Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Jimmy Beasley & The Rockers - Johnny's House Party Pts. 1 & 2

I think this was one of dad's all-time favorite 78s in his collection and was enjoyed at many a partying occasion.

Released on Modern Records in February of 1957.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fats Domino - Ain't It A Shame

"Ain't That a Shame" is a song recorded by Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew, in New Orleans, Louisiana, for Imperial Records and released in 1955. It was previously recorded in 1901 by Silas Leachman. The recording ("Ain't It a Shame") was a hit for Domino, eventually selling a million copies. It reached #1 on the "Black Singles" chart and #10 on the "Pop Singles" chart. The song is ranked #431 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Hawks - Joe The Grinder

Joe the Grinder is the name of mythical ladies man in blues tunes who seduces the wives and sweethearts of prisoners and soldiers. He’s also known as Joe De Grinder and Joe D. Grinder. The term dates to at least 1939. Grinder is from an old slang verb, to grind, meaning to copulate. The military use of jody was introduced to the U.S. Army by African-American soldiers. Jody is a clipping of the name of Joe the Grinder, a slightly older character in jazz and blues mythology.
"Joe The Grinder" was cut by The Hawks for Imperial in December of 1953 and with lead vocal duties going to bass vocalist, Willie Thrower.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Little Walter - Juke

"Juke" is a harmonica instrumental recorded by then 22-year-old Chicago bluesman Little Walter Jacobs in 1952. Although Little Walter had been recording sporadically for small Chicago labels over the previous five years, and had appeared on Muddy Waters' records for the Chess label since 1950, Juke was Little Walter's first hit, and it was the most important of his career. Due to the influence of Little Walter on blues harmonica, Juke is now considered a blues harmonica standard.
"Juke" was recorded on 12 May 1952 at the beginning (not the end, as commonly thought) of a recording session with Muddy Waters and his band, which at the time consisted of Waters and Jimmy Rogers on guitars, and Elga Edmunds on drums, in addition to Little Walter on harmonica. The originally released recording of "Juke" was the first completed take of the first song attempted at the first Little Walter session for Leonard Chess; the song was released at the end of July on Chess's subsidiary label Checker Records as Checker single #758. The song was recorded by recording engineer Bill Putnam at his Universal Recorders studio at 111 E. Ontario St. on the near north side of Chicago, Illinois.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Roy Hamilton - You'll Never Walk Alone

Roy Hamilton (April 16, 1929 – July 20, 1969) was an American singer, who achieved major success in the US R&B and pop charts in the 1950s. He is best known for his recordings of "You'll Never Walk Alone", "Unchained Melody" and "You Can Have Her".

"You'll Never Walk Alone" is a show tune from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel.
Roy Hamilton's version was a Billboard R&B number-one single March 27, 1954 - May 15, 1954

Dad would have loved this!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tab Smith - You Belong To Me

The alto saxophonist Talmadge (Tab) Smith was born in Kinston, North Carolina, on January 11, 1909, and made his professional debut with the Carolina Stompers in 1929. In 1931 he joined Eddie Johnson and his Crackerjacks in St. Louis, and in later years he worked with Lucky Millinder and Count Basie. By the time he began recording, with Millinder in 1936, he was a saxophonist of high technical accomplishment working in the tradition of Johnny Hodges; he would keep his idol's signature portamento for the rest of his life. From 1944 through 1949 he fronted his own combo, recording for various small labels in New York area, including J. Mayo Williams' Southern company. Then he moved his base of operations back to St. Louis. Tab Smith enjoyed a little success with the faltering Premium label in early 1951 (the remnants were cannily snapped up by Chess when Premium went out of business). As soon as he could, Simpkins brought him over to the new label. When Smith joined United Records, his skill as an alto saxophonist was fully matured, and the result was a fine series of ballads, blues, and novelty numbers all superbly realized in full lush tone and masterful phrasing.
Smith released "You Belong To Me" on United Records in 1953.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gogi Grant - The Tide Is High

