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