Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Campaign Records and (mostly) Presidential Singles

As I mentioned the other day, I've been fairly busy lately...and I've neglected Ye Olde Zorche Bloggue. A thousand pardons to those who follow this...Anyway, we're in the home stretch of Campaign 2008 (thank goodness!!). I suppose it's time for me to post some more-or-less forgotten items from previous campaigns...
I found these two records together around 15 years ago...The first (a 12" 33) contains ten little radio spots for the C. Estes Kefauver presidential campaign of 1956.

--- Kefauver For President - 10 radio spots - Kal, Ehrlich & Merrick advertising record, unnumbered
It's interesting that many of the same issues mentioned here are still relevant. And "delinquency" is misspelled on the label.

Of course, Adlai Stevenson got the Democratic nomination that year, but Kefauver was tapped for his running mate.
I found this 78 along with the above presidential campaign record:
DB-2084 Kefauver Is His Name Ray Charles Singers
Dot 226

But I'm not positive when this record was's obviously a jingle performed by the other "other" Ray Charles (born Charles Raymond Offenberg) and his singers. But when was this recorded?

Was this record made for his senatorial campaign (the lyrics seem to say that Estes would be great for Tennessee)? Since the fate of the country isn't mentioned, I doubt that this record would be for a Presidential campaign...besides, by 1956, most, if not all, promo singles were pressed as 45 rpm discs.
My guess is that this record dates from his 1954 Senatorial campaign.
One can guess that Kefauver's people deliberately chose Tennessee's biggest label at the time (Dot Records was based in Gallatin) for distribution. They paid for the Ray Charles Singers, but no band. Just a pianist.

Here are some more radio spots...apparently from Barry Goldwater's 1964 campaign.

133256 Go, Goldwater! 5 Radio Spots advertising record
As I said before, these are probably for the 1964 campaign...the presence of a Zip code indicates that it's no earlier than that.

But we skipped the 1960 campaign, didn't we? I saved it for last.

Here's a curious record (7-inch, red vinyl), featuring recorded highlights of campaigns of the past...evidently issued in conjunction with CBS-TV's production The Right Man.

---The Right Man (2 parts) issued in advance of CBS 24 October 1960 telecast special unnumbered pressing.

Garry Moore introduces the whole thing...the other emcee is probably J. Doyle DeWitt, the owner of this collection of voices of 14 celebrities/candidates. The last two were those of the 1960 campaign, JFK and Nixon.

As we know, JFK won the are a couple of records connected to his campaign.

The first of these records has always been a little mystery to me. John Redmond is probably best remembered for being co-composer (lyricist) of I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart (with Duke Ellington and Harry Nemo...Duke's agent and publisher Irving Mills got his name listed as well).

Anyway. it seems that Redmond wrote Kennedy for the campaign, but it's not quite clear who the Pioneers of the New Frontier were. In any case, the 20th Century Fox label pressed it (Note...the label was called "20th Fox" until 1963, when the word "Century" was finally added.).

I wonder how many copies of this record were pressed (I've never seen another copy). It's numbered guess that SP stood for Special Purpose or something like that.

L9OW 9524-2 Kennedy (K-E-Double N-E-D-Y) Pioneers of the New Frontier
20th Century Fox SP-1

There's a nice paragraph on Redmond here , although it says that his song Massachusetts, My Home State had never been recorded. It's on the flip side of this.

Oh, what the it is!

L90W-8504 Massachusetts My Home State Linda Bowe and the Neighborhood Kids 20th Century Fox SP-1
Aha! Not only was the song recorded, the melody was recycled for Kennedy (or was it the other way around?)!

24 APRIL 2013 UPDATES: Mary (the grandneice of John Redmond) wrote in to say she heard John's voice on the Kennedy side.

Ron mentioned that Fox did issue Massachusetts commercially (with Tony Spumoni The Ice Cream Man on the flip side.

Thanks a lot!

The next record is fairly common up here in Massachusetts, probably given to Kennedy supporters...I've been told that this side was played on area jukeboxes as well.

Those are Sammy Cahn's special lyrics...sung by a formerly skinny kid from Hoboken.

kb-2077 High Hopes - Jack Kennedy Frank Sinatra unnumbered special 45
The flip side is kind of cute too, but Ol' Blue Eyes has stepped out.
kb-2078 All The Way Unidentified Chorus unnumbered special 45

That's enough of the campaign songs.

I realized I had a couple of other JFK-related 45s. Now would be a good time to share's been 45 years since that fateful day in Dallas.

Record collectors need no reminder about just how popular the young president was in the early 1960s...we're always running into Vaughn Meader's First Family LP and the Premier Records memorial album, each of which at one time held the record for being the fastest-selling LP of all time.

In 1962, Sinatra's label, Reprise, issued an odd LP featuring Hank Levine's chorus and orchestra called Sing Along With JFK. It consisted of sampled bits of JFK's speeches, followed by the chorus singing the words.