Gogi Grant had a string of hits in the 50s with Hollywood, CA label Era Records and had her first top ten hit with "Suddenly There's a Valley." The next year, she had an even bigger hit, reaching Billboard 's #1 position, with "The Wayward Wind" and holding there for a then record eight weeks. The song sold over one million copies in the United States alone, and peaked at #9 in the UK Singles Chart. She was voted the most popular female vocalist by Billboard magazine. This single returned to the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961.
From 1956, Here is "The Tide Is High."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Carmen Cavallaro And His Orchestra - Warsaw Concerto

Carmen Cavallaro (May 6, 1913 – October 12, 1989) was an American pianist. He established himself as one of the most accomplished and admired light music pianists of his generation.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Vido Musso - Vido's Boogie

Here is another great Vido Musso side. For more info on Vido, check out the post from August.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Richard Hayman - Vera Cruz

In addition to RnB 78s, dad's collection included the occasional orchestral record.
Richard Hayman (born March 27, 1920) is an American arranger, harmonica player, and conductor.
Hayman started out as a player and arranger for the Borrah Minnevitch Harmonica Rascals before becoming an arranger for Metro-Goldwyn-MayerGirl Crazy, Meet Me in St. Louis, and Thousands Cheer. From 1945-1950, he was musical director for the Vaughn Monroe Orchestra. studios during the early 1940s. He did arrangements (often uncredited) for the MGM films
In the 1950s and 60s, Hayman recorded a series of records for Mercury.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bill Doggett - True Blue

True Blue is the B-side to Quaker City which I posted several months ago and features Billy Butler on guitar.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Roy Milton & His Orchestra - Thelma Lou

Milton spent the years of his youth on an Indian reservation in Oklahoma before making his home in Tulsa. He got a job as a singer with a territory band fronted by Ernie Fields. He got the opportunity to play the drums when the band's regular drummer didn't show. Milton moved west to Los Angeles and formed a trio that played clubs in the greater L.A. area in the early nineteen forties.In the year 1945 Milton signed a recording contract with a new area independent label called Juke Box Records (soon to be renamed Specialty). Specialty released "Thelma Lou" in April of 1952.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ges Jenkins - Spark Plug

Piano player & singer Gus Jenkins (1931-1985) first recorded in Chicago for the Chess label with Big Walter Horton before moving to the west coast where he recorded with Flash Records in Los Angeles. This 78 is from 1956.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Fugitives - Freeway (Update! 9/3/11)

I was recently contacted by Dion(Alan) Smith, the man who wrote this song. This is from the email he sent me.
I can give you the whole back story...I wrote it ("Freeway") and played it when I was in high school.
Also placed it with the label (when I was about 16 years old), driving my mom's '59 Hudson
Hornet from Phoenix AZ to "Hollywood".
It was first released on Arvee, then Russel Sims, who had made stampers unbeknownst
to myself (and then 'run out of Phoenix') saw Dollar $igns and released the same session on his
own label from...Memphis, I believe. There's quite a story there, including some 'teenage
espionage', another session of the same tune with the help of LeRoy VanDyke
("Just Walk On By, Wait On The Corner" fame).

Download from iTunes

Monday, August 29, 2011

Johnny Ace - Saving My Love For You

Johnny Ace (June 9, 1929 – December 25, 1954), born John Marshall Alexander, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee, scored a string of hit singles in the 1950s before dying of an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound. This record was released in 1954 before his untimely death on Christmas of that year while fooling around with a loaded .22 pistol backstage between sets at the City Auditorium in Houston, Texas.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Vido Musso - Roseland Boogie

Vido William Musso (17 January 1913 – 9 January 1982) was an Italian-born jazz tenor saxophonist, clarinetist and bandleader born in Carini, Sicily, best-known for his many contributions to the big bands of Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Stan Kenton and Woody Herman.
His family moved to the United States in 1920. He began on clarinet before switching to tenor sax. He is most associated with Stan Kenton who he first worked with in 1930. He reached his peak of notoriety with Kenton from 1945 to 1947. Perhaps his most notable work with the Kenton orchestra was his "Come Back to Sorrento". Musso died 9 January 1982 in Rancho Mirage, California.
Roseland Boogie also features a young Maynard Ferguson on horn.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sonny Thompson - Real Real Fine Pts 1 & 2

