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:

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