Saturday, September 24, 2022
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
Before I get to this week's song-poem feature - and a most massive cut-up - I wanted to share a comment by stalwart blog reader Sammy Reed, which played up something I really should have caught, too. In response to the song I shared one week ago - "If I Holler, Let Me Go", he pointed out "another song which could be a 'companion piece' to that song, specifically, the peculiarly spelled "Enny Minnie Mighty Moe". Thanks, Sammy!
And now, let's move on to another Sammy:
The JFK tribute record was a hoary tradition both within and without of the song-poem world within six months of Kennedy's death. I've featured a few of the song-poem variety here, and there are certainly others out there, surely enough to fill a CD.
And... here's another one. It's got martial drums, a minor key, an ethereal choir, and cloying words. And it's all about "The President's Eternal Light". And speaking of all the features of this 45, don't be fooled by that 2:03 time listing. That's about how long the song is, but the entire record is nearly a full minute longer. Can you guess what fills that final 54 seconds? I bet you can.
On the flip side, the song is about "Eleanor", and it's got quite a bouncy and appealing feeling, which sadly retreats into the background. At first, the lyrics Sammy is singing indicate that he's happier with his new gal, and wants "Eleanor" to go away and stay away. But by a minute in, it's clear that the protagonist is still very worked up over whatever happened between them, and the new gal is never mentioned again. I actually find this lyrical construct to be fairly weird, which is about the 700th time I could say that about a song-poem.
Download: Sammy Marshall - Eleanor
Monday, September 05, 2022
Sunday, August 28, 2022
I have just a couple of near-absolutes here, in putting this site together. But one of those few is that ANY new and previously unshared records connected to Norridge Mayhams (aka Norris the Troubadour) will be shared immediately upon my obtaining of them.
In this case, that means that today's record is not exactly a song-poem, but it is connected to that world due to the fact that Mayhams used the song-poem companies so often. But not, it would appear, in this case. But still, I like to think of my site as, among many other things, a one-stop-shopping spot for anyone who falls under the sway of the great - if spectacularly weird - Norridge Mayhams.
In this case, this record, released on his own mouthful of a label, Co-Ed Sorority Fraternity Record Co, and credited to the equally lengthy billing of "Newcomb-Rayner Cannonballers (Eddie-Bill-Mac)", features a song called "Jeanie". Mayhams very likely hoped that inserting the names of then-current country and western hitmakers (along with that of the multi-genre hit machine known as Elvis Presley) might garner some interest, so he loaded up his lyric with references to more than a half dozen of them.
My thought upon hearing this record was "that's got to be from 1956", given the artists mentioned. And whattaya know, Billboard actually reviewed this record, on June 2, 1956. You can see that review here, on page 42.
Interestingly, just about two years later, in June of 1958, Cash Box magazine reported that the song was "clicking on the collegiate group circu't (sic)", as seen below:
Norris B. Mayhams, Prexy & Gen. Mgr. of Co-Ed Records infos that the Newcomb-Rayner Cannonball- ers, Buddy Rayner, Jerry Newcomb, Eddie Seabody and Charlie & Sonny, are currently clicking on the collegiate group circu’t with their latest waxing of “Run Away Heart” and “Jeannie”, and that they’re starting out on a series of engagements, this month, made possible thru the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System airing of their disks.
And two years after that, a web search finds that Cash Box again reported on the group, in a May 21st issue. I've been unable to find the actual text in that issue, but maybe someone out there wants to spend more time on it than I did. The issue can be found here. The Google search provided this partial segment of the story: Newcomb-Rayner Cannonballers, Co-Ed recording group, have changed their name to the Collegiate Cannonballers. According to Co-Ed prexy N. B. May-
And that's it.
For the flip side, we have "Run Away Heart". Billboard, in the review linked above, was even more dismissive of this performance than of its flip, but Mayhams believed in the song, or at the very least had a soft spot for it, as he released it at least seven times during his lifetime, although some of those - including the 1961 release on the Mayhams label - credited to Georgie's C & W Collegians, and also featuring a flip side of "Jeanie" - were probably duplicate versions.
