another charming Byron Gay novelty from the days of the proto-big bands (as in, 1922).  Then we have the wacky 1907 novelty Gesundheit! (To Your Health), because nothing says "Halloween" quite like sneezing.  (Wait a minute...)  Actually, I'm not sure why I included this one.  Wait, I know--it puts the playlist count up to fourteen, from thirteen.  That must be why.

Happy Halloween!

DOWNLOAD: Shivery Shellac, Part 3! (1907-1958)

A Cat-Astrophe--Columbia Orch., Dir. by Charles A. Prince, 1919
Vamp Me--Rega Dance Orchestra, 1922
On the Level You're a Little Devil--Irene Farber and Lewis James, 1918
Gesundheit! (To Your Health)--Arthur Pryor's Band, 1907
Spooky Spooks--Prince's Band, 1916
Funeral March (Chopin, Op. 35)--Mark Andrews, Pipe Organ Solo, 1928
Prelude (Rachmaninoff)--Marek Weber and His Orch., 1928
Dance Macabre--Lew White, Organ, w. Xylophone and Piano, 1942
My Friend the Ghost--Jill Whitney, 1954
No! No! A Thousand Times No!--Harry Reser and His Orch., V: Tom Stacks, 1934
The Fire Dance (Manuel de Falla)--Hollywood Bowl Orch., c. Eugene Goossens, 1928
Hooray, Hooray, I'm Goin' Away (Skylar)--Beatrice Kay w. Mitchell Ayres, 1947
The H-Man (Theatre Lobby Spot)--1958?
Theme from Dial "M" For Murder (Tiomkin)--Dimitri Tiomkin and His Orch., 1955


Thursday, October 28, 2021

Shivery Shellac, Part 2!--Little Nell, That Hypnotizing Man, Ah-Ha!, Storm, The Ghost of the Violin (1904-1936)


From J.W. Myers' gender-inclusive rendition of Come Take a Trip in My Airship (1904) to Frances Langford's jazzy reading of Cole Porter's Swingin' the Jinx Away, today's 11 titles cover 32 years, thirteen short of the 45-year span of Part 1.  Wait a minute--did I say "thirteen"?  Buwa-ha-haaaa!!!

I knew there was a thirteen in here someplace.  Anyway, don't be surprised when J.W. Myers sings, "...and right near the Dipper, I gave him my heart," since gender-blind vocals were a thing in the early days of recording.  In fact, I used to have a dance band version of The Man I Love which featured a male vocal refrain, so the practice was still in place come the late 1920s.  (And, for some odd reason, early renditions of The Man I Love often took brisk tempos.)  Meanwhile, hypnotism is a Halloween trope--instances of hypnotism, anyway (Bela Lugosi: "Come... here!")--and we've got two examples today/tonight: That Hypnotizing Man (Dolly Connolly, 1912) and Hypnotized, which can be taken as a standard love song or a song about possession.  As in, being possessed ("One look at you, and I was hypnotized").  Why doesn't the singer simply say he was enchanted, or attracted, or that something was stirred inside him?  The man isn't simply captivated--he's been mesmerized.  The gliding, shimmering organ chords (played by Ted Fio Rito) very subtly suggest something supernatural at work.  It's there, if you listen really closely.  But not too closely...

Everything wraps up with an unusual grand organ solo, and I still have my 2016 blog notes regarding it (which is good, since I won't have to retrace the info).  This organ solo, called Storm, includes storm imitations (you read that correctly) on the organ pedals, and apparently this was an actual concert genre around the turn of the last century--storm pieces on the organ.  Clearly, the tradition didn't age well, since, by the time the British Arthur Meale committed his Storm to shellac (on HMV) in 1926, Gramophone magazine was less than charitable in its review, calling Storm "a ludicrous piece of theatricalism," and "a demonstration of the worst excesses of which the organ is capable." Hm. Other than that, did they like it?

Anyway, I've traced Storm back at least as far as 1905, and it may have originated as an organ improvisation, and... it doesn't appear to have been published. It seems to have originally been called Storm at Sea (which would explain the stanza of Eternal Father, Strong to Save), and the sections (quoted from a 1906 recital announcement) are as follows: Calm at Sea--Distant Thunder--Rising Wind--Hooting of Sirens in the distance--Hymn, "Eternal Father, strong to save"--Tempestuous Sea (theme on the Pedal Organ during the storm)--Thunder rolls away--Thanksgiving Hymn, "O God, our help in ages past," etc.  

