Wednesday, December 31, 2008

June, 1955





Here are some songs that were on the music charts in June, 1955. I have the blue ones. I don’t have the black ones yet.



  • Hey Mr. Banjo - The Sunnysiders
  • Heart - Eddie Fisher
  • Something's Gotta Give - Sammy Davis, Jr.
  • Love Me Or Leave Me - Sammy Davis, Jr.
  • Silver Dollars - Teresa Brewer
  • Rollin' Stone - The Fontane Sisters
  • Something's Gotta Give - The Fontane Sisters
  • Chee-Chee O Chee-Chee - Perry Como & Jaye P. Morgan
  • The Man That Got Away - Judy Garland
  • Hard To Get - Giselle MacKenzie
  • Two Lost Souls - Perry Como & Jaye P. Morgan





Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Somethin' Smith & The Redheads

Sound Exchange was a weird place. It wasn’t quite downtown, and it wasn’t quite not downtown, sitting at the northwest corner of Portage Avenue and Young Street, about a block from the University Of Winnipeg. It was run by a middle aged married couple, his name was Tom, I can’t remember hers if I ever knew it. They had bins full of junk,

But they also had bins full of collectors items. And the collectors items were nice, and they were nice and expensive. These guys thought they were selling gold.

Under the bins they had boxes full of old singles, none with a price. So I’d take a bunch to the counter, get prices, put most of them back.

Now this place survived, when so many used LP stores came and went. Google it and it still comes up as an existing business. One thing is that he had a good insurance claim business.

So one day a guy came to see me in my professional capacity, and he had a claim with these guys, and he was having a bit of a conflict with them, so I gave him a bit of advice, and he paid me in old singles. Then I happened to be in the store, and Tom, not knowing of course that I already knew the story from the other side, started giving me an earful. And I gave him my thoughts, and I took a copy of In A Shanty In Old Shanty Town, and I said this will cover my bill.

See, this album, which is a best of by Somethin’ Smith & The Redheads, has 3 of their 4 top 100 hits on it. And the fourth, for reasons only record company executives can fathom, is missing. So that’s how I got that missing song. The LP comes from Pyramid Records.




Somethin' Smith & The Redheads



It’s A Sin To Tell A Lie – An old standard from the 30s, this version reached the top 10 in the summer of ’55. I used to have a version by Steve Goodman.
I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire – The Ink Spots did this.
Redhead – This is for you know who. “When she’s walking down the street… I’ll tell the world that she’s my best gal…”
When I Grow Too Old To Dream – Another song from the 30s. Linda Rondstadt did this.
You Always Hurt The One You Love – The Mills Brothers did this.
Poor Butterfly
Sweet Stuff – This song gets cut off at the end, but oh well…
Heartaches – From the fall of ’56. Their rendition is similar to that of the Ames Brothers, but I like the brothers better.
When All The Streets Are Dark – This is from the fall of ’55. This is innocent, unlike At The Dark End Of The Street.
The Ace In The Hole
A Hundred Years From Today
In A Shanty In Old Shanty Town – From the summer of ’56.

May, 1955





Here are some songs that were on the music charts in May, 1955. I have the blue ones. I don’t have the black ones yet.



  • Don't Be Angry - The Crew Cuts
  • Boom Boom Boomerang - The DeCastro Sisters
  • It's A Sin To Tell A Lie - Somethin' Smith & The Redheads
  • A Blossom Fell - Nat King Cole
  • Unchained Melody - June Valli
  • Rock Around The Clock - Bill Haley & His Comets
  • If I May - Nat King Cole
  • Whatever Lola Wants Dinah Shore
  • Learnin' The Blues - Frank Sinatra
  • Most Of All - Don Cornell
  • Heart - The Four Aces
  • Blue Star - Felicia Sanders
  • Story Untold - The Nutmegs





Monday, December 29, 2008

Roy Hamilton


Another one of those R & B singers that you’ll never hear on oldies radio. This is a prerecorded cassette version of Roy Hamilton’s Greatest Hits, which I picked up from a mail order catalogue.

Roy Hamilton died in 1969; he was 40 years old.






Roy Hamilton:



Don’t Let Go – One of his more upbeat songs. A hit in early ’58.
Unchained Melody – Counting? This is number 3. Hamilton’s version, which was a hit simultaneously with versions by Les Baxter and Al Hibbler, is a straightforward R&B / MOR rendition. It reached #6 in the spring of ’55.
You Can Have Her – From winter / spring of ’61. I used to have a version of this by Tompall Glaser.
Hurt – Melodrama. Elvis covered this; it was a hit for him in the spring of ’76.
Ebb Tide – Another one of those 50s MOR staples.
I Believe – Well Perry Como had a crack at this, so why not Roy Hamilton.
You’ll Never Walk Alone – Apparently this is from a musical called “Carousel.” Anyway, this was his first hit, and it’s from 1954. Perry Como did this, and The Righteous Brothers, and Elvis, and Gerry & The Pacemakers. And Jerry Lewis used to sing at the end of his telethon. The whole thing is a little too over-the-top for my tastes.
You’re Gonna Need Magic – From the spring of ’61, this was his last hit.
If I Loved You – Also from “Carousel.” Perry Como did this one too. A hit for Chad & Jeremy in 1965.
I Need Your Lovin’ – From the spring of ’59. Not the Gardner & Ford song.
Forgive This Fool
A Great Romance

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Nutmegs

The Nutmegs were a doo-wop group, plain and simple. My one and only song comes from Echoes Of A Rock Era.




The Nutmegs:



Story Untold – Another sad story. Since she went away etc. Saturday night at the prom music. This is from 1955, but it never made the pop charts at all. It was The Crew Cuts who put it into the top 20.

Gene And Eunice

Gene And Eunice kind of bubbled under as an R&B act in the 50s; they never became any kind of household name or anything. They did do the original version of Ko Ko Mo. The one and only song here came from some kind of various artists collection, possibly a United Artists collection, though they recorded on Alladin.




Gene And Eunice



This Is My Story – An R & B hit in the summer of ’55, never made the Billboard top 100. Their story, no question, is a sad one. The Crew Cuts covered this.

Alan Dale


Alan Dale’s career was a bit controversial, with some apparent Mafia involvement.

He had two top 100 hits in 1955, including Sweet And Gentle in the summer of 1955. I got one track, which I think came from some kind of K-Tel like album, which I think I got at Comic World.

Maybe I think too much.





Alan Dale:



Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White – The Perez Prado hit, with words. They were hits at more or less the same time, which, if you recall, was the spring of ’55.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Les Baxter

Les Baxter was one of those guys who was a conductor and arranger, and whose name showed up on other people’s records. But he made his own records also, in fact he made a few dozen albums of “exotica,” but the songs he put on the radio were straight MOR.

This was a best-of collection that I picked up on pre-recorded cassette, and I think it may only have been released in that format.





Les Baxter:



Tango Of The Drums – This is a tango, and it has drums. So I guess it’s aptly named. It was a kind of hit in the spring of 1956.
Because Of You – Features the chorus. This was a hit for Tony Bennett
Ruby – Features a harmonica solo with a lot of vibrato. Cool. We have this by Ray Charles also. This is from 1953
Blue Tango – This would be great to dance to, if you were in a 50s movie…
The High And The Mighty
The Poor People Of Paris – This was originally Pauvre Jean, which means poor John, but it got misrendered as pauvres gens (same pronunciation), which means poor people, and I guess to emphasise the French origin it became The Poor People Of Paris. It spent 6 weeks at number one in the late winter and spring of 1956.
Wake The Town And Tell The People – Another big one, from the summer of 1955. Ah, young love….
April In Portugal – Another tango…
Unchained Melody – This is the original hit version of the song; Baxter got it out ahead of everyone else. “Unchain me” sings the female chorus as Baxter sets up the beautiful melody, then the male chorus kicks in while the orchestra scales down to a bit of percussion, strummed guitar, then muted strings, then the women’s chorus with the full orchestration as the song draws to a close, much too soon. The song reached # 1 in the spring of ’55. Version No. 2. And oh how I would love to dance. Any volunteers?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Al Hibbler


Al Hibbler was a jazz singer whose style overlapped a bit into R & B. He sang for Duke Ellington and Jay McShann in the 40s, then put 7 hits on the top 100 between 1955 and 1957.

This is a double album called Al Hibbler’s Greatest Hits that I picked up at Centennial Library.