Perhaps just reading all of this insanity helps explain why I love the Norridge Mayhams story so much.
Anyway, this may well be the first version of a song that clearly was close to Norris the Troubadour's heart. Here it is:
Sunday, August 21, 2022
Well, what a fascinating little disc I've come across in my collection today. It's one of the earliest releases on the Film City label, and is credited to the otherwise undocumented duo of Pat and Patty. Patty is almost certainly Patty Stanton, a relative of Fable and Film City owner Sandy Stanton, and who turns up on about a half-dozen known releases on the two labels. Is Pat just Patty, overdubbing herself, or is she someone else?
Regardless, and although it's not given away at all by the rather bland titled, "Young Hearts Can Cry", this track is actually all about the way young women of that day felt about The Beatles. Or at least I think it is. I have listened to this thing five times, and I can't quite make out the basic idea? It seems like maybe they're asking the Beatles to go away - that young women are unhappy in ways they didn't used to be, since the unattainable Beatles showed up. If so, it's sort of the female version of one of my two favorite song-poems ever, "The Beatle Boys" (also on Film City), in which a young man complains that all the girls want to do these days is pine over the Beatles.
But maybe I have that wrong. I'd love to hear what others thing this sort of contrived lyric is going for. And while I'm not saying that this is the equal to "The Beatle Boys" (precious few records are), but it's a pretty fascinating little song and performance in its own right, with a weirdly meandering melody and those dang lyrics. Have a listen!
Download: Pat and Patty - Young Hearts Can Cry
The other side of this disc has actually been on YouTube for a few years now, but it's only been viewed twenty-some times, and bizarrely, with "Young Heart Can Cry" available, the poster only chose to feature the flip side, "Blue Heart".
This is a deep dive into the song-poem world, but the melody that the folks at Film City chose for this song reminds me of nothing so much as the repetitive and sing-songy tunes favored by William Howard Arpaia. I haven't posted enough of his stuff here to indicate what I'm talking about (and there's a reason for that - it's bottom of the barrel stuff without being entertainingly bad), but if you listen to the piano playing the melody while Arpaia himself talks himself into a lather on this track, you might hear what I'm talking about.
Download: Pat and Patty - Blue Heart
And now, back to cut-ups. Not long ago at all, my best pal Stu suggested that I really needed to do something with the record "Popcorn and a Coke Please", by Acoustifone, which I posted to WFMU's blog ages ago. It is a record meant to go along with a filmstrip, the purpose of which was to assist some population of young people with spelling. You can hear the whole thing, here, and I encourage you to listen to at least part of it to get a sense of what I was working with, when I chopped it up.
For my re-imagining, which I did while I had some unexpected time off this past spring, I ended up doing two fairly distinct segments. In the first part, I simply created silliness, and at times gibberish, out of the various things the narrator said. Then, at the 1:25 point, I took it in a more, um, carnal direction, where it stays for the last 70 seconds.
Download: "Coke-Corn" (cut-up)
Monday, August 15, 2022
"Evening Shadows" is no great shakes, I suppose. You might even call it Rodd on autopilot, but it's certainly a pleasant enough mid-tempo number. Rodd offers a just-this-side-of-unctuous vocal which is probably what the material called for.
Oh, and at the one minute mark, I'm I the only one who hears "we've been farted" instead of "we've been parted"?
Download: Rodd Keith - Evening Shadows
Oddly enough, the flip side of this record contains a backing track that was also featured on the last Rodd Keith record that I shared, albeit without the sax part which is prominent on that version of the track. One thing I really like here - and enjoy any time I hear it on any record - is the sharp intake of breath before the music starts. Here's "We Kissed Goodbye":
Download: Rodd Keith - We Kissed Goodbye
Sunday, August 07, 2022
As frequent readers of this site know, I love Calypso - whether the authentic model from the 1930's in Trinidad or the Americanized version from the mid-1950's - more than just about any genre of music that's ever existed. And Tin Pan Alley was active right in the middle of the Calypso boom of 1956-58. And as one of the few labels who actively sought to make their releases sound like the current trends, TPA released several calypso flavored singles during that time period.
