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.
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?)
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
Monterey Mist – Is this about California or Mexico?
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…

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Ames Brothers

I’m not so much into vocal quartets. Well I like the Four Tops, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about those annoying MOR groups that were so popular in the 50s, like the Four Aces, and The Four Coins, and The Four Preps, The Four Lads, The Four Dorks.

But I like The Ames Brothers. They were actually brothers (Ed, Gene, Joe, & Vic) and they not only sang really nice harmonies (the kind that I think only siblings can pull off, cf The Everley Brothers, Kate & Anna McGarrigle), but they sang it like they meant it. That’s not easy to do in 4 part harmony.

They had 20 top 100 singles between 1955 and 1960, and I have this double album, called All Their Greatest Hits, but only 4 of the 20 songs are on it. To be fair, many of the tracks here were hits prior to 1955, but my book starts in 1955, so that’s the best I can do.

Now I’m fairly certain that I picked this up at Pyramid Records; I’m not sure, but I don’t remember getting anywhere else, and Pyramid is the default. I think I spent more hours there, and picked up more stuff, than in all the other places combined. It would have been in their 4th location, and that was on the south side of Portage Avenue between Edmonton and Kennedy, and I would say that they were there from 1988 or 89 until 93. It was the perfect spot for me because it was exactly where I changed buses on the way home from work.

Ok, there was no such group as The Four Dorks.

The Ames Brothers:

Rag Mop – This was a biggie and it was from 1950. They sing R-A-G-G M-O-P-P but the song the song title is just rag mop. I guess the correct spelling wouldn’t have fit the rhythm so well…
Did You Ever Get The Roses – Well the Ames Brothers had a fight with their girlfriend, and so they sent roses next day, but I don’t think it helped, because they never heard from her again. This song makes me sad.
Heartaches – A standard written by Hoffman / Clenner in 1931. There were tons of versions of this, and The Marcels put this on the chart, a follow-up to “Blue Moon” in the early 60s.
The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane – a “novelty” song. Love those novelty songs. The lady was a baby. Now you know the punch line.
Harbor Lights – There are tons of version of this one too. And it was a hit by The Platters.
Heart And Soul – Yet another standard, this one by Hoagy Carmichael and Frank Loesser. There was a doo-wop hit version by The Cleftones, and Jan &
Dean put a similar arrangement into the top 100 also.
Por Favor
The Man With The Banjo – Music about music.
I’ll Never Smile Again
A Fine Romance – I have another version of the by Ella Fitzgerald
Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby – by Louis Jordan, I’m not sure that is the best material for The Ames Brothers
Stella By Starlight – Yet another one with hundreds of recordings, the one I know best is by Ray Charles
Seventeen – We’ve heard this by The Fontane Sisters, and we will hear it again by Boyd Bennett & His Rockets
Count Every Star
Pussy Cat – from the fall of ‘58
The Game Of Love – Not The Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders song
Loch Lomond – The Ames Brothers were decidedly not Scottish
My Bonnie Lassie – Ditto, but they sure sing this beautifully
To Each His Own – We have heard this by The Ink Spots, and we will hear it again by The Platters
Melodie d’Amour – Not to be confused with “Melody Of Love” or “Chanson d’Amour,” this was a top ten hit in the autumn of 1957.
No One But You In My Heart
It Only Hurts For A Little While
Around The World – A hit for Bing Crosby, for Mantovani, and for Victor Young
Can Anyone Explain
Sentimental Me – Me too.
Two Sleepy People – This is sweet.
Hit The Road To Dreamsville
You, You, You – An early hit for the group
Moments To Remember – A big one for The Four Lads in 1956

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Fontane Sisters

Rock Love was a collection of hits and non-hits by The Fontane Sisters, named after one of their biggest records, which wasn’t on it. To give credit to the company that re-issued this stuff (Charly Records) they came out with a volume 2, called Rock Again Love, which had the song, and an explanation as to why it hadn’t been on the first volume (got dropped by accident).

I got these two albums at Records On Wheels, not at the same time, and it must have been on two separate special occasions, because they were not cheap. And I can't find a picture, so make do with this one.

You don’t remember The Fontane Sisters and neither do I, but they recorded for Dot, and they put 18 songs on the top 100 during the four years 1955 – 1958. 15 of which are here. Missing are “Voices,” “Adorable,” and “Nuttin’ For Christmas.”

( lists has an entry for Rock Again Love, and the tracks listed are the tracks on Rock Love)

The Fontane Sisters:

