Fazzio’s Last Stand Part 2

These may be the last of the Fazzios to be discovered in the depths of the closet where the Crown collection resides so let’s pull out what’s left of the vinyl and take a listen.

.JimmyGIlmer

CLP 5387/1963

The material on “Jimmy Gilmore and the Fireballs” predates the Fireball’s two monster hits, Sugar Shack & Bottle of Wine. Here the band plays one vocal (Wishing) and three instros relealsed before the surf music craze but are definitely in the same world, especially Foot Platter which shows up on countless surf collections. Here’s the instrumental Kissing from side 2:

The rest of the LP features tracks by Jerry Cole in his classic hot rod & psychedelic distortion Crown period.  Several of these cuts I’ve never heard before and may not be on the Ace Records Cole/Crown reissues. The Spur is Cole’s valiant attempt to affect the Fireballs’ staccato sound while Let It All Hang Out verges into Tequila territory several times.  This LP is well worth owning and playing, especially if you like surf, rock & hot rod inserts.


Tery&Tyler

CST 321/1963

Another fine country roots LP from Crown’s Fazzio collection. Al Terry’s tunes on side one make him out to be a bit of a sad sack, whining about being a loser in love in mostly ballad form as in Without You:

Johnny Tyler on side two is the real find here, especially his last two numbers presented below, County Fair with carnival organ & God Turns Us To Dust, a title that cannot be ignored.

Pragugefrank’s County Music Discography has lots of info about these recordings that Jules most likely leased from small local labels like Rural Rhythm and there’s even more about Tyler here.  Basically, Tyler was from Arkansas, made a lot of recordings for RCA, then moved on to small labels like Rural Rhythm before passing away in his early 40s. These two numbers include sound effects and a rocking country band.


Rusty&Doug

CLP 5331/1963

The vinyl is missing from this LP which is too bad as I was hoping to discover that Jerry & Glenn were Jerry Cole and Glen Campbell.


BrookBenton

CST 350/1963

Same title as CST 402 but different cuts.  Results are the same. Brook Benton takes the lead here with the upbeat Want Cha Gone while Jessie Belvin sings his sweeter and more doo wop tunes throughout this okay collection which includes Belvin’s hit Goodnight My Love. 


ErrollGraner

CLP 5404/1964

Nice Fazzio cover art but that’s about it.  Dull piano background music includes various public domain standards like Swanee River.  Garner’s piano is accompanied by bass & drums.  No evidence of Maxwell Davis’ horn on any cut despite his billing on the LP cover.


JimmyNewman

CST 329/1963

Louisiana-born cajun singer Jimmy Newman made his first recordings on Modern before moving on the J.D. Miller’s Feature label & a host of others. Newman became a regular at the Grand Ole Opry for 50 years, passing away just last year. What Will I Do & I’ll Have To Burn The Letters are typical of side one with Newman singing in a lonesome hillbilly whine in the style of Hank Williams that will rip out your heart. Great crying steel & percussive rhythm guitars dominate band. Crown’s processed stereo makes for a bit of distortion but music makes up for it.

Side Two is the ficticious Billy Carson, a country singer with a passable voice. Unlike side one, these tunes are recorded in true stereo with voice & rhythm on one track & a decent pedal steel on the other track. Check out this weird stereo separation on Window That I Look From.

The identity of Billy Carson is revealed in the following quote from a comment left by Counry Boy Lance on Lonesone Lefty’s informative Scratchy Attic blog:

The idenity of “BIlly Carson” (and “Eddie Wills” on the Sonny James album on Crown of his NRC recordings), is a guy named Glen Cass. He was a session picker here in Los Angeles and for a few years he and his brother Norm were part of the Palomino Riders who were the house band at the legendary (and sadly defunct)Palomino club on Lankersham Blvd in North Hollywood, CA. I’m not sure if he was at the Palomino at the time of this recording.


 

SonnyJames

CST 5325/1963

Sonny James became a major country artist with chart topping singles and record breaking stats on Billboard. He lays claim to several “firsts” in country music including being the first country artist with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Side one is all James from unknown sources including the cut below, Passing Through.  Side two is the fictitious Eddie Wills who’s identified as Palomino Club picker Glen Cass above.

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Fazzio’s Last Stand, Part 1

Did you ever wonder if there was any good music on all those cheap thrift store Fazzios in your record collection?  Maybe it’s about time to look inside those split sleeves and see if you can find any gems.

 Eddie Fisher

CLP5396/1963

Can’t write much about this Eddie Fisher Crown LP as the vinyl turns out to be a Spanish language Disneyland LP.


