Sunday, May 29, 2022

Sunday morning gospel: The Home Gate Quartet Sing "Jesus Walked Upon the Water" (Rose Records LPR. 503; 1971)


No, not a six-person quartet--the extra folks on the back cover photo are the excellent lead guitarist Sidney Bartram and the man who does the Nearer My God to Thee recitation, Frank Pittman.  Not pictured: bassist James Meredith.  The singers in this Dayton OH group are originally from Kentucky, which explains, well, why they sound like they're from Kentucky.  And, as a general rule, I never tinker with the stereo separation on a given LP, but this time I felt I had to widen it--as mastered, the stereo was barely detectable.  I didn't make a huge change; just enough to give some stereo feel to the stereo.

Great country gospel, with a straight-from-the-hills sound, and although only three of the titles were familiar to me, I enjoyed them all.  (That'll happen.)  And I just now noticed that I mislabeled my MAGIX "project" as the Golden Gate Quartet, so used am I to that particular group.  Meanwhile, I've filled in a few composer credits not included by Rose Records, and I took the internet's word for Carl Story as the composer of I Wouldn't Miss It Would You? which is sort of a variation on Never Grow Old (which was, in turn, inspired by 1899's That Beautiful Land).  I'll Put on a Crown, attributed to Unkown, is Albert E. Brumley, and It Will Make You Humble Down is the work of Malcolm Jones.  Terrific numbers, both.

In Oct., 2021, I posted this group's Love Will Roll the Clouds Away (also Rose Records), whose sounds I described as "pure country gospel, which is to say it's pretty much bluegrass gospel, only generally slower and minus a banjo or mandolin."  The same applies here, too.  That one had a cooler group photo, though (in my opinion):

According to Discogs, there are at least six other LPs by these folks, so I'm hoping I encounter some of these in the thrift and flea market bins; I won't hesitate to grab them.  Oh, and then pay for them, of course.  To the excellent gospel:

DOWNLOAD: The Home Gate Quartet--Jesus Walked Upon the Water (Rose Records LPR. 503; 1972)

Jesus Walked Upon the Water

Sheltered in the Arms of God

The Prettiest Flowers Will Be Blooming

I've Put on a Crown

I Just Got to Heaven

I Wouldn't Miss It Would You?

Walking the Sea

Peace Like a River

It Will Make You Humble Down

I Am Glad He Came

I Made a Vow

Nearer My God to Thee (Recitation)


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Hal David's 101st birthday! (Hal Without Burt, 1946 to1962)

As she did last year, Diane reminded me that May 25th is Hal David's birthday--his 101st.  So I'm reposting my 2021 tribute.  The original text follows, plus a new link.

Here are sixteen Hal David goodies, all with composers other than Burt (in particular, Leon Carr and Lee Pockriss) and spanning the years 1946-62.  The best of the images has to be the Top 30 Tunes label for Johnny Get Angry, with its amusing typo, Johnny Gets Angry (I retained it in the listing).  And I was surprised to discover that Hal had penned, not only the lyrics for that 1962 Joannie Sommers hit, but also the words for 1959's My Heart Is an Open Book.  That one also appears here in fake-hit form, courtesy of the Broadway label.

The most unusual (as opposed to the silliest) selection in our list has to be I've Got a Walkie Talkie, a 1946 George Olsen side crooned by Judith Blair;  It's in a Guy Lombardo big band style (George, what happened to you?), badly recorded for the Majestic label (I had to do some artful re-EQing), and the lyrics aren't Hal's best (even with such a promising title; not), but the notion of a walkie talkie functioning, in effect, as a modern cellphone is interesting and weird.  1949's I Wish I Had a Record (Of the Promises You Made) is one of my favorite Perry Como sides, and it's easy to imagine this number doubling as a country novelty.  Mitch Miller's Orchestra accompanies Kitty Kallen on Mother, Mother, Mother (Pin a Rose on Me), and so we know Miller produced the side, too.  I'm not crazy about the tune, but we can hear hints of Hal's brilliance with words--it's a light novelty number, but there are many clever turns, and we have an early example of Hal telling a story in lyrics.  So, Hal was a storyteller even before he met Burt--cool.  Little Crazy Quilt is highly competent but unexceptional (though the superbly versatile Page is always wonderful to hear), and Goo-Goo Doll is... extremely not serious.  And unfortunately (for camp's sake), it's neither technically bad nor in especially bad taste--it's  merely harmless.  As a novelty, a letdown, iow.  But Hal certainly did a good job tailoring the lyrics for Steve Allen's sense of humor, which was never what we could call evolved (or funny).  And did goo-goo dolls actually sound like that?  I recall that the peacocks who used to roam my yard sounded exactly like the sound effects at the close.

