Sunday, June 16, 2019

You Make My Heart Sing Ah!


The Shadows




You Make My Heart Sing Ah!

Fraternity 795
1958


Young Elroy Peace and Paul White


The Shadows
are Elroy Peace and Paul White. One of the most memorable songs of bandleader Ted Lewis  was "Me and My Shadow" with which he frequently closed his act.  Around 1928, he started to use a shadow mimicking his movements during his act.   Several Afro-American played the Shadow.  Elroy Peace and Paul White were two of them in the forties.
    Elroy first got steamed up about show business when he was seven years old. He won second prize imitating Cab Calloway on the West Coast and Elroy, under the tutelage of his aunt, Roxy Williams, took the plunge. He won a spot with a Major Bowes' unit and traveled about the country with the Major. He was a pro for real. Elroy was born in Kansas City, Mo., but his big break came when his family moved to Los Angeles.

    The late movie actor Ben Carter helped draw Ted Lewis' attention to the artistry of young Elroy and all that can be said is that Elroy has been walking in Lewis' shadow for eleven years.
Elroy Peace's first record was probably "Onion Breath Baby" for the Swing Time label in 1953. Followed a duet with Willie Mae Thornton on Peacock,   

After this Fraternity single, he was heard on West Coast labels such as Keen, Romeo, or Helga. In the early sixties, during a tour in Australia & New-Zealand, Elroy recorded at least two singles which were issued on local labels.

Elroy Peace was also a songwriter whose songs were recorded among others by Little "Butchie" Saunders And His Buddies (Herald), Gene La Marr And His Blue Flames (Spry) , The Bow Ribbons (his nieces) & Debra Lewis.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Speedy Gonzales


Solid Jackson

Candix 308






Speedy Gonzales

As "Little Speedy Gonzales" this song has been  performed by The Astronauts in the movie "Wild On The Beach" in 1965.  Film footage of the performance can be seen here

When I posted the flip side "East L.A." here
six years ago, I had no idea who was Solid Jackson.  Today, I'm able to disclose the identity of the man behind the "Solid Jackson" pseudonym : this is Stan Ross, Stanley Ralph Ross, prolific writer, producer and actor in film and TV. Ross was first and foremost a writer. He penned more than 250 TV shows, including many episodes of "Batman," "The Monkees," "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.."

Eventually he became an ordained minister who presided over the marriage of Burt Ward ("Robin" on the "Batman" TV series) to his third and present wife.

His real-life nickname, "Ballpoint Baxter," was also the name of a character he played on the "Batman" TV series.

Some interesting bits of bio thanks to the blurb written by Blanche, his mother, found on the back cover of his Del-Fi LP, "My Son The Copy Cat":
My Son Stanley is 27 years old, six foot six, and was born in Coney Island, New York, and you'll like him if you knew him.  He was a very pretty baby but had a lot of allergies.  We still can't figure out why he should be so tall because in my family we're all short. I'm five-five in my stocking feet and the tallest.  His wife, Neila (she should live and be well) is a beautiful girl who feeds my son well enough to make him gain 15 pounds since they god married 5 years ago, although she still has some trouble making blintzes.  Still you can't blame her because with the two children, Andy and Lisa, running around the house chasing the dog, how much time can she put in at the stove?  My friends tell me that the children are good-looking.

Stanley has been making records for a few years under a few different names because he didn't want me to know what he did for a living, so he used to tell me he worked for a advertising agecy.  You perhaps recall "Chaos!" a while ago?  He did it together with Bob Arbogast, a nice Unitarian boy who wrote the songs on this album with Stanley
 According to Mark Evanier and I believe what he says :
Stanley was the pushiest writer I ever knew and he was absolutely shameless about promoting himself. There are a lot of people in Hollywood who are like this but Stanley was the Beethoven of harassing people into giving you work. You said "yes" to Stanley because he made it too much work to say "no."
Stanley Ralph Ross (1935–2000)

Discography

58 Imperial 5543 The Ross Brothers
58 Imperial 5544 The Huskies
59 ATP 1001/Liberty  Arbogast And Ross
60 World Pacific 813 Stan Ross
60 Candix 308  Solid Jackson
62 Reprise 20119 Stan Ross
62 Warner-bros 5305 Tyrone A'Saurus And His Cro-Magnons
63 Del-Fi 4200 Stan Ross
63 Del-Fi 1233 LP "My son the copy cat" Stan Ross