Now you know as little as I do.  I think that select moments in Storm would make a terrific accompaniment for a Lon Chaney horror silent, and so I offer it as a classic example of shivery shellac.  More to come, believe it or don't.

DOWNLOAD: Shivery Shellac, Part 2

That Hypnotizing Man--Dolly Connolly, 1912
Graveyard Blues--Earl Fuller's Rector Novelty Orchestra, 1918
The Ghost of the Violin (Two-step) (Ted Snyder)--Prince's Band, 1913
Come Take a Trip in My Airship--J.W. Myers, 1904
Ah-Ha!--Oriole Orchestra, V: Mark Fisher, 1925
Ah-Ha!--California Ramblers, V: John Ryan
Little Nell--Eliot Everett and Orch. (Joe Haymes), 1932
The Devil Song--Ed McConnell, 1927
Swingin' the Jinx Away (Cole Porter)--Frances Langford w. Jimmy Dorsey and His Orch., 1936
Hypnotized--Ted Fio Rito and His Orch. V: Muzzy Marcellino
Storm (Arthur Meale)--Arthur Meale, Grand Organ Solo, 1926


Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Shivery shellac for Halloween at MY(P)WHAE! (1909-1954), Part One


Above: Your hosts for "Shivery Shellac"--two Frankies and a demonic-looking pumpkin head, with the first Frankie's brains evidently not yet in place (yuck!).  I didn't notice that until I snapped the shot.  The first Frankie must have posed for the tumbler before he was fully assembled.

"What's the pink lid on your monster cup?"  "Oh, those are his brains."  "Gross."

I was going to bow out of Halloween posting this year, seeing as how I have little to no new material (Halloween sides are much harder to come by than Xmas stuff), but a couple days ago I was listening to last year's "Haunted Victrola" posts, and I wasn't happy with the rips.  For some reason, over the past few years I had taken to eliminating the low end (such as it is) on my acoustical 78 rips, and that naturally leaves things sounding tinny (which is fine if you want a gramophone-type sound, but...).  This present series of rips is hopefully much better, with more bodies.  Er, I mean, with more body.  To the sound, that is.  More body, more gloom.  I mean, boom.  Plus, I think my rips--of big band-era tracks, especially--have better-chosen response curves, my having had (by now) a few years or more practicing with my VinylStudio.  My VS program has a good number of preset curves, but I find myself doing a lot of modifying (and even working from scratch, at times--no pun intended).  It's gotten easier over the many months.

Tomb--er, tomorrow, I hope to have another group of Halloween 78s ripped'n'ready, because no group of revised October 31st rips are complete without The Ghost of the Violin or Spooky Spooks (if I'm able to clear the way to my crate of 12-inchers).  And, ironically, one 78 that seems to be hiding out on me: The Sneak.  I guess it takes its title seriously.

Of the twenty-two tracks in our slaylist, some titles are full-Halloween: Greenwich Witch (two versions, including Zez Confrey's own outstanding piano solo), Witches' Dance, The Hoodoo Man, The Merry Ghost from Chatham Square, for example.  Other titles suggest Halloween, even if they're not full-Halloween:  I refer to The Vamp, Which Hazel, Love Him So Much (I Could Scream), and a few more.  And there are yet others which might be called a session on the rack--a stretch, in other words.  These include Murder, Animal Fair (great, surreal sound effects), Danger, and Magic Eyes.  To this blogger, these are all Halloween titles, even if not, in every instance, full-Halloween.  And I believe I made up that term, though I haven't Googled it to be sure.  "Full-Halloween" doesn't have the sound of a commonly used phrase.  "Shall we go full-Halloween this year?"  I don't think people say that when discussing costumes or decorations.  But, then, I don't know.

All ripped and restored by me from 78s in my collection.  Not ripped in the 1970s/1980s gore-movie sense, of course.  Speaking of which, I have one of those 50-movies-on-twelve-DVD sets which includes 1981's The House by the Cemetery, an Italian flick set in the U.S. which is very creatively done and well photographed but 1) pointlessly gory, 2) badly and/or incoherently plotted, 3) on top of all that, choppily edited, 4) poorly dubbed, and 5) pretty stupid, however genuinely spooky some of the scenes.  There are movie fans who love that type of disconnected and illogical Italian horror, and (at least on line) they treat it like great art, but I'll take Ed Wood, Jr. and Larry Buchanan.  And I won't even pretend their stuff has any artistic significance.  But, back to topic--enjoy today's shivery shellac!  Have a boo-delicious time!  Stay tombed for (possibly) more shivery shellac.

