Sunday, September 25, 2022

Twist--Bobby Dunn With Les Cooper and His Twisters (Palace M-689)


What a front jacket!  How best to describe it?  A child's crayon scribblings?  A movie poster for Attack of the Killer Silly String?  An image from a failed 1960 private eye series?

Pretty minimalist, but I like it.  And this twist LP (aptly called Twist) features something fairly rare to budget label twistploitation albums: Accurate track credits.  The tracks are by the actual R&B artists--Bobby Dunn and Les Cooper--actually credited!  My friend and R&B/budget label expert Brian McFadden kindly confirmed this for me. Save for a few retitled tracks, this release is totally on the level.  And Brian sent me an image of Bobby Dunn's You Are the One (which shows up on Side 2, track 3) in its original 45 rpm issue:

Come the next Palace Twist LP, "Beep Bottomly" was the name on the cover.  I think we can assume that "Beep Bottomly" was totally made up.  Or we can only hope, for Beep's sake.

Some excellent R&B by these two well known artists in that vein, even if at least a couple selections are somewhat derivative.  I refer to the Side 2 opener, Do the Twist! which is basically Money Honey and Fannie Mae, melody- and riff-wise.  I love it, regardless.  And the Side 2 opener, What a Thrill! also uses the Fannie Mae riff.  Interestingly, Buster Brown's Fannie Mae was coupled with the Les Cooper hit Wiggle Wobble on a 1963 Oldies label reissue.  Small world.

Like most twist LPs, real or of the twistploitation variety, this gets a little monotonous, but it rocks solidly throughout.  Come to think of it, my last budget twist offering (by "Tubby Chess") was unusually good for a jobber-rack release, so maybe we're seeing a pattern here.  Or maybe not.

If you're in the mood to twist (and, by the fourth day of fall, who isn't?), this is the twist LP for you!  Or, if you prefer, the Twist LP for you!  Thanks again to Brian for his help.

DOWNLOAD: Twist--Bobby Dunn With Les Cooper and His Twisters (Palace M-689)

Do the Twist!

Twisting With Joyce

The Congo Twist

Les Cooper's Twist

I've Got Love in My Heart for You

Twist With the Twisters

What a Thrill!

Shimmy, Baby

You Are the One (Bobby Dunn)

The Chinese Twist

The Latin Twist

Twisting on the Hill


Sunday, September 18, 2022

Sunday morning gospel--The Singtime Trio: More About Jesus (Salem 1065; 1969)


(Don't forget to check out my previous posting of 25 78 rpm rips!)

This morning (or afternoon, or whenever), some truly excellent gospel by the Singtime Trio of the Church of God in Oak Hill WV.  Not a mediocre selection in the bunch, and the only annoying part of this rip was the online unavailability of author/composer credits for some oft-recorded numbers.  I ran into the usual dumb online title/performer listings--entries which carelessly imply that a given group  or singer penned a given song.  Is it simply that gospel author/composer credit is given low regard, or are there actually people who don't understand the concept of songwriting?

Sorry.  Had to rant.  So, there are four song credits I couldn't locate for the mp3 ID tags, including I've Got It, which I strongly suspect is a black spiritual.  It's only by sheer luck that I traced the credit for I Need Jesus (not the once-famous Charles Gabriel number), and that was courtesy of the following sheet music scan.  I did follow-up searching to confirm the writers.  Along the way, I encountered a bogus attribution, but at least the website in question was trying.

Of course, the great 1836 John Matthias hymn on Side 1, track 3 is not Palmes of Victory, but Palms of Victory (aka, Deliverance Will Come).  I'm just now noticing the jacket typo.  On this number, the Singtime Trio delivers a delightful and lively rendition worthy of the Oak Ridge Boys and the Speer Family.  In fact, "lively" is the key adjective throughout--the Singtime Trio performs with irresistible energy and enthusiasm.  The former, in contrast to my feeling of never quite having woken up today after eight-plus hours of shuteye.  I blame the pollen count.  Anyway, I needed this jolt of high-energy gospel.  Thank you, Singtime Trio and Salem Records.

So, a trio, but five people on the cover?  This sort of thing troubles some folks, I know, but I'm sure the extra three people consist of the guitarist, pianist, and organist.  The "musicians," as the term goes.  Never understood that convention--I mean, singers are musicians, aren't they?

By the way, if any gospel scholars can give me the missing author/composer credits from my mp3 ID tags, please check in.  My thanks to the Gloryland Jubilee website for providing the release year for this LP (1969) and for identifying Precision Record Pressing as the Pressing Plant.  (That explains the "PRP" in the dead wax.)  PRP was located in Nashville TN.  The label, Salem, was based in Salem, Virgina and owned by George McDonald McGraw of the McGraw Music and Publishing Company.  These vintage low-budget gospel vinyls (to use the modern slang) sure followed a complicated path to completion.

When this one showed up at the St. Vincent de Paul thrift, and I saw the group photo, song titles, humble front jacket pic, and "West Virginia" in the notes, I knew I had my Sunday gospel post...

DOWNLOAD: The Singtime Trio: More About Jesus (Salem 1065; 1969)

Born Again

He Touched Me

Palms of Victory

More About Jesus

I've Got It

Thank You for the Valley

Joy in the Camp

Constantly Aware of His Love

I Don't Know Why

I Need Jesus

Thanks to Calvary 

It's in Your Hand


Thursday, September 15, 2022

Shellac City 78s, Part 2--Arthur Pryor, Ted Lewis, Alfredo Brito, Wilbur Sweatman, Banda Espanola, Peerless Quartet! (1905-1937)


Twenty-five 78 rips from my own collection, all made by me (with the help of VinylStudio and MAGIX), and all posted at my YouTube Channel, Shellac City.  As the name suggests, the emphasis is on shellac, though I've cheated two or three times with vinyl posts.  Occasionally, it's hard to remain locked in a format...

