Thursday, November 21, 2013
Neither Fish Nor Fowl?
Today's post is for that subset of readers who are, like me, fascinated by the Halmark label. Because this is a Halmark record unlike any other I've seen. I suppose technically it's not even a song-poem record, but that's kind of the point. As indicated by the title of this post, I'm not sure how to categorize this record.
What we have hear is a Halmark release, featuring a singer I've never seen credited on any song-poem record, Halmark or otherwise, first singing a song written by the owner of Halmark Records, Ted Rosen, and then on the flip side, covering a big hit single from a few years earlier.
Ted Rosen often claimed co-composer credits with his song-poet customers, but AS/PMA shows only one other record (an acetate) with a song credited solely to Rosen as composer, and no references to Barry Craig. Were it not for the information on the label, though, I'd have thought this was just another Halmark release, as it would appear that Rosen was prone to the same sort of overblown language as his customers, and (presumably) that he was a fan of the flowery, out of date and sappy music that graced his other releases.
The flip side is an equally big headscratcher. Identified only as "Phoenix" with absolutely NO author credited, this is actually a version of "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" by Jimmy Webb (not that you asked, but both the song and the songwriter are about as far away from my tastes as one can get).
Curiously, as long time reader, correspondent and commenter Sammy Reed has pointed out, one of the backing tracks Halmark used from time to time was, in fact, a backing which perfectly fits "By the Time I Get to Phoenix". You can hear it used under the song "It's Not the World, It's What's In the World", which is item number five on this post. And well, whattaya know, here's that same backing track, employed in the recording of the song for which it was recorded!
An oddball release from one of the oddest of labels imaginable!