Al Hibbler:


· Unchained Melody – If you want the whole history, look it up on Wikipedia, but the summary is this: it was written by Alex North and Hy Zaret, it was used in the obscure movie Unchained, where it was sung by Todd Duncan, and it was a hit first by Les Baxter, followed in quick succession by Hibbler, Roy Hamilton, and a few others. Then of course it was revived by The Righteous Brothers 10 years later, and the rest is history. Actually the rest is several versions of history, but we’ll get to that later. Hibbler sings it well, and the arrangement is appropriately understated. His version reached # 3 in the spring of ’55. Let’s keep track of how many versions we have. This is one.
· After The Lights Go Down Low – Wilson Pickett did In The Midnight Hour, same idea. This was a top 10 hit in the fall of ’56.
· Breeze (Blow My Baby Back To Me)
· On A Slow Boat To China – An old standard; Jimmy Buffett did this.
· I Can’t Escape From You
· Pennies From Heaven
· Don’t Get Around Much Any More – A Duke Ellington song. Paul McCartney covered this years and years later.
· Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That, Baby
· It’s The Talk Of The Town – “Everybody knows you left me…”
· I Love You – Not a particularly original title. This isn’t the People song, nor the Stereos’.
· Trees – I think that I shall never see etc. From January, 1957.
· Stella By Starlight – The only Stella I ever knew was a woman who lived down the street from us when I was growing up, and she had a husband and an only daughter who was friends with my sister. And I never saw her by startlight. cf Ray Charles and The Ames Brothers. The Ames have the harmony thing going on, and Ray has the raggedness. Al here does it straightforward, which I suppose is legit…
· He – A song about God. The McGuire sisters also did this, and so did The Righteous Brothers about 10 years later. From December, 1955.
· There Is No Greater Love
· ‘Tis Autumn
· I’ve Got A Right To Sing The Blues
· Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me
· You’ll Never Know
· Daydream – Not The Lovin’ Spoonful song
· 11th Hour Melody – From late winter, 1956.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

December 25




Allow me to make one thing clear. I don’t do Christmas. I’ve never done Christmas, I don’t do Christmas now, and I will never do Christmas – no tree, no holly, no mistletoe, no turkey dinner, no gifts. Well ok, gifts. I did two gift exchanges this year. But that doesn’t count.

But I live in North America, and I grew up listening to the radio. I mean I don’t surf, but I listen to The Beach Boys, and I don’t do drugs, but I listen to The Grateful Dead. So keeping that in mind, here is my list of my seasonal favourites.

16. Circle Of Steel - Gordon Lightfoot. May as well start with a downer. Some years ago I was a cab driver, and I saw this song up close…

15. Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas - John Denver. Another downer, I always like to throw a bit of real life into the holiday cheer. The video mixes up John Denver and Alan Jackson Link

14. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - The Crystals

13. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – The Jackson Five

12. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – – The Four Seasons. I couldn’t decide so I included all three.

11. Please Come Home For Christmas – The Eagles. I guess this one’s just nostalgic for me.

10. Wonderful Christmas Time – Paul McCartney. Macca may be a sap, but he’s an excellent sap.

9. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon & Yoko Ono. John shows his sentimental side here, and the video takes all the sugar out of it.

8. The Chipmunk Song – The Chipmunks. Hands down best video

7. Mary’s Boy Child / Oh My Lord – Boney M. In your face Christianity on this. I was doing the aforesaid cab driving job in the winter of 1978 when the radio was playing this song every 5 minutes, and I didn’t mind, it was so darn exuberant…

6. Mary’s Boy Child – Harry Belafonte. Just over 20 years before the Boney M version, Harry Belafonte put the same song on the charts, but while Boney M partied Harry prayed.

5. If We Make It Through December – Merle Haggard. Another touch of reality. I will quote Dave Marsh: This “was the first record … to come to grips with the fears, frustrations, and hopes-against-hope of the workers thrown into disarray by the initial round of deprivation as the world economy cooled…”

4 Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano. I’m not sure why this song appeals to me so much, but it does. I think it’s just organic, some kind of association that’s insinuated its way into my consciousness between this record and December snowfalls and winter holidays and who knows what else.

3. Remember (Christmas) – Harry Nilsson. This song has nothing to do with Christmas, except for the title, but it’s Harry Nilsson.

2. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love. Phil Spector went all out on this one. The song, the arrangement, the over-the-top wall-of-sound production, Hal Blaine’s drums, all together they can’t overpower Love’s amazing vocals, which, unless you are legally dead, will nail you firmly and completely to the nearest wall.

1. Snoopy’s Christmas – The Royal Guardsmen. This was the follow up to Snoopy And The Red Baron and Return Of The Red Baron. It didn’t even make the top 100, but boy I remember hearing it on the radio, over and over and over, and it was great, but then December 26 they quit playing it. That was 1967. There’s something about that descending melody on the chorus that still melts my heart, all these many years later. And when they hit that harmony on “good will to man…”









Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tennessee Ernie Ford

Now here’s a country singer whose records you can sink your teeth into. He’s got this amazing baritone, but unlike Johnny Cash who sings in the same range, he’s a good singer in the conventional sense.

He sang hymns, but this is a collection of his non-hymn hits, it’s the Capital Collectors Series, and I picked it up at one of the libraries. A few tracks came from the Yesterday / Today 25th Anniversary collection.

It’s funny how is epithet is so much a part of his name; if I said I had a collection by Ernie Ford, nobody would know who I was talking about…




Tennessee Ernie Ford



Tennessee Border – His first single. It was a hit in 1949.
Country Junction – His second single. Also from 1949.
Smokey Mountain Boogie – He wrote this, and Country Junction also.
Mule Train – A hit late in 1949. Better known by Frankie Laine
Anticipation Blues – A good natured song about pregnancy and childbirth. Reached # 3 on Billboard country in 1949.
Cry Of The Wild Goose – Written by Terry Gilkyson, of the Easyriders. From 1950.
I’ll Never Be Free – A love song. Kay Starr sings on this. Reached #3 in 1950.
Ain’t Nobody’s Business But My Own – The flip of I’ll Never Be Free.
Bright Lights And Blonde Haired Women – Recorded in 1950, but appears not to have been released until 1960.
Shot-Gun Boogie – Reached # 14 on the pop charts in 1950.
Tailor Made Woman – From 1951.
I’m A Bad Man – This was recorded in 1951 and remained unreleased until the release of this very collection in 1991. Maybe they didn’t want the hymn man saying that he was bad.
The Strange Little Girl – A strange little song. From 1951
Mister And Mississippi – Reached #2 in 1951, covered by Patti Page.
Kissin’ Bug Boogie – Yet another boogie, also from 1951.
Blackberry Boogie
Hog-Tied Over You – Now that’s romantic! With Ella Mae Morse. From 1952.
I Don’t Know – Neither do I.
Hey, Mr. Cotton Picker
Celebratin’
Catfish Boogie
The Honeymoon’s Over – A song about marriage. From 1954.
River Of No Return – From 1954
The Ballad Of Davy Crockett – From the spring of ’55, had to compete with Fess Parker and Bill Hayes.
His Hands – Oops, I thought no hymns.
Sixteen Tons – This song was it. #1 as 1955 drew to a close. The song was written by Merle Travis, and may be the greatest ode to the working man ever written. Harry Nilsson covered it on his one and only Tower LP, Spotlight On Nilsson, but his version was underwhelming.
First Born – From the fall of ’56, an ode to a baby.
I Gotta Have My Baby Back
Born To Lose – I’ve got this by Ray Charles, but I think I like this version better. It’s simpler, more austere, Tennessee and a guitar. Very sad.
Nine Pound Hammer – The other Merle Travis song. John Prine did this one.
That’s All – Not the Nat King Cole / Ricky Nelson song.
In The Middle Of An Island – From the fall of ’57. Tony Bennett did this.
Hicktown
Release Me – A lot of competition for this one: Kitty Wells, Ray Price, Charlie McCoy, Esther Phillips, Engelbert Humperdinck.
Colorado Country Morning

Monday, December 22, 2008

April, 1955





Here are some songs that were on the music charts in April, 1955. I have the blue ones. I don’t have the black ones.

…yet...




