Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sweet Little Sixteen

 Rufus Brown

Gateway Records

Cover of Chuck Berry biggest hit

Old Chuck with young girl

According to Maxwell Demon :

"During a show at the Ottawa Coliseum Berry saw a little German girl, seven or eight years old, pursuing singers for their autographs to add to her ‘wallet full of pictures’, seemingly more interested in the trophy than in the music being performed. The idea for one of his most successful songs was born, although the girl who provided inspiration was a little too young for his taste, she became ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’.

Early in December 1957 Berry laid down a demo of the song, perfectly capturing the excitement of its teenage heroine and is another striking demonstration of Berry’s ability to think himself into the mind of someone half his age. When released in February ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’ proved Berry’s biggest hit to date."

Note 1 : Chuck Berry is well known to think (or else) himself  into the mind (or else) of someone (female, preferably) half his age.

Note 2 : there IS a website named Chuck Berry - Mr. Rock'n'Roll, dedicated to the memory of... Bo Diddley (?!?). This site has detailed tour information for several artists, including Chuck Berry : he played the Auditorium Arena  in Ottawa, Ontario on November, 18, 1957.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Wonder, shrunken heads

Two ads found in Billboard (1947 and 1949)

Born in Poetry Texas, September 7, 1884. Homer Tate would become the prolific creator and purveyor of all things weird and bizarre to the sideshow men and women of the the 1940's & 50's.

A Shrine to Homer Tate, The Desert Pygmy King, is open to the public HERE.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Duck Walk

Judy Cross

Miller-Rene, Wilco Publ. Co. BMI

MGM 12902


Spotted this one en ebay today described as "hilarious insipid teener".   Auction 
Wanted to know more.  
Searched YouTube.   
Found "Duck Walk" by Youtuber Puddlebacky.
Wanted to know more about Puddlebacky.  
Found out that is a genuine crapdigger (see video of him digging in the woods HERE).
Found out that he is also Puddleboy on Flickr where he exposes some of his finds.

And what about Judy Cross ?

Judy Cross was a morning radio show producer (and assistant-librarian) at WINS in New-York and probably in need of some attention decided to make a career in music.  Joe Rene, owner the tiny Claro label in New-York was glad to help and she recorded her first single (Mrs. Billy Brown b/w Old Enough to Know) for Claro which was issued in mid-1959 (probably in July).  She promoted her single on the Hy Lit show on July 30th and on American Bandtstand on August 20.

"Duck Walk", her second single followed in the latter part of 1959 backed with  "When's He Gonna Kiss Me".   She approched Bruce WendellWINS' chief librarian, attempting to bribe him for pushing her record on air.   That's probably why she had to resign in December 1959 and came back only when WINS program director Mel Leeds left. (Mel Leeds and other staff members were caught up in the web of the Payola scandal hitting the entire radio industry in 1959-1960).  MGM Records re-issued the single in 1960.

And what about Joe Rene ?

Joseph René, born September 4, 1924, Amsterdam, Holland. Father radio violonist. Mother : concert pianist. Studied violin, harmony and orchestration with the famous professor W. Buescher . Trumpet player and arranger with big bands.  Career was interrupted by Mr Adolf Hitler. Went into hiding and remained 3½ years in an attic three doors down from Anne Frank.  Resumed career after Liberation in 1945 and became musical director for United States First Army.   Came to the United States in 1949.  Big bands, radio, T.V. etc arranging and conducting recording dates and went into producing.

Was A&R for Beltone Records, 1960-1961 ("Tossin' and Turnin'," Bobby Lewis, a song co-written by his wife Malou Rene)., for RCA Victor (mid-sixties) and recorded himself with his orchestra a number of albums on Manhattan, Tops, Epic and other labels.

Joe Rene, here with Les Surfs, a sextet from Madagascar (1964)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

B.B. (sur un air de samba)

Silvo Silvera and his Brazilian Orchestra
(Miguel Gustavo, Plan Two ASCAP)
Barclay 300

Written by Miguel Gustavo. First released in Brazil in December 1960 by Jorge Veiga on Copacabana,  it was an international hit on Barclay the year after. Many, many versions followed.  A lot are available on YouTube (links below), but not this Silvio Silvera version and also my favorite.

"Brigitte Bardot" versions on YouTube

Jorge Veiga Brazil, the original version 15.558 views

and in order of number of views top down :

Dario Moreno Born in Turkey, but most of his career was in France. 470.944 views

Roberto Seto  (Live, 2 mn)   25.852 views

Roberto Seto  Armenian-French artist. Full track (2 mn 20) 12.883 views

Chakachas    Belgian group. 12.693 views

Gastone Parigi  (Scopitone, Italy) 7.711 views

Laila Kinnunen
(Finland) 2.203 views

The Emeralds    Moluccan duet established in the Netherlands   1.673 views

Marion Rung (Mexico) 1.170 views

Michelino  (Italy) 1.151 views

Eddy Kouyioumdjian   580 views. Amateur accordionist from Greece.  Has posted 1.308 videos onYouTube. I've not checked - and you'll certainly understand why- , but it seems that ALL features Eddy himself.

Digno Garcia  (Spain) 454 views

Ljiljana Petrović  (Serbian) 382 views

Antonio Del Playa   85 views (Was on a budget label called "Stella for Teenagers", from Belgium)

Achilles and his Heels  8 views (On Fontana, United Kingdom)

And among other versions (unheard) :

  • Burt Bachrach [sic] orchestra (vocal Joel Grey), Bigtop (USA)
  • Josepe Torres y sus Cumbacitos, Disco Foon (Netherlands) , on W&G (Australia, "A Teeny recording")
  • Günter Moritz and Milly Arduini (Elite Special, Germany)
  • Orchestra Da Ballo "Italfon" canta Gino Rotigliano (Italfon, Italy)
  • Jack van Doorn und der Botho Lucas-Chor (Columbia, Germany)
  • Jean-Marc Torchy (Marianne Mélodie, France)
  • Mike Westbrook's Brass Band (English jazz pianist, Transatlantic, 70s)
  • Serge Maldini (Vesuvius, Italy)

The couple who never was
Hey John, wherever you are.  I'm not a big expert of Photoshop, 
but here it is : you and B.B. on the cover of Two Virgins!
That's how it should have been.