Thursday, September 28, 2023

The Twist--Ray Anthony and His Bookends


The twist: A 1958 Hank Ballard song whose chart success happened in 1960 and 1962 (courtesy of Chubby Checker), and whose chief period of popularity (the height of the twist-ploitation craze) occurred in the latter year.  Thus, we have Ray Anthony presenting his 1962 variant.

I thought this would be a less time-consuming jacket photoshopping job and manual click removal task.  That's what I get for predicting.  Turns out that the VG-looking surface had its share of crosscuts.  The type which elude VinylStudio (with its bass protection feature), with some easily removed by MAGIX's wave shape "pencil," but others requiring a track splice (hard to pull off without an audible gap).  

And lots of black area to photoshop-fill on the front and rear jacket: The kind of wear that becomes painfully visible upon scanning.  But, finally, it's ready to go.  And I'm as sane as when I started.  You can read that as you wish.

Should I start with the good features or the not so good ones?  Drawbacks: Monotony of presentation: There seemed to be a lot of repetition in Anthony's arrangements.  However, this impression could be a consequence of the many times I had to halt the file and review two- and three-second sections while deleting audio spikes.  I can't make a fair judgment until I listen to the restored file straight through.

Plus, there's the Capitol stereo, which was no blessing to record buyers.  Luckily, this is for-real stereo, as opposed to that awful "Duophonic" process (a type of fake stereo) too often employed by the label.  But here we've got the all-of-the-instruments/singers-in-the-same-channel kind of unrealistic stereo separation, which may as well be binaural.  But, again, it is stereo.  Or binaural-sounding stereo.

The pluses?  The excellent musicianship we would expect, and in fact do get, from Ray Anthony (albeit, not always in key).  And the delightful "period" sound--in this case, the kind of "canned" Discotheque music so common to TV shows and movies of the early 1960s.  Nice nostalgia trip.  Plus, clever takes on (what else?) The Bunny Hop, Tequila, Peter Gunn, Hound Dog, Night Train, Mexican Hat Dance (oh, well), and Rock Around the Clock.  That last title is the reason I thrifted this LP, oh, about five years back.  Anthony's version is called Twist and Rock Around the Clock, though I don't know for certain that it's possible to do both at the same time.

Why not simply Twist Around the Clock?  Well, there was a movie and single by that name, so I'm guessing this was an instance of copyright-claim avoidance.  And the notes excitedly announce Ray Anthony twist originals ("hard-rocking Anthony originals"), including Twist Around Mister, Let's Twist (very evocative), Bookend Twist, and Twistin' Alice.  All of which became cherished and honored members of the Great Rock and Roll Songbook.  (Wait--they didn't?)  But I love the idea of Ray Anthony twist originals.  It appeals to me, somehow.

Worth a listen, and once more I'm inspired to wonder why the twist was greeted like a new era in popular music.  Like a massively major event.  I mean, eight-to-the-bar boogie-woogie had already been heard in the person of Pete Johnson, Will Bradley, Freddie Stack, Chuck Miller, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis (when not using triplets), and contemporary surf music.  Some have suggested that the twist was an across-the-generations dance craze: nice and clean, with nothing suggestive (a la "rock") about "twist."  Yet, I've read that the twist was criticized for not being close-contact dancing, like "real," respectable dancing.  Of course, in an earlier era, close dancing had been scandalous (e.g., the waltz).  These things go in circles, I guess.  As someone once said, "You can't please anyone."  And it just occurred to me that a bunny hop/twist hybrid is likely not something I'd want to see.

DOWNLOAD: The Twist--Ray Anthony and His Bookends (Capitol St-1668; 1962)

Bunny Hop Twist

Twist Around Mister

Tequila With a Twist

Let's Twist

Peter Gunn Twist

Twistin' Hound Dog

Bookend Twist

Night Train Twist

Twist and Rock Around the Clock

Mexican Hat Dance Twist

The Twist

Twistn' Alice


Thursday, September 21, 2023

And... maybe I'm back

groovylounge kindly suggested a new storage service, and I revived the Today People post via that site.  Hopefully, things will work out.

It's possible that workupload panicked and simply banned my posts willy-nilly, out of fear that someone might claim ownership.  There does not seem to have been an ounce of method to their madness, since I'm pretty sure that Hit Records, Hollywood, Parade, and Tops are no longer in business.  Tops bit the dust in 1962, in fact.

Even YouTube generates "copyright claim" messages in an irrational manner.  For instance, per law, pre-1923 78s are in the public domain.  This hasn't stopped YouTube from declaring select pre-1923 recordings as containing a "copyright claim."  I'm guessing that if, say, Archeophone Records releases recordings covering 1917-1922, some software program is identifying these tracks as content owned by Archeophone.  Far as I know, Archeophone has never made any such claim regarding its "content."  It is fully aware, for instance, that the Victor Talking Machine Co. is no longer in operation.

Does YouTube's software know this?  Actually, that's a trick question, since software can't "know" anything.

As for AI, if ever and whenever AI can answer "Do you want fries with that?" I'll believe in software which can reason.

A scary reality to ponder: Humans have a real-world sense of probability.  For instance, most people would recognize that entering data into an account PRIOR to establishing that account is, in all probability, impossible.  But Facebook's software doesn't know this.  And so it informed a FB friend that he had provided a phone number to his FB account three years before he started one.  Does past, present, and future mean anything to FB's software?  Evidently, no.  And we want to trust everything to programs which have no idea that time flows forward--something most little kids figure out before they can do fractions?