· Seventeen – Their version hit number 3 in the autumn of 1955. The original was by Boyd Bennett And His Rockets, and their version reached number 5. It is a bit weird for girls to sing this I think…
· I’m Stickin’ With You – The original of this was by Jimmy Bowen and I don’t have it. This was from the spring of ’57.
· Please Don’t Leave Me – This was by Fats Domino. His version doesn’t seem to have been on the charts, but the F sisters hit the charts in the autumn of ’56.
· I’m In Love Again – Another Fats songs. It was on the top 40 in the spring of ’56. Fats’ version reached number 3.
· Love Like A Fool
· Playmates – This was from before the time when the word was irrevocably associated with Playboy Magazine. This was from the spring of ’55, and was the flip of “Rollin’ Stone.”
· Hearts Of Stone – The Charms’ hit. This reached number one early in January 1955.
· You Are My Sunshine – Did I say that I don’t like this song so much? They don’t salvage it.
· Eddie My Love – Here it is, We’ve heard this by The Chordettes, now here it is by The Sisters. It’s ok, but the other versions are better.
· Billy Boy – This one is kind of silly. Who are the boys singing on it??
· The Rock ‘N’ Rolla – I think that this is based on song that has something to do with Coca Cola. They attempt to affect an accent, Jamaican possibly, but it’s hard to tell
· Daddy-O – The dude of his day. From the Christmas season of 1955.
· Jealous Heart – From the fall of ’58, their last hit, and it only reached #94
· Most Of All – not the B.J. Thomas song
· Banana Boat Song – aka Day-O. This was, of course, famous by Harry Belafonte, and by The Tarriers. The Sisters’ version, which lacks a certain authenticity, notwithstanding their undoubtedly sincere attempts at a Carribean patois, managed to reach number 18, in early 1957. They may have been playing this on the radio at the exact moment that I was born…
· Echoes Of Love
· Rock Love – From winter / spring of ‘55, and the title track of the album on which it wasn't...
· Fool Around – “I’m sick and tired of being blue…I’m wasting no more love on you…”
· You’re Mine – Not the Elvis Presley song.
· Listen To Your Heart
· Ragtime Rock ‘N’ Roll
· The Old Piano Roll Blues
· Rollin’ Stone – Not the Muddy Waters song. Summer ‘55
· Still – Not the Bill Anderson song. The original was by LaVerne Baker. From the fall of ’56, the flip of “Please Don’t Leave Me.”
· Chanson D’Amour – From the spring of ’58. Also a hit by Art & Dotty Todd, and covered much later by Manhattan Transfer.
· Got You On My Mind
· You Always Hurt The One You Love – A hit for the Mills Brothers
· Lonesome Lover Blues – From summer ’56, the A side was called “Voices” and was a bigger hit.
· I Understand – Not the G-Clefs’ song.
· If I Could Be With You

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Billy Vaughn

Billy Vaughn was the musical director of Dot Records, and his arrangements are all over recordings by Pat Boone and The Fontane Sisters. And he released plenty of records under his own name, and he had 28 records on the top 100 between 1955 and 1966, 12 of them on the top 40.

The album is called Golden Hits: The Best Of Billy Vaughn, and it was released in the early 60s, it has 11 tracks, and I believe that I picked it up at Pyramid Records. The first two track are from a double sided hit single reissue, which I probably also picked up at Pyramid.

Billy Vaughn:

· Raunchy – Three versions of this battled their way up the pop charts in late 1957, this one, and Bill Justis, and Ernie Freeman, and Justis’ is the one people remember, and the one that placed highest.
· Look For A Star – Four version of this battled their way up the pop charts in the summer of 1960, this one, and Garry Mills, and Garry Miles, and Deane Hawley, and I only know the last one from the Whitburn book, I don’t have it nor have I heard it. Both Garrys sing the words, Billy just plays the tune.
· Sail Along Silv’ry Moon – An old chestnut, Billy’s version found itself in the top 10 as 1957 sailed into 1958
· Melody Of Love – A biggie, early 1955. Also a hit for Frank Sinatra, and David Carroll.
· Moon Over Naples (Spanish Eyes) – Bert Kaempfert wrote this, and he recorded it of course, and Al Martino put it on the charts, something that Billy didn’t do, in 1966.
· A Swingin’ Safari – One of the great underrated singles. Another Kaempfert composition, but it was Billy who had the hit, in the fall of 1962.
· Theme From A Summer Place – It was Percy Faith who had the hit; this doesn’t really belong here, but it may have helped sell a few more copies.
· Blue Hawaii – so many people did this, Elvis did this, The Ray Charles Singers did this, Billy did it and it was a hit in early 1959.
· The Shifting Whispering Sands, part 1 – This is kind of bizarre. Ken Nordine is the narrator, and no, I don’t know anything about him. The song was a hit on the fall of ’55, and there was a competing version by Rusty Draper. “How I escaped from the valley I do not know” says Ken. Isn’t he curious?
· The Shifting Whispering Sands, part 2 – The Sequel
· Wheels – a hit for Billy and for the String-A-Longs in early 1961.
· La Paloma – reached number 20 in fall ’58; I think I have a version by Catarena Valente but I’m too lazy to check.
· Orange Blossom Special – Billy’s version doesn’t quite do it justice. Ah well, it still made number 63 on Billboard in March of 1961. This is our second encounter with this song, and we are keeping track. The first was Bill Monroe.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Chordettes

Quality Records was a Canadian label. (They released The Guess Who between 1964 and 1967.) In the late 80s, they released a series of LPs, each called "Greatest Hits," each with 10 tracks, and each with the same cover design. They featured mostly 50s and 60s artist from Chess (Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley), Roulette (Tommy James & The Shondells), Cameo Parkway (Fabian, Frankie Avalon) et al.

And The Chordettes. Some of these albums were ubiquitous; some weren’t. The Chordettes album wasn’t. It was damn hard to find.

I found my copy at Records On Wheels, a record store on the north side of Portage Avenue that specialized in imports. I was always interested in the 50s and 60s section, and they had Rhino, See For Miles, Sundazed, etc. I’d spend hours there, checking out the latest arrivals, the not-so-recent arrivals, salivating over LPs that cost $20 and up, and that was a lot.

