Sunday, June 19, 2022

That Was Quite a Conversation!

(A side note right off the bat. I know this label says "Hallmark", but the company primarily used the spelling "Halmark", and to keep things easier with references and with post labels, I'm staying with "Halmark".)

Today, I'm sharing a Halmark EP (one of the relatively few that credits the man known as Bob Storm on the label), entirely because of the first song on the disc.

This song, "Our Anniversary" involves looking back at a first conversation (a "meet cute" as they say) between a now long-lasting couple. The relating of this conversation - well, the actual "lines" which are reported), is so ham-fisted and ridiculous that I laughed out loud the first time I heard a particular line from it, and I couldn't want to share it with you. 

The song lasts about three minutes, but the key section is from 0:36 to 1:27. I somehow hope this was a first person report, except that I can't fathom that the conversation related actually happened. 

Download: Bob Storm - Our Anniversary

Play:  

The rest of the disc does not meet the standard set by the opener, and I don't have much to say about them. "Pretty Little Girl" comes next, and like "Anniversary" it is based on one of the most common Halmark backing tracks. I will say that, had I come across this track on a early 1950's 78, I would have believed it was a (poor) attempt at making a hit record, which is something that I can't say about most Halmark records (or most song-poems, but particularly not most Halmark records). The melody, for one thing, holds together pretty dang well, comparatively speaking. The problem (well, one problem) is that this record probably came out some time in the mid 1970's. 

Oh, and I literally just heard in my head that this backing track might well have been created for a version of "Who's Sorry Now". Have a listen, and see what you think!

Download: Bob Storm - Pretty Little Girl

Play:

~~

Flipping this precious disc over, we hear yet a THIRD of the most common Halmark backing tracks, this time accompanying the song "One and Only"

Play:

The EP finishes up with "My Mother's Lullaby". Here we have a slightly less frequently used backing track, one which approximately no one would associate with the word "Lullaby". This is one of those songs that uses all the letters in the song to offer words that spell out "Mother", and how they apply to mother. This is not, in my opinion, handled well by the lyricists, nor is it a song-style that suggest a "lullaby" any more than the jazzy backing track does. 

The melody chosen here puts a real strain on ol' Bob's pipes here, too, especially as he sings the words "the ease with which you show your love", a phrase which just rolls of the tongue, and which is, of course, exceptionally well suited for use in a melodic song. 

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 And now, a couple of cut-ups. Just so you know, whether you like these, hate 'em or are somewhere in between, I think I'm getting to the end of those which are presentable. Although I have about seven 90 minute cassettes full of these things, most of them are not worth hearing all the way through. I've been trying to give you the cream of the crop. Not sure how many more from that category are left. 

Anyway, first up, I have another appetizer. What you'll hear below is me fooling around with an American Top 40 broadcast in which Duran Duran had the number one song with "The Reflex". "The Reflex" is one of only two Duran Duran songs that I really enjoy, and by far my favorite. I really love the work with edited within the track, and the wild melody of the bridge. And that's what I played with here. There are two sections, the first making fun of all that editing that's within the song, and the second, playing with the band's name: 

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And here's something a bit more substantial. I've already shared one cut up of Walter Brennan's "Old Rivers" - not even a month ago - but I made at least a half-dozen attempts to do something funny with that record, as a story song, particularly one which is spoken, lends itself to what I was doing about a perfectly as anything can. Plus, "Old Rivers" is a wonderful record, and it's fun to play around with records I love. So this is a different cut-up of "Old Rivers than the one I previous shared here

As you'll hear, near the end of this track, I made great use of a Jack Brickhouse "History of the Chicago Cubs" record. 

Oh, and this one is free of four letter words (well, unless you count "fart"), although there are still at least one phrase here which might not be safe for work. 

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Sammy Rocks Again!

Two Sammy Marshall songs and two cut-ups! What more could you ask for?!?!?!


It's Rockin' Sammy Time! Although Sammy Marshall's career in the song-poem world was dominated by ballads, I think he really shines on upbeat tunes, and most of the relatively few early '60's rockers he sang on I find very enjoyable. 

This one is no exception. It's called "See Watcha Do To Me", and definitely shows a twist influence, as do many of Sammy's rock-and-roll numbers. I also discern the influence of the earliest soul records on the introductory instrumental, although this doesn't last. (Billboard magazine gave this record three stars (under the heading "moderate sales potential") in November of 1962, nicely dating this release for us.)

I really dig Sammy's vocal performance here, and on similar releases. He had a deeply appealing pleading tone, which he put to excellent use in singing these lyrics, attaining that quality of sounding like he was fully experiencing the feelings of the fabulously named song-poet, Dusty Tribble (as seen here, his name was actually Fredric Tribble, and he composed the song "Hoop Tee Doopsie", which I desperately want to hear).

This is a really fun one...

Download: Sammy Marshall - See Watcha Do To Me

Play:

(Please also note the two songs in that copyright book just after "Hoop Tee Doopsie", a double entry for something called "HOOPA LOOPA HOOPA LOOPA DOOPA". I'd pay to hear that song.)

