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Puppets for Praise

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I'm off on a well-deserved and much-needed holiday from today, but before I go here's a real treat for you, the whole of one of the more obscure Little Marcy albums, The Jesus Story. The information below originally appeared in my first book, The World's Worst Records Volume One.


The product of a devoutly religious family, young Marcellaise ‘Marcy’ Hartwick was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas. She studied piano and trombone as a child. Moving to Portland, Oregon, the committed Christian married the equally religious Malcolm Everett Tigner in 1942, and the pair determined to exploit her art to praise God.

 

She released a brace of trombone LPs under her married name - Some Golden Daybreak with organist Lorin Whitney (who a few years previously had released a Christian praise album which consisted of himself playing organ accompanied by song birds) and the inspiringly-titled Trombone for the Christian Faith label, but it seems that there's not a huge market for God-bothering trombonists. So she decided to sing instead.

 

Sadly, whenever the young Mrs Tigner opened up her larynx an odd, child-like sound came out (a female Lil’ Markie, if you will) and so, after issuing just one three-track EP for the obscure Angelus Records label, she learned to button it. That was until her husband had the brilliant idea of having his missus sing kiddie songs whilst pretending to be a small girl: Little Marcy was born.

 

Credited simply as Marcy, Mrs Tigner released a couple of albums on small Christian imprints, kicking off in 1964 with Happy Day Expresswhich, along with her next few releases, deliberately did not feature a photo of the artist on the cover but instead included a rather crude drawing of a pig-tailed, smiley-faced moppet. The company that signed her (Cornerstone) seemed perfectly happy to share in this duplicity until a chance meeting with model, ventriloquist and former Miss America Vonda Van Dyke on the set of the Christian film Teenage Diary convinced her that having a wooden Mini-Me on her lap as she sang her stuff would be the way to go. So after careful study of the popular Paul Winchell book Ventriloquism For Fun and Profit(maybe he should consider retitling that For Fun and Prophet), she hooked up with a small doll – manufactured to her own design, and based on herself as a little girl, by the same company that made the original Charlie McCarthy doll – which she christened Little Marcy and, with the gift of her unusual, child-like singing voice, released around three dozen dopey, odd or downright disturbing albums over three decades.

 

They really have to be heard to be believed. Marcy’s voice is a dead ringer for that of a six year-old, and the songs – including such peaches as When Mr. Satan Knocks At My Heart's Door, I'm Glad I'm A Christian, I Love Little Pussy (a song guaranteed to give a psychiatrist nightmares), It’s Bubbling and the utterly brilliant Devil, Devil Go Away - are a mixture of kid-friendly, happy-clappy praise, nursery rhymes and less-friendly fire and brimstone scare tactics.

 

This unusual act fascinated and inspired audiences for decades. The pair appeared on radio programmes such as Marcy Tigner's Hymntimeand Sing with Marcy; there's a TV special with Smokey the Bear (and, naturellement, an accompanying album and storybook), and at least two Little Marcy films.

 

Marcy also appeared in book form: between 1968 and 1980 Mrs Tigner penned a series of short children’s books including Little Marcy Loves Jesus, Little Marcy At The Zoo and Little Marcy’s Favourite Bible Stories. Our favourite block of wood even had its own line in prayer and hymn books. Marcy T teamed up with her daughter Lauri Khodabandehloo Tigner to write and perform, although these days Lauri Khodabandehloo has dropped the Tigner, become an author in her own right and has expunged all mentions of her past life as a doll’s assistant from her biography.

 

Marcy’s last album of new recordings, Little Marcy and Mother Goose Go to Church, came out in 1982; she appeared in a couple of short films made specifically for Christian cable channels by Tyndale Christian Video (Learning To Do God’s Work and Learning God’s Love) in 1988/89 and then gracefully retired.

 

Everett Tigner shuffled off this mortal coil in 2007, after 65 years of marriage. Little Marcy’s handler – Marcy Tigner – passed away at the grand old age of 90, in April 2012, which, barring a buy-out from the Disney Corporation, means that the world has probably heard the last of the little wooden doll.


Here are both sides of (to give it its full title) Ralph Carmichael Presents Little Marcy With the Jesus Story (a Children's Musical). Enjoy!


Download Side One HERE

 

Download Side Two HERE


Two More From Edna Mae

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It was only a few months ago, May to be precise, that I first featured the deliriously wonderful Edna Mae Henning on this here blog. I would not normally revisit an artist so soon after first introducing them, but earlier this week I became the proud owner of one of her more obscure 45s, and I felt obliged to share it with you as soon as I could, especially as neither seems to be available elsewhere on these here internets.


Please Mr Dee-Jay, backed with Getting the Blues Over You was issued by Edna's own Henning (or Henning's, depending on which part of the label you're looking at) Surprise Records in 1981. As on all of the tracks I've heard so far from Edna May both feature that wonderfully amateur Honky-Tonk piano and her equally wonderful discordant, highly accented vocals. It's divine.


Apologies for the brevity of this post, but if you would like to know more about the life of Edna Mae (well, if you would like me to share what little I know about it) may I direct you to the previous post, where you will also find two other tracks, Mama, Forgive Your Truckin’ Man, and  I Can’t Get Over You.  


Enjoy!


Download Dee-Jay HERE


Download Blues HERE

Dreck of Cards

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We’re going way back for today’s blog post, back to the 1940s, just a couple of years after the War had ended and almost a full decade before rock ‘n’ roll had infected the world’s youth.

 

Deck of Cards has been recorded umpteen times by umpteen different artists. Every single version is horrible. The story, of how a soldier uses a pack of playing cards as a stand in for the Bible, first appeared at least two hundred years before anyone got around to recording it: he earliest known reference was written by Mary Bacon, a British farmer's wife, on 20 April 1762, and can be found in Mary Bacon's World, published by Threshold Press in 2010. The story was also included in 1865 book The Soldier's Almanack, Bible And Prayer Book. In that version the usually anonymous soldier is given a name, Richard Middleton.

 

The version I bring you today was recorded by Linn Burton, best known to US readers as a radio announcer and DJ, working initially in Chicago. In later years he became a well-known face on TV, doing live ads for furniture stores and car dealerships for over a quarter of a century. Born Burton Adolph Ofstie in Minneapolis, in the 1960s he also branched out into restaurant ownership with Linn Burton's Steak House.

 

Burton’s recording of Deck of Cards was issued in 1948; it failed to chart, but several other versions of the song would. T. Texas Tyler (the Man With a Million Friends) also recorded the track in 1948; this version credits Tyler himself with having adapted and arranged the song. Versions by Tyler (generally assumed to be the first) and Tex Ritter were both listed on the same charts in June 1948, and other artists also issued versions that same year.

 

Burton’s version does not credit Tyler and uses a different tune. It has no writer credit, only ‘adapted from the original English story’ printed on the label under the title. The disc is first mentioned in Billboard in April 1958, just a week or so after the Tyler version begins to get any coverage. The flip side of Burton’s release, Letter to Mother, was getting more notice than Deck of Cards, offering someone else the perfect opportunity to sweep in and steal its thunder.

