Friday, March 27, 2009

Another mystery side!

I'm working on a little something for April's a tidbit that should whet your appetite until then.

It's a mystery side...the only thing I'll say is that this record has a connection somehow to the Attleboro Area (but there might be another little clue somewhere else).

What's the connection? Who's on the record? Title?

Comment away!

The winner gets one of those aged peanut butter sandwiches I mentioned a while back...

...and 'til the First of April, as Neddie Seagoon often said... "Needle Nardle Noo!"

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Some Scarce Seven-Inchers! (reposted 24 June 2009)

Recently, some malicious twerp decided to wreak havoc with my blog...first by jeopardizing my good relationship with (by complaining about copyright infringement), then by hacking my blog and removing one of my posts. Not just any post, mind ye, but the one I spent the most time on...this one.

I'm glad that Google cached a copy of it somewhere, so that I was able to reconstruct the page within an hour or two.

Here it is again:

Recently, several jazz blogs have posted tributes to the late Blossom Dearie. Some of them even featured an album or two.

I even saw the album she did for Hires Root Beer (a little blurb on it here: ) in one of those blogs.

But I've never seen this Hires Root Beer-related item in any other blog...shoot, I've never seen another copy, period!

A & R 2293-A Meet Blossom Dearie Blossom Dearie Special advertising record, unnumbered
1963: Blossom Margrete Dearie, vocal & piano; Ernie Royal, trumpet; Jim Hall, guitar; Eddie DeHaas, bass; Frank Gant,

This little seven-inch 33 was apparently given to grocers who stocked Hires. On it, there's an announcer who talks with Ms. Dearie, who sings the jingle a couple of times and talks about the recording session. Mention is also made of the advertising campaign that Hires was going to start soon.Interesting note...the personnel on this record (and the ads) is not the same as the Hires-promoted Sings Rootin' Songs album mentioned earlier.

The flip side of this oddity is just an extended version of the music behind the Hires ads that were about to get airplay.

A & R 2293-B The Rootin' Theme Blossom Dearie Special advertising record, unnumbered
Same personnel.

Here are some other unusual seven-inch 33s. Actually, I had already planned to post a bunch of pre-1964 stereo 45s, and a few of the Stereo Seven singles that Columbia produced from 1959-61. I just added the Dearie record as an audio appetizer.

Let's start with the early mono 33 singles that Columbia produced from 1949 to 1951 or so.
This was the infamous War Of The Speeds...RCA had recently introduced the 45 rpm record and a fast-changing machine to play them. Columbia developed the microgroove 33 rpm record (yeah, I know that Victor's Program Transcriptions from the early 1930s also ran at 33 rpm, but they weren't microgroove. And they didn't sell particularly well. Nothing did at the time.) and a new phonograph for these as well.

Anyway, from 1949 through the early 1950s, there were some odd formats for records available...ten-inch LPs, extended-play 45s (available both singly or in multi-disc sets), big clunky box sets of 45s (ever see a complete opera on 45s? It's almost as bulky as an opera on 78s, only lighter), and these little 33 rpm singles.

Once the smoke cleared, it became evident that the public preferred LPs for longer pieces or collections of songs, and the 45 rpm speed for shorter pieces.

These "little LPs" seem to be the scarcest format...I don't run into them too often.

This is probably the most interesting one I's a nice early Gerry Mulligan arrangement:

ZLP 1083 Elevation Elliot Lawrence Orchestra
Columbia 1-232
1949: Large orchestra, with Gerry Mulligan,
baritone sax and arranger.
Here's the flip side of the record..and the sleeve! (I think the sleeve is slightly more exciting...)

ZLP 1082 Gigolette Elliot Lawrence Orch Columbia 1-232

I'd imagine that the heavy tonearms of the period caused these records to slip, especially when stacked. Columbia added a novel feature...a knurled band around the label to prevent slippage.

Anyway...I have six or seven of these records, but there's nothing all that unusual on them...a few pop sides of the period that were issued more-or-less contemporaneously with their 78 rpm versions. There were also a few reissues of big sellers that were already in the catalogue (Ellington's Stormy Weather, Billie Holiday's Am I Blue? and a couple of others).After a couple of years, it became evident that this format just wasn't selling. So it was scrapped.
But what to do with those "Microgrove" sleeves they had already printed?
A brilliant idea! Columbia merely blocked out any reference to the original use of the sleeve and stuck 45s in them!

