I found this Decca Lp from 1971 at the same time as the Chris Barber yesterday. It's not the sort of record that would normally attract me I must admit but we've been going to the Cheshire Steam Fair for the past couple of years and always amazed at the noise these things make out in the middle of a field! Several of them in close proximity, all belting out classics like The Skater's Waltz, A Broken Doll, The Dam Buster's March etc. can be quite an assault on the ears and also an arresting sight! The record doesn't quite have the power of the real thing but a nice reminder of man's ingenuity and craftsmanship.
Discover more about the Fair Organ Preservation Society HERE
An extended play four track record on the Tempo label found this morning at a charity shop for 50p. Recorded in London in 1951 when the 21 year old Barber was still an amateur.
"British jazz trombonist Chris Barber celebrated his 50th year as a bandleader in 1999. Inspired by the King Oliver Creole Jazz Band, Chris formed his first Barber New Orleans Band in 1949 at the age of nineteen. In 1953, along with Monty Sunshine and Lonnie Donegan, he joined forces with Ken Colyer. Then, with the replacement of Colyer by Pat Halcox, Ken Colyer's Jazzmen became Chris Barber's Jazz Band in 1954 and has been one of Europe's most successful traditional jazz bands ever since. Over the years, Chris Barber's Jazz Band evolved into the Chris Barber Jazz and Blues Band, a rich eight-piece group, blending brass, reeds, and electric guitar into a unique and unmistakable mix of blues and jazz. And despite being 'on the slide' since 1949, having performed over 10,000 concerts and made thousands of recordings, the Chris Barber Jazz & Blues Band keeps marching on, right into the 21st century. At the end of 2001 Chris extended his band with three more musicians into The BIG Chris Barber Band."
Above info from Chris Barber's official website which can be found HERE.
A Brick Lane find I think from afew years back - this 1966 recording by Arthur Lyman on the Vocalion label is essential listening , I would have thought , for fans of "exotica" and Hawaiian cocktail lounge jazz. The sleeeve notes tell us the record was made in the " acoustically near perfect Aluminum Dome on the beautiful grounds of Conrad Hilton's fabulous Hawaiian Village Hotel in Honolulu, where the Arthur Lyman Group were appearing in the Shell Bar."
"Arthur Lyman (February 2, 1932 - February 24, 2002) popularized a jazzy style of Hawaiian music during the 1950s, and gathered a following as a purveyor of so-called exotic music or Exotica. As a child, Lyman moved to the large Hawaiian city of Honolulu, where he became interested in the music of Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton. He learned to play along with their records on a toy marimba. At the age of 14, he joined a jazz group and by his early 20s was performing with "mood music" king Martin Denny. Known for his vibraphone stylings, bird songs and bells, Lyman helped turn exotic music into a national trend in the 1950s and 1960s, producing more than 30 albums and almost 400 singles and earning three gold albums. In 1957, Lyman recorded "Yellow Bird," a Haitian folk song. The song made the Billboard magazine charts, peaking at #4 in 1961. Lyman's last charting album in 1963 was I Wish You Love, but his music enjoyed a new burst of popularity in the 1990s with the easy listening revival. He died from throat cancer in February 2002."
I already uploaded a couple of tracks from this great LP last year but had some requests for more. How could I refuse? One of my favourite sleeves and some great yiddish flavoured novelty songs.
"Long before Allan Sherman and Woody Allen showered the public with Yiddish slang -- and decades before the klezmer revival breathed new life into a once-popular ethnic music -- a little clarinetist with a lot of chutzpah blazed the trail, exposing "crossover" audiences to the language and the melodies of his forebears with a series of English-Yiddish parody records.
Being Jewish "was always popular in my house," recalled Mickey Katz, who embraced his heritage from the early days of his career. "The only people it wasn't popular with were those who were frightened." Among those who were displeased with him for being open about his religious persuasion was the Jewish editor of Variety, who reprimanded Katz for "defiling" the legend of Davy Crockett when the bandleader's parody "Duvid Crockett" became a hit record.