 

Did Tyler hear Burton’s version and decide to claim it as his own, or was it the other way around? We’ll probably never know. Tyler has gone down in the annals of recording history as having been the originator, and Burton’s version has been consigned to the trash can… until now.

 

In 1954 Pee Wee King updated the song as Red Deck of Cards to reflect the then-current hysteria surrounding the encroaching menace of communism.  Others would also alter the lyric to make the song more relevant to people worried by the effects of the Korean or Vietnam wars. In 1959 Wink Martindale’s version would reach number seven on the Billboard chart and number five in the UK. In 1973 popular British recording star Max Bygraves issued his version of the song and which reached number 13 in the charts; Martindale’s version was re-issued around the same time and reached number 22.


Anyway, here are both sides of the 1948 Linn Burton release, Deck of Cards and A Letter to Mother


Enjoy!


Download Deck HERE


 


 Download Mother HERE


Tone Deaf, Treacle

Previous Dreck of Cards
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Peter Dean, an actor best known here in Britain for playing Pete Beale in the long-running BBC soap opera EastEnders once recorded a single… and it’s every bit as horrible as you would hope!

 

Can't Get A Ticket (For The World Cup) was issued in May 1986, the year of Maradona’s infamous ‘hand of god’, which saw England eliminated at the quarter-final stage of the competition. Possibly knowing that England were likely to fall over their own feet, the sleeve of the single also featured the badges of the Scottish and Irish teams alongside England, Dean and his squad hedging their bets or attempting to appeal to footie fans outside of England itself. Scotland and Ireland both made it to Mexico, but both went out in the first round. As did any hope of Mr. Dean scoring a chart hit.

 

The song was co-written by Ray Fenwick and saxophonist Wesley Magoogan. Fenwick’s more than a half-century in music has seen him collaborate with a number of big-name British rock musicians, including members of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Yes and the Spencer Davis Group, as well as with blues legend Bo Diddly and many others. While with the Spencer Davis Group he wrote the theme tune to the fondly remembered children’s TV show Magpie – recorded by the Spencer Davis Group under the pseudonym Murgatroyd. The flipside, Right, Fine, Don't Panic! is a piece of substandard Chas & Dave-esque tosh written by Magoogan on his own, which would explain the wailing, atonal saxophone slathered all over it.

 

Commenting on his song at the time, Dean said: ‘I’m a great believer in music. It unites people, and I hope this song can do it for all those supporters who couldn’t get a ticket for Mexico.’. I’m not quite sure what Mr. Dean meant by ‘it’ exactly, but the single was a spectacular flop, failing to chart despite Dean performing the song on Tyne Tees Television’s live current affairs programme Nightline.

 

Enjoy!

 

Download Cup HERE

 

Download Panic HERE

 

Sing It Again, Vince!

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This fabulous little find comes courtesy of regular blog (and radio show) follower/contributor Stephen ‘Beany’ Green, who discovered this, on cassette, on one of his regular charity shop forays and was kind enough to send me a copy.

 

I can’t tell you much about Vincent Sings By Request, as I’m told that no information about Vince or his fellow musicians accompanied the tape. I’m on the fence as to whether Vince has employed a local pub band or he’s singing to backing tracks, but maybe it’s a mixture of both. The band seems pretty accomplished, although most of the material is of karaoke quality, complete with obligatory washy synths. Some of the arrangements, although simple, are markedly different to those you would hear on a karaoke CD, although the horn section employed on a couple of the cuts sound like they have come straight off an ‘instrumental hits’ collection. If cornered, I would guess that most of the album was recorded in a single session with a keyboard and drum duo, with at least two of the tracks, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me and Too Young using pre-recorded backing tracks or sampled brass.

 

I would also assume, from the choice of tracks, that there is a Blackpool or Bolton connection: one of the songs, The Blackpool Belle,was composed in 1975 by Bolton songwriters Howard Broadbent and Jimmy Smith and recorded shortly after by local folk group the Houghton Weavers. Howard Broadbent recorded his own version of the song in 1986, issuing it as a single backed with another of his compositions, The Tram. Both songs appear on Vincent’s cassette, which to me suggests that our Vince recorded his magnum opus sometime after.

 

I have nothing else: I’ve spent literally minutes scouring local online newspaper archives but cannot find a single mention of Vincent or his album. Can anyone out there help?

 

Here are a couple of tracks to whet your whistle while we wait for more information: I Just Called to Say I Love You and You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me

 

Once again, thanks Beany! I love it!

 

Enjoy!

 

Download Called HERE

Download Love HERE

Christmas Cavalcade 2020, Part One

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Ho Ho Ho my friends! Yes, it’s that time of year again, and as we wind our way towards Christmas Day what better to keep you warm these cold winter nights than this year’s Christmas Cavalcade?

 

Now, I know I’ve been a bit remiss these last couple of months, only posting once a fortnight (if that) rather than every week, and I intend to make that up to you before the end of the year with tonnes of festive goodies and other delights.

 

Let’s kick off today with a couple of Beatle-themed Christmas crackers. Back in December 2017 I gave you I Want a Beatle For Christmas by Becky Lee Beck and Bring Me A Beatle For Christmas by Cindy Rella (what a ridiculous name!), and those are still available HERE, but today I bring you two more (by my reckoning there are at least a dozen Beatles/Christmas novelties, excluding their own Fan Club flexis).

 

First up is (or are) the Fans and I Want a Beatle For Christmas, issued by Dot in the US in 1964. Despite the title it’s an entirely different song to the one performed by Becky Lee Beck that same year. The Fans were a London-based duo, friends Gita Renik and Jeanette Ross, although the disc does not appear to have had a British release.

 

Next up is a British disc, Santa Bring Me Ringo credited to Tich with The Ted Taylor Four With The Corona Kids. Older British Blog followers will no doubt recall Tich as one half of Tich and Quackers, the schoolboy and duck puppets of ventriloquist Ray Alan, popular in the 1960s. Alan would achieve greater fame when he ditched Tich in favour of the much more grown-up Lord Charles. Santa Bring Me Ringo was co-written by Angelo Badalamenti (yes, THAT Angelo Badalamenti), and the song was also recorded ‘straight’ by young Christine Hunter and issued in the US on Roulette.

 

If you’re after something extra to fill you stocking, tune in to the World’s Worst Records Radio Show this coming Wednesday (9 December), when I shall be playing tracks from the BRAND NEW MRS MILLER ALBUM’ A Christmas Gift From Mrs Miller¸ and talking to her great-nephew Jeff: https://wfmu.org/playlists/WR

 

That’s it for now, but there will be loads more over the next few weeks. Enjoy!

 

Download Beatle HERE

Download Santa HERE

Christmas Cavalcade 2020, Part Two

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It’s another Friday in December, and time for another couple of Christmas-themed oddities. And, to follow last week’s brace of Beatle novelties, here are two more for you to endure.