Did Columbia really think they were fooling anybody?

These retread sleeves are really strange-looking...and they're quite scarce too.

Now...let's fast-forward to 1959, shall we? Stereo records were introduced the year before...they're slowly building an audience.

But there were also remnants of an economic recession (one of the contributing factors to the demise of Ford's Edsel division, but this is a music blog, isn't it? Forget I mentioned the Edsel.). Anyway, the sales figures of 45 rpm singles was down over thirty percent.
Most of the companies tried 45 rpm stereo singles to improve sales. More on these oddities in a future installment of the Sanctum.

Instead of stereo 45s, Columbia dusted off the "little LP" idea again, added stereophonic sound, and viola! er... voila! The Stereo Seven was born!

ZSM 47898 The Battle Of New Orleans Johnny Horton Columbia S7 30339
1959: Johnny Horton, vocal; Jimmy Driftwood, composer & arranger.
This song went to #1 on the charts in April least the mono 45 did, anyway.

I can almost hear the average record collector saying "but these are jukebox records!"
Well, yes and no. We'll get to the jukebox issues momentarily.

This one was intended for the home the blurb found on the sleeve:

Too small to read? You could click on the image to "biggen" it, or just read this:

This is a completely new kind of record combining two great innovations -- the convenient 33 rpm LP speed and exciting Stereophonic sound. You can play this record interchangeably with your 12-inch stereophonic LP albums. It is one of many new STEREO SEVEN releases available at your record shop.

Here's another example, complete with its fancy shiny black sleeve!

ZSM 47900 Anatomy Of A Murder Duke Ellington Orchestra Columbia S7 30421
Hollywood, 1 June 1959: Large orchestra featuring Duke Ellington, piano; Jimmy Hamilton, tenor sax; Ray Nance, trumpet.

Oh, the Ellingtonians out there might be interested to note that this particular take of the Anatomy theme is's different from the takes issued on the LP and the 45!
If you'd like to compare it to the 45, here it is!

JRZSP 46267 Anatomy Of A Murder Duke Ellington Orchestra Columbia 4-41421
Hollywood 2 June 1959: Same.

You could already have this recording on the recent Sony reissue of the Ellington Anatomy album...there's a lot of extra material on it, including the takes used for both singles. But they used a stereo mix of the 45...

Well, now...I suppose I should mention that there was indeed a series of these Stereo Seven singles intended for the jukebox trade too.

Here's one from 1960, featuring a 19-year-old Aretha Franklin...she's singing well, too, on a jazzy-bluesy tune...
ZSM 55031 JB Today I Sing The Blues Aretha Franklin Columbia S7 31206 (part of set JS7-38)
Notice there's almost no difference on the label between this and the two previous examples.

Ah, but there is something different...a JS7 (Jukebox Stereo 7) number at the 9:00 position that the home-market issues don't have. And there's a JB suffix on the matrix number as well.
These were issued in five- or six-record sets (often with an "Album of the Week" notation on the box), each disc containing a pair of cuts to the particular LP that was being issued in this format. These records came in the same fancy sleeves, but the blurb about buying Stereo Seven records at the shop is missing.

By 1961 or so, it became evident that the stereo singles that the record companies produced just weren't selling. Maybe it was because the youth market who bought 45s didn't have stereos yet (their parents did, but they usually bought LPs!)

The single-song Stereo Seven was allowed to die.

Around this time, though, most companies that produced stereo singles for the jukebox trade expanded their playing time to around ten minutes per side...these could be played for a quarter each...saving the customer a nickel over the price of three individually-chosen songs.

Columbia was no exception...they produced quite a few of these longer-playing Sevens...but the label was a lot plainer. A snazzy label couldn't be seen inside a jukebox, unless the customer was a mild-mannered reporter named Kent (take that, comic fans!).

79235 JB Walk On By Aretha Franklin Columbia 7-9081

Here's a bit of one of those records...again by the Queen of Soul (in waiting). This cut sounds like Columbia was trying to groom Aretha as their answer to Dionne Warwick.
Small wonder she ran off to Atlantic soon thereafter...
But wait! There's more! These are more seven-inchers, but they're mono!