Note: This Stan Ross shouldn't be confused with Stan Ross, the sound engineer or Stan Ross, the actor

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Foxy








Lada Edmund was born Lada Michele Perkins in 1947.  Later known as Lada Edmund, Jr., she was originally cast in the Broadway production of "Bye Bye Birdie" with Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera in 1960. Later she was a featured dancer on "Hullabaloo" on NBC in 1965, as the "Hullabaloo A-Go-Go Girl in the cage."   She had records on Coral, Roulette & Decca (1962-1967)

After Hullabaloo, she appeared in a small budgeted movie filmed in New York entitled, "Out Of It." She would have second billing in the film with the third billing going to a then unknown-actor from Yonkers, New York named Jon Voight. His next film would be his breakout film, "Midnight Cowboy." Lada, seeing that she would have difficulty breaking in films, became a Hollywood stunt person and driver and became the highest paid female in that industry. She was one of the first female stunt people to establish a career in the field. 


Friday, June 7, 2019

Boo Bah Bah


The LP (16 tracks)

One Man Band
Bob Vido




Boo Bah Bah




Robert Zaprian Vidoloff,
1915 - 1995


Robert Zaprian Vidoloff, or "Bob Vido" as he called himself, was actor, comedian, writer, philosopher, musician, artist, engineer and all around one of the most intriguing persons ever to live. 
He claims to have worked for Disney as an animator and all the major aerospace firms as an engineer.
 
He, his three siblings and his parents Zaprian & Anna Vidoloff immigrated to the United States from Bulgaria on June 1st, 1921.

Bob Vido sings and plays sax, tumpet, piano, clarinet, organ and accordian...etc... By the use of recorded tapes, Bob Vido accompanies himself on voice, organ and drum and sings a double voice, trumpet, sax, clarinet solos...

Some listeners have compared Bob Vido to Sun Ra, although Vido seems to come from a planet farther out even than Ra.



Wednesday, June 5, 2019

New Girl In Town


Wes Reynolds





The flip of "Tossin' & Turnin'", his last single for the Bismark label in 1964




Born in the Los Angeles suburb of Southgate, Reynolds returned with his parents to their native Oklahoma when he was 6, growing up in Oklahoma City. By his mid-teens, he'd made the acquaintance of Gene Sullivan, the "Gene" in Wiley and Gene, a famous country-music duet whose hits included "When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again." Sullivan had settled in Oklahoma City, where he opened a recording studio that would become legendary.

"He'd made his fame by that time, and he had people like Jimmy Dean recording his songs," recalled Reynolds. "He took me under his wing, and by the time I was 16 or 17 years old, I had started playing sessions there.

"A guy named Bill Burden owned Rose Records, out of Stillwater, and at that time everybody was talking about how someday they were going to put a man on the moon. They had this big talent contest, and put me in it, and I didn't know it was rigged. I had no idea I was going to win. But they were looking for someone to market."

After he won, he signed a management contract with Burden. Promising to make him a star, Burden pulled the youngster aside and told him, "Now, I want you to go home and write a song called 'Trip to the Moon.'"

Even though he hadn't done much songwriting, Reynolds went home and did as he was asked. He was surprised when the subsequent record hit the national charts and began climbing. He was also surprised, albeit less pleasantly, to find the song carried Burden's name as sole writer.

But he didn't have a lot of time to think about that. He and his band the House Rockers headed out on the road in support of the disc, appearing on the same bill with such heavyweights as Gene Vincent and Jerry Lee Lewis and playing other venues on their own, where handbills advertising the shows would be dropped from planes.


Tuesday, June 4, 2019

All My Love



Phil Sampson


 :
All My Love


Mid-sixties recording.  Phil (Philip H.) Sampson had records in the late fifties on Bea & Baby and Ebony, two Chicago imprints.

The Lo-Lace label was related to Viscojon Records which was operated in Los Angeles by J. W. Spriggs.  Viscojon had branches in St. Louis & also in Chicago (managed by Nathan 'Nate' Griffin), so perhaps this Phil Sampson was also recorded there?


Sunday, June 2, 2019

My Dog Loves Your Dog


Little Murph & his All Stars





My Dog Loves Your Dog



Little Murph Walks


Cleveland, Ohio recordings
first sliced under other banner according to an article published by Billboard ('Bought Masters' Building As Big Factor in Industry, Billboard Jan. 13, 1957 issue) were bought by Epic Records.  Both sides written by Harmon Jones.

