How many times in nearly 30 years can one record company reissue & repackage the same recordings on vinyl? I dare say that the Bihari budget record family – inspired by patriarch Jules – leads the pack of budget record companies in number of record labels and releases. I present Custom, the label that overlapped the Crown budget era.
There is scant info available about the Bihari Custom Records label that dates from 1967 & released LPs in the later Crown Records style. Most Custom LPs feature female models in some sort of fetching pose. Included in the catalog are Crown reissues and repackagings similar to Crown LPs, sometimes with new covers, sometimes with new song order. No information on who designed Custom’s Pac-man like logo but it predates Pac-man by 13 years! Maybe Jules should have sued.
Just another budget reissue compilation of old singles either recorded or leased by the Biharis. About the strange blacked out eyes of the dancing teens in the cover photos–it’s conjecture but perhaps faced with a lawsuit over using photos lacking releases, the Biharis simply blacked out the faces instead using another pix.
This LP is released in Custom’s “Vocal Series.” Title tune Dreams of the Everyday Housewife (written by Chris Gantry) was a 1968 hit for Glen Campbell. Country-folk singer Don Lee released LPs on Crown and was written about in an earlier blog. On most of his LPs Don Lee has a forgettable voice but here he sounds more like he’s in the studio following a heavy night of drinking. The band (possibly the Palomino Club house band) is tight & the recording quality is right in your face. Several stand outs include typical country tune If I Win & a bar band rocker Biloxi, Mississippi. The music sounds like it’s laid down in one take.
Following in the legacy of Crown and other budget labels, Custom releases minstrel-style banjo versions of public domain tunes. Best feature of this LP is the title & cover photo of budget banjos like Kay. No info available on Stan Jaffe which may be a fake name; the name only links to this LP. The following cut Ida features a lightning fast flat pickin’ solo.
Lush Strings was Custom’s answer to Crown’s Sounds of a Thousand Strings ripoff of the hugely popular 101 Strings. I Remember Paris is nearly identical to Crown LP 5152–same title but different song order.
Fairly hideous graphic design with overly backlit photo of seemingly nude model highlight this ridiculous collection that mixes tracks like Latino Cha Cha Cha with cover versions of Simon & Garfunkel hits Sounds of Silence & Scarborough Fair. In the proud bait & switch practice that the Biharis used throughout their long budget record business career, they named their cover group Don & Jerry, hoping to confuse buyers into thinking this LP contained early Simon & Garfunkel tracks when the duo was calling themselves Tom & Jerry. Both title tracks are thin covers of the original with similar arrangements.