Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Hits of the Month--1958 sound-alikes by unknown artists ("Jazz-O!!")


And things don't end with "unknown artists": Also unknown is the company which produced this, plus the label name, though we are informed that these tracks are "Real Cool!" and "Jazz-O!!"  And who hasn't found him or herself exclaiming "Jazz-O!!" when the music is really rockin'?  Come on, admit it...

I saw an edition of this cardboard record with "Grants" stamped on the label, meaning that that copy was used as a promo (probably a freebie) for W.T. Grant.  No company or store is named on my copy, however, so maybe this was a promo item waiting (in vain) for some company stamp.  No way to be sure.  At any rate, these four titles were 1958 hits for, respectively, the Kalin Twins, LaVern Baker, Janice Harper, and Jimmie Rodgers.  This anonymous group manages to make When sound almost exactly like Dix-A-Billy, which isn't that hard to do, since both use the same I-vi-ii-V chord scheme.  Still, they could have varied the arrangements a little...

I'm surprised by the audio quality, though the restoration required summing the channels, doing a bit of track splicing, and laying on some noise-sample filtering.  The sound coming from my cartridge wasn't very pretty, but I've improved things from "Yikes!" to pretty good.

Sorry about my time away from the blog--I'm finishing up a 78-ripping project which was triggered by my discovery of the 800N-12 series of acoustic playback curves.  I also have Biggest Hits of '59, Part 2 scheduled--in Living Stereo, no less.  And, once again, the tracks originated with the Prom label.

In fact, why don't I imbed my YouTube posting of this EP?  Enjoy!



musicman1979 said...

You got Biggest Hits of '59 #2 in Stereo!! Great. Looking forward to it.

Unknown said...

RobGems68 wrote:
Let me guess, is that Living Stereo Biggest Hits Volume #2 is by The RCA Camden Rockers? I've seen a few Camden albums in antique stores & thrift stores by that anonymous group named by RCA Camden. They are as anonymous as RCA Camden's "Living whatever" albums (and they all seem to be involved with RCA Camden A&R Ethel Gabriel.) As for this cardboard disc, I think not only W.T. Grants (Michigan had a few of them until they went bankrupt in 1974; my late father once bought a Quadraphonic record player & 8-track set at a going -out-of-business sale at one Waterford, Michigan Grant's store.)had these "Jazz-O" records, but so did a few other competing department stores. If the record has no name for it's company name, I call it "Jazz-O Records." the sound quality is probably like all cardboard discs-lousy (remember in the late 60's when you could get free cardboard discs with proof of purchase of Post or Kellogg's cereals?) but your sound quality re-boot with your computer conversion makes it sound remarkable.

Lee Hartsfeld said...

musicman 1979,

I hope to get it on the blog in a few days. Fun to hear these Prom sides in genuine stereo. Comparing the Camden "Mack the Knife" version to my Prom EP, it was clearly from the same session, but a slightly different take! I occasionally encounter multiple takes on the Brand X labels, and I'm always surprised.


Yup, the fictitious RCA Camden Rockers. In this case, "they" are fronting for Prom tracks, which RCA evidently felt were good enough for the occasion--beats producing new tracks for an album. And "Jazz-O Records" certainly works in the absence of any other title. And I fondly remember those cereal box records, though they were more my younger sister's period. She had the Archies and the Jacksons, and I have at least one Archives cereal record in my stash. I don't think I've ever played it! Thanks for the nice words on my restoration.

Lee Hartsfeld said...

Er, the Jackson 5, I mean!

Diane said...

Wow! You find the strangest things! And make them sound actually good. It's maaagic (as Darlene Edwards sang, badly).

Unknown said...

RobGems68 wrote:
You would be better off keeping your Archie's cereal box record unheard & unplayed; I had a Monkees' one once, and the sound quality is unbelievably wretched. No amount of high fidelity went into those records that were meant to be played by small children on portable monoaural record players. The cardboard records are worth a fortune, however if you are lucky enough to find one still attached to the box and the box unopened in any antique shop. Stick with the Archie Kirshner/Calendar Records instead; the sound quality on those are much more superb.

Gilmarvinyl said...

I didn't know you had a Youtube channel! Subscribed for sure! Thanks for sharing these treasures!

Ernie said...


musicman1979 said...

Pretty good re-mastering on this unique cardboard disc! I do not know if I like this version of The Kalin Twins' "When". It is lacking some of the unique rhythms that made the original such a fun to listen to.

It ia a very unique take on "Dix-A-Billy", sung by a man instead of a womman. This tune originally appeared on the flip side of LaVern Baker's much-better remembered hit "I Cried A Tear"

I don't know if I like this version of "Devotion"., While there were some great Pop cover versions of this song cut by Al Martino on Capitol and Jane Morgan on RCA in the latter half of the '60's, this recording sounds like Leontyne Price or Marian Anderson singing the song to a doo-wop background.

So far the best cut of the four is "Are you Really Mine." While not directly aping the Jimmie Rodgers original, the singer has more of a unique tone to not qualify as a true soundalike per se.

Still the record is kind of mixed bag. The best that I can give this is a grade of B. It could have been much better, yet it is still a fascinating listen. Thanks for sharing with us.

Lee Hartsfeld said...


Sure! This was a fun and slightly challenging rip. My main issue with the music is a feeling of monotony. And I agree that the vocalist on "Devotion" was a bad choice. I almost took the voice to be a male falsetto at first.