 

First up is another Beatle-related festive novelty, Ringo-Deer, from Toronto DJ Garry Farrier. Ferrier’s 45 was issued in Canada just in time for Christmas 1964 by Capitol, although the company decided not t opt for a US issue, leaving Ferrier free to license the tracks to New York-based Academy Records. Ferrier had been involved in a number of novelty records, usually with a political bent,

 

Next up is Christmas With the Beatles by Judy and the Duets. This particular disc made the opposite journey, originally issued in New York on the tiny Ware Records Inc label and then licensed to Apex in Canada – the same label that had issued one of Garry Ferrier’s earliest releases, the 1959 novelty The Battle of Queenston Heights/The Tea Taster.

 

Christmas With the Beatles was written by Henry Glover who, together with Fred Norman, was also responsible for the arrangement. Glover and Norman were jazz veterans, Glover having played trumpet with Lucky Millinder, while Norman was a trombonist in the Claude Hopkins Orchestra. Both men also worked as songwriters, arrangers and producers during their long careers. Glover had his own label, Glover Records, which began issuing 45s in the late 50s and ran until 1964, shortly before this 45 was issued. Many of the tracks issued by Glover were published by Jon Ware Music, which would help explain why Glover wrote and arranged this one-off for Ware.


I've not been able to discover who Judy or the Duets were, although I have my suspicions. Glover worked with Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson throughout 1964, and in fact recorded and released the hit duo's first three 45s, so I would not be massively surprised if that's Valerie Simpson on lead vocals. 

 

Enjoy!

 

Download Ringo HERE

Download Christmas HERE

Christmas Cavalcade 2020, Part Three

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With just one week to go, it’s time for another couple of festive-themed tracks for you, all part of this year’s Christmas Cavalcade.

 

First up is a find from our old friend Stephen ‘Beany’ Green, who was kind enough to send me a whole CD of funky festiveness recently. It’s British actor Arthur Treacher (I still have no idea if he was related to Bill ‘EastEnders’ Treacher…) and his rather unique take on the classic Santa Clause is Comin’ To Town. Treacher began his movie career in the 1930s, appearing in four Shirley Temple vehicles, and as butler Jeeves in a brace of early P. G. Wodehouse adaptations.

 

In the 1960s he became a regular face on TV in America, eventually becoming announcer and on-screen sparring partner to Merv Griffin. He made two albums with Griffin, Merv Griffin and Arthur Treacher in London: ‘Alf and ‘Alf a collection of musichall favourites, and the clumsily-titled Big Christmas Album For Merv Griffin and TV Family, which also featured an early musical outing from TV actor David Soul and, naturally, Santa Clause is Comin’ To Town.

 

Next up is Derrik Roberts and There Won't Be Any Snow (Christmas In The Jungle) an early (1965) Vietnam War-themed disc that’s guaranteed to warm the cockles at this time of year. It follows the same plot used by so many other pro- and anti-Vietnam discs, but I won’t spoil the denouement for you!

 

There’s not much info out there about this one and, confusingly, on promo copies the singer(s) are credited as a duo, Derrik and Roberts, rather than just Derrik Roberts. The disc was penned and produced by Vance and Pockriss who, between them, were responsible for dozens of hits and even more misses, from the great (Catch a Falling Star and Itsy Bitsy TeenyWeenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini) to the reprehensible (Playground in My Mind and Without Your Love [Mr Jordan] Parts One and Two).

 

As an extra I’m also including the video to Jon Bon Jovi’s horrific remake of Fairytale of New York… a recording so bad that the record company have forbidden people to add their comments on YouTube after it was Universally panned.

 

I’ve never been a fan of their music – although part of that may be my jealousy at being too fat to fit into all of that spandex or too bald to be able to join a hair metal outfit – but Jon himself (who, 40 years ago brought us the Christmas Classic R2-D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas) is a pretty stand up fella, doing immense good work in his local community, and I do feel a bit mean, but this truly is Godawful, and the new lyrics suck balls. It really should not exist, but I’m kind of glad it does. 


And if that’s not enough awful audio, why not join me on Wednesday, 2pm GMT/7pm Eastern for a whole hour of Christmassy crap – including all three of these turkeys - on The World’s Worst Records Radio Show: https://wfmu.org/playlists/WR

 

Enjoy! 

Download Santa HERE 

Download Jungle HERE


Democracy Inaction

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Welcome, fellow mad music enthusiasts, to the first WWR blog post of 2021. You would think, after blogging about bad music for 14 years now, that I would have run out of terrible records to bring you, but no! There’s loads more to come, new acts to discover and a whole world of madness coming your way over the next 12 months.

 

Today’s post comes as the world recovers from the insane goings on witnessed in Washington this week. The open call to arms (‘we’ll be there with you’, the Cheeto-coloured manchild raged. No you were not, you cowardly orangutan) from the 45th President is something none of us have witnessed before. Sadly, as well as resulting in the deaths of four people and injuries to many others, this massively overshadowed what happened in Georgia, where Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeated Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, handing control of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the White House to the Democrats for the first time since 2009. Warnock, a Baptist pastor, becomes the first black senator for Georgia and only the eleventh black member of the Senate in US history.

 

Eleven. Eleven out of something like 2,000. Incredible.

 

To celebrate this momentous occasion, here are both sides of Pete Quinto’s 1968 45, Mr Democrat. The single originally appeared with a short spoken introduction by Sam Shapiro, 34th Governor of Illinois, who was in office for eight short months between May 1968 and January 1969, but after his defeat by republican Richard B. Ogilvie this was dropped, and in late 1969 the song was re-written as Mr Citizen. 
 

Peter Gabriel Gianquinto was born in August 1921, in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and was known primarily as a Louis Armstrong impressionist; in fact he was the only imitator to play on the same stage with Armstrong, which he did on several occasions. He died in March 2003 after a short illness, just three years after issuing his only album, A Tribute to Louis Armstrong.


The lyrics were written by Quinto, Shirley Spilmon and Mike Vallo and the tune for both versions was composed by Vincent Chiarelli, owner of Vincent Records, which was established in Illinois in the late 1960s and still in operation today, with grandson Vince Chiarelli at the helm. The team of Chiarelli, Quino and Spilmon composed at least two other songs, Find Yourself a Girl (and Fall in Love), and The Greatest Treasurewhich was copyrighted at the same time as Mr Democrat.

 

Here’s the original version, complete with spoken introduction, and the mostly-instrumental flip side.

 

Enjoy!

 

Download Democrat HERE

Download Instrumental HERE

The Legend of Jan Terri

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I have featured Chicago-based singer and songwriter Jan Terri on the blog before, briefly mentioning the outsider music legend in the 2018 Christmas cavalcade, but its high time she had a dedicated post all of her own. There can be no question that she deserves it.

 

Born Janice Spagnolia on 17 June 1959, the showbiz bug bit early. Jan’s father was an aspiring singer, who used to perform in local bars in costume as Elvis, and in blackface as Sammy Davis Junior (she denies he was ever known as the Black Elvis, despite what you may have read elsewhere). When she was just five years old Jan, who grew up in the Chicago suburb of Franklin Park, would perform Beatles and Elvis numbers for her school friends, complete with cheap guitar and Beatle wig.

