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