NeilSedaka

CLP5366/1963

Both sides of this Fazzio LP open with well produced early Neil Sedaka tracks, most likely licensed by Jules, perhaps to make up for dumping Paul Anka over the objections of brother Joe (as reported by John Broven).  Following Anka on both sides are several tracks by a singer/guitar player who sounds suspiciously like Jerry Cole with none of the echo & fullness of the Sedaka productions. Lay Some Kisses On Me is a rocker wannabe with Jerry Cole’s typical chopping rhythm guitar and a stinging lead break (about 50 seconds into the short track). Mary G is more of a Cole ballad, mercifully short, but with a nice guitar–I’d eat my Fazzios if these tracks are Cole.


HAdda

CST374/1963

Hadda Brooks was the first artist signed to Modern Records and this collection contains her first boogie 78 RPM single (Swinging The Boogie) plus several of her later torch ballads. Excellent collection. Great cover. First cut ripped below is the classic Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere with some gritty blues guitar backing.  Second track displays Hadda’s heavy left hand and deft right hand boogie work.  She’s no Pete Johnson but a pretty good facsimile.  Want more of Hadda Brooks then check out the Ace release of her Modern material.


BillieH

CLP5380/1963

The Biharis and Crown/Modern never recorded Billie Holiday,  and no amount of digging so far has turned up any information on singer Vivian Fears who shares billing with Billie. The Holiday recordings are apparently broadcast recordings made from Carnegie Hall in 1952 or the Steve Allen show in 1956. Check out the informative Billie Holiday discography for more details about these recordings.


EttaJames

CLP5360/1963

One of several LP collections of Etta James’ singles in the budget Bihari catalog. This LP was issued with two different Fazzio covers. This is the second reissue with green background and Etta James appearing as a white woman. You can find an image of the earlier dark-skinned Etta James with vivid pink background over at the Both Sides Now site. 


VicD

CLP5343/1963

Want to hear Vic Damone singing Italian songs suitable for an old world Italian restaurant like Michili’s in Hollywood? Then pick up a copy of this Fazzio LP which also features a couple of sappy instrumentals courtesy of schlock-meister Johnny Cole.  Listen to the track below if you want to get a taste of what this LP sounds like as I skip about with the needle without passing the recorder.


DanceWChuck

CST365/1963 – no pix or info on BSN

Born in Mexico and educated at USC, Chuck Cabot was a fascinating minor big band leader in the 1940’s who went on to produce an early inter-racial rock band and promote name acts in the sixties including the first west coast tour of the Rolling Stones. Both Sides Now discography notes that these Crown recordings were done in Hollywood in 1960.  In the 1940s Cabot recorded for Atomic Records with his first 78 rpm single titled Psychopathic Sally From the San Fernando Valley. Unfortunately that track is not here.

This Fazzio Crown is a lot less interesting than Cabot’s bio. It’s an unrelated mix of little big band, torch singing, latin jazz in stereo and a bit of boogie woogie. Not worth the effort of putting the LP on the platter.  But check out Fazzio’s broad yellow brush strokes on Chuck’s jacket!


VinceGuaraldi

CLP5417/1964 no pix on bsn

Recorded in Hollywood on Feb 3, 1960. Solid, cool, west coast jazz that makes for a fine play on a typical southern California afternoon. Vince G gets top Fazzio billing here but the cuts are really the product of Conte Candoli’s little big band. Get the Ace release here.


PearlBaily

CLP5339/1963

You just can’t tell all Crown LPs by their cover, especially on this piece of vinyl. Cover features a Fazzio Pearl Bailey plus the name of Sylvia Lynn. The record label, however, adds the names Martha Tilton and Ann Southern. Meanwhile, the record’s oddest track, Haiti Blues, is attributed to Marion Anderson on other budget label Pearl Baily recordings. Note the typo on Pearl Baily’s name on side two: BAJLY – close enough in the Bihari world of music.

PearlBajly


BllueCrown

CLP5358/1963

BBB

I have two copies of this “Blue/Guitar” Fazzio. One original Crown (top) and one Japanese Victor repo. Note that the repo deletes the name Jimmy Soul from the cover and his one track on the LP, an echoey rocker titled Bandstand I’ve ripped below. So who was Jimmy Soul?  He was a N. Carolina-born musical named James McCleese who ditched this planet at age 45 back in 1988. Reader Jeff adds the following information about Jimmy  Soul: “Jimmy Soul’s biggest hit (a Billboard #1) was a goofy novelty song titled “If You Want To Be Happy.” (“If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife; so from my personal point of view, get an ugly girl to marry you.”) The song was a rearrangement of a 1933 calypso song “Ugly Woman” by Trinidad calypsonian Roaring Lion (Rafael De Leon.)” Should also had a minor hit Twistin’ Matilda. So why the Biharis would include Soul’s spacey & anglo sounding Bandstand on an otherwise raw blues LP is a mystery? Did the Biharis record this track? So far, no answers.  The track itself is ripped below for your listening pleasure. There are several strange instrumental breaks near the end that are perhaps tributes to American Bandstand classics; the second break includes a surf sounding vibrato chord and the end of the track also goes off in an odd direction.