Another Real Real Fine release from the legendary King label. 
Sonny Thompson (August 22, 1916 – August 11, 1989) was an American R&B bandleader and pianist, popular in the 1940s and 1950s.
Born Alfonso Thompson in Centreville, Mississippi, he began recording in 1946, and in 1948 achieved two #1 R&B chart hits on the Miracle label – "Long Gone (Parts I and II)" and "Late Freight", both featuring saxophonist Eddie Chamblee. The follow-ups "Blue Dreams" and "Still Gone" were smaller hits.
By 1952 he had moved on to King Records. There, he had further R&B Top 10 successes with the singer Lula Reed, the biggest hit being "I'll Drown in My Tears" (Thompson married Reed sometime in the early 1950's). He continued to work as a session musician, and to perform with Reed into the early 1960s. He also had success as a songwriter, often co-writing with blues guitarist, Freddie King.
Thompson died in 1989 in Chicago, at the age of 72.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Elmore James & His Broomdusters - Please Find My baby

Elmore James (January 27, 1918 – May 24, 1963) was an American blues guitarist, singer, song writer andband leader. He was known as The King of the Slide Guitar and had a unique guitar style, noted for his use of loud amplification and his stirring voice. This 78 on the Flair label was released in 1953.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rockin’ Brothers Orchestra - Play Boy Hop

I don't know too much about these guys or this release. I think it's from around 1956. It's a great instrumental baritone sax number with real boogie flavor.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Peppy Prince - The Honky Tonky

Peppy Prince was the drummer in Joe Liggins' Honeydrippers band. Here he is in a rare solo effort, released on Hollywood Records in 1954. I am not 100% sure, but he may be accompanied here by Christine Chatman's orchestra.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters - Bip Bam

We'll finish off this week's tribute to Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters with my personal favorite song by them. The backing vocals are what really make this one swing for me.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters - Honey Love

Continuing with the McPhatter/Honey theme, we have "Honey Love", released in June of 1954. When I was little, I thought that the singer was a woman due to his higher pitched voice.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters - Money Honey

"Money Honey", written by Jesse Stone, was released in September 1953 by Clyde McPhatter backed for the first time by the newly formed Drifters. McPhatter's voice, but not his name, had become well-known as the lead singer for Billy Ward and the Dominoes and the song was an immediate hit and remained on the rhythm and blues charts for 23 weeks, peaking at number one. Rolling Stone ranked it #252 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Jan August - Misirlou

We are going way back in time for this one. Jan August worked as a pianist and xylophonist with Paul Whiteman and Ferde Grofe, then as a solo club pianist in the mid-1940s. His biggest hit was this version of "Misirlou," recorded for Mercury in 1947, but he had success with "Malaguena," "Oye Negra," and others that blended classical piano stylings with a Latin beat. He later recorded with Jerry Murad and the Harmonicats and Richard Hayman.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Four Blazes - Mary Jo

One of the top R&B records of 1952, a tribute to that legendary woman who "went up to Alaska just to melt the snow", "Mary Jo" provided a moment in the national spotlight for one of Chicago's hottest vocal combos. The single was released in April of '52 and entered the national charts in the middle of July. It moved rapidly to the top, displacing Lloyd Price's "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" as the #1 R&B song in the nation at the end of August. Born in the waning years of the Depression, The Four Blazes brought vitality and showmanship to the early years of R&B. Bassist Tommy Braden was the main lead singer while all members provided backup harmony vocals. "Jelly" Holt was the founder and drummer in the group, while Floyd McDaniel and "Shorty" Hill played guitars. The vocal styling on this song reminds me a lot of Louis Prima. My dad liked him too and played his "The Wildest" album often when I was a kid. I'll never forget how surprised I was when David Lee Roth covered, "Just A Giggolo" as I never heard that song anywhere outside of my home growing up. Dave's video for that song was an 80s classic. Anyway, I digress. Mary Jo was released on United Records, which was the first successful black-owned record company. Operated by Leonard Allen: tailor, retired policeman and one of exceptionally wide taste in music, the two labels (United and States) issued some of the best performances in jazz, blues, gospel and R&B from '51-57.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Robins - Riot In Cell Block No. 9