 

She graduated in 1983, having earned a B.A. in Broadcast Communications and a Management Certificate for Sound Engineering from Columbia College. While studying, she took an internship at a recording studio run by local country bar band the Windy City Cowboys. Jan became their backup singer, and performed with them at local bars and weddings. At the same time, she began writing her own material.

 

Personal issues within her family meant putting her career on hold: Jan did not resurface until the 1990s when, while working as a limousine driver, she started recording her own material. She spent her hard earned cash and recorded half a dozen of her compositions, and made video clips to accompany them. She assembled press kits and sent them to every record company she could think of, and gave VHS tapes of her videos to various clients at the limousine service. Two self-financed albums followed, Baby Blues(1992) and High Risk (1994).


Then one of Jan’s press kits ended up in the hands of Marilyn Manson.

 

Manson was so impressed with Terri's winningly inept, yet heartfelt, enthusiasm that he brought her out to open for him at the Aragon Theatre in 1998, and she appeared as his opening act at concerts in Chicago in 1998 and 1999. She also appears in his 1999 live video God Is In The TV. Television appearances followed and her early videos started to attract attention. Losing You, from Baby Blues (which makes excellent use of Jan’s limousine), went viral - well, what amounted to viral back in the last century - and it looked like fame, of sorts, was to follow.

 

Sadly Jan was forced to put her career on hold again: she spent eight years looking after her mother (who suffered from dementia) until she passed in 2008, and in 2002 she was involved in a bad traffic accident. But in those years, while she was in a kind of forced retirement, things changed. In 2005 YouTube debuted and very soon after Jan became an international sensation. Suddenly she was an international star.

 

New recordings surfaced, including her first new album in 20 years, Wild One (2012, although much of the album was recorded back in 1997), and Holiday Songs (2014) along with the infamous 2011 comeback single Excuse My Christmas.

 

Today Jan considers herself to be retired, however recordings continue to surface, mostly digital and available from her Bandcamp page, including the planned 2013 album, I'm A Horsie (now titled High Risk), and the 2014 collection No Rules, No Boundaries. If you like what you hear please go to her page and support her: you can even order yourself a signed photograph or even a personal phone call! She is currently trying to crowdfund a new album, and you can help HERE

 

Here are a couple of my personal favourites from Jan’s catalogue: Journey to Mars and her wonderful version of Ave Maria.

 

Enjoy!

 

Download Journey HERE

Download Ave HERE

It's a Hit, By Cracky!

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Here’s a fun little disc, not in any way ‘the worst’ of anything, but a real oddity that you might not have the opportunity to hear otherwise.

 

Produced in 1967, the By Cracky Beat and flip side Gikki/Gong were issued in Canada to promote the By Cracky! candy bar, for Canadian chocolate company Lowney’s, and was given away to kids at schools, via radio promotions and - I would assume - in stores.

 

Born in 1855, Walter MacPherson Lowney began manufacturing chocolate bonbons in Boston in 1883. Seven years later he established the Walter M. Lowney Company and, in 1905, he opened the Walter M. Lowney Company of Canada, Ltd., with a factory in Montreal. The company was eventually taken over by the giant Hershey corporation.

 

Both compositions are credited to Mamorsky, Zimmermann and Hamm, the owners of MZH (later to become MZH & F Music Productions), a New York-based company that specialised in advertising jingles. Morris Mamorsky (1910-2003) was an orchestra leader and composer, and once conducted the NBC Orchestra; Tommy Hamm was a member of the vocal group The Mello-larks, who released the 1959 album Just For a Lark. Jack Zimmermann was a guitarist, bass player, orchestra leader and professional whistler who, in 1956, issued the album The Whistler and His Dog on Golden Crest Records.

 

Their company was responsible for many famous jingles, including I Am Stuck On Band-Aid that was composed for MZH by Barry Manilow before he made it big. Manilow worked on many advertising campaigns, including ones for McDonald's, KFC, and Dodge trucks, and in 1976 he won an award for MHZ for composing and performing a jingle for the soft drink Tab. For a short period in the early-to-mid 70s they owned a recording studio in Manhattan, MZH Studio (which later became Celebration Studios, equipped with a 24 track Dolby dbx desk), used by Loudon Wainwright III and Meco (he recorded his disco-fied version of the Star Wars theme there) amongst others.

 

There’s no credit for the vocalists or instrumentalists on either side of this great little disc, however it has been suggested that the vocal act could be the Toronto-based Laurie Bower Singers, formed by trombone player Bowers, who did most of their work for TV and film music specialists the Canadian Talent Library. having listened to a few contemporary recordings by the Laurie Bower Singers, I tend to concur.

 

Anyway, enjoy these fun, funky slices of 60s cheese.. or should that be chocolate?

 

Download Beat HERE

Download Gong HERE

New Town Animals

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A fun little oddity for you today, in the shape of a one-sided flexidisc issued in 1979 by the marketing agency charged with trying to attract shoppers to Central Milton Keynes, and specifically to its new retail outlet, The Centre: MK, which was opened on 25 September 1979 by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

 

Milton Keynes, now the biggest town in Buckinghamshire, was incorporated in January 1967, part of a scheme to build new towns to deal with Britain’s expanding population. Named after an ancient settlement in the area, this new town swallowed up existing small towns and villages, including Bletchley, Middleton, Stony Stratford, and Wolverton. Often ridiculed as an example of what not to do in terms of town planning and modernist architecture, the new town of Milton Keynes would also provide the subject for a 45 release by the Style Council (Come to Milton Keynes), and Sir Cliff Richard filmed his infamous roller skating video for Wired For Sound there too.  

 

The track, You’ve Never Seen Anything Like It has the credit ‘music by Ronnie Bond’, rather than ‘performed by Ronnie Bond’ or simply ‘Ronnie Bond’. Bond was the former drummer of The Troggs who, by the end of the 1970s, was starting to make a name for himself writing advertising jingles. He wrote the famous Lee Cooper ad Don’t Be A Dummy, originally recorded by Gary Numan while still a member of Tubeway Army, before being re-recorded for 45 release by John Du Cann. He also penned It’s Written On Your Body for rival denim company Levi’s, scoring a minor UK chart hit with the resulting single release.

 

But that is not Ronnie Bond singing on You’ve Never Seen Anything Like It. Bond had a very distinct, pinched nasal voice, nothing like the rich baritone on display here. I wonder who that anonymous session singer is. Any suggestions?

 

Milton Keynes was not the only town to get its own corporate anthem, of course: let’s not forget the wonderful Energy in Northampton or the remarkable It’s a Leicester Fiesta. The Centre: MK is now a Grade II listed building. Looks like the town planners had the last laugh there.

 

Enjoy!


Download Never Seen HERE


Beatle Babies

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As I’m sure you all know, as well as writing this blog and the occasional book, I also host a weekly show, The World’s Worst Records RadioShow, on Sheena’s Jungle Room, one of the online stations available through the behemoth that is WFMU. Well, today’s disc was brought to my attention by fellow Sheena’s DJ Jan Turkenburg, my friend in the Netherlands, who hosts the fabulous Dutch pop show Yes, We Have No Mountains, as well as the brilliant Sounds Under 64 Not Allowed, where every record played has to be at least 64 years old.