  • Dance With Me Henry - Georgia Gibbs
  • Play Me Hearts And Flowers - Johnny Desmond
  • I'm Always Hearing Wedding Bells -Eddie Fisher
  • Make Yourself Comfortable - Andy Griffith
  • Unchained Melody - Al Hibbler
  • Danger Heartbreak Ahead - Jaye P. Morgan
  • The Ballad Of Davy Crockett = Walter Schuman
  • The Breeze And I - Caterina Valente
  • Two Hearts - Pat Boone
  • Whatever Lola Wants - Sarah Vaughan
  • Unchained Melody - Roy Hamilton
  • Honey Babe - Art Mooney
  • Don't Be Angry - Nappy Brown
  • Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White - Alan Dale





Nappy Brown

Nappy Brown was one of those artists, like Joe Turner, that bridged the gap between jump blues and bona fide R & B. His sound is very late 40s, but not totally.




Nappy Brown:



· Don’t Be Angry – From the spring of ‘55

The Moonglows

I have three of The Moonglows’ top 100 singles. I’m missing See Saw, which may be the Don Covay song recorded by Aretha Franklin, but I doubt it. Their lead singer was Harvey Fuqua, who became a big shot at Motown in the 60s, and so some of their recordings were labelled Harvey & The Moonglows.




The Moonglows:



· Sincerely – One of the 50s great R & B classics, it only reached number 20 on the Billboard charts, and that was in March ’55. The McGuire Sisters’ version spent 10 weeks at number 1, but if people remember the song, they remember The Moonglows.
· Ten Commandments Of Love – 1. Thou shall never love another, 2. Stand by me all the while, 3. Take happiness with the heartaches, 4. Go through life wearing a smile. 5. Thou shall always have faith in me in everything I say and do, 6. Love with all your heart and soul until our life on earth is through, 7. Come to me when I am lonely, 8. Kiss me when you hold me tight, 9. Treat me sweet and gentle, 10. *** (no number 10). A hit in the fall of ’58.
· Please Send Me Someone To Love – From the summer of ‘57

Perez Prado

Perez Prado was the king of mambo. I have only two tracks.I could get a collection I suppose but I don’t think I will anytime soon. I can’t remember where I got these two tracks, either.




Perez Prado:



· Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White – A number 1 hit in the spring of ’55. It was also done by Alan Dale
· Patricia – A number 1 hit in the summer of ’58. I worked with a woman named Patricia for a while. She was a good egg, married to a Greek, but she hated her job. Then she quit. I hope she liked her new job better.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Nat King Cole



I remember some weird conversation that happened between my older sister, who was 13 then, and a friend of hers, who was also 13 I guess, about Nat King Cole. This was in the summer of ’66, and I don’t know why he came up, I think maybe they had seen Cat Ballou.

I was 11, and my parents had rented a cottage at the beach for the month of July, and it was the first time they did that, and the last, and I hated it because I wanted to be in the city with my friends, but the smell of that summer at the beach always comes back to me when I’m in the country, and when I happened to be back at that beach town, though I’ve moved away, and it’s not likely I’ll ever be back there again.

And I remember the radio, of course, Summer In The City, The Pied Piper, Paperback Writer.

And the girl who talked Nat King Cole grew up, and became a Queen’s Bench judge, and a good one, though she was a bit strange.

Then there was my friend AD, or more specifically his father, who didn’t like pop music so much, and so he lectured us about the virtues of classical music, and he would play us The Moldau by Smetana, though I realized later that as a classical music aficionado he was a bit of a dilettante. And he was also partial to MOR, and he liked Nat King Cole, and he would sing Mona Lisa to us.

Cole was an accomplished jazz pianist, leader of the King Cole Trio, and then he started singing. And from the late 40s until the early 60s he had hit after hit. My book, which starts in 1955, lists 57 top 100 singles. I have about 20 of them here, plus many from pre-1955. What I did was I took the box set called Nat King Cole, and The Capital Collectors Series, and I mushed them together, and I also had a few singles at my disposal.






Nat King Cole:



Straighten Up And Fly Right – This is from about 1944
(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66 – I’ve never been able to tell definitely whether the instrumental by Nelson Riddle is this song sped up and rearranged, or a different song entirely. The Rolling Stones recorded this, and so did Them.
Embraceable You – An interesting concept. If this was hip hop, it would be called something else.
It’s Only A Paper Moon – “It wouldn’t be make believe if you believed in me.” I actually believe that.
The Christmas Song – A perennial. This was written by Mel Tormé and it was hit for Cole in the mid 40s. It charted again in 1960 and 1962. I think that it creates the image of the ideal Christmas, though having no personal experience I’m really just guessing…
(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons – I love you for analytical reasons wouldn’t cut it I suppose. Sam Cooke did this, as did The Righteous Brothers.
Nature Boy – It all comes down to love. José Feliciano covered this.
For All We Know – Not The Carpenters’ song. This was a standard, and I can think offhand of the one by The Ray Charles Singers.
Lush Life – A self-pity song.
My Baby Just Cares For Me
Mona Lisa – There we are. “You’re so like the lady with the mystic smile.” I guess this is his signature song. Carl Mann covered it, and so did Conway Twitty.
Too Young – Donny Osmond covered this.
Unforgettable – The title was co-opted by his daughter Natalie for a collection of songs made famous by her father, who is the subject our discourse here.
Walkin’ My Baby Back Home – A song about making out.
Pretend
That’s All – Covered by Ricky Nelson
Blue Gardenia – There is a beautiful version of this by Dinah Washington
Darling Je Vous Aime Beaucoup – The title means Darling I love you very much. This is from early 1955. This is kind of a prototype for Michelle. He loves her, but he can’t speak to her, because his French is appalling. Witness “I hope that you compris, what you mean to me.” And why does he call her “vous” instead of “tu?” It should be je t’aime beaucoup. And compris should be comprendes. See? I’ve learned some French after all.
Answer Me, My Love – Very sad this. I think Frankie Laine did it.
Smile – Another standard, this one written by Charlie Chaplin. “Smile, though your heart is breaking…”
My One Sin (In Life) – From the summer of ’55.
A Blossom Fell – From the summer of ’55. He must have been busy then.
If I May – The flip side of A Blossom Fell and a top 10 hit in its own right.
Autumn Leaves – The Roger Williams hit with words.
Night Lights – He’s hoping that his night life will “lead me back to you.” Wah? A hit late in 1956.
To The Ends Of The Earth – The flip of Night Lights, and a hit slightly earlier.
Ballerina – This had been a hit for Vaughn Monroe. Not the Van Morrison song. A hit for Cole in early 1957.
Caravan – Not the Van Morrison song. This is the Duke Ellington song, usually done as an instrumental. The Ventures did a great version.
Stardust – Another Hoagy Charmichael standard. Check out the pop version by Nino Tempo & April Stevens. A minor hit for Cole in summer ’57.
When I Fall In Love – Who didn’t do this? The Lettermen put it on the charts in summer ’62. This was a hit for Nat in the UK in the spring of ’57.
Send For Me – A hit in the summer of ’57.
The Party’s Over – How sad. I have a really good recording of this by Julie London, and a decent one by Lonnie Donegan.
But Beautiful
Avalon
The Late Late Show
The Best Thing For You - Is Nat of course...
Perfidia – This was a hit for The Ventures in 1960.
Where Or When – A live piano solo version of the standard. I have another version by Dion & The Belmonts.
Mr. Cole Won’t Rock & Roll – Well excuse me. Mr. Cole indeed did not rock & roll, but he needn’t have been so smug about it.
I Remember You – This is the same one that was done by Frank Ifield. Cole does it much slower. The Beatles did this too; it was on Live At The Star Club, Hamburg, 1962.
Day In – Day Out
The Touch Of Your Lips
The Sand And The Sea – From the spring of 1955.
Ramblin’ Rose – Another signature song, this reached number 2 in the fall of ’62. I read the novel, by Calder Willingham which wasn’t nearly as well known as the song, but the novel was a better novel than the song was a song. I’ve not known many people named Rose.
I Don’t Want To See Tomorrow – A hit from the fall of ’64.
Non Domenticar (Don’t Forget) – A hit in the fall of ’58. Most of the song is in English, but some of it is in… Italian?
Dear Lonely Hearts – Nat writes to a magazine. From December, 1962.
All Over The World – Another one of those love-makes-the-world-go-round songs. From spring, 1963.
Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer – From the summer of ’63, not a totally bad summer song. It doesn’t take much to imagine the beach, coke, and sun.
L-O-V-E – A Bert Kaempfert song. The flip side of I Don’t Want To See Tomorrow, this only reached number 81 in the fall of ’64. I have the Kaempfert version somewhere.
Sweet Lorraine – This is a stereo remake of the hit from the 40s. I once knew a girl named Lorraine; that was at university. See used to sit beside me in history class, and she was some kind of Judeophile. Go figure.
I Don’t Want To Be Hurt Anymore – From the spring of 1964, this is a bit country, with a Floyd Cramer-style piano.
Looking Back – A top 10 hit from the spring of 1958.
That Sunday That Summer – Oh such nostalgia. From the autumn of 1963.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fess Parker


Fess Parker was the one who played Davy Crockett in the movie, and later he played Daniel Boone in the TV series.





