Thursday, August 23, 2012

Find Of The Week

A quick one before a three week hiatus: Jimmy Gartin, from Taylorville, WV. Best known for his recordings "Gonna Ride That Satelite" - spelt as is - on the Hi-Q label (as Jimmy Gartin And His Highlanders) and "Honey, Won't You Love Me" (as Jimmy Gartin And His Bad Cats), on two other Detroit-based labels, Fortune and Strate-8.
There do not seem to be any other releases by him, according to several sources. The more proud we are to present a previously unlisted 45 that has two distinguishing features: 1) the writing on label (WOL) indicating that the previous owner knew Charly, the bass player on this 45 and 2) the unique fact that Jimmy Gartin seemed to have a different band on each of his releases. Here it is "Jimmy Gartin With The Prides Of Detroit". While "Sometimes" is a beautiful country ballad, "Pains Of Love" convinces with an infectious groove and great  lap steel work.

Biographical info on Jimmy Gartin is almost non-existent. Fortunately, there is an interview out on Youtube showing an bare-chested and aged Jimmy Gartin playing guitar, drinking Johnny Bootlegger Apple shots and telling stories from the past. The "Agile, Mobile and Hostile" of Detroit Rockabilly, so to speak.
The video maker (Jimmy's niece's boyfriend) mentions that a book on Fortune records is in the making. Hopefully it will shed more light on Jimmy Gartin's biography.

Equally obscure is the Big Chief record label. We can assume that it was also in Detroit, but hope for more information through some comments. Any help here is highly welcome - we are here to learn.


Pains Of Love:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Find Of The Week

This is a real puzzler - and we do not mean the convoluted history of "Night Train", a blues instrumental that evolved from Johnny Hodges' 1940 opening riff to "That's The Blues, Man". Jimmy Forrest was part of Ellington's band when it performed this composition and used it for his original recording in 1952. Since then, it has been covered incountable times, and one of the less well known (and rocking instead of big band, soul or ska style)  renditions is featured here. 

From what we could gather about this version, it is not by an early Lemmy Kilmister (whose real name is Ian Fraser Kilmister and who indeed played guitar before joining Hawkwind), but by fellow Brit Ian Fraser, who was a pianist, composer, music director and conductor for the British Decca label. In addition, he also composed soundtracks, was an 8-time Emmy Award winner and had been nominated for an Oscar for Scrooge in 1970. 

In 1961, he produced and directed an album for Decca called "50 Fingers 5 Guitars". The virtuosity of the five guitar players, Alan Weighell*, Don SanfordEric FordJudd Proctor, and Terry Walsh was featured on tracks like Lullaby Of Birdland, Mack The Knife, Sleep Walk and Night Train. While most of the tracks are sleep-inducing easy-listening atrocities - they were even re-released by Hallmark in 2011, Night Train stands out as a wild reverb-and echo-laden rocker. British Decca was not allowed to use its name in North America, there already being an American Decca, so apparently Decca UK's American subsidiary London released it as a single in the US, omitted the "Orchestra" and added the exotic bongo-heavy, but guitar-less groover "African Waltze" (by Galt McDermot) as a non-LP bonus track. Nobody knows why they added an olde-fashioned "e" to "Waltz". Of course, any further information is highly appreciated.

Night Train:

African Waltze: 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Find Of The Week

This weeks find is a twin: two 7 inches that run on 78 rpm and are made of styrene, not shellac. Yessir, those have been around in the early 50s, during the "War Of The Speeds" - when the five major record labels could not decide yet which format would actually make it. After Columbia introduced the long player in 1948, RCA Victor countered with the 45 rpm 7inch record, whose USP was portability. Yet, many radio stations and jukeboxes still used 78 rpm equipment way into the mid-fifties, and smaller labels like Bell prodiuced their first record on 7-inch 78rpm styrene records - an opportunistic compromise?

A very good account of the 45 rpm disc development can be found in Jim Dawson & Steve Propes book: "45 rpm - The History, Heroes and Villains Of A Pop Music Revolution" (Backbeat Books, 2003; ISBN 0879307579).