"My Dog Likes Your Dog" has been covered by The Cupids (Decca), Homer & Jethro (RCA) and The Diamonds (Mercury).  On each of these covers, the song is as well credited to the mysterious Victor Loyd Bevel and this is his only song appearing in the BMI online database.

Harmon Jones, if he wasn't Little Murph himself, is probably the vocalist on the top side. Harmon, as "Hump" Jones, Harmon "Hump" Jones or Hamp Jones had further releases on Vision and East West. Also, he was the credited vocalist of The Jolly Jax on their Monticello release.



Hamp Jones picture
From an East West Records ad
Billboard, 13 Jan. 1958



Friday, May 31, 2019

The Best Part Of Me



Marsha Lyn

Alibi Records




Marsha Lyn






 

Recorded at the Valtron Studios in Helena, Montana,
owned & operated by Les Liedle (picture above)

Sunday, May 19, 2019

My Father The Pop Singer


Sam Chalpin


Sam Chalpin had mostly sung at lodge meetings and was a cantor at his synagogue. Ed Chalpin, his son and head of the PPX Record Production Company, decided that if Mrs. Miller gained some fame for her series of shrill and off-key renditions of popular songs, then why not make a similar record with his father -" and Ed would make sure that his father worked for nothing. Existing tracks, a studio he owned and a free singer - investment zero!" 

After Sam Chalpin had finished recording the ten tunes of this Atco disc, Ed Chalpin had contacted Ahmet Ertegun [head of Atlantic Records], to whom he stated that his father, who was sixty-five years of age, had made his first recordings.  The tunes were issued on the Atlantic Records' Atco subsidiary in 1966.

Sam Chalpin died in 1969.


Satisfaction



Mike Rashkow
, the recording engineer, has told the story of these recordings at
Spectropop.com :

Excerpts:

Sam could not read English very well, maybe not at all. If he could read, then he couldn't see. If he was taught the lyrics, he'd forget them. The melody and meter? He had two chances of getting in the vicinity of either one - slim and none. Slim done took the train. Supposedly, he'd learn the song, then Ed would bring him in and we put the head phones on him. I think we actually had to tie them on him - he didn't like it. We'd start trying to overdub him by a): feeding him the old vocal in the cans; b): not feeding him the old vocal in the cans; c): letting him listen over and over again to the line or two he was going to yelp at, and d): Ed standing next to him waving his arms and threatening him with violence.

I swear on my children's lives that Ed made his father cry at least once, maybe more, during these sessions. It was terrible for me to watch, and possibly criminal to be involved in. Today, Ed would be arrested for Elder Abuse, and I would be the one who dropped the dime on him.

If we did one punch-in on a song we did 100. I did so many punch-ins, trying to get a single chorus done, that when the record was complete I was punch drunk. This is not exaggerated. The poor old man couldn't sing, couldn't read, couldn't remember and, most of the time, didn't have a clue what was going on. I may make it sound funny, but truly it was an awful thing for one person to put another person through, let alone a son to his father.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Look At That Baby





Loose Juice


Look At That Baby


This is Tommy Law alias Thomas Richard Laidlaw of  Baldwin Park, California
 
Two unissued Tommy Law recordings.  "Loose Juice" later issued on Crest Records as "Cool Juice", same backing but with a different vocal track.  Probably recorded in 1957 (?), "Loose Juice" was written by John Mangiagli who later recorded as Johnny Knight and Gamma Goochee Himself, among others pseudonyms.

On the Crest label, the credited backing band is King Richard and The Dukes (actually The Counts).
 
The group were led by 19-year-old King Richard (Dick Macklin) of El Monte, guitar, Lanny Seigel,  17,  sax, from Baldwin Park, Dick McLean, 17, drums, from El' Monte ; Al Wilkins, 17, sax, from Baldwin Park; Johnny Winfield, 17, guitar, from El Monte and Jimmy Starsiak, 19, string 'bass, from Baldwin Park.