The question this record serious? Or just a bit tongue-in-cheek? Or blatantly sarcastic and satirical? I'll leave the verdict up to you.

1876 The Trumpet Sing Along With JFK Reprise 20,154

The Trumpet was apparently the has a nice early-1960s pop feel to it. But I've always been partial to the flip side. A bossa nova piece honoring the Alliance For Progress seems so unlikely...and one has to love the pseudo-Spanish accent of the chorus...("To our sister repooblics" indeed!)

1874 Alliance For Progress Bossa Nova Sing Along With JFK Reprise 20,154
More of the LP is here:
Is Hank Levine the Henry Levine that hosted the Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street radio program in the 1940s? I suspect that it is.

In 1963, Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji and his Drums of Passion ensemble recorded this lively bit of High Life, dedicated to the First Lady.
JZSP 58876 Lady Kennedy (Babatunde) Olatunji and his Drums of Passion Columbia 4-42667
I heard that this song was premiered at a Democratic fundraiser, but I'm not quite sure.

And, as a postscript, I'll add this...2008 marks the 40th anniversary of RFK's assassination.

ZSP 138584 Battle Hymn Of The Republic Andy Williams Columbia 4-44650
ZSP 138585 Ave Maria Andy Williams Columbia 4-44650

Andy Williams sang (with the St. Charles Borromeo Choir) at his friend's funeral. Columbia issued this 45. Apparently, it never was reissued in an LP.

Well...that's it for this installment...


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy Hallowe'en!!

I've been rather busy lately, and haven't posted in Ye Olde Zorche Bloggue in a while. Sorry 'bout that...

I'm working on a big post which should be up around November 1.

In the meantime, here are a few quick Hallowe'en singles to keep your ears happy.

Two recorded versions Zombie Jamboree sold fairly well in the mid-1950s, one by Harry Belafonte for RCA Victor and this one, by Calypso Carnival (featuring King Flash), for Columbia.
JZSP 39904 Zombie Jamboree (Back To Back) Calypso Carnival, featuring King Flash Columbia 4-40866
1956: Calypso Carnival with King Flash, combo.

I like this version a lot more than the other one...the LP it came from (Calypso Carnival) is a lot of fun as well.

The original title of this song, by the way, was Jumble Jamboree. More info can be found here:

There is also a picture sleeve to this 45, but I don't have it. And, for what it's worth, the flip side of this record, Mama Looka Boo Boo, also inspired a Belafonte cover.

Here's a weird side from 1959 by the Salmas Brothers:

58481 Zombie The Salmas Brothers Keen 3-2017
1959: The Salmas Brothers (Danny, Guy and George), vocal; Bumps Blackwell Orchestra; IFC (Insipid Female Chorus)

You might remember bandleader Bumps Blackwell from those Specialty sides by Little Richard. And the arranger on this side is a cat who made a big splash in the pop market a few years later, Herb Alpert.

The IFC designation is borrowed from the Greater Cambridge Record Collectors' Guild (you know who you are), who also use IMC (Insipid Male Chorus) and IXC (Insipid Mixed Chorus) to indicate the presence of this kind of vocal group, who oooh and aaaah and almost spoil hundreds of otherwise fine R & B and Rock 'n' Roll 45s from around 1956 to the Brtish Invasion.

If two zombie songs aren't eerie enough, maybe you'd like to open with a pair of Mummies? (I have a Full House of Vampires, myself)

Another fair seller (it hit #39 on the charts) is this version of The Mummy by veteran cartoon voiceman Bob McFadden. The beatnik at the end of the record is Dor, a not-too-subtle alias for composer (and future "deep" poet) Rod McKuen.
107,649 The Mummy Bob McFadden and Dor Brunswick 9-55140
1959: Bob McFadden, mummy; Dor (Rod McKuen), beatnik; Jack Hansen Orch.

(The flip side, The Beat Generation, is rather amusing too, but it's not very spooky... should you feel the need to hear it)

Strangely enough, there was another version of this piece (I almost called it a "song" but nobody sings) that was issued shortly afterward, by the completely unknown duo, Bubi and Bob.
1002 The Mummy Bubi & Bob Sphinx 1201
I know nothing about this version...who the performers are and who pressed this record will probably always remain a mystery. I've never seen another record on this Sphinx label.

This record is somewhat better than the hundreds of cheap knockoff versions of pop songs, which were nothing new (the Tops, Prom, and Hit labels specialized in them)...there is a pleasant instrumental on the flip side (Biscayne Beat, if you want to hear it) that appears to be an original. The composer of that ditty is one L. Norman...perhaps he was Bubi or Bob.

And there you have it, friends...four little examples of candy corn (and a couple of parenthetical marshmallows).

I hope this'll holdja until I get the November post up. I think it'll be worth the wait.