Saturday, March 22, 2014

I'm still around!

Hello, all!
Yes...I am alive!
I've had a number of financial issues which escalated my somewhat depressed state, causing me to withdraw from just about everything important to me...including the Sanctum. I wasn't in any physical danger (I'm not the suicidal type), but my state of mind wasn't too good, either.
Well... I'm beginning to recover. I've relocated to a cheaper (and larger) apartment in another state. Once I get back on financial terra firma (the move cost me a bundle!), I will repost anything I can, and post a whole lot of new stuff that I want you to check out. But it will be a while.
I must thank all my friends in the area who helped me cope for their support, muscle power (records are heavy!), and vehicles.
I also have a fluffy brother's long-coat Akita, Kodi-Bear...any time things get bleak, he's only six miles away.
Hope to be posting again some time in the near future.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Hallowe'en 2012 (repost of Hallowe'en 2010)

I'm sorry for not posting in a while...
Things have been somewhat hectic at Chez Zorch...I sold a couple of goodies on eBay (I had to...), and my mom passed on in May. 
Anyway, we've got the first gusts of Hurricane Sandy  up here in the Northeast Corridor. There's not a lot of things that I can do at the moment, but I do still have electricity. Now's the perfect time to get around to reposting my Hallowe'en post from a couple of years ago, with new MediaFire links replacing the old MegaUpload ones. The last time I checked (just before MegaUpload went belly-up), the Buddy Morrow LP had been downloaded over 1000 times (wish I had a buck for every time someone downloaded it, but enough of that!). Somebody else wanted the Brother Theodore to be reposted as well.

This should please a bunch of readers...turn your way-back machine to this time two years ago...

It's Hallowe'en season again! Here's a triple-decker spook-tacular...with a little chaser!

The first album is a lot of fun...I'm dedicating it to the memory of the trombonist/bandleader Buddy Morrow (born 1919 as Muni Zudekoff, aka Moe Zudekoff) who passed on about a month ago (27 September 2010).
This album is often quite reminiscent of Morrow's previous Impact! and Double Impact! LPs, both of which sold like hotcakes. There are a couple of poems narrated by Keith McKenna, as well as a couple of twistaroos sung by The Skip-Jacks.

POE FOR MODERNS Buddy Morrow Orch RCA Victor LSP-2208

1. The Murders In The Rue Morgue
2. Annabel Lee (Keith McKenna, narrator)
3. The Gold Bug 

4. A Descent Into The Maelstrom 
5. The Bells (The Skip-Jacks, vocal)
6. The Fall Of The House Of Usher 

7. The Pit And The Pendulum 
8. Ulalume (Keith McKenna, narrator)
9. The Black Cat

10. The Raven (The Skip-Jacks, vocal)
11. Quoth The Raven 

12. The Tell-Tale Heart

The other day, I stumbled across another adaptation of Poe's The Raven here:'s a 1966 garage rocker from Brooklyn.

And you can hear Fred Astaire's Raven-inspired Me And The Ghost Upstairs here self-promotion, eh wot?).

The second LP is a rare one, indeed!

It's one of the strangest spoken-word albums I've ever heard...and one of the best. It's by "stand up tragedian" Theodore Gottlieb (1906-2001), who was usually billed as Brother Theodore. There's a very good website about him here , so I'll get out of the way and let you listen.

Oh...the first cut is a somewhat Lorre-esque adaptation of Poe's necro-dontal tale Berenice, and The Willow Landscape is from a story by Clark Ashton Smith.

CORAL RECORDS PRESENTS THEODORE Brother Theodore Gottlieb Coral CRL 57322
1. Introduction and Berenice
2. The Willow Landscape
3. Curse of the Toad
4. Quadrupedism

Some may recognize Theodore's distinctive voice from this:

You'll see a much more recent snippet of his Quadrupedism monologue (along with some other diversions) here:

You can also hear a "straight" reading of Berenice here

My third album isn't really spooky at all, but there is a neat black cat on the cover:

It's a musical adaptation by Alan Rawsthorne of six of T. S. Eliot's poems from his Old Possum's Book Of Practical's short and sweet (and a helluva lot easier for me to enjoy than that Webber thing on Broadway that drew from the same source). The narration is by Mr. Chips, Robert Donat (mmmmm....doughnuts).