DOWNLOAD: Shivery Shellac, Part 1 (1909-1954)

Murder--Plantation Jazz Orch, V: Unknown, 1920
Greenwich Witch (Confrey)--Frank Westphal and His Orch., 1922
Animal Fair--Carl Fenton's Orch., V: Billy Jones, Ernest Hare, 1924
Witches' Dance (Hexentanz)--Leopold Godowsky, 1921-1922
Eccentric Rag (J. Russell Robinson)--Oriole Orchestra, 1924
Jabberwocky--Joseph Samuels' Jazz Band, 1921
Dance of the Demon (Eduard Holst)--Victor Arden-Phil Ohman, 1922
Greenwich Witch (Confrey)--Zez Confrey, Piano Solo (1922)
Chopin's Funeral March--Prince's Band, 1909
Vamping Rose (Violinsky-Schuster)--All Star Trio and Their Orch., 1921
Which Hazel--Al Herman, 1921
The Hoodoo Man (Arr: Grofe)--Paul Whiteman and His Orch., 1924
Danger--Isham Jones Orchestra, 1925
The Vamp--Joseph C. Smith's Orch., V: Harry Macdonough, Billy Murray
Magic Eyes--Oriole Orchestra, 1923
The Merry Ghost From Chatham Square--Henri Rene Musette Orch. With Vocal, 1943
It's Witchery--Charlie Spivak and His Orch., V: Tommy Mercer, 1947
Inner Sanctum--Charlie Spivak and His Orch., V: Irene Daye, 1948
The Thing (Grean)--The Sundowners Band, 1951
The Haunted Ballroom (Geoffrey Toye)--The Kingsway Symphony Orch., c. by Camarata
Love Him So Much (I Could Scream)--Peggy Lloyd With Nick and His Gang, 1954
The Thing (Grean)--Cliff Holland With the Les Morgan Orch. (c. 1951)


Sunday, October 24, 2021

Sunday morning gospel: Your Worship Hour Quartet--I Never Walk Alone (Crusade LPM 9401)


Gorgeous harmonizing, some great songs in the mix, and an expert accompanist on the piano.  An LP this good deserves to be heard, though the playlist does fall a little short in terms of balancing the slow, thoughtful numbers with the upbeat titles.  As a consequence (at least to my ears), things get a little sluggish--or too measured and drawn out--at times.  Otherwise, this would have been a perfect release.  But as is, it's more than worth sticking with, because the best tracks are absolute gems. 

In fact, every one of the upbeat numbers is exceptional--Keep on the Firing Line, Jesus is Coming Again, Leave Your Heavy Burden on the Cross, Who Is on the Lord's Side? and This Is Why I Want to Go.  And some of the slower numbers are equally good--in particular, the classic Ivory Towers and Alfred H. Ackley's lovely, concert-style I Never Walk Alone, which I'm sure I first encountered in a Homer Rodeheaver songbook.  I wish I could find that songbook--an initial search didn't turn it up.  This is, I believe, the first recording of the song I've ever heard.  And it's a gem.

Three from today's playlist are the work of Singspiration's John W. Peterson, and if your ears detect a famous Strauss waltz in Peterson's Jesus Is Coming Again, you're almost right--it's actually Emil Waldteufel's 1882 The Skaters' Waltz being paraphrased (unintentionally, I assume).  The second upbeat Peterson gem is Leave Your Heavy Burden on the Cross, which has been a favorite of mine for years, and which should have become a standard.  The remaining Peterson title is Over the Sunset Mountains, which isn't up to the others--too generic, imo.  But Peterson was allowed some duds.  After all, among other brilliant gospel numbers, he gave us Surely Goodness and Mercy.

Your Worship Hour was apparently a syndicated radio show originating in South Bend, Indiana, and these very gifted gents were obviously the featured quartet.  In terms of talent, they're on par with the superb Old Fashioned Revival Hour Quartet, whom they sound a great deal like.  I'd almost think they were the same guys, moonlighting, though that's highly unlikely.

