Thursday, December 22, 2011

Some (darkly) sweet sounds for December

A few weeks ago, I downloaded a most intriguing compilation/mixtape from . I then played it. About halfway through, I heard Nat Shilkret's Bolero, and a bit later on, Madame Riviere's Paahana Hula. I said to myself "Interesting...these sound like my copies!" I thought the pattern of clicks and noises on those cuts (which are unique as fingerprints) sounded a little too familiar to be merely coincidental...maybe I caught someone with his hand in my cookie jar.

So I wrote in and asked if those were, in fact, my transfers. The Wise Old Owl at the Warbles thanked me for not losing my cool, and confessed that they were indeed "borrowed" from my blog.

Now, I have no problems with people downloading my materials...nor do I mind my records being used in someone else's blog. But I must ask for credit somewhere in the posting (just as I give credit to someone else if I borrow something for mine). Actually, I'd appreciate advance notice, if only to prepare some sort of the minimum a plug for the borrowing blog, and perhaps a special cut or two in dedication.

There are now links to my blog on my two cuts at the Warbles.

Actually, I'm rather flattered to hear some of my records being used as part of a larger audio collage. And Dark Sweets is just too fine a compilation for me to nitpick much.

Now that's all been said, here are some tasty sides for friends Moahaha and Owl at Holy Warbles:

I recently found this somewhat battered, but very interesting was loved a little too much, and it had seen some moisture at some time in the past eighty years, making the gold print on the green Columbia label extremely faint. But I could (barely) make out the word "Criolo" and thought I'd take a chance on it. I'm glad I did!

It's by a Cape Verdean/American group...I can't find much info on them, but according to Johnny Perry’s Instrumental Criolo Trio featured the legendary fiddler Boboy de Tai of New Bedford, Massachusetts.

W110838-2 Five D'Outobro - Waltz Johnny Perry's Portuguese Criolo Trio Columbia 1069-X

(5 October 1910 is the date that Portugal overthrew its monarchy and declared itself a republic. But Cape Verde didn't become independent from Portugal until 5 July 1975.)
W110839-1 San Vincente - Polka Johnny Perry's Portuguese Criolo Trio Columbia 1069-X
NYC, June 1929: exact personnel unknown.
I fell in love with this record...they remind me of the other two early Columbia Cape Verdean 78s I have.

A few years ago, an old 78 collecting pal of mine gave me a copy of Cabo Verdranos Peca Nove (Cape Verdean Piece Number Nine) by Abrew's Portuguese Instrumental Trio. I was very much impressed, especially by the fiery fiddling on the bridge. When I played it for a group of collectors a short time later, they were equally impressed. Eventually it showed up on the Old Hat compilation Folks, He Sure Do Pull Some Bow!

The tango on the other side is lovely...but there is a serious flaw in my copy. There's a deep thumbnail-sized edge flake that made the first half-inch of the record unplayable. I filled the divot in with nail polish. The damaged section still goes "thunk, thunk, thunk," but at least it can now be played.

Last year I found a second record from the same session! This record has an edge flake, too...although it's not as bad. And the overall condition is a little rougher. Oh, well. These X-series (originally for export) Columbias aren't very common. I'm glad I have these any condition. (I had to borrow this scan from Popsike until I get my scanner going again)

W112794-2 Masurka Do Meu Pae Abrew's Portuguese Instrumental Trio Columbia 1131-X
W112795-2 Abrew's Portuguese Jazz Abrew's Portuguese Instrumental Trio Columbia 1131-X
W112797-2 Tango Portuguez Abrew's Portuguese Instrumental Trio Columbia 1129-X
W112799-2 Cabo Verdranos Peca Nove Abrew's Portuguese Instrumental Trio Columbia 1129-X
NYC, February 1931: exact personnel unknown.

I'm tickled to see the Little Brothers performing a modern version of Peca Nove: Christmas songs yet? Oops! Here's one!

Since all the Cape Verdean sides were on green-label Columbias, I think I'll include one that was on a red one:

W141283-1 At The Christmas Ball Bessie Smith Columbia 35842
NYC 18 November 1925: Bessie Smith, vocal; with Joe Smith, cornet; Charlie Green, trombone; Fletcher Henderson, piano.

Why this lovely side stayed in the can until 1940 is anybody's guess.

I also want to thank Radioman David G. and Joan McG. for their kind donations a while back...I'm sorry it took so long for me to get around to acknowledging you.

Happy holidays to one and all.....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lee Wiley and Friends - 10 April 1940

Thanks to Ronster for getting me this early birthday present!

Here's the complete session (including breakdowns) of 10 April 1940, featuring one of my favorite singers, Lee Wiley...she's joined by an all-star lineup including The Bunster...four songs were recorded. They're all gems (especially Find Me A Primitive Man). They were originally issued as half of her Songs of Cole Porter album, on the Liberty Music Shop label.

