Week of Crown Country Classics

Day 68 kicked off a week of Crown country LPs released between 1964-1972 during Crown’s Jerry Cole era. Cole was a guitarist Jules hired off the bandstand of the famed Palomino Club in North Hollywood. Cole would go on to produce up to 3 LPs a day with the help of recording engineer Bill Lazerus at the Normandie Ave production facility.

Jerry Cole went on to have an important career as a session guitarist and his work can be heard on countless hits of the 1960s. Though not featured in the recently released documentary about the session musicians known as the Wrecking Crew,  you’ll find his name listed at the end as part of the extended members of the band.

Several of these Crown LPs including Crazy Arms are clearly what Cole & recording engineer Bill Lazerus referred to when they talked about recording three albums a day.  Crazy Arms sounds like one-take recordings.  The band is winging it and Take Off, the cut featured here, is typical of the album.

CrazyArms

CLP 5518 / 1966

Day 69 & I Love You So Much It Hurts, an aptly titled country LP with a weepy sad-singer named Terry Lee. Can’t find any reference to country singer Terry Lee and he doesn’t sound like Jerry Cole; maybe a pick up band from the Palamino.  These are muddy sounding stereo recording and slow-paced Pages of Time is one of the better cuts.

ILoveYouSoMuch

CST 558 / 1968

For your midweek doldrums on day 70, I presented Fireball Mail with a tune titled “Windblown Bag” amongst other great titles. I was looking forward to hearing the lyrics to Windblown Bag but, unfortunately, this is an all instro LP that has a rushed, one-take, no rehearsal sound.  Jerry Cole is most likely leading this band and playing mostly acoustic guitar. The tune Self Destruction sounds like Cole & the band just ran out of ideas.  The titles are much better than the tunes. Probably one of several LPs Cole & company recorded that day.

FireballMail

CST 624  / 1971

On day 71 out of 356 I posted a Crown country LP that begs to be played any ol’ time. Includes the classic title: “How Could You Do A Thing Like This.” No artist is mentioned on the cover–was Crown embarrassed by the artist, afraid of a lawsuit or was it just a mistake to leave off the name?  Inside we learn the artist’s name is on Lon Harmon. We also learn that Crown didn’t do proof-reading as “Black” is spelled “Blak” on the LP itself. Found zilch on the ‘Net about Harmon.

This is an unremarkable country band, poorly recorded with distorted bass guitar.  Not terrible but not good, and not a country LP to listen to anytime.

anytime

CLP 5548 / 1967

Lazy hot Friday in SoCal on day 72 of Crown postings. The titles on this LP tell a story: “Drinks Are on the House” if you’re from the “School of Hard Knocks” & staying tonight at one of the many “Okie Motels.” So who’s Don Hughes?  Found one reference in a 1969 Billboard magazine that he was fronting a country band in Vegas.

Decent country band that sounds like it’s rushing through tunes in one take; some like Drinks On The House seemingly written moments before recording. Don’t detect Jerry Cole on vocals or guitar here but figure the music was most likely recorded at the Normandie studio.

okiemuskogg

CST 603 / 1970

Day 73 and this Crown had two tunes by Dave Dudley, known for his hit Six Days On the Road.  The rest of the LP features the Cass Country Boys, a cowboy western band who worked with Gene Autry.  All licensed material and the only one of these country LPs you’d want to play through both sides.  Below is Lonely Corner by Dave Dudley & Nine Pound Hammer from Cass County Boys.

DaveDud

CLP 5508 / 1966

Day 74 & the last day of Crown country LPs for this series. Great photo that’s a cross between Midnight Cowboy & Glenn Campbell.  Nice stucco background–can’t get much more cheap looking.

TrueGritCSST 593 / 1969

Not all Crown artists of this era were fakes or pseudonyms for Jerry Cole. Digging into the internet I found a few obscure mentions of Don Lee as a country artist who played at the Palomino.  Makes sense.  Here are choice quotes:  “Don Lee….Good leadman/vocalist. He unfortunately didn’t have it together in the personality dept. Too bad he could have went a lot further if he hadn’t been such an A$$.”  “Don Lee, is that the guy who worked with the Buckaroos in the mid 1970s?” Found info on steel guitar forum.

This is another average country album with guitar work sounding like Jerry Cole.  Recording quality is a bit rough and gritty but fits the barely rehearsed sound of the tunes.  Point Of No Return is a good title and interesting arrangement that sounds to me like Jerry Cole on guitar.  Some true schmaltz on this LP as well.

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One thought on “Week of Crown Country Classics

  1. Something very bizarrely interesting and enjoyable about the Don Lee album. Many of the songs sound like the lyrics were written by a songwriter who only thought he could write songs. That in itself can sometimes lead to songs that would never be hits, but in a strange way, say more in their fractured way than the most professional songwriter could accomplish.

    “Tomorrow’s Tears” is actually pretty catchy and I like that oddly timed guitar riff that opens the song and recurs throughout. This is one of those songs that seems like it’s trying to say something while talking in circles. That’s the thing, the songs don’t really have a typical lyric-chorus structure. Sometimes, the lyrics just stop cold and the music keeps going as if the singer forgot the words. Even with all that, this album is played a lot and enjoyed a lot.

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