So I didn’t buy records there very often. But The Chordettes was only about $10. And I never saw it anywhere else, which was a bit strange, because, as I say, the series was everywhere.

The Chordettes had 14 top 100 records from 1954 until 1961 (originally on Cadence) and 10 of them are on here. This was one of the few 50s girl groups that wasn’t sisters. And they were kinda sexy in their own dorky kind of way. Beautiful harmonies…

The Chordettes:

· Mr. Sandman – what a great record. Vaughn Monroe did this, and The Four Aces, and Emmylou Harris, but no one did it like The Chordettes. It was number one at the end of 1954. “yeeesssss?”
· Never On Sunday – the theme from the movie. From the summer of ’61. This was also a hit by Ray Anthony.
· Zorro – from the TV show, spring of ‘58
· Just Between You And Me – at least it’s not between you and I. This was in the top 10 in the autumn of ’57.
· Born To Be With You – from the summer of ‘56. What a beautiful recording this is. Dave Edmunds covered it.
· Lollipop – this must have raised a few eyebrows. Went all the way up to number 2 in winter / spring ’58.
· Eddie My Love – three versions of this fought there way up the charts in early 1956, one by The Fontane Sisters, one by The Teen Queens, and this one. This one gets my vote, though the TQ’s are no slouches.
· No Other Arms, No Other Lips – not the Pat Boone song, this is from the spring of 1959.
· Lay Down Your Arms – some military relief. This was a hit in autumn of 1956.
· Teenage Goodnight – I wonder how many teenagers refer to their parting ceremonies as teenage goodnight. Maybe 9. This was the flip of “Lay Down Your Arms” and it reached number 45 on its own merits.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bill Haley & His Comets

I am in awe of Bill Haley. He is probably the first rock and roller to show up on the pop charts. “Crazy Man Crazy” reached number 12 on the Billboard chart in mid 1953. 1953!

Elvis’ first record came out in 1954, his first hit in 1956. Chuck Berry and Fats Domino didn’t show up until 1955, Little Richard in 1956, Buddy Holly in ’57.

He doesn’t get the credit of course. Maybe the “experts” think he was too derivative, or too tame, or too old. Well he was kind of paunchy in his heyday. But it doesn’t matter, he was there before anyone else and it’s time to set the record straight.

This collection comes from three sources.

Golden Hits is the main source and it’s here in its entirety. 14 of his 24 hits are there. I got the album at Music City.

I used to hear Music City ads every night on the radio when I was a kid. Music City in the Mall Centre they said. Jack Skelly was the owner, and they said his name a lot. Where is the Mall Centre I asked my mother. Polo Park she said, referring to what was then the biggest mall in the city.

But she was wrong. The Mall Centre was a small strip of stores between the Mall Hotel and the bus depot, diagonally across from The Bay. But when I bought this LP the store had moved more into the centre of downtown. And I don’t know whether it was the same store. I didn’t go in there very many times. I bought Bill Haley, and Eric Burdon & The Animals, and The Irish Rovers, all at the same time, a long time ago, late 70s probably.

I got a tape, can’t remember the name, with about 9 tracks, I think I bought it at Sears Polo Park (funny how these things go) many years later, and 3 songs are here: “Rudy’s Rock,” “Mambo Rock,” and “Hot Dog Buddy Buddy.” And “Crazy Man Crazy,” the song that started it all, I got from an ancient compilation album called Rock And Roll Dance Party, and I found that at Pyramid Records, which is a story unto itself, so it will have to wait.

Haley hits missing in action: “Birth Of The Boogie,” “Joey’s Song,” “Lean Jean,” “Teenager’s Mother (Are You Right?),” Skokiaan.”

Bill Haley & His Comets:

