Thursday, January 19, 2023

A Major Find - Cara At 78!

I have a real find for everyone today!

But before I get to that, a frequent correspondent, who I've mentioned before, Tyler, has made a real find of his own. Everyone first click on this link and read about an odd record on Halmark, which I shared nearly a decade ago. It features a song written by Halmark head dude Ted Rosen on one side, and a rendition of "By the Time I Get to Phoenix", listed under the wrong title and no writer credit on the flip side. 

The songs were performed by Barry Craig, and I presented it as a real outlier, without any clear understanding of what its backstory might be - although it certainly isn't a song poem record by any definition. 

Well, Tyler has found this article. It is a profile of Barry Craig from MUCH later in his career, and runs down the high points of that career, including the fact that he recorded his first release for Halmark back in 1968 - the very record I posted. My guess is that makes Craig's rendition of Ted Rosen's composition either an attempt by Halmark at an honest-to-goodness hit song (unlikely), or a vanity release for Mr. Craig, who was given the song by its author (more likely). The presence of a hit song on the flip side indicates to me that perhaps there was only one original composition available at that moment. 

There could of course be another explanation, and I'd love to hear what people thing. Thank you SO much, Tyler. 

~~

As readers of my other blog may have read, I have been divesting myself of the vast majority of the 100-150 acetates that I've collected over the years, only keeping those that I really treasure, including my relatively few song-poem acetates. Some sell, some don't. 

I thought I'd listened to, and listed, just about all of them, but over the weekend, I found a small stack of acetates stored quite a ways separate from where all the others had been. And that stack was full of several that I bought ages and ages ago, in a few different purchases, with considerable excitement, due to their apparent content. Somehow, upon receiving them, I put them away and forgot about them, which is really not like me. There must have been something else going on in my life at that moment. This literally may have been ten years ago!

Anyway, the most exciting of them, to me, upon finding them again a few days ago, were two 78 RPM acetates sung by Cara Stewart, on a previously unseen label - "A Lee Hudson Recording". Lee Hudson obviously produced hundreds of song-poems, and often his name is prominent on those records. But these are the first I've seen where the label name contains his name. Even his AS/PMA page doesn't have any indication of records released on an eponymous label.  

What's more, one of the two songs is as winning a performance from Cara Stewart as you're likely to hear. The record looks like this. 


It's "I Just Dropped In to Say 'Hello'", and it is, admittedly, a wisp of a song, making it to 95 seconds only because a piano solo and a repeat of the bridge and chorus are tagged on - without those, the song probably would barely break a minute. But I LOVE this. Was anyone in the song-poem world ever better than Cara is here? 

The credit to a team of writers (Dick Felt and Ross Hollowell, on both sides of the 78) indicated to me that perhaps this was a professional songwriting team, but an internet search has turned up nothing. 

Download: Cara Stewart - I Just Dropped In to Say "Hello"

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These are obviously demos, what with just the piano and vocal, and also obviously acetates, as the  auditory damage apparent on the flip side, "The Biggest Fool in Town" will make clear. 

But this is the far less interesting of the two, to me, so at least the damaged side is the right one. 

Oh, and this record came to me with a lead sheet for "The Biggest Fool in Town" which is reproduced below, as well. 

Download: Cara Stewart - The Biggest Fool in Town

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Tuesday, January 10, 2023

THE M.S.R. SWINGERS!!!

Hello, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Before getting to today's offering, I want to make sure I send all y'all to Sammy Reed's site for something quite interesting and off kilter. 

Nearly 14 years ago, in this post, I offered up a Tin Pan Alley single with the singularly unwieldly title "What Do You Say Baby Beautiful Joyce". 

What Sammy has found is a 45 on a custom (vanity) label, wherein the same song writer (well, let's assume "Frank Wilson" and "Fu Wilson" are the same person), teamed up with Joi Dibrango (which I'm assuming is someone's name, although it sounds like something a call-girl has on her menu of pleasures) to create the J..D..i..F..U label, and released a Preview-sounding recording of the same song. 