Fess Parker:


The Ballad Of Davy Crockett – This is the one used in the movie. I had this when I was a kid, on kiddie record that you played at 78.

Johnny Ace


Johnny Ace bears the unfortunate distinction of being the first rock and roll casualty. He shot his brains out on December 25, 1954, backstage at City Auditorium in Houston. Maybe it was an accident; maybe it wasn’t.





Johnny Ace:


Pledging My Love – One of those sweet R & B teen ballads, it was Ace’s first pop hit, and, for obvious reasons, his last.

March, 1955





Here are some songs that were on the music charts in March, 1955. I have the blue ones. I don’t have the black ones.

…yet...



  • How Important Can It Be – Sarah Vaughan
  • Glad Rag Doll – Crazy Otto
  • Darling (Je Vous Aime Beaucoup) - Nat King Cole
  • The Sand And The Sea - Nat King Cole
  • A Man Chases A Girl - Eddie Fisher
  • The Ballad Of Davy Crockett - Fess Parker
  • Pledging My Love - Johnny Ace
  • Rock Love - The Fontane Sisters
  • Mambo Rock - Bill Haley & His Comets
  • Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White - Perez Prado
  • It May Sound Silly - The Fontane Sisters
  • Sincerely - The Moonglows


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ray Charles

Ok everyone knows Ray Charles. They even made a movie about him, though I didn’t see it. And Flip Wilson used to say “Ray Charles” as some kind of weird incantation.

He recorded for Atlantic until 1960, then he switched to ABC Paramount, and so it used to be almost impossible to find any kind of anthology that spaned his career. Not so now, but I put this collection together myself years ago.

I used the Atlantic box set that I got from the library, and vinyl including The Ray Charles Story volume something-or-other, The World Of Ray Charles, The World of Ray Charles Vol 2 (both copies from Sears Garden City), and a double album that I found in the archives of the Centennial Library called The Ray Charles Story, which had one album of Atlantic songs, and one album of Paramount songs. I also threw in a couple of songs of singles for good measure.








Ray Charles:




It Should Have Been Me – This is not the Gladys Knight & The Pips song. This one is funky. It should have been me with that real fine chick. I can relate these days. Ray was still finding his voice.
Mess Around – not the Chubby Checker song, a lot faster and raunchier.
Don’t You Know
I Got A Woman – this is where Ray did find his voice. This song was huge, but it did not make the Billboard charts. It did find its way into the Cashbox top 100. It was recorded by many many artists, including The Beatles and Elvis. Jimmy McGriff put an instrumental version into the top 40. At least now we know that a woman’s place is in the home…
A Fool For You – Not The Impressions’ song, which was just Fool For You, anyway.
Hallelujah I Love Her So – Another popular one for covering. I can think of Peggy Lee and Eddie Cochrane offhand.
Drown In My Tears – One of those great ballads. Covered by Joe Cocker and Blood Sweat & Tears, two great Ray Charles followers (meaning David Clayton-Thomas in the case of BST)
Rockhouse – An instrumental with a great shuffle rhythm
Lonely Avenue – Another one of those Ray Charles 50s masterpieces.
Ain’t That Love
Swanee River Rock (Talkin’ Bout That River) – Ray Charles does Stephen Foster.This was Ray’s first Billboard single; Actually reached number 34 in the fall of ‘57
Talkin’ Bout You – A song with this title turns up all over the place (Rick Nelson, Chuck Berry, The Stones) but it’s impossible to tell whether this is the same one…
What Kind Of Man Are You – I’m not sure who is singing this but it ain’t Ray, being female
Yes, Indeed
My Bonnie – Not even Ray can salvage this one. The Beatles did it, with Tony Sheridan singing, and it was no better. Duane Eddy did ok, but only because it was an instrumental.
Tell All The World About You – I kinda know how that feels
Night Time Is The Right Time – Dave Marsh said some interesting things about this, about “to be with the one you love” really meaning “to be with the one you …” but I respectfully disagree. The one you love will do fine. Carla and Rufus Thomas covered this (sick) as did CCR on their Green River album. This snuck into the top 100 in February, 1959.
Mary Ann – I knew the nicest girl named Mary Ann. That was at university, and she went on to become a TV reporter, but I lost track of her years ago. I wish I could remember her surname so I could google her. This is not the calypso song, which is Marianne, anyway.
I Believe To My Soul – This is where Ray plummets the depths of emotional reality.
Just For A Thrill
What’d I Say – One of my personal favourites. The groove on this is unbelievable, and the drummer seems to play things that are not humanly possible. I bet this is the first use of electric piano as a lead instrument. This was in the top 10 in the summer of 1959. Elvis put this back on the charts, and so did Bobby Darin, and Jerry Lee Lewis, and Rare Earth. And The Beatles did it with Tony Sheridan, and so did The Searchers, and many others, though not with Tony Sheridan
Come Rain Or Come Shine – Atlantic pulled this out and put it out after Ray had moved to ABC Paramount, and it made the charts at the end of 1960.
Let The Good Times Roll – Not the Shirley & Lee song.
I’m Movin’ On – Great song by Hank Snow, and Ray goes country. He was to expand more into country a few years later. This was a small hit in December ’59.
Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying – A beautiful beautiful ballad, beautifully done. This is not the Gerry & The Pacemakers song, and it was covered by Paul McCartney. It snuck into the top 100 early in 1960.
Georgia On My Mind – The great Hoagy Carmichael classic. It was Ray’s debut single on his new label. Reached number 1 in autumn, 1960. The Righteous Brothers copped the same arrangement.
Ma (She’s Making Eyes At Me) – A pop standard but Ray adds a joke about how fat she is. Ha ha. “Suppose a baby should come later,” sings Ray, “it’s bound to look like an alligator…”
Born To Lose – A hit in the spring of ’62. I think I have a version by Tennessee Ernie Ford, but I love the way Ray sings it, so incredibly sad.
Where Can I Go – Written about a refugee, if I’m not mistaken. Steve Lawrence recorded it partly in Yiddish.
One Mint Julep – This instrumental cover of the Clovers’ hit was a top 10 single in the spring of ’61.
Ruby – From December, 1960. My mother had a friend of some kind whose name was Ruby. I think she’s deceased, though.
Hit The Road Jack – By Percy Mayfield. One of Ray’s best known songs, this hit number 1 in the fall of ’61. Irresistable. The Stampeders covered it in the 70. And The Animals did a respectable version on of their last albums.
Teardrops From My Eyes
Sweet Georgia Brown – I guess she’s on his mind. A jazz staple
Stella By Starlight – Another standard.
Unchain My Heart – A lot of drama in this. From late 1961. Joe Cocker did a great cover.
Hide Nor Hair – From spring ’62.
Them That Got
Willow Weep For Me – Chad & Jeremy put this on the chart in 1965, but they didn’t sing it like Ray.
Smack Dab In The Middle – Also done by Ry Cooder, this was a small hit in autumn, ’64.
I Chose To Sing The Blues – From the fall of ’66, but I don’t remember hearing it. And Ray doesn't really sing the blues.
In The Heat Of The Night – This may have been from the movie, Whitburn doesn’t say. It was a hit in the fall of ’67 but I don’t remember hearing it.
I Can’t Stop Loving You – The song is by Don Gibson and it’s a country song, and Ray did it on an album called Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music, which is about the best title I’ve ever heard for a popular music album. The song was number 1 in the spring / summer of 1962 for five weeks, and the contrast between the super-slick arrangement and chorus and Ray’s ragged voice typifies all that is best about Ray Charles.
Feudin’ And Fightin’
I’m Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town – Doesn’t sound radical to me. From the summer of ’61.
Worried Mind – Another of those ballads that Ray does so well
Two Ton Tessie- I’ve never known anyone called Tessie, two tons or otherwise…
You Don’t Know Me – A hit for Jerry Vale in 1956 and for Elvis Presley in 1967, Ray put this one on the chart in the top 10 in the fall of ’62, and his version is the best of all
You Are My Sunshine – Sorry, not even Ray Charles can rescue this one, Raelettes and all - .except when the female singer takes over. Too bad she doesn’t do the whole song. From late ’62.
Your Cheatin’ Heart – No one does Hank Williams like Ray Charles.This was the b side of You Are My Sunshine.
Don’t Set Me Free – Kind of weird, uses a prison analogy to express his undying love. “Keep me in a state of agony” sings Ray.From winter / spring ‘63
Take These Chains From My Heart – Oh how I’d love to dance to this with someone. Another Hank Williams song, this was a hit in the spring of ’63.
Without Love (There Is Nothing) – Orginally a hit for Clyde McPhatter, then later for Tom Jones, Ray slowed it down as slow as he could get and put it on the charts in the summer of ’63.
No One – This was the a side of Without Love, and it was a hit at the same time.
Busted – Busted in this case means broke, not arrested. From fall of ’63.
That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day) – Yet another self-pity song, but what a self-pity song. Frankie Laine did this in the 50s. This one was from early ’64, around the time The Beatles hit America.
Crying Time – A Buck Owens song. A top 10 hit in early ’66.
What’d I Say – A live version
Together Again – Another Buck Owens song. This from the spring of ’66.
Let’s Go Get Stoned – By Ashford & Simpson. This is from the summer of ’66 and it’s about drinking. I don’t remember any of these songs.
Here We Go Again – Yet another Buck Owens song. Yikes. From the summer of’67. Wow. That was the summer of love. I listened to plenty of radio, but I didn’t hear this.
Yesterday – Ah, Ray Charles does The Beatles. I have read that his reading of this song is real, more so that McCartney’s, he speaks with the voice of wisdom and regret. Me, I just think that he oversings it. Finally, I remember this, but I didn’t hear it much. This is from late ’67.
Understanding – From the summer of ’68.
Eleanor Rigby – More Beatles. This version competed with the one by Aretha Franklin, if not for sales, then for validity. Now let’s keep track. How many versions of Eleanor Rigby? Ok, 1. From the summer of ’68, the a side of Understanding.
If You Were Mine – From December , 1970, a bit more pop that what we’re used to.
Don’t Change On Me – From the spring of ’71. It sounds kind of weird, the idea of don’t change on me, but there’s a sadness in Ray’s singing, like he knows that it’s inevitable. And it is.
Booty Butt – An instrumental from the spring of ’71.
Feel So Bad – From the fall of ’71.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Crazy Otto