That includes today's 1957 model, which not only lifts the Calypso feel, but also makes reference to one of the biggest hits of the previous year, "Blue Suede Shoes". The track is "Off Beat Blues", and it features frequent label warbler Phil Celia doing his best (or perhaps worst) Caribbean accent. Please note that the lyricist for this number - I think it's Francis M. Kadolph - inscribed this copy with a signature and gave it to someone named Jack. I hope Jack enjoyed it as much as I do, as I think it's is wholly wonderful.
Download: Phil Celia - Off Beat Blues.
The flip side is no slouch, either. In this case, Phil is joined by The Silver Tones, who only turn up on one other documented TPA release (and who are not to be confused with The Silva-Tones). The Silver Tones, presumably, are the chirpy singers who back Phil up here, and who clearly only knew how to sing one wordless phrase. The other TPA release featuring the Silver Tones - titled "Keep On Smiling! Pay Your Taxes!" can be heard here, and as you'll hear, they sing nearly the exact same part on that record! In this case, the guitarist and the pianist play the same chirpy pattern, when the girls aren't singing. Anyway, this is a fun side, as well, even though Phil sometimes seems to be imitating Paul Anka here, something that no one, should ever, ever do. .
Okay, today, I also have what I think is the last of the mash-ups I made in 2005 - at least the last one which will make sense to those of you out there (I also made a few using parts of Star Ads on top of each other, and using other private recordings that I own).
Saturday, July 30, 2022
First, I would like to make sure everyone gets to see and download an album which was linked in the comments of a previous post. It is a full Hollywood Artists album, and it is available here. Thank you, anonymous poster!
And now, for today's main feature:
Saturday, July 23, 2022
As many of you probably know, Sandy Stanton owned both the Fable and Film City labels, largely having wound down Fable around the time that Film City started up, although he released at least a handful of Fable records many years after the last year of bulk releases. And if you know that, you'll know that Sandy Stanton recorded under his own name from time to time, primarily during the Fable years, but also at a handful of times on Film City.
Which brings me to this record, "As Long As I Have You" by Scotty (Sandy) Scott and the Rockin' Country Band. My first thought here was that Sandy Stanton decided, for whatever reason, to appear on his label under an assumed name. You can listen to Sandy sing here, here and here or simply click on the link for posts labeled "Sandy Stanton", and then listen to this song.
It's also worth noting that, while Stanton used full bands on his Fable releases, and relied on the limited, but fascinatingly sounded Chamberlin on his Film City tracks, for this one, he seems to have dumbed things down quite a bit, and I believe he's using one of those early basic home synthesizers, of the sort that Leonard Cohen sometimes used (to his detriment, in my opinion) and the use of which always remind me of this song by Robin Gibb.
Okay, so maybe you're with me now, and agree that Scotty (Sandy) Scott is Sandy Stanton. Or maybe you don't agree. But the thing is, I suddenly remembered that I have another record by Scotty Scott, a completely ridiculous and terrifically entertainingly awful vanity record on Film City. I posted it to WFMU seven years ago.
As you'll see, there's no "Sandy" mentioned, and Scotty Scott is listed as the co-writer on both sides. And if you listen, I think you'll agree it could be the same singer, yet again, or this record and the one on WFMU could be one and the same, and the voice on Sandy Stanton's records could be a different one. Or Scotty Scott could be one singer, and Scotty (Sandy) Scott another. The writing credit under the name Scott really throws me off - did Sandy Stanton co-write those two awful songs under an assumed name and then sing them under that name?
In brief - were Scotty Scott and Sandy Stanton the same person? If so, why use the other name, and why give a hint to who he was on one release and not the other.
While you're thinking about that, here's the flip side of the record, 'You Shot Me Down".