Jim Aguirre, during daylight hours an engineering designer at Caltech's jet propulsion laboratory, took over management of the group, and it was him who sold the masters to Crest Records in 1958.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Boston Baby




Boston Baby

Russ Kendall (unissued)

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Hey Jude





Hey Jude
The Bermuda Merry-Makers
Edmar Records

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Bright Lights Big Cities


Dwight T. Ross




(Jimmy Reed)

Black Foot BF 186

1985
For info on this artist, see Sir Shambling






Thursday, May 2, 2019

Tipsy Topsy Turvey


Lee Scott



Tipsy Topsy Turvey


Song-poem issued on Hollywood's Columbine Records on one of their "The Now Sounds Of Today" albums. The song has been also compiled on Songs in the Key of Z (volume 3).

Columbine Records made hundreds of different albums with this exact same title and cover art. They were never sold in stores. They only pressed 50 or so copies of each, which were only offered for sale to the people who actually had songs on them.  Columbine would also send a few copies to radio stations (as promised in their ads), who would always throw them away unopened.

From Philadelphia, Lee Scott made her initial appearance on records for the Wynne label in 1959 . She has appeared on radio and television in the Philadelphia area, and has also appeared in some of the leading supper clubs throughout the country.  Her musicial talents were not merely confined to vocalizing. She studied piano for many years and gained quite a reputation in her native philadelphia as a popular jazz and concert pianist.

She was also a songwriter herself.  Among the songs she wrote : Six Button Benny (The Nite Riders, Teen and Swan),  By Now (Billy Duke, Sound), Forget Me Not (The Fabulous Dials, D'n'B) and "The Conservative"(The Orlons, Cameo Records in 1962)

Her real name was Dollee Escourt, a name she also used for writing or recording songs.  (there was at least one record issued as by Dollee Escourt on the Malvern label)

Anna Caspelle
, the composer of Tipsy Topsy Turvey, died in 2008 in Rapid City, South Dakota.  Also known as Natalie Leonesio, she copyrighted several songs and stories in the mid-seventies, "The Planet Crazoid Speaks" and "Star Gazer and Vega (The Blue One)",  just to name a few.

Above : Columbine Records ad
From Ebony Magazine, July 1981

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Rose Murphy, "The Chee Chee Girl"

Rose Murphy, "The Chee Chee Girl"

Rose Murphy
1913-1989

Her recording career spans most of the 1940's to 1963 with original releases on AFRS Jubilee, Majestic, Mercury, Victor, Decca, Verve, United Artists, Regina plus one last session cut in 1980 in Nice, France for Black & Blue.  She is best known for her high-pitched singing style, which incorporated scat singing, giggling, and percussive sound effects.

Nicknamed the Chee Chee Girl:
“People asked me to sing a song and I didn't know the lyrics,” said Miss Murphy. “So all of a sudden the “cheechee” sound came to me. I was just kidding around. But people kept saying, “do ‘chee-chee.’ “ It's just part of me. It doesn't mean anything.”
Get it



Monday, April 22, 2019

South Street


Fran Cooper

Twin Hits 5009



South Street

Twin Hits
was operated by Barney Young and Gloria Parker.   Barney was a music publisher, composer, personal manager, lawyer, and song plugger.  Gloria, who was his co-composer, star performer, and fiancee, was a versatile bandleader, contralto, marimbist, and musical glasses virtuoso.  
 
Covering the hits of the day, the recordings by pseudonymous artists were produced by Ed Chalpin for his PPX Enterprises set-up.
 
Barney Young died in 1969. Miss Gloria Parker's official website is here
 



Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Please Don't Leave Me


Tommy "Skinny" Ellsworth

"Please Don't Leave Me"
(Antoine Domino, Reeve Music, Inc. BMI)

Baro Record #2627

Tommy Ellsworth, birth name Thomas E. Nazziola, also recorded with his Rockin' Jesters on the Oklahoma, Scot and Romaine labels.  He is also quite possibly Ray Ellsworth singing "Rock And Roll Show" on his own Ellsworth label.

"Rock And Roll Show" has been available on several compilations, but a label to see is still elusive.




Friday, April 5, 2019

I Cried



Baker Knight
& The Knightmares


I Cried

Kit Records, Inc. SO 901
Al Bubis Productions
1956

Thomas Baker Knight, Jr.
(1933-2005)

Baker Knight's songwriting has overshadowed his long career as a singer of rock 'n' roll, pop and country. Born of Scots ancestry in 1933, Knight grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, where he attended high school, spent one year at the University of Alabama (after serving in the US Air Force for three years) and became a technical illustrator after a course at a local art school. He had learned to play guitar in the school orchestra, B.B. King being his first idol. In 1955 Knight formed a rock 'n' roll band, Baker Knight and the Knightmares. Soon they recorded their first single, "Bop Boogie To the Blues"/"Little Heart", for the Nashville-based Kit label, owned by Alan Bubis. A second Kit single, "Bring My Cadillac Back" (1956), sold well enough to be picked up by a major label, Decca, and might even have become a national hit, had it not been banned by many radio stations that saw the disc as a free commercial for Cadillac.
...more reading...