Crazy Otto was apparently Johnny Maddox, who also recorded under his own name. This is ragtime stuff, a bit of a throwback even then. This was both sides of a single.




Crazy Otto:



· Glad Rag Doll – From February, ’55.
· Smiles – ditto.

Bill Hayes

This guy isn’t even in Wikepedia. He had one other hit besides Davey Crockett called Wringle, Wrangle.




Bill Hayes:


The Ballad Of Davy Crockett – Davy Crockett was all the rage in ’55, what with some movie or other and coonskin caps. This was also a hit for Fess Parker and for Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Lenny Dee

Plantation Boogie was an oddball singer by organ virtuoso Lenny Dee. It was his only hit. This is taken off some album, and I picked it up, like so many other treasures, at Pyramid Records.





Lenny Dee:



Plantation Boogie – A hit in early 1955.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Crew Cuts

I wish I could remember the name of the clerk that worked at Comic World, the one who played in a blues band and who claimed to base his style on an obscure British blues group called The Groundhogs. And I wish I could find the article that I cut out of Uptown, a free weekly Winnipeg paper, one like Montreal’s Mirror or Hour, but without the pornography or anti-Semitism.

I’d strike up a conversation with him now and then, then I saw the column with his picture and I said hey! I know that guy!. And I cut it out and kept it, but it’s not where it should be.

So Comic World sold comics, but I went there for the LPs; their first store had a rack in the centre with hundreds of high priced collectors items, surrounded by piles of chaos, LPs and 45s in no order whatsoever, usually unpriced, and it wasn’t hard to spend hours going through pile after pile.

When that section of Portage Avenue was expropriated to make way for Portage Place Shopping Centre, Comic World moved to the Birks Building, a few blocks down. And the format of the store changed slightly. They still had the comics of course, but they integrated the LPs, cheap and expensive, and separate section for 45s.

And when Groundhog boy wasn’t around, the boss’d be behind the counter, the boss being a young guy named Doug. And I’d talk to him too. He’d lecture me on which type of LP is sought after, what kind carry big prices. I remember him picking up a copy of Blood, Sweat & Tears, and saying nobody’d pay more than a buck or two for this. But then he’d grab Hurdy Gurdy Man and say see? People pay for this.

And when Doug wasn’t around either, then Doug’s mom would take over. Sometimes they’d both be around. She was tough, didn’t like to bargain, but Doug was easier, I’d make deals with him all the time.

So that’s where I got The Crew Cuts. The name of the album is Rock And Roll Bash, and it’s best of collection, released long ago. 10 of 14 top 100 singles are here, supplemented by Mostly Martha, which comes from a single.

The Crew Cuts, by the way, were Canadian, a vocal quartet not unlike The Ames Brothers, but they are considered to be within the rock and roll universe because their repertoire consisted of R & B covers. They didn’t really have a clue, musically, but their records were very popular.





The Crew Cuts:



Sh-Boom – This was huge. The original by The Chords actually made the pop top 10, but this version was number 1 on Billboard for nine weeks. I read a book that made a major case for this being the “first” rock and roll record.
Earth Angel – The original by The Penguins is so beautiful; this one sounds a bit stilted in comaparison. From early 1955.
Two Hearts – Doesn’t appear to have been a chart single, this.
A Story Untold – The original of this was by The Nutmegs. This was from the summer of ’55.
Oop Shoop – Not sure who did the original though I probably have it somewhere. From autumn ’54.
Do Me Good Baby
Ko Ko Mo – Not The Beach Boys’ song. This was a popular song in early ’55, there is a similar version by Perry Como
Seven Days- From early ‘56
Chop Chop Boom – From spring ’55. The a side was Don’t Be Angry, a Nappy Brown cover.
This Is My Story – I’ll update this when I remember who did this one.
Gum Drop – From fall ‘55
Angels In The Sky – From early ’56, a bit of religion here I think. Walter Brennan covered this.
Mostly Martha – The flip of Angels. This also made the pop charts. The only Martha I ever knew was a girl I went to law school with. I think she still has an office on Mountain Avenue, but I’m not saying what city.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

February, 1955





Here are some songs that were on the music charts in February, 1955. I have the blue ones. I don’t have the black ones.

…yet...


  • Tweedlee Dee - Georgia Gibbs
  • Ko Ko Mo - Perry Como
  • Earth Angel - The Crew Cuts
  • Make Yourself Comfortable - Peggy Smith
  • Crazy Otto Medley - Johnny Maddox
  • Ko Ko Mo - The Crew Cuts
  • Plantation Boogie - Lenny Dee
  • Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine) - Gloria Mann
  • How Important Can It Be - Joni James
  • Melody Of Love - Lew Diamond
  • Ballad Of Davy Crockett - Bill Hayes
  • Smiles - Crazy Otto


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bernard Peiffer

I think this was from an anthology of jazz pianists. Peiffer was French, for what it’s worth.




Bernard Peiffer:



Willow Weep For Me – I have versions by Ray Charles and Chad & Jeremy.

Max Kaminsky & His All Star Dixieland Band

I got this CD called Best Of Dixieland from one of the libraries, and I use the tracks to fill in holes. That’s where this comes from.




Max Kaminsky & His All Star Dixieland Band:



Eccentric Rag – Could be the theme song for this whole blog, couldn’t it?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The McGuire Sisters

There was this record store on the corner of Portage Avenue and, I think, Garry, on the south side, and I wish I could remember the name of the store. It was opened in the 90s, and I don’t remember whether it was still open when I left the city in 2002. I bought a few titles there, Lefty Frizzell, Paul McCartney, Santana At The Fillmore West, and The Best Of The McGuire Sisters. But I’d got this before from the Centennial Library, I just needed a better copy. “Delilah Jones” comes straight off the single.

I have 14 out of 31 top 100 hits by this group, not counting anything before November, 1954.