Six Poems by T. S. Eliot
Musical Setting By Alan Rawsthorn
Robert Donat, speaker.
The Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by the composer
1. Overture
2. The Naming Of Cats
3. The Old Gumbie Cat
4. Gus, The Theatre Cat
5. Bustopher Jones: The Cat about Town
6. Old Deuteronomy
7. The Song Of The Jellicles

This LP came in a deluxe box and has a four-page booklet (included in the .zip file).

Since Track 5 is about a cat named Bustopher Jones, and it's on a (big) ten-inch LP, I think I'll give my good friend Buster's blog another plug.

And here's a little lagniappe, borrowed from my good pal, D Burns:

78264 A Cat-Astrophe Columbia Band Columbia A 2855
NYC, January 1919.
The flip side is dedicated to my neighbor, Ronster:
78285-3 Slim Trombone Columbia_Band Columbia A 2855
NYC, 3 February 1919.

And that'll do it for now...hope you dug it (up).

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Irving Szathmary - Moods For Moderns

I'm sorry for my long lapse in writing...I've been busy with my usual seasonal doldrums (my less-than-rosy financial status also contributed to my latest blue funk). The Megaupload shutdown didn't help, either. I'll try to reload the LPs that were thrown out with the Megaupload bathwater sometime in the near future. I've switched to Mediafire for the time being.

Anyhooo...back to the present...

Here's a somewhat unusual ten-inch contains eight whimsical instrumentals arranged and conducted by Irving Szathmary (1907-1983), best remembered today for his incredibly catchy theme for the 1965-1970 TV show Get Smart!
You've probably noticed that the composer left the "S" off his surname for this LP (and the autograph). He also recorded versions of two of the songs included here (Irish Washerwoman and Polly Wolly Doodle) in 1927 for Grey Gull, also as "Irving Zathmary." I don't have that record, and would love to compare those sides with these.

He also recorded some Lang-Worth transcriptions as "Szath-Myri."

Szathmary was the older brother of comic Bill Dana, and contributed much of the music to Dana's 1963-1965 TV show.

There's a good article on Mr. Szathmary here ... for the album itself, it's a lot of fun! The arrangements run the gamut from posh easy-listening to cute novelty to out-and-out swing, with some rather nice solos thrown in for good measure. I don't have personnel on this LP yet...maybe someone out in Blogville will supply it.
MOODS FOR MODERNS Irving (S)Zathmary Orch 10" Madison MA-267 
1. Dick-Dockery
2. Pitter Patter Polka
3. Irish Washerwoman 

4. Ay, Ay, Ay
5. Billy Boy 
6. Polly Wolly Doodle 
7. Oh Dear, What Can The Matter Be
8. Sailor's Hornpipe 

And now for something completely different: It's a pair of Burmese 78 rpm sides! I found this record at a yard sale in Providence a few months ago. Maybe someone in Blogville can transliterate the label info, and perhaps give a rough translation of the song.

They're jaunty, very western-sounding sides...a pleasant female vocal backed by a violin, slide guitar,  muted trumpet, and clarinet. There's also a piano with some flabby-sounding bass notes too.
This record is quite similar to one posted a couple of years ago at Haji Maji ...I think it's the same ensemble.
As pretty as the label is (Nipper must be at the vet's), it's the sleeve that really got me, even with the Scotch tape!

By the way, the sleeve opens on the side, instead of the top (like most 78 sleeves).
That's all for now, folks.
I have a batch of singles I want to post soon. And I do mean soon!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Some (darkly) sweet sounds for December

A few weeks ago, I downloaded a most intriguing compilation/mixtape from . I then played it. About halfway through, I heard Nat Shilkret's Bolero, and a bit later on, Madame Riviere's Paahana Hula. I said to myself "Interesting...these sound like my copies!" I thought the pattern of clicks and noises on those cuts (which are unique as fingerprints) sounded a little too familiar to be merely coincidental...maybe I caught someone with his hand in my cookie jar.

So I wrote in and asked if those were, in fact, my transfers. The Wise Old Owl at the Warbles thanked me for not losing my cool, and confessed that they were indeed "borrowed" from my blog.

Now, I have no problems with people downloading my materials...nor do I mind my records being used in someone else's blog. But I must ask for credit somewhere in the posting (just as I give credit to someone else if I borrow something for mine). Actually, I'd appreciate advance notice, if only to prepare some sort of the minimum a plug for the borrowing blog, and perhaps a special cut or two in dedication.

There are now links to my blog on my two cuts at the Warbles.

Actually, I'm rather flattered to hear some of my records being used as part of a larger audio collage. And Dark Sweets is just too fine a compilation for me to nitpick much.