The flip side is Sammy and the Globe band (for that is where the tracks on this Roxie release came from) in bland ballad titled "My House is Your House". Sammy offers a typically strong vocal, but there is not much here for him (or the rest of the band) to hang his hat on, just a sentimental love song, again offered up by that most Dusty of Tribbles. 

Download: Sammy Marshall - My House is Your House

Play:


It's cut-up time again, and today I have a very brief appetizer and then a mangling of one of my favorite tracks ever. 

First, a tiny little bit of fun with the Bee Gees song "Spirits (Having Flown)", the title track of their 1979 hit album. I don't think it's necessary to know this song to enjoy the brief joke that I played with it, but I will encourage anyone who hasn't heard it to go to YouTube (or whatever) and listen, as I consider it far and away the best track they ever recorded. Gorgeous nearly beyond belief. 

Here's that 10 second cut-up. 

Download: The Bee Gees - Spirits (Having Flown) (cut-up)
Play:

Now for the main course (see what I did there, Bee Gees fans?). The Limeliters released an album in 1962, containing a concert that they did with a chorus of junior high kids, titled "Through Children's Eyes". I consider it to be one of the three best albums ever made, by anyone. My favorite track from the album - and, in fact, one of my half-dozen favorite individual tracks ever, is on that album, a version of Malvina Reynolds' "Morningtown Ride". The simple chorus of that song may be my favorite melody ever written. Nearly 60 years since I first heard it as a preschooler, the track still usually makes me a bit teary. 

Anyway, it was only a matter of time before I chopped that recording up. You should really hear this song, anyway, but it probably is also helpful to hear it before listening to the cut-up. You can find a posting of the track here

And here is what I did with it (this is a composite of two cut-ups I did with the track, circa 1984 or so). This has a single four letter word in there somewhere, and a body part reference, so perhaps it's not safe for work. 

Play:

Friday, June 03, 2022

Clean Living, with Gary Roberts

You have my solid vow, oh song-poem fans, that any time I come to be in possession of a Gary Roberts record, I will share it with you. His vacuous, artless style remains a fascination to me, and I'll get to the newest acquisition in The Gary Roberts Story (as well as some more cut-up material) in just a moment. 

But first, I want to bring your attention to a previously unknown song-poem label and Rodd Keith release on that label, discovered by my pal Stu, who comments here often, and who frequents various websites dedicated to documenting the world of the 45 RPM record. He has found a posting for a song by one "Ward Lowe" on the Empala label. Both sides are on youtube, but the posting on 45cat.com helpfully has both of those postings embedded in with the rest of the 45's information, and the first one posted, at least, is quite nice. You can find that posting, and those songs, here. Thanks, Stu!

And now, without further ado: 

Both sides of today's Gary Roberts feature were written by the same song-poet, but "Because of You" is by far the stronger of the two. This is a paean to clean living, from someone who apparently partook in just about every drug-related vice, up until today. The best thing is that we get a rundown of all of the temptations he might face, and what he's going to do, instead, now. 

No, I take that back. The best thing might be the peppy, oompah based backing track, featuring the simplest of piano, bass and drums, accompanied by a guitarist who seems to think he's in a different song, one that perhaps is being played in double time. Then, of course, there is Gary's homely vocal, lacking in anything one might call "style" or "polish", as usual. 

Download: Gary Roberts - Because of You

Play:  

I cannot, alas, work up the same enthusiasm for the flip side, "Memory Lane". Given that the same song-poet wrote both of these songs, and that they both have the ring of first-person authenticity about them, there's at least a chance that the writer was expressing things from his own life. And if that's the case, it would appear that his newfound sobriety was not enough to keep his gal by his side, based on the lyrics of this song. 

All that said, this is a tedious song and performance. It goes on nearly four minutes, and seems even longer. Unlike Gary's late predecessor, Norm Burns, and others, such as Rodd Keith and Cara Stewart, I get no sense of any connection between Gary's vocals and the meaning of what he's singing. I sort of doubt that improvement in that area would help in a song as bland as this, but it couldn't hurt, and it just isn't there. 

