Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Skyway Records Story

Foeword : I'm well aware that the choosen title, The Skyway Records Story, may be a bit too ambitious, but what's the heck, how many labels compilations you bought which were not completely satisfactory? And mine is free.  

Skyway Records was probably owned (or partly owned) by Everett Lorne Whenham.  Born in Canada in 1902, Everett Whenham came to California at an early age.   In the thirties, he registered various inventions with the US Patent Office, such a patent for a shoe cabinet (United States Patent 2069635, 1937).
In 1943, Mr. Whenham was made American citizen.  He was then a soldier at the army air base of St. Petersburg, Florida.  

After the war, he became a songwriter (California Jack was his pseudonym) with a special interest for season's greetings.  In 1944, one of his first songs being recorded was "Season's Greetings, A Cheerful Hello" by Yiddish jazz singers Claire and Merna Barry better known as The Barry Sisters.   Copyrighted around the same time, several songs such as My Little Dog's Tail  and Spring Fever Blues were later recycled on the Skyway label by The Duke And The Spacemen and by The Dream Dusters.

"Season's Greetings (A Cheerful Hello)," had also be used as a greeting card verse in Buzza-Cardozo's 1955 Christmas line.  According to Billboard : "Skyway execs calculate that if 1,000,000 "Season's Greetins" cards are sold, their royalties will total $6,000. "

" Season's Greetings", if my count is right, has see five releases on Skyway, first by Pete Pontrelli (the first Skyway release in December 1953), also re-issued in December 1954 with a different flip, then by Gaylord Carter, another by George Cardini and finally by The Hatton Sisters.

Closely associated with Skyway Records from mid-1959 was the mysterious Louise Lewis, later the main artist on the label.  Her first appearance on the label  was as the songwriter of the Curtis E. Williams single (Hula Hula Rock / A Star Behind A Cloud, Skyway #122 ).   It seems, after the arrival of Miss Lewis, that Mr. Whenham was less and less involved. 

Miss Lewis was still a songwriter for Skyway Records & Music Publications until the seventies, but I can't find evidence of releases, except Careful Hands / Mender Of Broken Hearts issued in 1974 on Skyway #145

The excentric Louise Lewis, aka Miss L.L., aka "Miss Matches U.S.A. was born in 1923.  That's, unfortunately, the sum of my knowledge. 

The Skyway Records Story
see comment for valuable info

103 - Playball  - Jimmie Maddin                                         
104 - I Like a Shuffle Beat - Jimmie Maddin                            
104 - I Stole De Wedding Bell - Jimmie Maddin                          
114 - Donkey Rock Elephant Roll - The Hatton Sisters                   
116 - Hassle It Jack  - Bobby Hicks                                    
117 - Boogie Man   - The Dodgers And Johnny Angel                      
117 - Come On Pretty Baby - The Dodgers And Johnny Angel               
119 -  Big Mo - The Dodgers And Johnny Angel                           
119 - Poor Little Fool   - The Dodgers And Johnny Angel                
120 - My Little Dog's Tail - The Duke And The Spacemen                 
120 - The Big Green Door - Taldo Kenyon And The Spacemen               
121 - Robin Hood Rock - Taldo Kenyon                                   
127 - Is There Still A Chance - The Fanatic's                          
127 - Oogly Googly Eyes - The Fanatic's                                
128 - I Want Love - Jackie Gates & the Fanatics                        
128 - Teenage Rainbow - Jackie Gates & the Fanatics                    
129 - Barbie, Barbie - Fred Milton                                     
129 - Midnight Ride - Fred Milton                                      
134 - College Queen - Jim Ford                                         
134 - Lazy Love - Jim Ford                                             
135 - The Stranger And The Bomb - Louise Lewis                         
136 - Tumba Conga Cha - Vincent Romano & Miss L.L                      
140 - The Monster Miss - Miss L.L. Louise Lewis                        
140 - The Monster's Bride - Miss L.L. Louise Lewis                     
141 - Tiger Shake - Miss L.L. Louise Lewis                             
142 - The Astro-Mice (No Cheese On The Moon) - Miss L.L. Louise Lewis  
143a -Wee Oo I Ll Let It Be You Babe - Karl Evans                      
144 - Wee Oo' Ill It Be You Babe - Miss L.L. Louise Lewis          
145 - Careful Hands - Louise Lewis          


Friday, April 28, 2017

Frankie And Johnnie

John And Rusty

Frankie And Johnnie

Dottie Sings

John on piano and Rusty on banjo, and Dottie (?) on vocal (?)  Recorded live in some Hollywood tavern?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Devil's Racecourse

Adina Edwards

Devil's Racecourse

Help The Blind
A Joe Gibbs production
Kingston, Jamaica

★ ★ ★

Adina Edwards-Chen

The current generation of gospel artistes and fans know little about Adina Edwards, the blind singer who stood on the corner of Kingston and Barry streets playing an accordion and belting out Christian songs.  She would do songs like Precious Lord, Just A Closer Walk With Thee, Love Walks With Me and He Touched Me.  But it was her cover of the Bee Gees' Don't Forget To Remember that many had identified Edwards with.

Edwards died April 4, 2008 at the University Hospital of the West Indies, at age 83. She was revered in gospel circles but largely unknown to a secular audience.

Acknowledgments : The Jamaica Observer

Monday, April 17, 2017

"Y-E-S !"

Nancy Claire
Jack Lloyd, Moreno Music (ASCAP)

Rona Records 1007

Born Nancy Claire Penninger in Seattle in 1943.  Peter Blecha has wrote a quite detailed biography of Nancy Claire. 