Now that's all been said, here are some tasty sides for friends Moahaha and Owl at Holy Warbles:

I recently found this somewhat battered, but very interesting was loved a little too much, and it had seen some moisture at some time in the past eighty years, making the gold print on the green Columbia label extremely faint. But I could (barely) make out the word "Criolo" and thought I'd take a chance on it. I'm glad I did!

It's by a Cape Verdean/American group...I can't find much info on them, but according to Johnny Perry’s Instrumental Criolo Trio featured the legendary fiddler Boboy de Tai of New Bedford, Massachusetts.

W110838-2 Five D'Outobro - Waltz Johnny Perry's Portuguese Criolo Trio Columbia 1069-X

(5 October 1910 is the date that Portugal overthrew its monarchy and declared itself a republic. But Cape Verde didn't become independent from Portugal until 5 July 1975.)
W110839-1 San Vincente - Polka Johnny Perry's Portuguese Criolo Trio Columbia 1069-X
NYC, June 1929: exact personnel unknown.
I fell in love with this record...they remind me of the other two early Columbia Cape Verdean 78s I have.

A few years ago, an old 78 collecting pal of mine gave me a copy of Cabo Verdranos Peca Nove (Cape Verdean Piece Number Nine) by Abrew's Portuguese Instrumental Trio. I was very much impressed, especially by the fiery fiddling on the bridge. When I played it for a group of collectors a short time later, they were equally impressed. Eventually it showed up on the Old Hat compilation Folks, He Sure Do Pull Some Bow!

The tango on the other side is lovely...but there is a serious flaw in my copy. There's a deep thumbnail-sized edge flake that made the first half-inch of the record unplayable. I filled the divot in with nail polish. The damaged section still goes "thunk, thunk, thunk," but at least it can now be played.

Last year I found a second record from the same session! This record has an edge flake, too...although it's not as bad. And the overall condition is a little rougher. Oh, well. These X-series (originally for export) Columbias aren't very common. I'm glad I have these any condition. (I had to borrow this scan from Popsike until I get my scanner going again)

W112794-2 Masurka Do Meu Pae Abrew's Portuguese Instrumental Trio Columbia 1131-X
W112795-2 Abrew's Portuguese Jazz Abrew's Portuguese Instrumental Trio Columbia 1131-X
W112797-2 Tango Portuguez Abrew's Portuguese Instrumental Trio Columbia 1129-X
W112799-2 Cabo Verdranos Peca Nove Abrew's Portuguese Instrumental Trio Columbia 1129-X
NYC, February 1931: exact personnel unknown.

I'm tickled to see the Little Brothers performing a modern version of Peca Nove: Christmas songs yet? Oops! Here's one!

Since all the Cape Verdean sides were on green-label Columbias, I think I'll include one that was on a red one:

W141283-1 At The Christmas Ball Bessie Smith Columbia 35842
NYC 18 November 1925: Bessie Smith, vocal; with Joe Smith, cornet; Charlie Green, trombone; Fletcher Henderson, piano.

Why this lovely side stayed in the can until 1940 is anybody's guess.

I also want to thank Radioman David G. and Joan McG. for their kind donations a while back...I'm sorry it took so long for me to get around to acknowledging you.

Happy holidays to one and all.....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lee Wiley and Friends - 10 April 1940

Thanks to Ronster for getting me this early birthday present!

Here's the complete session (including breakdowns) of 10 April 1940, featuring one of my favorite singers, Lee Wiley...she's joined by an all-star lineup including The Bunster...four songs were recorded. They're all gems (especially Find Me A Primitive Man). They were originally issued as half of her Songs of Cole Porter album, on the Liberty Music Shop label.

The LP issue is the limited-edition Blu-Disc T-1013.

This one's dedicated to the Providence League of Wiley Fans...especially to The Beard (get better soon, y'hear?).

1-3 Let's Fly Away
4-9 Let's Do It
10-11 Hot House Rose
12-20 Find Me A Primitive Man
(actually #19 is studio chatter only)
NYC, 10 April 1940: Lee Wiley, vocal with Bunny Berigan's Music: Bunny Berigan, trumpet; Joe Bushkin, piano; Sid Weiss, bass; George Wettling, drums.


Saturday, July 16, 2011


No music to listen to today, just some interesting advertisements I found online in the Baltimore Afro-American...

...and that's just scratching the surface. There are hundreds of record ads, personal appearance plugs, pictures, and articles out there.

Then I spotted this sad news item: was buried under a large (unrelated) picture on the front page of the 1 January 1927 issue.