Katz made a lot of people uncomfortable in the 1940s and '50s. He was too ethnic for many Jews of his generation who couldn't shed their Old World roots fast enough, and too much of a comedian for the purists -- a strange hybrid of Naftule Brandwein and Spike Jones they didn't quite dig."
See previous Mickey Katz blog page at Boot Sale Sounds HERE
A record I found today in a charity shop for 50p. Miki and Griff occasionally sang backing vocals for Lonnie Donegan and here Lonnie and his skiffle group help out on this EP of four tracks on the Pye label. Recorded in 1960. Very little can be found about Miki and Griff but here is a short piece found on the internet-
"One of Britain's biggest Country duos was Miki & Griff, who met when they both became members of the George Mitchell Choir and were married in 1950. Leaving Mitchell, they developed their own act including comedy and novelty songs. In 1958 they fell in love with the Everly Brother's Country album, "Songs Our Daddy Taught Us" and various Louvin Brothers albums. Lonnie Donegan heard Miki & Griff singing these songs in their dressing-room and invited them on to his TV show to sing them and also had a hand in producing their Country records. Soon they gained the nickname of "Britain's Mr & Mrs Country Music". In 1958 Miki & Griff made the UK Top 30 with 'Hold Back Tomorrow' and recorded successful EPs with 'Rockin' Alone (In An Old Rockin' Chair)' and 'This Is Miki - This Is Griff'. In 1962 they had a UK Top 20 hit with Burl Ives' 'A Little Bitty Tear' and in 1964 received a standing ovation at the Grand Ole Opry, when they appeared in Roy Acuff's part of the show. Sadly Miki passed away with cancer in April 1989 and Griff died just a year or two ago."
Sadly this double LP from Brick Lane has only one disc but it's a cracker! Looking at that great photo on the sleeve you just know this woman is going to sound great - what a voice! A fantastic band backing her on these 1953/54 recordings for Okeh which include Sam"The Man" Taylor on saxophone and Mickey Baker on guitar.
"Her mountainous stature matching the sheer soulful power of her massive vocal talent, Big Maybelle was one of the premier R&B chanteuses of the 1950s. Her deep, gravelly voice was as singular as her recorded output for Okeh and Savoy, which ranged from down-in-the-alley blues to pop-slanted ballads. In 1967, she even covered ? & the Mysterians' "96 Tears" (it was her final chart appearance). Alleged drug addiction leveled the mighty belter at the premature age of 47, but Maybelle packed a lot of living into her shortened lifespan.
Born Mabel Louise Smith, the singer strolled off with top honors at a Memphis amateur contest at the precocious age of eight. Gospel music was an important element in Maybelle's intense vocal style, but the church wasn't big enough to hold her talent. In 1936, she hooked up with Memphis bandleader Dave Clark; a few years later, Maybelle toured with the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. She debuted on wax with pianist Christine Chatman's combo on Decca in 1944, before signing with Cincinnati's King Records in 1947 for three singles of her own backed by trumpeter Hot Lips Page's band.
Producer Fred Mendelsohn discovered Smith in the Queen City, re-christened her Big Maybelle, and signed her to Columbia's OKeh R&B subsidiary in 1952. Her first Okeh platter, the unusual "Gabbin' Blues" (written by tunesmith Rose Marie McCoy and arranger Leroy Kirkland) swiftly hit, climbing to the upper reaches of the R&B charts. "Way Back Home" and "My Country Man" made it a 1953 hat trick for Maybelle and OKeh. In 1955, she cut a rendition of "Whole Lot of Shakin' Goin' On" a full two years before Louisiana piano pumper Jerry Lee Lewis got his hands and feet on it. Mendelsohn soon brought her over to Herman Lubinsky's Savoy diskery, where her tender rendition of the pop chestnut "Candy" proved another solid R&B hit in 1956. Maybelle rocked harder than ever at Savoy, her "Ring Dang Dilly," "That's a Pretty Good Love," and "Tell Me Who" benefiting from blistering backing by New York's top sessioneers. Her last Savoy date in 1959 reflected the changing trends in R&B; Howard Biggs' stately arrangements encompassed four violins. Director Bert Stern immortalized her vivid blues-belting image in his documentary Jazz on a Summer's Day, filmed in color at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival."