Victor Japan opted to remove Soul’s name from the repro cover and replace Bandstand with more blues, classic tracks from Johnny Guitar and early down-home singles from Blue Bland.  The Johnny Guitar Watson tracks are true classics you can find on several CDs including this Ace Records release.  

Here’s another, more soulful version of Bandstand I found on youtube. It’s all a mystery so far.


WhiteyPullen

CLP5332/1963

This Fazzio Crown is fine collection of Whitey Pullen’s country and rockabilly recordings for Sage. In a rare instance of coherency in a Crown release, side two is country roots and side one is rockabilly & rock. Pullen has been written about earlier in this blog and you can check out this fine bio of the musician here. One track features Pullen backed by a fine little country band while the other track is a Jerry Lee Lewis inspired rocker with thumping piano and fuzzed-out distorted guitar.


MelTorme3

CLP5347/1963

How many different artists does it take to fill up the 9 tracks on a Crown LP? In the case of jazz singer Mel Torme’s Crown, it takes three: Torme, Robert Alda & Cesar Romero. There’s no reason you’d ever want to own or spin this LP unless you’re a Fazzio completist. Though I promised myself I’d listen to at least one track on every one of my Crown LPs, in this case and several others I had to break that promise.


JohhnyDesmond

CST345/1963

Johnny Desmond, a big band vocalist in the 1940s, kicked around early TV in the 1950s. Here’s a sincere but tacky website in his memory created by one of his biggest fans in the UK.  Norman Brooks was a Canadian with several hit singles in the early 1950s but he’s best known for impersonating Al Jolson and playing him in the Hollywood biopic The Best Things In Life Are Free. He also appeared as himself in the original Ocean’s Eleven.

The first two tracks on each side of this Crown is Desmond, the rest of the tracks are Brooks’ Al Jolson imitation–it’s quite painful to hear. I wasn’t motivated enough to upload anything from this LP.


CowboyCopa  

CST338/1963

Another Crown Joe Reagan tribute to Cowboy Copa, identical to CLP 5430 I wrote about in an earlier blog except for two tracks: Rainbow at Midnight & Kentucky Waltz replace Singing On Sunday and Him or Me.


SenInkSpots  

CLP5197/1961

Great photo LP cover of the Ink Spots though it’s doubtful anyone in the world cares about this early harmonizing group. Of slight interest is that the Biharis included song writer credits on the front cover, most likely because they were forced to.

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Bongo Madness & Beyond

Why so many Latin themed LPs on Crown during the early years of the budget label?  Was Jules following the trend set up by other budget lines, such as 101 Strings debut LP Spain? Was he influenced by the large and growing Latin buying population in Los Angeles? With no one left to interview and Joe Biharis mostly questioned about Modern’s early period, it’s pure conjecture.  But besides a few lurid and bold cover designs, these LPs are mostly well recorded old style cha cha, mambo & Latin folk music with little turntable interest today.


NighInMadrid

CLP 5128/CST161/1959

Night In Madrid is an early stereo red vinyl Crown with liner notes by Frank Evans, cover design credited to Rosentswieg and photography by Joe Tauber.  Most likely Rosentsweig is an author named Gerry Rosentswieg who wrote several books on graphic design that can still be pick up used.  I wrote about Tauber & Evans in earlier blog posts.  The name Jose Barroso Troupe is associated only with several  Crown LPs whereas Laurindo Almeida is a well know Brazilian guitar virtuoso and composer with many recordings.

Pleasant, nicely recorded, unmemorable background music that’s not worth a rip or a listen. The front & back of my copy is held together only by the bottom seam which is enough to show that the back is glued on upside down.

NMEnds


TrioAcaapulco

CLP 5280/1962

Trio Acapulco is a common name for any 3 person mariachi band. This LP could easily have been issued on Crown’s budget Latino label Discos Coronos which released dozens of similar looking LPs covering Latin folk music groups under the direction of recording engineer Bill Lazerus, a true fan of the music who most likely found this group and recorded them.