Download: Gary Roberts - Memory Lane

Play:   


~~~

And now for my cut-up of the week. 

This time around, it's not exactly a cut-up, but rather a deliberate butchering and reworking. And therein lies a short story. 

When I was little, my parents were wise enough to buy me (and my brother - six years older), the complete set of Science related albums, titled "Ballads for the Age of Science", which had been released in 1959, and features such performers as Marais and Miranda and Tom Glazer, among others. 

These albums are pretty darn wonderful, but just about completely forgotten today. If you are familiar with this collection at all, it may be because of a thoroughly unnecessary cover version of "Why Does the Sun Shine" (originally done by Tom Glazer) by They Might Be Giants (my advice - go listen to the original). 

Anyway, there were two tracks I was particularly fond of, one from an album of Experiment Songs by Dorothy Collins, which was about rainbows, and one by Tom Glazer from an album of Weather Songs, titled "What is Climate". Like many, if not most of the tracks on these albums, there is both a spoken section and a song. I'm only concerned with the spoken section today. Here is a link to that track, which you'll want to hear before I share anything else

My brother and I discovered that, if we played with the needle while this track was playing, pulling it back across the grooves (and damaging the record in the process) we could make Tom Glazer say: 

"What causes a desert climate? Hot Dry Air! What causes the Hot Dry Air? Hot Dry Air! What causes the Hot Dry Air? Hot Dry Air! What causes the Hot Dry Air? Hot Dry Air!"

ad infinitum. Great fun. 

When I was frequently doing cut-ups, back in the '80's, I thought I'd recreate this moment, and play with the track some more. I made this little bit (using my beat up version of the album): 

Play:

Then, over last Christmas break, I decided to spend some time doing something I'd had it in mind to do for at least ten years. That is, make a version of this material with a dance beat, again playing around with the spoken word section (this time taken from the pristine version of the track found online). The result, while not quite a "cut-up" as I've been defining them is, I hope quite enjoyable: 

Play:

Saturday, May 28, 2022

My Favorite New Song-Poem Purchase This Year

Hey, there, Hi there, Ho there, you're as welcome as can be!

Let's get right to it: 

If you've read this site (and my posts at WFMU), you may be aware that I am a devotee of the music of the Caribbean, as well as the larger world of Latin music, circa the 1930's to the 1950's, particularly the Calypso music of Trinidad (and the somewhat faux Calypso that became a fad in the US during the 1950's), which I consider the best sub-genre of popular music ever devised by humankind. . 

Given that fact, there's no doubt that I would have jumped at the chance to snap up today's offering, once a partial sound file of it appeared on eBay. "That's the Life For Me!" appeared on the Tin Pan Alley, one of the few labels which (at the time, anyway, 1958 or so), was making an ongoing attempt to make their releases match the music styles of the day. 

Thus we have a lovely, lilting and energetic island sound backing up Jimmy Dee, who only made two documented records for the label, pretty much back to back. The percussionists here deserve special praise, driving the track along, but the guitarist is doing some really nice things, too, especially in the solo section. Jimmy Dee does a fine job, offering up a fairly passionate vocal. I'd say he's emulating Jackie Wilson, except that at the time this record was cut, Wilson probably only had one single out. But he's in the style, for sure. 

Download: Jimmy Dee - That's the Life For Me!

Play:  

The flip side is "You Mean All the World to Me". I continue to hear Jackie Wilson-esque vocal stylings from Jimmy Dee, but they seem pretty over-the-top on this very, very slow number. Your mileage may vary, but this just doesn't do anything for me at all. 

Download: Jimmy Dee - You Mean the World to Me

Play:


~~

And now it's time for our "cut-up" of the week. Previous posts have explained this feature enough that I hope I don't need to explain further. 

Anyway, today's offering is, I think, the most recent "cut-up" I've made (although I'll share something I did this year, which is not quite in the same genre, soon). It's not really "recent" - it's from 2015 - but I haven't done any since. 

It's an overhaul of the great Beatles' track "Norwegian Wood". As compared to the "cut-ups" I did in the early and mid 1980's, this one benefited fully from the excellent sound editing software I have now, compared with the cassette recorder pause button I had then. 

Multiple friends have said it's the best thing I've done in this area, mostly (or entirely) because of the way I fooled around with the sitar segments (and not so much the drop-ins heard throughout the vocal). But I think the whole thing is way above my average, and it's one of my favorites. 

A caveat: This is an extremely rude and off-color sound file. It is loaded with four letter words and other "blue" imagery. It is probably as foul-mouthed as anything I've ever done in a cut-up. If you're likely to be offended, maybe you should skip it, and it's absolutely not safe for work. 

On the other hand, those instrumental passages may just make you laugh out loud. 

Download: The Beatles - Norwegian Wood (cut-up)

Play:





Saturday, May 21, 2022

It Happened to Norm

Howdy, 

I'm going to do something I've mostly avoided doing today, and I'll get to that in a moment, but first, I want to thank the folks who have congratulated me on the new job - I really appreciate it - and also shout out to long time reader Jeff, who offered his first comment last week, and a very nice one, as well. I do like to respond to these things in e-mail, but I understand why many people choose not to attach their e-mail addresses to blog comments. 

And now: 

~~

The thing I tend not to do here, is sharing records which are already on YouTube. When I find something worth sharing, I always check before making MP3's, and if the record is easily available, I put it aside and choose something else. 

But today, I found that I really enjoyed one side of a 45 which is not available elsewhere, even though its flipside is, indeed, on YouTube, so I'm making an exception, which I'm sure I'll do again at some point. 


The side in question is by Norm Burns and the Satellites, except it's actually by Norm Burns and the "Satelites", which, spoken in English, might be pronounced "Sait Lights". A quick perusal of  the AS/PMA website shows this to have been the second documented release featuring the Satellites, a group name which would recur many times on the label, so it seems entirely possible to me that someone didn't know how to spell the word, and that shortly after this release, the spelling error was corrected. However, without seeing all of the records, that would be hard to prove. 

Anyway, the song in question is "It Happened Once Again", and here we again have Norm in supper club mode, offering up a strong, emotion-laden vocal over midtempo backing. And for the second time in a few weeks, I find myself hearing an almost Rodd Keith-esque backing arrangement, throughout the record, but specifically on the bridge sections, where Norm sings in unison with the backup singers before they offer harmony "oooh's". The lyrics are at least a few steps above the typical song-poem offering, too. 

Play: Norm Burns at the Satelites  - It's Happened Once Again

Play: 

~~

It's the flip side of "Happened" which is on YouTube, and it's a good one, too, "Hey! Hey! Lover". We're in the same key and almost the same tempo here, and yet the song is entirely different. This is punchier, and Norm gives the very different style of lyrics and very different approach. Again, the vocal arrangement (especially the "oh yeahs!") remind me of something Rodd Keith would have done.  The over-the-top reverb is all Sterling, though, and I love it. 

Play: Norm Burns at the Satelites  - Hey! Hey! Lover

Play:


~~

And another cut-up. Again, I encourage occasional readers to look at posts from late January and February for an explanation of what's going on here. 

Last time around, I started with a Queen appetizer, a very short pause-button special which got a ton of plays and downloads, so here again, I'll start with another Queen appetizer, another arrangement of the very same song, "We Will Rock You". In this case, I took the sections before and after the vocals and used the pause button to eliminate every other beat. That's what you'll hear in the first 20 seconds here, and it gave the piece a square dance feel that cracks me up. Even the solo sounds like there's a barnyard hoedown going on. For the last ten seconds or so, I rearranged the solo again, using the pause button (on and off) every half beat, giving the solo even more of a square dance feel. 