The LP issue is the limited-edition Blu-Disc T-1013.

This one's dedicated to the Providence League of Wiley Fans...especially to The Beard (get better soon, y'hear?).

1-3 Let's Fly Away
4-9 Let's Do It
10-11 Hot House Rose
12-20 Find Me A Primitive Man
(actually #19 is studio chatter only)
NYC, 10 April 1940: Lee Wiley, vocal with Bunny Berigan's Music: Bunny Berigan, trumpet; Joe Bushkin, piano; Sid Weiss, bass; George Wettling, drums.


Saturday, July 16, 2011


No music to listen to today, just some interesting advertisements I found online in the Baltimore Afro-American...

...and that's just scratching the surface. There are hundreds of record ads, personal appearance plugs, pictures, and articles out there.

Then I spotted this sad news item: was buried under a large (unrelated) picture on the front page of the 1 January 1927 issue.

I was shocked...the name "Eleanora Gough"
(misspelled on the article) was familiar...and this website explains why . There's even a picture of 219 South Durham Street as it appears today.

I can't add any comment's just sad that the first real newspaper article about Billie Holiday has to be something this awful.

I'll have something more cheerful next time around.

PS. I suppose I should mention this website,Billie.html, which gives the actual information from Billie's birth certificate...she was born "Elinore Harris," although some early documents give other spellings of her first name. "Fagan" was the maiden name of Sadie (Billie's mother), which explains why I usually found that name in Billie's biographies, although "Gough" was in some listings)...Philip Gough married Sadie five years after Billie's birth.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

A dozen silly sides (from Harmony and Diva)

I'm finally getting around to writing again...

I've been quite busy with side projects and have had some weird problems with my scanner. It took the following picture

and promptly gave up the ghost. I've deleted, downloaded and reinstalled new software and drivers for the scanner (several times), but nothing seems to work.

So...I'll use the one picture I have for the time being. Someday, more scans will appear.

This odd old Diva 78 was part of a recent project. I was digitizing some old Columbia dime-store material...sides published under the Harmony and Diva labels (and Velvet Tone, too...but the sides included here aren't on that label). While I was recording these sides, I was struck by how many of them were of silly little novelty songs that few people remember. I thought I'd share some of the sillier ones with you...

Let's start off with the battered Diva above, shall we?

150615-3 Kitty From Kansas City Milt Coleman Diva 3185-G
150616-3 Around The Corner Milt Coleman
Diva 3185-G
NYC, 30 June 1930: Milt Coleman, vocal; unknown band.

There's an amusing film clip of Rudy Vallee singing Kitty From Kansas City here

The above pair of sides are the only electrically-recorded songs in this post. The next ten were recorded using the old acoustic method.

Here are four really odd songs by Marion Try Slaughter, better known as Vernon Dalhart. Dalhart recorded under several pseudonyms, "Al Craver" seems to have been used exclusively for Columbia's 15000-D Old Time Tunes (country) series, and the Harmony labels used Mack Allen, especially on the novelty these:

147055-5 The Frog Song Mack Allen (Vernon Dalhart) Harmony 783-H
147056-4 Sing Hallelujah Mack Allen (Vernon Dalhart)
Harmony 783-H
NYC, 4 October 1928: Vernon Dalhart, vocal & harmonica; Adelyne Hood, vocal; possibly William Carlino, banjo; unknown, guitar.

148443-1 Ain't Gonna Grieve My Mind Any More Mack Allen (Vernon Dalhart) Harmony 903-H

148444-1 King Of Borneo Mack Allen (Vernon Dalhart) Harmony 903-H

NYC 16 April 1929: Vernon Dalhart. vocal; Adelyne Hood, vocal & piano; unknown, fiddle; unknown, banjo; unknown (Dalhart?), whistling.

I can imagine some of my audience wondering why Harmony was still recording acoustically as late as 1929 (most of the other labels switched over to microphones by 1926 or so). It all goes back to Harmony's parent company, Columbia. In 1923, they started releasing records using their "New Process" of recording and pressing. In 1925, the New Process was already obsolete, replaced by the new syste
m installed by Western Electric. So, rather than completely scrapping the expensive equipment that was less than two years old, the Powers That Be (er, Were) decided that the older equipment could be used to produce cheaper records for the five-and-ten-cent stores. That's why almost all of the Harmony/Diva/VelvetTone records were acoustic (although those by Annette Hanshaw and a few other artists were all electric). Finally, they switched over to electrical recording exclusively in late 1929.

144037-3 Fifty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong Joe Candullo Orch Diva 2409-G

Go Wash An Elephant (If You Wanna Do Something Big) Joe Candullo Orch Diva 2409-G

NYC, 18 April 1927: Joe Candullo, violin & conductor; Izzy Friedman, clarinet & saxes; others (2 trumpets; trombone, 2 saxes; rhythm section) unknown; Irving
Kaufman, vocal.