In this LP's arrangement, The Sands of Time had me thinking it was a fairly recent number, but I couldn't have been more mistaken--the melody (by Chr├ętien Urhan) in fact dates back to 1834, and the text (a very long poem which was adapted as a hymn) was penned by Anne R. Cousin in 1857.  So, recent it's not.  Meanwhile, In the Great Tomorrow (love that title!) comes courtesy of the same team (Virgil and Blanche Brock) who gave us Beyond the Sunset, and I think you'll hear a similarity.  This being a gospel LP, there are the usual errors in the music and text credits, though nothing too outrageous.  Still, I don't know how (or from where) they came up with Edie Marks and J. Olsen for the Cousin-Urhan The Sands of Time, or why there's no author/composer credit for Keep on the Firing Line, which was written and composed in 1915 by Bessie F. Hatcher.  I didn't catch any other goofs or omissions in the notes, though, sound-wise, there are several clipped starting passages.  I promise these were the Crusade label's doing and not mine.  Oh, and as for as mid-tempo selections, the close-harmony version of Martin Luther's A Mighty Fortress is marvelous.  And it's nice to hear this seminal work in a non-SATB setting.  The publisher is listed as "Rodeheaver," and we can only assume that refers to the arrangement, given the work's year of composition (c. 1529).

A superior LP.  Even though the balance of tempi isn't ideal, this is worth sticking with.  

DOWNLOAD: I Never Walk Alone--Your Worship Hour Quartet (Crusade LPM 9401)

I Never Walk Alone
Ivory Palaces
Over the Sunset Mountains
Keep on the Firing Line (Hatcher)
The Sands of Time (Cousin-Urhan)
Breath of Calvary
Jesus Is Coming Again (Peterson)
In the Great Tomorrow
Leave Your Heavy Burden at the Cross (Peterson)
I Am With You

A Mighty Fortress (Luther)
This Is Why I Want to Go
He Became Poor
Who Is on the Lord's Side?
There Is a Fountain

I Never Walk Alone--Your Worship Hour Quartet (Crusade LPM 9401)


Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Happy Hammond Plays Burt Bacharach


Well, first off, The Happy Hammond Plays the Hits of Burt Bacharach sounds slightly hilarious in the present year of 2021, though there's a lot of neat alliteration there--Happy Hammond, Hits, Burt Bacharach.  But, the thing is, we have an organist--Ena Baga--who was highly regarded in British light music circles, and who started her professional career as a cinema organist (playing for silent films) when she was  fourteen, apparently (we're talking 1920).  So, whatever you think of Hammond organs, happy or no, the playing here is tasteful and expert.  My sole complaint centers on a single track--Wives and Lovers--which Ena presents, not as a jazz waltz, but in straight 1-2-3 triple time.  Like a regular waltz, that is.  A jazz waltz is supposed to swing, with the second count slightly ahead of the beat in the triplet-y fashion of swing.  But the sheet music for the song is written in straight 3/4, so Ena can be forgiven.

By the time Burt had hit the big time, eighth-note syncopation was the rule in pop and rock, which is why Wives and Lovers has an older-generation sound to it (and, maybe, because Jack Jones sang it).  And, overall, Ena fares more than adequately with the new-fangled 1960s rhythms of Do You Know the Way to San Jose, There's Always Something There..., etc., and I just admire her effortless pop-organ technique.  I suppose the Hammond rhythm effects are kind of dated (not sure if they're programmed or "live"), but this is from 1972, and it is presumably geared toward an older listenership (though the notes specify "all ages," which I sort of doubt).  I personally love the Hammond sound, and I have a word I use to describe it, but one which I won't divulge, since it can easily be taken the wrong way.  The Hammond model used by Ena is identified as a TTR, a European make (of course).

Burt is known for quirky meters, though I've always regarded his signature touch as the quirky phrases that fill his songs (and which typically, but not always, manage to stay within the common meter of 4/4), with occasional time signature switches, such as the 5/4 to 4/4 bit that occurs first thing in Anyone Who Had a HeartI Say a Little Prayer goes further, jumping from 4/4 to 2/4 to 3/4 to accommodate the phrases.  Anyway, save for missing the necessary jazz-waltz feeling of Wives and Lovers, Ena (born in 1906) does very well with Bacharach's superb, sometimes tricky music.  Extremely pleasant (did someone say "easy"?) listening.