The McGuire Sisters:



Sugartime – Their signature song, it reached number 1 early in 1958. Johnny Cash did this, and he didn’t do any better than you’d expect.
Picnic – From spring of 1956, a song usually coupled with Moonglow, but not here.
Little Things Mean A Lot – Not the Janis Ian song, this was a hit for Joni James
Blue Skies – The great Irving Berlin song, Dinah Washington did a terrific version of this.
Delilah Jones – The flip of Picnic, also, no surprise, from the spring of ’56. A song about the evil woman…
Sweet Song Of India
Just For Old Times Sake – Kind of a proto For The Good Times. From the spring of 1961.
May You Always – Incorporates Auld Lang Syne. From early 1959.
I’ll Be Seeing You - Another standard
I’m In The Mood For Love – Fats Domino actually did this too.
Love And Marriage – Best known by Frank Sinatra, and used as the theme from the TV show Married With Children.
Around The World – A hit for Bing Crosby, and for Mantovani, and for Victor Young. The McGuire Sisters’ version reached number 73 on Billboard in the summer of ’57.
Muskrat Ramble – Originally done by The Andrew Sisters, the mother of all sister groups. This was from the fall of ’54. Country Joe McDonald used the tune for Feel-Like-I’m-Fixing-To-Die Rag.
Sincerely – Another number 1, this one from early ’55. It was a cover of The Moonglows great original.
Red River Valley – I am from the Red River valley, but I’m not sure that it’s the same one.
Lullaby Of Birdland – So we heard this by Sarah Vaughan, and here is another.
He – A song about God. It was a hit for Al Hibbler about half a year before the sisters did it, which was late in ’55, and about 11 years before the Righteous Brothers did it.
It May Sound Silly – It may. From the spring of ’55.
Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight – From the summer of ’54, this was a clean white version of what may be the greatest goodnight kiss song of all time, originally by The Spaniels.
Something’s Gotta Give – A big one from the summer of ’55. Also a hit by Sammy Davis Jr.
Just Because – Their last hit, form fall of ’61. Elvis recorded this when he was on Sun.
Heart – Another version of this, which we have heard by Eddie Fisher.
Volare (Nil Blue, Dipinto Di Blu) – From the fall of ’58, this was huge Domenico Modugno, and Dean Martin put it on the charts in English, as did Bobby Rydell.
Does Your Heart Beat For Me? – Yes.
Goodbye – Not the Mary Hopkin song.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Red Norvo


This guy played vibraphone. You want to know more google him. The track is from a collection called RCA Victor 80th Anniversary, which was a sampler of great jazz recordings covering about 5 decades. I got it from the W. K. Library.





Red Norvo:


• Roses Of Picardy

Justin Tubb

Justin Tubb was the son of Ernest Tubb, and no relation to Wash Tubb. I only have one track, and I got it from From The Vaults. I have Ernest Tubb later on, and don’t ask me why the son comes before the father.




Justin Tubb:



I Gotta Find My Baby – He woke one morning and something was wrong, he figured out that his baby was gone. A bit goofy, this.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Patti Page


Go on home
You don’t belong here with me
Though I want you
And I need you desperately


I got this double album best of collection by Patti Page at Value Village. That was one of the first things I found there, this and Bill Monroe. The last track comes from a Columbia Records various artists compilation that I picked up at short-lived record store in Garden City Square.

Patti Page was the consummate 50s pop singer, a style that disappeared as rock and roll took over the world. She can be hokey, but mostly there is an honesty here, more than you get with, say, Perry Como, and unlike Rosemary Clooney, she is not afraid of unabashed sentiment.

She had 85 singles in the top 100 between 1948 and 1968, the early ones on Mercury, the later ones on Columbia. 41 of those records dated from 1955 on, which is “our period.” I have 24 of them here.

She is still alive.







Patti Page:



Tennessee Waltz – This was huge, it was number 1 for months in 1950. Patti took the arrangement from a recording made by Les Paul & Mary Ford, and here was Patti taking Mary Ford’s technique of multi-tracking her voice, which was not common then, and parlaying it into sales of 7 million then, and 15 million since. The oddest version I ever heard was by Otis Redding. It was written by Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King (a la Bonaparte’s Retreat).

And what a tale. She was dancing with her darling, and she hands him over to her friend, and he dances with the friend, and the rest is a tale of utter heartbreak. On the surface this seems quite silly, but when Patti sings it there is real sadness.

Most People Get Married – Patti did quite a few songs about marriage it seems. This song was a hit in the spring of 1962. It’s a kind of marriage proposal on record.
The Mama Doll Song – Did I say hokey? From the fall of 1954.
Detour – Patti goes country. Summer, ’51.
You Belong To Me – One of those sure-go-away-but-you’re-coming-back-to-me-when-you-come-back songs. And a beautiful song it is. It was done by Patsy Cline and by The Duprees as well. Not the Carly Simon song and not the Elvis Costello song. From the summer of ’52.
Go On Home – An almost cheating song. The theme, of course, is a staple of pop music. From early 1962.
Croce Di Oro (Cross Of Gold) – Patti’s beau goes away (to war?) and she gives him this cross to keep him safe. I wonder if it worked. From autumn, 1955.
Doggie In The Window – Patti contemplates buying her beau a dog, so he won’t be lonesome when she goes away. What kind of dog is it, anyway? Petite did this on the Archie Wood show almost every week. This is from early 1953.
Once In A While – Wistful, this. Think of me once in a while, while you are making a new life with your new love. From spring, 1951
Mister And Mississippi – A bit of a novelty song, I guess,but not quite. It was a hit in the spring of ’51, and also done by Tennessee Ernie Ford.
One Of Us (Will Weep Tonight) – From the summer of 1960, I guess this is the other side of High Noon.
Mockin’ Bird Hill – From winter, 1954.
I Went To Your Wedding – See? Another wedding song. Of course she was a guest at the wedding of the guy she was in love with. No surprise, but sad all the same. From summer ’52.
Old Cape Cod – From spring of 1957, a travelogue set to music. Bette Midler did a wonderful version.
Left, Right Out Of Your Heart – From summer of ’58, I guess the military motif struck a fancy in the heart of the record buying public, because this was in the top 10.
Come What May – From winter, 1952.
All My Love – From the summer of 1950, before Tennessee Waltz. This has one of those tunes that you can’t help but love, something almost Viennese about it.
Why Don’t You Believe Me – From autumn, ’52.
Steam Heat – Sultry and sexy, this is from spring of ’54. The Pointer Sisters did it back when they were recording jazzy stuff on Blue Thumb.
Changing Partners – Maybe the girl singing this was the one that stole the guy in Tennessee Waltz. Not to be confused with Change Partners by Steven Stills. From fall, ’53.
Allegheny Moon – From summer of ’56, reached number 2.
A Poor Man’s Roses (Or A Rich Man’s Gold) – Reached the top 100 in March ’57, the month I was born. A poor man’s roses indeed. Patti chooses between wealth and love. Duh.
Go On With The Wedding – High drama, changing partners etc. From winter ’55 / ’56.
Let Me Go, Lover! – Number 1 for Joan Weber, Patti’s version was also in the top 10 in January, 1955.
Cross Over The Bridge – A lesson in love. From February, 1954.
Mama From The Train – My immigrant mama, from December, 1956.
Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte – From much later, the summer of 1965 to be exact. I remember this one actually. It was the summer that I discovered top 40 radio (well it was top 50, but whatever).
Not only did I used to work with a girl named Charlotte, but when she got married, I made her a copy of this song to use at her wedding. (She asked, I wasn’t being a goober. The other she wanted was The Wedding Song (There Is Love) by Paul Stookey. I got her that too.) I couldn’t go to her wedding, but she assured me that my music was a great success. So maybe obsession with music made a difference in someone’s life.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Bud Powell

More bebop, this time on the piano. It covers about the same period as the Hawkins, too.

And I got this from the same library.




Bud Powell:



Bouncing With Bud
Un Poco Loco
Parisian Thoroughfare – In April?
Glass Enclosure
Blue Pearl
Bud On Bach – Powell had a radically different idea of Bach than, say, The Modern Jazz Quartet
John’s Abbey
Monopoly – About a board game?
The Scene Changes
Cleopatra’s Dream
Salt Peanuts – Finally a song that I know. The original was by Dizzie Gillespie, and there is a boss version by The Pointer Sisters.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Coleman Hawkins


I don’t know who Sir William Stephen was, but he had a very nice library named after him. It was on Keewatin, which was in a kind of northwest no-man’s land, which the people living around there would dispute. If you looked due west, you’d be looking in the direction of the airport, north led out of town, and south led to Weston, and then into the west end of the city. East would bring you back into the real world, where we were living.