The vocal on Frenchmen was credited to "Pierre LaFond," but it was our old friend Irving Kaufman. I rather like the opening quote of Gounod's Funeral March For a Marionette (the theme from Alfred Hitchcock Presents) at the beginning of Elephant.

One of the most popular downloads from This Humble Blog is The Whoopee Hat Brigade by The Six Jumping Jacks, a (contractual) pseudonym for Harry Reser's band. They specialized in performing "nut jazz," silly songs with hot solos and strange instrumental effects...and most of their sides have vocals by drummer Tom Stacks.

This pair has Red Nichols sitting in:

142240-1 I'm Just Wild About Animal Crackers Seven Wild
Men (Harry Reser) Harmony 193-H
142241-2 The Lunatic's Lullaby Seven Wild Men (Harry Reser) Harmony 193-H

NYC 24 May 1926: Harry Reser, banjo & conductor; Red Nichols, cornet; Sam
Lewis, trombone; Larry Abbott. clarinet & alto sax; Norman Yorke, tenor sax; Jimmy Johnston, bass sax; Bill Wirgis, piano; Tom Stacks, drums & vocal.

Ken Gillum sings and plays another version of The Lunatic's Lullaby (complete with the verse and a second chorus!) in a 1931 The Two Daffodils radio show here....

...listen to the whole show! It's a hoot!

The Rust discographies give a generic personnel listing for the's probably similar to the last record, but Nichols isn't present. Larry Abbott's comb-and-paper is quite audible, though...

143265-2 (Cock-a-Doodle I'm Off My Noodle) My Baby's Back The Night Club Orch (Harry Reser) Harmony 345-H

143267-3 Oh How She Could Play A Ukulele The Night Club Orch (Harry Reser) Harmony 345-H

NYC, 6 January 1927: Harry Reser, banjo & conductor; featuring Larry Abbott,
comb & reeds; Tom Stacks, drums & vocal.

Well, that's it for now...hope these sides tickled your funny bone.

Oh, I made a CD of these (and a few other amusing American records) and gave it to the British Ambassador of Mirth and Merriment, Neil Innes.
I hope he and his lovely wife enjoyed some of it between gigs.

He was on an extensive tour of the States and Canada. His records (especially with the Bonzos and Rutles) have been favorites of mine for the last 35 years or so...the disc was a token of thanks for the many smiles and belly laughs this gentleman has bestowed.

That's the Ego-Warrior salute, by the way...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Seven Wonders and Seven Wonderful Sides (and some Yogi as well!)

We in the northeast have been hit fairly hard by Ol' Man Winter this year...we've had three or four substantial snowfalls already (there are still Snowbankzillas here and there two weeks after the last one), and the temperature often hovers in the single digits (Fahrenheit, that is).

When the winter doldrums set in, I like to dig out upbeat music from warmer climes.

Here's a ten-inch LP that followed me home from a yard sale a few months ago:
It's a demonstration record for the 1956 Admiral hi-fi system...and it's also a soundtrack from the Lowell Thomas Cinerama spectacular Seven Wonders Of the World (that's's two! two! two LPs in one! Sorry. it doesn't have a drop of Retsyn.
should explain the reference to an old Certs commercial to non-Yanks.). There are short snippets from (among others) a Watusi ceremony, an Indian wedding, and an Italian tarantella.

SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD Various artists Admiral Hi-Fi Demonstration Record (unnumbered)
1. "Metropolitan Rhapsody", introduction
2. Train Effect
3. French Can-Can
Percussion Effects
"Genghis Khan" Indian Sequence
Native Elephant School
Native Indian Music and Wedding Procession
Japanese Percussion Sequence
Watusi Native Dance
11. Finale - "Metropolitan Rhapsody"
All in all, it's a pleasant fifteen-minute excursion to Somewhere (Anywhere!) Besides New England.

There was something maddeningly familiar (to me, anyway) about the (anonymous) announcer's voice. After the third or fourth intro, I realized that he was Hanna-Barbera voiceman Don Messick.

(A few years after this LP was recorded, Messick did the voice-over for some educational film strips made by the Bowman company...they were probably made for some high school auto shop course. I have three or four of the seven-inch soundtrack discs. Messick is credited properly on those labels. I suppose I could post one or two of them if there's enough intere$t.)

Messick did the voice for Yogi Bear's nemesis Ranger Smith and his little pal Boo-Boo, too. And Boo-Boo, Yogi, Ranger Smith and company are all in the following LP that features soundtracks from four Yogi Bear cartoons. I find it a little unsettling when an unfamiliar announcer's voice (Howard Berk, who also wrote the commentary) describes a scene that doesn't translate well to the audio-only world. Still, it's fun to hear these voices (and music and sound effects too) again. And I've always liked Daws Butler...he's also on that Jim Backus Christmas 45 I posted back in 2007.