I wonder what Ena thought of the front jacket?  Did she say, "I will not stand for that jacket?"  And did they reply, "You're under contract"?  I can easily picture this LP in a "Woolies" (Woolworth) rack in Scotland, circa 1978, when I was stationed there.  Woolies carried Hallmark and MFP (Music for Pleasure) budget LPs.

DOWNLOAD: The Happy Hammond Plays Burt Bacharach (Hallmark SHM 767; 1972)

Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head 
This Guy's in Love With You
Anyone Who Had a Heart
Wives and Lovers
The Look of Love
Do You Know the Way to San Jose
I Say a Little Prayer
Close to You
There's Always Something There to Remind Me
Trains and Boats and Planes
I'll Never Fall in Love Again
I'm a Better Man

The Happy Hammond Plays the Music of Burt Bacharach--Ena Baga at the Hammond (Hallmark SHM 767; 1972--a product of Pickwick International)


Friday, October 15, 2021

Shellac for October, 2021--Bob Haring, Paul Specht, Varsity Eight, Fred Waring, Erskine Hawkins


I couldn't have planned it better--22 78s, with 11 from the acoustical era and 11 from the electrical era.  It just came out that way--no conscious attempt on my part (though I was mostly conscious during the ripping of these).  So, 22 dance (and big band) sides, ripped and restored by me from my own discs, with the earliest dating back 99 years to 1922, and the most recent dating back 70 years to 1951.  In 78 rpm terms, 1951 is practically current.

First up: Bob Haring's Orchestra performing Charley, My Boy, with Al Bernard on the vocal.  The Al Bernard credit comes from Discogs, as I was unable to find the info in either my Rust dance band discography or the huge online 78 discography.  Things wrap up with (among other numbers) Avery Parrish's proto-R&B classic, After Hours, as redone in 1950 for the Coral label by Erskine Hawkins, who originally recorded it for RCA in 1940.  The flip is called Station Break, and there's an interesting grease-penciled note on the label, probably by a DJ: 

"Some blare."  Interesting, because I didn't notice any blare.  Unless "blare" is some complimentary slang, as in "This record is some blare--it really rocks."  I doubt it, however.  There are check marks on both sides.

Knock at the Door (1922) is a reasonably "hot" side by the California Ramblers, only under the name "Varsity Eight."  I've seen a lot of Varsity Eight sides over the years, and I don't know why I'm just now finding out they were the California Ramblers.  All Muddled Up, by Paul Specht and His Orchestra, had me expecting something a little eccentric, given that title, but it's merely an exercise in Zez Confrey-style syncopation--not a bad way to spend three minutes and 5 seconds, by any means, and there's a nice Dixieland-style ending.  And the piano breaks on the flip, Waltzing the Blues, are amazing.  Again, I was expecting something more novel with that title, too, but it's not a wasted three minutes and 8 seconds, by any stretch.  I guess I was expecting something more blues-y, triple time or no.

And four fine 1922-1923 sides by the Great White Way Orch., directed by Hugo Frey, with a charming piano duet on To-morrow.  Ross Gorman, of course, is best known for playing the Rhapsody in Blue clarinet glissando in the original (1924) version, which I believe was partially improvised.  The famous opening glissando, that is.  And we get Ross' orchestra, from 1926, performing a spirited Valencia, which features Elliott Shaw not at his best on the vocal.  The silly Jericho (1929) by (Fred) Waring's Pennsylvanians, is a very "hot" and memorable number, even with lyrics about the jazz craze in "Bible days" and how the walls of Jericho melted from the impact of the hot music played by the Israelites.  Something like that.  Waring's novelties were the ideal type--totally unapologetic.  If you're going to be silly, go all the way, I say.  The flip is the only waltz in today's line-up, and it's nicely arranged and performed--a good cool-down from the wall-melting hotness of Jericho.