· Rock Around The Clock – the granddaddy of all rock and roll songs. If rock and roll has a signature tune, this is it. (Well, this and “Johnny B Goode.”) The song was written by Max Freedman and Jimmy De Knight, whose real name was James Myers, and I know nothing about either one of them. Haley recorded it and released it in 1954 but it stiffed. Then in ’55 it was used for the movie Blackboard Jungle and the rest is history. They can’t count how many records it’s sold from then till now. It’s been covered of course, and I can think of Sha Na Na (well duh), and Harry Nilsson did it with John Lennon by his side on Pussy Cats, but it wasn’t his most stellar performance.
· Burn That Candle – “mother” is the object here, the one who is supposed to keep the candle burning, while she awaits Bill to waltz in with his sweetie. It was a hit late in 1955
· Forty Cups Of Coffee – Bill is worried sick while his sweetie is out late, and he ODs on caffeine. But the ending is happy, Bill is not angry with her for coming late or not calling. Still, I wanna know, where the heck was she. The song was out in the spring of ’57, when I was just a wee’un.
· Two Hound Dogs – one of many gimmicky songs that Haley did, the dogs are named Rhythm and Blues. And they dance. I guess.This was from the summer of ’55, but it only made number 50. I wonder why. This was the flip side of “Razzle Dazzle.”
· Tonight’s The Night – not The Shirelles song and not the Rod Stewart song, but the theme is the same, surprise. Oh, and not the Neil Young song. This is a group vocal.
· Dim Dim The Lights (I Want Some Atmosphere) – first he wants to burn the candle, then he wants to dim the lights. Make up your mind. How can I love you with the room so bright. This hit before “Rock Around The Clock,” in early ’55.
· Shake Rattle And Roll – one of the most famous rock and roll songs ever. The song was written by Charles Calhoun (I know I know, who?) and was done originally by Joe Turner, whose version is a bit slower, and which has a more loping rhythm. Haley cleaned up the words and managed to reach the top 10 in the fall of 1954. Arthur Conley put the song back on the charts in 1967.
· Rip It Up – Bill Haley does Little Richard. He cleaned up these words too – ‘we’re gonna ball tonight” becomes “at the ball tonight.” Oops.
· (You Hit The Wrong Note) Billy Goat – from the summer of ’57. A dumb song. Sorry
· Rockin’ Rollin’ Rover- more about dogs
· Rockin’ Little Tune – an instrumental, and not a very rock and roll one either.
· Rock-A-Beatin’ Boogie – The flip of Burn That Candle, this managed to scurry up to number 23 at the end of ’55.
· Thirteen Women (And Only One Man In Town) – Haley’s dream. It was in the wake of nuclear holocaust, and now he’s a stud. Too bad about the radiation.
· Saints Rock ‘N Roll – everybody had to have a stab at “When The Saints Go Marching In” and so did Haley. He doesn’t do a bad job of it, but it’s still an annoying song. Was in the top 20 in the spring of ’56.
· Corrine, Corrina – Joe Turner did this one too, and so, later, did Ray Peterson, and Bob Dylan, and Taj Mahal, and many others.
· Crazy Man Crazy – the one that started it off, in mid 1953, on Essex Records (the rest were on Decca).
· Rudy’ Rock – Rudy is Rudy Pompilli, the sax player, who took over as band leader early on, as Haley descended further into mental illness. From autumn 1956.
· Mambo Rock – Haley’s contribution to the mambo craze. From early 1955.
· Hot Dog Buddy Buddy – a real rocker this one, From spring, 1956.
· Calling All Comets – an instrumental, not as strange as the other one.
· Hide And Seek
· Rockin’ Thru The Rye – an adaptation of the song that gave Catcher In The Rye its name. From the summer of ’56, the flip side of Hot Dog Buddy Buddy
· See You Later Alligator – a top 10 hit from early 1956. Did the song come from the expression, or did the expression come from the song?
· R-O-C-K – From spring 1956, he sings about himself

Strauss discovered waltzes
The Handyman brought the blues
Then came Haley
With Crazy Man Crazy
Dig that crazy news

· Skinnie Minnie – from spring 1958
· Razzle Dazzle – from summer ’55. I remember a TV show called Razzle Dazzle.
· A.B.C. Boogie – a swinging teacher
· Don’t Knock The Rock – this was the name of a movie, and I guess Haley was in it and so was the song. Surprisingly this song does not appear to have made the charts.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Another 10 More Random Albums

Just a reminder that these are all vinyl records that I can’t play anymore. They are sitting in limbo, and they are acknowledged here…

Daphnis et Chloé: Choeur et Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Charles Dutoit

I bought this for my daughter, and she was much younger then than she is now, and she like to watch ballet on television so I bought this ballet music thinking she’d be interested, but she wasn’t so interested. She did, however, take the picture of the cover. Thank you daughter.

The first classical record I ever bought was another recording of this music, by Charles Munch possibly, and it was unusual in that it featured the entire ballet, not just the suites. This is also the entire ballet, and this was one of the first ever digital recordings. It was released in 1981. Wow.

John Denver – Take Me To Tomorrow

I bought this by accident, well not exactly. I bought Rhymes And Reasons on eBay, and this came along for the ride. I had it already, so I wouldn’t have bought it, and I have since replaced R & R with a CD copy. I like this album, though, for what it’s worth; it was an early LP, maybe his second, and way way better than Rhymes And Reasons anyway. But now I have them both.

Chris de Burgh – Spanish Train And Other Stories.

This is my wife’s. It sucks. She doesn’t even like it anymore. I liked Chris de Burgh for a while.
First time I heard of him was I think in 1976; he had just released Perfect Day and he was coming to Winnipeg. He seemed kind of cool, kind of hip. But he wasn’t really, he was just tiresome.

An Evening With John Denver

Considered by those that make such judgments to be one of the suckiest albums ever. Sorry, but I like it.

Musical Mother Goose

I don’t know about this one. I don’t know where it came from. Obviously a children’s album, but I don’t think any of my kids ever listened to it. It’s one of those cheap kids’ albums that every family used to have.

Richard Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, William Steinberg

The music from 2001. Of course that’s only the opening bars, but that’s all you need really. It was Karl Boehm whose recording was used in the movie. Strauss was yet another Nazi, though he was quite old when he joined the party, and probably senile. But it’s not so surprising that he set Nietzsche to music. Of course you can’t set Nietzsche to music, but that didn’t stop Strauss…

Britten, Serendate For Tenor, Horn And Strings with Robert Tear and Alan Civil,
Les Illuminations with Heather Harper (soprano), Northern Sinfonia, Neville Marriner cond.

I have been in love with Britten’s Serenade since the first time I heard it. The version I heard originally, and which I still have on MP3, had Britten himself conducting, and Peter Pears singing, and Barry Tuckwell playing horn. Alan Civil plays horn here, and he played on “For No One” by the Beatles, on Revolver.