And I decided to go the mp3 route this share, since including the YouTube videos in a post gets cumbersome and limits the playlist, despite the aesthetically pleasing look.

Today's selections, which represent about 1/3rd of my YouTube postings, cover the years 1905-1937, though not comprehensively--the two 1937 sides are outliers, really.  A more accurate span description would be 1905-1925-ish.  "1925-ish" was a good year, I've read.

First, my thanks to Steve for his generous gift of a box of 78s--selections 6-12 are Steve gifts, and they came out quite well, I think.  The Pryor sides are excellent, as I expected, though I was mildly surprised by the sheer excellence of the xylophone and cornet solos, both of which are terrific examples of their era (1905 and 1906), recording-wise.  Moral: Never underestimate early 20th century solo sides.  Thanks, Steve!

The rest are from my overflowing shellac stash, which coexists (mainly) in this room with my overflowing vinyl collection.  If I were to pick highlights (and I will), I'd mention the outstanding 1923 Twelfth Street Rag version by Ted Lewis--a blog repeat, but in better sound, I'm sure.  Also, the amazingly vivid 1926 Arthur Pryor William Tell Finale, which everyone knows as the Batman theme.  No, wait--Lone Ranger.  Sorry.  There's the 1918 Wilbur Sweatman "jam tune" (my term), That's Got 'Em, which is another repeat, but in more vivid fidelity.  Plus, from Steve's box of 78s, the wonderful American Beauties March and "His Honor the Mayor" Melodies (Arthur Pryor, 1906 and 1907), the latter title getting a rave review at YT.  And... Alfredo Brito and His Sibony Orchestra, from 1931, with (what else?) Ernesto Lecuona's Siboney.  And please note the Bo Diddley beat on the claves.  And the vivid early-electric-era sound continues with the 1925 The Whistler and His Dog, which has Arthur Pryor's Band (in microphone fidelity, this time) performing Pryor's own novelty number, and on the Columbia X suffix, Banda Espanola and Banda Columbia sides from 1925: Dolores (by Emil The Skaters Waldteufel), and La Nueva Higuerita, which translates to "The New Higuerita," with "higuerita" the diminutive form of "fig tree."  And some pre-hi-fi high fidelity sound, courtesy of the Massed Military Bands (whoever they were) on Parlophone (Entry of the Gladiators, 1937), the flip of which I'll post next time.  The delightful Neil Moret (aka Charles N. Daniels) Silver Heels (Columbia Band, 1905) is making probably its second or third appearance here, but this rip is my best to date.  My goal with all of the early-1900s selections is to bring the sound up front, and not leave it someplace in the back row.  That takes some post-rip tweaking, but it also requires the right bass turnover freq to start with.  Which is a little tricky, since acoustical recordings don't technically have a bass turnover freq--not in the literal sense.  But in the de facto sense, yes.

When Charles A. Prince switched over to a dance band format, he did so brilliantly, as demonstrated by his 1920 Oriental Stars, one of my all-time favorite early dance sides.  And I think I more than adequately captured the percussion effects, of which there are plenty.  Our sole close-harmony side, The Reube Quartet (usually spelled "Rube"), has the Peerless Quartet at its/their 1915 best, though that's a bit redundant--they were always at their best.  The Waring's Pennsylvanians 1924 masterpiece Oh, Baby! Don't Say No, Say Maybe (a typically ingenious Walter Donaldson title) answers the question, "Did popular dance bands of the 1920s ever record 'real' jazz?' quite solidly in the affirmative.  I wouldn't know what else to call it, though the typical approach to early jazz by jazz scholars is to pronounce nearly everything as not-jazz.  Less work, I guess.  ("We'll just toss this in the Not-Jazz pile.")

Sorry for the missing second or two near the close of the Louisiana Five's Slow and Easy (culprit: a deep gouge, the loud sound of which I smoothly edited out), and for Nat Shilkret fans, we have Nat leading the usual expert studio jazz guys in Chloe, from 1927.  Great side, but I'll never be able to listen to any version of Chloe without thinking of Spike Jones' devastating parody.  I keep expecting to hear Red Ingle saying, "Hello?  Oh, you don't say!" Etc.

Oh, and the full title of Paul Lincke's Amina Serenade is Amina: Egyptian Serenade.  I would sworn it was a Spanish dance, as nothing about it suggests "Egyptian."  Not to my 2022 ears.  But a nice number, regardless, and the usual marvelous Pryor performance.

We're going to Shellac City...

DOWNLOAD:  Shellac City, Part 2

12th Street Rag--Ted Lewis and His Band, 1923

Chloe (Song of the Swamp)--All Star Orch. (Dir. Nat Shilkret), V: Franklyn Baur, 1927

That's Got 'Em (Sweatman)--Wilbur Sweatman's Orig. Jazz Band, 1919

William Tell--Overture--"Finale"--Arthur Pryor's Band, 1926

Carioca--Rumba--RKO Studio Orchestra, Dir. Max Steiner, 1934

American Beauties March--Same, 1906

"His Honor the Mayor" Melodies--Same, 1907

Gesundheit Waltz--Same, 1907

Italian Riflemen March--Same, 1908

Long Long Ago--Air and Variations--Peter Lewin, Xylophone with Orchestra, 1905

Pretty Peggy--W.S. Mygrant, Cornet Solo with Orch., 1906

Amina--Serenade--Arthur Pryor's Band, 1912

Siboney--Rumba--Alfredo Brito and His Siboney Orch., 1931

Raftero--Nat Finston and Paramount Studio Orch., RR on piano, 1934

Silver Heels--March and Two-step--Columbia Band, 1905

The Whistler and His Dog (Pryor)--Arhtur Pryor's Band, Whistling: Margaret McKee, Billy Murray (!), 1925