Not typical of any Crown in my closet collection, all three seams on this Crown LP are intact and the LP’s cardboard is substantial, like a major label product.  A quick look inside the sleeve reveals that the cardboard cover is folded over at the top & bottom seams making for a strong edge which is never the case on budget Crown (which are held together only by the fold-over of the thin paper cover).  It was then I noticed the generic Crown back sheet peeling off to reveal the front of a Sutton LP, Erotic Percussion, uncovering a new trick in the budget record business bag: buying excess LP covers and slapping on new paper.

Sutton1

Sutton was Brooklyn-based father & son budget label which shipped using UPS and other carriers.  That Sutton was using better cardboard and sleeve fabrication than Crown is a testament to Jules Bihari’s money making budget record machine over on Normandie Ave.


BongoMadnessa

CLP 5019/1957

Bongo Madness is a reissue of RPM 3004 with MLPR-3004 scratched out in the vinyl.

It’s an early Crown LP by prolific composer/musician Don Ralke with uncredited liner notes, cover photo by Gene Lesser (discussed in earlier post) & two credits for sister Florette: art direction & production. Don Ralke was USC educated with many LP & TV credits, including work on 77 Sunset Strip and Hawaii Five-O.  Also Ralke is well-known for producing the “Golden Throats” series, convincing non-singing celebrities like William Shatner to record.

Bongo Madness contains no madness but instead compositions by Ralke, flute by Buddy Collette & drums/bongos by Jack Burger.  The ripped cut Afro-Bop could easily be the theme song for one of Ralke’s 1960’s cool TV show themes.


PradoMania  MamboJambo

CLP 5106/June 1958

Prado Mania features “members of” the Perez Prado Orchestra, conducted by Bobby Gil, an organist whose name links to several other bongo LPs.  I have two copies of this LP, one titled Prado Mania and one titled Mambo Jambo–same front/back cover, LP number, song titles.  Back features liner notes by Frank Evans touting the talent of “Señor Perez Prado” with no mention of Bobby Gil.  Rare credit for all the musicians and the recording studio:  Sound Enterprise in Hollywood; perhaps an attempt to gain favor with serious jazz fans. Photo by Ron Vogel & cover by Charles Meggs, both discussed in earlier Crown posts.  Here’s a familiar tune often recorded and perfect for skating on a hardwood arena.


CalypsoTrid

CLP 5031/1957

This early effort by bongo virtuoso Preston Epps is another Crown LP with dual credits for sister Florette.  Epps went on to have a hit single, Bongo Rock, on Original Sound.  Singer Louis Poliemon’s sole credit seems to be this LP which is a spare production featuring singing and bongo, a combo that quickly proves tiresome.


LaTinoCCC

CST 166/1959

A later Crown LP with generic back cover.  Found these credits on the Internet for the musicians:

  • Bass – Tomas Rosas
  • Congas – Angel Parez
  • Flute – Tino La Tino
  • Flute-alto-baritone – Ralph Cacho
  • Piano – Louis Norelli
  • Solo Conga – Tito Rivera
  • Timbales – Chicky Yslas
  • Trumpet – Marcus Cabuto, Margo Mendoza, Mike Akopoff
  • Vocals – Willie Vargas

pachanga

CLP 5237 CST 244/1961 (?)

Unable to find anything about this LP or artist.  This LP’s mono & stereo numbers are misidentified in Both Sides Now discography as Roosevelt Sykes Sings the Blues.  Solid recording with full sound if you like the mambo, cha cha type Latin percussive jazz.


arriba

CST 192/1960

This LP has 2397 scratched on the vinyl as well as CST 192.  Great cover but no credits on the generic back and nothing about Tito Guerrera on the Internet.  Recording’s a bit echoey, as if the band was playing in a huge bathroom, but otherwise Arriba is a fine companion to several of the other mambo, cha cha’s on this list.


JazzHeatBB

CST 187/1960

Another awesome bongo cover from Crown and the first real hip record in this collection; it’s well worth having in your collection.  No back cover credits but the following musicians are listed on the front: Tony Reyes, Tommy Tedesco, Darias, Carlos Mejia, Eddie Cano, Larry Bunker & Buddy Collette.

I present Bongosville, perfect title for a perfect tune.  Finally, a Latin Crown with cool music to match a cool cover.


