Attention Mac Users!

Mac users have been experiencing problems in unpacking the WinRAR archives used on this blog. Two solutions have been suggested.

1. Use The Unarchiver - www.theunarchiver.com - see comments on Little Esther Bad Baad Girl post for details.

2. Use Keka - http://www.kekaosx.com/en/ - see comments on Johnny Otis Presents post.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

"Wheel of Fortune" - The Cardinals on 78rpm

Unlike other major vocal groups from the late 1940s to mid 1950s period (The Orioles, The Ravens, The Dominoes, The Robins, etc), The Cardinals have never received the treatment they deserve from the reissue companies. Some of their tracks have turned up on compilations of Atlantic R&B sides such as “Don’t It Sound Good” and “Atlantic Rhythm and Blues 1947-1974”, but the only album I can find that is dedicated exclusively to The Cardinals is a 10 track CD on the Collectables label.

Which is where Joan comes to our rescue with this 21 track compilation of sides ripped mainly from 78 rpm discs. There are also a few rips from 1950s vinyl, I’m sure, probably from track 17 onwards, judging by the sound quality. Ah, sound quality! Listening to these sides took me back to the days when, as a wee boy, I used to listen to a pile of old 78 rpm records belonging to my parents. The King Cole Trio, The Ink Spots, Artie Shaw, Bing Crosby, Art Tatum, Spike Jones & His City Slickers, and as it was Scotland, Harry Lauder and Jimmy Shand. I’d forgotten about the constant hissing from these big ten inchers, possibly caused by the fact that they were played using a needle attached to a pickup arm that weighed half a ton.

So what I’m saying here is that you mustn’t expect good sound quality. Even some of the vinyl is pretty scratched. That, and the fact that the rips were made at 80 kbps. And they can’t be re-ripped as Joan has sold her 78s. Woe, woe and thrice woe.

Despite the caveats, the sound quality is perfectly listenable. I play my computer sound through my HiFi via a direct USB connection and I also use sound enhancing software, so I’ve got reasonable sound quality from these files. Good enough to recognise that the Cardinals were one hell of a group.

You can read the Cardinals story here:

http://home.earthlink.net/~jaymar41/Cardinals.html

It’s an article from edition number 4 of “Doowop Nation” an Ezine put online by JC Marion. It’s a website I’ve been looking at for years. It’s a treasure trove of articles on all aspects of 1940s/1950s R&B. The home page is here:

http://home.earthlink.net/~jaymar41/index.html

The Cardinals, like the Orioles, were a Baltimore group who originally styled themselves on The Inkspots but moved to a more R&B leaning sound when they started recording for Atlantic in 1951. Their first discs sold well, but disc number three, “The Wheel of Fortune” was a smash hit. The fantastic lead tenor vocals of Ernest Warren were a feature of their sound which raised them above many of their rivals. Although they recorded for Atlantic until 1956 they only issued 12 singles. The rise of the teenage vocal groups probably contributed to their demise, and they went the way of the 78 rpm format.

Let me finish this post with a plea to anyone from the reissue companies who happens by – please, please, please bring out a set which does justice to The Cardinals.

Ripped from shellac & 50s vinyl at 80 kbps. Password = greaseyspoon

Download from here:

http://rapidshare.com/files/130855264/Wheel_Of_Fortune.rar

Or here:

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=Q8SZISMQ

1. Shouldn't I Know
2. Please Don't Leave Me This Way
3. Pretty Baby Blues
4. I'll Always Love You
5. She Rocks
6. The Bump
7. Lovie Darling
8. You Are My Only Love
9. The Door Is Still Open
10. Miserlou
11. Lovely Girl
12. Here Goes My Heart To You
13. Off Shore
14. Choo Choo
15. I Won't Make You Cry Anymore
16. The End Of My Story
17. Wheel Of Fortune
18. Come Back My Love
19. Two Things I Love
20. Near You
21. One Love

The Cardinals Singles

- Shouldn't I Know c/w Please Don't Leave Me (Atlantic 938) 1951
- Pretty Baby Blues c/w I'll Always Love You (Atlantic 952) 1951
- Wheel Of Fortune c/w Kiss Me Baby (Atlantic 958) Jan 1952
- She Rocks c/w The Bump (Atlantic 972) 1952
- Lovie Darling c/w You Are My Only Love (Atlantic 995) 1953
- Please Baby c/w Under A Blanket Of Blue (Atlantic 1025) 1954
- The Door Is Still Open c/w Misirlou (Atlantic 1054) 1955
- Come Back My Love c/w Two Things I Love (Atlantic 1067) 1955
- Lovely Girl c/w Here Goes My Heart To You (Atlantic 1079) 1955
- Off Shore c/w Choo Choo (Atlantic 1090) 1956
- I Won't Make You Cry Anymore c/w The End Of The Story (Atlantic 1101) Aug 1956
- One Love c/w Near You (Atlantic 1126) end 1956