Brahms, Symphony No. 1, Academic Festival Overture, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sir Georg Solti

I may have actually bought this one new, that’s all I can tell you…

The Bach Album, Eugene Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra

A double album with transactions and orchestral works by Bach. All his greatest hits seem to be here: Toccata And Fugue in D Minor, Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, Air On the G String etc. I hear that they play that last one in strip clubs…

Petite Sings

Ok, I don’t even know how to describe this. There was this TV show, ok? A TV show, a kids’ show, and it was called “Archie Wood And Friends.” Archie Wood was a puppet; he was made of wood, hence his name, (Archie?). And the ventriloquist, his name was Uncle Bob. And see, Uncle Bob, he wasn’t very good, you could see his lips move. He didn’t make any effort to hide it. I guess when you’re a kid you look at the puppet. Of course Archie had friends, like Marvin Mouse.

And Petite. Petite was a dog. And every week she sang. It seems to me, and my memory may be faulty here, but it seems to me that every week she sang "How Much Is That Doggie In The Window." So imagine how surprised I was to find this album at Value Village. A whole album of Petite singing contemporary pop: “These Boots Are Made For Walking,” “Me & Bobby McGee,” “Rose Garden,’ etc. I kid you not. Of course she also does “Safety Song,” “Little White Duck,” and “Fun In The Fall,” but still…

It doesn't get more surreal than this.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Little Walter

Sears was never the best place in the world to get records, but at one time they had a serious record department. I got my first record there. Well, we had the odd Lp or 45 that our parents had gotten for us or that one my sisters had gotten here or there, but this was the first time I was in the store buying a record. I was 12, and it my parents bought it for me, but I asked them to; it was “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. That was at the Polo Park store.

They were Simpsons Sears back then, and I don’t know exactly when they dropped the Simpsons but they did. There was a store closer home, at Garden City Shopping Centre, that opened in 1970. It seems that I got a lot of clearance items and cutouts there.

That’s where I got Boss Blues Harmonica by Little Walter. It was a double album, a best of, and it cost $1.98. It is the only copy I’ve ever seen.

Little Walter (Walter Jacobs) played harmonica, he played on his own records and on others'; and he sang. Compared to, say, Muddy Waters, he was a second tier blues artist, but he was no slouch. And I don’t think he was so little.

About half the songs on this collection are instrumentals. the other half are not.

Little Walter:

My Babe – A Willie Dixon song. Ricky Nelson did this, so did Gerry & The Pacemakers, and so did dozens more.
Sad Hours
Just Your Fool
You’re So Fine – not the Falcons song
Last Night – not the Mar-Keys song
Blues With A Feeling
Can’t Hold Out Much Longer
Mean Old World - Chuck Berry covered this on his early 70s London album, the one that had "My Ding-A-Ling."
Off The Wall – not the Michael Jackson song
You Better Watch Yourself
Blue Lights – not to be confused with “The House Of Blue Lights”
Tell Me, Mama – not the Bob Dylan song, at least not as far as I can tell
Back Track
It’s Too Late Brother
Just A Feeling
Teenage Beat
Flying Saucer – not the Buchanan & Goodman stuff
I Got To Go
Shake Dancer
Too Late
Ah’w Baby
Boom, Boom, Out Go The Lights – a lighthearted song about domestic violence. It was covered by King Biscuit Boy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Harptones

I hate Wal-Mart. That’s not just because they are union busters, though that’s reason enough. I hate Wal-Mart, because it is crass, because there are too many people shopping there whenever you go, because they don’t have what you need notwithstanding their claims to the contrary, because it is too big without a the corresponding benefit of versatility.

Where Wal-Mart stood until a few years ago, there used to be a store called Woolco. Woolco wasn’t so bad. It was a bit smaller, and lot more civilized. It was never The Bay or anything, but it was manageable.

I bought a tie at Woolco, the one I got married in.

There wasn’t much of a record department there. But every so often they’d get some kind of a clearance going on. And so I remember, it was in the early 80s I guess, I was with a friend and we discovered boxes of LPs selling for $1.25 each. And we were looking for lost treasures. We were looking, we said, for “another Mood Jga Jga album,” referring to an album by a one time Winnipeg group that we regarded very highly, but whom nobody would have heard of anywhere else. Most of what I picked up was fairly junky, but I did get Ramsay Lewis, and The Five Keys (keep reading), and The Harptones.

And so it was that The Harptones never had a hit, not on the pop charts, not on the R& B charts, but among aficionados they are considered to have been very influential. Maybe they were and maybe they weren’t. But here they are, on a collection called Harlem Hit Parade.

And my friend? He got married in 1981, and he became a doctor, and he moved to Toronto with his family, and he is still there, and we are not so much in touch, although we called him when we were in TO in 2006…

The Harptones:

Forever Mine
What Is Your Decision
Loving A Girl Like You
Since I Fell For You – This became a hit for Lenny Welch in 1960.
Sunday Kind Of Love – a hit for The Del Vikings, after “Come Go With Me,” and Jan & Dean had a crack at it.
It Was Just For Laughs
I Depend On You
My Memories Of You
I’ll Never Tell
Mambo Boogie – keep track, mambo was big for a few months at the end of ’54 and beginning of ’55.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Muddy Waters

The Chess Boxes are good. I discovered Chuck Berry first. They also had Bo Diddley and Willie Dixon – and Muddy Waters.

