Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Grits/Zorch Show #1

As I mentioned the last time, I was a guest on Grits Radio a week or so ago. We played a batch of my favorite sides. I was a bit nervous, but it was a blast. It was a completely new experience...for me, anyway. We'll do it again sometime soon...maybe the next time I can remember to shut my mic off when I'm not using it! And I'll try to remember to announce the tracks better.

Oh...that handsome kitty above is Elvis, who rules the Grits Homestead. I took this picture that night (and wrote the word balloon too). I didn't do anything to his eyes...they just glow blue when hit by bright light.

The other day, Mr. Grits posted the entire broadcast in his blog (http://gritsradio.blogspot.com/2009/04/gritszorch-show-no-1.html) in one large file...you can hear it all in one swell foop there.

...I wanted my mom (who has neither shortwave nor internet access) to hear the broadcast. I took the raw file, cut anything before the Route 66 Theme (and the spots at the end), and broke the long file into bite-sized chunks, each with individual titles, so she'd have an idea what I played that night.

I decided to share the split version of the broadcast with you too. Here is the show...warts and all:
1. Route 66 Theme Nelson Riddle Orch.
2. Baby, I Love You So Joe Weaver and the Don Juans
3. Down On Me Eddie Head and Family
4. Chatter #1 Grits & Zorch
5. Foghorn Boogie Dick Stabile Orch.
6. Spot #1 Area 51
7. Suby-Baja Ramon Marquez Orch.
8. Oua Oua Kanui & Lua
9. Chatter #2 Grits & Zorch
10. Ain't A Cow In Texas Margaret Whitmire
11. Spot #2 Area 51
12. Blue Yodel No. 9 Jimmie Rodgers & Louis Armstrong
13. I Love You Truly Earl Bostic Orch
14. Chatter #3 Grits & Zorch
15. Ghost Dance Truett & George
16. Spot #3 Area 51
17. Jockomo Sugarboy Crawford
18. Chatter #4 Grits & Zorch
19. Louisiana Hayride Boswell Sisters
20. Spot #4 Area 51
21. Zilch The Monkees
22. Hometown Blues Roane County Ramblers
23. Chatter #5 Grits & Zorch
24. There's A Man That Comes To Our House
Sweet Violet Boys
25. Man Of Constant Sorrow Emry Arthur
26. Chatter #6 Grits & Zorch
27. Spot #5 Area 51
28. Cave Man Jim Backus
29. My Arabian Baby Hank Snow
30. Spot #6 Area 51
31. John Hardy Buell Kazee
32. We Shall All Be Reunited (closing) Alfred Karnes

Thanks to the Area 51 regulars who commented (through a chat line) from time to time...

Also, thanks to Bruce The B (aka Metal-Muncher) for sending an encouraging email to us during the broadcast with a half-joking request for The Monkees' Zilch. I'm glad Grits had the cut so we could sneak it in.

I'll try to remember to bring a couple of yellow-label Atlantic 45s (or their digital equivalent) next time around. Bruce digs them. I did play Jockomo (which was originally on Checker), which has a good Lee Allen tenor solo...Allen's on at least a couple of sessions that Atlantic issued in the yellow-label days.

I got the following 45 from Bruce a couple of days ago...which I'll dedicate to the Area 51 folk and anyone who remembers Top 40 Radio from Ye Olde Days.

45-LB-966 Chaos - Part I Arbogast & Ross Liberty 55107
45-LB-967 Chaos - Part II Arbogast & Ross Liberty 55107

I just found out that Bob Arbogast recently passed away. More can be read here: http://illfolks.blogspot.com/2009/03/bob-arbogast-dies-50-years-after-chaos.html (and you can see the rare picture sleeve there too!)


A few weeks ago, I transferred a couple of ten-inch LPs of the famous WNEW Saturday Night Swing Sessions of 1947. One of the cuts therein has an interesting title...one that reminds me of the Area 51 folk.