Gene Marshall's rendition (in which he is joined by a catchily named fake backing band) proves that it was probably impossible to set these lyrics to a catchy tune, and the flip side is worth the price of admission. Sammy's post is here, and I encourage all of you to take a quick jog over there when you're done here. 

~~

For my own presentation this week, I thought I'd kill three birds with one stone, or perhaps "destroy three Smashing Pumpkins records with a 200 pound lead needle" would be a better way to phrase it. 

Anyway, I'm not much of a fan of MSR in general, or Dick Kent in particular, so I don't share their work (together or separately) here very much, and I know there are people out there who dig their stuff. So I'm going to share Dick Kent and MSR. The third side aspect that I'm taking care of today is that the record below involves a consortium of artistes who seem to have only been credited on an MSR label once - at least that is documented. To wit: 


Yes, M.S.R. Swingers. 

In actuality, as you'll hear, it's just the usual yokels that played on MSR records, with a vocal by Dick Kent. Which in itself is odd, since he is featured on the flip side, as well. Perhaps the song-poet requested that the song be performed by a group - that's quite possible. But then, why pair it with a record that so obviously has the same singer credited solo on the flip side. Were they assuming that the song-poet was dumb enough not to notice? 

Who am I kidding? Of course they were thinking that. 

Anyway, I fully expected M.S.R. Swingers to, you know, swing. And I was sort of excited to hear it - it's a low number MSR release, from some time before their releases truly began to suck, across the board (your mileage may vary...). But it's a dreamy slow number, even lush in places, with a "closing-time-at-the-supper-club" feel to it that I expect plenty of you will dig. Far more than I do, anyway. But "swing" it most certainly does not. 

It's also over four minutes long, and certainly feels it. 

Anyway, for the second post in a row, it pleases me greatly, Ladies and Gentlemen, to present a previously unheard song-poem artist (or, in this case, group). I give you.... M.S.R. SWINGERS!!!


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~~

As I said, the flip side is clearly the same band and the same singer, in this case, labeled as Dick Kent, and the song is "Song to September", which features what I think might be an early synthesizer bleating out a tinny, high pitched backing throughout, one which hurts my ears and threatens at times to overwhelm the rest of the backing. Blech.  

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Friday, December 30, 2022

Frank Manell's Greatest Hit

Before I get to this week's record, I want to share that I have updated a posting from two weeks ago, in which I had somehow forgotten to add the label scans. That was especially important, as this was the first time I had shared a record on that label. They are there now. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, Frank Manell: 

When I first played this record, I knew I wanted to feature it very soon in a post, but I also thought it was one of the many cases where a song-poem company mislabeled the artist on a 45. Because the record shows the performer to be Frank Manell, and I was sure the singer of this song was a woman. 

It wasn't until I listened to the flip side that I realized that Frank Manell was a male singer who possessed a very high tenor, sort of a song-poem Clyde McPhatter. 

Not only that, but the song ("Diamonds and Rubies") is bouncy, energetic and winning all the way around, as is Mr. Manell's vocal. I find this record pretty irresistible. The TPA folks again demonstrate that, unlike many of the other companies, they were well aware of the styles and trends in music, and made their records sound like the hits of the day, the day in this case being 1957. The guitar during the bridge, in particular, sounds like it was lifted from any number of early Elvis records. The weird drop out just before the sax solo (which is part of the record, and not a error made in digitizing) is the only flaw here.

So who was Frank Manell? Danged if I know. He is only listed on the AS/PMA website on one record - this one - and Discogs has one more listing, for the release immediately before this one ("Having a Gay Time"). Then he disappears into whatever ether he arrived from. But he surely left us better than we were before he arrived, because this is a wonderful record. 

Download: Frank Manell - Diamonds and Rubies

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Sadly, I cannot work up any enthusiasm whatsoever for the flip side, "My Treasures", a dirge of an arrangement which buries any charms that might have been from the words or the vocal. The song is 30 seconds longer than "Diamonds and Rubies", and seems five times as long. 