I was shocked...the name "Eleanora Gough"
(misspelled on the article) was familiar...and this website explains why . There's even a picture of 219 South Durham Street as it appears today.

I can't add any comment's just sad that the first real newspaper article about Billie Holiday has to be something this awful.

I'll have something more cheerful next time around.

PS. I suppose I should mention this website,Billie.html, which gives the actual information from Billie's birth certificate...she was born "Elinore Harris," although some early documents give other spellings of her first name. "Fagan" was the maiden name of Sadie (Billie's mother), which explains why I usually found that name in Billie's biographies, although "Gough" was in some listings)...Philip Gough married Sadie five years after Billie's birth.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

A dozen silly sides (from Harmony and Diva)

I'm finally getting around to writing again...

I've been quite busy with side projects and have had some weird problems with my scanner. It took the following picture

and promptly gave up the ghost. I've deleted, downloaded and reinstalled new software and drivers for the scanner (several times), but nothing seems to work.

So...I'll use the one picture I have for the time being. Someday, more scans will appear.

This odd old Diva 78 was part of a recent project. I was digitizing some old Columbia dime-store material...sides published under the Harmony and Diva labels (and Velvet Tone, too...but the sides included here aren't on that label). While I was recording these sides, I was struck by how many of them were of silly little novelty songs that few people remember. I thought I'd share some of the sillier ones with you...

Let's start off with the battered Diva above, shall we?

150615-3 Kitty From Kansas City Milt Coleman Diva 3185-G
150616-3 Around The Corner Milt Coleman
Diva 3185-G
NYC, 30 June 1930: Milt Coleman, vocal; unknown band.

There's an amusing film clip of Rudy Vallee singing Kitty From Kansas City here

The above pair of sides are the only electrically-recorded songs in this post. The next ten were recorded using the old acoustic method.

Here are four really odd songs by Marion Try Slaughter, better known as Vernon Dalhart. Dalhart recorded under several pseudonyms, "Al Craver" seems to have been used exclusively for Columbia's 15000-D Old Time Tunes (country) series, and the Harmony labels used Mack Allen, especially on the novelty these:

147055-5 The Frog Song Mack Allen (Vernon Dalhart) Harmony 783-H
147056-4 Sing Hallelujah Mack Allen (Vernon Dalhart)
Harmony 783-H
NYC, 4 October 1928: Vernon Dalhart, vocal & harmonica; Adelyne Hood, vocal; possibly William Carlino, banjo; unknown, guitar.

148443-1 Ain't Gonna Grieve My Mind Any More Mack Allen (Vernon Dalhart) Harmony 903-H

148444-1 King Of Borneo Mack Allen (Vernon Dalhart) Harmony 903-H

NYC 16 April 1929: Vernon Dalhart. vocal; Adelyne Hood, vocal & piano; unknown, fiddle; unknown, banjo; unknown (Dalhart?), whistling.

I can imagine some of my audience wondering why Harmony was still recording acoustically as late as 1929 (most of the other labels switched over to microphones by 1926 or so). It all goes back to Harmony's parent company, Columbia. In 1923, they started releasing records using their "New Process" of recording and pressing. In 1925, the New Process was already obsolete, replaced by the new syste
m installed by Western Electric. So, rather than completely scrapping the expensive equipment that was less than two years old, the Powers That Be (er, Were) decided that the older equipment could be used to produce cheaper records for the five-and-ten-cent stores. That's why almost all of the Harmony/Diva/VelvetTone records were acoustic (although those by Annette Hanshaw and a few other artists were all electric). Finally, they switched over to electrical recording exclusively in late 1929.

144037-3 Fifty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong Joe Candullo Orch Diva 2409-G

Go Wash An Elephant (If You Wanna Do Something Big) Joe Candullo Orch Diva 2409-G

NYC, 18 April 1927: Joe Candullo, violin & conductor; Izzy Friedman, clarinet & saxes; others (2 trumpets; trombone, 2 saxes; rhythm section) unknown; Irving
Kaufman, vocal.

The vocal on Frenchmen was credited to "Pierre LaFond," but it was our old friend Irving Kaufman. I rather like the opening quote of Gounod's Funeral March For a Marionette (the theme from Alfred Hitchcock Presents) at the beginning of Elephant.

One of the most popular downloads from This Humble Blog is The Whoopee Hat Brigade by The Six Jumping Jacks, a (contractual) pseudonym for Harry Reser's band. They specialized in performing "nut jazz," silly songs with hot solos and strange instrumental effects...and most of their sides have vocals by drummer Tom Stacks.

