Sunday, August 29, 2021

BREAKING NEWS: BOB STORM REVEALED!!!!! (And Some Cara Stewart Music, Too)



At least it's big news if you've been at all interested in the slippery and mysterious Halmark label, and it's seemingly double-voiced main man, identified on countless records as Bob Storm. 

Following my post of an entire Halmark album, last month, I have heard from a guy named Bruce Baryla, who also owns a copy of that same album. My post inspired him to finish some research he'd been doing, and post it. You can find that post here. His research and proofs offered are quite compelling. 

First of all, he offers up the idea - and not all of this is on the site just linked, but rather, in follow-up e-mails - that the song-writer compiled this album himself, from individual 45's purchased the normal way from Halmark, then had the album put together himself, stole the actual "Hallmark" company logo, with an adjustment, and added his own address, and that Ted Rosen never knew any of this happened. 

What's more, he's found that this album was genuinely a local success (that is in the article). Read all about it. 

But the bigger news: There really were two singers who were identified as Bob Storm. The more midrange, typical baritone singer really is named Bob Storm, or at least has been billed elsewhere under that same name

The other singer typically labeled as Bob Storm, with the ridiculous, pompous and frequently off-the-charts unctuous vocal delivery, is, in fact, the other singer credited on that album, Marshall Young. Mr. Baryla has even included links to other tracks recorded by Marshall Young which demonstrate that he is the name behind that storied (and ridiculous) voice. 

Well, anyway, I'm certainly convinced. The amusingly entertaining Bob Storm, the one I've made fun of here for years, is really Marshall Young. 

There is no indication as to why Mr. Young's name disappeared from the Halmark label, or why Bob Storm became the person credited with both his own work and that of Mr. Young, but even without that information, I am impressed by the research, and overwhelmingly thankful to Mr. Baryla for sharing it with me. 


I have also updated yet another month's worth of very old and broken down posts. Today, it's June of 2009. During that month, I featured a lovely set of tunes from Norridge Mayhams (updating that post with scans of the label this time), a Norm Burns song with an out of the blue ending, an Air label EP which was one of my first song-poem finds, and a post full of requests from readers/listeners, at what was then nearly six months into this project. 

That was also the month that my older child graduated from High School, and I wrote a post about her, featuring some of her photographs and one performance of a song she sang with me and two of my friends.


Today's offering is the only record I own on the Sylvan label, which was the vanity pressing created by song-poet Sylvan Forrest, utilizing (here) the Lee Hudson song-poem factory. There are only three listed records on Sylvan, and this is # 2. 

Sylvan Forrest seems to have had a fixation with powerful, reputedly beautiful women (real and legendary) of the distant past. That this is the point of the flip side is obvious. And I think I've muddled through the complicated twists and turns of the (very non-musical) lyrics of "The World's Fairest Look" to say that they're at least in part about Helen of Troy, although I'm still a bit mystified as to what the lyricist thinks Helen was doing at the World's Fair. Maybe someone out there can decipher it better than me. 

Download: Cara Stewart and Lee Hudson Orch - The World's Fairest Look



On the flip side, a more obvious tribute to another fine lady of (actual) history, although one who, many say, was not really much of a looker. Here's "Cleopatra Waltz". 

Download: Cara Stewart and Lee Hudson Orch - Cleopatra Waltz


Thursday, August 19, 2021

Rod and Bobbie Take Arco for a Spin

Good evening!

I have updated yet another month's worth of old, broken-down posts, in this case, July of 2009. 

That month, I shared the following: a perfectly dreadful - and highly entertaining - release on the Noval label, a confusingly titled Tin Pan Alley release, which is also missing an artist credit, an early MSR release featuring Dick Kent and Bobbie Boyle (aka Bobbi Blake), and, best of all, a fantastic and ridiculous record called "Goodness Gracious, It's Contagious" (the comments of which contain a response from a member of the songwriter's family!). 

I also posted a link to a then-upcoming song-poem event. It was a long time ago, but the link to the site and its information still works!


Okay, here's a fairly odd duck of a song-poem release. If you'll click on this link to my previous posts of Arco releases here... well, at the top (for now), you'll see this post, but beneath it, you'll see the other posts from that label. And you'll hear that they feature early 1960's sounds, including some tracks which are closer to swing than to anything popular after 1955. Those found at the AS/PMA website seem to feature either acts which do not show up anywhere else, or which came from the Globe song-poem factory. 

Today's record, though, comes from much later - late 1960's, at least, features one track from Film City and one apparently from MSR (or perhaps Preview), has a quite separate numbering system from the other releases, and sports an entirely different label (although still with the same address indicated on the AS/PMA page, indicating that it is the same Arco label). 

What's more, the sound quality is dreadful, sounding to me as if the records were mastered directly off of another 45. It's a pretty standard Rodd Keith Chamberlin opus, with Rodd showing up here as Rod Rivers (with Orchestra). This record, "Don't Come Crying Back to Me", is a cute little number, and I wish I had a better pressing of it. 

