I’m up to 18 Crowns posted on Facebook, heading towards my goal of emptying the closet of Crown Archives by the end of the year. Here are the Crowns posted this week (which didn’t get posted on the blog yet).
Today’s day 18, Sunday, and I ask are you feeling in the Miller mood? Jules is remembered by many for having loved the big bands and was proud of his series of tribute LPs. But remember these are budget big band LPs so Jules used only “members of” the bands; the band leaders cost too much. And just to add another layer of budget business to the big bands, this is a reissue of a LP with a new cover sure to attract men seeking big bands; anyone want a martini with their trombone? You’ve heard of green screen in photography? Well here the model is shot in front of green upholstery.
Day 17 & the best thing about this Music Man LP is the official $1.49 Crown Records price tag trapped in the bag, proof that not all Crowns were selling for 99 cents. Perhaps the extra 49 cents were for liner notes on the back, an extra soon to be forgotten in the world of Crown. The notes are credited to Frank Evans, second only to John Marlo as a prolific but unknown (or fake) writer of Crown backs. Difficult to find any info about the two conductors or the two main actors.
Day 16 is Vol 4 of Crown’s country & western oldies series. Turns out these cuts were licensed from the obscure Hollywood label Sage & Sand known for rockabilly, western & C/W music. Jules must have licensed S&S’s entire catalog as he put out not just this series but LPs by other S&S’s artists like Eddie Dean & Doye O’Dell. Later Jules would create original country LPs using Jerry Cole both under his own name and various pseudonyms. File this under shit we never knew about Crown until we started researching where some of their best cuts came from (like Whitey Knight’s Another Brew Bartender). Note special 2 for 1 price for this Crown – 50 cents!
Day 15 & we’re in the weeds, literally. A 60’s with no obvious appeal. Square dance calls? Toss a banjo & fiddle in a pile of weeds for the cover photo? Definitely a Crown low point (& there are many). How did this LP ever sell one copy?
Day 12. We present Harmonica Favorites by the Harmonica Hot Shots. A late Culver City release with liner notes by John Marlo, photography by Joseph Tauber, design by Hobco Arts. These three names appear on most Crowns from this era, right before Jules went with generic back covers & no credits.
Hobco Arts can be traced to El Segundo & was founded by Norman E. Phillips in 1959. Tauber’s credits are solely on Crown LPs & the name is suspiciously close to Taub, a Bihari family name Jules used to rip off publishing rights to many artists (Josea Taub, a name I “borrowed” to start this blog). Marlo is another name linked only to Crown LPs of this era; if Marlo and his Crown colleague Frank Evans were authentic writers or music critics of the era then you’d think they’d turn up elsewheres besides the Crown LPs? I certainly can’t find any other credits for them.
Most tunes on this LP are public domain & it’s unknown if Jules recorded these Hot Shots or licensed the cuts to capitalize on the end of a harmonica fad that swept music in the 1950s.