This pair has Red Nichols sitting in:

142240-1 I'm Just Wild About Animal Crackers Seven Wild
Men (Harry Reser) Harmony 193-H
142241-2 The Lunatic's Lullaby Seven Wild Men (Harry Reser) Harmony 193-H

NYC 24 May 1926: Harry Reser, banjo & conductor; Red Nichols, cornet; Sam
Lewis, trombone; Larry Abbott. clarinet & alto sax; Norman Yorke, tenor sax; Jimmy Johnston, bass sax; Bill Wirgis, piano; Tom Stacks, drums & vocal.

Ken Gillum sings and plays another version of The Lunatic's Lullaby (complete with the verse and a second chorus!) in a 1931 The Two Daffodils radio show here....

...listen to the whole show! It's a hoot!

The Rust discographies give a generic personnel listing for the's probably similar to the last record, but Nichols isn't present. Larry Abbott's comb-and-paper is quite audible, though...

143265-2 (Cock-a-Doodle I'm Off My Noodle) My Baby's Back The Night Club Orch (Harry Reser) Harmony 345-H

143267-3 Oh How She Could Play A Ukulele The Night Club Orch (Harry Reser) Harmony 345-H

NYC, 6 January 1927: Harry Reser, banjo & conductor; featuring Larry Abbott,
comb & reeds; Tom Stacks, drums & vocal.

Well, that's it for now...hope these sides tickled your funny bone.

Oh, I made a CD of these (and a few other amusing American records) and gave it to the British Ambassador of Mirth and Merriment, Neil Innes.
I hope he and his lovely wife enjoyed some of it between gigs.

He was on an extensive tour of the States and Canada. His records (especially with the Bonzos and Rutles) have been favorites of mine for the last 35 years or so...the disc was a token of thanks for the many smiles and belly laughs this gentleman has bestowed.

That's the Ego-Warrior salute, by the way...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Seven Wonders and Seven Wonderful Sides (and some Yogi as well!)

We in the northeast have been hit fairly hard by Ol' Man Winter this year...we've had three or four substantial snowfalls already (there are still Snowbankzillas here and there two weeks after the last one), and the temperature often hovers in the single digits (Fahrenheit, that is).

When the winter doldrums set in, I like to dig out upbeat music from warmer climes.

Here's a ten-inch LP that followed me home from a yard sale a few months ago:
It's a demonstration record for the 1956 Admiral hi-fi system...and it's also a soundtrack from the Lowell Thomas Cinerama spectacular Seven Wonders Of the World (that's's two! two! two LPs in one! Sorry. it doesn't have a drop of Retsyn.
should explain the reference to an old Certs commercial to non-Yanks.). There are short snippets from (among others) a Watusi ceremony, an Indian wedding, and an Italian tarantella.

SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD Various artists Admiral Hi-Fi Demonstration Record (unnumbered)
1. "Metropolitan Rhapsody", introduction
2. Train Effect
3. French Can-Can
Percussion Effects
"Genghis Khan" Indian Sequence
Native Elephant School
Native Indian Music and Wedding Procession
Japanese Percussion Sequence
Watusi Native Dance
11. Finale - "Metropolitan Rhapsody"
All in all, it's a pleasant fifteen-minute excursion to Somewhere (Anywhere!) Besides New England.

There was something maddeningly familiar (to me, anyway) about the (anonymous) announcer's voice. After the third or fourth intro, I realized that he was Hanna-Barbera voiceman Don Messick.

(A few years after this LP was recorded, Messick did the voice-over for some educational film strips made by the Bowman company...they were probably made for some high school auto shop course. I have three or four of the seven-inch soundtrack discs. Messick is credited properly on those labels. I suppose I could post one or two of them if there's enough intere$t.)

Messick did the voice for Yogi Bear's nemesis Ranger Smith and his little pal Boo-Boo, too. And Boo-Boo, Yogi, Ranger Smith and company are all in the following LP that features soundtracks from four Yogi Bear cartoons. I find it a little unsettling when an unfamiliar announcer's voice (Howard Berk, who also wrote the commentary) describes a scene that doesn't translate well to the audio-only world. Still, it's fun to hear these voices (and music and sound effects too) again. And I've always liked Daws Butler...he's also on that Jim Backus Christmas 45 I posted back in 2007.

