Monday, February 8, 2016

At The Hop

Bones Howe and the Toppers

Tops Records 45-R413-49


Yes, Bones Howe was here, not in front of the mike, but behind the studio's glass :
"I was the recording engineer on the session, and since the group was all studio musicians and singers, and didn’t want their names exposed, so the record company (which was notorious in those days for recording sound-alikes of the current hits); used my nickname (which later became my professional name). "
Dayton Burr "Bones" Howe (born March 18, 1933) is a Grammy Award-winning record producer and recording engineer associated with 1960s and 1970s hits, mostly of the sunshine pop genre, including most of the hits of the 5th Dimension and the Association, as well as music supervision of several films.

Howe discovered his lust for music as a teenager and learned to play drums, a talent that earned him gigs at downtown Atlanta's San Souci and Peachtree clubs while studying electronics and communications at Georgia Tech. Bones Howe
"I was a jazz musician, and I worked six nights a week," he says, sinking back into the sofa with one leg crossed, revealing the slightest grimace of nostalgia. "In those days there were road bands coming through town. They would take the tennis court nets down at Tech, put a bandstand in there and bands would come in and play.

"I met a lot of guys in road bands as they came through Atlanta; I played in a lot of jam sessions with those guys after hours, and they would say to me, 'You should come to California."'
Howe learned that the only people recording music in L.A. at the time were old radio engineers who "didn't know what a rhythm section is supposed to sound like," let alone how to set one up. His thoughts about the future began to take shape.
"That idea really caught on with me, and somewhere in my sophomore or junior year I began to think seriously about it," he says. Howe rejected the hustles of engineering recruiters at graduation and set his sights on the Left Coast.

"I went to California with $200 in my pocket and went slugging around in the streets looking for a job in a recording studio." He smiles and leans forward as if sharing a secret. "I figured the worst thing that could happen to me was that I'd fail and go get a job as an engineer somewhere."
Sources : Bones Howe official website; private email from March 26, 2013


Sunday, February 7, 2016

His Shoulder (Instead Of Mine)

Ricky Hunt
& the Hunters

His Shoulder (Instead Of Mine)
wr. Hunter, Kathy Publ. Co

Kathy Records
527 Prestwick San Antonio

Ricky Hunt previously recorded two split country singles for Melco Records, one with Johnny Bush and the other with Hazel Joy (Minica) and The Texas Top Hands.   Ricky Hunt performed around Texas with the Frontiersmen in the early sixties.

This song was copyrighted by Wallace Richard Hunter on March 8, 1958.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Billy Brown

Ray Willis
(The Piccadilly Hillbilly)

Billy Brown

Pic 3019


Ray Willis had a long association with Atlanta's Pic Records, as all songs on this label, excepted the one by The Frantics, were written or co-written by him and all published by DeLong Pub. Co. owned by Pete DeLong, who was also probably the owner of the label.

Ray Willis was associated with RCA's Jerry Reed and managed his Vector Music publishing company during his big hits "Amos Moses" and "When You're Hot You're Hot".   He also wrote several songs with Ronnie Sessions. In 1974, he was V-P and general manager of World Music Corporation whose board of directors included Faron Young and Porter Wagoner.  

Probably not to be confused with the country singer and copper-miner who came from Colorado (LP on Alshire Records), nor with the rockabilly singer on Jan Records ("Whatta Ya Do", 1958), nor with the songwriter of "Beatnik's Wish" (Patsy Raye & The Beatniks, Roulette Records, 1959).  But who knows? 

Still, I can't find any explanation for the "Piccadilly Hillbilly" billing on label.  Did he came from London before moving to Georgia?
Pic Records
DeLong Pub co.
1112 DeKalb Ave., N.E. Atlanta
1199 Arbor Vista Dr. N. E.  Atlanta

62 —2069/70  Ray Valenti & The Queens Men
For You, My Love / Fire Beneath The Snow

64 —3001/2 Lee Duncan 
Millie Gets The Willies / Cargo Of Tears

65 —3005/6  The Frantics
Why /  (Do The) Jack-Knife

66 —3007/8  Charlie "Chuck" Waggon
So Near, Yet So Far Away / Gonna Stick To You

6x —3016 Charlie "Chuck" Waggon  
Wishy Washy Love / ?

6x —3019 Ray Willis (The Piccadilly Hillbilly)
Billy Brown / Mary, Oh Mary

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Old Bob Harder (The Living Legend)

Lady Love Long
Old Bob Harder (The Living Legend)

Mary E Bates  W B Hendricks

Shmebb Records


Mary Ellen Bates (1941-1983)
from Iuka, Mississippi,
wrote the song with William B. Hendricks

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Baby Should I

Don Morse with the Characters
Baby Should I
Ann White, Jamige Music Co., BMI

GC Records 101
1515 Euclid Ave. Cleveland, OH

Another obscurity on a label owned by Gene Carroll, who hosted his own TV show for years in Cleveland. The first on the label ?

