Friday, September 21, 2018

Pianola Pete

Newark-born Harriet Kay by the time she was nine was singing "professionally" at weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc. At 12 she made her first TV appearance as one of Marie Moser's Starlets like Connie Francis among other young artists over Newark's WATV. 

Her first record was also the initial release on the Gibraltar label, which was part of Gibraltar Music, a publishing enterprise operated by Bill Harrington. Other records followed on Jubilee, Dawn and X, all released in 1955.  

In 1957 lots of things happened to her.  Firstly, she changed her name (she didn't like her old one). Her hair, once a wicked platinum blonde, was now just a semi-provocative honey blonde. And she was signed to a major company that issued on her about ten singles and one album between 1957 and 1959.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Dark Glasses

Billy Joe Royal needs no introduction.  This is his second single for Boots Woodall's Fairlane label issued in January 1962. Both sides written by Joe South.

Billy Joe was earlier the featured vocalist with the Savannah, Georgia band of Buddy Livingston, The band once included Billy Joe Royal, Joe South and Ray Stevens.

Buddy Livingston was considered the Elvis of the Coastal Empire and played all over the area, including at the Bamboo Ranch in Savannah and the Barn.   Buddy played bass guitar and was the lead man for the band. They played almost every night at a club called "The Bamboo Ranch" and even had their own 30-minute television show on WTOC for a while.

They hired a young singer named Billy Joe Royal, and before long, the band was called "Buddy Livingston and the Versatones--- featuring Billy Joe Royal."

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

You Ain't Gonna Get It

Ellen Sutton  had relocated to the West Coast at age 17 in 1941 from her native Pittsburgh to appear on Gene Autry's radio show.  That year she also recorded for Columbia's Okeh subsidiary  as Ella Sutton.  In 1943, the young vocalist, reportedly 240 pounds, was teamed with The Prairie Pioneers for the Camel Caravan musical show which toured the Western States in 1943. 

Camel Caravan (in tribute to the sponsor's product, Camel cigarettes),  a regular series of country music tours to stateside military bases, was organized by Nashville promoter J.L. Frank along with Grand Ole Opry manager Harry Stone,.

In the early fifties, Ellen Sutton had several records with pianist Sir Hubert Pimm.  On this Kem recording from 1952
she's backed by Sam Weiss on drums, Buddy Cole on piano, Barney Kessel on guitar and Paul Sarmento on bass.  There was a last (?) record on Kem, "You Can't Buffalo Me" in 1953 also with the backing of Sir Hubert Pimm.

What happened to her after 1953 is not known.

Monday, September 10, 2018

My Lover

Sugar And Sweet

Cozette and Marshall Morris were Sugar And Sweet.  Besides that, I can't find much about this duet, despite some ten records issued in the sixties and seventies.   Their discography can be found here (n.b. the Excello single issued in 1956 is probably not by them).  Mel Alexander wrote both sides (and possibly produced the record), while James Carmichael was the arranger.

The duo was managed in the mid-sixties by Charles Cascales.  This is the same booking agent who, in 1974,  was accused in a federal indictment of passing off several female quartets as The Shirelles.  Part of the undoing began when the bogus Shirelles were playing in Phoenix and Omaha, while at the same time the real Shirelles were entertaining 20;000 fans packed into Madison Square Garden.  Most of the bogus groups were Mexican-Americans and sometimes a white was thrown in for good mesure. [see Jet Magazine, 18 April 1974)

"Cool It Baby", the flipside, can be found at YT.

Friday, September 7, 2018


Boston singer who had two singles on the X label, a RCA subsidiary in 1954-1955.  Other records are on Mood and Hub.  According to a snippet published by Jet Magazine (September 24, 1953) "Jan Strickland, Boston's gift to swooners over crooners, lives with his white manager and the daughters of the family regard him as a brother. "

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Live Like A King

featuring Don Frassa
Las Vegas Strip Records

From Billy Miller's article published in Kicks magazine #7 :

Don [Frassa] sez of their first record sesh in '61: "Me, Larry, and Lyle went to this little recording studio caled Chollie Music in Westside, the black part of town.  It was actually this guy Chollie Wright's house and we recorded in his bedroom which was covered with egg cartons.  We didn't even have drums there.  We used a Sparklette water rack, the metal part where the jug goes in.  We were so shitty!  It took us forever to record that thing.  "That thing, as Don Calls it, turned out to be a wailin' stomper called "Live Like A King", originally written by Chollie in 1957 for the famed LA R&B group the Twilighters who cut a rippin' version on Ebb.  Before relocatin' his "operation" to Las Vegas, Wright masterminded some legendary West Coasr group records on his own Cholly label. He's also to be saluted for the impossibly rare "Annie Kicked The Bucket" by The Nutones on the Hollywood Stars label.