Seven Pretty Dreams is Hal back in storytelling mode, with a lovely melody to match, and the text is simply beautiful.  Betty Johnson's elegant vocal and Hugo Winterhalter's accompaniment make this Grade-A 1950s pop.  Eydie Gorme's A Girl Can't Say has tune writer Leon Carr playing Bacharach-style tricks with the phrases, and the result is fascinating.  I didn't know anyone was fiddling with form to quite that extent in pre-Burt days.  Hal's words are expertly clever.  I Came Back to Say I'm Sorry is like an R&B shuffle slowed down to 16 rpm, but after my initial reaction ("Ugh!"), I've come to like this performance.  Phoned-in lyrics, but that'll happen whenever someone's output is as huge as Hal's. The Boy on Page Thirty-Five is clever enough, though it sounds like something Hal could have dashed off while taking a snooze--too ordinary an effort, in this blogger's opinion.  My Heart Is an Open Book, luckily, is a big step up, and here we have a melody as memorable as the lyrics--even this fake hit version scores well.  Also from 1959, maybe my all-time favorite Frankie Laine side, The Valley of a Hundred Hills--a pop masterpiece on all levels, and the perfect marriage of melody and lyrics.  Again, Hal is telling a story, and a memorable one.  This could easily have been throwaway fluff; instead, along with Geisha Girl, it's the best offering in the list, imo.  And the stereo sound is wonderful.  There's nothing quite like a 7" stereo single.

Unloved and Maybe Tomorrow (But Not Today) are not examples of Hal-quality Hal--the latter is especially annoying.  But the closing number, 1962's My Geisha, with its lovely melody by Franz Waxman, mostly atones for the two clunkers--Hal's lyrics can't be called inspired, but they're expertly done and possess a David-Bacharach kind of elegance.  Meanwhile, Jerry Vale's vocal is superb.  The side is too beautifully done to write off as fluff, and I suppose the lack of lyrical depth is inevitable, since it's a title song for a movie. 

A Happy Birthday to a superbly gifted wordsmith, whose best work will hopefully be remembered for decades to come. 

DOWNLOAD: Hal David Without Burt, 1946-1962


I've Got a Walkie Talkie (David-Rodney-Block)--Geroge Olsen and His Orch., vocal: Judith Blair, 1946 
I Wish I Had a Record (Goodhart-Altman-David)--Perry Como w. Mitch Ayres and His Orch., 1949 
Mother, Mother, Mother, Pin a Rose on Me (H. David--A. Altman)--Kitty Kallen w. Mitch Miller's Orch., 1950 
Little Crazy Quilt (Hal David-Leon Carr)--Patti Page w. Jack Rael and His Orch., 1955 
Goo-Goo Doll (Jack Wolf-Hal David-Leon Carr)--Steve Allen w. Dick Jacobs Chorus and Orch., 1955 
Don't Throw My Love Away (David-Carr)--Joan Weber, 1955 
A Girl Can't Say (Leon Carr-Hal David)--Eydie Gorme w. Dick Jacobs Cho. and Orchestra, 1955
Seven Pretty Dreams (Leon Carr-Hal David)--Betty Johnson w. Hugo Winterhalter's Orch. and Cho., 1955 
I Came Back to Say I'm Sorry (David-Carr)--The Lancers w. Dick Jacobs Cho. and Orchestra, 1956 
The Boy on Page Thirty-Five (David-Carr)--Cathy Carr w. Dan Belloc Orch. and Chorus, 1956 
My Heart Is an Open Book (H. David-L.Pockriss)--Vocals and Orch. by Popular Radio & TV Artists (Broadway label, 1959?) 
The Valley of a Hundred Hills (H. David--S. Edwards)--Frankie Laine, Orch. c. by Richard Hyman, 1959 
Unloved (H. David, L. Pockriss)--Tommy Edwards, 1960
Maybe Tomorrow (But Not Today) (David-Hampton)--Danny Peppermint w. Orchestra and Cho., 1962 
Johnny Gets (sic) Angry (H. David-S. Edwards)--Unknown (Top 30 Tunes 10; 1962?) 
My Geisha (You Are Sympathy to Me) (David-Waxman)--Jerry Vale, Arr. and Cond. by Glenn Osser, 1962 