Big Brave Bear
Robin Hood Yogi
Brainy Bear
Buzzin' Bear
1961: Daws Butler and Don Messick, voices; Howard Berk, announcer; stock music (by John Seely)
The front cover had all kinds of extra "decoration" left by a previous owner...

...which came off quickly with a paper towel. The LP itself is, to steal a Yogi-ism, cleaner than the average kiddie record.

"Boo-boos" can also mean little mistakes. Hmmm...I can think of lots of this other type of Boo-Boos on record labels...the info on the label has something wrong with it. I think I'll post a couple of them now.

The boo-boos I'm listing here are real honest-to-goodness mistakes...I'm ignoring items that have the wrong label pasted on the record, or records deliberately issued under pseudonymous credits (usually for contractual reasons)...

This one's a bit's a classic 78 (well-played by the original owner) by the Benny Goodman Sextet. On the label, there's a credit to trombonist George Auld.

Of course, Auld played tenor sax.

In the Russell and Hicks BG On The Record, they report (slightly edited for clarity):
The initial Columbia release, 36099, erroneously credits George Auld with a trombone, not tenor sax. Later releases corrected this mistake, but George had some fun with it while it was current.

CO 29942-2 A Smo-o-o-oth One Benny Goodman Sextet Columbia 36099

CO 29943-1 Good Enough To Keep Benny Goodman Sextet Columbia 36099
NYC, 13 March 1941: Benny Goodman, clarinet; Cootie Williams, trumpet; George Auld, tenor sax (not trombone); Johnny Guarnieri, piano; Charlie Christian, guitar; Art Bernstein, bass; Dave Tough, drums.

Of course, Good Enough To Keep was quickly retitled Air Mail Special, but that's a different story.

I recently found this pleasant, if not too exciting country record, which was credited to the wrong singer completely!

There really was a "Doc" Roberts who recorded for Gennett and Champion.
For some unknown reason, Decca, who revived Champion in the mid-1930s, reissued two Dick Parman sides, but put them out under Roberts's name!

14492-A Rock All Our Babies To Sleep "Doc" Roberts (actually Dick Parman) Champion 45099
14493-B She'll Be Coming 'Round The Mountain "Doc" Roberts (actually Dick Parman) Champion 45099
Richmond, Indiana, 1 December 1928: Dick Parman, vocal & guitar; Asa Martin, harmonica.

To be fair to the Decca Champion folks, Asa Martin often played harmonica on records by the real "Doc" Roberts...perhaps that's the reason for the confusion.

More Boo-boos some other time.

In the same little stack of 78s which contained the Roberts/Parman record, I found this very unusual item:

Most Publix records had black and gold labels and drew from Columbia's Harmony/Diva/Velvet Tone dime-store stock, but this is obviously quite different!

This Ballyhoo record was sent to Publix theatres in 1929 to advertise Paramount's new feature, Innocents of Paris, featuring Maurice Chevalier. Columbia must have balked at the idea of using any of the soundtrack featuring Chevalier, who was a Victor artist. So they asked Irving Kaufman, the usual vocalist for the Harmony labels, to sing and announce as well!

176015-1 Innocents of Paris Ballyhoo Uncredited artist (Irving Kaufman)
Publix (unnumbered)
NYC 1929: Irving Kaufman (uncredited), vocal and announcement; studio orchestra.

Note the matrix is in that special 17xxxx Personal series Columbia used for paying clients...that Bernie Cummings/Humming Bird Mills Christmas record I posted in 2007 is another.

And the same recording is on the flip side.

Here's a side for Dave Whitney, local trumpeter/vocalist extraordinaire, who also runs a fine blog . I know he's a fan of the Three Stooges (I confess that I am fond of some of their short films as well)...I think he'll like this record.

It's the only record that Leroy Shield recorded under his own name. Shield is best remembered for composing and recording all that wonderfully familiar music used in the Hal Roach comedies (Our Gang, Laurel & Hardy, Charley Chase, etc.).

The vocalist on the otherwise snoozy Big Trail is Bud Jamison, who was a regular in the early Stooges shorts. The flip side, the mildly un-PC Sing-Song Girl (James Blackstone is vocalist this time) was covered around thirty years ago by R. Crumb's Cheap Suit Serenaders.

61027-4 Song of the Big Trail Leroy Shield/Victor Hollywood Orchestra Victor 22548
61026-4 Sing-Song Girl Leroy Shield/Victor Hollywood Orchestra
Victor 22548
Hollywood, 26 September 1930: Leroy Shield, conductor: unknown personnel; James Blackstone or Bud Jamison,

That's all folks...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas With The Beers Family

It's Yuletide again, and this year I've been quite busy with all kinds of time-consuming personal stuff (which I won't bore you with)...I did have a little time to digitize a nice holiday-related album for all of yez...