It seems that someone at Columbia (probably Goddard Lieberson) was nostalgic for the Good Old Days when there was only one speed on the market (78 rpm, of course). He thought he could win the public over to 33-rpm singles, hoping to eventually phase out the 45 (remember, that was originally an RCA product!).

Here are a couple of those weird rarely-seen "Little 33s" from the early 1960s:

Z"LP"52385 Yea-De-A-Hay Jack Judge Columbia 3-41917

This side sounds like it could have been covered very nicely by Buddy Holly...

I've seen very few of these yellow-label records...and for some reason, they all had a promo sticker on one side. It could be a coincidence.

This one (in a revamped Hall Of Fame series) is a reissue of a pair of 1952 cuts by Flatt and Scruggs...

Z"LP" 52699 Jimmie Brown, The Newsboy Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs Columbia 3-33019
Both of these records also came out in the 45 rpm format, using the same catalogue number, but using a 4- instead of the 3- prefix. And both have the LP designation in the matrix number in quotation marks.

I'm rather grateful that these mini-LPs didn't take off. When one is looking through a handful of 45s, it's much easier to stick a thumb through the big holes of a 45.

More on stereo singles (45 rpm ones, that is) sometime soon...


I was asked recently what were the latest 78s I owned. I replied that I had two of the three R. Crumb ones and a special Leon Redbone promo from 1978. But those were special "retro" issues.

The latest ones I have for general release are a pair of goodies from the Ron/Ric labels from New Orleans...both are from 1959.

3447 I Won't Cry Johnny Adams Ric 961
3448 Who You Are Johnny Adams Ric 961

Dang...R & B singing just doesn't get much better than this...I Won't Cry was The Tan Canary's first hit.

I usually show the label to the first part of any two-parter...but on this record, the second side shows composer credits of Parker, Bocage and Rebennack. It looks like all three of these guys (Robert Parker, Eddie Bo and Dr. John) are present on this session. That's Bo doing the little spoken interruptions. (By the way, the composer credit on the A-side was to Parker and local DJ Larry McKinley.)

R-115 All Nite Long (Part 1) Robert Parker
Ron 327
R-116 All Nite Long (Part 2) Robert Parker
Ron 327

As late as these are, the Fury/Fire company issued 78s even late as 1960 (anybody have Bobby Marchan's There Is Something On Your Mind on 78? It exists!)...but they're scarcer than honest politicians.

Canada pressed 78s until 1961 or 1962, and other countries (especially India and the Philippines) continued for a few more years...that's why there are 78s by latter-day acts like the Beatles.

That'll do it for this installment...beware the Ides of March.

At the end of the original post came two comments and my reply:

Buster said...
Absolutely outstanding post - not only had I never seen the Blossom Dearie promo, I didn't know it existed!
6:46 AM PDT

Luis said...
The 33 rpm stereo take of Anatomy Of A Murder, was also issued on Columbia CL-1421 and CS 4218. Thank you for the post
10:30 AM PDT

ZorchMan said...

Thanks, Buster! I'm glad to see that people are watching the blog...Keep up the good work on those ten-inchers! Oh, how do I get invited to check out your other blogs?

Luis...I had always assumed that Columbia had issued the same take on both the LP and the stereo single, as well as the 45.
However, according to the liner notes on the Sony CD and the Ellington Panorama online discography, the take issued on the stereo single (RZSP46267-9) was recorded the day before the 45 rpm version (RZSP46267-14) and the version on the LPs (RZSP46267, no take listed in the Panorama).

Has the Ellington Society or similar group actually disproved this info? I know that CBS/Sony is famous for supplying wrong info from time to time, but I've heard the Panorama's discography is fairly accurate.

I have copies of the LP (original stereo and a promo of the mono one), and will sit down someday and compare the solos.In any case, thanks for writing!

There was an additional comment...a comment left by a porn bot. That one I'll omit

Back to the hacker...why do idiots like this ransack blog pages? For the same reason they troll in chat rooms, looking for people to boot. BECAUSE THEY CAN.

I can think of another question that's answered by "because they can." The question is about a grooming procedure of canines...I'll bet that our little hacker friend does that too. Regularly. When he's not hacking and hiding, that is.