Sunday, November 27, 2022

Sunday Morning Gospel, after 11 pm. (Well, I had the best intentions.) Ten-inch Singspiration goodness.


A late-evening Sunday Morning Gospel for you--some really marvelous 1953 material, performed in that expert Back to the Bible Broadcast style I love beyond words.  Some may regard the Back to the... music as too conventional, or too MOR, but I admire the sheer expertise of the performances.  Polished but heartfelt.  The sound is super, and I eliminated all of the surface crackle, which was about typical for a sacred ten-incher--lots of nicks, crosscuts, needle-drop evidence, etc.  Those good ol' one-pound tonearms, I guess.  My brother and I had a four-speed portable phonograph, and most of the time any attempt to cue the stylus to another part of the record resulted in a nick, or worse.

Then came lightweight tonearms, anti-skating, and suddenly it became possible to accidently knock the needle across an entire side, from the first groove to the last--with no ill results.  Anyway, I gave myself credit for eliminating the crackle, pop, etc., but most of the credit really goes to the astoundingly effective VinylStudio declicker, which took out most (but not all) of the unwanted noise.  The rest, I manually removed, as usual, in MAGIX.  But what a before-and-after example!  I should have ripped a "raw" portion just so you could hear it.

A Diane gift, and yes, the previous owner had played it quite often on a totally not-modern turntable, but again, I would call the condition about average for a 10-incher loved by the previous owner.  Buster would be more of an authority on that.

How do I know it's from 1953?  Easy--this is an RCA custom pressing, and the E3 in the matrix number tells us 1953.  Otherwise, I would have guesstimated 1955 for this, and I would have been two years off.  Now, here's the weird thing--and the reason this post is so late.  I had an allergic reaction to the musty jacket, and I didn't realize it until about two hours into the weird experience.  I felt shortness of breath, my head was woozy, and I was almost afraid to go downstairs, in case I fell or something.  (I didn't.)  I managed to open the window to air the room out (thank goodness for a seasonal fall day, for a change) and I booked out of here.  And the mystery is, why now?  That is, after all my years of encountering musty jackets and labels, all the years of flea-marketing and Goodwilling in germ-filled environments, why did my system suddenly decide to freak out?  It's had countless opportunities to date.

At any rate, two Benadryls, two asthma inhaler puffs, and some sitting down and resting, and all I have now is a headache and a slightly queasy stomach.  I was so wired, I wanted to simply stay on my feet and obsessively self-dx myself, but I didn't want to fall, so I talked myself into parking my keister on my Monster chair (I think that's the actual name).  When we're in a medical panic, logic doesn't rule the event.  Just when we need logic to guide us, that's when it flees the scene.

I goofed on my labeling--the second track should be the Chorus, not "Choir."  Oh, and there's a certain amount of irony in the fourth title--Singing of His Love, by Wendell Loveless.  Anyway, I'm sure that none of the mold spores in question got into the zip file, so open without fear.  And, again, just your regular, everyday musty jacket--so, why did my immune system go into semi-shock?  This must be one of those strange, one-off allergic reactions.  That, or I really ticked off the vinyl god.

DOWNLOAD  Back to the Bible Broadcast Chorus Quartet, 1953

I'm a Rollin, Walk in Jerusalem

What a Friend (Converse)

In the Secret Place of Prayer (Coleman)

Singing Along the Way (A.H. Ackley)/Singing of His Love (Wendell Loveless)

Amazing Grace, Only One Life

Take the World but Give Me Jesus (Sweney)

I Am With You (Morris-Harkness)

That Beautiful Name (Camp)

(Singspiration LP-107; 1953)


Friday, November 25, 2022

Christmas From Goshen, Indiana, 1978!

Merry month-from-now Christmas!  Diane kindly sent me two privately-pressed choral LPs made in Goshen, Indiana--a cultured place, judging by these vinyls.  (I hate the term "vinyls," but it's become popular, so...)  Both LPs (high school choirs; Goshen College) were shrink-wrapped, though the high school LP had been opened.  To no avail, I'm afraid--the tight shrink did its worst, and the vinyl is quite warped.  However, I salvaged the last track on each side--Santa Baby and Hallelujah Chorus--so, you get to hear those.  Noel With the Goshen High School Choirs is the title, but neither the jacket nor label tell us anything more than that.  No year given, but it's a digital-era Delta Records production, minus that cool logo on Delta's earlier releases.  I've posted a number of Delta productions in the past, and those zips should still be available.  Note: should.  Meanwhile, the Goshen College LP, which was totally encased in shrink wrap, wasn't warped at all.  Go figure.

Christmas Music From Goshen College contains specific credits, to a point, though it could have been more thoroughly annotated.  It was pressed by A+R Manufacturing Corporation in Dallas TX, while the music was recorded in Elkhart IN.  Goshen College is a Mennonite-sponsored liberal arts college, and as we can expect, the selections are high art all the way.  And amazingly well performed--of course.  We get Benjamin Britten's famous and delightful A Ceremony of Carols, art carols like Fum, Fum, Fum and Mary's Little Boy Chile, and Vivaldi's Gloria (or one of them, anyway).  Recorded live at Goshen College on December 10, 1978, and the audio is great, my Stanton 680 LP stylus being the first needle to touch these grooves.  They waited nearly 44 years for this moment.  ("Finally!"--Grooves.)