ChaChaCha

CST 171/1959

One of Crown’s red vinyl “StereoDiscs” complete with “This Is Stereo” explanation on the back plus John Marlo expounding on the cha cha cha in his liner notes, J Tauber photography & Charles Meggs cover design. If you like cha cha cha then you’ll love this well recorded LP with a full, warm stereo sound.  Side one has 5 generic Latin cha cha’s while side two has cha cha versions of several Modern hits, like BB King’s Woke Up This Morning, Cherry Pie & Eddie My Love.  Crazy cha chas here with the Biharis going full tilt to make $$ off their publishing. Great Latin band though. Take a listen to Woke Up This Morning & Eddie My Love:


LatinTouch

CLP 5146/1960

An early Crown with John Marlo’s somewhat informative liner notes, revealing that Dave Bacal was staff organist on “Stump the Authors,” worked on the Jack Benny Program and “currently” improvises on Jack LaLanne’s exercise show–turns out that Marlo’s liner notes weren’t all bullshit as Bacal’s meager IMDB credits reveal.  LP cover photograph by Tom Kelley who was a glamor photographer of female stars from Hollywood’s classic era.  You can find out more about his work here where his son, Tom Jr., continues the tradition.


flamenco

CLP 5109 CST 141/June 1958

Another Crown red vinyl StereoDiscos featuring part of same crew as Night In Madrid, the first LP on this post. This LP is a rare surprise: beautifully played flamenco guitar played by Jose Barroso who, according to the liner notes, didn’t pick up the guitar until age 39.


CaribbeanRendezvos

CLP 5043/1957

From the first year of Crown’s budget releases with uncredited liner notes, Todd Walker photography (unfocused!), Florette’s double credits of art direction and production.

There’s a wickedly entertaining and harsh review of this LP and Crown itself here. The fact is that his LP isn’t any worse or better than any of the LPs on this page.

There are definitely some ghastly over dramatized mambo-esque tunes on this LP but this last cut on the LP features some blistering guitar if you can make it through the first half.  Good luck!


Mariachis

CLP 5274/1962

And finally, another Crown cheapie better suited for the Bihari Latin label Discos Coronos.  Mariachi music, from start to finish. You like, you play.  You don’t like, you toss.

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Two Weeks of Crown Country

Except for a few of Lester Bihari’s Memphis recordings, the Biharis did not record seminal country-western originals to compare with the Southern roadhouse blues, R&B & west coast jazz they put on tape & acetate from the late 1940’s thru the mid-fifties.  It’s not that they didn’t try.  According to research by John Broven in Record Makers and Breakers: Voices of the Independent Rock ‘n’ Roll Pioneers, Joe Bihari set up Flair Records in 1952 as a dedicated hillbilly subsidiary before quickly reverting to R&B. Bihari admitted to Broven that Modern’s distributers weren’t set up to handle hillbilly music and the label never had the right songs or the right artists.  At the same time, the majors had signed the big names like Hank Williams and Ernst Tubb. So, despite a Southern tour by Joe B to find artists, Flair’s hillbilly promised failed to materialize.

However, years later, the Crown budget label started releasing a lot of straight-ahead country roots & rockabilly by licensing tracks from small labels and reissuing the material on LPs such as the ones featured below.

RingOfFire

CST 467/1965

BMI Songwriter Sterling Blythe claimed authorship of the Freddy Fender hit “Before the Next Teardrop Falls.”  He recalled having sold the rights to a portfolio of songs, among them “Before the Next Teardrop Falls,” for $4,500 to settle debts when he left Nashville for the West Coast prior to Fender’s recording.

Buy an overpriced 8 Track version of this LP  here. There’s a short bio and extensive Blythe discography here.  More info & discography here.

Maybe I’m crazy but this Ring of Fire sounds like Jerry Cole. The back up band doesn’t resemble the band on other Blythe tracks plus the rhythm section has Cole’s signature Crown rock beat used in several of his cycle/biker/hot rod instrumentals.

Here Blythe does a family in-law version of Hot Rod Lincoln. Great band, demented lyrics:


IWalkTheLine

CLP 5496/1966

The LP inside this sleeve is titled Guitars Go Country on the ARA label (MO 11-2A) though all the tunes listed on the cover are on the LP.  The vinyl trail off has CLP 5496 scratched off and MO 11-2A scratch in.  Bihari’s ARA label is not mentioned in the extensive Both Sides Now discography but ARA is noted as the name of an early Bihari record plant by John Broven in  Record Makers and Breakers: Voices of the Independent Rock ‘n’ Roll Pioneers. So how did the ARA label vinyl end up in this Crown label sleeve? And was an ARA LP cover version of this LP ever issued? And if so then what did it look like?

The music on this LP is average acoustic country instrumental music  featuring dobro.