GC Records discography

Monday, February 1, 2016

Old New Orleans

Johnny Jungletree

Arr. and cond. by Leroy Glover; Prod. by Laurence Weiss
Kapp 715

This is John Leslie McFarland (1926-1971), an eccentric New York songwriter and pianist.  One of his first song he composed, "You Dyed Your Hair Chartreuse", was recorded by Louis Jordan in 1950. 

His numerous compositions have been recorded by Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, to name few.  He recorded himself four singles and one album, but there is possibly more pseudonymous records still to find, I guess.

1957  - Brunswick 55004  as Pumpkin, with chorus and orchestra dir. by Dan Fisher  (March 1957)
Boom-Boom / ½ Past 17 (¼ To 21)

1957 - Jupiter 45-3 as Johnny McFarland  (May 1957)
Please, Evelina  / Talihi

1959 - United Artists UAL 4053  (LP) John McFarland Sextet (Nov. 1959)
Provocatif - 9 exotic motifs

1960 - Top Rank 2060 as John McFarland, produced by Sonny Lester   (august 1960)
Pumpkin Juice Perfume / Oakey Doakey

1965 - Kapp 715 as Johnny Jungletree, arr. and cond. by Leroy Glover; Prod. by Laurence Weiss (Nov. 1965);
Old New Orleans / Why Me

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Kind Words

Wendy Andrews
Kind Words

Bertha Druding, Therese Music ASCAP

D.V. Records 901

No info.  Hollywood label certainly.  No other known releases on D.V. Records. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Rock Ur Baby

Ted Forrest Quintet

Rock Ur Baby
 Kay Shubert, Norman Joyce, Oceanic Pub.

Norman 102
Delancey Street, Phila

Ted Forrest, once a sideman with Charlie Barnett, has performed since at least the mid-forties.  Rita Konstance and Jean Harrison were among the female vocalists with his band.   He was still performing in 1964, when a local newspaper wrote about " the zany musical antics of Ted Forrest and his society revue in the Imperial room of the Thruway Motor Inn in Albany.  "
His bookings in 1956 were handled by the Jolly Joyce Agency, whose main artists were then Bill Haley, Alan Freed (for motion pictures and TV) and Steve Gibson and his Red Caps.

The short lived Norman label was probably owned by Norman M. Jacobs (aka Norman Joyce), son of Jolly Joyce :
Mr. Jacobs came from a theatrical family.  His mother's ancestors were cantors in Russia, and his father performed in vaudeville acts until the late 1920s, when he founded Jolly Joyce Theatrical Agency Ltd.

At age 13, Mr. Jacobs began helping out at the business owned by his father, who was known professionally as "Jolly Joyce." He would stop in after school every day, and by the time he graduated from Olney High School in 1949, Mr. Jacobs was working full time - and overtime.

With his father, Mr. Jacobs booked dozens of top acts of the 1950s, and the agency became the exclusive agent and manager for groups including the Comets and Boxtops.  

The only other release on Norman that I know of is Nan Williams' " Giddy-up Giddy-Up".    There is also a mention in 1956 of The Rocking Horses (another Jolly Joyce act) Two Girls & 3 Boys  Kings And Queens Of Rock 'N' Roll", but an actual release has yet to be confirmed.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Whole Lot of Shaking Going On

Roz Croney

From the LP "How Low Can You Go?"
Dauntless Records 6309

Miss Croney, a native of Grenada (British West Indies) and Queen of the Limbo recorded this album at the Mastertone Studios on 42nd street between 6th and 7th ave, New York City.  Backing her on this were Sun Ra and some members of his Arkestra.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Bad Buc

Jumpin' Jay
Bad Buc
(Castor-Pruitt, Fairlane Music BMI)

 Come On Home
(O'Brown, Bailey, Washington; Turban Music BMI)

Produced by Frank Cari
Turban T-101
Turban Records, 255 W. 55th St., NYC
Distrib. by Ember Records

Obscure but not rare, presumably pressed in sizable quantity for expected good sales by Turban Records, owned by New York  songwriter and producer Frank Cari and one of several one-off labels he produced such as Black Dog (The Check-Mates), Tilden (Johnnie Shepherd) and Jive!! (The Accents).  Frank Cari's main labels were Sultan Records and Card Records.

"Bad Buc" is one of the earliest collaboration between Jimmy Castor (1947-2012) and Johnny Pruitt, a lifelong songwriting collaborator.