High On An Open Mike WNEW Saturday Night Swing Session 10" Esoteric ESJ-3 http://www.box.net/shared/7xn0zmbho5

WNEW broadcast, NYC, April 12, 1947: Fats Navarro, trumpet; Bill Harris, trombone; Charlie Ventura, Allen Eager, tenor saxes; Ralph Burns, piano; Al Valente, guitar; Chubby Jackson,. bass; Buddy Rich, drums.

...'til next time...

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Three updates!

1. A couple of weeks ago, Christopher DeJohn offered an intact Columbia jukebox pack of Columbia Seven singles, complete with title strips and packaging (for a 1962 Mahalia Jackson LP) on eBay. I wrote to him, inviting him to look at my blog, especially my recent post on Columbia Sevens. I asked if I could use a few images of this important find. Shortly thereafter, I got a few very nice pictures indeed. These are the most interesting ones, I think!

This is the front of the package:

And its contents, in situ:

One of the two enclosed cover slicks and the title strips:

...and all five records in sleeves (without the "record store" blurb at the bottom):

...and the label for the title track. Notice the font is quite different from the ones I published previously...and the matrix number switches from 9:00 to 3:00 position. These variations could be chalked up to different pressing plants.

Again, I thank Chris for sharing these pictures with the Zorch people...

2. It looks like I tickled Bill Reed's fancy sumptin' fierce when I posted that li'l Blossom Dearie record. He asked if he could use it in his blog. Of course I said he could...and he did.
He also gave me a nice plug at his blog...here it is:
http://people-vs-drchilledair.blogspot.com/2009/04/httpzorchv38.html . Thanks again, Bill!!

3. Something to think about...another Friend Of Zorch, Mr. Grits (blogmeister of
http://gritsradio.blogspot.com/), has asked me to participate in his first official shortwave broadcast this Sunday, 5 April from 6:30--7:30 PM EDT. We'll be spinning records (well, virtual ones, anyway...I don't want to drag some 78s around with me) and chatting. If you don't have a shortwave receiver, don't fret...run over to http://gritsradio.pmlol.com/ and click on "Listen live." As long as you have Winamp or MusicMatch (or something similar), you should be able to listen. Actually, you could visit Grits early (and keep it in your favorites...he plays some dynamite stuff)...we'll probably start an hour or two earlier on a web-only basis. It's just from 6:30--7:30 we'll actually be on the ether too. We'll be taking phone calls too...tune in and enjoy!
Oh, Kenneth, the frequency is
5.110 MHz.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

It's April First! (No worms allowed!)

Shaw 'nuff...Ron identified Attleboro native Ray Conniff's trombone work on the mystery cut. Here's the label and a properly-identified credit:

071710-1 Needlenose Artie Shaw Orchestra Victor 27860
NYC 21 January 1942: Artie Shaw, clarinet and leader; Lee Castle, Max Kaminsky, Steve Lipkins, Hot Lips Page, trumpets; Jack Jenney, Morey Samuel, Ray Conniff, trombones; Charlie diMaggio, Les Robinson, alto saxes; Gergie Auld, Mickey Folus, tenor saxes; large string section; Johnny Guarnieri, piano; Mike Bryan, guitar; Eddie McKimmey, bass; Dave Tough, drums.
The "needle nardle noo" I mentioned last time (as a little clue to the title of the mystery piece) was one of many catchphrases used on BBC Radio's The Goon Show. More to be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Goon_Show_running_jokes and lots more info here: http://www.thegoonshow.net/ . I've been listening a lot to the Goons lately...their lunacy keeps me sane.

It's April 1, so if that nasty worm hasn't invaded your hard drive, maybe you'd like to listen to some fun fare...Let's start with an old favorite of mine:

This was one of the first jazz records I had ever heard...I had it as part of the RCA Victor Encyclopedia of Jazz set of ten-inch LPs (Volume 2, to be exact). It introduced me to Bix Beiderbecke when I was eight or nine years old.

Those old ten-inchers were available through supermarkets, which explains why they're so common...especially the first couple of volumes. But the original 78 of Barnacle Bill took me a long time to snag...over twenty years.