But I will say that Mr. Manell continues to impress with his vocal prowess, with the exception of a tendency to over-enunciate some words to the point of mispronunciation, much in the way Nat (King) Cole tended to do. 

Download: Frank Manell - My Treasures

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HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYBODY!!!!
 

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Christmas Eve Dream

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

We're going to have a Bob Storm Christmas this year. And what's more, we have DUELING BOB STORMS. 

As discussed in this post from about 16 months ago, intrepid Song-Poem detective Bruce Baryla got to the bottom of the two different sounding voices all attributed to one Bob Storm, on a number of Halmark (and related label) releases. There was a man with a typical baritone voice, perhaps truly named Bob Storm, and there was another man, who tended to go comically over-the-top in his delivery, named Marshall Young, who was also billed as Bob Storm, for unknown reasons. Read the post linked above if you'd like more information. 

Anyway, BOTH of them show up on this record, which came out not on the Halmark label, but on the related Grand Recording Co. label, which tended to use the same singers and use and reuse the same backing tracks that Halmark employed. 

That said, the first track, and the feature track for this post, actually seems to have a music bed specifically created for its lyric. Either that, or the folks at Grand chose, from their library, an unusually appropriate backing track. I've don't think I've heard this track before, although I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong. Given that it's a Christmas lyric, the opening musical quote from Silent Night fits it nicely (although I suppose that could have been spliced onto an existing track). I also think the words are sort of sweet, about children dreaming of Christmas morning and presents, and quite without some of the pretentiousness and over-seriousness that tend to weigh down so many Halmark compositions (ahem, the other three songs on the EP...).

The real Bob Storm sings here, and another sign that the backing track for "Christmas Eve Dream" might have been unfamiliar to him is that it sounds to me like Ol' Bob trips over the rhythm and melody a few times. That wouldn't have been the case with the dozen or more backing tracks he knew inside out, but maybe it would have happened in a one-and-done take over an unfamiliar track. Just speculatin'. 

Also speculatin' that perhaps the lyricists name was Dick Tracy. 

Download: No Artist Named - Christmas Eve Dream

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~~

That first song was Christian related only in that it mentions Christmas, although it does so without touching on any of the religious aspects thereof. The remaining songs are unabashedly Christian in nature, although none are Christmas-related. The real Bob Storm returns for "The Power of Prayer".  

Download: No Artist Named - The Power of Prayer

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The same singer - and an EXTREMELY familiar backing track, return for a song about "A Dream" about visiting heaven. 

Download: No Artist Named - A Dream

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And now, the moment that you fans of the Ridiculous Bob Storm have been waiting for. Your man shows up to sing the all-too-brief, uncatchily titled "Evening Visit to the Sacred Shrine", complete with everyone's favorite feature, the short spoken word portion. And like the previous song, it's paired with one of those moldy, deeply familiar Halmark backing tracks. 

Download: No Artist Named - Evening Visit to the Sacred Shrine

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Saturday, December 17, 2022

Re-Writing a Christmas Hit Song

Howdy, folks,

I haven't posted in almost two weeks, and there's a reason for that. In fact, for those of you who don't read my other blog, I will explain here that I need to acknowledge my most important news of the year. This past Saturday, my wonderful daughter Molly got married to the equally wonderful Sean. Here they are, stepping out into a swarm of bubbles, just after the ceremony: 


~~

I also have a little bit of housekeeping to do. Last time around, I shared a record on Preview by a singer whose name I couldn't find anywhere else in the song-poem world. Sammy Reed has posited, and quite rightly, I would say, that the singer identified as Terry Stillwell on "Santa's Visit" is the same person as the "Terri Wells" who sang the all time bizarro song-poem champ "My Doll Jane", another name that seemingly only appears once on the Preview label. Good ears, Sammy! You win a genuine imitation invisible facsimile! 

~~


For today's feature, "I Won't Tell On Santa", by Mickey Shore, I will basically say two things.