 

Not only has Jan introduced me to the delights of Ronnie and the Ronnies and The Shoes, but a few weeks ago he played this, and it prompted much debate on his show’s message board, so much so in fact that I determined to go off and find out more about this ghastly little coupling.

 

Released on Artone records in 1964 and credited to De Bieteltjes (the Little Beatles), Jèh-Jèh-Jèh Gekke Pappie (Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Crazy Daddy) and its flip side Haal Die Scheiding Uit Je Haar (Get That Parting Out Of Your Hair) appear on the surface to have been performed by a trio of toddlers, but in fact – like acts including the Chipmunks, Charlie the Hamster, the Smurfs, and goodness knows how many others – the tracks were written, played and sung by fully-grown adults, the vocals manipulated to make them sound more infantile.

 

Inspired by the worldwide interest in The Beatles, the man behind these recordings was one Joop Portengen, a Dutch composer, songwriter and music publisher from the city of Haarlem who was born in December 1916. Portengen worked on stage musicals, wrote jazz, composed for orchestras and for ballet, as well as writing for countless Dutch MOR, folk and pop acts.

 

Joop Portengen had form: he had previously made similar childlike records under the names Kleine Joopie (reissued the following year as Kleine Jopie) and, as one of Drie Kleine Kleuters, scored a hit in 1956 with De Trappelzak-Boogie (Sleeping Bag Boogie). In 1966 he co-wrote the anti-drink driving hit Glaasje Op... Laat Je Rijden for Sjakie Schram. An example of carnavalschlager (or carnival songs, music popularised in pubs and at festivals during carnival season), Glaasje Op... spent 15 weeks in the Dutch Top 40.

 

The multi-talented Mr. Portengen died in July 1981, but over a long and varied career, wrote, performed and/or arranged music for more than 100 different Dutch acts.

 

Genieten!

 

Download Pappie HERE

Download Scheiding HERE

Joe Tossini - Lady of Mine

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A favourite of mine for several years now, Lady of Mineis the self-funded, independently-released 1989 debut LP by self-taught Italian-American musician Joe Tossini. After only owning a poor-quality digital version of the album, I was astounded to discover that Lady of Mine had been reissued two years ago.

 

According to the accompanying press release, after being born in Sicily, Joe ‘drifted around the world between Italy, Germany and Canada, before finally settling in New Jersey. After the passing of his mother and the breakdown of a second marriage, an anxious and depressed Tossini took to songwriting as a form of therapy, crafting disarmingly candid lyrics from his extraordinary life and loves. Whatever industry savvy or musical virtuosity he lacked was made up for by unflinching resourcefulness and infectious charisma. Befriending bandleader Peppino Lattanzi at local club The Rickshaw Inn, he was encouraged to animate his singular songs with an ambitious cast of nine players and five backing vocalists, sincerely credited as his Friends.’

 

Recorded at IEA Recording Studios in Atlantic City in 1989, the album is an absolute cracker. From the defiant, Casiotone samba of If I Should Fall In Love, to the utterly peculiar Wild Dream and with its odd, jarring ‘space invader’ breaks, and the off-key vocals of the title track, Lady Of Mine hums with the inimitable magic of a true original: cabaret lounge intimacy infused with amateur lo-fi genius.

 

Issued by the short-lived IEA Records label, Lady Of Minehas, unsurprisingly, earned its own place in the outsider music canon: original copies now sell for around the $200 mark (there are a couple currently listed on Discogs, for $190 and $225 respectively). After years of enjoying a growing reputation among collectors, including being listed as one of the Top Ten Best Private Press Albums by Waxidermy, Lady Of Mine was reissued in 2019 via Joe Tossini Music, in partnership with Australian outsider reissue specialist Efficient Space, restored from original master tapes with unseen photos, extensive liner notes and Tossini’s trademark wisdom.

 

Devoutly independent, in 2016 Tossini produced the self-released album When You Love Someone, an album of instrumentals he originally composed during the 1980s but did not record until 2015, and he has also pennedtwo books - his 2014 autobiography ‘The Accounts of My Life’ and, in 2019, a novel titled ‘The Devil In White’, which he calls ‘a fictional story about life, mystery, and murder’. Sadly his good friend and mentor, Peppino ‘Pep’ Lattanzi, passed away in 1995, far too soon for his work on this engaging album to be appreciated.

 

I am not making these downloads available for free as the album is on sale once again and I would encourage you to shove a few quid Joe's way. You can purchase the magnificent Lady of Mine on LP, CD, or digitally at https://efficientspace.bandcamp.com/album/lady-of-minebut for now, here are a couple of tracks from this engaging album.

 

Enjoy!


Gob On You

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I am, once again, indebted to my good friend The Squire, for notifying me of this particular horror.

 

Issued in 1981 by children’s educational recording specialist the Kid’s Stuff Company, Pink Panther Punk was an attempt to introduce the kids to pop music via their favourite Saturday morning cartoon show (or Saturday afternoon, immediately after Grandstand, if you lived in the UK).

 

One has to assume that the average American child was not that discerning, for Pink Panther Punk contains absolutely no trace of anything remotely connected with punk rock: no Sex Pistols or Ramones covers, and no baggie of gob and zero safety pins were included in the package. In fact, what you get over the course of this ridiculously short album – just 25 minutes long – are four pop covers, including is a Billy Joel song, a Doobie Brothers song, and recent hits from Blondie and Pink Floyd, with an equal number of Panther-themed nonsense from composer John Braden.

 

Braden, who started out as a solo folk singer in the late sixties, found his niche with Kid’s Stuff: his 1969 debut, a weird hybrid of Tiny Tim vocals and pop/country arrangements, met with about as much interest as his Tom sawyer-themed musical, Downriver, but by the dawn of the 80s he was churning out album after album for Kid’s Stuff, including two Panther-themed LPs in 1981 alone. His sole A&M album would later accrue some interest among collectors for featuring an incredible line-up of session musicians, including Sneaky Pete and Ry Cooder. Braden was also a member of Manhattan’s La Mama experimental theatre, writing or co-writing musicals including Silver Queen Saloon and Sixty Minute Queer Show.

 

The Kid’s Stuff label was founded in 1975 by children’s entertainer and TV personality Bob McAllister, the host of Wonderama and Kids Are People Too. Initially specialising in educational and read-along recordings, over the years the company developed partnerships a number of toy and cartoon franchises, and by the time Braden came on the scene they were pumping out albums to accompany the latest cartoon starring Strawberry Shortcake, Pac Man, Raggedy Ann and Andy, or Barbievehicle. Soon Masters of the Universe, Transformers and giant cartoon Great Dane Marmaduke would join the catalogue, and Kid’s Stuff would enjoy a tremendously successful decade.

 

Sadly John Stuart Braden Jr., would not accompany them on that ride: the talented singer, composer and actor died in 1987, aged just 41, of pneumococcal meningitis.