Anyhoooooo......this is a stock arrangement of the tune...but with some space for solos added. The first verse is pleasant enough, and the answering verse is all right too. Notice that the fiddle plays through the first two repetitions of the title...but on the third one, the fiddle stops and a new voice joins the chorus. That's Joe Venuti. More about his infamous contribution to this record in the next paragraph.

After a blazing Bix solo, Carson Robison and friends go through the second verse. Pay close attention to the answering verse this time around...Mr. Venuti can be heard above the others singing "Barnacle Bill, the sh#thead!" He sings it on all three repetitions this time around (it probably wasn't all that audible in 1930, but it's fairly plain on newer equipment).
62301-1 Barnacle Bill, The Sailor Hoagy Carmichael Orchestra Victor V-38139 http://www.box.net/shared/r0ib62803f
NYC 21 March 1930: Hoagy Carmichael, vocal and leader; Bix Beiderbecke, cornet; Bubber Miley, trumpet; Tommy Dorsey, trombone; Benny Goodman, clarinet; Bud Freeman, tenor sax; Joe Venuti, violin & supplemental vocal; Irving Brodsky, piano; Eddie Lang, guitar; Harry Goodman, tuba; Gene Krupa, drums; Carson Robison, vocal.
59800-2 Rockin' Chair Hoagy Carmichael Orchestra Victor V-38139
Same date and personnel, but Robison is out and Irving Brodsky's voice is heard.

Nice early version of Rockin' Chair (the first, I believe)...Bubber Miley's growling trumpet is more prominent on this side, although Bix takes a bow towards the end.

Astute collectors out there may notice the huge gap in matrix numbers...59801 through 62300 were allocated for field recordings (used mostly in Chicago, Memphis, Hollywood, and Atlanta).


Carson Robison, who composed Barnacle Bill with his regular partner, Frank Luther (they recorded three versions of the song under the names Bud and Joe Billings), recorded one of the strangest entries in the Victor V-38000 "Hot Dance Tunes" series...both novelty fox trots. Stuff seems to be a variant of Frankie and Johnny, and Nonsense is clearly a relative of Tiger Rag.

53969-2 Stuff Carson Robison Kansas Jack-rabbits Victor V-38074
53970-3 Nonsense Carson Robison Kansas Jack-rabbits Victor V-38074
NYC 31 July 1929: Earl Oliver, trumpet; probably Sam Lewis, trombone; probably Larry Binyon, alto sax; Murray Kellner, violin; probably Bill Wirges, piano; Carson Robison, guitar; Andy Sannella, slide guitar; unknown, drums. Rust doesn't list who played the oboe at the beginning of Nonsense...it was probably Binyon.

Another weird thing...Victor used their "squeezed" font (usually reserved for minor words on the labels like "by" and "and") for the band's credit. They didn't capitalize "rabbits" either.

Here's one of the funniest sides ever recorded by Rudy Vallee...it's also pretty darned hot too!

147906-2 Outside Rudy Vallee Connecticut Yankees Diva 2857-G
NYC, 31 January 1929: Rudy Vallee, clarinet, alto sax & vocal; probably Don Moore, trumpet; probably Hal Matthews, trombone; Joe Miller, tenor sax; Manny Lowy, Jules deVorzon, violins; Cliff Burwell, piano; Charles Peterson, banjo; Harry Patent, tuba; Ray Toland, drums.

Of course, this side (like most of Diva's material) was also issued on Harmony and VelvetTone. All three (and Clarion, which rolled in within a year or so) were Columbia's cheaper "dime store" labels. Vallee moved to Victor just after this session.
A few years ago, I found a copy of this record for a quarter or so:

I expected to hear Dalhart sing a moralistic fable. About halfway through A Warning To Boys, I realized that not only was this fable a parody, it was essentially the same song that W. C. Fields sang in his short film, The Fatal Glass Of Beer (you can see it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYDKmEF85CY and the song starts around 2:10). Eventually I found that this song and its mate A Warning To Girls, were written by Charley Case in 1907.
146912 A Warning To Boys Vernon Dalhart Diva 2729-G http://www.box.net/shared/kqro92g70b
146913 A Warning To Girls Vernon Dalhart Diva 2729-G
NYC 28 August 1928: Vernon Dalhart, vocal; unknown, harmonium.