Then we have Erskine Hawkins' terrific 1950 Coral sides, then the overly cute but fun Us and Company by Leonard Joy's All String Orchestra.  It has a very 1930 sound, which is not surprising, since it's from 1930.  Next, the jazziest in our list: 1928's Waitin' for Katy by (wait) Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, which could be jazzy back in the late 1920s--the proof is before us.  The Raymond Paige 78 is one I've been planning to put up for some time, though it's taken this long for it to make its debut, and I don't know why.  Just fate, I guess.  And I know that everyone is itching to hear a 1951 Mitch Miller sing-along-style side, and so we have (If You) Smile, Smile, Smile, a selection to definitely have on hand when visitors arrive, just to show them how cool your tastes are.  ("Wow!  That's really hip--in a not-hip sort of way!")  I like it, but then I have a high tolerance for that kind of thing.  Moving along, a title that would never be used today--I'll Always Be Following You, a 1950 Jimmy-Dorsey-on-Columbia side with Sandy Evans on the vocal.  I bought the 78 for the flip, Wimoweh, but some previous owner destroyed that one with a bad needle--I'd need to have a lab examine it to find out what happened to the grooves.  They were there at one time, we can be sure, but something silenced them.  However, the reverse, Following, is nice (and a little bluesy), even if creepy by today's standards--we can almost picture the singer buying surveillance gear to keep track of his lady love.  Of course, back in 1950, the lyrics would have registered pop-culturally as merely a declaration of attraction and devotion, but contexts can change over seven decades.  They typically do.


Charley, My Boy--Bob Haring and His Orch., V: Al Bernard, 1924
Knock at the Door--Varsity Eight (California Ramblers), 1924
All Muddled Up--Paul Specht and His Hotel Astor Orch., 1922
Waltzing the Blues--Same
Stella--The Great White Way Orch., Dir. Hugo Frey, 1923
Carolina Mammy--Same
To-morrow--Same, 1922
You Gave Me Your Heart (So I Gave You Mine)--Same
I Wish I Knew (You Really Loved Me)--Clyde Doerr and His Orch., 1922
Valencia--Ross Gorman and His Orch., V: Elliott Shaw, 1926
Cherie, I Love You--Same
Jericho--Waring's Pennsylvanians, V: Fred Waring, Orch. members, 1929
Cherie, I Love You--Same, V: Clare Hanlon and Chorus, 1929
After Hours (Avery Parrish)--Erskine Hawkins and His Orch., 1950
Station Break--Same ("Some blare")
Us and Company--Leonard Joy's All String Orch., V: Chester Gaylord, 1930
I'll Still Belong to You--Same
Waitin' for Katy--Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, V: Vocal Trio, 1928
Love Thy Neighbor--Raymond Paige and His Orch., V: The Three Rhythm Kings, 1934
Once in a Blue Moon--Raymond Paige and His Orch., 1934
(If You) Smile, Smile, Smile--Mitch Miller and His Orch. and Chorus, 1951
I'll Always Be Following You--Jimmy Dorsey and His Orch., V: Sandy Evans, 1950.


Sunday, October 10, 2021

Sunday gospel--The Home Gate Quartet: Love Will Roll the Clouds Away (c. 1972)


An especially primitive cover design--I love it.  Not much of a 3D feel to it, which makes it kind of interesting--that, and the weirdly proportioned people up front.  Today's group is the Home Gate Quartet, and I'll let the liner notes introduce them: "Playing rhythm guitar and singing the lead is John Vaughn, singing alto his wife, Joyce, both from Somerset, Ky.  Singing baritone is Carl Fiffe from West Liberty, Ky. Singing the bass is Alvin Collins from Harlan, Ky."  In short, you'll be hearing a falsetto-sounding male voice on the melody, and a female alto supporting same (unless the order is flipped).  Now you know.

This is pure country gospel, which is to say it's pretty much bluegrass gospel, only generally slower and minus a banjo or mandolin.  By slower, I mean the rhythm is less pronounced.  The two styles are really very close, and I would have no issue with calling this bluegrass.  Maybe we can settle on country/bluegrass gospel.  Carl Story and the Chuck Wagon Gang rolled into one act.

This gem of an LP is a prime example of the type of "local," small-label gospel I live to find (especially when it's this well performed), and it has introduced me to standards I hadn't heard of.  The Rite matrix #'s (29497/98) place this at approximately 1972.  And so we have songs that were 25 to 35 years old when this was cut--"modern" gospel numbers, as I regard them, since my song knowledge is focused on earlier stuff.  Still catching up with the second half of the last century.