 

Here are both sides of the fun Pink Panther Punk album. Enjoy!


Download Side One HERE

Download Side Two HERE


Exotic Adrian, The Not-so-Sweet Transvestite

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Adrian Street (born 5 December 1940) is a retired Welsh professional wrestler, known for his flamboyant, androgynous wrestling persona, Exotic Adrian Street. He’s also the man behind a bunch of rather wonderfully-bad recordings, including the 1986 album Shake, Wrestle and Roll, and as such is the subject of today’s bloggage.

 

From a Welsh coal-mining family, Street won his first fight in 1957. Initially working under the name Kid Tarzan Jonathan, by 1961 Street was touring the UK under his own name, working as a professional heavyweight wrestler. Wrestling was a popular pastime, and televised bouts were big business: in the mid-1960s Street began to make regular appearances on ITV’s Saturday afternoon World of Sport programme. Although claims in the press around that time that he was a former Mr. Universe title holder appear to have been a little, shall we say, over-generous, he became something of a star, and a popular live draw.

 

By the end of the 1960s, he was being billed as ‘Adrian Street: the Blond Headed Glamour Boy’, and was being advertised as ‘Mr Magnificent! Fabulous Gowns! Long Blond Hair! Lovely Body!’, but the increasingly outrageous look hid a man with a conscience: in 1973 he became involved in a political campaign to demand the release of Jewish civil rights activist Sylva Zalmanson from a Russian gulag. The following year he starred on TV in a drama penned by former wrestler turned actor and scriptwriter Bryan Glover, A Drink Out of the Bottle.

 

By the beginning of the 1980s, he was working in the USA, and it was here that he became Exotic Adrian, an outrageously-attired, effeminate ‘heel’ character. This gimmick was the result of his playing up to taunting from an audience one evening, with Street saying that ‘I was getting far more reaction than I’d ever got just playing this poof. My costumes started getting wilder’. In January 1983 he caused outrage when he kissed Black wrestler Ira Reese during a match. The Memphis TV station broadcasting the bout received a number of complaints about this flagrant exhibition of interracial homosexuality.

 

Egged on by second wife Miss Linda, his signature move in the ring was to kiss opponents to escape being pinned down and to put make-up on then while they were disabled. Working primarily as a heel - a wrestler who portrays a villain or bad guy and who acts as an antagonist to the ‘faces’, who are the heroic, good guy characters - and occasionally with his wife and manager (had wrestled in Britain as Blackfoot Sue) as a tag-team duo, the pair travelled all over the world.

 

Now retired and back home in Wales, he’s certainly led a colourful life, and thankfully during his career he took the time to lay down some tracks for you lucky people, beginning in 1977 with the 45 Breakin’ Bones. Three years later he issued a second single, Imagine What I Could Do To You before collecting those four sides, along with several new recordings, on the 1986 album Shake, Wrestle and Roll. He would follow this up with the cassette-only release Naughty But It’s Nice. Many of Adrian’s songs were written by Cheshire-based musician (and former member of the Four Dees) Don Woods, who has collected all of the recordings onto one CD, The Full Hit: the Complete Collection, which is available now, from Don’s website, for only £6:50.

 

Here are a couple of tracks from Shake, Wrestle and Rollto whet your wrestling whistles: A Sweet Transvestite With a Broken Nose and Breakin’ Bones. Enjoy!

 

Download Transvestite HERE

 

Download Bones HERE

 

 

Venus Calling

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Once again, your help is required.

 

Back in 2019 fellow obscure music blogger Bob, of Dead Waxand That’s All Rite Mama, sent me audio clips from both sides of a 45 that had been sold back in 2017 via a popular auction site. Since that day I’ve been trying to track down a copy, but one has yet to turn up on the sales sites I frequent.

 

A message went out to listeners of the World’s Worst RecordsRadio Show, but no one there had a copy either. Then a couple of days ago I was contacted by someone else in search of the disc. Needless to say the best I could do was offer to share my two short clips. However, that message, from Bethany at the Papa Jazz Record Shoppe in Columbia, South Carolina sent me off in search of more information about the man who created this wonderfully insane record, Lawrence Milton Boren.

 

Luckily, Bethany’s partner, Joe Buck, had already done a fair bit of digging around. Joe had discovered plenty about Boren – who also used the names Victor Luminera and Dr. Discovery – and had pieced together much of his career from the late fifties onwards, but after some further investigation of my own I can bring you a pretty comprehensive rundown of his life and crimes.

 

Larry Boren was born on 17 August 1924, in Portland, Oregon. When he was still a toddler his family moved to New Jersey, but by the age of 11 they had moved again, this time to California, where he would remain for the rest of his life.   

 

In 1948, then living in Santa Monica, Boren was arrested after his 22-year-old wife, Norma, reported him to the authorities for beating their seven-month-old son, Francis. ‘He can’t stand to hear it cry’, a distraught Norma told the officers who questioned her as to why the infant needed hospital treatment for black eyes, a bloody nose and bruises. Boren, then working as a church organist and music teacher (the cheek!) was jailed, and rightly so. The brutality was doubly shocking as Boren had been a conscientious objector during the war and, after being sentenced in August 1944, had ‘spent two years in a Washington work camp because he doesn’t believe in fighting.’ 

 

It appears that Norma divorced him while he was inside, for in 1952 Lawrence Boren married for a second time, to a woman called Eleanor Bean.

 

In 1958 he founded the non-profit World of Tomorrow Foundation, having become fascinated by the idea of life on other planets. In July that year he attended the first national convention of the Amalgamated Flying Saucer Clubs of America. From what I have been able to gather, Boren was an early convert to New Age therapies, writing about, and giving talks on, the use of colour and sound therapy. Joe has done a great deal of research already on Boren’s obsession with UFOs. Rather than regurgitate that here, why not have a read of his own blog on Boren’s career?

 

 

Now, this – for me at least - is where it gets interesting: in 1958 our Larry decided to try and make it as a songwriter, registering the copyright in three songs, Love is a Mystery, The Kingdom of Enchantment and Venus Calling. The following year he added two more compositions to this burgeoning portfolio, Kyra from Venus, and Venus, Land of Love. This last song, along with the previous year’s Venus Calling was recorded and issued on a red wax 7” single. Venus, Land of Love  (which, according to the disc’s label, is ‘An Outer Space Rhumba Mambo’) was credited to ‘George Dains (The Earthling) and Gloria Anne, as Kyra of Venus’, with the flip side (‘An Outer Space Ballad’, apparently) solely to ‘Gloria Anne, as Kyra of Venus’.

 

The disc was issued by Futura Records of Los Angeles and, although the songs were copyrighted under his full name, on the disc Boren credits himself as Laryon. The label states that these songs are ‘from the forthcoming musical: “From Venus with Love”.’ In December 1959 the World of Tomorrow Foundation announced that it was holding a casting call for ‘its long-planned production, “From Venus With Love”, [the] first outer space musical comedy.’ The show was due to be staged the following February at Los Angeles’ Horseshoe Stage Theatre, with Boren writing the music, lyrics, acting as producer and director, and co-writing the script alongside David Reed III. The script to the show, naturally, was ‘based on a story by Lawrence Milton Boren’. From Venus with Love was not in any way connected with the episode of the same name of cult 60s TV show The Avengers. From what I can ascertain, the only actress cast for the musical was 16-year-old Angel McCall, who accompanied Boren to UFO conventions ‘as an emissary from Venus… Wearing a futuristic costume and a four-hour make-up job that included rhinestone eyebrows, jewel-tipped eyelashes and blue face powder.’

