Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas (especially for some pals in NH)!!

I called up a couple of old friends last night to wish them and theirs a Cool Yule...and mentioned that I have a (relatively) new music blog. They weren't aware of it yet. I told them to keep an eye on it...there'd be something special posted just for them.

...and here it is.

Isn't this cute? Les and Mary on a Christmas-oriented EP, issued October, 1954.

I'm posting the songs in the order shown on the front cover, but, should you want to save the files, I've numbered them to play back in the order presented on the record.

Jingle Bells
Silent Night http://www.box.net/shared/2tiwe8usc0
White Christmas http://www.box.net/shared/72w3bnsowg
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town http://www.box.net/shared/n1j0zr34ks

Here's another treat...the complete Christmas 1948 broadcast from the Royal Roost, featuring Charlie Parker and his Quintet. Let me rephrase that...Bird's broadcast set is complete, WMCA went back to the Roost to air Charlie Ventura's band shortly afterwards.

Anyhoooo....Bird and his men are in fine spirits. Parker even is persuaded to do White Christmas!

Royal Roost, NYC, Christmas 1948: Kenny Dorham, trumpet; Charlie Parker, alto sax; Al Haig, piano; Tommy Potter, bass; Max Roach, drums. Symphony Sid Torin, announcer.

1 Announcements & Sid's Theme http://www.box.net/shared/n08vrn4gcw
7. Closing Announcement & Sid's Theme http://www.box.net/shared/09ljfbew4g

Now one of my favorite Christmas novelties...Jim Backus, in his Mr. Magoo voice, as Santa Claus! The reindeer is played by Daws Butler, doing a younger-sounding variation of his Mr. Jinks hipster character.

My guess is that this was released in late 1958 or so.

I Was a Teenage Reindeer http://www.box.net/shared/5vhl506go4

And, last but not least, a song that will be forever linked in my mind to birthday cake, the King of the Hill marble game (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/4701 for a real Blast From The Past), and hot cocoa after sledding parties (has it really been almost 40 years?)...Allan Sherman's Twelve Gifts of Christmas.

Oh...the image I snagged off the 'net (I don't have a scanner) is of the mono issue...my copy is in stereo. Nyah-nyah!
...and a Happy Holiday Season to all!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Holidays!!!

Well...it's less than a week from Christmas...and I haven't posted anything yet! And I do have a couple of cool Yule sides to check out! Here's a gorgeous rarity...

It's not the most exciting record to listen to, though. That's the Jean Goldkette version of In My Merry Oldsmobile (with an all-but-inaudible Bix Beiderbecke in there) sampled at the beginning of this side. Then President Reuter delivers a pep-talk, painting a rosy picture for the upcoming year 1929 (things were rosy, all right, at least until late October!). There's a reprise of the Goldkette record...which ends abruptly...no fade. Oh...it's one-sided...with a typical Victor "spider web" on the flip.

48613-2 Holiday Message From Oldsmobile 1928-1929 Mr. I. M. Reuter Victor Special
Chicago, 22 November 1928: Reuter, speech.
For what it's worth...this is take -2...

The above Victor record was given to employees of the Olds Motor Works, obviously for the 1928-29 holiday season. One can assume that the Olds company paid for the recording and pressing.

Columbia made a lot of records for outside clients too, usually labeled simply "Personal Record."

This example was given to employees of the Humming Bird Hosiery Mills... 

I can't find much info on the Humming Bird Mills...although the Humming Bird brand was evidently made by the Davenport Hosiery Mills, of Chattanooga Tennessee. The only info I can find about T. Walter Fred is that he lived in Lookout Mountain and that he wrote The Story of a Pair of Silk Stockings: A Hand Book for Students and a Guide for Salespeople, published in 1923.

Yes, this is another somewhat dry "go, team, go" record, spiced (somewhat) by an invitation for the salesgirls to visit the mill. He notes that his factory workers are all "white folk, like you and I." Hmmmm.