Download: Queen - We Will Rock You (pause button)

Play:

For the main dish, here's something much more obscure, although it was a huge hit in its day (1962). It's the much beloved character actor Walter Brennan and his top five hit, "Old Rivers". A story song always will lend itself to my cut-up style, and if it's spoken word, that works even better. I must have played around with this record at least a half dozen times, during my years of doing cut-ups. If you haven't heard the record, and want to be familiar with it before listening to the cut-up, it is available here

And again, I'll have to provide the warning that this is not safe for work, due to the inclusion of several off-color words. 

Download: Walter Brennan - Old Rivers

Play:

Saturday, May 14, 2022

The Earnestness and Directness of Early Cinema Records

Howdy!

First up, I'd like to refer back to last week's post. For those who saw it before my friend Stu did, it's worth a look in the comments, as there is a link to a photo of the actual address where the song-poet for the second shared song lived. A second commenter has added details about the property. And what's more, my pal Darryl Bullock (of World's Worst Records fame) has commented on the publishing dates for the two songs, which are, remarkably, from 12 years apart. 

Also, a frequent e-mail correspondent, Tyler, pointed out that I was wrong when I said I'd never heard the backing track on the second track before. It is featured in this post, from 2015, as well. Thanks, everyone!

~~

As mentioned last time around, I am now gainfully employed again, and as such, it has been an enormously busy few weeks, and looks to remain so for the near future. I will likely not have the time to be as verbose about what I'm sharing for awhile, which might well be a relief to some readers. So I may be sort of brief at times. 

~~

A caveat right up front: this record is beat to hell, and sounds it. 


 As I've mentioned - probably too many times - I am a big fan of the brief period of the Cinema label (roughly 1971 to some point in 1973) before the standard Preview/MSR people took over as the house band, always credited as "The Real Pros". During that early 24 months or so, many of the releases featured a solo male (whose voice I love) with one of those do it yourself console organs. A few others feature a female singer with an appealing ache in her voice, often with a bit more varied backing than the solo male. 

I often find those releases captivating in a particular way that most other song poems and song poem label's work are not. The two singers I refer to have an honesty, earnestness and directness (no doubt amplified by the simple arrangements of the songs) that stands out for me. Like few other song-poem singers, aside from Rodd Keith, they each have the ability to make the song sound like they are singing about their own lives, and that they mean every word. 

Today, we have the female singer I've just mentioned. And while I am surely not claiming greatness  here (or anything near it), for even the better of the two tracks - "I Cried and Cried" - I am saying that the singing connects with me, and the homeliness of it, in all of its girl-singing-in-her-living-room-in-1972 glory is very appealing to me. If you're not with me, at the very least, imagine what early '70's Tin Pan Alley, or God help us, what Halmark would have done with this lyric. Cinema did right by this song-poet and her direct, deeply felt lyric. 

Play:

~~

The flip side, "To My Love", also features the warm vocals of the female singer heard above, to considerably less effect, although she still sounds like she means it. The whole thing is padded by about 45 seconds of a tremendously dull instrumental section. Also, while the lyrics are just as earnest as those on the flip, they are also considerably less interesting (to me, at least - maybe amateur lyrics of heartache are just more interesting to me amateur lyrics expressing being happily in love).

Download: The Real Pros - To My Love

Play:


~~

And now, yet another cut-up. Please see previous posts, going back to late January, for more information as to what I'm talking about. 

I have mostly been sharing things I did with a cassette recorder and multiple inputs, back in the period 1981-85, when I was in my early to mid 20's, but today, I have a cut-up I did with considerably better equipment, some twenty years later, in the mid 2000's. It's a nicely reworked version of Buzz-Buzz-Buzz, a terrific - no, absolutely essential - rock and roll record by The Hollywood Flames, from my single favorite year for popular music, 1957. If you haven't heard the song, it would help to know how it sounds before experiencing this cut-up. You can hear it here

There are a couple of mildly off-color words here but mostly, it's just silly. 

Play:

Friday, May 06, 2022

The Shortest Halmark Release Ever?

 Hello, everybody, hello!

Before I get started with today's items, I wanted to share that I have again been invited to be part of a podcast. It's the same show - Ephemeral - which has featured elements of my collection four times in the past, and has had me on, as an interviewee, three of those times. 

This time around, I am sharing the world of the Star Ads. Those of you who have been with me since the WFMU days, or the 2003 365 days project before that, might remember the Star Ads, but in case you don't know what I'm talking about, I have shared excerpts from them here and here

The new podcast, which features several more , previously unshared Star Ads, can be heard at: 

https://www.ephemeral.show/episode/star-ads

~~

I would also like to share that, as of this coming Monday, I will again be gainfully employed. Thanks to everyone who chimed in with encouragement and/or condolences regarding the loss of my previous job. 

~~

And now, a Halmark release that I found very interesting!


First, this is one of the comparatively few Halmark discs which names the singer, and what's more, it gets the singer right on both sides. This really is the vocalist most often identified as "Bob Storm" (of those which do feature performers' names, multiple Halmark releases have the wrong singer named on them). 

But more to the point, this is, by a significant degree, the shortest Halmark release I've ever come across. Halmark tracks tend to be lengthier than their song-poem compatriots from other labels, usually at or beyond three minutes, and regularly stretching to - and far beyond - four minutes. They often also seem to go on longer than those on other labels, but that's another story. 

But the lengths of both tracks on this release add up to less than four minutes and fifteen seconds. The longer of the two - "Goodness Can Still Prevail" - is just 2:09. 

"Goodness Can Still Prevail" seems to have been an exercise in rhyming for the song-poet, as he threw in a bunch of words that end in the "Ale" or "Ail". That made me laugh. Bob Storm certainly Bob Storms it up, offering his most unctuous vocal style, to entertain us. 

One last note: the absolutely cruddy sound quality that permeates the much of this track is from the record and not from anything I did in turning it into an MP3. That Halmark sold such a poor product, which sounds like it was recorded on damaged recording tape, says a lot about them.

Play:

The flip side, "Fallin' Tears", stands out for me, in that I don't recall ever hearing this backing track before, on a Halmark release. Additionally, it certainly sounds like a track which was created for a specific hit song, as we've discovered to be the case for multiple other Halmark tracks. If there is another Halmark release in circulation this backing track - one I find more pleasant than most of what they used - please remind/inform me of it. 

It's also worth noting that the lyrics here are fairly direct, simple but effective, and not at all like many of the overwrought efforts that frequently found their way to Halmark's storefront. 

This track lasts just 124 seconds, and I'm having a hard time recalling a shorter Halmark track. 

Oh, and see below, after the label scan....

Play:


The song-poet in this case was apparently quite happy with his creation and with Halmark's work with it. As seen below, from the 45 sleeve, he stamped it with his name and address, and in another spot on the sleeve, offered a signed copy to someone named Ethel. 



And here's a quick update: please see the comments for a link that my pal Stu offered, to a Google Maps view of that very address.