Here's a pleasant (and unfairly forgotten) LP from 1965 or so:

There is hardly any info out there on the Beers Family, other than the standard online biography:
The Beers Family was a traditional folk group active between 1958 and 1972, led by Bob Beers (b. 1920 -- d. May 26, 1972) and featuring his wife Evelyne and their daughter Martha (who joined in 1964). They played traditional Scots-Irish music on traditional instruments like the psaltery. In 1966, they began hosting the Fox Hollow Festival on their farm in the Adirondacks. Bob Beers was killed in an automobile accident in 1972, but his wife and daughter continued to perform and to stage the festival.

Also, Martha (usually known as Marty) was married to folk musician Eric Nagler from 1968-77, and the Fox Hollow Festival ran from 1966-1980. Evelyne Beers died in October 2009.

The liner notes offer a little more info, mostly about the songs:

Christmas With The Beers Family Columbia MS 6335
1965: Robert, Evelyne & Martha Beers, vocals; Robert Beers, psaltery; others unidentified.
1. Three Little Drummers
2. O Holy Night - Cantique de Noel
3. Christmas Hornpipe
4. La Virgen Lava Panales
5. The Holly Bears a Berry
6. What Child Is This?
7. Cherry Tree Carol
8. Away by the Manger So Mild
9. The Seven Joys of Mary
10. Mary's Little Boy Child
11. The Peace Carol
12. Silent Night, Holy Night
The Beers Family's Away by the Manger So Mild is a reworked Pharaoh's Daughter...also known as Little Moses on a 1928 Carter Family record. I rather like its almost limerick-like meter...

I had hoped to show a YouTube clip of the Beers Family in action, but apparently any film of them has been yanked by the Powers That Be. I hope the Powers don't yank this album too...only a couple of songs from the LP show up on a Beers compilation CD.

I think this album should be reissued...until that time comes, enjoy it as mp3s.

And Happy Holiday Season to one and all...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Songs from a fine concert...

The other day (6 November), the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse in Franklin, Massachusetts hosted a terrific concert...folk/roots music legends Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur were the headliners.

If, by some sad twist of fate, you don't know them, or the fact that they played together in Kweskin's Jug Band forty-something years ago, here they are in 1967 performing a song familiar to Sanctum readers (from their enigmatically titled LP See Reverse Side For Title):

Never Swat A Fly Jim Kweskin Jug Band
Vanguard VSD-79243
(See Reverse Side For Title)
1967: featuring Geoff Muldaur, lead vocal; with Jim Kweskin, Maria D'Amato (Muldaur), Bill Keith, Fritz Richmond.

After the show, I talked for a minute with both musicians, and told them about my blog, mentioning that it had two rare versions of Never Swat A Fly... forgetting that the links to those records I originally posted in 2007 were down (to make room for newer stuff).


Those songs are re-posted below:

According to Geoff, the band learned the song from this record:

64608-2 Never Swat A Fly McKinney's Cotton Pickers
Victor 23020
NYC, 4 November 1930: Don Redman, conductor; Joe Smith, Rex Stewart, Langston Curl, trumpets; Ed Cuffee, trombone; Don Redman, Benny Carter, Edward Inge, Prince Robinson, reeds; Todd Rhodes, piano; Dave Wilborn, banjo; Billy Taylor, tuba; Cuba Austin, drums; Bill Coty, vocal.

The clarinet soloist is a young Benny Carter.

The song came from a rather strange 1930 science-fiction/comedy/musical film, Just Imagine. I got a copy of the film a while back. Frank Albertson and Marjorie White do their version of Never Swat A Fly here...splices and all:

Never Swat A Fly Frank Albertson & Marjorie White Just Imagine soundtrack

These two versions, from rare Brunswick-recorded radio discs, are reposted especially for Geoff and Jim, with many thanks for a great show:

XE-35018 (excerpt) Never Swat A Fly The Mirth Quakers
from Mirth Quakers, show P, part 4
NYC ca. 4 November 1930: Jerry Macy, Norman Brokenshire, vocal; probably Murray Kelner, violin; others unknown.

Notice how they changed the lyrics from "with you" to "with Sue!" not that anything's wrong with that!