Kicks full article (my scan)
Ah! That unforgettable sweet tar-odor printing ink!

Billy Miller, editor of Kicks Magazine and owner of Norton Records, died in 2016. See you soon, Billy...

Monday, September 3, 2018


June LaSalvia

June LaSalvia, then June Dussia, was already a nationally recognized authority in age group gymnastics when she came from Florida to Nashville, Tennessee in the mid-seventies.  She is noted as one of the first yogis in the Nashville area.

She wrote some songs in the seventies recorded by country artists such as Charley Pride, Sammi Smith or Dolly Parton's younger sister, Stella. 

Aerobics music was the trend in 1982, as noted by Richard Harrington in an article published by The Washington Post (May 22, 1982) In Tone With the Music :
The fastest selling discs in any record store these days are not likely to be by Pat Benatar or Rod Stewart or John Denver; it's Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons, Joannie Creggains and Carol Hensel who are hot now.

What they're pitching are not Rocky Mountain highs, but sleek and sexy thighs. And, with the exception of Simmons, these newest recording stars aren't even singing, they're barking out instructions as direct as any marine drill sergeant: SHAPE UP! ...
And indeed, in 1982, June La Salvia recorded her own exercice program, backed by The Lean Jeans Band.  Her "Country Aerobics" album, "How The Waist Was Won", was produced by Sidney Singleton at The Singleton Sound Studios and issued on Plantation Records.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Joe Therrien, Jr.

A country veteran from Springfied, Massachusetts, Joe Therrien Jr. was entering his late twenties when he converted to the rock and roll faith.  Therrien formed the Rockets in 1956 and toured the lowspots of Massachusetts and neighbouring Connecticut.  In 1957 his manager got him a one-shot recording session with Lido, a subsidiary of Bruce Records. The session was cut in a studio above the Satan Club in Times Square on March 25, 1957

For more info see Joe Therrien Jr, The Story That's Never Been Told by Jungle Jim Arslanian at RHoF website

Lido 505 - Hey Babe! Let's Go Downtown / Come Back To Me Darling (1957)
Brunswick 55005 - Hey Babe! Let's Go Downtown / Come Back To Me Darling (1957)
Brunswick 55017 - Wheels / You're Long Gone, Billboard 5 Aug 1957
Brunswick 55017 - Wheels / Rock-A-Billy Boogie
JAT 101 - I Ain't Gonna Be Around Anymore / Play Me A Blue Song (1959)
Sentinel 8905 - Tell Me / Siam (1961)

