Sunday, June 30, 2019
I get a kick out of today's billing, and that's what's referenced in the name of this post. More on that just below. But first, I am featuring today one of the singers at the Sterling label, who hasn't been featured enough (because she's not on that many records, and because I have even fewer than that), Shelley Stuart. I have consistently - during three other posts feature her work - misspelled her name as Shelly, despite the fact that the correct spelling was clearly evident on the labels of all three records featured in those posts. I hope to fix those posts, or at least the labels, soon.
Anyway, in this case, Shelley has a peppy, pleading number to sing, titled "Come and Take Care of Me". She is accompanied (as is the case with her label mate on the flip side), by "Ted Lane's Orchestra", a combo which shows up infrequently enough on Sterling records that it is not found on any of the records indexed on the Sterling page of the song-poem website. But here's the thing: You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who can tell the different between Ted's band and Lew Tobin's ensemble, which is usually credited (if a backing "orchestra" is identified at all. This is clearly the same band. So what's the story there? I recognize that I may well be the only person who cares.
Download: Shelley Stuart, Ted Lane's Orchestra - Come and Take Care of Me
On the flip side is everyone's favorite Norm, Norm Burns, here going by the more formal Norman Burns, backed again by Ted and the boys, led off by a loping and appealing guitar introduction, and then going into a tune, "Little Butterfly", that is completely in Norm(an)'s wheel house. It's fairly slight, but his vocal is appealing,and I sure do like that repeating guitar phrase.
Download: Norman Burns, Ted Lane's Orchestra - Little Butterfly
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Before I get to this week's posting, I wanted to share with everyone that, as a result of one of my other collecting passions - the collecting and sharing of interesting recordings found on reel to reel tapes - I have now been featured on a major podcast called Ephemeral. The story in question is about Merigail Moreland, who I featured at WFMU many years ago. The show is about 40 minutes long, and can be heard here.
When I first featured the Lutone label, many years ago, I speculated that there was perhaps only one release on the label. Since then, I've obtained a few other records from Lutone, and am now featuring the label for the third time.
This isn't a full song-poem label, but more of a hybrid of vanity and song-poem. Label titan Luton Stinson wrote both the words and the music for his songs, unlike the vast majority of song-poets, but then engaged the various song-poem factories to make recordings of his masterpieces. So it was that the Film City company ended up with one of Mr. Stinson's songs, and Rodd Keith (under his Film City guise of Rod Rogers) ended up recording "Sugar Fluff Doll". This is a bouncy, happy little confection, and Rodd handles it beautifully from start to finish, complete with an infectious little solo. I sure do love that Chamberlin sound.
Download: Rod Rogers: Sugar Fluff Doll
On the flip side is something a bit curious. The song is "Black Bottom Inn", and Luton Stinson appears to have really thought he was on to something here, as he commissioned its recording at least three times, including once that I have featured before. And this is the least of the three by a long shot. In fact, because I find this version - by Lance Hill out of the Globe factory - so tepid and uninspired, I'm going to fix the link on the previous posting so you can compare, even if you weren't reading this site before the earlier links went down.
First, here's Lance Hill's version, complete with little "whoop whoop" vocalizing, which sound to me a bit like someone trying to copy Roger Miller, without even the most basic of understanding of what made Roger Miller's vocalizing so great.
Download: Lance Hill - Black Bottom Inn
And now, here's the link to the version I posted five years ago, by Jeff Reynolds - I just think it's fabulous - slinky and sexy and completely in keeping with what's going on in the lyrics. (This post also contains a link to the third version, a '60's rocker which is from Tropical Records, yet another song-poem outfit). The repaired post can be found here.
By the way, I'm going to do my best to use this as a starting point to repair the other broken links. Obviously, I haven't even posted every week for some time, so I'm not making promises, but I'm going to try.
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
First up, a quick answer to someone who commented on a post last month. Yes, the "Air" label I feature here from time to time is the same label which released Hasil Adkins' first record. There are multiple labels within the song-poem universe that Adkins work was somehow connected with, at least for a few moments.
The song-poem world is filled with labels that tried to present themselves to the public with highfalutin names which seemed to indicate some actual connection to the legitimate music industry, such as "Hollywood Artists", "Film City" and "National Songwriter's Guild". There were also labels which chose names which sounded as much like a legitimate endeavor as any Columbia or RCA, including "Sterling", "Allstar", "MSR" and "Columbine". And then there is Halmark, which might well have been trying to confuse people into thinking they were somehow connected to the well known card company and TV sponsorship behemoth, even going so far to use the spelling "Hallmark" at times, which was likely a licensing no-no, albeit one which the larger company probably remained blissfully unaware.
Today's featured label made no such attempts. A seemingly bare bones company, not known to have any connection to any other song-poem outfit (a rarity in itself), Promo Records (much like Halmark often did), simply put the name of the song, and the song-poet, not bothering to mention the performer - although they went the extra non-mile and simply had the information typed onto the label, making the nature of the record just that much more apparent, to those in the know.
All of the records listed on the "Promo Records page at the song-poem database are one-sided acetates, and that's largely what I own, too - a bunch of them. But today, here's what appears to be an honest-to-goodness single release (although the crappy sound may indicate it actually is another acetate), with songs on both sides, credited to the author of the lyrics, which no doubt would confuse anyone not in the know, as the lyricist is male, and the singer female.
Both songs are pretty low-key, with basic instrumentation playing basic country arrangements. But there is something that connects with me about "Why Did Love Send Your Arrow?" I enjoy the chord changes, really like what the guitarist is doing in certain spots, and the singer's emoting strikes me as effective and sincere, even when the lyrics fail her and hit a spot (near the end) where they simply don't scan with the music at all. See what you think.
Download: No Artist Named: Why Did Love Send Your Arrow?
On the flip side is the Gospel-inflected "My Prayer". Whatever I found to enjoy on the first song is absent here. This is very earnest, but doesn't have any aspects that connect or entertain me. While it's only 20 seconds longer than "Arrow", it seems almost twice as long to me.
Download: No Artist Named - My Prayer