Dolores--Banda Espanola, 1925

La Nueva Higuerita--Band Columbia, 1925

Oh, Baby! (Don't Say No, Say Maybe)--Waring's Pennsylvanians, 1924

Oriental Stars--One-step--Prince's Dance Orch., 1920

The Reube Quarette--Peerless Quartette, 1915

Slow and Easy--Louisiana Five Jazz Orchestra, 1919

Entry of the Gladiators--March--Massed Military Bands, 1937

Hot Time in the Old Town--Medley March--Victor Military Band, 1917

Taxi--One-step--Waldorf-Astoria Dance Orch., Dir. Joseph Knecht, V: Irving Kaufman, 1919


Saturday, September 10, 2022

Top Hits--Johnny Sullivan and His Orchestra (Parade SP-101; probably 1958), with Shep Wild


Top Hits, Parade SP-101.  Or is it Top Tunes?  Top hits, by any other name, are fake hits, and Parade (by the time this was issued--I'm guessing 1958) was SPC in disguise.  We know this because of the back-jacket logo: Fine records needn't be expensive.  I wonder if that was SPC's way of saying, "Don't expect us to put money into these things"?

I won't admit that I tossed this together, but I tossed this together.  I'd planned to feature a twist LP (can't have too many of those) on the amazingly (but lovably) cheap Palace label, and mainly because the tracks genuinely rock.  But I'll have to do comparison listening to figure out the sources and actual titles, since the LP in question uses older material from another label.  Or, the standard older-material-repackaged-as-twist-music-to-cash-in-on-Chubby-Checker ploy.  You've heard of that one.  So, for now it's Top Hits, aka Top Tunes.

This baby has been waiting for some time to see the light of blog, and I've been meaning to post it but somehow haven't, and now it has me feeling all guilty.  And the lady on the front looks SO happy.  Just like she looks on all of the SPC EP sleeves which carry the exact same image.  For a flat-fee photo, SPC sure got its money's worth, even if this redhead did not.

These are all quite decent sound-alikes, even if Witch Doctor (as far as I can tell) uses a soprano in place of the requisite sped-up tape.  Not that "requisite" is a concept which resonated with the jobber-rack labels, though thankfully this version of The Purple People Eater has the expected doubled-speed effect.  And I've always wanted to type, "the expected doubled-speed effect."  I can now scratch that off my Things I Want to Type list.

SPC, posing as Parade, has provided the artists' aliases, which include The Wright Bros., Shep Wild, and the no-relation-to-Alan Al Freed.  (Just checked Discogs to make sure there wasn't an actual Shep Wild, and it appears I was correct.)  The Wright Bros.--wow.  They had to be quite up there (up there--right) by 1958.  In fact, they were no longer with us.  But did such things deter SPC?  Of course not.

And, boy, Do You Wanna Dance sure brings back memories--of the 1965 Beach Boys hit version, that is.  It was a while before I heard the original Bobby Freeman 1958 hit (called Do You Want to Dance).  I guess, in anticipation of the Beach Boys' version to come, SPC opted for "wanna."

And what role does Johnny Sullivan's Orchestra play (no pun intended) in all this?  Was Johnny and his orchestra even for real?  Doubtful--Discogs gives "Johnny Sullivan" two credits, both of them on Parade.  But I love the way the label credits Johnny, only to put other names on the tracks--as if to say, "Just kidding!"  Just in case we weren't clued in by the two deceased aviation pioneers in the performer roster.  However, this is fun stuff, so... to the Top Hits/Tunes!

DOWNLOAD: Top Hits (or, Top Tunes)--Johnny Sullivan and His Orch. (Parade SP-101; prob. 1958)

All I Have to Do Is Dream--The Wright Bros.

Return to Me--Richard Deane

Chanson D'Amour--Al and Betty Wright (any relation to the Bros.?)

Who's Sorry Now--Terry Frank

Witch Doctor--John Logan

Secretly--Bob Mitchell

Do You Wanna Dance--Al Freed

For Your Love--Michael Reed

The Purple People Eater--Shep Wild

Looking Back--Bill King


Sunday, August 28, 2022

Sunday afternoon gospel: The Prophets Quartet--I Know (Queen City Album 10339; 1971)


It would appear that I accidentally moved the LP while scanning the A side.  Kind of a cool effect, actually.  Meanwhile, I had to clone out some upper right hand discoloration that, while only mildly noticeable on the jacket, showed up as an epic blemish on the scan.  I guess my old Epson scanner does a superior job, considering the highly detailed results I get.  Which, on the minus side, means extra work for me on the photoshopping front.  But do I complain?  Not me!

The Prophets Quartet of Knoxville TN (actually, this LP says Nashville) enjoys 30 entries on Discogs, so I guess the group was pretty popular.  And I just today found another one of theirs--like today's LP, it's a Queen City Album, Inc. production with no label name, and no notes, and stock front cover art.  Small world.  Oh, and no author/composer credits for the songs.  And that's why this post didn't go up last night, as planned--being my obsessive self, I just had to find out who wrote these familiar titles, and in all but one instance I was able to, though it was not a quick process.  As ever, I found myself amazed at the lack of online author/composer information when it comes to gospel songs, sometimes for even the most famous titles.  I mean, maybe I can understand a fairly involved search for Lee Roy Abernathy's Miracles Will Happen on That Day, especially since it's billed merely as Miracles, but Prayer Is the Key and What a Happy Day??  I believe I found the author/composer of the latter via a sheet music scan on Amazon, and all I can conclude is that, except for the folks who write the words and tunes for these numbers, few others give a hoot.  It's as if authorship isn't even a thing in gospel music--all that matters is who recorded a given number.  And, often, we're talking twenty different people.  There must be folks who think Johnny Cash or Lester Flatt wrote half the classic gospel titles.  Or Don Gibson, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Jim Reeves, and so on.