The first is that this is a new label for the blog, Star-Light. I believe this is the second record I've ever owned on this label. 

The other is that this is another example of the sort of song-poet behavior I simply don't understand. Close relatives of this type of record are the ones where someone simply submitted the lyrics to an existing song, claiming authorship. In this variation, Fred H. Smith took the subject matter of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" and simply retold the story, using his own words but barely anything in the way of a new angle or other originality. Did he present this near-theft as his own work? Did no one say "hey, that same story was a hit song seven years ago"? I honestly don't get it. 

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For the flip side, "The Little Pet Shop", someone at Star-Light took the time to go out and get some sound effect records of animals, and layered them over the track, which is more work and creativity than one finds on a lot of song-poem material, even if they did place them too high in the mix at times. 

Sunday, December 04, 2022

HE'S GOING TO BUILD A MAN!!!

Yo, 

Before I get to today's seasonally appropriate offering, I wanted to offer a bit of housekeeping. First, I got a couple of responses to my "possibly missing link" post from last time around. Sammy Reed has identified that the pressing is from 1961, and Snoopy offered up a legitimate release from, perhaps, the same singer (see the comments of that post). I'm not sure that calls into question the provenance of the 45 as a song-poem or song-poem adjacent record or not, but I remain interested in what people think about my conjecture, and I welcome those two pieces of information. 

I also want to thank both Timmy and Stu for their frequent, and typically very entertaining comments. Please know that I read and appreciate every single comment I receive, and please keep them coming. Apologies to anyone who commented recently who I may have missed, in offering these thanks. 

Okay, so today, I thought I'd kick off the winter/Christmas festivities with a song about winter and a song about Christmas, the latter featuring an artist billing found nowhere else in song poem land (although I'm guessing I'll hear from someone - maybe several someones - that she is clearly <this or that> west coast song-poem stalwart).

We'll start with the better of the two, a little Gene Marshall special called "Mister Snowman". This one appears to date from 1967, based on the known dates related to similarly numbered Preview releases, but the production, instrumentation and poor production certainly sounds to me like the product that Preview put out in the early '70's. Just one of those song-poem mysteries. 

The words are cutesy, but surprisingly effective, at least to me. And I genuinely find some of the melodic turns here to be extremely appealing, particularly what I would call the chorus - the section about him being "a temporary pal". That ran through my head for a few hours after I listened to this song for the first time. A silly little record, but enjoyable. I hope you agree. 

Download: Gene Marshall - Mister Snowman

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I cannot summon up any enthusiasm for the flip side, a bit of treacle called "Santa's Visit", except for the billing. The song is credited to a female singer billed as Terry Stilwell, who shows up nowhere else in the Preview (or in the AS/PMA) discography. I will (as I have before) readily admit that I am not a connoisseur of the women of either Preview or MSR, so maybe this is a commonly recognizable member of that cohort - Bobbi Blake, maybe? (I'm not aware of her working on Preview, or as early as 1967) - anyway, if so, I'm sure there will be several chime-ins. But even so, why the one-time moniker? 

Download: Terry Stilwell - Santa's Visit

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Finally, and most importantly, Cheers, Best Wishes and All My Love to my daughter Molly and her fiancĂ© Sean, who will be getting married on December 10th. 

Friday, November 25, 2022

A Missing Link? One That No One Was Looking For?

 Greetings, song-poem fans. 

Today, I'm going to take a deep dive into a couple of the dustiest corners of the song-poem world, so if you're not well versed in the minutiae of the subject, this may be Greek to you, and it may or may not be interesting. 

Anyway, the story starts with what has to be the most mysterious of all the known song-poem labels, Noval. I've featured the label from time to time, most recently just a few weeks ago, and you can find all of the posts about Noval, including this one, in backward chronological order here. If you want to hear Noval's two greatest hits, which were on the same 45, and one of which ("Rock, Rocking All the Time") is in my all time top 25 song poem list) that posting is here

Anyway, even the great song-poem detective skills of those who put together the AS/PMA website couldn't find out anything about Noval - not an address, not a related label, not a time frame, nothing. The page for Noval is one of the most sparse on the site. Their records listed the songwriter, an arranger (usually "Jay" or "Fred"), and no artist, their numbering system seemed virtually random, and their records typically involved a piano, a drummer, sometimes a guitarist, and, rather bizarrely (although very appealingly to my ears), a vibraphone. 