XE-35335 (excerpt) Never Swat A Fly Irving Kaufman
from Novelty Special, show J, part 2
NYC 7 November 1930: Irving Kaufman, vocal; personnel uncertain, but my guess is that the band contains Mike Mosiello, trumpet; Andy Sannella, alto sax; and (definitely) Joe Venuti, violin.

Kaufman muffs the words "Here is the motto," somehow getting it "Here is the mos' moto." It's interesting that Brunswick didn't do a retake. They probably figured that the record would be played once over the air, and that would be it...the records were supposed to be returned or destroyed.

Kweskin and Muldaur didn't swat flies that night, but they did perform a whole bunch of other fine stuff. I think I'll post the original versions of some of those other songs:

Here's some fine hot fiddlin' by the legendary hellraiser Prince Albert Hunt:

400435-A Blues In A Bottle Prince Albert Hunt's Texas Ramblers OKeh 45230

San Antonio, 8 March 1928: Archie "Prince" Albert Hunt, fiddle & vocal; unknown, guitar.
Frank Stokes and Dan Sane recorded several sides as the Beale Street Sheiks for Paramount...Kweskin and Muldaur played two Stokes songs that night (Downtown Blues was the other):

4773-1 Sweet To Mama The Beale Street Sheiks (Stokes and Sane) Paramount 12531
Chicago, ca. August 1927: Frank Stokes, guitar & vocal; Dan Sane, guitar.

The Jug Band recorded this Leroy Carr song on that See Reverse Side For Title album

C-6092- Papa's On the House Top Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell Vocalion 1593
Chicago, 9 September 1930: Leroy Carr, piano & vocal; Scrapper Blackwell, guitar.

Poultry in motion!!

The Chicken Mississippi John Hurt Vanguard VSD 79248 (The Immortal Mississippi John Hurt)

1966: Mississippi John Hurt, vocal & guitar.

Oddly enough, two of the songs performed that night were originally recorded in Johnson City, Tennessee on the same day, probably within minutes of each other! The first was the classic version of Cuckoo by Doc Watson's mentor, Clarence (Tom) Ashley:

149251-2 The Coo-Coo Bird Clarence Ashley Columbia 15489-D
Johnson City, TN, 23 October 1929: Clarence (Tom) Ashley, vocal & banjo.

There is apparently nothing known at all about the Bentley Boys, other than the fact they recorded only two sides on the same day (and nothing else)...

149254-2 Down On Penny's Farm The Bentley Boys
Columbia 15565-D
Johnson City, TN, 23 October 1929: Unknown, banjo, guitar & vocal.

Folding money (and not some weird tarnish) is the subject of the next goodie, by the great Memphis bluesman, Furry Lewis.
42425-2 I Will Turn Your Money Green Furry Lewis Victor V-38506
Memphis, 28 August 1928: Walter (Furry) Lewis, vocal & guitar

Oh, did you ever see the Burt Reynolds comedy W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings? Furry's featured fairly prominently...

The perennial folkie favorite Fishing Blues was in the playlist too...
C-2003- Fishing Blues Henry Thomas ("Ragtime Texas") Vocalion 1249
Chicago, 13 June 1928: Henry Thomas,
vocal, quills (panpipes) & guitar.

I should mention that I also thoroughly enjoyed the opening act, Eric Royer's one-man band. At one point in the set, he asked for requests. I yelled out "Pretty Polly!" Eric's off-the-cuff rendition was one of the best I've ever heard.

There are several recorded versions of this old murder ballad...the one by Dock Boggs is great, but my favorite is the one recorded by B. F. Shelton.

39736-2 Pretty Polly B. F. Shelton Victor 35838

Bristol, TN. 29 July 1927: B. F. Shelton, vocal & banjo.

If you noticed that this performance seemed a little longer than the average 3-minute 78, you're right. It came out on a 12-inch 78...

By the way, Polly is descended from a much longer ballad called The Gosport Tragedy, first published around the longer version, Polly is pregnant, the murderer goes to sea and is followed by Polly's ghost. The Library of Congress has an early broadside of the ballad:

After the show I told Eric that I thought the old Alfred Karnes song We Shall All Be Reunited might be a good end-of-set piece. It would make a good encore, too...

47234-2 We Shall All Be Reunited Alfred G. Karnes Victor V-40076
Bristol, TN, 28 October 1928: Alfred G. Karnes, vocal and harp-guitar.

Yes, this song has been posted here before, but it's so good I can't resist. I've used it as a closing for many mix discs and for those Grits Radio shows.

And I close with it this time too.

PS. I turn 54 can cut off my leg and count the rings...