170272 A Personal Message To Humming Bird Salesgirls (ca.1927) T. Walter Fred Columbia Personal 101-P

The oddest thing about the recording is that he says the the flip side is Bernie Cummins's record of Little Gypsy Sweetheart.

The actual flip side is the 1927 pop tune, Sam, the Old Accordion Man, credited to the Humming Bird Orchestra. It probably isn't conducted by Cummins, who didn't record for Columbia.
Sam, the Old Accordion Man Humming Bird Orch (1927) Columbia Personal 101-P

FLASH!! (February 2009)

Well...I'll be hornswoggled!

A few colleagues with better ears than I recognized the voice of Walter Cummins on this side...so the leader of this record is his brother, Bernie. I must have had too much eggnog when I posted this. Then again, I don't have a lot of Cummins to compare it with.
So...the listing should be edited:

170275 Sam, the Old Accordion Man Humming Bird Orch Columbia Personal 101-P
NYC, 6 May 1927: Bernie Cummins Orchestra; Walter Cummins, vocal.

Of course, we're still wondering what became of the Cummings version of Roam On, My Little Gypsy Sweetheart that Mr. Fred mentioned on his side.
Oh, I must thank The Toasters of New York and especially Taylor Bowie for supplying the correct information. 

Some ethnic goodies

We here in the Northeast have had our share of snow this week...one bad storm (around twelve inches of that fluffy stuff) and two or three annoying bouts with flurries.
It was enough to inspire me to poke around in my ethnic stash, to look for music from warmer climes. And I knew I had to find the Italian Christmas side that's next.

Here's an attractive label...the 1923-25 "banner" or "flag" label that Columbia used. This one has a metallic green background (which scanned a bit on the brown side. The correct shade of green is seen at the top of the label, in that deep groove). The green background was used by Columbia for miscellaneous ethnic series (They also used copper for popular, and both gold and silver for classical works. I've also seen metallic light blue and matte dark blue too.). This is obviously from an Italian series. 

This early-1920s recording features a pair of anonymous musicians, one playing the
Zampogna, or Italian bagpipes, and the Ciaramella, or reed pipe. My guess is that the latter is the vocalist as well. The music is traditionally played by the returning shepherds for the Christmas season.

More info on the tradition is here:

44455 Novena Di Natale Unknown musicians - Zampogna e Ciaramella Columbia 14068-F

This record seems to have sold fairly well...I've had two copies, and the Internet Archive has another copy here: http://www.archive.org/details/Zampogna_e_Ciaramella-Novena_Di_Natale
Here's a recent video clip of a very similar duo...

Sweden may not necessarily be a "warmer clime," but the prominent Hawaiian guitar on the following side certainly unthawed my cardiac cockles. 

109614 Sunlight Jahrl's Swedish Novelty Quintette (ca. April 1926) Columbia 38003-F

Here's what's probably the first recording of Green Eyes...from 1931 (according to http://library.fiu.edu/latinpop/SECCION05R.pdf)
XVE67159 Aquellos Ojos Verdes Orquesta Romeu Victor 30397
19 February 1931: Antonio M. Romeu, conductor; Antonio Machín, Daniel Sanchez, vocal. Others unknown.

Here's another rather scarce piece...an -X series (for export) Columbia, issued on their beautiful Royal Blue wax.

The Hurtado Brothers toured the United States in 1908, and recorded many records between then and WWII. This is the one that tickled me the most...it sounds like they heard some Jimmie Rodgers sides...the marimbas almost yodel on this side...

CO 16506 Guatemala Blues Marimba Hurtado Hermanos Columbia 5256-X
NYC 18 December 1934

Finally, the best record I ever found at the Goodwill in East Providence, a 1937 Brazilian Victor by Carmen Miranda's backup group, Bando da Lua. Both sides are delightful...the former having some Mills Brothers-like instrument imitations, and the latter obviously about a rooster. Nice Liszt quotation in there too!
Saudades Do Meu Barracao Bando da Lua Brazilian Victor 34232
Marchinha Do Grande Galo Bando da Lua Brazilian Victor 34232
recorded in 1937.
That'll do it for now...thanks for listening and have a happy holiday season.