Friday, 18 July 2008

"Stardust" - The Dominoes after Federal

Joan K sent these Billy Ward & The Dominoes mp3s and label scans a while back but I thought I would delay posting them as I knew that Marv Goldberg would be writing about The Dominoes in Blues & Rhythm magazine. The second part of Marv’s story on The Dominoes is in the current edition of Blues & Rhythm and you can also read about them on his website at:

http://www.uncamarvy.com/Dominoes/dom01.html

The first four tracks on Joan’s collection were recorded for Jubilee while The Dominoes were still contracted to Federal / King. That contract expired in 1956 and the group signed up with Decca (tracks 5 – 10). Their first release, “St Therese of the Roses”, with Jackie Wilson on lead was a substantial pop hit but they failed to find a follow up hit while with Decca. In early 1957 Jackie Wilson left following the almost inevitable dispute with strict disciplinarian Billy Ward. The group was then signed to Liberty Records with Gene Mumford of The Larks being brought in as lead singer.

“Stardust”, their first release on Liberty, was a big success in the pop charts as was their next release “Deep Purple”. By this stage The Dominoes were no longer an R&B group. It had long been Ward’s ambition to turn them into a pop group and Las Vegas lounge act and he had now achieved his aim. There were further changes in personnel, including the departure of Mumford (replaced by Monroe Powell) but no further chart success. The Dominoes finished with Liberty and moved to ABC Paramount in 1960 for one recording session.

As I’ve already pointed out, the full story can be read in great detail in Marv Goldberg’s articles. It is a story which fascinates as Ward ditched the raw gospel influenced R&B sound of the group’s early days with Clyde McPhatter as lead singer in a ruthless pursuit of pop success. The continual personnel changes and transformation of the group into just another lounge act did in fact bring such success but it was brief and the final days of the group do not make for very happy reading for fans of rhythm and blues.

One LP was released during the group’s Decca stay and Joan has sent a scan of the cover. The Liberty album “Sea of Glass” was a collection of religious songs. Many thanks again to Joan for this post.

Ripped from 1950s vinyl at 192 kbps. Surface noise present.

Download from here:

http://www22.zippyshare.com/v/3632532/file.html

The tracks on this collection are arranged in chronological order of release, each A side being followed by its B side.

1. Gimme Gimme Gimme
2. Come To Me Baby
3. Sweethearts On Parade
4. Take Me Back to Heaven
5. St Therese Of The Roses
6. Home Is Where You Hang Your Heart
7. I Don't Stand A Ghost Of A Chance
8. To Each His Own
9. When The Saints Go Marching In
10. September Song
11. Stardust
12. Lucinda
13. Deep Purple
14. Do It Again
15. Sweeter As The Years Go By
16. Solitude
17. Please Don't Say No
18. Behave Hula Girl

Tracks 1-4 were recorded for Jubilee in September 1954 and released in 1954/55.
Tracks 5-10 were recorded for Decca in June 1956 and January 1957. They were released between June 1956 and December 1957.
Tracks 11-18 were recorded for Liberty between March 1957 and some time in late 1958 or early 1959. They were released between April 1957 and February 1959.

Monday, 14 July 2008

The Best Of The Five Keys (Aladdin LP 806)

Thanks to Joan once again for these sound and picture files. The Five Keys are one of my favourite vocal groups – right up there with The Orioles, The “5” Royales, The Clovers, The Midnighters and the Clyde McPhatter–led versions of The Dominoes and The Drifters. With twin tenors Rudy West and Maryland Pierce, they were capable of handling both tender ballads and rocking jump tunes.

This album was released on Aladdin in 1956, 2 years after the group had left the label, stopping briefly at the RCA Victor subsidiary Groove for one session which was never released before moving on to Capitol where they recorded successful sides like “Ling Ting Tong”, “Close Your Eyes” and “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”. The Five Keys first chart success had been with Aladdin in 1951 when their second release “Glory of Love” reached number 1 in the R&B charts.

This album was re-released in 1957 on Aladdin’s budget price subsidiary Score, with a new title “On The Town” and new cover artwork. See Joan’s scans below for this cover and a variety of label shots.