A long while back (June 2007, to be exact), I remarked that I had an unusual Spike Jones record that I'd like to share...here 'tis:

Spike Jones Describes The "Musical" Instruments Used In "Dance Of The Hours" Spike Jones RCA promo, unnumbered
1949: Spike Jones & Dick Morgan, speech; samples of their record of Dance Of The Hours.
Jones's speaking voice was rather pleasant...and guitarist Dick Morgan's voice is just plain goofy.

The other side of this special promo issue is the song itself:
Dance Of The Hours Spike Jones and his City Slickers Victor 20-3516
1949: Lindley Armstrong "Spike" Jones, leader; large troupe of nuts; featuring Doodles Weaver, commentary.

Jim Henson's Muppet pianist, Rowlf, used to sing a really strange song called You and I and George: http://www.box.net/shared/cmei4qln6f .
This, of course, wasn't the first recording of George...I recall an earlier version on a live Stan Kenton album somewhere. But, any time I hear the song, it's usually played for laughs.

Here's a straight, deadpan version:

ZSP 34850 George Dolores Hawkins Epic 5-9089
1955 or so: Dolores Hawkins, vocal; Don Costa Orchestra.

It seems that someone named Maxwell was the composer.
I don't know how Ms. Hawkins was able to do this song as well as she did...her tongue had to have been firmly lodged in her cheek.

Here's a party record...the only info is the title on the label. The singer is instantly recognizable to people who collect the old stuff...it's Ukulele Ike!
(LO-340) Behind Nick's Counter Anonymous white label party record 5003
Hollywood, October 1936: Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards, vocal & ukulele; others unknown.

The first issue of this title (on the Hollywood Hot Shots label) was called Down Behind the Counter at Nick's. This is a later dubbing of it. Oh...I'm not responsible if you suddenly have When You Wish Upon A Star stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Ike does that to people sometimes.

Here's the flip side...also issued anonymously. Can't say I recognize this guy, though (beware! The language here is a bit rough)...

Singing Reporter Anonymous white label party record 5003


And now some records that deal with rude noises and/or the bodily functions that cause them...

Here's the side that Ed Reynolds usually plays any time there's a new person at the listening session:

068074-1 Serenade To A Maid (A Bronx Serenade) Teddy Powell Orch
Bluebird B-11373
NYC 4 November 1941: Teddy Powell, large orchestra.


This is the granddaddy of all fart records, the infamous Crepitation Contest, recorded after hours at the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. There's a good article about it here: http://hensteeth.com/cblue.html

The Crepitation Contest Brown & Lipton issued many, many times...
1942: Sydney Summers Brown, voice, Jules Lipton (CBC Producer), production & sound effects.

This may be the first recorded song about, well, wind...

17306-1 Jim's Windy Mule Sweet Violet Boys Vocalion 03587
NYC, 16 April 1935: Tex Atchison, vocal & fiddle; Chick Hurt, vocal, speech & mandola; Salty Holmes, vocal & guitar; James Taylor, vocal, speech & bass; unidentified,

This is actually the Prairie Ramblers...many of their novelty records were issued under the Sweet Violet Boys name (and they usually backed up Patsy Montana without label credit too). It was recorded in 1935, but it sat in the can for almost two years before it was finally issued as the flip side of their Sweet Violets No. 3. I've seen it reissued as a red-label Columbia, so it must have sold fairly well.
Here's another side by the boys:

C-1888-4 There's A Man Who Comes To Our House Sweet Violet Boys Vocalion 03766
Chicago, 7 October 1937: same personnel, add Bill Thall, clarinet; Ken Houchens,
guitar & vocal.

And that should be enough for now...I have to go milk the elk.