This is another find from the West Kildonan Library. I kept about half of it. You can actually have too much Muddy Waters.

The songs here span the years 1948 – 1973. And Muddy never had a hit on the pop charts; he was a no hit wonder.

Muddy Waters:

Gypsy Woman – kind of a prewrite of “Hootchie Cootchie Man.” Not Gypsy Woman by The Impressions
Mean Disposition
I Can’t Be Satisfied – The Stones covered this, but they missed the humour
• I Feel Like Going Home – a slow down-home blues, the title of which was used for a book about the blues.
Rollin’ And Tumblin’, Part 1 – covered by Cream, by Canned Heat.
Rolling Stone – I wish I was a catfish, this song went by a number of different titles, and of course the Stones named themselves after this song
Evans Shuffle – sounds suspiciously like the song that Cream called “Cat’s Squirrel”
Walkin’ Blues – most notably covered by The Butterfield Blues Band
Louisiana Blues – covered by Savoy Brown
She Moves Me
Stuff You Gotta Watch – not so well known, The Band did this on Jericho, their not-quite comeback album, sans Robbie Robertson
Standing Around Crying
Baby Please Don’t Go – the Joe Williams song, covered by Them on the A side of the single that would bear Gloria, and in psychedelisized version by The Amboy Dukes. Dylan recorded but never released it; it’s on bootlegs.
Hoochie Coochie Man – many covers of this, by Steppenwolf, and most notoriously by The Allman Brothers
I Just Want To Make Love To You – The Stones did this on an early b-side, and Foghat put it out as a single in 1974.
I’m Ready – a well known blues, covered by George Thoroughgood among others – not the Fats Domino song
Smokestack Lightning – Howlin’ Wolf also had a crack at this. There are covers by Manfred Mann and The Yardbirds
Mannish Boy – maybe his best known recording, thanks at least in part to his performance of it on The Last Waltz, and by the Stones’ cover on Love You Live recorded at the El Mocambo in Toronto. This is a rewrite of Bo Diddley’s I’m A Man.
Trouble No More – The Allman Brothers did this one too, live at the Fillmore East.
Don’t Go No Farther – The Doors did this, with Ray Manzerik singing. It was the b-side of, I think, Love Her Madly, and it was titled “You Need Meat (Don’t Go No Farther)”.
I Like The Life I Live, I Live The Life I Love – Mose Allison did this
Got My Mojo Working– more recordings of this that you can shake a stick at. Carla Thomas did a female version.
Rock Me – the quintessential blues, more famous by B. B. King, recorded by everyone from Otis Reddng to Robin Trower.
Good News – not to be confused with Sam Cooke’s “Ain’t That Good News.”
Evil – not the Stevie Wonder song. Another one that Howlin’ Wolf did.
Close To You – not The Carpenters’ song. The Doors did this on Absolutely Live. Ray Manzerik sang this one also.
Walkin’ Thru The Park
Southbound Train
I Feel So Good
You Shook Me – yes it’s the one that Zeppelin did on the first album, and by the way, the Jeff Beck Group beat them to it.
You Need Love – Zep rewrote this, called it “Whole Lotta Love,” and took credit.
My Love Strikes Like Lightening
My Home Is In The Delta
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl – the most widely recorded dirty-old-man song ever. The Yardbirds did this, Rod Stewart did this, Ten Years After did this, Johnny Winter did this, etc etc
The Same Thing
Making Friends
Birdnest On The Ground
Country Boy
Lonesome Road Blues
All Aboard
Going Down Slow – The Animals recorded this on Animalism
Who’s Gonna Be Your Sweet Man When I’m Gone
Can’t Get No Grinding (What’s The Matter With The Meal) - worth the price of the package

Saturday, November 8, 2008

LaVerne Baker

Alright let’s talk about the library again. This one is here in Montreal, and it’s called La Grande Bibliothèque du Québec, that’s Quebec’s big library – “grand” means big, not grand – and it is big.

It is an imposing building, at least I believe so, but I’ve only ever seen it twice from the outside, though I’ve been there probably hundreds of times. I go straight from the Metro station, so I never go from outside, which is just as well, because apparently said library is architecturally challenged, and big chunks of it have fallen and hit people on the head, or almost hit people on the head.

But inside, so far, it’s safe. I borrow books there, and the truth is that I have found books there that I would not find elsewhere, but the real truth is that the main reason I go there is surprise, surprise, for the music.

They have a CD collection like no library I’ve ever seen. It is particularly rewarding if one is interested in classical music; whatever you want, they have. So I go now every Tuesday on my lunch hour, and that seems to work.

Now I’m cheating here, because I’m writing about my LaVerne Baker collection, because she comes between The Penguins and Muddy Waters, but right at that spot I’ve only got 4 tracks: “Tweedle Dee,” “Jim Dandy”, “I Cried A Tear,” and “Saved.” And I will tell you that they all came from various Atlantic Records compilations, and leave it at that. But it was at the Grande Bibliotheque that I found Souls On Fire: The Best Of Lavene Baker, and it comes later, as part of my MP3 collection, but I can’t help it. So I’m cheating by putting it here. I’ve been having a crisis of conscience about this, and I may not sleep well for a while, but it can’t be helped.