And did you know that Anne Murray was the first person to record Put Your Hand in the Hand?  I didn't, but I do now.  I remember the recording by Ocean, at least.  Now, Hand is an example of a "pop" gospel number that became a standard, like In the Sweet By-and-By, Whispering Hope, The Bible Tells Me So, and another title which I just forgot.  Meanwhile, the Prophets' Will the Circle Be Unbroken is the version associated with A.P. Carter (Can the Circle...), and I have yet to decide whether Circle has a folk source or if the Carter version was a variation on the 1907 Ada R. Habershon/Charles H. Gabriel classic.  With gospel LPs, you never know which one you're going to get.  And, in today's performance, we hear the standard text variation, "There's a better home awaiting...," which was originally "Is a better home awaiting...?"  This makes the song a happier one.

Save for the toe-tapping title waltz, I Know, the only other uptempo numbers are Miracles (Will Happen on That Day) and What a Happy Day, but the pace never seems to drag, possibly because of the highly professional performances and the superior fidelity.  (A great combination.)  

Why Should I Worry? may or may not be the song Why Should I Worry When Jesus Is Near? by Woodie W. Smith, though I'm doubting it, since that song goes back at least as far as 1915, and these words sound very post-1915.  At any rate, to the excellent gospel.  And remember: "A phonograph record is a miracle of modern ingenuity," especially if we "take care to use the proper needle at the correct turntable speed."  I guess QCA felt it was better to share this vital advice than to tell us anything about the group...

DOWNLOAD: The Prophets Quartet--I Know (Queen City Album 10339; 1971)

Put Your Hand in the Hand (Gene MacLellan)

Going Home (Bill and Gloria Gaither)

I Know (Mullican-Rouse-Tripp)

Mansion Over the Hilltop (Ira Stanphill)

Miracles (Lee Roy Abernathy)

What a Happy Day (Jack W. Campbell)

Prayer Is the Key (Samuel T. Scott-Robert L. Sande)

Will the Circle Be Unbroken

How Beautiful Heaven Must Be (A.S. Bridgewater-A.P. Bland)

Why Should I Worry?


Thursday, August 25, 2022

Tubby Chess and His Candy Stripe Twisters Do "The Twist" (Grand Prix KS-187; 1961)


Today's budget twist-ploitation offering is a surprisingly entertaining Grand Prix (Pickwick) LP by Tubby Chess and His Candy Stripe Twisters.

Or, if you'd prefer, Tyler King and the Twisters; Robby Robber and His Hi-Jackers; Big Bill Twister and His Minters; Tiny Doolittle and the Twisters; Barry Norman and the Toppers; Beep Bottomley and His Twisters; Ray Gunn and His Blasters (my favorite!); Mickey Mocassin; Jerry Long and the Teen Twisters; or The Five Diamonds.  Take your pick: all or some of these tracks were also issued across the budget spectrum under these fake group names.

There's a common link here: Record producer and exec Ed Chalpin, who penned every one of today's selections (save for The Twist) under the nom de plume Ed Dantes.  The fine folks at the excellent Facebook page Brand "X" Records helped me in tracking down the alternate band names, though the priceless Ed Chalpin/Ed Dantes info is courtesy of my friend Brian McFadden, a journalist and pop culture expert whose books Rock Rarities for a Song and Rare Rhythm and Blues on Budget LPs I've plugged before at this blog--and I'm plugging them again.  They're great, highly informative reads, and both manage to provide a very useful budget-label overview.  

So... Ed Dantes; real name: Ed Chalpin.  (Be sure to read the terrifying story of  Chalpin and Jimi Hendrix at the Wikipedia link.)  A very busy provider of sound-alike hits to a variety of jobber-rack record labels during the early 1960s, but were his own compositions any good?  Well, in this case, they're highly derivative, and they display every sign of having been churned out in a hurry, but they genuinely rock.  (Or, rather, twist.)  And, whoever these anonymous singers and musicians happened to be, they're more than adequate.  Decent, even.  When it comes to faux twist material, we could do a lot worse.  While that may sound like a lukewarm pass, I did enjoy this group of songs very much.  The only trouble, however...

Time for a paragraph break.  The main issue was a technical one, as this LP was engineered in a pretend type of "stereo"--the type accomplished by the engineer panning back and forth between the left and right channels.  The result, after I "summed" the channels for mono, was a series of volume surges that I had to carefully edit in sections.  This took a little while, but I achieved a level dynamic level (a level level?) throughout.  And it was kind of a fun challenge.  Now, at first, I was sure I'd thrifted this LP myself, but the high quality paper inner sleeve strongly suggests a Diane gift.  So... thanks, Diane!  Since I'm past the point of remembering what I have in my overflowing vinyl collection, I'll have to check and see if any more budget twist gems are waiting for a day at the blog.  Maybe even one of the other editions of this baby.  By the way, in typical cheap-label fashion, the front cover carries the promise of "Full Frequency Stereo" while featuring the mono catalog number (K-187). Way to go, Pickwick.

Note: Since this particular album included no composer credits, I didn't put any on the mp3 tags.  But just remember: the responsible party was Ed Chalpin (as "Ed Dantes"), save for The Twist (written by Hank Ballard and the Moonlighters in 1958).

If you're in the mood to budget-twist, you've come to the right blog!  Enjoy...

DOWNLOAD: Tubby Chess and His Candy Stripe Twisters (Grand Prix KS-187; 1961)

The Twist

Oh This Is Love

Swinging Papa

Yes, She Knows

My Baby Couldn't Dance

I Need Your Love

I Just Couldn't Take It

Hey, Little Girl

Take a Chance

Loving You

(Selections 2-10 by Ed Chalpin, as "Ed Dantes")


Saturday, August 20, 2022

Meanwhile, at my YouTube channel (Shellac City)

 I've been posting a fair amount of material to my YouTube page--I suppose that has kept me from the blog.  That, and several other current concerns.  At any rate, I will try to (what's the word?) imbed some of the more successful (imo) restorations from my YT page.  And please feel free to explore my other offerings.  