Nacio Brown Jr., owner of Rona Records produced her recording session, with Perry Botkin Jr. conducting the orchestra.

It was quite an experience for the rural farm girl to suddenly be in the presence of big-time players. "I had never been in studio before and I was like a little girl in a candy store with all these musicians I had heard about. I have great memories of meeting Barney Kessel and some of the other musicians at the session".  "We had really big-name jazz people doing this record. I couldn't believe it! Earl Palmer was the drummer. Carmel Jones played trumpet, and Plas Johnson played saxophone. Oh, it was neat! To get to see and meet everybody ... it was like a fairy tale".

Saturday, April 15, 2017

To The Beat

Chuck and Gasper

To The Beat

Cosimo Recording Studios
New Orleans

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Southern Love

The Disciples
vocal Tom Sunlin

Illibois (?) band covering two songs from 1959. "Something on Your Mind" is the Big Jay McNeely song issued on Swingin' Records, while "Southern Love" was on Roulette Records by Ronnie Hawkins and the Hakws. 

Recording studios and label Studio 4 were operated by two musicians and brothers, Jim and Tony Sotos in Rock Island, Illinois.  

Born and raised in New York City, The Sotos Brothers formed an act and left New York while still in their teens, working all the major night clubs and theaters around the country.  In the late fifties, they recorded as The Cheerful Earfuls on Zale Records and Fraternity Records (The Drag).

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Alas, No Gas

Jane White
Alas, No Gas

Dauntless 033

Jane Douglass White 
essentially a pianist and composer, also recorded songs, but not too many.  Twenty years earlier, in 1953, there was at least two singles (as by Jane Douglass) on Opportune Records. She was backed by Johnnie Garnieri Orchestra.  One song was a duet with Tom O'Malley. 

Dauntless Records was the subsidiary of Audio Fidelity Records founded by Sidney Frey in 1954.

Born Ruby Jane Douglass in 1919 in Coffeyville, Kansas, she was educated at Oklahoma University, Columbia University (MA) and Colorado College of Education. As early as the mid-thirties, she was described as "a  capable pianist, but violinist and organist as well."

During the War, she was an officier with the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC).  According to John Bush Jones (The Songs that Fought the War: Popular Music and the Home Front, 1939-1945), Lt. Douglass (later Captain)
wrote some significant war-related songs of various kinds   Among Lt. Douglass's wartime songs were two lighthearted though not comic pieces that fall into this catchall bunch, each happily pointing out, as one of their titles proclaims, "Something New Has Been Added To The Army (Leeds, 1943), that something neatly summed up in the single line "Right along with khaki shirts comes the sight of khaki skirts."  Lt. Douglass expands upon her theme to cover all the women's service branches in "There'll Be A New Style Bonnet In The Easter Parade" (Leeds, 1943), declaring "the WACS will wear a hat that os smart and new, the WAVES wear a bonnet of Navy blue,/ And the SPARS come out in a hat that's O.K., there's no original by Lily Daché.
 Jane Douglass ended up writing the official WAC Song and was awarded the Legion of Merit medal for service in lifting the morale of troops with her music.  After being discharged in the Big Apple, a friend asked Jane Douglass to accompany her on the piano for an audition. The agent at the audition was not looking for a singer, but for a pianist, instead, for the Park Sheraton Hotel dining room. "I got the job! But I found that the tips there were bigger when I could play the classics, and I needed coaching since I had been playing strictly pop music in the Army.  Someone recommended Anton Bilotti, a concert pianist, as a possible coach.   I auditioned for him and he took me on as a student. 

She soon married Gail White,  her coach's brother-in-law, and pursued a
postwar career as Jane Douglass White, composer, singer, pianist and producer of TV's Name That tune. 

Later, through a week spiritual renewal at her home church in Wyckoff, New Jersey she came to a personal commitment of her life to Christ.   Combining her talents with another professional in music, Janet Baird Weisiger she formed a musical team named Janet and Jane, giving sacred concerts and recording at least one album for Messiah Records in 1973 (Joy and Praise).    She also worked with prison ministry in leading Bible study seminars in prisons throughout the USA,  through Charles W. Colson's Prison Fellowship


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Beau Dollar & The Coins on Baby Grand

Beau Dollar & The Coins

16127 - I've Just Got To Forget You
Lion Pub., BMI

16128 - No More Pain
Frost Music, BMI

Baby Grand 650

These Checker recordings were not issued on the main label for some reasons but on the one-off Baby Grand label.
"I've Just Got To Forget You"  was "written" by Duke/Peacock Records owner Don Robey using the Deadric Malone pseudonym, and first recorded by Bobby Bland in 1960 (but not issued until 1970).
"No More Pain", penned by Steve Alaimo, was first recorded by Sam & Dave on Marlin in 1961 (leased to Roulette in '62).  There was also a cover by Lonnie Mack in 1964 (unissued Fraternity session)

William Hargis Bowman, Jr. (1941–2011), born in Hamilton, Ohio, better known by his stage name, Beau Dollar, was a  vocalist and drummer;  He first performed as member of the Lonnie Mack band and later of the Dapps, all-white band backing James Brown.  Beau Dollar was also the drummer on many studio albums for various artists under contract with King Records.  

After The Dapps broke up, Bill Bowman set up his own production company in Cincinnati, Beau Dollar Productions and even owned a short-lived  label, Bowman, recording and backing Bryan Todd on "Let Them Talk".  There was some work in the mid-seventies for Shad O'Shea's ASG (Artist and Sound Group) where he produced Al Hogan, The Cause and Brenda Mathis.
With the local Cincinnati recording scene being dismantled, Beau went to Nashville, where he tried some session work. His production company was listed at 1610 16th Avenue South in 1978.   He took a job in song publishing, working with his old Hamilton musician friend Troy Seals, who also was in The Dapps for a while, when he lived in Cincinnati.  But in time all that faded and Beau ended up in Florida. There he was known to everyone as Bill. As time passed, only a few old friends remembered him as Beau.

