Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Helpin' Of Selvin!

My, my, my...things are hoppin' with the Blog...the Wilmoth Houdini Calypsos album has generated a LOT of traffic, thanks to fellow bloggers at http://easydreamer.blogspot.com/2010/09/hot-dogs-made-their-name.html and http://flashstrap.blogspot.com/2010/09/stone-cold-dead-in-market-wilmouth.html (he also loved the Calypso Carnival LP...maybe Sony ought to reissue it?). And my humble blog is in the list at the bottom of the page at http://yourpaldoug.blogspot.com/ .

So, I'm a bit more inspired than usual!
Every now and then, we 78 collectors find strange items like that oddball Ambrose test pressing I posted last month...the matrix number on the label doesn't match the one in the wax. And the title wasn't listed.

Sometimes we find oddities in the discographies, like the following four sides. They're labeled as being performed by three different orchestras, but they're actually all led by the ubiquitous Ben Selvin...and all recorded the same day!
This French Odeon has two Selvin sides, issued in the States on Harmony and Velvet Tone (on consecutively issued records, not back-to-back as they are here).

The first side is of a rather pretty De Sylva-Brown-Henderson composition, If You Haven't Got Love.
351074-2 If You Haven't Got Love Phil Hughes High Hatters (French) Odeon 250.092
NYC, 21 July 1931: Ben Selvin, conductor; large studio orchestra.

There's an interesting clip of Gloria Swanson singing the song here

The flip side is a perky Irving Berlin song, Me. The muted trumpet solo is by Manny Klein.
351063-2 Me Frank Auburn Orchestra (French) Odeon 250.092
http://www.4shared.com/audio/r5hwDaqb/Frank_Auburn__Selvin__-_Me.htmlNYC, 21 July 1931: Ben Selvin, conductor; large studio orchestra.

Oh...there were a couple of other future "big names" in this session, as you'll see momentarily. I'm keeping them up my sleeve for the time being.

You might notice that the above two sides are in the mysterious 350000 matrix series that Columbia used for many sides issued by their dime-store labels (Harmony, Diva, Velvet Tone and Clarion) at the time. The following sides are in the conventional Columbia 140000-150000 series.

Here's another version of the same tune...again, it's recorded on the same day with the same orchestra, but with a completely different arrangement.

151695 Me! The Knickerbockers Columbia 2502-D
NYC, 21 July 1931: Ben Selvin, conductor; large studio orchestra.

Notice that the Columbia adds an exclamation point to the title! I think this version is the better of the two, but I'm partial to BG solos.

Also, you'll hear this particular record as part of a Skinner’s Romancers transcribed radio show here http://randsesotericotr.podbean.com/2010/08/12/skinners-romancers-pgm-2/

I'll finish this section with the flip side, a fluffy bit of froth (or is it a frothy bit of fluff?):

151694 Slow But Sure The Knickerbockers Columbia 2502-D

I found this recording in another Skinner show: http://randsesotericotr.podbean.com/2010/09/28/skinners-romancers-pgm-3/
And here's the complete (more-or-less) scoop on the previous four sides:
NYC, 21 June 1931: Ben Selvin, conductor; large studio orchestra featuring (among others) Manny Klein, trumpet; Tommy Dorsey, trombone; Benny Goodman, clarinet; Hymie Wolfson, tenor sax; Dick Robertson, vocal.

While I'm a-Selvin', I think I'll play this rarity...it's in Columbia's short-lived 18000-D Longer Playing Series. Forgive the condition...it's very rough at the beginning and is a little blasty on certain high notes. But records in this series are quite rare...this is the only one I own.

255000-1 Medley - "Face The Music" Ben Selvin Orch, with Kate Smith, Jack Miller, and The Three Nitecaps Columbia 18000-D

I've included pictures of both labels...mainly because I'm too lazy to type out the individual songs...

255001-2 Medley - "Hot-Cha" Ben Selvin Orch, with Kate Smith, Jack Miller, and The Three Nitecaps Columbia 18000-D
NYC, 22 March 1932: Ben Selvin, conductor; large studio orchestra; Kate Smith, Jack Miller, and the Three Nitecaps, vocals.

I have a couple of other single items from other rare series...like this Cajun piece from 1929:
110552-2 Poche Town Joe Falcon with Clemo & Ophy Breaux Columbia 40506-F
110553-2 Osson Joe Falcon with Clemo & Ophy Breaux Columbia 40506-F

Atlanta 18 April 1929: Ophy Breaux, fiddle; Joe Falcon, accordion & vocal; Cleoma Breaux (Falcon), guitar.
This was in the rare Columbia 40500-F Arcadian-French Series...all were reissued in OKeh's 90000 series, which are probably just as rare as these are.

Osson is awesome (sorry!)...this one's in such great condition I didn't need to use any noise reduction or other enhancement.


This lovely record is in the strange Columbia 40000-D series...which was apparently used only on the West Coast...outside of a couple of extraordinarily rare jazz/dance pieces (The Curtis Mosby record in this series is particularly sought-after), it consisted mainly of Hawaiian sides by the likes of Sol Hoopii and Benny Nawahi.

This one features Tau and Rose Moe, recorded in Japan in 1929:

32265 Lei I Ka Mokihana Madame Riviere's Hawaiians Columbia 40005-D
32258 Paahana Hula Madame Riviere's Hawaiians
Columbia 40005-D
Tokyo, 1929: featuring Rose Moe, vocal; Tau Moe, guitar.

Let's stay with Hawaiian music (and return to French Odeon) for this favorite of mine:
According to the liner notes of Tickling the Strings (Harlequin HQ CD 28), not much is known about the husband-and-wife team of Kanui and Lula. They were based in Paris at the time of the recording, and Lula danced the hula and played ukulele.

The Parlophone issue of Oua Oua apparently sold quite well in the UK. Brian Rust mentions it in his book on record labels.
My copy is on French Odeon...
KI 6090-2 Tomi, Tomi Kanui & Lula
(French) Odeon 166.670


KI 6089-2 Oua Oua Kanui & Lula (French) Odeon 166.670
Paris, 21 June 1933: Kanui, guitar & vocal; Lula, ukulele.

A few years ago, the Max Brothers did something very weird with this record (which is rather weird itself...to me it sounds like a demented Elvis channelling Lassie)...

I'll finish up with a couple of sides by the "French Bing Crosby," Jean Sablon.
Looking at the label, you'd never guess that this record has some splendid guitar work by Jean-Baptiste Reinhardt...that Django cat.

CL-5487-3 Cette Chanson Est Pour Vous Jean Sablon (French) Columbia DF 1847
CL-5518-1 Rendez-vous Sous La Pluie Jean Sablon (French) Columbia DF 1847
Paris, 12 July 1935: Jean Sablon, vocal; Stephane Grappelly, violin & piano; Django & Joseph Reinhardt, guitars; Louis Vola, bass.

Monsieur Grappelli hadn't changed the spelling of his surname yet, so I'll use the original spelling here.

...and that'll do it for this installment.


Buster said...

Great stuff - always happy to see a post from you!

ZorchMan said...

Thanks, Buster!

Did you like the Claude Thornhill side I dedicated to you a while back?

Buster said...

Ah yes - "Buster's Last Stand." It seemed ominous. I thought you were trying to send me a message!

Flash Strap said...

Oh, you better believe I loved Calypso Carnival... That record, combined with yourself and Mr. Wilmouth Houdini, have done as much for my appreciation of Calypso as an art form- nay, more- as Van Dyke Parks' Discover America.

Thank you for you efforts and your treasures, sir.