Big Brave Bear
Robin Hood Yogi
Brainy Bear
Buzzin' Bear
1961: Daws Butler and Don Messick, voices; Howard Berk, announcer; stock music (by John Seely)
The front cover had all kinds of extra "decoration" left by a previous owner...

...which came off quickly with a paper towel. The LP itself is, to steal a Yogi-ism, cleaner than the average kiddie record.

"Boo-boos" can also mean little mistakes. Hmmm...I can think of lots of this other type of Boo-Boos on record labels...the info on the label has something wrong with it. I think I'll post a couple of them now.

The boo-boos I'm listing here are real honest-to-goodness mistakes...I'm ignoring items that have the wrong label pasted on the record, or records deliberately issued under pseudonymous credits (usually for contractual reasons)...

This one's a bit's a classic 78 (well-played by the original owner) by the Benny Goodman Sextet. On the label, there's a credit to trombonist George Auld.

Of course, Auld played tenor sax.

In the Russell and Hicks BG On The Record, they report (slightly edited for clarity):
The initial Columbia release, 36099, erroneously credits George Auld with a trombone, not tenor sax. Later releases corrected this mistake, but George had some fun with it while it was current.

CO 29942-2 A Smo-o-o-oth One Benny Goodman Sextet Columbia 36099

CO 29943-1 Good Enough To Keep Benny Goodman Sextet Columbia 36099
NYC, 13 March 1941: Benny Goodman, clarinet; Cootie Williams, trumpet; George Auld, tenor sax (not trombone); Johnny Guarnieri, piano; Charlie Christian, guitar; Art Bernstein, bass; Dave Tough, drums.

Of course, Good Enough To Keep was quickly retitled Air Mail Special, but that's a different story.

I recently found this pleasant, if not too exciting country record, which was credited to the wrong singer completely!

There really was a "Doc" Roberts who recorded for Gennett and Champion.
For some unknown reason, Decca, who revived Champion in the mid-1930s, reissued two Dick Parman sides, but put them out under Roberts's name!

14492-A Rock All Our Babies To Sleep "Doc" Roberts (actually Dick Parman) Champion 45099
14493-B She'll Be Coming 'Round The Mountain "Doc" Roberts (actually Dick Parman) Champion 45099
Richmond, Indiana, 1 December 1928: Dick Parman, vocal & guitar; Asa Martin, harmonica.

To be fair to the Decca Champion folks, Asa Martin often played harmonica on records by the real "Doc" Roberts...perhaps that's the reason for the confusion.

More Boo-boos some other time.

In the same little stack of 78s which contained the Roberts/Parman record, I found this very unusual item:

Most Publix records had black and gold labels and drew from Columbia's Harmony/Diva/Velvet Tone dime-store stock, but this is obviously quite different!

This Ballyhoo record was sent to Publix theatres in 1929 to advertise Paramount's new feature, Innocents of Paris, featuring Maurice Chevalier. Columbia must have balked at the idea of using any of the soundtrack featuring Chevalier, who was a Victor artist. So they asked Irving Kaufman, the usual vocalist for the Harmony labels, to sing and announce as well!

176015-1 Innocents of Paris Ballyhoo Uncredited artist (Irving Kaufman)
Publix (unnumbered)
NYC 1929: Irving Kaufman (uncredited), vocal and announcement; studio orchestra.

Note the matrix is in that special 17xxxx Personal series Columbia used for paying clients...that Bernie Cummings/Humming Bird Mills Christmas record I posted in 2007 is another.

And the same recording is on the flip side.

Here's a side for Dave Whitney, local trumpeter/vocalist extraordinaire, who also runs a fine blog . I know he's a fan of the Three Stooges (I confess that I am fond of some of their short films as well)...I think he'll like this record.

It's the only record that Leroy Shield recorded under his own name. Shield is best remembered for composing and recording all that wonderfully familiar music used in the Hal Roach comedies (Our Gang, Laurel & Hardy, Charley Chase, etc.).

The vocalist on the otherwise snoozy Big Trail is Bud Jamison, who was a regular in the early Stooges shorts. The flip side, the mildly un-PC Sing-Song Girl (James Blackstone is vocalist this time) was covered around thirty years ago by R. Crumb's Cheap Suit Serenaders.

61027-4 Song of the Big Trail Leroy Shield/Victor Hollywood Orchestra Victor 22548
61026-4 Sing-Song Girl Leroy Shield/Victor Hollywood Orchestra
Victor 22548
Hollywood, 26 September 1930: Leroy Shield, conductor: unknown personnel; James Blackstone or Bud Jamison,

That's all folks...