Wayne Bullock, the bass player for Lonnie Mack in the early 1960s said :
 "I used to invite him to our musician reunions every year, but he didn't come. He just didn't want to talk about the old days."

Monday, April 3, 2017

Miss Calendar Girl

Futursonic Productions

Radio Promotion Series
Examples of 365 Musical Jingles

Judy Parma

Jim Wells and Jack Alexander started Futursonic Productions in 1958. Both came from PAMS where Wells had written much of PAMS Series #6.  Alexander was part of the PAMS sales staff.

Futursonic's first package was "Pacemaker" produced in September, 1958. It was followed by "Most Happy Sound" for CHUM in mid 1959, and "Econo-Pack" for WINS in June, 1959.  All were designed for Top 40 Radio.

"Calendar Girl KXOK" was one of the last packages produced by Futursonic in 1961 (the company went bankrupt the following year).   A complete package listing of the company can be found here

Calendar Girl was the first job assigned to Judy Parma [born Mansfield] and her husband Tom Parma when they came to work at the Futursonic.  This was an elaborate package that involved singing days and dates for each month of the year. Judy was doing well singing, and they were able to afford their first house. Judy Parma had been in the jingle business since 1957, her husband Tom Parma since ’58.

The Futursonic jingles were done in a primitive recording studio owned by “Pop” Sellers. The studio was in the same building as Gordon McLendon’s KLIF (AM).   The studio was in a two-room wooden building in the parking lot behind the office. Over the years, those same offices housed CRC and TM Productions, but the studio eventually became a storage shed.  “There was a cancer clinic across the parking lot from the studio run by a medical quack, and a lot of people died there,” Tom said. “Judy and I would see bodies hauled out from time to time.” . Later that office housed the abortion clinic that gained notoriety during the “Roe vs. Wade” Supreme Court case.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Shimmy Twist

Ronnie D. Alan
Shimmy Twist

Golden Star Records 21

Penned, arranged and sung by Ronald Daugherty.  This one has a little more muscle than the two singles he released on the Sea-Lock label out of Seattle, Washington.  Reverse is by Paul Avedon singing "Day In Day Out" the old (1939) song penned by Johnny Mercer

Sea-Lock releases :
#265 Ronnie D- Valiants : "Hound Dog Guitar" / "My Little Darlin'" 
no#  Pam Kelley & Ronnie D. : "Waiting For Her" / Ronnie D. : "Cherry Darlin" 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Mama Spiegleman, Waxmate of the month

Mama Spiegleman

Jewish mother of eight and topless performer, she recorded just one single for Accent Records in 1965 with Bob Mullan and Gene Tam (Bob and Gene) : Mama Wants To Be A Go Go Girl / When You Gotta Go You Gotta Go Go. 

If anyone has the record, feel free to post the tracks on YouTube or send it to me.

Mama Spiegleman lone record

Accent REcords publicity shot

Gaye Marcia Spiegelman was born in 1932 daughter of Jack Seigel and Sylvia Siegel.  At 18, she married Aaron "Jack" Spiegelman, a businessman.  She wanted to give birth to as many children possible. But after the sixth child was born, Mr.. Spiegelman didn't want no more children and had a vasectomy, then Gaye adopted twins without his consent. 

Gaye came in one day to announce to her husband that she had had it with the world of housewifery and decided to go dancing topless in clubs.  (One of her uncles was a burlesque drummer and another a character actor. A cousin was a belly dancer)
Every mother has to get out of the house a little bit and I don't play cards or anything.

I had done some Polynesian dancing in the local clubs in our home town, Santa Rosa.  But when I decided to go topless, I asked Jack if it was okay.  And he said, no.  But, after a while, he get used to it.

After I had the silicone treatments, I used a phony name, Miss Exodus, and I could only move my hips for six months because of thre surgery.  But when the word went out that I had eight children, the crowds came in just to watch my hips.

For several months she appeared as the mysterious "Miss Exodus" at a place called El Rancho Rafaele in Encino, California. One day the celebrated San Francisco columnist Herb Caen came in to watch her and discovered her real identity.  From that moment on Gaye Spiegelman was in demand as a topless dancer. Eventually she replaced the equally celebrated Carol Doda at El Cid, one of the major landmarks of San Francisco's North Beach amusement area, variously billed as "Mama Spiegelman" and "The Topless Mother of Eight".

In her contract with the club management was a rather' unique clause in show business circles where "the show must go on" is the unwritten law.   ' If :any of the Spieglman "children.are sick or other domestic needs arise, Gaye may be excused from work. until the matter is settled.. '
'My .home and children come first and my career ls.second.  I love my children and I love to cook and sew for them: Otherwise,  I have - no time for any sort of social life  

In 1967, Gaye Spiegelman filed for divorce, charging her husband with extreme cruelty and "wrongfully inflicted grievous mental suffering."  He didn't deny.