Briefly, Laverne Baker was the Aretha Franklin of her day, in a way. They both recorded for Atlantic, and neither compromised her sound or style. She switched to Brunswick around 1966, Laverne did, and she wasn’t much heard from after that.

It happens that she had 20 songs on the Billboard Hot 100, and that there are 20 tracks on this disk, but they are not the same 20 tracks. One of the 20 hits (“Think Twice” – not the Brook Benton song) was on Brunswick. But what of the others? Missing in action here are: “Tra La La”(1956), “Humpty Dumpty Heart” (1957), “Tiny Tim,” “If You Love Me” (1959), “Shadows Of Love,” “Wheel Of Fortune”(1960),“Bumble Bee,” “You’re The Boss(1961), “Fly Me To The Moon” (1965).

Laverne Baker:

  • Soul On Fire – Her first hit.
  • Tomorrow Night – always promising…
  • Tweedle Dee – her big breakthrough from early ’55. It has been said that it was an attempt to tame her style with a ‘cute’ song; maybe so, but tamed she wasn’t. This song fairly rocks. She rode it to number 14 on Billboard; Georgia Gibbs put it up to number 2
  • That’s All I Need
  • Bop-Ting-A-Ling – “Tweedle Dee” redux, after a fashion
  • Play It Fair
  • Jim Dandy – a top 20 hit in early 1957
  • My Happiness Forever
  • Get Up, Get Up (You Sleepy Head)
  • Still – this was the B-side of “I Can’t Love You Enough,” and it reached number 97 on its own merits. Covered by the Fontaine Sisters, and it was not the Bill Anderson song
  • I Can’t Love You Enough – from the fall of ‘56
  • Jim Dandy Got Married – maybe he married Peggy Sue. This was from the spring of ’57.
  • I Cried A Tear – this is the exact same song as “What Am I Living For” (Chuck Willis) with different words. It was her only top 10 single, and that was in early 1959.
  • Whipper Snapper
  • I Waited Too Long – from the spring of ‘59
  • Shake A Hand – a worthy cover of the Faye Adams classic
  • How Often
  • You Said
  • Saved – a song of religious conversion, not to be confused with the Bob Dylan album of the same name. Laverne sounds like she’s having a heck of good time being saved… it was a hit in the spring of ‘61
  • See See Rider – the perennial. Laverne’s take on this was a hit in early ’63.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Penguins

The Penguins weren’t much, just another bird group. And they did one of the most astounding doo-wop records ever. After “Earth Angel” was a hit, they signed with Mercury, and never had another hit. Still, their place in history is assured.

The “collection’ comes from Echoes Of A Rock Era. If you’ve been following this then you know that I got that at the West Kildonan Library.

The Penguins:

  • Earth Angel - One of the greatest Saturday night prom songs of ever. The Crew Cuts did this, not well, but they were Canadian so we forgive them.

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008

    [Otis Williams &] the Charms

    Another two singles that I picked up at Argy’s, I’d assumed that both these records were by the same group with a slightly different name in each case. I’m not sure now; the second record may actually be a different group. Williams is on both, and he is not Otis Williams who was a member of the Temptations.

    The Charms:

    • Hearts Of Stone – the first time I heard this it was by The Blue Ridge Rangers, who were actually John Fogerty, and it was their / his follow-up to Jambalaya, but it only ever got played on the radio once or twice. But once I heard that “no no no no no no no no” there was no way I was gonna forget it. so when I picked this up, I knew right away it was that song I’d heard by BBR. Fogerty is good, but he can’t match the original. The Fontane Sisters put it at number 1 (The Charms’ version reached #15) but their version is typically bleached.

    Otis Williams And The Charms:

    • Ivory Tower - This was a year or two later. It was covered by Gale Storm.

    Monday, November 3, 2008

    The DeCastro Sisters

    I don’t have to tell you about Argy’s, because you can read about it on the web. I found it not long after it opened, it wasn’t so far from where I worked for a year, that was 1983 – 1984, and mostly what they sold was records.

    They got out of the record business, Ray did, that was the owner, Ray, later, 1989 to be exact. They concentrated on collectibles, cards, comics, that kind of thing. That was after he moved. But it was fun while it lasted. And he may have gotten back into vinyl, if the web site is an indication.

    And there was this one time, there was this one time, I guess he bought out an estate or something, it was a shipment that came from the States, he told me, and I would have known anyway by the record labels, and he’d picked up hundreds of old 45s, hundreds.

    I picked up a handful, one of which was “Teach Me Tonight,” a scratchy old 45 by the DeCastro Sisters. They were Cuban, apparently, and one of so many sister groups that were popular in the 50s (deJohn Sisters, Fontaine Sisters, Lennon Sisters, Dinning Sisters – all deriving their style more or less from The Andrews Sisters).

    This is the only song I have by them. They had a follow up called “Boom Boom Boomerang,” but I don’t have it. Alas.

    The DeCastro Sisters:

    • Teach Me Tonight – there is something not quite healthy about this, and I don’t think it would pass muster in today’s world. “Should the teacher stand so near my love?” Ah but the world was so innocent back then wasn’t it.

      Wasn’t it?

      George Maharis covered this in 1960.

    Joan Weber

    Wayne Janick wrote The Billboard Book Of One-Hit Wonders. It’s a whole other phenomenon, one-hit wonders. I won’t get into definitions here – one hit on the top 40? One hit on the top 100? Let others decide today.