CountryGentlemen

CLP 5276/1962

From comments left on this youtube posting of this LP

“Larry Caldwell  played led guitar for the snake river outlaws, my dads band in the 50’s in Missoula MT.  Then he went  CA and NV to play in vegas. He was very good. He came back to MT to play with the  S R outlaws again in 1967. He gave me lessons when I was about 13.  Larry gained a lot of weight and became unhealthy. Last  I heard  he had died  in las vegas ….pity, he was a great guy and  a great guitarist. My Dad thought the world of him …………. T.Scot Wilburn

More: “This was cut when the guys were known as Speedy Price and the Sons Of The Beach when they performed in and around the Oxnard, CA area. Personnel: Don Hughes – Vocal/Bass Larry Caldwell – Lead Guitar Vernon “Speedy” Price – Steel Guitar Johnny Roberts – Drums

Crawdad renamed Gran Dad by the boys:


Buckaroo

CLP 5521/1966

According to this 2000 post at the Steel Guitar Forum, this LP attributed to Norm Kass is actually Red Rhodes and various members of the house band at the Palomino Club in North Hollywood which makes sense since this all instrumental LP has some choice tracks including these:


Gunfight

CST 241/1961

Knockoff of Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs by Marty Robbins (look up this disk on Both Sides Now & you’ll see an image of the original Robbin’s LP). Later reissued as Billy The Kid. There is no such artist as Rex Wells and the songs on this album are done by Tompall & The Glaser Brothers on Side 1 and The Willis Brothers on Side 2.

Ridiculous fake titles to avoid copyright conflicts such has Mr. Staggerly for Staggerlee & John Hardy for John Henry.  How about Barney & Clyde instead of Bonnie & Clyde?  8-Track version for sale here.


GoldenGoodies

CST 480/1965

More tracks from Sage & Sand. How can you not wanna hear a track titled Another Brew Bartender?

Or Honky Tonk Queen:


EddieDean

CLP 5320/1963

There is extensive info on Eddie Dean on this fan page here including biography, photographs, discography, memories, etc.  Unclear if Crown actually recorded these tracks or if they were put to vinyl at the Sage & Sand studio.

Awesome ED track, Smoke Signals:


HankW

CST 154/1959

Loads of interesting information about all the budget labels that produced fake Hank Williams LPs can be found at Budget Labels and Tribute Albums to Hank Williams.  Most of the LPs are based on 30 Curley Williams recordings originally produced by the Biharis.

The LP in this sleeve is a tribute to Hank on another budget label, Pickwick Intern’l’s Grand Prix Series.  Some of the same songs are on both this LP & the Crown (that’s supposed to be in the sleeve), including this nasal, honky tonkin’ version of Red River Valley:

Here’s a better than average Hank imitator doing’ Hey Good Lookin’ – probably better than anyone today could put together.


MemCowboyCopas

CLP 5430/1964

Can’t find any info on Joe Reagan or whomever is playing on this “memory” of the great Cowboy Copas, who was just a hair less great than Hank.  Here’s one of the better tracks, Him or Me:


OldiesGoodiesV2

CLP 5222/1961

Another collection of singles from the great little Hollywood country roots/rockabilly label Sage & Sand. You can find lots of info about this label at Praguefrank’s site  and at Bigvjamboree.com. See images of Sage & Sand labels from different eras here.

Orange Juice by the Rovers, an instrumental featuring astonishing guitar. Haven’t found any info on this band.

Walk My Way Back Home,  a great rocking’ track by an authentic rockabilly artist with one of the best names in the business: Whitey Pullen..


ShenandoahStrings

CST 474/1965

Two fads being mined by Crown here, easy listening strings plus country. In a strange ironic twist,  turns out that the old folk tune Shenandoah has African-American roots. Check out this site for some scholarship on the subject but the LP is not worth a listen.

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Crown Gives A Hoot!

There’s a good story about how a Crown folkie LP like any of the following might have been recorded by the company here. Read it!


 PrincetonTrio

CST 231/1961

A decent Kingston Trio imitation group that’s duller and less exciting than the original group. All public domain tunes. None worth hearing.


  LetsHaveAHoot

CLP 5386/1963

Compilation LP of all these Crown folk LPs and more. Five tunes per side. Here’s a decent blue grass standard (Shady Grove). It may be performed by Paul Sykes though listing on label is not conclusive.


TheFolkSinger

CLP 5322/1963

So who the hell was folk singer Billy Sherman? Perhaps Allan Sherman’s more serious minded, folk singing brother?  LP is standard folk singing from the era with bass & lead guitar accompaniment.  Sound quality is bad and Sherman’s voice is annoying as he attempts various accents on different folk standards.  Not worth a listen.