Some challenges with the image editing and rip, since 1) the imperfectly-printed Rose Records labels showed up on my scanner as white with a hundred (or so) black specks, plus 2) the tracks are listed out of order on both the jacket and label.  I searched for credits where none were given, and I found a total of one: Geneva Stroud and Hale Reeves for Love Will Roll the Clouds Away (1946).  And John Baxter, Jr. is allegedly the lyricist on I'm Living in Canaan Now (1938) or else he was doing the publisher-copping-song-credit bit.  Not sure which.  Oh, and I was expecting the famous 19th century Ring the Bells of Heaven (Cushing-Root), but this is definitely a different Ring the Bells...  Fine, toe-tapping number, though.  Actually, I'm not sure the older hymn would translate well to country/bluegrass gospel.

Apparently, stereo Rose Records LPs were in compatible stereo: "Rose stereo records can be safely played on today's monaural phonographs."  Unless "today's monaural phonographs" presumes a stereo cartridge and stylus, which seems unlikely.

Loved this one.  An interesting contrast to the slick, extroverted Southern quartet fare I've been posting lately.

DOWNLOAD: The Home Gate Quartet: Love Will Roll the Clouds Away (Rose Records 504; c. 1972)

Love Will Roll the Clouds Away (Stroud-Reeves)
When I Get Home (Reed)
I'm Livin' in Canaan Now (Baxter-Center)
Will Someone Be Waiting (Presley)
Springtime Blooms in Gloryland (Summers)
Praise God I'm on My Way
Last Altar Call
Ring the Bells of Heaven
Working the Road
Mansion in Glory (Shiver)
Rocking on the Waves (A.B. Sebren)
Till I Prayed Thru

Love Will Roll the Clouds Away--The Home Gate Quartet (Rose Records 504; c. 1972)


Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Current His Volume No. 3 (Hit Records HLP 1003; 1963)

Today, we have the third volume of Hit Records' Current Hits series, and once again the release year is revealed in the liner notes--1963.  And I'm guessing early 1963, since some of these are 1962 hits.  One track, in fact, sounds closer to 1952 (and to Patti Page)--Shake Me I Rattle--though it was originally recorded in 1957 by the Lennon Sisters.  It was country artist Marion Worth who had the hit version in 1962, and she, of course, is the performer being copied here.  Not a bad song, and this is a very nice fake, but it's kind of anachronistic for 1962-63.  The duplicate interpretations in this edition run the gamut from decent to quite good, with Walk Right In and (especially) The Night Has a Thousand Eyes falling into the latter camp.  Eyes is probably my favorite Bobby Vee single, and "Joe Cash," whoever he was, does a very adroit Vee impersonation.  Just one of the best Hit Records tracks, ever.

And, is it just me, or does "Jackie Ott" sound uncannily like Willie Nelson on From a Jack to a King?  (I'm not suggesting it's him, but...)  Meanwhile, "George Killebrew" does a more or less okay Gene Pitney impression on Half Heaven--Half Heartbreak (dash omitted in this collection).  Nothing to phone home about, but adequate.

My Dad, the older-generation-friendly 1962 hit penned by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil(!) lacks the gentle touch of the Paul Peterson original, forcing me to declare that "Woody Martin" is no Paul Peterson--the first and only time I'm ever likely to pass that judgement at this blog.  And Hey Paula is another mild number that fares significantly better in its non-fake version, though "Bonnie" (of "Bob and Bonnie") does a good job capturing the vocal mannerisms of "Paula" (Jill Jackson).  Things improve, song-wise, with Loop de Loop (orig. Johnny Thunder, charting in 1963); I'm Gonna Be Warm This Winter (orig. Connie Francis, 1962), and the entertaining, eccentric soul classic Tell Him (The Exciters, 1962; charted 1963).  The LP's condition could have been better, but things cleaned up nicely.  And it's good to have another early Hit Records collection.

Once again, we have the distorted bullseye design on the back cover, and the line of arrows pointing to its center.  The liner notes are fun--they start out by explaining why the songs on this LP are considered "hits," and you'll never guess.  Give up?  It's because people requested them from their local radio stations--and because "you, as a record buyer, may have purchased at least one of them as a single record."  Really?  Songs become hits because people request and purchase them?  Who would've guessed?

A sort of novel suggestion in the last paragraph: "It will be interesting to play this collection of hits a couple years from now and compare them with the current hits of that time."  I'm not sure what that means, exactly: Compare them to the sound of the period in question (1962/1963) or, specifically, compare the substitutes to the original?  Dunno.  At any rate, I think it's safe to say, 58 years hence, that these evoke their time and place more than adequately--in a fake sort of way.  Now that we've cleared that up...