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Chew Chew Chew!


Hollygley Records
presents

From Blibber-Blubber (Smack!)
to Dubble Bubble (Thwack!)
Dedicated to all who have chewed it, detonated it,
swallowed it, left it underfoot, parked it under tables
and stored it used in the refrigerator

With thanks to Robert Hendrickson, author The Great American Chewing Gum Book (1976)


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Sam Pan Sue


John Osborne and band


Stepping Out To


Sam Pan Sue
Every sign on this "High-Fi  / C & W /Made in Detroit" record says "song-poem record" :

–  the label : previously active in 1963-1965, the Lectron issued at least four records, all pressed by Rite Records in Cincinnati (Cara Stewart, The Cones, Mary Kaye)
–  Margie Bish,  songwriter of both sides, had few songs issued on the Preview label
–  Active Music (ASCAP) was the publishing wing of Jack Curry's Air label, operating from 3170 SW 8th Street, Miami, Florida

But the otherwise unknown John Osborne doesn't sound to me quite like a song-poem singer ?

Archer Record Pressing from 1968.  

Monday, April 1, 2019

Putzie Putz The Octopus


Geene Courtney
MGM 12712
1958



Putzie Putz The Octopus

Geene Courtney, Miss Sausage Queen (1955)


Geene Courtney was born Geene Radko in Pennsylvania in 1921. Model, starlet, entertainer and singer, Geene was also an advertising-oriented beauty queen whose titles included New York Miss Cheesecake of 1951 and Miss Sausage Queen of 1955. 

Geene passed away on July 6, 2000 in a nursing home in Saxonburg, Pa.

Her only record (I think)

Que Dor Eu Sinto [What A Pain I Feel]





From Wikipedia (edited):

Damião Ferreira da Cruz (1935?-2016), better known by his stage name Damião Experiença,was a Brazilian singer-songwriter, lyricist, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and compulsive hoarder. Considered to be a major name of the Brazilian countercultural scene and one of the country's most famous and prolific outsider musicians, he was praised [and] constantly compared to schizophrenic outsider artist Arthur Bispo do Rosário and musicians Frank Zappa, Moondog, Captain Beefheart, Sun Ra, Jandek and Father Yod.  His albums, usually sold by him in the streets or even handed out for free when he felt like it, became much-sought collector's items, and his reclusive, eccentric and unpretentious personality has attained him a passionate cult following.

He experienced an unhappy childhood and was constantly mistreated by his parents, which led him to run away from home to Rio de Janeiro when he was between 10 and 13 years old. As a youth he served as a radar operator for the Brazilian Navy; while in the Navy he allegedly fell off a ship's crow's nest, hitting his head on the floor, which could have provoked his erratic mental state.

After his precocious retirement from the Navy in 1963, he went on to live with a prostitute in a stilt house in the vicinity of the bairro of Estácio, became a pimp and was able to produce his records thanks to money obtained via procuring

Damião's musical style is impossible to categorize accurately, since he experiments with numerous genres, more prominently freak folk, psychedelic rock, reggae and experimental rock. His songs have no logical sense at first sight, and mostly of them are sung in a dialect created by him, the "Planet Lamma dialect" (spoken in his eponymous "home planet"), with improvised lyrics.

He usually plays different instruments and sings at the same time. In his earlier releases, Damião used exclusively guitars with different numbers of strings (e.g., his debut Planeta Lamma was played with an one-string guitar), harmonicas, shakers and occasionally marimbas, mixing Portuguese with his own dialect in his lyrics.



Full album available here

Sunday, March 31, 2019

St. James Infirmary


Dean Jones
Joe Leahy Orchestra


St. James Infirmary

88 Brand Records
1960



Dean Carroll Jones (1931-2015)



After serving in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, Dean Jones got a job acting in a melodrama at Knott's Berry Farm. He was spotted by veteran composer Vernon Duke, who was planning a musical. The musical project fell through, but Duke enabled Jones an audition with Arthur Freed, the famous producer of MGM feature film musicals such as "Singin' In the Rain." It did not go as planned. "He's an actor, not singer!" Arthur Freed exclaimed.  Still, the studio signed Jones, and in his first credited role, he found himself acting opposite James Cagney in the 1956 drama "These Wilder Years." 