A boot sale bargain from last year. A record on the London label from the 60's when Smeck was getting on in years but still able to prove he was "Wizard of the Strings".
"You may recognize the name Roy Smeck as much for his own prolific recordings as for the dozens of guitar instruction books he issued throughout the years. Blessed with some of the most nimble fingers imaginable, Smeck's approach to music often bordered on the showy, novelty side, but he also influenced many Western swing guitarists in the process. Smeck began issuing records and appearing on Warner Bros. movie shorts during the 1920s. It was then that he introduced his unique blend of jazz, country, and Hawaiian styles, wowing anyone who heard or saw him in action. In addition to working solo, Smeck also played on sessions by country greats Vernon Dalhart and Carson Robinson and formed his own band in the '30s, the Vita Trio. It was around this time that the guitarist began issuing a stream of instructional books on everything from how to play guitar, ukulele, and Hawaiian slide guitar to banjo. After several years of minor success recording for ABC, Kapp, and other small labels, in the '70s the reissue label Yazoo released several of Smeck's virtuoso recordings from his early days, causing a whole new round of interest in the guitarist."
Mostly up-tempo numbers on this LP from the 50's hence the name "Ol' Rockin' Ern". Not sure where I bought it - probably a boot sale a few years back.
"The booming baritone voice of Tennessee Ernie Ford was best known for his 1955 cover of Merle Travis' grim coal-mining song "Sixteen Tons," watered down by the dulcet strains of a Hollywood studio orchestra but retaining its innate seriousness thanks to the sheer power of Ford's singing. But there was more to Tennessee Ernie Ford than that. Over his long career, Ford sang everything from proto-rock & roll to gospel, recorded over 100 albums, and earned numerous honors and awards, including the Medal of Freedom. A native of Bristol, TN, he began his career a DJ on local radio station WOAI. He sang in high-school choirs, and in the late '30s he left to study voice at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. He held radio jobs in Atlanta and Knoxville between 1939 and 1941 and then joined the U.S. Air Force during World War II. After the war, Ford moved his family to San Bernardino, CA, and took a DJ job on a local radio station. It was there that he first took on the name "Tennessee Ernie." "
Martin Denny is the King of Exotica - his first record with that name released back in the 60's that came to represent that genre of music beloved of audiophiles and lovers of strange and other worldly music that fills your head with the sounds of the jungle, far off pacific islands and distant shores. Volume 2 carries on where the first left off - " Herein Mr. Denny's imagination has gone even further afield, and with superb Spectra-Sonic Sound giving us matchless fidelity, he has further exlored the myriad tinkle of instruments foreign to our civilization, plus fresh approaches on those firmiliar to our ears."
"Denny was born in New York, and raised in Los Angeles, California. He studied classical piano and at a young age toured South America for four and a half years with the Don Dean Orchestra. This tour began Denny's fascination with Latin rhythms. After serving in the United States Army Air Forces in World War II, Denny returned to Los Angeles where he studied piano and composition under Dr. Wesley La Violette and orchestration under Arthur Lange at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music. He also studied at the University of Southern California. In January of 1954, Don the Beachcomber's (which later became Duke Kahanamoku's) brought Denny to Honolulu, Hawaii. He performed here for ten years, forming his own combo in 1955 and signing to Liberty Records. The original combo consisted of Augie Colon on percussion and birdcalls, Arthur Lyman on vibes, John Kramer on string bass, and Denny on piano. Lyman soon left to form his own group and future Herb Alpert sideman and Baja Marimba founder Julius Wechter replaced him. Harvey Ragsdale later replaced John Kramer."