Kodály's Christmas Dance of the Shepherds may be the highlight of the program for me, in large part owing to the amazing flute accompaniment by Anita Stoltzfus.  And this version of Fum, Fum, Fum (dating back to the 16th or 17th century) is probably the best I've heard to date.  Bear with the long pauses between selections--I just kept those as is.  I suppose the mastering service could have shortened these, but it didn't.  Anyway, no Suzy Snowflake or Sleigh Ride in this lineup, though we do have the Goshen High School choir (which one?) choral-swinging its way through Santa Baby to start things out.  The rendition won't remind you of Eartha Kitt's hit--more like a selection from Grease.  But it's fun.

Oh, and the now-standard Calypso carol Mary's Little Boy Chile is well done, and it's a modern number written for Walter Schumann's choir, which recorded it in 1956.

Oh, boy, now I get to type out the credits.  And it comes out to (gulp) thirteen tracks.  Lucky thing I'm not superstitious.

DOWNLOAD: Christmas From Goshen IN, 1978

Santa Baby (Javits/Springer)--Goshen High School Choirs, Marcia E. Yost, Director

Hallelujah Chorus (G.F. Handel)--Same

Noel--Goshen High School Choirs, Delta Records DRS89-906

A Ceremony of Carols (Benjamin Britten)--Women of the Chamber Choir--Nancy Moore, Harp

What Sweeter Music (Halsey Stevens)--Men of the Chamber Choir

As I Out Rode This Enderes Night (Halsey Stevens)--Same

Fum, Fum, Fum, (Arr. Shaw-Parker)--Chamber Choir.

My Dancing Day (Arr. Shaw-Parker)--Chamber Choir

Mary's Little Boy Chile (Jester Hairston)--Chamber Choir--John E. Miller, Tenor

Gloria (Vivaldi)--Marcella Eberly, Elsie Wenger, Jane Hamiel, Sopranos; Priscilla Stucky, Oboe.

A Son is Born of Mary (Robert Wetzler)--Kent Beck, Tenor

Lullay My Liking (Gustav Holst)--Goshen College Chorale

In Bethlehem's Low Stable (Anon.)--Freshman Womens Ensemble; Debra Detwiler, Conductor

Christmas Dance of the Shepherds (Kodály)--Same; Anita Stoltzfus, Flute

Christmas Music From Goshen College (Recorded Dec. 10, 1978 by Tri-Fidelity Associates, Elkhart IN; Mfd. by A+R Record Manufacturing Corporation, Dallas TX)


Sunday, November 20, 2022

Sacred shellac--Smith's Sacred Singers, William McEwan, Frank and James McCravy, more!


Note: Zip file modified at 2.07 PM 11/20/2022

Near the beginning of the classic 1944 movie musical Meet Me in St. Louis, "Tootie" (Margaret O'Brien) is sitting in the back of an ice delivery cart.  The scene takes place in 1903, and the six-year-old O'Brien is singing Brighten the Corner Where You Are--ten years before that hugely popular gospel song was written.  Oops.  Anyway, we'll be hearing the (surprisingly tinny-sounding) 1920 Brunswick recording of Corner, sung by the Criterion Quartet.  This ingenious tune makes a perfect close-harmony number.

But we begin with four classic sides by Smith's Sacred Singers (the only kind they ever made)--1928's Lord I'm Coming Home, 1927's I Want to Go to Heaven, 1928's When Jesus Comes, and 1929's Meet Me There, all recorded for Columbia in Atlanta, Geogia.  The Singers are followed by a remarkably modern-sounding family group called the Wright Brothers Quartet.  I mean, it's either a mixed quartet, or one of the "men" is a boy.  At any rate, I've featured locally recorded 1970s gospel efforts that sound little different in style--a fact which pleases me a great deal.  These 1929 numbers are What a Glad Day and God's Message to Man.  These, too, were recorded in Atlanta.

Then, Frank and James McCravy provide more urban-sounding gospel with Jacob's Ladder and I Want to Be There.  Usually, I take the time to track down all the authors and composers the labels didn't bother to list, but not this time.  Except for I Want to Be There, which is actually 1899's I Want to Go There by David Sullins.  Did Okeh commit a typo or was it trying to avoid royalty payments?  Who knows?  It's as if labels of the 1920s assumed that anything "down home" was necessarily of unknown origin.  It all seems like simple carelessness, but it could have been the canny type. 

Then, we switch to the acoustical era with the aforementioned Brighten the Corner, which no one was singing in 1903, either on or off of ice delivery carts, along with a great Conway's Band rendition of Onward Christian Soldiers, properly credited to Sir Arthur Sullivan (of Gilbert and Sullivan fame, of course).  Our other pre-microphone side is a typically overwrought but wonderful William Mcewan rendition of Charles (Brighten the Corner) Gabriel's All Hail, Emmanuel, a marvelous 1910 anthem actually published as All Hail to Thee, Immanuel!  With an exclamation mark.