The library was built in 1997, so it was new when it opened, and they imported a bunch of material from an existing branch that they closed (McPhillips) and they also got some new stuff. It was nice there; it always made me feel good to visit.

So that’s where I got this Coleman Hawkins collection.

This is jazz, and it’s not so hard to listen to. Hawkins played tenor sax; he was a pioneer, before Pres, before John Coltrane, before Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins etc etc. This is bebop I’m told, and if so, then I guess I like bebop.

Needless to say, Hawkins never had any radio hits, and these tracks come mostly from the 40s and early 50s, the latest having been released in 1956, so it just barely squeaks into our period here.




Coleman Hawkins:



· Meet Doctor Foo – But for the fact that this was recorded in 1939, it could have been an in joke among computer programmers. Was it followed by Meet Doctor Bar?
· When Day Is Done – Not the Peter, Paul & Mary song, which was just called Day Is Done, anyway.
· Say It Isn’t So
· April In Paris – The song was from 1932, and was a hit for Count Basie in 1956.
· How Strange
· There Will Never Be Another You
· Little Girl Blue – Judy Garland did this, and so did Janis Joplin
· His Very Own Blues
· 34” – 25” – 39”
· Body And Soul
· The Essence Of You

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Eddie Fisher


Eddie Fisher was a crooner, though a loud crooner, and he was married for a while to Elizabeth Taylor. I wonder if he sang her to sleep.

This album is called The Best Of Eddie Fisher, it’s only got 12 tracks, which is enough for me, and I can’t remember where I got it.

We had, growing up, an Eddie Fisher album in our collection; it was called Oh My Papa.

That’s really all I have to say about Eddie Fisher.





Eddie Fisher:



Anytime – This is country disguised as pop, was it Eddy Arnold did it?
Oh! My Pa-Pa (O Mein Papa) – Songs about parents always strike me as kind of hokey, and this is no exception. I can’t really relate, not that my father was a bad guy or anything…
Heart – Top 10 in the spring of 1955, this was also done by Peggy Lee
Trust In Me
Lady Of Spain – One of those standards that pop up here and there, I am partial to The Ventures’ version, that was only ever released as a b-side.
I’m Walking Behind You – One of those wedding songs. Oh. Those…
Tell Me Why – We’ve heard this by The Four Aces. I like Eddie’s version better, for what it’s worth
I’m Yours – Yet another song with this title
I Need You Now – A hit in January 1955
Wish You Were Here – Not the Pink Floyd song.
Thinking Of You
Fanny – I think my mother had a friend called Fanny, but I never did.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rosemary Clooney

That mail order place where I got The Four Aces, that’s where I got Rosemary Clooney, and it’s the same series, called Timeless Treasures.

I saw a movie bio of her once. And George is her nephew.

Rosemary died in 2002.





Rosemary Clooney:


Come On-A My House – The was her first hit, and it was given to her by Mitch Miller, and it was co-written by Ross Bagdasarian, who was David Seville of the Chipmunks.
Hey There – From 1954 (and it hit in the UK in the fall of ’55), this was a biggie. It was done by Johnny Ray too.
This Ole House – A kind of spiritual, and a hit in January 1955. I have another version of this by The Statler Brothers.
Half As Much – By Hank Williams, many of whose songs were popified in the early 50s.
Botch-A-Me
Mangos – Top 10 in the spring of ‘57
Beautiful Brown Eyes
Memories Of You – From early ’56, this was actually The Benny Goodman Trio, with vocals by Rosemary.
Mambo Italiano – Yet another Mambo from late 1954 / early 1955
Be My Life’s Companion
Too Old To Cut The Mustard – With Marlene Dietrich
If Teardrops Were Pennies
Blues In The Night – My mama done told me….
You're Just In Love – With Guy Mitchell (you're just in love with Guy Mitchell?)
Tenderly
I Could Have Danced All Night – from the spring of 1956.

The Modern Jazz Quartet


This is jazz, very definitely, and I don’t know too much about it. The collection is the distillation of a box set called MJQ: 40 Years, and I got it from the West Kildonan Library. I used a boom box belonging to the managing partner of the firm where I worked to transfer it. His name was Dave, actually Dave – not David either, just Dave.







The Modern Jazz Quartet:


Vendome – Vendôme is the name of a metro station in Montreal.
Delaunay’s Dilemma
A Fugue For Music Inn
The Golden Striker
Romaine – A song about lettuce?
Odds Against Tomorrow - Sounds like James Bond, but it's not.
Exposure – Works on so many levels…
Animal Dance
Concorde – A song about a jet?
Fugue In A Minor – Bach
Alexander’s Fugue
Midsömmer
Monterey Mist – Is this about California or Mexico?
Baseball
Greensleeves – Always good for a new interpretation
Misty Roses – By Tim Hardin
The Jasmine Tree
For Ellington – A tribute to the Duke

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Perry Como

Now this is exciting. This is where my personal memory kicks in. This is where snippets of songs conjure up personal recollection, and the ghost of Marcel Proust hovers over the proceedings.

I also remember that we had at least two Perry Como albums around, one was The Perry Como Wednesday Night Music Hall, and there was one other, they were my father’s though I don’t remember him listening to them, not even once, and the LP where most of these tracks come from was called 40 Greatest – it was a joint release on RCA and K-Tel – and my sisters bought it as birthday present, also for my father, and I do remember him listening to it, maybe once, and not all of it.

But more than that, I remember hearing Perry Como on the radio, he had a few hits, late 60s, early 70, and so I remember hearing them.

I have 30 tracks here from the 40 Greatest, and 7 tracks that I took from various other LPs, which I’m sure I picked up at Pyramid, and maybe one tape which I think was from the Centennial Library.

Some of these tracks go back to the 40s, but after 1955 Como had 48 top 100 singles, and I have 20 of them here, plus one that only showed up in the UK top 20.





Perry Como:


Papa Loves Mambo – Como’s contribution to the Mambo craze, this was a hit as 1954 became 1955
Kewpie Doll – Perry takes his chick to the amusement park, contrast “County Fair” by The Beach Boys. This was from the spring of 1958, reached number 6 on Billboard
Tomboy – Contrast The Beach Boys again – “Hey Little Tomboy.” From the spring of 1959.
Dance Only With Me – This was a top 20 hit in the spring of 1958, and the B side of “Kewpie Doll.”
Glendora – He’s not too sure about her, there is a hint of promiscuity about. A top 10 hit in the summer of ’56, about a girl with a name I’ve never know anyone to have. This was a B side. The A side was “More.”
Moon Talk – This is from the autumn of 1958.
Tina Marie – I’ve certainly never known anyone called Tina Marie, and the only Tina I ever knew, besides the character who played Ginger on Gilligan’s Island, and Tina Turner, whom I don’t know personally, was a therapist who worked with one of my kids for a while. Another top 10 hit, this one from the fall of ‘55
Magic Moments – not to be confused with “This Magic Moment” by The Drifters / Jay & The Americans, this was top 5 hit in February ’58.
Caterina – No I’ve never known anyone named Caterina either. This was from the spring of ’62.
Catch A Falling Star – Put it in your pocket… this reached number 1 early in 1958.
I Know – I know how it feels when life sucks, sings Perry. From the summer of ’59, this only made it to number 47.
When You Were Sweet 16 – Way early, from the 40s
I Believe – So many people had a crack at this hymn type song; check out Frankie Laine, and The Rascals did it in the late 60s.
Try To Remember – A 60s MOR staple that doesn’t seem to have been a hit for anyone. The first time I heard it, it was by Robert Goulet
Love Makes The World Go Round – Not the Deon Jackson song, and not the Paul Anka song. This was a hit in the fall of ‘58
Prisoner Of Love – You only really have to hear James Brown do this.
Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes
Hot Diggity – This very silly song reached number 1 in the spring of 1956, displacing “Heartbreak Hotel.”
Round And Round – Another number 1 hit, this time from early ’57, the time of my personal birth
If I Loved You – This song is kind of maudlin, but it speaks to me right now. It’s from Carousel, by Rogers & Hammerstein and it was a hit in the 60s for Chad & Jeremy
Hello Young Lovers – This is indeed the Paul Anka song
Delaware – An oh so funny song, which was a kind of hit in early 1960, Como sings it straight, like he doesn’t realize that it’s a joke.
Moonglow – This was a hit in 1955 for many recording artists, but Perry Como wasn’t one of them.
Killing Me Softly – Jumping ahead here, the song by Gimble & Fox about Don McLean, and a hit by Roberta Flack in 1973.
More – Reached number 4 in summer ’56, not the theme from Mondo Cane that so many people recorded and which was a hit for Kay Winding.
Dear Hearts And Gentle People – A slightly jazzy take on this, which was more associated with Bing Crosby, and which was a hit of sorts for The Springfields in the early 60s
I Love You And Don’t You Forget It – From the summer of ’63, this is kinda silly
And I Love You So – The Don McLean song that we heard by The Four Aces, Como actually put this on the chart in the spring of 1973, though I don’t remember hearing it.
For The Good Times – Perry does Kris Kristoferson, who’da thought. This did not make the Billboard top 100, but it reached the top 20 in the UK in the fall of ’73. It was a hit by Ray Price.
Close To You – The Carpenters’ hit from 1970, written by Bacharach & David
Seattle – I remember this one, a hit in the spring of ’69 and, if I’m not mistaken, featured on a TV show called Here Come The Brides, which had Bobby Sherman in it, and David Soul. That summer, ’69, I was actually in Seattle, and I remember my sister looking up and saying these are not the bluest skies…
Tie A Yellow Ribbon – A biggie by Tony Orlando & Dawn
Walk Right Back – A hit by The Everly Brothers, and later by Anne Murray
What Kind Of Fool Am I – A hit by Sammy Davis Jr. and less so by Robert Goulet, and not by Perry Como at all
Days Of Wine And Roses – A Henry Mancini song, and a hit by Andy Williams
Where Do I Begin – This is the theme from Love Story, also a hit by Andy Williams, and by Henry Mancini, and by Francis Lai.
It’s Impossible – My favourite here. I remember this one, it was on the top 40 in late 1970 / early 1971, but it was too syrupy to get played very often. Elvis did it, but I actually prefer Como…