Dean had mostly small roles of a far grittier nature than his later Disney fare. "I played drug addicts, pimps, hard-cased killers, ex-cons and angry young men," he told The Times in 1995.

Beginning with 1965's "That Darn Cat!," Dean became closely identified with Disney family fare. In addition to the "Love Bug" and "The Ugly Dachshund," he was the leading man in "Monekys, Go Home," "The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit," "The Million Dollar Duck," "The Shaggy D.A.," "Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo" and other Disney feature films.

But in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was leading an off-screen life contrary to his wholesome image. He had numerous affairs and was drinking heavily. "I had thought if I became a star I'd be happy," he said in a 1976 L.A.Times interview. "I had thought if I had a fairly large amount of money I'd be happy. I thought if I had a house on a hill I'd be happy. I thought if I had a Ferrari I'd be happy. One goal after another was accomplished. And with no fulfillment." Jones was able to keep his torment largely separated from his work life. Even the head of the studio was fooled. "I remember having lunch with Walt one day, and he told me, 'Dean, you're a perfect fit for these pictures. You're such a good family man!'" Jone's told the Pantagraph. "I wasn't a good family man," Jones said. "I was showing up at home smelling of perfume that wasn't my wife's.".

........More on Dean Jones at IMDb   




Friday, March 29, 2019

Walkin’ the Dog

 
The "Yes It Is"
Studio City Records SC 1046



Walkin’ the Dog



Little Boy




From Duluth, Minnesota on Lake Superior, the Yes It Is do a cover of Rufus Thomas’ “Walkin’ the Dog”, backed with a melancholy folk number, “Little Boy”, written by Mike Settle.

They have a second 45 on Studio City “Lovely Love” / “That Summer”.  One of the "Yes It Is" was named Nolan Craig Killebrew (1948-2018)

Acknowledgments : Garagehangover



Monday, March 25, 2019

The Jayne Mansfield Story


The Opposable Thumb

The Jayne Mansfield Story
Starring Loni Anderson & Arnold Schwartzenegger

Transitional Records
1990





The Opposable Thumb is John Schnall, an animator from New Jersey, who was involved with a  project at WFMU called Midnight Matinee, for over ten years. It was a radio show, mixed live, using samples from primarily film and television. There are tons of mp3s available at his website, if you'd like to learn more about the project, which ran until 1998 at the popular free-form New Jersey station.


Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Impeachment Blues


Ray Weems & All Stars
Green Mountain Express 103



The Impeachment Blues


Words and music by Charles Cruce & Ernest H. Wells.© on June 21, 1974 by Ray Weems Music. Obscure Huntsville, Alabama label.  A previous release (#101) was by Glenn Shell (Mr. Hobo b/w Charleston West Virginia) also published by Ray Weems, who possibly  owned the label.


I'm Not A Crook
A Poignant Portrait from all of his Most Memorable Speeches
Albatross Records


Friday, March 22, 2019

Sarah! Sarah!


Martha Davis

Born 14 December 1917, Wichita, Kansas
Died 6 April 1960, Mount Vernon, New York





MARTHA DAVIS (By Dave Penny)

At the mid point of the 20th Century, the success of the jolly fat lady at the piano was a universal phenomenon. To name a few: Julia Lee, Nellie Lutcher, Rose Murphy, Winifred Atwell and even Mrs Mills.and, one more, Martha Davis.

Born in Wichita, Kansas, on 14th December 1917, and raised in Chicago, Martha Davis attended the famous Du Sable High School, and counted Dorothy Donegan and Nat Cole among her class mates. She met Fats Waller in the 1930s, who allegedly taught her some of his piano skills, and by the mid 1930s she was frequenting the lively Windy City jazz clubs and sitting in at all-night jam sessions. At one such in 1939, she met and subsequently married a Mississippi-born (17th October 1917) bass player named Calvin Ponder, but as he would enjoy a lucrative career with, notably, Earl Hines' big band, the couple did not work together regularly until 1948. By this time, the couple had moved to California and Martha had made her impressive recording debut on the tiny West Coast independent, Urban Records and had even enjoyed a substantial movie role in the Monogram Films featurette, Smart Politics, alongside Gene Krupa's Orchestra.