MoreHoot

CLP 5351/1953

Besides the Scotsdale Squirrels, another Crown folk group we know something about is The Hootenairs whose members are listened on the BSN discography as Mason Williams, Marilyn Powell, Jack Powell, and Ed Douglas. Mason Williams is well known for the hit record Classical Gas which was NOT released on Crown. 

The music on More Hootenanny is good old coffee shop folk music from the 1960s with pleasant harmonies and solid banjo, dulcimer, guitar & stand up bass accompaniment. Typical is the following public domain tune, Whoa Mule:


HootFolkSongs

CST 328/1963

Another decent folk group which we know nothing about.  Probably played in area coffee shops.  Not worth a listen.


JimHelms

CLP 5377/1963

Jim Helms plays satisfactory 12 string instrumentals on this Crown LP. The recording is shoddy with distorted percussion and under recorded guitar.  Helms may be the same session guitarist who played on a Frank Zappa LP.  Nothing else is known about him.   Here’s VooDoo Blues from the LP:


FamousFolkSongs

CLP 5326/1963

This LP could be called Famous & Dull Public Domain Folk Songs.  Campos & Hansen were folk singers from the 1960s who are mentioned at this website as performing in Santa Barabara back in the day.  Not much here of interest.


Hoot-3

CST 391/1963

Another compilation volume taken from the Crown folk LPs.  Here the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers perform Walking Cane, their recording session detailed in the link above.

Here’s a tune from 12 stringer Jim Helms that also appears on his LP. The distortion of the pressing is so high that it sounds like Helms is playing an electric guitar.


FolkSongs

CLP 5279/1962

Another fake Kingston Trio. The folk tunes here have more energy and are better recorded than some of the LPs in this posting but it’s still not work a listen.

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CROWN ROCKS, RIPS OFF AND MORE RILEY RIFFS

 12TopHits

CLP 5038 1959 -61

Between 1959 and 1961, there were five Crown LPs released as CLP 5038 with identical covers but different tracks. This one has “Jan” scribed in vinyl trial off, perhaps the January release. Both Sides Now describes the cuts as knock offs of classic tunes though a few sound like the real deal, like the chipmunks song.  Here’s a remarkably atrocious version of One Night With You by an uncredited off key singer.  The original, One Night Of Sin, was written by Dave Bartholomew & you read about it here.  Elvis felt compelled to clean up the lyrics when he recorded it. Meanwhile, stare at the LP cover while enjoying the following rip:


RV&JK

CLP 5336/1963

Yes folks, this is the only time Jerry Cole and Richie Valens appeared together.  Even Jerry Cole didn’t have much of a reason for his name to be spelled with a K. In a rare Crown move, the cuts listed on the vinyl label actually credit either Kole or Richie Valens.  The Valens selections have appeared on countless other LPs and the Kole cuts are fairly dull.


TriniLopz

CST 349/1963

Trini Lopez is still alive and promoting.  You can read about his current exploits at his website. This Crown includes his hit Sinner Man and several other tunes that were well played over the years.  One side, however, is the unknown Johnny Torres who sings with spare accompaniment.  Though Jerry Cole claims to be Johnny Torres, the audio evidence doesn’t support his claim.


MoreOldiesGoodies

CLP 5202/1961 –

More Oldies was first issued with a black cover, then with this white cover (you can see the black cover on the Both Sides Now Crown discography). It is what it says, more retreads of past singles from the RPM & Modern years…and the endless Bihari reissue machine was just getting started in 1961.


BBKingTheBlues

CLP 5063/1958

A couple dynamic, fast-paced BB King selections from 1956 here highlighting his early raw style of lead guitar that Clapton & other white kids so admired.  Ruby Lee is with Maxwell Davis, Early Morning is with another band.


RichardBerry

CST 371/1963

Richard Berry, the original Mr. Louie Louie, was more of doo woo performer than rocker or R&B performer though I ripped a couple more upbeat numbers from this Crown LP.

He was the bass singer in the original Riot In Cell Block Number 9 by the Robins (later to be the Coasters) and that style of song & singing is featured in Next Time.  The story behind Louie Louie is told on his Wikipedia bio and else where so go search it out.  He also wrote Have Love Will Travel popularized by The Sonics on their early LP.  Though he signed away the rights to Louie Louie to pay for his wedding, his story has a Hollywood ending as told here (from Wikipedia):

“In the mid eighties Berry was living on welfare at his mother’s house in South Central L.A.. Drinks company California Cooler wanted to use “Louie Louie” in a commercial, but discovered they needed Berry’s signature to use it. They asked the Artists’ Rights society to locate him, and a lawyer visited Berry. The lawyer mentioned the possibility of Berry taking action to gain the rights to his song. The publishers settled out of court, making Berry a millionaire.[8]”


JesseBelvin

CLP 5145/1959

Covered the Jesse Belvin story in a previous blog entry and this LP has most of his famous hits though the uncharacteristic hard hitting, upbeat tune I’ll Mess You Up is included below with the mean-spirited chorus: “I’ll mess you up, I’ll hurt you bad, I laugh and joke but baby I don’t play.”