So when this record popped up on eBay a few weeks ago I was certainly intrigued: 


Now, this looks nothing like the other Noval records, in any way, so clearly, the label name might just be a coincidence. After all, the songwriter's listed name is Cy Novak, meaning it could just be a vanity label. And yet, the record is "Arranged by Fred", who in this case has acquired a last name, "Holovnia".  And while the record sounds nothing like anything that was released on the familiar Noval label, it does contain a musical sound that is equally out of time and space with the music of the '60's and '70's, much as Noval's music did, just in a different way. 

In fact, I'd venture to say it sounds quite a bit like what the Halmark label was doing, by the late 1960's. It's got the echoey production, the stale, even moldy sounding canned backing track, and the general feel of a Halmark release, even if the vocalist herself is different than those heard on Halmark. Here's one of the sidees, "Willow Tree", sung by Arlene Martel. Have a listen and see if you share that observation. 
 
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Okay, so maybe it's just a coincidence. But maybe not. Assuming this is the same company, this is the first Noval release to bear an address, and that address is in.... Boston, just ten short miles from the home of Halmark, in Quincy, MA. 

None of this proves anything, and I am sure that if someone has competing information, I'll eventually hear about it. And if so, you all will be the third to know (after me and my correspondent). But the trail here suggests to me that maybe Noval morphed into Halmark (or perhaps into Chapel, which preceded Halmark in the development of that label). Or perhaps the person behind Noval (Cy Novak, presumably) worked with Ted Rosen of Halmark on this release. 

But I'm now betting that there was some link between these labels and companies. And I will forgive you for thinking I'm strange, when I tell you that I find this discovery sort of exhilarating.

Here's the flip side, "Easter Time", which amuses me in a couple of lyrical turns of phrase, the first being when we're told that, during Easter Time, it's "almost spring" (huh?) , and the second being when  the writer observes that "Easter Time is Here to Stay" (again, huh?). 

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I welcome anyone who'd like to weigh in on this. 





Monday, November 14, 2022

She BEGGED Me!

Before I offer up today's record, I want to make sure you have a chance to view this eBay auction. It may not be there for long, so have a look soon. The asking price, if you ask me, is ridiculous, but the item is quite worth perusing. 

For here we have Sandy Stanton's own Film City flyer - the document he sent to potential customers, to sell them on the product - and the quality thereof - that he was offering. 

Please be sure to note the different price ranges and the various combinations of instruments and styles that he was offering, anywhere from a piano or organ with no vocal, up to a 20 piece orchestra. While you're reading that, keep in mind that virtually EVERY record that came out on Film City actually featured one musician playing an early sampling keyboard called a Chamberlin, and one vocalist, possibly the same musician playing the keyboard, and possibly with overdubbed vocals. There was not orchestra. There wasn't even a choice between a one, a few or many musicians. 

Also please note that these prices are for demonstration records - Acetates. If you liked the sound of your record, then you could probably buy 25, 50 or 100 of them, for considerably more. Also please note the promise to have your record played on the air, and that the station was in Mexico. My guess was that Stanton bought airtime at 3 AM on Sundays, and played all of that week's compositions. 

A fine document which explains the scam extraordinarily well, for those in the know. 

I'm featuring Norm Burns today, for the first time in six months, which is far too long. My stash of unshared Norm Records, though, is getting thinner and thinner, so that explains it. 

Today, we have a tale of a lover swept from her home in the far east after insisting that her lover do just that. In fact, as Norm tells us, "She Begged Me". Lyricist Olive La Grow spends the first few bars sharing three stereotypes about Japan which were particularly common to those who had not been there, without actually saying anything about what drew our protagonist to his lady, aside, perhaps, for a potentially scandalous reference to things going on behind "A Japanese Door". 