Have a genuinely good time listening to these.

DOWNLOAD: Current Hits, Volume Three (Hit Records HLP 1003; 1963)

Walk Right In --Music City Singers
From a Jack to a King--Jackie Ott
I Saw Linda Yesterday--Dave Gibson
Hey Paula--Bob and Bobbie
Shake Me I Rattle (Squeeze Me I Cry)--Connie Landers
My Dad--Woodie Martin
The Night Has a Thousand Eyes--Joe Cash
Loop de Loop--Herbert Hunter
I'm Gonna Be Warm This Winter--Connie Landers
Half Heaven Half Heartache--George Killebrew
It's up to You--Bill Carmichael
Tell Him--Peggy Gaines (Peggy Walker)

Current Hits Volume No. 3 (Hit Records HLP 1003; 1963)


Sunday, October 03, 2021

Bob Wills and the Inspirationals--Colorful Requests


A great cover shot, and I'd like the photo even more if it wasn't so oversaturated.  Anyway, this is Bob Wills and the Inspirationals, and we're not talking that Bob Wills (the country swing guy) but rather the baritone (and manager) of this ridiculously good quartet, which also includes Billy Hamm (2nd tenor), Curtis Elkins (1st tenor), and Johnny Hays (bass).  Tom Smith is the pianist, so he accounts for the fifth guy in this quartet portrait, though I'm not sure which one is him.  At any rate, this LP is a winner from the first track to the closing.  When I spotted Rain, Rain, Rain as the starting number in the playlist, I considered that a good sign--groups that start off with such a showstopper selection are usually groups that mean business--groups that deliver.  I will concede, though, that I've encountered LPs which start with gusto and lose it by the third band, but luckily that doesn't happen here.  All the songs work beautifully, from the uptempo titles to the slower, more thoughtful ones, in huge part because of the group's (I'm repeating myself) ridiculously good harmonizing.  Did I mention these guys are ridiculously good?

Several of the tracks have a 1960/1961 pop sound, which may give us some clue as to when this was made.  A further clue is 1964's They Tore the Old Country Church Down, which I think would have had a more graceful sound as They Tore Down the Old Country Church--but then, "down" is easier to rhyme than "church."  The song gets no writer credit on the album, but I found it in one of the New Songs of Inspiration volumes:

Those are shape (aka, shaped) notes, which I find hard to read, having been raised on round noteheads.

Anyway, my guess (going by a matrix number close to this LP's) is 1966.  It's a Columbia Record Productions pressing, XSBV 11137, and I think the four letters indicate a Nashville pressing.  Anyway, mid-1960s, even if the track Worry Who I? sounds like 1958 doo wop.

Recorded at Delta Recording Center, Ft. Worth TX, which was also the address of the group (Ft. Worth, that is--not the Delta Recording Center).  This label, Skylite, was headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.  I hope this is all perfectly clear.

Anyway, great LP, and I just looked up Gloria and William Gaither's Because He Lives, on the suspicion that 2nd tenor Billy Hamm's Because He Loves Me was inspired by same.  However, if anything, it's the other way around, as the Gaither song didn't appear until 1971.  My apologies to Billy Hamm for thinking he might have written his number with the far more famous Gaither song in mind...

Oh, and nice to have a George Beverly Shea number in the mix (Shea wrote his share of sacred songs): The Wonder of It All.  

The excellent musicians (accompanists) on this LP include Grammy-winning Lari Goss.  And we have an Elvis connection by way of Worry Who I? (possible variation on "What, Me Worry?"), whose composer, Joe Moscheo, was a member of the Imperials when that group was performing with The King.  Several composed-for-the-occasion songs in our list today, and such numbers are often throwaways, but not in this case--they fit beautifully into the playlist scheme.

To the gospel...

DOWNLOAD: Colorful Requests--Bob Wills and Inspirationals

Didn't It Rain
Turn to Jesus
If I Pray
If God Ruled Your Heart
The Wonder of It All (Shea)
He's Not Disappointed in Me Anymore
They Tore the Old Country Church Down (J.C. Fralix)
Love Like the Sun
Worry Who I?
Because He Loved Me (B. Hamm)
You Can Count on Me
You Just Don't Know What Lonesome Is

Colorful Requests--Bob Wills and the Inspirationals (Skylite SSLP 6042; about 1966?)