Last week I hit 100 Crown postings, throwing up a classic collection of some of the worst that Crown Records had to offer back in the day of budget records. This week I promise more of the same as I pull from the broad midsection of my closet collection of Crowns. But first let’s review last week:
Vido Musso was a legit tenor sax jazz player who worked in many of the well known big bands of the 1930s-1940s, then ended up at Modern in the early 1950s with a small combo of his own including Willard McDaniel on piano & Maynard Ferguson on trumpet, both artists who had their own LPs on Crown. Here Musso’s combo digs into a more R&B groove to attract the hip teen age crowd though he also covers two of the hits he had with Artie Shaw’s band. Cover photo is credited to Mel Buxbaum whose name doesn’t link to any other photography. The photo shows odd, older “teenagers” who look more like they are bowling in tandem than dancing. This is the best listening LP of the week, struck on thick vinyl and recorded in solid mono–Crown did it right in the beginning but soon degenerated into shlock all around.
Budget labels loved polka and Crown was no exception–I can’t fathom a reason. The name Polka Dots sounds like a silly figment of the Bihari family marketing department. Photographer Ron Joy is given credit on this cover and many other Crown LPs. He may be the same photographer who passed away in 2013 and is mentioned on Nancy Sinatra’s blog as being her friend and main photographer. Here’s his obit. These Polka Dots are one of many Crown polka groups we’ll feature before the year is out. Soundwise, the cuts are generic polka instro waltzes.
Despite all the George Mann Orchestra LPs on Crown and other Bihari labels, there’s virtually no evidence that Mann and his “golden trumpet” were real. A Google search reveals links to many of the LPs, especially to this catchy title, but no other info about the artist. Sounds like another quickie Maxwell Davis production a la Mexicali Brass with George Mann playing the part of a second rate Herb Alpert. In fact, many cuts on this LP are the same cuts found on MB LPs. The lead tune is perhaps the most original and catchy piece found on the LP.
College Songs is an early Crown stereo LP featuring liner notes, credits & red vinyl. This is the second Crown LP I’ve found that credits former Playboy & rock photographer Frank Bez. “Cover Assembly” credit goes to Louis Song Advertising Design which yields nothing on a Google search. I tried to listen to the cut “Little Brown Jug” but couldn’t last thru the entire harmonizing rendition.
Here’s another early Crown LP which features back cover liner notes & credits. The liner notes are by Robert Stillman, a movie & television producer with decent credits such as Rawhide & Bonanza. Stillman brags about Savage’s talent but there’s no further info about him on the net. Stillman claims Savage designed & opened several Hollywood night clubs but their names – Keyboard Supper Club & Musical Club La Vee – do not appear on any historic listing of Hollywood clubs. Of course, Billy May & Nelson Riddle are recognizable talents who worked with Sinatra & others but it’s Savage’s savage crooning on this LP that stands out as simply G-d awful. Another conductor on the LP who’s listed on the back is Chu-Cho Sarazosa who may or may not be well known Latin artist Chu-Cho Zarazosa.
(Scratched out in the blank vinyl trail out of CLP 5568 is CLP 5573.) Besides all of the copy-cat pseudo Latin brass music Bihari recorded, the company also had a policy of recording and releasing authentic Latin music of all varieties on the Discos Coronos label under the leadership of Bill Lazerus. Latin Ago-go contains authentic Latin percussive music though the cuts don’t sound like they’re all from the same band or artist. Perhaps creative splicing produced this fun looking LP, putting together somewhat similar sounding bands under one generic Latin-American Orchestra led by a Manuel Gomez, a name that makes no appearance as a band leader under a Google search. Check out the ending of the cut posted here, it goes on forever. Recording quality varies with each cut, more evidence that this is a compilation from Discos Coronos.
Early red vinyl stereo Crown LP with black impurities clearly visible all through the vinyl. Liner notes by Frank Evans, cover by Hobco Arts with gold & black two toned theme bleaching out the Crown Records Full Color High Fidelity cover. No needle drops on this dud.