In 1948 Martha and Calvin recorded together for Ben Pollack's Hollywood-based Jewel Records, and it was to be her most successful year chart-wise, with a cover of Dick Haymes' pop hit Little White Lies reaching #11 on the Billboard R&B listing in July. This was followed by her duets with Louis Jordan - Daddy-O c/w You're On The Right Track, Baby, the former of which climbed to #7 later in the year. The patronage of Jordan provided an entrée with Decca Records, and Martha recorded six tracks for the label in December 1947. Surprisingly, she would not record again until 1951 when Bob Thiele signed her to Coral Records, although Herman Lubinsky reissued the 1948 Jewel sides in 1950 when he purchased the recording masters from Pollack.

Martha and Calvin's nightclub act, Martha Davis & Spouse, became hugely popular in the early to mid 1950s, and several of their joyous performances were filmed by Snader Telescriptions for the company's video jukeboxes. They also broadcast over AFRS from their L.A. home and were much in demand for a series of network TV Shows, particularly Garry Moore's CBS show. The Snader film footage was later used for inclusion in the variety films Rhythm & Blues Revue, Rock 'n' Roll Revue and Basin Street Revue during 1955/56, and videos of the performances such as Vippety Vippety Vop, Martha's Boogie and Goodbye have been doing the rounds among rock 'n' roll collectors for decades.

Surprisingly, despite their raised profile in the mid 1950s, the couple's commercial recording career was put on hold between 1951 and 1957 until they resumed recording for the brand new ABC Paramount label, with whom they cut two LPs, including a tribute to Martha's mentor, Fats Waller. Sadly, there is little to report after this; Variety reported that Martha died from cancer on 6th April 1960 in Mount Vernon, New York - where the couple stayed during their long residencies at the Blue Angel cafe - while "spouse" Calvin passed away back at home in Los Angeles a decade later, on 26th December 1970.

Recommended listening:

The Chronological Martha Davis (Classics 5123) - This CD features Martha's entire recorded output except for her late 1950s LPs for ABC Paramount and, strangely, her biggest hit "Little White Lies", since a satisfactory copy could not be found for dubbing.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Since I Met You Baby


June Mason Spencer and Harvey Russell

Since I Met You Baby



Recorded at the Columbia Studio in Nashville, Tennessee. June Mason Spencer, on this Jade label owned by Harvey Russell, is unknown to me.


Harvey Russell
1933-2018

Singing Cop - was all you needed to say in 1960s Akron. Harvey Russell was a cop, and a singer, and in the polarized world of the mid-late 60s, a cop who sang rock-n-roll.  See buckeyebeat

Harvey had started singing in local pop vocal groups including the Wonders (who recorded a 45 on Reserve). In the early 60s he continued to sing 'solo'. He had a local hit with "Out of My Teens" on the Vicki label.
 
 

Monday, March 18, 2019

Call Off The Wedding



Nancy Oxley, her husband Ralph, sons Jimmy, David and Joey Oxley, daughter Donya and her husband Clay Claxton formed Country Touch who has performed country music favorites and original songs around Tennessee for a number of years.  All seven in the group grew up in Lavergne, Tennessee and later moved to Lebanon. But they still considered Lavergne their home.

Nancy Oxley passed away in May 2002

Custom recording from 1974, mastered by Nashville Record Productions. NRP became the first independent mastering studio in Nashville (competing with Columbia and RCA), and was a huge success with independent labels.


Saturday, March 16, 2019

Cuér-Na-Va-Ca


Peggy Anne Ellis
with Milt Kaye Orchestra and chorus
Cuér-Na-Va-Ca
Wr. Shelley-Kaye
Pub. by Spiral Record Corp. (ASCAP)
Journal #3552
1958



Cuér-Na-Va-Ca



Born LaBlanche Pafford Metz in Georgia circa 1925, Peggy Anne Ellis was a Broadway actress, chanteuse, radio personality. She made a name for herself with radio audience as a "blues singer" when she was only six years old.  She performed in two Broadway musicals : Best Foot Forward (1942) and Billion Dollar Baby (1946) before recording for Signature/Hi Tone, Charles (1952-1953), Journal (1958) and Cue-P (1958).

From 1947 to 1971 Peggy Anne Ellis was married to Art Fleming, the quizmaster of NBC's "Jeopardy". 

She died in 2014 in Englewood, New Jersey.