Sunday, May 22, 2022

Sunday morning gospel: The Branham Family--No One Knows What Jesus Suffered (c. 1962?)


I had this LP ready to go last Sunday, but I decided to do a last-minute replacement (The Oak Ridge Boys) because of some defects in this pressing--defects which create occasional distortion.  But because Josh wants to hear this, and because the material is so superior... here it is.  An online discography called Gloryland Jubilee places the year at "1962 or later," based on the presumption that this is a King pressing.  That may very well be the case, as the matrix number seems to follow the King custom-pressing scheme, and the three-digit account number (979-LP-19000) would, in fact, make it 1962.  So, if it's King, it's 1962.

This is fine country gospel, with a strong rockabilly/hillbilly boogie feel to some of the tracks.  We have some real pros backing the delightful vocals, and there's a fine balance between medium-tempo and upbeat numbers.  A good helping of standards--I'll Fly Away, Take My Hand Precious Lord, Glory to His Name, I'm a Pilgrim--and some others which sound awfully familiar.  A superior program of country gospel--and I will eagerly grab any other Branham Family LPs which show up in the thrifts.  This one has put me on the alert.  Enjoy!

Oh, and the back cover is blank, so a scan would have been redundant.

DOWNLOAD: The Branham Family, 1962?

Do You Know My Jesus

King of Kings

Take My Hand Precious Lord

No One Knows What Jesus Suffered

How Can You Refuse Him Now

I'll Fly Away

I'm Moving up Home Some Day

You'd Better Live So

I'm Free From Sin's Heavy Load

I Am a Pilgrim

From the Manger to the Cross

Somebody Loves Me

Glory to His Name

The Branham Family (No label name, martix # 979-LP-1000; 1962, if King custom pressing)


Thursday, May 19, 2022

Teen Age Dance Party--Bobby Krane and Buddy Lucas. Or, Bravo gets things half-right.


So, was there really a "Bobby Krane"?  Well, in this case, Bravo (Pickwick) has juxtaposed big band recreations (source unknown) with hard-rocking numbers, the latter having been traced to a group of Gateway Records singles credited to "Lindsey Powers," who was actually saxophonist/bandleader Buddy Lucas.  Given the casual fashion in which Bravo slapped the "Bobby Krane" credit on the Lucas tracks, I'm inclined to suggest that there was no Bobby Krane.  Also, Krane's name was used by Pickwick as the catch-all orchestra leader for its sound-alikes, even on sides which feature no orchestra.  That, imo, is a red flag.  "Bobby Krane" may ultimately be as useful an appellation as "Vocals and Orchestra by Popular Radio and Television Artists."

Anyway, I truly enjoy this thrift gift from Diane (thanks, Diane!), and it's partly because, and not in spite of, the clash of styles throughout.  Other listeners may find that contrast difficult to deal with--as ever, it's your call.  But, at the very least, this budget release is a classic example of a cheapie label taking a "What the heck?" approach to a playlist, with little thought given to the packaging of big band-era material under the title "Teen Age Favorites."  I mean, Take the "A" Train was a teen age favorite at one time in pop history--just not in the mid to late 1950s.

On the other hand, Bravo could have done worse by, say, combining the rocking Buddy Lucas tracks (which sound like a more hardcore version of Bill Haley and His Comets) with, for example, accordion favorites or sing-along selections, which would have really made things incongruous.  At least big band is related to the rock and roll style of Buddy Lucas--a style which goes back to the late 1940s, if not earlier.