You may have noticed that I was way overdue for a post - other responsibilities got in the way. That's the same reason that the cut-up / mash-up feature is taking the week off.
Sunday, July 10, 2022
Today, I have a Rodd Keith record that may resonate more with me than it does for others. And that's because the backing track is nostalgic for me - the track heard here is the exact same track heard on the very first Rodd Keith record I ever found, when I started looking for song-poem records way back in 1996. That was a song titled "Where Is the One?", which, oddly, I've never actually featured here, and I'll have to rectify that.
Anyway, this is Rodd in country-pop mode, with a bit of a twang, over that loping backing track, with "Gold Star", a bit of a story song that perhaps contains one verse too many - it's that rare song poem that lasts nearly three minutes and twenty seconds.
Download: Rodd Keith - Gold Star
The flip side is "The Changing Heart", and I find this record positively weird. The song itself is straightforward enough, with a backing track this is mostly notable for some really nice drum fills, as I find to be the case on Preview records of this era.
But then, at the one minute point, and throughout the rest of the record, Rodd made a production choice what is one of his very rare misfires, as his production and arrangement was usually stellar. But in this case, he added some very ineffectual backing vocals, and more to the point, mixed them at the same volume as the lead vocal. The first time I heard the record, they seemed so ham-fisted, I thought maybe someone had turned the TV on - that's how out of place I found them. See what you think!
Download: Rodd Keith - The Changing Heart
Monday, July 04, 2022
Have I mentioned that I tend to really enjoy records by Teacho Wiltshire? His tenure with Tin Pan Alley was brief, at the very start of the label's history, and I think I now own a copy of all but one of the records that came out under his name on the Tin Pan Alley label. (He also went on to a successful and distinguished career in the more legit music business.)
I really like both sides of this record, which is from 1956, but my vote for the better of the two goes to "I've Got a Story Tonight!". It's a rockin' slab of vintage R & B, in which the first person narrator tells his sad-sack tale to a bartender. Sometimes, I think I write to much in describing a record, so I'm gonna stop there, and let this one speak for itself.
On the flip side, there's another pretty good mover and groover, titled "Check Your Heart". I enjoy Teacho's vocal mannerisms, and I think in this case, they - as well as a pretty hot band - make the song better than it would otherwise be. I could even easily imagine someone liking this one more than its flip. Good stuff!
Sunday, June 26, 2022
Today, we have a song-poem singer that I've only featured once before, and in that case, only one side of a 45. Her name is Nancy Sherman. The Air label didn't have its own studio, and relied on several of the other song-poem companies for the recordings released under its label. I believe this one comes from the Globe song-poem factory, very early in the existence of both Air and Globe (this record is from 1960).
As he did on most of the earliest Air releases (but rarely after 1960), label head Jack Curry attached his name as a songwriter on both sides of this single.
The better of the two songs and performances, by a wide margin, is "My Song". I find this track slinky and fairly sexy, veering almost into Lee Hudson territory at a few points. I particularly enjoy an excellent, Les Paul influenced solo. Nancy Sherman is no great shakes, missing a few notes here and there and hanging onto a few others fairly shakily. But the overall effect is pretty nice.
Download: Nancy Sherman with Orchestra - My Song
"Tears of Fate" on the flip side, is a ballad, with lyrics which seem to be quite heartfelt and personal to the writer. However, I have listened to it four times today, and I can't make head or tail out of them. Would someone out there like to decipher the story here?
Nothing much happens here, musically, and Nancy Sherman's performance indicates that, whatever her abilities on the mid-tempo "My Song", she was not suited for this sort of slow material at all. The pitch problems hinted at on the flip side are all over the place here, and she shows a significant lack of ability when holding longer notes.
Download: Spike Jones Featuring Thurl Ravenscroft - Teenage Brain Surgeon (cut-up)
And here's the main dish. If you've read certain of my posts, here or on WFMU, you'll know that I revere Pete Seeger, considering him to be both the most important American musician of the 20th century (musically and politically), and the greatest singer ever recorded.
Hey, and both of these are G-rated!