In 1968, no longer topless, she was still performing, singing and doing a comedy routine, "something in the nature or a shapely Phyllis Diller. "

Tragically, she died in November 1968 in a car accident while en route to a nightclub engagement in southern California.  She was beheaded, three of her children were killed and the other four injured.  For the media, “Mama” Spiegelman’s death somewhat mirrored the 1967 accident that killed Hollywood actress Jayne Mansfield while en route from Biloxi, Mississippi, to New Orleans. 
Mrs. Gaye was killed Friday in an auto accident with three of her children. The 36-year-old topless dancer and seven of her children were passengers in a station wagon that overturned after hitting a center divider on interstate 15 two miles north of Victorviile [Calif.]. During the accident the Los Angeles-bound station wagon was hit by a pickup truck traveling in the opposite direction. Mrs. Spiegelman was en route from her home in Las Vegas, Nev., to a nightclub engagement in southern California. The accident took the lives of Mrs. Spiegelman's sons Mark, 15, and Davjd, 5, and a five- year-old adopted daughter, Sylvia.  Four other children escaped serious injury and were taken to the Victor Valley Hospital, Among them was Sylvia's twin sister, Nancy. The driver of the station wagon, Marvin P. Brody, of Hollywood, was not seriously injured.    Clovis News-Journal, December 1, 1968
But that's not the end of her story.  According to Hans Holzer, an expert in psychic phenomena,  the most striking case of possession was how Gaye Spiegelman, our topless mother of eight, took control of her babysitter after dying in the auto crash.  Spiegelman's intention was wholly benevolent. She wanted to guide the babysitter to another job, [See The Two Lives of Gaye Spiegelman, Topless Mother of Eight, chapter from Holzer's book "Star Ghosts "

Friday, March 31, 2017

Geneva's Blues

Geneva Vallier

Geneva's Blues

Cash Records 1009

The flip is “Said You Had A Woman”, answer to the Ray Charles smash “I’ve Got A Woman.” available on several compilations and on YouTube

West Coast night club vocalist, Geneva Vallier was born Geneva Griffin near Crew Lake, Richmond Parrish in 1918.  She recorded with the Emanon Trio on Swing Time Records (1952) and with Clarence "Candyman" McGuirt  on Irma Records (1956).

Geneva died Geneva Phipps in Los Angeles County in 1982

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Please Please

Jackie Johnson
Leon Smith & His Guitar

Please Please

Willamette 102
product of Orbit Sound Company


Jim Reeves and Jackie Johnson in 1956 (1)

Jackie Johnson

Jackie Johnson, singing an original song, was first place winner in the amateur talent show sponsored by the Medford Junior Chamber of Commerce in April 1956.  But it was'nt before 1959 that she recorded her first single. According to the Medford Mail Tribune [July 1, 1959] 
Jackie Johnson, . 14-year-old former Jackson county resident, has had her first recording released under the Willamette label.  She is the daughter of Mr. and  Mrs. John Johnson, ' who lived in Eagle Point until ' moving to Eugene last month ' after Jackie completed the eighth grade.    The new recording is "Star Light Star Bright" backed by "Please, Please written by the singer and her mother.    The singer had performed with various local bands and appeared on a program over KBES-TV.  She also sang for Rogue Valley ballroom dances. According to the report from Eugene, the singer has appeared on the same programs with such stars as Hank Thompson, the Maddox Brothers and Rose, and last September toured- for a week with the Jim Reeves show.  She is now on a show staged in Eugene by Leon Smith who made the hit recording of "40 Ford."  The Johnsons will return to the valley for the week end and Jackie will sing at the Camp Corrall July 4.  

Located at 2272 Roosevelt Blvd in Eugene, Oregon, Orbit Sound Company, Willamette Records and Myrtle Mountain Publishing Company were founded by Lloyd “Grandpappy” Smith, an upright bass player and bandleader of the Western Valley Boys, the Melody Ranch house band.  Located at the same address Melody Ranch was a country western dance hall operated by Grandpappy Smith from 1947 to 1957.  

Leon Smith, son of Grandpappy Smith, recorded “Little 40 Ford” and it was released in May of 1959 on Willamette, the master was sold to Columbia later that year and released on the Epic label.

Leon Smith discography
Jackie Johnson discography
(1) Jim Reeves & Jackie Johnson picture is from David Bussey Scrapbooks

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Love Party

Chano and The Rialtos

Love Party
J.O. Duncan, J.D.A. Music (BMI)

Cue 711
Produced by Jimmy Duncan

This is Chano Rodriguez from Galveston County, Texas. 

Paul Renfro, who played drums with Chano and the Rialtos, still recalled in his mind's ear walking down the hall at Lovenberg Jr. High School in 1954, and hearing Chano singing the "Ave Maria" solo in a choir classroom.
 "I get goose bumps when I think about it, just like I did then, and I didn't even know Chano at the time," Renfro says. My brother, Frederick Cherry, says Chano's voice had a sweetness to it, a very unusual quality, and he followed Chano's entire career beginning with his performances at Larry Kane's Record Hops at the Pleasure Pier's Marine Room in the 1960s. Often when Rodriguez was appearing, his wife Margaret, the only wife he ever had, would sit alone at a table for two. It was obvious to everyone, including her, that she wasn't really alone, because Chano sang every one of the romantic ballads to her. He would join her during the breaks. They would hold hands, and she would get his undivided attention. And then sometime during the night he would leave the bandstand, go to her table and ask her for a dance. The floor would become theirs, and theirs alone
Chano Rodriguez, 58, died of a heart attack in 1998, and a big part of the hearts of Galvestonians went to his grave with him.    

(From The Galveston Daily News, November 21, 1998)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Shake It Baby

Ilene Rushing

Shake It Baby
Leo Teel, Phil York
Buena Vista Publishing Co., Teelbilly Publishing Co.,
Yorkshire Music, BMI

Bollman Int'l Records 936

Ilene Rushing had three releases on the Bollman International imprint out of Texas.  This is her second record.