~~~

And now, it's time for a couple more Cut-Ups. Please see previous posts, going back to the end of January, for an explanation of these tapes, which I made in the early '80's, while in my early 20's. I have two of them today. 

First up, a very, very short example, which is more of a "fun with the pause button" example than a true "cut-up". For here we have what I've called "We Will Rock You (Sliced and Diced)", 20 seconds of the first measure of that Queen classic, rearranged radically and somewhat violently. Hopefully, this will make you laugh. 

Download: Queen - We Will Rock You (Sliced and Diced)

Play:

And then there is this rearrangement of the opening track from my choice as the greatest album ever made, The Beatles' "Abbey Road". I've indicated, in the track name, that this is a "composite" version of "Come Together", and that's because I cut-up that track twice, in quick succession, way back when, and while neither of them was funny enough to share on its own, they each had some great moments, so I have combined the best of each of them into one single cut-up. 

The inserts here rely heavily on excerpts from Monty Python albums, and also - as very many of my cut-ups did - ridiculous things said by Gary Owens on his wonderful show "Soundtrack of the '60's", which was in production at that time. 

Oh, and there are two four letter words mixed in here, along with at least one loud expression of another word not often said in polite company. 

Download: The Beatles - Come Together (cut-up)

Play:

A question: are people enjoying these? Should I continue to share them?

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Stood Up AND Standing Tall

Today, we return to the waning days of one of my favorite labels, Tin Pan Alley. At this point, they were about at the end of their series of releases by "The Melodiers", and about to move towards their final credited artist, another band called "New Image". For "The Melodiers", at least, I tend to hear the records that feature a male singer as having been sung by the same vocalist who had been with the label for some time - Mike Thomas - only now backed with a thicker band sound. I'd be interested to hear if others think the same, or differently.