But then we settle into a sort of slow, supper club version of a Cha-Cha groove, the likes of which I'm sure was massively popular in East Asia in 1966, and Norman (as he's billed here) proceeds to tell us... the rest of the story. 

Download: Lew Tobin's Orchestra, Vocal, Norman Burns - She Begged Me

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On the flip side, Norm takes the role of a man who has cheated on his lady most fair, and asks if she will "Just Give Me One More Chance". With musically challenging lines such as "don't let us separate too long" and "our love used to be grand" alternating with cookie cutter rhyming lines, this is not much of a lyric or a song, and no one sounds terribly engaged. And then Norm starts talking, which is the death knell of many a song poem, this one included. 

Download: Lew Tobin's Orchestra, Vocal, Norman Burns - Just Give Me One More Chance

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Monday, November 07, 2022

Couldn't Get Away

It's been many more days than I planned since I last updated the site, and I'll get right to it without a whole lot of words. I've just taken possession of two Rodd Keith preview 45's, both of which have fairly horribly damaged labels, yet each plays quite nicely. 

On this record, the clear winner of the two is the very hard to read "I Couldn't Get Away From Love", a mid-tempo lounge-ish number. The words are much, but some nice chords, really nice piano, a cool organ solo, and a winning vocal make up for any deficiencies in other areas. . 

Download: Rodd Keith - I Couldn't Get Away From Love

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As for the other side, "I Left My Heart in Prayer", well..... "I Couldn't Get Away From Love" is nice. Seriously, this is as unctuous and bland as some Halmark releases I could name, and the backing track even resembles a Halmark track, to my ears, anyway. 

And I'm pretty sure that either "I Left My Heart in Prayer" is a typo, or the lyricist didn't know the difference between the spelling of "Left" and "Lift", as the title, as written, doesn't make any sense AND doesn't appear in the lyric. 

Download: Rodd Keith - I Left My Heart in Prayer

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Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Cuckoo for Coco Records

Greetings!

Before I get to this week's offering, I have a bit of housekeeping. 

First, I received the following interesting query from a new visitor to this blog: 

Hello Does anyone know where I could get a copy of the Cinema Records & Action Music Compilation of various persons . Who entered the 73 or 74 "American Song writers Compition"
It's a 45 rpm with several songs on each side. My copy was destroyed.
It includes; "Those happy days that we once knew" written by myself:
Merv 

I know nothing of this record, but if anyone out there does, please write me, and I'll try to put you and this long-ago song-poet together. 

And second, with regard to my fanciful mocking of last week's posting, specifically my amusement at the line "our song was worthless", Sammy Reed has pointed out that the line is probably "our song was wordless". Undoubtedly so, I suppose, but it still sounds more like "worthless" to me. 

And now.....



I believe I have a brand new, previously unknown song-poem label for us to gawk at and enjoy. The product on the record is from the Globe song-poem factory, which rarely used its own name for releases, and there is really very little indication of quite where (or when) this record came from, other than that someone named Chloe was definitely involved. 

The winner of the pair, for my money, is this genuinely oddball Sammy Marshall track, "Goodbye Mister Blues". Why oddball? Well, if you're going to use the word "Blues" in the title, you are very likely to use one of the standard settings for blues. And while this fits the bill in terms of instrumental backing and general groove, it's also a fact that blues typically comes in 8 bar, 12 bar and 16 bar forms, as well as a few others. And, in fact, the solo section and the bridge are both standard 8 bar blues patterns.

But oh, my, those verses! They are 7 1/2 bars long - bar six of each verse is two beats long. What the hell? Pretty damn disorienting for a simple song-poem, or for a standard blues arrangement, let alone both. What were the people at Globe... oh, sorry, Coco, smoking? Cocoa-Puff fatties? 