The Plano Daily Star-Courier from Plano, Texas, reported the release of her third record in January 1974 as follows :
A former area resident, Ilene Rushing, has cut a new record. Bollman International Records in Dallas has released “Brand New- Key” and “He's My Baby." Bollman International is a new recording company, and Miss Rushing was the first artist to sign with the company three years ago. She was discovered by Bob Massey of Blackbird Records and B L. Bollman while she was performing with J.W. Davis and "Saturday Night in the Country Band" at Wylie, Miss Rushing was formerly employed by the Plano Star-Courier and also played softball with the Plano Women’s Softball League for three years under coach George Henson.    The daughter of Mr. and Mrs, John E. McCrary of McKinney, Miss Rushing is an active member of her church. She is soloist, teacher of the Young Adults, Youth Director and was elected delegate to the G r a y s o n Baptist Association, Miss Rushing travels over Texas with Joe Paul Nichols and the Four Pennies and Orvile Couch and the Troublemakers. She has performed for radio, television, carnivals, rodeos, benefits, gospels and various other activities. When she has an open Saturday night, she sings at Farmersville with “Saturday Night in the country Band."

Richard Wolfe

Shake It Baby

Bollman Int'l Records 115

Leo Teel and Phil York had probably faith in their song as they recorded also an instrumental version by Richard Wolfe, also conveniently here for your enjoyment

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Dance With The Drummer Man


Dance With The Drummer Man
Duane Eddy, Lee Hazelwood
Linduane,  BMI

Surfs Up
Legends, Dunes, BMI

Doc Holiday Records 107

45cat (fredhoyt)
Picture Sleeve
(posted by fredhoyt at
The Legends : two saxes, three guitars and one drums : Ron Anderson, Brad Ritter, Doug Donoghue, Sherman Koons, Frank Silva & Pat Shew (not necessarily in that order on the picture).  Perhaps not band regular members, the girls on vocal duty on Dance With The Drummer Man are not credited on label and not pictured on the sleeve. Too bad.

The largest record company in the world (below sea level) was owned by Irvin "Doc Holiday" Smith (1931-2009), from Charleston County, South Carolina.  Doc Holiday was a disc jockey on various radios and later a show host in Las Vegas, Nevada.  He was with KREO, Indio, Calif. when in 1962 he started his own label, releasing about eight singles in 1962 and 1963.   In his last few years, Irvin Smith owned and operated Payless Tires on Jefferies Blvd. in Walterboro (South Carolina)

Doc Holiday label listing :
101 Bobby Verne
102 Gale Davis
103 Jimmy Doyle
104 Diplomats
105 Barry Richards
107 Legends
108 Johnny Royal

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So)

Bill Darnel and Betty Clooney
with Sid Bass and orchestra

Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So)
Wilson - Porter - Levy
Meridian Music

X Records 4x-0087

Cover of the Gene and Eunice [Forrest Gene Wilson and Eunice Levy] song first issued by Combo Records in 1954.

According to the always knowledgeable mickey rat at regarding the copyrights intricacies :
Theoretically "Ko Ko Mo" should have funded the futures of Gene Forrest and Eunice Levy and hopefully healthy royalties trickled down to them. The initial Combo label issue added label owner Jake Porter as a joint songwriter and his Combo Music as publisher, meaning he personally would have got a much larger cut of publishing royalties than either Gene or Eunice. They were all lucky that at that time the major labels were flirting with R&B and rock& roll and this song fit the bill for established white artists to record. Every man (and woman) and their dogs recorded the song, notably Perry Como. The song was a big hit. E.H. "Buddy" Morris's Meridian Music bought the publishing from Jake Porter and sheet music was published.

Picture credit :  Second Hand Songs

Bill Darnel was a band singer in the 1940s. By the end of that decade he started a solo career recording for a variety of labels in the 1940s and 1950s : Coral, Decca, X,  Rex, London ,Jubilee and Paris.

Betty Clooney was a singer and television performer from Kentucky. With her older sister, Rosemary Clooney, she sang with the Tony Pastor band in the 1940s. In the 1950s she appeared on network television shows and made solo recordings (Coral, Columbia and X Records)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Mack The Knife

Jeff Gray

Mack The Knife

From the LP  'Live...In Concert At Saltair' issued by Kall 910, a local radio station in Salt Lake City, Utah.  In the mid/late 1970's they released a number of LP oddities.

From the liner notes :
Those who witnessed Jeff's Farewell Concert at Evergreen Junior won't forget him, and neither will owners of this Album, his parents, the truant officer, the drum teacher (who is now in a Home), nor I.

Jeff has a rare talent, that magic spark, for doing the dumbest thing at the worst possible time.  I see his creative genius on a giant Caterpillar Tractor perched at the top of a huge hill.  It could sit there forever.  But let's look at the bright side of it. Jeff doesn't have any inspirations to medical school.

And if you want to start a Jeff Gray Fan Club, go right ahead.  Jeff's favorite color is carrots, he likes to ride his motorcycle inside empty swimming pools in the winter, and he likes medium-sized crowds

Lee Barker

Thursday, March 16, 2017

He's My Bag

Connie Saul

He's My Bag
Oscar B. Gilley, Benosan Music

Koremagma Records
Box 2132, Martinsville, Virginia

Connie Saul had a second release on the same label the following year : A Wedding Ring / Fifty Cents Down.  There was at least one more recording : "Coal Miner's Daughter" which can be found on a various artists LP on Outlet Records (a 1973 release) titled Bluegrass on Campus. Vol. 1.

Oscar Gilley, I'm guessing, owned the Koremagna label, who also issued "The Tender Touch" by Brenda Pratt.

