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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.