It looks like this blog is finished...

Workupload has banned any number of my posts.  Apparently, Tops material is making money for someone, and when someone makes money from "content," then that entity is presumed to own the content.  Whether it does or doesn't.

As ever, sharing for free is the ultimate crime, whereas some jerk label claims ownership to, say, a pre-1923 78, and copyright law be damned--I'm dealing with a YouTube "copyright claim."  Anyone who wants to make a few pennies from a label which went defunct in 1962, as did Tops--they are protected.  They do it with the blessings of the latest copyright act.  You and I are screwed.

I was afraid workupload might take that idiot route, and it has.  MEGA won't let me use it, and I don't know where else to turn, unless I want to pay a pricey subscription fee (I don't).  If anyone has any helpful suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

I mean, for God's sake, we can't have me potentially robbing some "content manager" or streaming service a buck and a quarter.  And we've seen rogue content managers swiping material from major labels--and in rips made by yours truly.

I'm terrified to look, since at least one of my "fake hits" offerings has been banned.  What a mess.

Want to profit from material you don't own?  No problem.  Want to share it for free?  Sorry.  Can't be allowed.

YouTube allows "copyright claim" material (including PD pre-1923 sides) to be posted at their platform, so maybe I can switch to YT.  I don't know yet what I'm going to do.  I may not have any options.

And Workupload has such a charming "banned" display (see below).  Isn't they precious?  I guess they can afford to find humor in this situation.  Hope I don't get a copyright-violation notice for using their idiot image.

My big error was in not demanding money for my rips.  Then, I'd be fine.  


Monday, September 11, 2023

The Million Sellers by the Today People (Vocalion VL73868, 1969)--1968 Top 40


My thanks to those who have stuck with my blog--My long absence was due to two factors: 1) bad allergies (it's ragweed time), 2 the fact that I had a post all ready to go, only to realize that it was already at the blog.  Oops.  Posted it in 2020.

I may not have even discovered my error had I not found a preexisting Living Guitars Shindig Zip file in my Music folder.  "Don't tell me..." I thought.  But I had.

And today, we have the Now People.  Er, I mean, now we have the Today People.  An outfit which has two credits at Discogs--this LP, and its follow-up, More Million Sellers (also 1969). All tracks having been recorded in England.  And now you know as much about the Today People as I do!

Like most albums of this type, the emphasis is on "pop" instead of rock, though we do get Ob-La-Di..., Fire (ugh!), and Mony, Mony.  And I only barely remember Fire from its Top 40 days.  Maybe my brain mercifully suppressed the memory.  (Having said that, the "You're gonna burn..." part was used very effectively by the late horror movie host The Ghoul.)

These are all 1968 hits, far as I know.  And I vividly remember not caring for the 1968 Top 40 at the time.  But, in retrospect, the 1968 Top 40 wasn't all that bad.  I think the main irritant was Those Were the Days, which was being featured on an every-other-song basis on AM radio.  I despised the song then, and my opinion has not changed with time.  As to why I despise it, who can say?  Any reasons I might offer would be purely subjective.  Opinions, after all, are belief statements.  They're not empirically testable.  Well, save to the extent that you can "observe" that I despise Those Were the Days.

And why did they have to go with This Guy's in Love With You?  It's one of the few Burt songs that does nothing for me, including in this rendition.  However, I'm sure no one decided, "This is a Burt song Lee isn't crazy about, so let's feature it."  Or... did someone?  (Theremin music)

, meanwhile, is a forecast of awful things to come in rock, though for some reason I lack much back-in-the-day memory of it.  Did my brain suppress the experience?

Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, Harper Valley P.T.A., and Little Arrows have their virtues, however, and I recall that I loved the guitar licks on P.T.A.  I remember an outbreak of fellow elementary school boys mimicking it.  So, maybe my memory of disliking the 1968 Top 40 isn't totally accurate.  (Of course, in real life, there are no degrees of "accurate.") 

And I like What a Wonderful World, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and Love Is Blue, though I was, at the time, more into youth-oriented pop.  The best thing about this album is the expertise of the covers--the excellence of the musicianship.  

The follow-up, More Million Sellers (also 1969), actually looks like something I'd genuinely dig.  Goodbye, Get Back, Games People Play, Israelites...  But that one has yet to make a thrift showing.

And some of the local Goodwills have stopped putting out vinyl for store display--they've chosen to auction it on line.  And any sensible collector wouldn't hesitate to spend money on ungraded thrift vinyl, especially minus any chance to examine it.  At any rate, once the news got out that vinyl was collectible, this was interpreted by unsophicated minds as "Records are worth a million-billion dollars."  The auto-generated false dichotomy goes something like, "Vinyl has no particular value/Vinyl is worth tons of dough."  No middle choice--just that ridiculous either/or.  It's also a consequence of the human love of overgeneralizing.  All A are B.  "All vinyl is valuable."  Or, all A are not B.  "All vinyl is not valuable."  Antony Flew's solution?  "Not all A are B."  As in, "Not all vinyl is valuable."  True proposition.

Oh, the Today people.  Here they are.  At concerts, were they introduced as, "Tonight, the Today People!"?

DOWNLOAD: The Million Sellers by the Today People (Vocalion VL73868, 1969)

Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da

This Guy's in Love With You


The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Those Were the Days

Harper Valley P.T.A.

What a Wonderful World

Love Is Blue (L'Amour Est Bleu)

Little Arrows

Mony, Mony