"Come on Home" was first recorded by Pittsburgher Bobby O'Brown & His Rockin' Blues Men for Varbee Records in late '61 (he is the Brown one of the three composers).    Here Turban Music has replaced Tulip Time Music, the original publisher.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Never, Never, Never

Jimmy Littlejohn

Never, Never, Never

Meredith, Littlejohn
Fairway Music Co

Columbia 21417


Onetime performer and songwriter born in 1924 in Texas, Jimmy Littlejohn recorded several sides for Columbia, produced by Don Law.  He also wrote and co-wrote a number of songs, the biggest of which was "Walking The Streets," recorded by Webb Pierce for Decca.   He also was a well-known portrait photographer. 

He died in 1972 after a number of years in poor health.

Jimmy Littlejohn in 1956

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Laundromat Blues

Rose Carico

Laundromat Blues
Johnny Carter Music Co., BMI
Regency Records R45-177 
Fairmount, Georgia,

 Arr. & prod by Johnny Carter
1969 or later

Regency Records was founded by Georgia record producer and TV/Radio syndicator Johnny Carter and North Georgia disc jockey Lamar Gravitt in 1965.  

Rose Carico had another single on MKB (Tobaccoville, N.C.) : I've Got Countryitis / Woman Fever, and that's the sum of my knowledge here.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My Heart Jumped

The Wilson Sisters
My Heart Jumped

Dick Liberatore
Briarcliff  BMI

Bethlehem 3032

Written by D.J. Alan Freed's son-in-law, Dick Liberatore, "My Heart Jumped" was first recorded by Bobby Fuller on Yucca Records.  The three other known songs by the Wilson Sisters  are also covers. The sisters were promoted to the main King Records label before the end of the year just in time for Christmas. 

Not an uncommon name in music.  I've found three other "Wilson Sisters"  : one on Freedom in 1958, another one was a hillbilly act who also recorded as The Beaver Valley Sweethearts, and a third, a soul/gospel group on Solid Soul (1968).   But who where these young Wilson Sisters is still a mystery.

Mister Dream  (Bethlehem 3032),  cover of Paul Chandler, Rendezvous Records, 1962

Little Klinker   (King 5724)   previously recorded by Tennessee Ernie Ford, 1962

All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth  (King 5724) originally recorded by Spike Jones & His City Slickers in 1947, with lead vocal by George Rock.

Friday, December 25, 2015

A very quiet Christmas with The Royals

The Royals

E. Berlin, ASCAP

Vagabond Records VR 444

The Royals were Larry Riera, accordion and piano, Al King Guitar and Tony Castro Drums, 

Larry (Lawrence George) Riera was born in 1937 in Oakland, California where he began his life-long career in the music  He taught music at Fiore's Music in Oakland, and played accordion and piano with his band The Royals. He later owned Riera's TV Music in the Tri-Valley, and then was the top salesman at Kamen Music Corporation for many years.   He died in 2012.

One of his students, Rocky Howard, set the Guinness world record for accordion marathon (72 hours continuous playing on an accordion) at Touch of Italy restaurant in West Covina, California December 9-11, 1979 and held it until 1983.

Records by The Royals have been described as Surf, Garage, or Elevator Music, the latter seems to me the more realistic tag, but like my fellow bloggers I HAD to post a Christmas music...  I am asking for your indulgence.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Yodlin' Hobo

Porky and The Travelers
Vocal By Al Witherow

Yodlin' Hobo

ABS 144


Al "Porky" Witherow was born to Bob and Pauline Witherow in York, Pennsylvania back in 1935.   Music was a part of his family, for they would listen to the big country stations back then, WWVA out of Wheeling, West Virginia and WSM in Nashville, Tennessee.

When he was just four years old, he made his singing debut with his sister Betty, doing some gospel songs.

During the Korean war, Bob Hope wanted Mr. Witherow along to entertain the troops on his numerous USO tours. He worked with such famed Grand Ole Opry acts as Ernest Tubb, Minnie Pearl, Tex Ritter and Grandpa Jones.

He toured for over twenty years with his band the Travelers and the Country Mystery.  He recorded in the seventies for Arctic Records, which was his own label, located in Vails Gate, New York.

Music was seemingly always a part of his life. He went back to York in 1977 to care for his parents. He later enjoyed a career as a training manager at the local chain of Denny's Restaurants in York for over 14 years. In 1997, he retired to Inverness, but kept entertaining the folks there as well and helping out where he could. 

He died in 2004 in his home in Inverness, Florida.

Acknowledgments :

 Al "Porky" Witherow - The Pride of The Western Empire

Al "Porky" Witherow
The Pride of The Western Empire (1969)