 

While trying to drum up interest in From Venus with Love, Larry Boren introduced the world to his New Age Symphony, consisting of animated light set to music, a process, he claimed, that had been gifted to him by a group of visitors from Venus, with the chief purpose of ‘healing through color therapy.’

 

Now calling himself Doctor Boren, in 1964 he took his first foray into the film world, directing and producing the science fiction film The Incredible She which, apparently, won the ‘Los Angeles Southland Film Festival’ that same year. All traces of the film and this festival have long since disappeared, but Larry Boren did win a cash pot of $1,000 for a film entitled Opus 2. That film, described by ‘writer, producer, director, designer, cameraman and narrator’ Boren (who submitted the film to the festival ‘under the pen name of Victor Luminera’) as ‘an adventure in surrealism’, definitely was screened, at the Los Angeles Film Makers’ Festival on 13 October 1964, where it beat Andy Warhol’s ‘Banana Sequence’ to take first place. 1964 must have been a busy time, for that same year he also authored (this time as Victor Luminera) a seven-part Course in Electro-magnetic Sex.

 

In 1965, using his given name and calling himself an ‘independent research scientist’, Boren wrote and published his 125-page feminist tract Woman, a Glorious Destiny Awaits You: The Coming Reign of the Feminine Power: A New Scientific Breakthrough Revelation. The book was officially launched in Hollywood, in January 1966 at a press conference to announce the arrival of ‘a new woman’s crusade for balanced government’. Boren co-hosted the conference with veteran dancer Ruth St Denis. The following month, under the auspices of the World of Tomorrow Foundation, he copyrighted the song End of This World, which appears to have been his final attempt at anything remotely commercial within the music field.

 

Throughout the early 1970s, and now listing himself as a ‘specialist in electromagnetic lighting effects’, Boren continued to peddle his space-spirituality schtick: in 1971 he was giving talks to staff and customers of the Santa Fe savings and Loan on Space Exploration, on behalf of the Universal Life Church – the same church that ordained me (yes, I am officially the Reverend Darryl W. Bullock, the Laid of Doonans) more than a decade ago.

 

Does his film The Incredible She exist? Is it a different film to Opus 2, and could either of these works have been subsumed into his next project? The latter seems unlikely as his 1973 opus, Psyched by the 4D Witch, (that, as Luminera, he conceived, wrote and directed and, as Milton Lawrence, acted as Executive Producer) is a zero-budget, badly out of focus softcore sexploitation film similar to the worst of Ed Wood Junior’s later efforts. Again, Joe has done some research for you on that HERE, and you can find the whole thing on YouTube if you’re interested. In the opening minutes of the film we see a pair of eyes surrounded by glitter: could this be footage Boren had committed to film years earlier, of young Angel McCall, as an emissary from Venus? Incidentally, the film has a rather avant-garde score, composed by Boren, again using the pseudonym Victor Luminera, although the title song, Beware of the 4D Witch, was written by Joe Bisko and performed by Johnny By the Way (vocals) and Attila Galamb (music).

 

Sadly, there would be no more recordings from Boren. But the old rouékept himself busy. He had taken a third wife, marrying her in Las Vegas in February 1970, although that did not last long, for in December 1973 he married Cleo Williams, making her the Fourth Mrs. Lawrence Milton Boren. Early the following year he published the 95-page The Earth Set Free -- Through Reverence for Life Part 1 through Aquarian Enterprises a company, I assume like Futura Records, owned and operated by Boren himself.

 

He divorced Cleo in January 1979, after a little over five years of marriage, and then the trail goes cold. All I can tell you is that Lawrence Milton Boren died, in California, on 1 July 2013, leaving behind a fascinating and eclectic, if somewhat small, body of published work.

 

Anyway, here are short clips of both sides of that elusive 1959 release, Venus, Land of Love from George Dains and Gloria Anne, with Venus Calling by Gloria Anne solo. If anyone out there has the disc, or full MP3s of both sides, please do let me know!

 

Enjoy!

 

Download Land HERE

Download Calling HERE

Great Scott!

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A pair of tracks today from an album I would desperately love to own a copy of. If anyone out there has access to the full album – or indeed owns a physical copy they would be willing to part with, do let me know.

 

The cuts come from Great Scott! the 1985 album by Scott Dean, ‘The sensational new recording star’, according to the reverse of the sleeve, who ‘was recognised as an up and coming singer even while attending high school in Wisconsin,’ winning ‘every award he sought after as well as awards he did not pursue’, whatever that gobbledegook means.

 

Scott Dean was born Scott Daehnert, in Kohler, Wisconsin, in 1961. Joining the Air Force at 18, Scott was stationed at the Nellis base in Las Vegas, and within six weeks of his arrival he had been taken ‘under the tutelage of the former international singing star Ben Lowey’ (it says here). Lowey was a vocal coach with a studio in New Jersey in the mid-1970s, advertising himself as ‘formerly with Columbia Records’. His official biography (dated 1979, and accompanying a home cassette course designed to help beat stuttering) states that ‘As a leading tenor Ben Loewy toured with a Schubert company in many famous operettas including New Moon, Student Prince, Showboat, Merry Widow and others. Before television he was under contract to Columbia Broadcasting System and also performed on Coast to Coast radio on NBC out of New York. He played a record 20 week run in Dallas for the Columbia Broadcasting System. He also performed in Grand Opera at the Manhattan Opera House, the New York Hippodrome and the New York Civic Opera Company singing La Traviata, Cavalleria Rusticana, Rigoletto and Lucia. He also performed in the lead roles in South Pacific, and the Most Happy Fella.’ Interestingly that brief bio mentions working for Columbia on radio, but not having recorded for them.

 

Was Mr L stretching the truth somewhat in his advertising? He certainly would not have been the first! He performed, as one of the Three B’s, with singers Bob Oglesby and Bill Lambert in the later 1930s; it appears that, after the war, Lowey went into the production side, working for Columbia and, later Audiograph Studios Inc. Later in his career he wrote the one-man musical Let My People Go, about the life of Paul Robeson, which was performed in Las Vegas and California by gospel singer Joe Carter, and he penned and produced a number of musicals and plays.

 

It seems that Scott met Ben around 1980, while he was still in the USAF (in 1981 he was back home in Kohler, heading a local recruitment drive): Lowey was in Las Vegas that year producing a stage show about Judy Garland. According to the sleeve notes, the maestro began schooling young Scott in opera and classical music and in 1982 Scott got his big break, winning the ‘Metropolitan Opera Auditions Saunderson Award, which is given only to young singers of outstanding merit and potential’. I cannot find an award with this name; however I have discovered that Alexander and Louise Saunderson were Met benefactors, and did indeed provide funding for audition awards.