All restored by me from my 78 copies, and all reasonably quiet, save for a noisy start to the McEwan side.  I've yet to find an acoustical McEwan 78 with a quiet surface.  There may not have been any pressed...

To the sacred shellac!

DOWNLOAD: Sacred Shellac--Smith's Sacred Singers, William McEwan, more!

Lord I'm Coming Home--Smith's Sacred Singers, 1928

I Want to Go to Heaven--Same, 1927

When Jesus Comes--Same, 1928

Meet Me There--Same, 1929

What a Glad Day--Wright Brothers Quartet, 1929

God's Message to Man--Same, 1929

Jacob's Ladder--Frank and James McCravy, 1927

I Want to Be There (aka I Want to Go There, by David Sullins)--Same, 1927

Onward Christian Soldiers--Conway's Band, 1915

All Hail, Emmanuel--William McEwan, approx. 1912

Brighten the Corner Where You Are--Criterion Quartet, 1920


Thursday, November 17, 2022

Sheila Southern--The Burt Bacharach Songbook (aka This Girls in Love With You), 1969.


Sorry for the delay--I've been preoccupied with my new toy, my YouTube channel.  I got to ripping tracks ahead of myself and decided that I need to take a breather.  I had hoped to have this up, like, last week, but sometimes our plans don't pan out.  I'm not going to insert the clever saying, "If you want to give God a good laugh, tell Him your plans."  Oops--I just did.  And that's one of those sayings with multiple sources (in other words, a series of false attributions), just like the standard, "There are only two types of music: Interesting and uninteresting."  Arthur Fiedler said that.  Or was it Duke Ellington?  Or maybe I said it.  No, it predates me, so that's not possible.

Anyway, lots of very nice words at YT, and I totally deserve them.  Er, I mean, I'm totally humbled.  And, as I look at other images of British vocalist Sheila Southern (our artist for today), the phrase which comes to mind is "ridiculously easy on the eyes."  Gorgeous lady, and quite a singer.  That's always a lucky combination, for either a male or female entertainer (but especially the latter).  And... these are all the Burt songs we'd expect (a very good thing), with Here I Am thrown in as the starting track, and what a fantastically good choice for an opener.  A lovely ballad, which I'd previously only heard in Dionne's version, and almost too sophisticated for AM radio.  I.e., the AM radio of the time.  And, certainly, of our time.  I mean, Burt had the temerity to not put everything to a Disco beat, with two-measure phrases on auto-repeat.  What did he think he was??  A skilled musician??

Condition on this was not as good as I'd remembered from the purchase, and so, after a pass through VinylStudio's great declicker, there remained maybe 30 bumps/pops to edit out (VS has a bass-protection feature which allows noise to get through).  However, the post-spliced audio is excellent overall, especially for an SPC pressing.  In fact, by SPC standards, it's a miracle.  The audio starts to break up around the close of the final track, and I don't know if that's wear, the result of an SPC pressing, or what.  But it's nothing major.  And the excellent fidelity is easily explained: Pye Studios, England.  SPC inherited the Pye master tape(s) and put this out in 1970, but I'm staying with the recording year of 1969.  The original British Marble Arch (Pye subsidiary) LP had a more sensible title--Sheila Southern Sings the Burt Bacharach Songbook--but of course that wasn't nearly fragmented enough for SPC.

The British issue credits The Mike Sammes Singers and conductor Paul Fenoulhet on the front cover, whereas this Ambassador (SPC) issue sticks them on the back, along with a lame, written-to-fill-space essay featuring such inane sentences as, "This blue-eyed, fair haired song thrush has in her early years--like Burt Bacharach--captured the hearts and imagination of her public with her vibrant interpretations of today's youthful music appetites."  That last part isn't even literate.  Anyway, I had to check out the essay, just in case it had pertinent info.  And so I lost three or so minutes of my life, never to get them back.  The Marble Arch LP dispensed with such idiocy, simply forgoing a write-up.  When the music's this good, all that needs to be said is, "This is killer stuff" or words to the same effect.

This is Burt and Hal done justice by all concerned.  I really can't add anything past that--this is an A+ effort, and even if it had to come out on a bottom of the barrel label in the U.S.  Let's just thank the vinyl god that it came out.  ("Thank you, vinyl god!!")

DOWNLOAD: Sheila Southern--The Burt Bacharach Songbook, 1969

Here I Am

What the World Needs Now

Do You Know the Way to San Jose

You'll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart)

I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself

Wives and Lovers

Walk On By

A House Is Not a Home


The Look of Love

Trains and Boats and Planes

This Girl's in Love With You

Artists: Sheila Southern, The Mike Sammes Singers, Orch. conducted by Paul Fenoulhet.

The Burt Bacharach Songbook Sung by Sheila Southern (back cover title)--Ambassador S 98099; rec. 1969, released 1970.