Obscure label, for sure.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

People Are Talking About Watergate

Sons of Truth
 (Bill Spivery)

People Are Talking About Watergate


Agency Recording Studios
Cleveland, Ohio
(issued on Dee-Jay Records)

The Agency Recording Studios 1730 East 24th Street, Cleveland, Ohio were located above the Agora Theatre and managed by William C. Noyes

Gospel, r&b singer-songwriter, Bill Spivery, whose song “Operator” was made famous by the Manhattan Transfer, died in 2004. He was 73.

He wrote “Operator” in the 1950s. It had the catchy refrain: “Operator, information, give me Jesus on the line.” The song was featured on the soundtrack of the 2002 film, “Phone Booth.”

Spivery lived in the Cleveland area since the early 1950s. He held various day jobs while pursuing a musical career.   He performed with three groups: the Friendly Brothers, the Sons of Truth and Bill Spivery and the Operators. He also sang at churches throughout the Midwest and appeared on show bills with Diana Ross, Leslie Gore and Bobby Womack.

In 1964, Spivery wrote and recorded “Mr. John” in honor of the late President John F. Kennedy. It became a regional hit, reaching No. 3 on local charts behind the Beatles and the Dave Clark Five.

He also wrote “Non-Violent Man,” a musical tribute to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sons Of Truth
From the book Cleveland's Gospel Music by Frederick Burton

Dee-Jay Records discography (Bill Spivery own label)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Rock 'n Roll Music

Bob Lenox
with the Promenade Orch. & Chorus

Rock 'n Roll Music


Budget label, a product of Synthetics Plastics Company of Newark, New Jersey.
Bob Lenox, whoever he really was, got his assumed name when he did first a Hula Love cover, originally a hit for Buddy Knox, for Promenade Records.

That was the gimmick often used at Promenade, recording sound-a-like covers of the hits of the day, and billing the singer-for-hire with a moniker vaguely reminding the original.  That's how you can find on Promenade such artists as John Garrison (Wilbert Harrison, Kansas City), The Grasshoppers covering The Crickets, Dottie Gray covering Doris Day, Dick Stetson (Stood Up, Ricky Nelson), or even Eli Whitney (Elvis Presley)

Bob Lenox, who are you really?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Jukebox Hula

Allen Greenfield

Jukebox Hula

Dyson - Poynter, Tubb Music, BMI
Goldenrod 201

Western Swing out of Scottsville, Kentucky.  Artist's 2nd release on the label.  One of the songs from his first record, "The Kentucky Shuffle" has been recently compiled by El Toro Records, a spanish label.

No info on the artist. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What About Me

Lorry Peters

What About Me
Don Gibson, Acuff-Rose, BMI

A Statue In A Window
Boudleaux Bryant, Felice Bryant

Hickory 45-1228

Hickory Records signed Lorry Peters to a recording contract in a move taking the traditonally country label further into the pop field.  Lorry Peters recorded just one 4-songs session for Hickory in Nashville in late January of 1963. This is her second single.

Brown-eyed and brown-haired, Lorry (or Lorrie) Peters was born in Middletown, Conn., May 30, 1932. She was graduated from Syracuse University where she majored in radio.  Singing was her earliest ambition. She took coaching lessons when she was three and appeared on kiddie talent shows for several years afterwards.

Miss Peters, while working as a secretary in New York, recorded a jingle for the Ansco Company. Ray McKinley, director of the New Glenn Miller Orchestra, heard the commercial and asked who had recorded it.  Later, when he was looking for a female vocalist, he remembered the girl and the voice and he signed Miss Peters immediately.  She can be heard on several tracks from a couple of Glenn Miller Orchestra albums released by RCA Records at the end of the fifties.  
Note : I've added "Lady Is A Tramp" from her big band period to the Hickory single in the following archived file :


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Waxmate of the month : Mitzi Mason

Mitzi Mason

According to a trade paper, Mitzi Mason, a lass from a Bronx bakery, [was] the newest MGM recording "find"  was "discovered" by composer Larry Douglas, who heard her humming as she wrapped a dozen rolls for him and felt she had "a sound."   He asked her to sing, and the result was a disc contract with MGM Records, with her first release scheduled for June 1954. 

06 54 — K11760 : So Much More/Who Can Say?
09 54 — K11823 : Don't Drop It/I Don't Want Your Pity
04 55 — K11978 :  Me! /  You All You
10 55 — K12097 : Bring Me A Bluebird/But I Was Wrong

03 56 — 45-9696 : The World Is Mine  / Hearts Weren't Made For Breaking 

12 56 — 001 : You Can't Come Back / I'll Go Way Up On A Mountain

05 57 — 4X-0278 : Hickory Dickory Dock  / For The Last Time
10 57 — 4X-0301 : Fair Winds And Full Sails  /Autumn On The Campus 

04 60 —1062 : My Heart Belongs To You / Dance, Dance, Dance


Mitzi Mason has signed with Strand Records in April 1961, but no records were issued as far as I know

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Skippy Roberts


Ohio RnB rocker Skippy Roberts had two singles released in 1958 and 1959.  Both were probably recorded in Cleveland, Ohio, despite a Gardena, California address for his second release. A release on Lark would be explained by the fact that the eastern distributor for the Hugh Jensen's Lark label happened to be Sandy Beck's Custom Distributors in Cleveland who also headed Reserve Records (note the publisher name on the Pett single : Reserve Music)

1958 Pett
Skippy Roberts/ Barrett Singers /Jack Price And Orch.    
Rock 'N Roll 'N 45 / Little Pumpkin

1959 Lark
Skippy Roberts And The Four Jacks
Holy Mak'ral Andy /  Brown Sugar

Zipped Skippy file contains 3 of the 4 songs.  Brown Sugar has been on the Harvey Leisure's Interstellar Interruption playlist for 10/07/2016, but I can't find a way to dowload the archive? Anyone?