I needed to make the cover a bit darker to match the real thing, and I assure you that the smiling blonde (who also appears on the cover of the Design label's Rock 'N' Roll at the Sugar Bowl--same pic) looks just as harshly lit in both a lighter and darker Photoshop adjustment.  The Sugar Bowl LP is credited to "Big Luke" Sykes and His Orchestra, whom I'm told is also Buddy Lucas, but my copy is too beat-up to even attempt a listen, let alone a rip.  Anyway, Teen Age Dance Party must have confused any and all teenagers who heard it, though to what extent, we can't know.  Its possible that the purchasers of 99-cent LPs had come to expect less than truthful packaging, which is often the price buyers paid for spending less on their vinyl. 

Come, revisit the big band and early rock and roll eras with Bobby Krane, whoever he was, and Buddy Lucas, known as "Lindsey Powers" on Gateway (his sides given the year 1955 at Discogs).  It's amusing that Bobby Krane gets the main billing, even though the Lucas tracks outnumber his by 6 to 4.  Just another waltz in the budget-label park!  A zone in which the goals were to 1. provide entertainment and 2. save money--in the reverse order.

Oh, and I have no idea what Teen Deen could possibly mean.  Any thoughts?  Maybe it was supposed to be Teen Den and someone accidentally added an e?

UPDATE: My thanks to musicman1979 for leading me to the most likely source for the four "Bobby Krane" sides--the Stanley Applewaite Prom Date LP, on Design DLP 23.

DOWNLOAD: Teen Age Dance Party--Bobby Krane/Buddy Lucas (Bravo K 131; 1959)

PLAYLIST (Gateway Records titles in parenthesis)

Pony Tail (Wailin' Away)--Buddy Lucas and His Combo

Stompin' at the Savoy--Bobby Krane and His Orchestra

Bobby Sox (All Gone)--Buddy Lucas and His Combo

Take the "A" Train--Bobby Krane and His Orchestra

Wiggle Walk--Buddy Lucas and His Combo

One O'Clock Jump--Bobby Krane and His Orchestra

Drag Race (Round Robin)--Buddy Lucas and His Combo

C Jam Blues--Bobby Krane and His Orchestra

Rocks and Rolls (Blazing Home)--Buddy Lucas and His Combo

Teen Deen--Buddy Lucas and His Combo


Sunday, May 15, 2022

Sunday morning gospel: Oak Ridge Boys--Just for You (Vista R 1230, 1971)


This essay is a rush job, since this LP is a last-minute substitute for a terrific LP by the Branham Family.  While editing those tracks, I decided that the sound was simply too distorted (a bad pressing, is my guess), and so I snapped this out of a small row of TBB (to be blogged) gospel albums, and I figured that it's impossible to go wrong with the Oak Ridge Boys, especially when they start things out with Palms of Victory.  So, instead of a terrific Branham Family LP, we have a terrific Oak Ridge Boys effort.  Some essence-of-Southern-quartet material here, including Palms, Sweeter Gets the Journey, and Glory in the Arms.  Also, a few tracks which border on modern praise music, including the final cut, Thanks.  I'm not a praise song fan, to put it mildly, but it's always interesting to hear the "roots" of a particular genre.

So, great singing, fine 1971 stereo (despite a bit too much sibilance in at least one cut), and a cool group shot on the back--almost a rock-band look, there.  Maybe it's the hair?  Anyway, the label, Vista Records, was out of Nashville, and the LP certainly has a Nashville feel.  Gotta wrap this up, so... enjoy!  Download link follows...

DOWNLOAD: Oak Ridge Boys--Just for You (Vista R 1230; 1971)

Palms of Victory

Then I Met Jesus

Don't Scatter the Sheep


Remind Me, Dear Lord

Sweeter Gets the Journey

Glory in the Arms

He Really Cares About You

Just Like Jesus



Saturday, May 07, 2022

Twenty-five 45s: Guy Mitchell, The Voxpoppers, Jerry Vale, the Rivieras, more!


Twenty-five 45s.  Or is that forty-five 25s?  No, I got it right the first time.  Confused myself a little, there.