I'm no expert at this--in fact, I've simply been uploading videos, with no attempts at customizing the page.  At some point, I may try to figure out all of that.  For now, the precise restorations and photoshopping of the label scans (and video making) seem to take up all of my time.  Anyway...



Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Paul Whiteman, Part 9--"Canadian Capers," Ramona, Billy Murray, more! (1921-1935)


You know, I think I ripped many of these as far back as 2017.  (Talk about ancient history...)  Anyway, two Virginians sides (1922; the group's line-up is listed here), two Columbias (1929), and one Ramona (1935).  Also, three Jerome Kern numbers, including the charming Raggedy Ann (1923); a so-so Gershwin tune, South Sea Isles (1921); plus songs by Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and Sigmund Romberg.  The two Rombergs, both 1929 Columbias, are among my favorite Whiteman records, even with Jack Fulton doing his falsetto thing on Lover Come Back to Me.  I especially love Marianne (vocal by Norman Clark), and both sides were gifted to us by Whiteman's chief arranger Ferde Grofe.  Despite their sometimes "dated" harmonies, these scores are important in the evolution of jazz, simply in the extent to which Grofe (and, during the same period, Bill Challis) achieved that big sound we associate with, well, the big bands.  Both men were amazing orchestrators.

Got No Time (Grofe, again) is excellent early-electrical-era arranged jazz, and I've always been confused by the controversy over same (arranged jazz, that is).  I mean, you can't get a jazz degree nowadays without learning jazz orchestration, so why was it an incorrect practice in the 1920s?  (Clearly, it was not.)  Also, from 1925 (and from Grofe): Sonya, a hilarious novelty whose ethnic stereotypes might or might not fly these days.  I love the line, "'Twas in November, my heart was full of vodka."  Twenties humor at its most Twenties.  Our two extremely fun Virginians sides are the usual mid-tempo, strong-four-beat-pulse orchestrated-Dixieland (say that 20 times) performances that typified this Paul Whiteman sub/"satellite" group.  If Kiss Mama, Kiss Papa suggests a silly time, then you are correct.  Sound effects played a major role in acoustical dance sides; I guess it was a matter of compensating for the limited audio quality and range (as much as I love horn recordings).  

If I say so myself, my rip of 1935's a Picture of Me Without You is pretty good, and 1930s Whiteman was certainly interesting, even if I prefer his innovative 1920s shellac.  The Irving Berlin Pack up Your Sins benefits from a superb melody, and the regular Whiteman band out-jazzes the Virginians on this one--Grofe's charts are brilliant.  Tell Me Dreamy Eyes is another toe-tapping gem (I've always wanted to type "toe-tapping gem"), and 1922's Crinoline Days (flip of Pack up Your Sins) is another priceless Berlin-Grofe pairing. 

The best of the Grofe-Berlin pairings, however, may be 1921's Everybody Step (which I just now had to correct from Everyone Step).  A very bluesy number with an aggressively four-beat pulse, and fine work by Henry Busse on cornet.

Kern's Ka-Lu-A--Blue Danube Blues swiped the bass line from Fred Fisher's Dardanella, which resulted in Fisher successfully suing Kern.  And, oddly enough, there's no trace of that figure in Whiteman's 1921 recording, though you can hear the phrase in this Edison Diamond Disc recording by the Broadway Dance Orchestra.

Anyway, a focus on early Whiteman today--and who knows what Part 10 will bring?  Still working on it as we speak...

DOWNLOAD: Paul Whiteman, Part 9 (1921-1935)

Everybody Step (Berlin--A: Grofe)--1921

Ka-Lu-A--Blue Danube Blues (Kern)--1921

Canadian Capers (A: Fred Van Eps?)--1921

Sweetheart Lane--Medley (Hirsch, A; Grofe)--1922

The Yankee Princess--1922

South Sea Isles--Medley (Gershwin)--1921

Make Believe--Medley--1921

Some Little Bird--Medley (Intro. The Mocking Bird)--1921

Pack up Your Sings (Berlin, A: Grofe)--1922

Crinoline Days (Berlin, A: Grofe)--1922

Kiss Mama, Kiss Papa--The Virginians, Dir. by Ross Gorman, 1922

Choo-Choo Blues--Same

In Love with Love (Kern)--1923

Raggedy Ann (Kern)--1923

Tell Me Dreamy Eyes (A: Grofe)--1924

A Picture of Me Without You (Porter)--V: Ramona and Ken Darby, 1935

Got No Time (A: Grofe)--1925

Sonya (A: Grofe)--V: Billy Murray, 1925

Marianne (Romberg, A: Grofe)--V: Norman Clark, 1929

Lover Come Back to me (Romberg, A: Grofe)--V: Jack Fulton, 1929


Saturday, August 06, 2022

The Blue Barons--Twist to the Great Blues Hits (Philips PHS 600-017; 1962)


A brief break from Paul Whiteman (who, far as I know, never did the twist).  A thrift gift from Diane, this 1962 Philips LP has great stereo sound and top-notch studio musicianship.  However, given the title, Twist to the Great Blues Hits, and the group name (The Blue Barons), plus the history-of-the-blues liner notes (the space-filler type, but well written), I was expecting, well, something bluesier.  As in, significantly so.  But, especially with the vocal assistance from the Merry Melody Singers, this seems to my ears more countrypolitan than blues or rhythm and blues.  However, you may hear things differently, so I'm curious to hear about what you hear in this music.  There is one outstanding exception to the too-countrypolitan rule--a number which sounds superbly bluesy, and that's the genuinely rockin' Long Tall Sally.  But it comes at the very end of Side 2.