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Rock & Roll & Riley King

rockNroll

CLP 5001/1957 –

Dance Party is the first Crown LP release, a reissue of the first RPM release (LP 3001) issued a year earlier.  There are also release numbers scribed on the vinyl for a Modern release that apparently wasn’t released.  The first 15 Crown releases mostly coincide with the first 15 Modern LP releases, then the next several Crown releases were reissues of RPM LP releases.  The first pure Crown release was CLP-5026 (String of Pearls: Music Made Famous By Glenn Miller) as deduced from the BSN’s Crown discography.

This first Crown LP has liner notes, song credits & a cover photo by Todd Walker (more info on Walker on this earlier blog entry).  The cover photo is blurred and sloppily cut out around the kids, creating quite a crappy appearance. The 12 tunes here are all popular singles from the Bihari catalogue, kind of a “best of Bihari” including hits by Etta James, the Cadets, Jacks and Joe Houston.


RockinNReelin

CLP 5015/1957

So here’s the 15th Modern LP reissued as Crown’s 15 issue with both LP numbers scribed in the vinyl. Backside probably duplicates the backside of the Modern release with liner notes, song credits and 6 tunes per side.  All these early Crown LPs credit Bihari sister Florette for “art direction and production.” As noted earlier, several Bihari employees I interviewed doubted that Florette actually did the work. The standing Cadet doesn’t look too happy in the cover photo.

The Cadets started out in the 1940s as gospel singers, calling themselves the Santa Monica Soul Seekers. They came to Modern through an audition and were also issued as The Jacks on RPM. They performed as the Cadets but played both groups’ tunes.  The Cadets had a big hit with Stranded in the Jungle and the group went thru several personnel changes over the years.


R&RTonyAllen

CST 240/1961

Tony Allen was born in New Orleans & raised in the Ninth Ward with Fats Domino as a neighbor.  There’s a great little biography of Tony Allen over at the Doo Wop Society web page.  Here’s a excerpt that defines this performer’s musical background: “I attended George Washington Carver High with Arthur Lee Maye and Eugene Church. Later I went to Jefferson High, where I knew Cornel Gunter and Bobby Freeman. Arthur introduced me to Jesse Belvin, who only lived a block away from me, on 41st Place and Long Beach Boulevard. We all became good friends.”  What an incredible musical adolescence.

Ace Records has the only legit CD of Tony Allen’s recordings, including the material here. This LP has syrupy ballads, upbeat doo woo and a few near rockers but mostly you’ll feel like you’re listening to an oldies LP.


BBKing2

CLP 5020/1957

One of several BB King greatest hits Crowns including his first hit record, the Memphis recorded 3 O’Clock Blues (1952) and other early classics like Woke Up This Morning (Houston/1952-3), the first version of Sweet Little Angel (alt. take/1956/Los Angeles) and Every Day I Have The Blues (1955/Los Angeles). Reissue of RPM LP 3005 with both Modern & RPM numbers in the vinyl trail off.  Bad Luck is from 1956/Los Angeles & features King’s raw, 1950’s guitar style. He’s backed by a horn section that’s not led by Maxwell Davis.

Singing The Blues CLP 5020 was later reissued as Custom LP 1071 & United LP 7726. All the BB King info on this posting taken from the invaluable discography Blues Records, 1943-1970 by Mike Leadbetter & Neil Slaven.


SteveAlaimo

CLP 5283/1963

Steve Alaimo had a crazy career, starting out in a cousin’s instro band, recording as a pop singer, being backed by an all black band, hosting Dick Clark’s Where The Action Is TV show for 2 years, signed at various times to ATCO/Atlantic, Chess/Checker, ABC Paramount & Crown. He was even a producer, working with Sam & Dave amongst other black acts. Like many of my Crown LPs in the closet, the vinyl long ago slipped out of the torn open covers & so far it’s lost.  I’ll post a Steve Alaimo cut when the vinyl resurfaces.


JumpinWJacks

CLP 5021/1957

As noted above. the Jacks were simply The Cadets wearing different suits and recording on RPM rather than Modern. Both had releases on Crown that were duplicates of their RPM/Modern discs. By this time the Biharis had started the practice that would eventually result in the multiple reissues of everything they owned and (except in a few cases) each release more budget than the last.

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