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On the flip side, we have occasional Globe performer Mary Kaye, with the somewhat more sedate "Sad Heart". This has a nice, loping beat, a pleasant melody and an engaging vocal, but nothing else about it really connects with me. Oh, and I do greatly enjoy the last two seconds. But otherwise, a fairly standard Globe offering.

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Saturday, October 15, 2022

Some Stunningly Bad Lyrics, A Typically Terrible Performance

I was surprised to note that I hadn't featured the resolutely awful Noval label in just under four years, and thought I'd probably rectify that. 

I think that if you weren't paying close attention to "Our Song", it would just sound like another terrifically terrible Noval musical and vocal performance, with its plodding music and a male singer whose sense of pitch is akin to what a sense of balance is to someone with vertigo. 

I, on the other hand, was dialed into the words right away. From the first moment, I got a chuckle out of a song called "Our Song", which starts with the phrase "Our song had no words".... and yet, you're singing words in a song called "Our Song". 

But that was just a start. Consider these pearls of songwriting craft: 

"Our lips hummed our song" (not sure I've ever heard a reference to lips humming before)

"Oh yes, our song was worthless" (I dunno why, but that just cracks me up)

"but told of love so true" (recall that the lyrics made a point of saying that the song has NO WORDS)

The vocal performance at 1:35 is pretty special, too. 

Download: No Artist Named - Our Song

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The flip side features the other most common singer on Noval releases, a female vocalist who, unlike her male counterpart, seems to have a bit of style, although she also seems to find melody - any melody - challenging. This record - "Loved and Lost" - is as equally plodding as the flip side, and has the disadvantage of an extra 35 seconds, but is otherwise much more forgettable. 

Download: No Artist Named - Loved and Lost

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Tuesday, October 04, 2022

"Lance" Boils Over

Howdy, everyone, 

I'm always jazzed when I can take ownership of a previously unheard record by my favorite incompetent Tin Pan Alley vocalist, Lance.... er, "Lance", so I rushed this one to my turntable to share it with you. 


On "I Wish I Was a Cowboy", "Lance" does not disappoint. The song, as written, does not require a lot of vocal talent or versatility, and since "Lance" was lacking in those very qualities, he was perfect for the role of (Yee-Haw) Cowboy Wisher. The folks at Tin Pan Alley apparently thought playing Oompah chords would qualify as cowboy music if someone rubbed some sandpaper together, as was being heard at the time on the occasional Johnny Cash record, among others. It works spectacularly, if you define spectacularly as meaning "not at all". 

It rather amazes me that the folks at AS/PMA had access to this record, from the early days of their MP3 offerings, yet didn't see fit to share it. 

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The reason I know they had this record, is that early on in the days that AS/PMA began sharing MP3's, they DID share the flip side, and it's still available out there in a couple of places. So I broke my rule of not featuring songs already in the song-poem ether because the "Lance" side is so entertaining. 

Anyway, my guesses are that they shared the flip side, "I'll Follow" because 

A.) it's also incompetent, although to my ears in a far less entertaining way than "Lance"'s performance. This is a group performance of a waltz, which is sung badly out of tune (when it is sung, including the backing vocals), and which quickly moves to the talking that has doomed many a song-poem record. Your mileage may vary, but my response is "boy, that was bad.. and boring", and not "boy that was bad.... and funny!" or "boy that was bad... and entertaining". 

B.) perhaps there was also an element of just being amazed that TPA would name the group on the label, "The Silhouettes", given that that was the name of a still active singing group with a not-so-old number one hit to their credit ("Get a Job") at the time of this release. Presumably, trying to get either the buying public or the song-poet to think they were getting that hit group's latest release? 

For my money, I don't think there was even a real "group" here. This is the only known billing of "The Silhouettes" on TPA, and the lead singer sounds like Phil Celia on an off day,. My guess is that the song-poet asked for a group, and as there were no groups on TPA at the time, one was created for the moment. 

Anyway, this is already out there, but I thought I'd include it for completeness sake. But I think AS/PMA missed a bet by not going with "Lance". 

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