The liner notes tell us nothing about the Blue Barons, except that the Barons are "a crisply alive, tightly-knit group" which brightens "these blues in a unique matter."  If, by "unique," Philips means country-sounding Chuck Berry, then maybe so.  At any rate, with "blues" literally all over the packaging (the notes even promising "a survey of the blues few combos could match"), I was naturally a little surprised to behold what sounds like moonlighting pros from an early Ray Stevens session.

To be fair, though, this is first and foremast a twist LP, so the question is, can you twist to it?  Well, more or less.  The twist rhythm isn't presented as aggressively here as in earlier twist offerings at MY(P)WHAE.  Maybe that's my chief problem with this effort--even Hank Ballard's The Twist is a bit on the subdued side, and while the Merry Melody Singers fare well on this particular track (which is, after all, the classic twist number), the Nashville-style harmonica does not.  Other tracks sound like refugees from Elvis musicals, and Ain't That Lovin' You Baby comes off like a jukebox selection in a country roller-skating bar.  (You've heard of country roller-skating bars, no?)  And, as I type this, though, I'm relistening to Shake, Rattle, and Roll, and there's excellent sax and guitar work, plus a small band chiming in toward the close, so maybe I judged a little too hastily?  Still, any LP which promises a survey of the blues should rock like crazy from the first track to the last.

You might disagree with me completely on all this, so... here it is, for your evaluation.  It's certainly an interesting example of Chubby Checker-era twist-ploitation.  And thanks, Diane!

DOWNLOAD: Twist to the Great Blues Hits (Philips PHS 600-017; 1962)

The Twist

Hey Little Girl

Hearts of Stone

Let the Good Times Roll

Johnny B. Goode

Bony Moronie

Jim Dandy

Ain't That Lovin' You Baby

C.C. Rider

Shake, Rattle and Roll

Corrine Corrina

Long Tall Sally


Friday, July 29, 2022

Paul Whiteman, Part 8 (1922-1945)--Ross Gorman and the Virginians, Ramona, Roy Bargy!


We'll be hearing (eight times, no less!) from Paul Whiteman's more jazz oriented "satellite" band, the Virginians (led by Ross Gorman), and we have two terrific helpings of the amazing singer/pianist Ramona, aka Ramona Davies, aka Estrild Raymona Myers.  "Estrild Raymona Myers" sort of lacks the direct simple and direct appeal of "Ramona" or "Romana Davies," so I can see why she shortened it.  Born in Lockland, Ohio (in the southwestern corner of that state), Estrild/Raymona/Ramona was playing piano professionally at the age of 12.  I can easily believe it.  We'll hear Ramona accompanying herself on the 1933 "Paul Whiteman presents" Victor recording of Annie Doesn't Live Here Anymore, and tickling the ivories with Roy Bargy on the flip, Irving Berlin's Not for All the Tea in China.  Back to the Virginians--imagine all the jazzy moments in Whiteman's 1920-1924 happening, not in select spots, but throughout the entire recordings, and you've got the Virginians.  As far as I know, Ferde Grofe did the arranging for this group, and a good part of Grofe's genius as an arranger lay in his ability to put the Dixieland sound on paper; and so we have tightly structured but nevertheless "hot" jazz which sounds like the regular orchestra having a blast.

Other highlights include Grofe's riotous arrangement of Countess Maritza (1926), the flip side of PW's #1 hit, Birth of the Blues, which precedes it in our playlist.  It goes without saying, given its nonstop quotations from Rhapsody in Blue, that Birth was also scored by Ferde.  The quotations are so ingenious that what could have been a rather turgid treatment instead delights the listener.  (Well, I think so, anyway.)  And we have 1945 recreations of the classic early-1928 Bill Challis arrangement of San and the number one (in 1921) Grofe arrangement of Wang Wang Blues, recorded for the Capitol Records History of Jazz series.  The former fares way better, and in fact outdoes the original (imo), while Wang Wang Blues lacks the brilliance of the 1920 recording, more or less taking an "Isn't this early stuff hokey?" approach to the project.  I guess the plan was to demonstrate how far the Whiteman sound had evolved in eight years (don't have the Capitol liner notes handy, but I'm guessing that was the intention).  Anyway, these were the first two recordings I heard by Whiteman, so they hold a special place in my musical memory.  And... we have two fabulous concert orchestra performances from 1934, most likely scored by Roy Bargy: Peter De Rose's Deep Purple (in its pre-song form as a "symphonic jazz" gem) and the equally cool Park Avenue Fantasy, from which came Stairway to the Stars (with lyrics by Mitchell Parish).

A huge hit, and a showcase for cornetist Henry Busse, 1922's Hot Lips begins with a comical borrowing from Rachmaninoff, proceeding to a superb solo spot by Henry.  Because jazz critics have tended to be 1) unkind to Whiteman's orchestra, and 2) often dismissive of the pop and jazz sounds of the late 1910s and early 1920s, Busse has gotten a rather raw deal, critically.  That is, he's typically characterized as the anti-Bix Beiderbecke, a player with a corny and sweet sound who failed to fit in during the Challis/Satterfield/Malneck Whiteman period of the late 1920s.  That he was a more than capable jazz blower (to use the jazz slang) seems like a fact lost to time, but we have the audio proof before us.  It's a shame that nearly all "Did Paul Whiteman play real jazz or a faint facsimile of?" queries focus on the Beiderbecke period, since much of the jazziest happenings on PW 78s occurred prior to 1927.  

Singer Jack Fulton shows up at least four times, most memorably on the slightly weird but delightful Cuban Love Song (1931), from the movie of the same title, and on the lovely Villa (1931), which sounds very much like a Grofe chart, though the Williams College site doesn't list it.  Apologies to Bing Crosby fans, as Bing doesn't show up today, and mainly because the selections mostly occur outside of the Bing/Whiteman window.  Ironically, Bing's firing from the band (due to his drinking and tendency to not show up on schedule) proved to be quite a solo career boost.  Or a prelude to same.