I used to beg dad to play this record when I was a wee lad. I loved the siren and machine gun snare and it's cops and robbers theme.
In 1952 Berry was one of the founding members of the Flairs, along with Young Jessie, Cornel Gunter and two others. The next year the group started recording for Modern Records and for the next three years Richard was the top utility man for Modern and its two subsidiaries, RPM and Flair. But perhaps his most significant contribution during this period was made for another label (Spark), as an uncredited member of the Robins. Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller had written a song called "Riot In Cell Block # 9". As the inspiration for this song, songwriter Jerry Leiber cites radio police dramas he had heard as a kid, particularly Gang Busters. In the book Hound Dog: The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography, Leiber says, "Gang Busters had a dynamite opening - a siren followed by a burst of gunfire, and the announcer hyping this week's episode. I was in love with Gang Busters as a ten-year-old back in Baltimore, but now I was twenty. I couldn't remember any of the stories, but the sounds were still in my mind."
Meanwhile, fellow songwriter Mike Stoller says when asked about this song, "We can't and won't claim credit as the inventors of rap, but if you listen to our early output, you'll hear lots of black men talking poem-stories over a heavy backbeat."Early attempts to record the number with the Robins proved frustrating. The group's bass singer, Bobby Nunn, just didn't have the menacing low voice that the song required. Enter Richard Berry. Being contracted to Modern, he didn't mention his moonlighting session to the Bihari brothers, but they had no trouble recognizing Berry's voice, after "Riot" became a West Coast hit in the summer of 1954. Instead of being angry, Joe Bihari asked, "Why don't you do something like that for us?". So Berry wrote "The Big Break", another prison song, with a melody and arrangement that were almost identical to "Riot In Cell Block # 9". I will post "Break" next time. Until then.....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Robins - Loop De Loop Mambo / Framed

The L.A. based R&B vocal group, The Robins doing "Loop De Loop Mambo," backed by "Framed," a 1954 release on Spark Records. Spark Records was formed by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and only lasted a couple of years, but it put out some great R&B cuts. Based on the "success" of Sparks, Atlantic Records offered Leiber and Stoller a production contract. Only Carl Gardner and Bobby Nunn of The Robbins made the move to Atlantic and the became the foundation for The Coasters. Nunn was soon replaced, but the Coaster had deep roots in the Robins and the L.A. vocal group sound. "Framed" is a take off of the Robins first hit, "Riot In Cell Block No. 9" which featured Richard Berry doing the deep voiced narrative. In "Framed," Bobby Nunn "copies" Berry's style. "Riot" is one of my personal favorites and I will be sharing that one in the next post.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Earl Bostic - Linger A While / Velvet Sunset

Bring on the 78s!
Another great Earl Bostic record from 1952.
Earl Bostic (April 25, 1913 – October 28, 1965) was an American jazz and rhythm and blues alto saxophonist, and a pioneer of the post-war American Rhythm and Blues style. He had a number of popular hits such as "Flamingo" , "Harlem Nocturne", "Temptation", "Sleep", "Special Delivery Stomp", and "Where or When", which showed off his characteristic growl on the horn. He is said to have been a major influence on John Coltrane.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Al Casey - The Stinger/Night Beat

Here is a hot little single from 1959 by the late, great Al Casey. This one came out on the West Coast Highland Records, which was owned by Sid Talmedge and based at 2580 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90006. The label was distributed by West Pico Merchandising and was a subsidiary of Malynn Enterprises.