Anyway, I was quite taken with the mouthful of an ungrammatical title of "Stood Up and Standing Tall in My Saddle Tonight", and was very happy to find that I wasn't disappointed by the song, either. The band plays an energetic, peppy backing, while the singer voices the lyricists tale. That tale is a first person story of a man who was two-timed, then left alone, by his gal, and spends some of the song telling us how proud and happy he is in his saddle, while spending the rest of the song - an inordinate amount of time for someone is feeling "no pain at all" - about how she done him wrong. Meanwhile, the band bashes away behind him most enthusiastically. 

Download: The Melodiers - Stood Up and Standing Tall in My Saddle Tonight

Play:

~~

On the flip side, we have the same ensemble, in thuddish slow rock-a-ballad mode, and with their female lead singer, with "Just Because". The same person wrote both of this lyrics, and I hope he was much more pleased with "Stood Up". 

After one of those dreaded spoken introductions, we get to the song at about the 0:45 point, and it's the equally dreaded "you look happy, but I know you're not" sort of things, with "ain't this a meaningful song" broken chords on the guitar throughout. Blech. 

Download: The Melodiers - Just Because

Play:


 ~~

And now, something much more enjoyable than that last track. It's two more of my "cut-up" tracks from way back when. If you don't know what this is about, please read the bottom of this post, or any post from late January or February. 

I have two of these for you today, an appetizer and a main course. And for the first time in several weeks, there are no obscenities hidden within these two cut-ups. 

First up, a brief, but I think entertaining little take on Elvis' "Can't Help Fallin' In Love". This doesn't even get us to the second time he sings the chorus, but what's there is fun: 

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And something a more substantial - a cut-up of one of the sweetest records to ever hit the top ten, Patience and Prudence's "Tonight, You Belong to Me". If you're not familiar with this record, I encourage you to seek it out, and be charmed just about out of your boots, and then seek out more of their material, much of which is off-the-charts wonderful. Anyway, I think this one is pretty funny. 

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Friday, April 15, 2022

Vilma Records

 Howdy, 

Before we get to today's offering, I wanted to call attention to something written by frequent commenter Sammy Reed, in response to last week's Nita Craig 45. He has encouraged people to check out a six part story about the woman who was known as Bonnie on Preview 45's, and which also covers some of Nita's story. He explains it better in the comment at the bottom of this post. He has posts, as well, some of which are of song-poems, and they can be found here. Thanks, as always, Sammy!

~~

Let me say, right off the bat, that I don't think that today's offerings are particularly outstanding. However, they do represent two tracks from a label which is not on the AS/PMA website, has never been featured here, and has barely been documented anywhere online, with the exception of a listing on discogs (and, I suppose, maybe somewhere else that I may have missed). Plus, it features a song sung by the only person in the song-poem world that I have interviewed, Rod Barton: for me, and for that reason, hearing from him is always nice. 

We'll hear from Rod first, but before that, look how fun the Vilma Records label is!: 



Rod's song is "Drifting Along", and it, like the flip side, is a pretty staid, maybe even stodgy number, not terribly unlike what you'd hear on a George Liberace, Star-Crest or Noval record. Discogs suggests that this record is from 1957, and while I have no idea where they got that, it certainly seems possible, since the actual performance sounds like it's from about 1943. On the plus side, someone put in enough work on this to make it sound like it could have been an actual pop record meant for sales and hoped-for success, if not a terribly good one. 

I also get a kick out of the fact that this record fades in. 