Download: Rod Rivers with Orchestra - Don't Come Crying Back to Me



On the flip side, we have Bobbi Blake, under the name of Bobbie Boyle (just as indicated above), with the song "I'm Just a Simple Living Girl". Here we have a fairly interesting tale, if I'm making out the words right, of a young woman who identifies as a hippy, but is strongly not interested in some of the free living, free love aspects that people assume someone who looks like her would partake in. 

Again, the crappy pressing takes away much of the charm that might have been...

Download: Bobbie Boyle with Orchestra - I'm Just a Simple Living Girl


Sunday, August 08, 2021

Hewstan. Guy Hewstan

Hello, and Happy August 8th - Happy Birthday, Paul! Thanks for sharing my song-poem obsession - and so very very much more, more than I could possibly capture - across the years of our friendship. 


Before getting to anything else, I want to thank a few people. First, there is frequent correspondent Tyler, who takes particular joy in Halmark releases, and who was the main driver behind my posting of the full Halmark album from a few weeks ago.  First, Tyler makes the argument that ALL of the tracks on the album are the work of the vocalist usually credited as Bob Storm. I'd be interested to hear what others think of this, but I'm going to trust his ears over my own, due to his adoration of this stuff, unless someone has a competing argument. 

But more importantly, and interestingly to me, Tyler has located a newspaper page which contains an advertisement for this album. The page can be found here. You have to buy an account with that site to see the actual page, but if you click the button reading "Show page 22 article text", it will show you the entire page's text, unformatted. And there you will find: 

All new songs with fabulous and different assortment of music and arrangements.
We guarantee you will be wel! pleased.
If after hearing this album you are not entirely satisfied we wilt promptly return your money.
SEND ONLY $ 2.00 Manufacturer's Suggested Price $4.98 and up.
send TO: HALMARK RECORDS 1127 Fore! Street Lapel, Indiana

It's pretty clear to me that Mr. Carmen used the Halmark people for his vanity project, bought a bunch of copies, and then tried to sell them himself, as the address above is nowhere near Halmark's actual home base in Massachusetts. A fascinating little find - Thank you Tyler!


I also want to give a much overdue thank you to a long time song-poem friend, one who has been known to comment frequently. 

I missed the chance to link to his own song-poem 45 site, when he was posting to it briefly, but I didn't want to wait another moment to link to another neat site that he has, one at which he has posted the lyrics to some of the more particularly lyrically appealing and/or weird song-poem songs. There are nearly 50 lyrics captured at his site, which is here. Thank you, sir!


My correcting of formerly broken posts has taken me all the way back to August of 2009, just a dozen short years ago this month! And as it happens, August of 2009 was the month in which I shared the highest number of posts I've ever done in one month - a total of eight posts. 

At that point, my involvement with WFMU was still new, and I was periodically sharing things that interested me, apart from song-poems, from time to time. Soon after, all of those subjects would migrate to the WFMU blog, including reposts of some of the things I posted in the first eight months of 2009. 

Anyway, during that month, I posted a particularly horrendous Halmark release, a fun Norm Burns record, an example of rank plagiarism on a Gene Marshall number, another Gene Marshall release featuring two tunes with ridiculously contrived titles, and a particularly rare EP on the tiny Princess label, featuring Rodd Keith, Frank Perry and Singing Jimmy Drake (better known as Nervous Norvis). 

But in addition to those five posts, that August also saw two posts featuring favorite 45's of mine, an old favorite called "Dancing Tambourine", and a then-new favorite from The Allison Sisters. Finally, that month also saw the death of one of my few musical heroes, Les Paul, and I offered up a post in his honor, here. 


And now: 

Up until this month, I'd only ever heard one record by Guy Hewstan, whose name I had either mistakenly read as (or mistakenly was told to be) Gus Hewstan. That record was "My Point of View", and it is among my top 25 song poems of all time. And, as luck would have it, it was provided to me by the aforementioned song-poem pal, many many years ago. You can hear that track here

Guy Hewstan apparently made very few records for Film City, as his name was never recorded at the now mothballed AS/PMA website. I have gone back to the other posts where I shared "My Point of View" and changed the name, although the links will still read "Gus". 

Anyway, when I found there was another record by Mr. Hewstan for sale, I made an effort to obtain it, sound unheard. I received it this week, and while it's no match for "My Point of View", I still want to share it, in order to get another singer, and another sound, documented on this site. 

The better of the two sides is "A Little Confused". Musically, this is actually a cousin of "Point of View", with a similar chord structure, and the same rhythmic feel, if not the in-your-face over the top-ness of the previously shared number. No great shakes, but a pleasant listen. 

Download: Gus Hewstan with "New Sounds from Hollywood" - A Little Confused


The flip side, "Time" is sort of a dirge, a slow waltz with lyrics which are at times ponderous and at others quite prosaic. And it's all tied together with a far less creative Chamberlin backing. 

Download: Guy Hewstan with "New Sounds from Hollywood" - Time