Switching to music, here are Artie Shaw's own versions of two classics: "Besame Mucho" b/w "That Old Feeling". A stellar performance by Mr. Shaw and the Gramercy Five: Artie Shaw (cl), Hank Jones (p), Tal Farlow (g), Joe Roland (vib), Tommy Potter (b), Irv Kluger (d). Also one of Artie Shaw's last recordings in 1953 before he retired after being brought before the House Un-American Activities Committee. 

Besame Mucho:

That Old Feeling:

The second find comes from the same box, is in the same format and plays very similar notes - and also belonged to Arlene.... A latinized jazz standard, perhaps one of the jazz standards backed with a serious competition to Rosemary Clooney's all-time favorite Mambo Italiano. In contrast to Rosemary Clooney, only very little biographical information can be found for Ms. Russell: in the early and mid-50s, she had several sides on Bell records, most fo them on the 7-inch 78 rpm "39c series".  A complete discography can be found here. How come a singer with quite an output and a great voice did not leave more footsteps behind? Here is Billboard's review from December 1954: "An okay cover job on Rosemary Clooney's hit, with Bell's a personable vocal."

St. Louis Blues Mambo:

Mambo Italiano:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Find Of The Week

The red light goes on with only 1,700+ hits on google. No biographical information whatsoever - the only thing that comes up is that "Red Ridin' Hood" was comped on Teen Scene Vol. 5 and M Records is a small Fort Wayne, Indiana label that emerged from the M Erald and Emerald labels. According to this source, it was owned by Webb Foley. So what is up with the man whose name sounds like a shampoo, probably on purpose? Could it be Mr. Foley himself?

Yer Cool:

Red Ridin' Hood:

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Find Of The Week

While the A-side is nothing to write home about, the flip grooves along with razor-sharp lyrics.  
Pat O'Day - Two Timing Eyes

The sparse information that is available tells us that Pat O'Day was a jazz singer that despite fine vocal abilities, was most known for an album cover of the cheesecake variety:
(picture courtesy of lpcoverlover)

This record has been sold repeatedly for several hundred bucks. Yes, when your lover has gone, you may have at least some records to sell...Nonetheless, most biographical information comes from the liner notes of said LP.

Pat O'Day had her first national hit with "Dear John Letter" on MGM, which charted #17 in August 1953. Further on she worked with labels such as Chess and Seville. 
Any info on this 45 is highly appreciated. The Boylston label looks like it is private from the Boston area. This makes sense because one source mentions that she is from Revere, MA.
Internet research on Pat O'Day is complicated due to her namesake, the "other" Pat O'Day.

The research on Bill Leavitt, the arranger of this tune has been more fruitful. Read his bio here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The adventure has started...

Auctions are being uploaded at this minute. After we learned that new Ebay sellers are entitled to only 10 items per months, we got a bit queasy...

But everything went well after the bank account was verified. The last two weeks were spent with figuring out GarageSale - which seems to be a sophisticated tool for what we are doing.

The adventure actually started in July 2011, when a considerable stack'o recs (sic!) was acquired for a little bit more than a song.  The full stock of Roundup Records, a record store and jukebox service from Sikeston, MO, had been relocated to a Brooklyn warehouse after its closure in 1993. Imagine an atomic war that ends with Michael Jackson playing Super Bowl XXVI, Prince's name change to Symbol and Kurt Cobain still being alive. 
After hours of pulling random 45s out of hundreds of boxes - while being fed tacos and beer by the two very kind sellers, it took another month to take a decision and finally, shipping date was in August 2011.

It took until May 2012 before the process of sorting, listening, grading and researching could be started. We've never seen so many Garth Brooks 45s in our lives! Naturally, with the origin of the 45 collection being in the midwest and most 45 used for jukeboxes, a good 20% are country and the majority is mainstream rock and pop from the 80s. But this is not the portion we are interested in and not the part that is covered in this blog.

No, it is the unsung heroes, the unclassifiable oddities, the (Ebay lingo) RARE, the eclectic and the unexpected that we (and you) are interested in. In the next months, we will cover some of our finds and of course, inform about current and upcoming sales.

Be it Running BareJim Nesbitt's nudist take on the Big Bopper classic, new genres such as Country Popcorn, raving Bo Diddley style instros like The Everpresent Fullness' Doin' A Number or historical artifacts like one of Sylvia Robinson's first singles - we will make it available.