    Joan WeberJoan Weber, she was the consummate one-hit wonder. I don’t know if she is in Janick’s book; maybe the period he covers starts later. But here it is, she was signed up to Columbia by Mitch Miller himself, then when her big hit was riding the top of the charts she went and had a baby, so she couldn’t tour, so poof goes the promotion, and she recorded more songs, but she never had another hit.

    And this all amuses me, because her song, “Let Me Go Lover,” was number on the Billboard chart released on January 1, 1955, (according to Whitburn anyway; I have another book that says it was “Mr. Sandman:, phooey), and 1955 is generally considered to be the first year of the “rock and roll era,” which is, among other things, the era of the one-hit wonder. So how prescient was that.

    I picked this up on a K-Tel type album that I got at Comic World. I will tell you about Comic World but that will have to wait.

    And why, anyway, did Billboard publish an edition on January 1? Didn’t they have New Year’s Day back then?

    - sound bite: Bandstand Boogie - theme from American Bandstand, by Lex Baxter. It bookends this collection. Wait for it to come round again...

    Joan Weber:

    • Let Me Go Lover – a weepy ballad this is, and the words are basically a prewrite of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” which the Supremes did 12 years later. There were competing versions by Teresa Brewer and by Patti Page, and Hank Snow did it, but he sang “Let Me Go Woman” and the way he spit out “woman” was like a swear word, and Homer & Jethro did it, but they called it “Let Me Go Blubber.”

      Sunday, November 2, 2008

      January 1955

      This is where the fun starts.

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


      • Let Me Go Lover – Joan Weber
      • Mr. Sandman – The Chordettes
      • Melody Of Love – Billy Vaughn
      • This Old House – Rosemary Clooney
      • Teach Me Tonight – The DeCastro Sisters
      • I Need You Now – Eddie Fisher
      • Count Your Blessings – Eddie Fisher
      • That’s All I Want From You – Jaye P. Morgan
      • Papa Loves Mambo – Perry Como
      • Make Yourself Comfortable – Sarah Vaughan
      • Dim Dim The Lights (I Want Some Atmosphere) – Bill Haley & His Comets
      • Shake Rattle & Roll - Bill Haley & His Comets
      • Mr. Sandman – The Four Aces
      • Hearts Of Stone – The Fontane Sisters
      • No More – The DeJohn Sisters
      • Let Me Go Lover – Teresa Brewer
      • Mambo Italiano – Rosemary Clooney
      • Hearts Of Stone – The Charms
      • Home For The Holidays – Perry Como
      • Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane – The Ames Brothers
      • Ling Ting Tong – The Five Keys
      • Let Me Go Lover – Patti Page
      • Earth Angel – The Penguins
      • Open Up Your Heart – Cowboy Church Sunday School
      • Let Me Go Lover – Sunny Gale
      • Sincerely – The McGuire Sisters
      • Tweedle Dee – LaVerne Baker
      • Ling Ting Tong – The Charms
      • Melody Of Love – Frank Sinatra and Ray Anthony
      • Melody Of Love – The Four Aces
      • Melody Of Love – David Carroll
      • No More – The McGuire Sisters
      • I Got A Woman – Ray Charles

      Saturday, November 1, 2008

      Vaughn Monroe

      The Best Of Vaughn Monroe

      There were two organizations in Winnipeg that had fund-raising record sales – one was the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, who eventually established a full-time store, and the other was the Winnipeg Folk Festival – and I think that they shared an inventory and an infrastructure. They took turns holding sales at Eaton Place or Portage Place, downtown shopping centres.

      And so they would charge $3.00 for an LP, and they wouldn’t bargain. And I would pick up 5 LPs and offer $10, and whoever was selling would count them and say 5 LPs that’s $15, and I would say I’m offering you $10, and they didn’t get it. But I said I’m not paying you 15 getit? But I will give you 10, and that’s money for your organization, or I will leave the LPs here, and give you nothing. But they wouldn’t budge.

      So I would pick one out of the 5, and that’s it.

      That’s where I got Vaughn Monroe, but I don’t remember which organization was in charge that day.

      So Vaughn Monroe, this is his greatest hits, and they were all hits during the 40s, before my time. but I know a lot of these songs:

      • There! I’ve Said It Again – a hit for Bobby Vinton in 1964

      • Riders In The Sky (A Cowboy Legend) – we already heard this by The Sons Of The Pioneers. It was hit in the early 60s by The Ramrods, and in the 80s by Johnny Cash, and it was covered by everyone from Peggy Lee to Dick Dale. This version isn't my favourite.

      • Someday (You’ll Want Me To Want You)

      • Mister Sandman – this is apparently a later recording, seeing as how the song was written in 1954. It was a huge hit for The Chordettes and a lesser one for The Four Aces. They all should have just let The Chordettes have it, and leave well enough alone.

      • Sound Off (The Duckworth Chant) – a military hymn of sorts

      • Racing With The Moon (Vaughn Monroe’s Theme Song) – who thought he’d need a theme song…

      • Ballerina – also a hit for Nat King Cole, not the Van Morrison song

      • There I Go – his first hit

      • There’ll Be Some Changes Made

      • The Maharaja Of Magador

      • Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – also recorded by Ella Fitzgerald. I bet neither ever lived in Canada
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