Friday, August 31, 2018

Don't Let Him

Roger Lewis and The Moondawgs

The Moon Dawgs made an instant splash on the Maine music scene when they became one of four bands to share the stage at the very first Pal Hop dance in 1964. Their popularity led to bigger venues as opening acts for the Dave Clark Five, the Kingsmen, Freddie and the Dreamers, and the Searchers. Except for a few brief interruptions, the Dawgs have remained together over 50 years playing for legions of die-hard fans at benefit dances, concerts and festivals. Almost from the beginning, the band has featured Roger Michaud (lead singer and keyboards), Dave Brissette (guitar), Bob Poulin (bass), and Bob Roy (drums). Two later additions to the band include Roger Renaud (saxophone) and Marty Lang (guitar). The Moon Dawgs were on the edge of stardom when producer Van Trevor accompanied lead singer Roger Michaud to New York to record two songs as Roger Lewis & the Moon Dawgs. Studio musicians and backup singers filled in for the rest of the band. A 45 rpm single featuring "Don't Let Him" and "Harriet" was released simultaneously on the Karate label, a subsidiary of the national record company Audio Fidelity, and the PAL label which was a local pressing coordinated by Lewiston's Police Athletic League that ran the Pal Hop dances. The Moon Dawgs quickly launched a tour before enthusiastic crowds in the Canadian Maritime Provinces and Nova Scotia where their record was receiving major airplay. During the tour they met a young fan backstage named Anne Murray who went on to become a superstar. In October, 1965 "Don't Let Him" peaked at #2 on the WLOB-AM "Big 30 Survey" in Portland, Maine and immediately became the focus of an advertising campaign in Billboard Magazine with the optimistic slogan, "As Maine goes, so goes the nation!" Later, the Moon Dawgs made one more attempt on the PAL label with Van Trevor producing the songs "Wild About You" and "Pretty Little Ramblin' Rose." The band continued to play on and off throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, performing for various charities and special events. And now, well into the 21st century, the Moon Dawgs continue to howl. Meanwhile, Michaud recently released his own solo album on CD, "American Stories" which includes the title song of the documentary "Pal Hop Days."

Info above come from PalHopDays here

Don't Let Him

Billboard ad, 16 Ocotober 1965
 note: The Moondawgs are not credited on the Karate release

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Danny Boy

Sylvia Summers
Monroe Record Co.

Danny Boy

Possibly from Muskegon, Michigan on a label owned by Jesse Monroe Duke? Date unknown (late sixties?)

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Parachute Jump

Joanne Engel

“First you fly up into the stratosphere, then you step off into the atmosphere, for the biggest thrill of your life is here, when you jump-jump the Parachute Jump.” Malcolm Hall wrote the song to commemorate the 1961 World Parachute Jumping Championships in Orange, Massachusetts.

Joanne Engel discography

Recording session with Jack Hansen

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Mr. Blues

A five-foot blond bombshell from East Orange, N.J., Mundy Lee recorded this song in 1961 for Embassy Records, a Newark, New Jersey label. Her record, arranged and conducted by Bucky Harris and written by Paul Dino, was leased the following year to Seg-Way Records. The following years Mundy Lee toured with U.S.O's Music Makers Organization in Iceland (1963) and Japan (1964)...

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Koffee Shop Rock

Mickey Michaels and The Forrestals

1958: The Forrestals were all servicemen of the U.S. Navy. Led by the drummer, Quartermaster Doug Fowlkes, the band was formed while these seven men served aboard the CVA-59, better known as USS Forrestal, America’s first angled-deck carrier built as such, commissioned in 1955 and named for the secretary of defense.

They had a deal with Felsted Records through Bill Davis (Sheriff Tex Davis) in Norfolk, Virginia. Davis, who had a radio show at WCMS, and  is credited with helping Gene Vincent write "Be-Bop-A-Lula," and to shop the song to labels.

Leaving the USS Forrestal, the band embarked on the USS Independence. Following the smoke of the boat they were on,  you will be able to find them recording from now on as The Aire-Dales or Airdales (airedale: naval slang for any member of the aviation community, officer or enlisted). on Viva Records (Florida) and then in Italy (Vis Radio Records) and then on Barclay Records (France), Rocker Roberts (Rocky Roberts), being now their vocalist.

The Airdales (Vis Radio sleeve)

Sunday, August 12, 2018

My Guy On Nine

Becky Cooper
Her only record?

My Guy On Nine


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Rock Me In The Cradle Of Love

Freddie Dino

Rock Me In The Cradle Of Love

One-off label out of Philadelphia.  Penned by Artie Singer and Jon Sheldon (actually a  pseudonym for Kal Mann), the song was also recorded by Dee Dee Sharp for Cameo Records in 1963  with lyrics credited to Kal Mann and music to Dave Appell, © Kalmann Music, Inc.; 22 July 1963

I assume that this version came just before the one on Cameo.  Similar lines in the label design are found on Philadelphia labels released in 1962/1963 (Lash Records and Taba Records for instance).

I've found only one mention on record of a Freddie Dino who composed in 1965 one side of a Dino & His Fabulous Jerrels single on a Rochester, New York label named "Star Artists" (later, Capitol Star Artist)