Not the Temperance Seven that hits in the early 60's with "Pasadena" and "You're Driving Me Crazy" but containing maybe one or two members from that influencial ( Bonzo Dog Band, Bob Kerr's Whoopee Band etc.) group who recreated some of the best jazz and dance tunes of the 20's and 30's.
"The Temperance Seven were formed at the Royal College of Art during 1957. The band usually had nine members (one over the eight!) and dressed in the style appropriate to the late 1920s jazz they played.
The members generally gave themselves fictitious titles. John R.T. Davies used the pseudonym Sheik Wadi El Yadounir and wore a fez. On the first hit numbers vocals were provided by 'Whispering' Paul McDowell who was replaced later by Allan Moody Mitchell. The band once appeared in Spike Milligan's 'The Bed Sitting Room' and spawned new interest in the styles of the 1920s."
David Kossof sings a few cockney and music-hall songs in the role of Alf Larkin that he made famous in the early years of independent television in the late 50's. The series ,"The Larkins", ran for 40 episodes from 1958 to 1964 and included Peggy Mount as Ma Larkin. This Oriole Lp from 1960 is full of songs made by an earlier generation of vaudevillians like Albert Chevalier and Florrie Forde etc. He is joined by the Mike Sammes Singers and create a typical rowdy east end pub sing-along.
Not really a boot sale find but an excuse to upload some novelty songs by Fred Douglas who I know nothing about except he made lots of cover versions of hits on the cheap Regal label that sold in Woolworths I believe back in the 30's and 40's. Later they had the Embassy label which did a similar service - all the pop hits of the day by obscure singers who nobody had ever heard of! Fred Douglas went by several other nom de plumes so probably appeared on other records too. Also this is a good way to try out SendSpace file hosting. I want to see if they last any longer than YouSendIt. We shall see.
A terribly scratched and crayoned copy of Spike Jones In Hi-Fi that i found some years ago at Brick Lane flea market. It's mono too which kind of wastes the idea of any hi-fidelity. On the sleeve it says "Have you ever heard a belch come from one corner of the room to the other, then re-trace it's tracks?" I guess you'd have to track down the stereo version to find out what that sounds like. Most of the humour here is created by impersonator Paul Frees who conjures up the voices of Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff to name but a few. Others taking part are Luli Jean Norman, Thurl Ravenscroft and George Rock.
"Lindley Armstrong "Spike" Jones (December 14, 1911 – May 1, 1965) was a popular musician and comedian. He was born in Long Beach, California. His father was a Southern Pacific railroad agent. He got his nickname by being so thin that he was compared to a railroad spike. At the age of eleven he got his first set of drums. As a teenager he played in bands that he formed himself. A chef in a railroad restaurant taught him how to use adapted pots and pans, forks, knives and spoons as musical instruments. He frequently played in theater pit orchestras. In the 1930s he joined the Victor Young Band and thereby got many offers to appear to radio shows including the Al Jolson Lifebuoy Show, Burns and Allen (with George Burns) and Bing Crosby's Kraft Music Hall. In 1940, he had an uncredited part in the film Give Us Wings, and in 1942 as a hillbilly in Pass the Biscuits, Mirandy. He joined up with vocalist Del Porter and performed in Los Angeles, gaining a cult following. By 1941 the band included violinist Carl Grayson. Other band members were George Rock (voice and trumpet), Doodles Weaver (voice) and Red Ingle (voice). They became his backing band The City Slickers. Saxophonist Ed Metcalfe performed with Spike Jones for a while. Jones's wife was the singer Helen Grayco, who performed on some of his radio shows. They received a recording contract with RCA Victor and recorded extensively for the company until the mid 1950's."
One of two Bill Haley records found at the weekend which is most unusual. This one a compilation on the budget Ace Of Clubs label in the 60's of songs made famous ten years earlier.