Projects like this always take longer than I expect, which is odd, since I do a lot of projects like this--you'd think I would catch on.  Anyway, some fun selections, with many examples of "pop" artists covering R&B/rock and roll, with Steve Lawrence's Speedoo and Nick Noble's Lucy Lou my favorites along that line.  In fact, the Jesse Stone-penned Lucy Lou (the melody a borrowing of Frere Jacques!) may not even be a cover--I can't find info on the song.  But it's a pop singer performing a slow-rocking song, and very well, I might add.

Plus, two pop singers covering Chuck Willis numbers--Georgie Shaw delivering an excellent I Can Tell (1955) and Patti Page giving us an adequate Search My Heart.  I was hoping the latter would be on par with Patti's fabulous What a Dream (also penned by Chuck Willis), but it's not quite in that league.  And, from 1954, Johnnie Ray's excellent Drifters cover, Such a Night--though most people probably associate the song with the 1960 Elvis version.  Also, big band rock and roll, with a not-at-all-bad Bip Bam (Charles Calhoun, aka Jesse Stone) by Art Mooney (1954) and a so-so Buddy Morrow cover of William "Bill" Haley's Rock-A-Beatin' Boogie (1955). Morrow did better things in this vein, but it's fun to hear any cover of this one.

In my opinion, Gale Storm does a much better pop version of Why Do Fools Fall in Love than I Hear You Knocking, but she hit the Top Ten with both, so she needn't care what I think.  Then we have the Modernaires, who date back to Paul Whiteman, doing a budget label-style medley of then-current pop tunes in the oddly titled Tops 'N Pops, Pts. I and II.  That is, I don't think the preposition in is typically contracted, unlike and (which is often incorrectly contracted as 'n or n').  Oh, well--none of my business.

Some un-pop-ized doo wop and other instances of rock and roll grace our playlist--The G-Clefs' Darla, My Darlin' (1956); The Voxpoppers' The Last Drag (1958); Bill Haley's 1957 Hook, Line and Sinker (be on guard for thumping triplets); Sonny Sheets' Skippin (sic) Class (1961); Joe Caldwell and the Majestics' How Long Will It Last and its flip, Make Up Your Mind, with Felix Lark singing lead (both 1961); and the more-or-less r&r Wonder, by The Three G's (1958).  Oh, and there's The Wanderers' A Little Too Long (1961), and a rip of The Stroll by Tina Diamond and Hal Gordon entitled The Glide, which is well sung by Don Cherry in an excellent Ray Conniff production.

Two nice Guy Mitchell sides, a charming Jerry Vale number (Around the Clock; 1958), and a swinging 1955 Jill Corey side, That's All I Need.  In fact, Jill's side is an R&B cover, now that I check it out--penned by Lincoln (Such a Night) Chase, LaVerne Baker, and Howard Biggs.  How about that?

Link follows:

DOWNLOAD: Twenty-five 45s

Lucy Lou--Nick Noble, 1957

The Glide--Don Cherry, 1958

A Little Too Long--The Wanderers, 1961

Wonder--The Three G's, 1958

Till We're Engaged--Guy Mitchell, 1958

The Last Drag--The Voxpoppers, 1958

Darla, My Darlin'--The G-Clefs, 1956

Around the Clock--Jerry Vale, 1958

Great Big Eyes--The Rivieras, 1960

Skippin (sic) Class--Sonny Sheets and Tonettes, 1961

Make Up Your Mind--Felix Lark and the Majestics, 1961

How Long Will It Last--Joe Caldwell and the Majestics, 1961

I Can Tell--Georgie Shaw, 1955

Hook, Line and Sinker--Bill Haley and His Comets, 1957

Search My Heart--Patti Page, 1955

Bip Bam--Art Mooney and His Orch., Vocal by Chorus, 1954

Tops 'N Pops--Pts. I and II--The Modernaires, 1955

Why Do Fools Fall in Love--Gale Storm, 1956

Speedoo--Steve Lawrence, 1955

The Chicken and the Hawk (Up Up and Away)--Same

I Hear You Knocking--Gale Storm, 1955

Such a Night--Jonnie Ray, 1954

Two--Guy Mitchell, 1959

That's All I Need--Jill Corey, 1955

Rock-A-Beatin' Boogie--Buddy Morrow and His Orch., Vocal: Jerry Mercer, 1954