Interesting note: Charles Wolcott, arranger of Straight from the Shoulder (1934), is credited with "bringing rock 'n' roll to the screen" in this 1987 AP obit.  He had insisted on using Bill Haley's Rock Around the Clock in the 1955 Blackboard Jungle, which he also scored.  How about that?

And we have vocalist Johnny Hauser expertly handling the lyrics to 1934's There's Nothing Else to Do in Ma-La-Ka-Mo-Ka-Lu (Hope I got that right).  Expertly is the only way such lyrics can be handled, really.  Last time, I described such numbers and arrangements as "pop Hawaii," and so I guess I'll stand by that.  No idea on who supplied the charts.

To the Whiteman, Ramona, Roy, and Virginians (but no Bing).  All tracks ripped from 78s in my overflowing collection.

DOWNLOAD: Paul Whiteman, Part 8 (1922-1945)

All by Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra, unless otherwise noted

Park Avenue Fantasy (A: Roy Bargy)--Concert Orchestra, 1934.

Memphis Blues (W.C. Handy)--The Virginians, Dir. by Ross Gorman, 1922

The Yankee Doodle Blues (Gershwin)--Same.

Nobody Lied--Same.

Villa (Lehar, A: Grofe?)--V: Jack Fulton, 1931.

Who Did You Fool After All?--The Virginians, Dir. by Ross Gorman, 1922.

Rose of the Rio Grande--Same.

There's Nothing Else to Do in Ma-La-Ka-Mo-Ka-Lu (But Love)--V: Johnny Hauser; 1934.

Bees Knees--The Virginians, Dir. by Ross Gorman, 1922.

San (A: Bill Challis)--1945 (Capitol 10026).

Wang Wang Blues (A: Grofe)--Same.

Birth of the Blues (A: Guess Who?)--V: Jack Fulton, Charles Gaylord, Austin Young, 1926.

Countess Maritza (A: Grofe)--Same.


By the Sapphire Sea--1922.

Love in Bloom (A: Adolph Deutsch)--V: Jack Fulton, 1934.

Hot Lips (He's Got Hot Lips When He Plays Jazz)--Solo: Henry Busse, 1922.

Straight from the Shoulder (A: Charles Wolcott)--V: Joey Nash, 1934.

I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate--The Virginians, Dir. by Ross Gorman, 1922.

Lonesome Mama Blues--Same.

Deep Purple (Peter De Rose, A: Roy Bargy)--Concert Orchestra, 1934.

Cuban Love Song--Waltz (A: D. Savino)--V: Jack Fulton and the Romancers, 1931.

Annie Doesn't Live Here Anymore--Ramona and Her Piano (Paul Whiteman Presents), 1933.

Not for All the Tea in China--Roy Bargy and Ramona (Paul Whiteman Presents), 1933.


Monday, July 25, 2022

Paul Whiteman is back! Part 7 (1920-1934)


So, by sheer luck, I found (in my piles and piles of CD-Rs) the disc containing my Paul Whiteman folders, all populated by mp3s exported from my MAGIX sound-editing program.  A big relief--I was home free.  Then I discovered that everything was out of order, the tracks strewn about in a way that didn't correspond to the previous six posts.

Then I remembered that I had shuffled the tracks, that they hadn't been posted in the same order that I ripped them.  Hence, the disorder.  But what to do?  Then I clicked on a sub-folder (sub-sub-folder?) titled "Playlists," and suddenly things fell into place.  Folders 1 through 6 were in the posted order, and there were three more folders (Pts. 7, 8, and 9) with enough material for three new entries.  

And the moral of this story is, um... to stop confusing myself like that.  I only have society to blame.  Er, I mean, only myself.

So, after a mere three-year delay, the superb "Pops" is back at the blog. Today's selections (following from Pts. 1-6) span fourteen years--1920 to 1934--and they're kind of a sped-up survey of Paul's "Ambassador Orchestra" beginnings at Victor, through his 1928-1930 departure to Columbia, and to his return to Victor (which, though its labels still read "Victor," was now the Radio Corporation of America, RCA).  

Speaking of Whiteman's return to Victor (RCA), we start with 1934's Beach Boy, arranged by Adolph Deutsch and featuring Bob Lawrence, singing way up in his range (with periods of falsetto).  This selection sounds like 1934 pop-Hawaii (you've heard of "pop-Hawaii," no?), and that's exactly what it is.  Very pleasant, with a little touch of exotica.  Just a pinch.  Next, the Ferde Grofe-arranged Ukulele Lady--one of the all-time "King of Jazz" classics, and, last time I checked, there was nothing known about the highly skilled Southern Fall Colored Quartet, who provide a memorable vocal refrain.  As you can see, the label gave them one of the standard anonymous vocal-refrain designations--"male quartet."

Then, another Grofe chart: The charming Learn to Smile by Louis (The Love Nest) Hirsch, 1921, followed by the superb My Road (1924, and sounding very Grofe-ish), whose flip side shows up near the end of this list.  Next, the jazzy, strong 4/4 (as opposed to the 2/4 or 2/2 meters which still prevailed in the early '20s) If I Can't Get the Sweetie I Want (I Pity the Sweetie I Get), from 1923.  Once again, the arrangement is almost certainly Grofe's, and, in addition to a number of cool sound effects, there are Rhapsody in Blue-sounding phrases interspersed throughout--except, Gershwin didn't pen Rhapsody until 1924!  No arranger credits at the Williams College website for the lively Rosie or Dearest, either, though as before I suspect Grofe (the antiphonal character of Rosie is highly Grofe).  And Ferde is mostly likely the excellent pianist on the latter, 1920 masterpiece, which comes complete with a fine Dixieland closing (a standard early-PW feature).