Download: Rod Barton - Drifting Along

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By the way, the author of the lyrics to both of these songs is Paul Bostic, who may have been the mastermind behind Vilma Records (I wonder if he ever created a companion label called "Vred Records"). And Paul Bostic later had at least one of his songs worked up and recorded by Preview records, and sung by another Rod, the much better known Rodd Keith. 

~~~

On the flip side, we have Drake Morgan, who I've featured here once before, and who appeared on the Air and Caveman labels, which AS/PMA seems to think was associated with Globe. If this is from 1957, and is a Globe production, it's fairly early, indeed, for that song-poem factory, at least as to my understanding. 

This song, Lonesome, strikes me as sounding as if it's an even older recording than "Drifting Along". I'm put in the mind of the mid 1930's, perhaps part of that is Drake's singing style, but the sentimental lyrics, specific word choices ("Gee!") and the arrangement add to that impression, as well. 

Download: Drake Morgan - Lonesome

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~~~

Switching gears about as violently as possible, perhaps akin to slamming the car into park while going 35 MPH, now I have this week's "Cut-Up". If you haven't seen my recent posts, feel free to review them to find out what I'm talking about here, and if you don't do so, prepare to be surprised. 

Anyway, a few posts ago, I featured a cut-up down with my best pal Stu, circa 1982, of "Jailhouse Rock". Whatever day that was, it was a very productive day in terms of wasting time being funny, because after completing our rearrangement of Elvis, we turned to "Da Doo Ron Ron" by the Crystals. 

Now "Da Doo Ron Ron" happens to be my favorite hit record of all time, and certainly one of my top ten tracks that anyone's ever released. As perfect a song, arrangement, production, vocal performance and overall recording as I ever expect to hear. So this was particularly fun for me. 

A couple of thoughts. 1.) Again, this is not safe for work, due to one f-bomb near the start. 2.) The name you might not be able to make out replacing "Ron" in the first verse is Chicago Cubs great Ron Santo, saying his own name. 3.) The name replacing "Ron" in the second verse is that of Ron Selle, a Chicago area native who sued the Bee Gees, eventually unsuccessfully, for stealing a song of his when they wrote "How Deep Is Your Love". 

I think everything else is understandable and, hopefully, humorous. 

Download: The Crystals - Da Doo Ron Ron (cut-up)

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Friday, April 08, 2022

Maybe There Is No Fantasy


Today, as promised, I'm going back to back with Rodd Keith posts, since I hadn't shared any of his material in several months, prior to last week. This week's offering is a disc he shares with another singer, but we'll get to that in a moment. 

Rodd's side is titled "There Is No Maybe", and it's a record with a groovy mid-'60's midtempo thing, complete with verses that describe the hesitation on the part of the writer's sweetheart, leading into pre-chorus and chorus where the writer responds with the title phrase. The structure reminds me of some Neil Diamond records, although I suspect there hadn't been many of those, yet, to result in such an homage, when this record was made. 

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On the flip side, we have Nita Craig with "Fantasy". Presumably, Nita Craig is the same Nita who shows up on a handful of records by Rodd and Nita and by Bonnie and Nita. And while "Nita Craig" is only credited on two documented Preview sides, other singers named "Nita", with different last names, show up on about a dozen Preview singles. I'm guessing they're all by the same person. 

"Fantasy" is a 6/8 thing, loping along while Nita sings about imagining all the places she could go, and the backup singers doot-doot, ooh and aah, and answer her with the same thing she just said many times, in the manner than Preview would beat to death in the Gene Marshall era. And maybe it's just me, but this record seems to go on forever...

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And now to my cut-up of the week. And again, if you're not familiar with these, check out the link to "cut-ups", below, and read the earlier posts. 

Almost all of the cut-ups I've shared thus far have been from the period when I was making these seemingly all the time, between 1981 and 1985. In 1985, I graduated from college, got my first job in my chosen career, and met my future wife, all in the space of three months, and time for goofing around with cassette recorders and records plunged to close to zero. So I didn't make any more cut-ups for close to 20 years, at which point I had a short period of doing all sorts of mash-ups and cut-ups with my then-new computer editing software. 

One of the handful of songs I did in this manner was "The Green Door" by Jim Lowe. If you don't know this record, first, you really should, in my opinion. It's one of my all time favorite hits, and surely one of my dozen or so favorite songs to hit # 1 in the USA, which it did in late 1956. If you don't know it, you can hear it here. A perfect record, with an absolutely indelible melody and unique sound - and apparently recorded in the artist's apartment!

Anyway, I had a lot more things to "drop in" by the early 2000's, including some words and sound effects from a CD-ROM game my children were playing at the time. I also made some use of tracks which had been shared in the 365 days project, which I had been a part of, from 2003. 

While there's nothing as aggressively off color in this one as there has been in some of the other cut-ups, there is one tame four letter word, and a few other things that, while not obscene, are probably not safe for work. 

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Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The Return of Rodd

 Howdy, folks, 

For the first time, I have no updates, having completed that project, except for two lengthy tribute posts, last time around. 

And by chance, I found this week that somehow, I have gone since last fall without sharing a Rodd Keith record. I've had a few which seemed likely to feature his production magic in those ensuing months, but there have been no Rodd vocals on this site in months and months. So I'm going to feature Rodd for at least the next couple of post, or perhaps every other post. 

Part of the problem is that I'm running out of Rodd singles which I own, and which haven't been shared here or elsewhere, but there are still some left. And today, I have one of them, I will also return to sharing one of my cut-ups, after skipping that feature, the last time around: 


Today's Rodd 45 finds our man Keith in a country mood, and, if my perception of his vocal is correct, subtly mocking the genre, as he did from time to time when singing country-ish numbers. The backing track will surely be familiar to some of you, as it was used repeatedly on Preview 45's. 

This song, "I Love Him So", strikes me as oddly incomplete, starting a story and not really finishing it. It's the story of a blind boy and his lost dog. I can't think of too many story songs (or those that seem to be telling stories) that never actually complete the story, or even move it beyond the basic set-up, but that's what happens here. In addition, this record seems to go on forever, lasting a very un-song-poemish three minutes and 27 seconds. 