Monday, February 27, 2017

I Got Rhythm

The Trowells

I Got Rhythm

La Ru Ha Records
819 Brookhurst Drive
Charlotte, N.C. 28205

Here it is :  the La Ru Ha Records response to Tamla-Motown produced at Arthur Smith Studios.  Karen, Edith and Ellen Trowell are three sisters from the Carolinas singing the old Gerschwin classic song from 1930.  That's all about I known. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017


Lynn Taylor


Lincoln Chase, Music Of Today, Inc. (BMI)

Coral 9-61726

Lynn Taylor was born Patricia Elaine Foutty (or Fowdy) in 1937.

Lynn Taylor had sung in public as a teenager in Philadelphia; she had just this single on Coral in 1956 and frequented jazz clubs during the 1950s, performing at popular nightspots like the Village Vanguard in Greenwich Village and Birdland in the heart of N.Y., in addition to singing for the Benny Goodman and Buddy Rich bands in '57 and '58.   
Strictly speaking, Taylor---aside from her recordings with the Rooftop Singers--- made one-and-third LPs, for she appears as a guest jazz vocalist on a recording by US TV comedian Ernie Kovacs. 

There was one full album which came on "Grand Award Records" ("I See Your Face Before Me") in 1957 as a result of the son of songwwiter Arthur Schwartz.   Jonathan Schwartz was friends with Taylor and it was he who introduced her to his father's music and caused the album to be recorded. 

In November 1961 Lynn Taylor married Skip Weshner a radio DJ prominently involved in early 1960s New York folk scene.  In 1962,  she was a founding member of The Rooftop Singers: the other members being Erik Darling and Bill Svanoe.   The trio were an American progressive folk singing group   best known for the hit "Walk Right In". Even though the Rooftop Singers were a trio, the real star here, at least in the sense that she sets them apart from scores of other guitar picking folkies, is Lynn Taylor.

After the group's hit single "Walk Right In" in early 1963, Lynn moved with her husband to California and never recorded again, as far as I known.

Lynn Taylor, according to her daughter, shot herself in the head April 21rst 1979.  But biographical details are scarce and vague, notably the exact circumstances of her suicide.

What was your secret, foxy lady?

Note: Lynn Taylor on Clock, Hawk and Jua-Thel Records is a different artist

The Rooftop Singers : Froggie Went A Courting

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Come On Way Down South

Elzworth Brooks
Come On Way Down South

Enterprise Records


Houston recording.  1963 is a late date for a label whose all other recordings were released between 1957 and 1959 . I've seen the label frequently listed as a Beaumont, Texas label, but I've also seen the following address :Enterprise Records, 6158 Westheimer, Houston, Texas

All songs released by the label were published by Adair (BMI).  Is there a possible label ownership by oil well firefighter.Red Adair ?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

With The World At My Feet

Gini Eastwood

With The World At My Feet
Arthur Resnick, Kris Resnick
T.M. Music, Inc.

Prod & arr  Richard Wolfe
Tower 249 (1966)

Gini Eastwood, biography from IMDB :
Lovely and captivating brunette actress and singer Gini Eastwood had an interest in acting and singing ever since she was a little girl. Gini made her stage debut at age four as a bonbon to the Sugar Plum Fairy in a dance school production of "The Nutcracker Suite." She took dance, violin, guitar, and acrobatic lessons while attending this school. Her parents sent her to a drama camp summer theatre run by Columbia Pictures at age twelve. Eastwood was added to the Talent Farm Stable and spent two additional summers perfecting her craft with lessons, performances, and a backstage apprenticeship. Gini released the modestly successful single "With the World at My Feet" on the Tower Records label while still in high school in upstate New York. Eastwood went on to tour with the 60s folk group the New Christy Minstrels and recorded a couple of albums with the psychedelic rock band the Hobbits [Decca Records].   Moreover, she portrayed Mary Magdelene in the original concert tour of the hit musical "Jesus Christ, Superstar," acted in a May, 1972 Broadway stage production of the rock opera "Hard Job Being God," and worked as a studio session singer (she was even the golden voice for McDonald's). Eastwood made her film debut in the obscure feature "The Wanted Ones," which was shot in Spain in 1968. Gini gave an excellent and compelling performance as intense, brooding and mysterious hippie chick Maureen in the wonderfully offbeat and original one-of-a-kind 70s drive-in cult oddity "Pick-up." After tackling her sole lead role in "Pick-up," Eastwood did more session work in the music industry as well as sung and wrote commercial jingles. Gini Eastwood still occasionally acts in community theatre and works as a singing aerobics instructor.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Let's Face It

Joe and Ursula

Let's Face It

Imperial 5371

This is Joe Morris and Ursula/Ursala Reed

Ursala Reed was discovered by band leader and R & B arranger Joe Morris when she was a promising sixteen year old singer hoping to go out on her own in the music business.  Her first big break came as part of the New Year's Eve, 1953 show in New York City. The show was a combination of R & B and modern jazz performers that included Thelonius Monk, J.J. Johnson & His All Star Combo, The Orioles, and the Joe Morris Blues Cavalcade with whom Ursala vocalized. She appeared intermittently with the Joe Morris band for much of the year. Her very first record session did not take place until mid 1954 when the new Old Town label paired her with the label's new singing group The Solitaires on #1001 (the label's second release) and "Ursala's Blues" and "You're Laughing Cause I'm Crying". In late September of that year Reed records for Herald Records, the label that Morris had moved to after leaving Atlantic. Their first release for the label was #440 - "Tying Up The Time" and "Blue And Lonely". Ursala goes out on the road with the touring Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame Show which does a series of one nighters throughout the Midwest. Besides Morris and his band which also features Al Savage and Faye Adams, The Orioles, Amos Milburn, and The Spiders are part of the show. The tour stops in Chicago and becomes part of the "Jam With Sam" show with local deejay Sam Evans.