 

Shortly after this it seems that Scott and Ben decided that opera was not the way forward, and that ‘it became apparent to Mr Loewy that his primary interest was in contemporary popular and rock music’. Lowey set up his own label, BLS (Ben Loewy Studios) and set Scott to work, recording a long players-worth of pop standards and recent chart hits. About this time Scott’s parents, Don and Pat, moved out to Las Vegas as well, presumably to support their son in his musical endeavours.

 

The results are here for all to hear. Well, two tracks are anyway (snaffled from YouTube), but I would kill for a copy of the whole album. Recorded in 1985, the same year that Scott appeared as the opening act for Bobby Vinton in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, two other tracks from Great Scott!, Nobody Loves Me Like You Do and The Sands of Time were also issued, in a rather fetching picture sleeve, as a 45, again on BLS.

 

Sadly, fame did not beckon for Scott. By 1990 he had given up on any hope of making it in the recording industry, instead taking a position as inventory control manager at Arizona Charlie's Hotel and Casino (now Arizona Charlie’s Decatur). In June 1990 he married his high school sweetheart, Lisa Ann Wagg, in Las Vegas. The pair later moved back to Wisconsin: by the end of the decade Scott, having reverted to the family name, was an employee of the Sheboygan Paper Box Company.

 

Here, as promised, is a brace of tracks from Scott Dean’s Great Scott!: What a Feelin’ (the theme from Flashdance) and I’m So Excited. Scott, if you’re out there and happen upon this post, I salute you!

 

Download Feelin’ HERE

Download Excited HERE

A Sound Reputation

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I’ve finally begun the arduous task of digitising my entire song-poem collection. It’s a job that will take months – I have hundreds of song-poem 45s and dozens of albums – but I reckon it will be worth it, for it’s already throwing up some great stuff that, as far as I am aware, has not been shared on the internet before now.

 

Today’s offering is the first of the fruit of that labour.

 

Sammy Marshall was the go-to male singer at the Globe recording studio in Nashville, Tennessee, and it is he who performs the two tracks I’ve selected for you today, both sides of a disc issued – one can safely assume – in early 1964: The Ballad of John F Kennedy and Physical Fitness.

 

I love this disc, especially the biro scribbles on the A-side label, warning the disc jockey: ‘Do Not Play’, ‘Don’t’, ‘Never Play’, and, simply, ‘No’! Poor David Fitzgerald, who composed the lyrics for the two songs, would have been heartbroken if he had ever seen that. The flip is simply described as a ‘bomb’. Now usually the phrase ‘it’s a bomb’ means the same as ‘it’s a smash’, but in this case I’m assuming that whoever wrote that word wanted to convey another meaning! It’s not a bad song, but severely dated for 1964.

 

Sammy Marshall performed under a series of different names, including every-so-slightly altered versions of his own moniker - Sonny Marshall, Sonny Marcell, Sonny Maracel, and even the exotic-sounding Le Son Y Marshall – as well as Ben Tate (usually for Ronnie Records), Chuck Jones and Johnny Evans. There are many more. His laid back, slick lounge style was perfectly suited to the average song-poem offering, although there are a few offerings where he achieves a perfect teen sound, aping any of the endless number of toothy blond pop sensations of the late 50s or early 60s.

 

JoAnn Auborn was Globe's first female vocalist. She also appeared under the names Joan Auborn, Kris Arden, and Damita (not Damita Jo). I have a song-poem 45, on Frank Lyle Buck Records, credited to The Mystery Girl, another of JoAnn’s pseudonyms. On that particular disc (the flip side of which features Sammy Marshall) she is accompanied by Al Auborn on piano. Her husband, or her brother? After JoAnn’s tenure, a singer called Mary Kaye (not the same singer who fronted Vegas-based recording act the Mary Kaye Trio) took the mic for the later years of Globe's run.

 

As well as operating their own demo recording facility and small label, Globe recorded hundreds of sides for vanity releases on custom labels, as well as operating a lucrative song-poem business. Operated by Jim and Glenna Maxwell, Globe tended to work for what Phil Milstein, at the American Song-Poem Music Archives, calls ‘individual customers who wanted to pretend to be a record company for a little while, handled occasional overflow work for some of the larger song-poem companies, such as Air and Preview, and contracted out record pressing for Halmark. Because their work pops up under so many different names and so rarely under their own, they have become something like the Zelig of song-poem concerns.’

 

So, here are The Ballad of John F Kennedy and Physical Fitness, performed by Sonny Marshall. Oh, and why did I choose to title today’s post ‘A Sound Reputation‘? That was Globe’s motto, which appeared as part of the company logo.

 

Enjoy!

 

Download JFK HERE

 

Download Physical HERE

 

So Long, Frank Lyle Buck

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A little follow-up to last week’s post.

 

Last week I wrote a little about Globe, the Nashville-based studio that pumped out hundreds of song-poems and vanity projects by singers including Sonny Marshall and JoAnn Auborn, working under a variety of different names. I mentioned that I owned a copy of a song-poem 45, on Frank Lyle Buck Records, credited to The Mystery Girl, one of JoAnn’s many pseudonyms, and that on  that particular disc she and Marshall appear accompanied by pianist Al Auborn, who I guess could either have been her husband or her brother.

 

Well, here are both sides of that disc, One, Two, Three Play and Tipsy Ippsy.

 

Frank Lyle Buck had been writing songs for a number of years, with little or no return. His first efforts – the inspired Tune Number 1 and Tune Number 2 – were copyrighted in 1949: the following year he wrote Yours To Love,  which Sammy Marshall would record in 1962, the same year as One, Two, Three Play and Tipsy Ippsy appeared.

 

The single was listed in Billboard on 2 June 1962 as possessing ‘limited sales potential’. The lack of interest did not put our amateur auteur off: in 1962 alone he released four singles – all made with the Globe Recording Studio – on his own Frank Lyle Buck label. One, the aforementioned Yours To Love, was reviewed by Cash Box in April 1963 (they called it ‘a soulful, Nashville-oriented reading… with a funky shuffle beat’) and even after these all flopped he continued unabated. Letter From College came along in 1964; along with the rather wonderfully-monikered Peaceable Smith, he penned Just Another Day in 1966.

 

Frank Lyle Buck – or more correctly Frank Lyle Buck Junior, was born on 4 December 1898, in Brooklyn, New York. His father, Frank Lyle Buck senior (or Big Frank, perhaps?), was 23 at the time and his mother, Irene McGunigle, was 20. Frank Junior married Mabel Harriet Lande on 8 June 1918, in Brooklyn and they had five sons. Baby Eugene, born in 1919, died before he was one year old; then came Frank Theodore (1920), another Eugene (1921), Robert (1924) and William Lyle (1926). Sadly all of the Buck children have now passed on too.


Frank died on 10 December 1989, in Middlefield, Otsego, New York, at the age of 91.

 

Enjoy!

 

Download Play HERE

Download Tipsy HERE

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