I will also acknowledge here that both sides of this record are beat to hell. Sorry about the poor sound. 

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~~

The flip side finds us in more of a country-flavored pop setting, a song with the remarkably unwieldly title "You Are the One and Only One For Me". The song and backing band sound are pretty dang bland, but I do have a soft spot for what Rodd did with the (double Rodd) duo singing backup. 

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~~

And now, yet another "cut-up". This one was done in tandem with my best pal Stu, way back around late 1982. In this case, we turned Elvis' "Jailhouse Rock" into "The Big Boy Rock", with lots of references to food (among other things), much of those taken from the Big Boy ad that you can hear in its original version near the end of this post, which I contributed to the 365 days project way back in 2003. 

By the way, a couple of the drop-ins are from private recordings that Stu and I had access to, including the first one, "restaurant", which came from one of my own songs. 

And again, I will mention that this is not safe for work, on account of a single four letter word early in the cut-up. 

Download: Elvis Presley - Jailhouse Rock (cut-up)

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Saturday, March 19, 2022

The Wolf-Tex Label

 Greetings, dear readers, 

Well, today is the day. Today, I have reached back and corrected the first handful of posts that I wrote on this site, way back in June and July of 2005. So now, with the exception of two very labor intensive posts (which I will repair later), every record described in this site's history is paired with a download link and a playable link to that record. Yay!

To reach that conclusion, I had four posts from the summer of 2005 to refurbish. And as I said with the last batch of corrections, as it turns out, I later shared all of this material at WFMU, but I wanted the posts on this site to be able to stand alone. And so, we have the following: 

1.) The introductory post I wrote on June 24th, 2005, a few days after my 45th birthday, which is here

2.) My first musical post, featuring a favorite of mine by Thurl Ravenscroft

3.) A much beloved track by Harley Luse and the Blue Ridge Mountain Boys, complete with an addendum containing further information. 

4.) My first mention (here) of Merigail Moreland, in a post featuring the song "Head Cheese". 

5.) A song I knew nothing about, from a Russian album I'd bought years earlier. This one also contains an addendum, including photos of the record labels, and a request for anyone to tell me the name of the song, and whatever else the label says. That post is here

~~

Today's spotlight is on the Wolf-Tex label, a label which I have never featured before largely because I only have a few releases on the label. And Wolf-Tex fascinates me, as there are things about the label which can only really be said for one other label, and that is Fable. 

For in addition to being the sort of label (such as Air and a few others) which did business collecting tracks from multiple song-poem labels and releasing them - a system I already don't really understand - Wolf-Tex also made at least a handful of attempts at releasing potential hit records (without success), records which have gone on to be highly collectable in the rockabilly collector's world. Those are by Harold Montgomery (father of John Michael Montgomery), and have sold for as much as $1000.00. 

The combination of a highly collectable subset of records released along side song-poem records is a bit like Fable, but the level of success of those few collectable discs is outside of anything else found in the song-poem world. 

Here is what one side of today's Wolf-Tex release looks like: 


This record has what appears to be three tracks from the Globe song-poem factory, and one from Film City. Oddly, as you'll see on the flip side (below), both of these companies are credited by name on the other side of the record, while the first song credits "M.G. Guitar" rather than Globe, in Nashville, and the second one here does not credit a company at all, which is odd, only in that the other three songs have credits. 

The first song up is my favorite of the four, by far. It certainly sounds like it's from Globe, but admittedly, I do not recognize the singer, credited here as Roy Biggs. And as the song is written by "C. Biggs", maybe this is more of a vanity project, commissioned with Globe, then a true song poem. 

Anyway, the song, "Play Boy" has a groovy beat, a swingin' vocal and some chirpy back-up singers, and it's a catchy tune, to boot. It even has a pretty good story song lyric, about a guy who achieves fame but loses love in the process. Good stuff!

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Staying with Globe, we have an artists credited as Gene Brooks, but who is quite clearly Sammy Marshall, here joined, very nicely, but I singing group credited as "Coquettes", which sound to be, at least at times, like three Sammy Marshalls. The song, with the rather clunky title, "That Thing Would I Do", doesn't hold up its end of the bargain, as it's bland, with lyrics reflected in 300 other song-poems. But I do like the harmonies. 

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~~

Now, let's flip the record over and take a trip from Nashville to Film City in Los Angeles. 

The Chamberlin playing and vocal on "She Meant So Very Much to Me" cause me considerable confusion. The AS/PMA website reports this record to have been released in 1965, and those dates were usually based on considerable research, or at the very least, a dated ad from a music publication. 

Yet this track - credited to "Val Norman" - has a singer who sure sounds to me like Jimmie (or Jimmy) James (the music sounds like other James tracks, too - from the post Rodd Keith period). James is not known to have recorded for the company until the late 1960's at the earliest. On the other hand, "Val Norman" has one credited performance on the Film City label itself, on one of the first dozen or so releases from the label! So I'm confused. Anyone out there have any insight? 

Anyway, musically, this is no great shakes, but the lyrics have a twist which caught me off guard, and rendered them sweeter and more endearing than I think they would have, without that unexpected element. 

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The EP ends with by far its weakest cut, and for once, we have a singer credited under a name she regularly used on song-poems. It's Damita (who also recorded at times as Joan Auburn and as Kris Arden), and of course, for someone billed under a name she regularly used, in this case, the folks at Wolf-Tex put her name in quotes. 

The song, "I See the Lord", sounds more like a demo than a produced song-poem, featuring, as it does, simply a piano accompaniment and vocalist. The lyrics, while no doubt heartfelt, are fairly trite, and there's not enough in the arrangement to make the performance interesting. 

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ADDENDUM: Please see the comments for some nice, additional research regarding the credits on this record, done by my pal Stu.