During 1955 Ursala continues to be part of the Joe Morris company touring the country and recording. In March Herald #444 is released. The songs are "All Gone" and "You Hurt My Pride". Ursala Reed as a recording artist does not do well nationally and so Herald drops her and Joe Morris follows suit. They continue to tour and make in person appearances throughout the country, and by the latter half of the year find themselves on Imperial Records in Los Angeles. Imperial #5371 is issued late in the year as by Joe and Ursala, and the songs are "The Good Book" and "Let's Face It". The following year finds Ursala continuing on with Joe Morris and his band. They join Charlie & Ray, The Diabolos, and Manhattan Paul for a week's stay in Cleveland in March. During the summer a touring unit consisting of Joe, Ursala, and singer Larry Birdsong embarks on a series of one nighters in the South including an extended stay at The Palms in South Florida. Reed continues for a few months into 1957 with Morris, but by now she has realized that the music world has greatly changed and that her possibility of success is severely limited by the new Elvis / American Bandstand driven 'latest things'. Not too much more is heard from Ursala Reed, and in less than two years Joe Morris would pass away. But - the evidence remains - Ursala Reed was a part of the passing parade during the R & B fifties.

Source :
Ursula/Joe picture from Marv Goldberg

Friday, February 17, 2017

You Mention My Name

Terri North

You Mention My Name
Willie F. James - Gene Brooks
Arthur Music (ASCAP)

Preview 1501

This is actually Teri Thornton, a jazz singer turned song poem singer at the end of the sixties after her career was seriously damaged when she started to lose an ongoing struggle with alcohol addiction.  Only decades later she was discovered to have been singing on records in Los Angeles under various pseudonyms for the Preview Records and MSR labels, where she was the Rodd Keith label mate for a couple of years.

On MSR she was Teri Summers.  I've collected for you ten of her songs issued on various MSR albums.  The archived file can be found HERE
Teri Summers & The Librettos  
A Dreamy Waltz 
City's Hospital Patients      
I Cross My Heart
Lonely Heart
Season's Greetings
The Evening Is Approaching

Teri & The MSR Singers
I've Found My True Love
More On Ode To Billy Joe

Teri Thornton, born Shirley Enid Avery in 1934 (or 1936).

She was born in Detroit, where her parents, Robert Avery, a Pullman porter, and Bernice Crews Avery, a choir director and singer who was the host of a local radio show, encouraged her to study classical music. Thornton began her singing career in 1956 with an engagement at Cleveland's Ebony Club before going on tour and playing and recording in Chicago. Her debut recording session in the winter of 1960/1 found her teamed with several notable jazz musicians including Clark Terry, Britt Woodman, Earle Warren, Seldon Powell, Wynton Kelly, Freddie Green, Sam Jones, Jimmy Cobb, and Sam Herman.  

 She had a 1963 hit with "Somewhere In The Night", the theme from a popular television show, The Naked City. Her popularity opened doors for her but an opportunity to tour Australia as an accompanying artist to Frank Sinatra was mishandled and lost. Her early success was still further and more seriously damaged when she started to lose an ongoing struggle with alcohol addiction. Apart from damaging her career, this also blighted her personal life and she went through three divorces, a long and arduous spell outside music, during which she drove a cab for a while, and a term of imprisonment.

She had records (including four albums) on Riverside (1961), Dauntless (1963), Columbia (1963-1965) Mother's (1967) and Verve Records in 1999, her first album (on CD) for more than 30 years.  In 2000, few months later, after her last release, she died, finally losing her battle with cancer.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Mule Skinner Blues

Danny Kidd
and The Valley Countrymen

Mule Skinner Blues
Jeree 111177

"Mule Skinner Blues" is perhaps one of the most recorded songs in the history of country music.   A.k.a. "Blue Yodel #8" or "Muleskinner Blues", the song was written by Jimmie Rodgers and George Vaughan.and first recorded by Rodgers in 1930.

"George Vaughn", a pseudonym for George Vaughn Horton, is sometimes listed as co-author. Horton wrote the lyrics for "New Mule Skinner Blues", Bill Monroe's second recorded version of the song

Here is another version by Beaver Falls artists Danny Kidd and The Valley Countrymen, regular performers in the Beaver County, Pennsylvania.

The record is dedicared to "Gabby" Waite.   
Gloria "Gabby" E. Waite (1931-2008) was born in Ellwood City was the owner and operator of "La Scala's and then of  "Gabby's Lounge" both located in Beaver Falls for many years.
Jeree Records
In the 1970s when the mills of Beaver County were pouring out raging hot molten steel a music factory near the banks of the Beaver River began pouring out molten hot music. Jeree Recording Studio, located in a large Victorian House on picturesque tree lined 3rd Avenue in New Brighton, Pa, was the Western Pennsylvania’s version of Hitsville.  Pittsburgh’s best rock, pop, and jazz acts came to Jerre’s to record their demos and albums on their way to national success.

The founders of Jeree Studio, Jerry Reed and Don Gavin, have been recognized for their important role in the Western Pennsylvania music scene by their induction into the Beaver County Musicians Hall of Fame in 2012. Jerry and Don also released recordings on three labels that they founded Jeree, Green Dolphin, and Candy.