Above photo shows Al, age 32, holding a Hagstrum V1, in 1968.
Happy Independence Day America!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Big Jay Mc Neely - 3D / Texas Turkey

Here is another great single from Big Jay.
3D is one wild number and Texas Turkey on the flip side is one of my faves by him.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Big Jay Mc Neely-Mule Milk / Ice Water

Big Jay McNeely is a legendary figure in American rhythm and blues. Mc Neely is known as the King of the Honking Tenor Sax and at 84 years of age he is still honking it up.
McNeely was credited with being the most flamboyant performer. He wore bright banana- and lime-colored suits, played under blacklights that made his horn glow in the dark, used strobe lights as early as 1952 to create an "old-time-movie" effect, and sometimes walked off the stage and out the door, usually with the club patrons following along behind. At one point, in San Diego, police arrested him on the sidewalk and hauled him off to jail, while his band kept playing on the bandstand, waiting for him to return. The honking style was fading somewhat by the early 1950s, but the honkers themselves suddenly found themselves providing rousing solos for doo wop groups; an example was Sam "The Man" Taylor's eight-bar romp on The Chords' 1954 "Sh-Boom." Bill Haleyalso used honking sax men Joey D'Ambrosio and Rudy Pompilli on his rock and roll records, including "Rock Around the Clock." However, the rise of theelectric guitar essentially ended the dominance of the tenor sax in rock and roll by 1956.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Sounds - Cold Chills

The Sounds, recorded for the Bihari Brothers' Modern Records. The first record, "Cold Chills"/"So Unnecessary" was released in November 1955. The second, a cover of the Colts' "Sweet Sixteen," backed with "Anything For You," came out in January 1956. All the sides were led by Bobby Byrd. 
I never really cared for this one much as I am not a huge doo-wop vocals fan, but it's one of dad's 45s, so here it is! He also had this on a 78 as well.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Googie Rene - Big Foot b/w Rebecca

 Googie Rene does a bit of a novelty song here with Big Foot, but Rebecca on the other side is the one I like.
From 1958

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tiny Bradshaw - Ping Pong

Here is the flip side of the "Powder Puff" single that I posted last week.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Brother Jack McDuff - He's A Real Gone Guy

PR 45-232  Jack McDuff - He's A Real Gone Guy, Pt. 1&2

Starring Leo Wright (as) Brother Jack McDuff (org) Kenny Burrell (g) Joe Dukes (d)
Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, October 23, 1962

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tiny Bradshaw - Powder Puff

Here is another good old good one from 1953. Tiny Bradshaw, His Piano And Band bring you "Powder  Puff", a swingin' little number, perfect for jitterbuggin'.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bill Black's Combo - Dry Bones

Dem BonesDry Bones or Dem Dry Bones is a well-known traditional spiritual song, used to teach basic anatomy to children, although its description is not anatomically correct. The melody was written by African-American author and songwriter James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938). Two versions of this traditional song are used widely, the second an abridgment of the first. The lyrics are based on Ezekiel 37:1-14, where the prophet visits the Valley of Dry Bones and causes them to become alive by God's command. Bill Black's Memphis honky tonk twist on this song was the flip side of his 'Josephine" single, released on Hi Records in 1960.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Googie Rene - Side Track/Break It Up

 Another great Googie Rene 45 from 1957.
Googie developed his own songwriting, arranging, keyboard playing, and production techniques during his time in charge of the Class record label. From the smooth 1956 West Coast jump of Wham Bam to the groovy 1966 Ramsey Lewis stylings, Googie had the latest chart hits and current trends always in mind when he went into the studio. The influences and inspirations are many and varied.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Eddie Cano - A Taste Of Honey

Eddie Cano's Reprise debut Eddie Cano at P.J.'s '61 included this Grammy nominated U.S. national hit single "A Taste of Honey."
P.J.'s was a small after-hours club in West Hollywood, which opened May '61; his quintet [formed '57] began a residency there July '61 and became a big hit with show business celebrities who flocked to see him.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Milt Jackson - Namesake

Milt Jackson at Parnell's Jazz Club, Seattle, WA, circa 1980
Photo by Steven M. O'Kelly

"Namesake" is the B-side of Riverside Records 45 R45479 'Round Midnight was the A-side, but dad marked the index card with the B-side cut because that was the song he bought the record for.
This NYC session from July 5, 1962 featured Ernie Royal, Clark Terry, Snooky Young (tp) Melba Liston, Tom McIntosh (tb) Willie Ruff (frh) Earl Warren (as) James Moody (ts) Jerome Richardson (ts, fl) Tate Houston (bars) Milt Jackson (vib) Hank Jones (p) Ron Carter (b) Connie Kay (d) Ernie Wilkins (arr, cond)