"Haley broke into rock and roll via country and western music. He was a member of the Downhomers and musical director for the Saddlemen. The latter group had a regular radio show at a Chester, Pennsylvania, radio station. Haley brought different sounds into the Saddlemen's repertoire in an attempt to blend, in his words, "country and western, Dixieland and the old-style rhythm & blues." In 1952, the Saddlemen released "Rock This Joint" on the Essex label, and it sold 75,000 copies. By 1953, the group had changed its name to Bill Haley and His Comets and recorded the slang-filled "Crazy, Man, Crazy," a bonafide rock and roll hit. Haley and His Comets were thereupon signed to Decca Records.
At their first session for Decca, they cut "Rock Around the Clock" (which had originally been recorded in 1952 by Sunny Dae. Little attention was paid to Haley's version upon its initial release in the spring of 1954. The group followed it with their cover version of Big Joe Turner's "Shake, Rattle and Roll," which cracked the Top Ten in July 1954 and sold a million copies. "Rock Around the Clock" got its second lease on life by being chosen for the soundtrack to The Blackboard Jungle, a 1955 movie about high-school delinquency that generated controversy in the press and pandemonium among the young. In effect, "Rock Around the Clock" became an anthem for rebellious Fifties youth. A 1956 movie named after the song, which featured nine lip-synched performances by Haley, made him a star here and abroad. His celebrity was particularly long-lived in Britain, where he continued to be treated as rock royalty into the Seventies."
A record compiled by Paul Oliver from field recordings in Africa and the southern states of America to show the links between the two. There is also a book of the same name published by Studio Vista back in 1970 when this was all put together. Some wonderful tracks here including Robert Johnson, Lonnie Coleman, Butch cage and Willie Thomas amongst others. I have chosen three tracks that seem to run togther well. Heres what the sleevenotes say about them-
"North of the rain forest is a belt of savannah region which changes from woodland to parkland, to grassland, to steppe and semi-desert, as one moves further north toward the Sahara. The "ring dance" performed at night by Mamprusi tribesmen playing whistles and shaking rattles on their ankles and wrists with, in the centre of the ring, a drummer beating a huge calabash drum, is representative of music that can be heard on the edge of the savannah. Drumming is to be heard throughout West Africa but in the savannah their is no heavy wood for the big log drums of the rain forest. Ring dances have been long identified with Negro functions in America, while the rhythyms of the Como Drum Band behind Napoleon Strickland's fife on "Oh, Baby" seem to suggest a link with Mamprusi music. But it also may indicate the dacay of the military drum-and-fife traditions of the post-war years. The closest part of Africa to North America is the Senegal- Gambia coast. In Senegal. the orchestra of a regional chief, Bour Fode Diouf, recored a war chant, "Wong", to the rythyms of drums slung from their shoulders, the group of men singing in high, strained voices. George Coleman "Bongo Joe", as he calls himself - is a solo perfomer in the streets of Galveston and San Antonio ,Texas, but he sings his blues "Eloise" in a voice that is not dissimilar, and accompanies himself on a set of drums made from oil drums."
No boot sales this week alas so going back to a find of last week. I have a couple of Grandpa Jones Lp's already so knew what to expect - some wonderful banjo picking and daft songs about Gooseberry Pie and I Ain't A Communist. In fact I was hard pressed to choose my favourites here to upload from this 1982 RCA compilation of songs recorded in the 40's and 50's one imagines ( sleeve-notes sadly lacking in any details ).
"Louis Marshall "Grandpa" Jones was one person who aged right into his makeup. Like his real appearance, however, his actual background and role in country music were deceptive and more complex than they seem. Beginning in the 1920s, he began attracting attention with his boisterous performing style, old-time banjo performing, and powerful singing, and by the 1940s, with hits like "Rattler" and "Mountain Dew," he began receiving national attention. He joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1946 and remained there throughout his career; in the 1960s, with hits like "T for Texas," he continued making a place for himself on the country charts, and as a regular on Hee Haw since its inception in 1969, he became a television celebrity. But Jones' influence went much further than that chain of successes would indicate -- he was almost single-handedly responsible for keeping the banjo alive as a country music instrument during the 1930s and 1940s, and in addition to his own work and songs, he was an important associate and collaborator of Merle Travis."