Your Land Is My Land, a fairly famous Sigmund Romberg number, is Grofe in a lovably hokey mode--there's nothing quite like the four bars following the vocal section, during which The Star-Spangled Banner, Dixieland, and Yankee Doodle all happen at the same time.  Corn, maybe, but brilliant corn.  (Brilliant corn?)  Then, two memorable 1924 Grofe charts, Love Has a Way, and the Isham Jones classic, I'll See You in My Dreams, whose melody sounds fresh as ever after 98 years.

On to Columbia, with Jack Fulton's falsetto (which you either love or laugh at) gracing the 1928 Blue Night, lushly arranged, as usual, by Tom Satterfield.  Then, back to Victor and 1922 with You Won't Be Sorry, then half a decade's jump to 1927, with the Grofe-arranged gem, Just Once Again, featuring a vocal by Austin Young (whose vocal stylings I also love).  Sorry about the moderate surface crackle.  Then, we're back to post-Columbia Whiteman with Jack Fulton crooning Oley Speak's Sylvia in a lovely Roy Bargy treatment.

Boom!  And we're back to the early 1920s with the Nacio Herb Brown-George Gershwin medley When Buddha Smiles ("introducing" George's Drifting Along with the Tide), The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else, and the twelve-incher My Wonder Girl-Coral Sea by Paul's "Ambassador" Orchestra, 1920.

Then, two more Grofe charts--the corny but fun Roses of Yesterday, and Rudolf Friml's highly famous Rose-Marie.  Back to 1935, with the King's Men singing the comical chorus to Cole Porter's Me and Marie, a German-style waltz which sounds like a warmup for Lawrence Welk's TV show.

To the Whiteman...

DOWNLOAD: Paul Whiteman, Part 7 (1920-1934)

Beach Boy (A: Adolph Deutsch)--Vocal, Bob Lawrence, 1934.

Ukulele Lady (A: Grofe)--Vocal by Southern Fall Colored Quartet, 1925

Learn to Smile (A: Grofe)--1921

My Road--1924

If I Can't Get the Sweetie I Want--1923



Your Land and My Land (A: Grofe)--Vocal by Jack Fulton, Charles Gaylord, Austin Young, 1927

Love Has a Way (A: Grofe)--1924

I'll See You in My Dreams (A: Grofe)--1924

Blue Night (A: Tom Satterfield)--1928 (Columbia 1553-D)

You Won't Be Sorry--1922

Just Once Again (A: Grofe)--Vocal by Austin Young, 1927

Sylvia (A: Roy Bargy)--Vocal by Jack Fulton, 1931

When Buddha Smiles--Medley--1921 (HMV B 1332, U.K.)

The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else--1924

My Wonder Girl--Coral Sea--1920

Roses of Yesterday (A: Grofe)--Vocal by Austin Young, 1928 (Columbia 1553-D)

Rose-Marie (A: Grofe)--1924

Me and Marie--Waltz (Porter)--Vocal by The King's Men, 1935.


Saturday, July 16, 2022

Back at the blog: Paul Whiteman and "Television Moon"!


I just revived all six of my Paul Whiteman posts from 2018 and 2019.  They've been residing too long in the Zippyshare "File has expired" zone, and I lucked out and found the original zips on CD-R (they were missing from my hard drive).  So, one by one, I resurrected Pts. 1-6, all featuring fabulous Whiteman 78s from 1920-1930s, and all restored by me from my collection.  Here are the post links (the posts, in turn, contain the zipfile links, of course):

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Meanwhile, a Part Seven and Part Eight had been planned, but for some reason I stopped after the sixth installment.  Not sure why.  The tracks have been sitting in the PW folder for three years (!), and I'll need to get those on the blog, once I've traded off a sufficient number to even out the two playlists.  The excellent Paul Whiteman subgroup The Virginians are liberally featured in Pts. 7 and 8.

I also revived my 2017 Television Moon post ("Music to Perk up Your Day"), and Television Moon is something which has to be experienced--it cannot be explained.

Television Moon, and more



Thursday, July 14, 2022

Great Band Themes and Songs That Made Them Famous (Bravo! K 133)

If you ask me, this is a masterpiece of budget label deception.  Even an experienced "junk" label thrifter like myself was fooled--almost--for a few moments.  My first reaction was, "How did Pickwick (Bravo) get tracks by Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Bunny Berrigan, etc.?"  Answer: It didn't.  This is basically a list of band themes and songs which made "them" (the bands) famous.  Which, in fact, is the only way to make grammatical sense of the title.  You have to process the heading in two parts: 1) Great Band Themes and Songs 2) That Made Them (the orchestras listed below the title) Famous.  In short, none of these orchestras actually appear on the LP.  They're listed, yes (in big font, naturally), but they're not present.  Ironically, there's no orchestra credit whatsoever, though I suspect it's our old friend Bobby Krane.  Or maybe Stanley Applewaite.  These are all excellent recreations, by the way.

Meanwhile, at Discogs, the various editions of this LP (International Award, Grand Prix, Design) are listed as if the big-font names were actually performing.  Like I said, an ingenious ruse by Pickwick.

And, since the music is very well done, I think this nine-track rack-jobber deserves a post.  Now, the one bandleader not listed--Cyril Stapleton--is represented by his 1956 hit, Italian Theme (aka The Italian Theme).  Cyril, of course (along with Mitch Miller), also made a hit of The Children's Marching Song (1959), one of the great gifts (not) to the Top 40.  Anyway, sit back and enjoy these fine recreations by... whoever.  All in "True Monophonic High Fidelity."  To quote the liner notes, "Listen...and have music fill your home with pleasure."  Or your headphones--whichever.

DOWNLOAD: Great Band Themes and Songs That Made Them Famous (Bravo! K 133)

I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You

Moonlight Serenade

Artistry in Rhythm


Let's Dance

When It's Sleepy Time Down South

I Can't Get Started

Lisbon Antigua

Italian Theme