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Four Aces


My kids had a book, it was a “Little Critters” book, When I Get Bigger by Mercer Mayer. The little critter character kept saying what he’d do when he got a bit bigger, and one thing I remember is “I would order something from a catalogue, and it would come in the mail.”

And that’s how I got The Four Aces; I ordered it, and it came in the mail. It was a mail order house for books really, and there were a few pages of records and tapes, and I ordered a few, and that’s it.

Except for “A Woman In Love;” I got that on an LP called Love Is A Many Splendored Thing, which was another treasure that I found for $1.25 at Woolco.

And this tape, it’s called Timeless Treasures, or maybe that’s just the name of the series, or maybe both. It’s a bit bizarre, just over half the songs seem to be original recordings they made in the 50s, the rest were recorded in the 70s, and I’m guessing by the vintage of the songs themselves. Most of the old songs were from before 1955; out of 19 hits they had from 1955 until 1959, only one is on this collection.

This music is so syrupy that you could put it on your pancakes…




The Four Aces:

· Love Is A Many Splendored Thing – A number one hit in the fall of 1955.
· Mister Sandman – This song doesn’t appear in my Whitburn book, but it shows up in Rock Almanac by Stephen Nugent and Charlie Gillett, who put it in the top 10 in January of 1955. I don’t quite get that; either it was in the top 10 or it wasn’t. This version pales beside the one by The Chordettes, but it was the one used in Back To The Future with Michael J Fox.
· Chapel In The Moonlight – A later song; this was a hit for The Bachelors, and for Dean Martin
· Stranger In Paradise – A hit for Tony Bennett, and I have versions by The Ventures (called “Paradise”) and by The Supremes.
· Feelings – The Morris Albert hit from 1976
· Believe In Love
· Heart And Soul – Another version of the Charmichael / Loesser song
· A Woman In Love – From the end of 1955
· I Write The Songs – This was written by Bruce Johnston, who was a member of The Beach Boys, and he wrote it for Brian Wilson, and Barry Manilow had the hit, and it was never any good by anyone…
· Three Coins In The Fountain
· Heart Of My Heart
· Tell Me Why – This is not The Beatles song, but Bobby Vinton did it, and I think Elvis,
· (It’s No) Sin – Identified on the label as “Sin,” this was their first hit.
· Garden In The Rain
· Written In The Wind
· And I Love You So – by Don McLean, from his first album, Tapestry, no relation to Carole King, pre-American Pie. This is a strange ballad, “the people ask me how, how I’ve lived till now” he sings. People? What people? Perry Como had a crack at this also.
· Now I Need You

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sarah Vaughan


The north end of Winnipeg is the north end of Winnipeg; there’s no getting around it. But there is plenty of Winnipeg north of the north end. The north end is called “the north end” I guess because it used to be the north end, back when my grandparents were growing up, but my grandparents grew up in an entirely different country.

Selkirk Avenue runs right through the north end, in a kind of direction that goes north west – south east, and that’s where Country Music Centre used to be.

It was a small store but it was a great store. And the guy that ran it, he looked like someone out of a Larry McMurtry novel, the perfect character to own and operate an outlet for country music. I would bring something to the counter, surprised that the man wasn’t actually chewing tobacco, and he’d look at it, and look at the price, and say nah that’s too much, and he’d knock a buck or two off.

When was the last time that happened at HMV.

No surprise, most of what they carried was country, they had the most amazing collection of country albums, and they had a bit of pop, and they had a 50s and 60s section, and of course that’s where I spent my time. For a time they had a small selection of used LPs, and that’s where I got Sarah Vaughan.

Now Sarah Vaughan, she sang jazz and she sang pop ballads, and she recorded for many different labels, in a number of different styles. Between 1955 and 1960, though, she put 19 records on the top 100, all on Mercury, and then in 1966 her recording of “Lover’s Concerto” became her last hit, sort of, reaching number 63.

This collection is an old one, released in the early 60s, and it features that part of her career, when her hits were, 6 of which are here.

And The Country Music Centre, before I left the city, it was for sale, but there were no takers, and, sadly, it closed its doors, never to reopen...





Sarah Vaughan:


Misty – This was actually a hit for Johnny Mathis, although I actually prefer Sarah. Ray Stevens did a country-style version in 1975
Broken Hearted Melody – Very pop, this was a top 10 hit in autumn, 1959.
Make Yourself Comfortable – Sultry. This was Sarah’s biggest hit single, and that was at the end of ’54, beginning of ’55.
Autumn in New York – I’ve only ever been in New York in the spring and the summer, and that was New York state, I’ve never been to NYC.
Moonlight in Vermont – Vermont is near here, and I hear that it’s beautiful, but I’ve never been.
How Important Can It Be – From the winter of 1955.
Smooth Operator – Not the Sade song, this was a hit at the end of 1959.
Whatever Lola Wants – No relation to Ray Davies, this was top 10 in the spring of 1955.
Lullaby Of Birdland – A jazz standard, she is really in her element here.
Eternally – From early 1960. Sounds a bit, at the start, like “Always” by Irving Berlin.
Poor Butterfly – This is a pop Madama Butterfly. Seriously.
Close To You – Not the Muddy Waters song, and not the Carpenters’ song either.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Five Keys

\
That time that I picked up The Harptones at Woolco I picked up The Five Keys. Another Harlem Hit Parade release, officially titled The Connoisseur Collection Of The Five Keys, and I’ve only ever seen these two, although I imagine that there were others.

Ten tracks here, including all four of their top 100 singles.

"The Glory Of Love" is from The Doo Wop Box, which I downloaded. It was recorded for Alladin, the rest were on Capital, which is odd, because the major labels did not sign R & B acts in those days.





The Five Keys:

Glory Of Love – an early release
Ling Ting Tong – a hit in January, 1955. This is a very silly song, and it was covered by Buddy Knox (Party Doll). “I went to Chinatown, to get some egg foo yung…”
Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind – this ballad went to number 23 in the autumn of 1956 and was their highest placing single.
Close Your Eyes – Not the Edward Bear song, this is another romantic ballad / slow dance, and it was Peaches & Herb who put it on the charts in the 60s.
From The Bottom Of My Heart – not the Buffy Ste. Marie song. They are a bit more uptempo here.
The Verdict – Not too many songs use legal metaphors to convey romantic yearnings…
Wisdom Of A Fool – From early 1957
Let There Be You – Let there be love, and there was love, etc… Their last hit, and it is from the spring of 1957
With All My Love
The Blues Don’t Care
Just For A Thrill – I think Ray Charles did this…
 
Locations of visitors to this page