Ripped at various bitrates. Password = greaseyspoon

Download from here:

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=KV081XZ7

Or here:

http://rapidshare.com/files/129683383/The_Best_of_The_Five_Keys.rar

1. The Glory Of Love
2. Oh! Baby
3. My Saddest Hour
4. Hucklebuck With Jimmy
5. These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)
6. Christmas Time
7. Red Sails In The Sunset
8. Too Late Baby
9. Teardrops In Your Eyes
10. Be Mine
11. Love My Lovin'
12. Serve Another Round

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Look! It's The Moonglows (Chess LP-1430)

Thanks to Joan K. for these sound files and a folder of label shots and cover scans.

Founded in Cleveland by Harvey Fuqua, Prentiss Barnes and Danny Coggins as “The Crazy Sounds”, the trio became a quartet with the addition of Bobby Lester. In 1952 Alan Freed became their manager and they made their first recordings in 1953 for Freed’s Champagne label. You can find one of these sides, “I’ve Been Your Dog”, on this blog on the post “I Always Remember”. Use the search box and you’ll find the album!

The disc failed to make any impact and Coggins left to be replaced by Alexander Graves. In September 1953 the group signed for Chance Records who issued a series of their sides until September 1954. Some of these Chance recordings will be included in a future post on this blog. September ’54 turned out to be a momentous month for both Freed and The Moonglows as it was at this time that Freed moved to WINS in New York and The Moonglows signed for Chess Records in Chicago.

One of the sides from their first Chess session was “Sincerely” which reached number 1 in the R&B charts and number 20 in the pop charts. A cover version by The McGuire Sisters was a number 1 pop hit. The Moonglows career continued with regular releases on Chess and regular appearances in Alan Freed rock ‘n’ roll stage shows. In 1956 they appeared along with Freed in “Rock, Rock, Rock” one of the earliest rock ‘n’ roll exploitation movies.

The tracks on this album (released in 1958 along with two EPs) were recorded between 1956 and 1958. The original Moonglows broke up at the beginning of 1959. I bought a vinyl repro of this album back in the 1980s expecting some rockin’ R&B and I still remember the disappointment I felt when I played the disc only to find that the majority of the tracks were ballads with string accompaniment. Now that I’ve listened to it again in the line of duty as it were (the sacrifices I make for bebopwino fans!), I find that I really like it. Maybe my taste is more eclectic, or maybe it’s because I’ve been listening to those echo-drenched ballads recorded by Gene Ammons, but I’m definitely in the mood for this kind of stuff. Unlike recordings by certain other R&B artists in the second half of the 50s, the arrangements here are subtle and compliment the vocals (mostly by Fuqua).

Download with confidence and await the rockin’ side of the Moonglows in a future post! Enjoy Joan’s sights ‘n’ sounds! Oh, and don’t forget to read the full Moonglows story on Marv Goldberg’s site. Just click on the “Unca Marvy’s R&B Page” link in the side bar. Tell him Boogiewoody sent ya.

Ripped from vinyl at 192/256 kbps. Password = greaseyspoon

Download link:

http://www37.zippyshare.com/v/T5am5IjY/file.html


1. Love Is A River
2. Blue Velvet
3. This Love
4. When I'm With You
5. I'll Stop Wanting You
6. Don't Say Goodbye
7. Ten Commandments Of Love
8. Kiss Me Baby
9. Penny Arcade
10. Mean Old Blues
11. Sweeter Than Words
12. Cold Feet

Here's a selection of Joan's scans:

Monday, 7 July 2008

Gene Ammons - Early Visions (Chess Jazz Masters)

Born in Chicago in 1925, tenor sax player Gene Ammons was the son of boogie woogie pianist Albert Ammons. At the age of 18 he joined the band of trumpet player King Kolax and then moved to the bebop influenced band of Billy Eckstine.

When the Eckstine aggregation broke up Ammons started working the clubs in Chicago, among them the Mocambo Lounge owned by Leonard and Phil Chess who had started Aristocrat Records, which soon became Chess Records. Naturally Gene was given the chance to record for the Chess brothers in 1948 (he’d already recorded for Mercury in 1947, succeeding in getting an R&B hit with “Red Top”). The first 4 sides in this collection are from that October 1948 session and include some tenor sax battles with Tom Archia. Sax battles were a feature of Ammons’ career – with Dexter Gordon when they were both in the Eckstine band, and later with Sonny Stitt when they were both recording for Prestige.

There was a further Chess session in 1949 (tracks 5-8 on disc 1) which included a couple of rather forgettable vocal sides by Christine Chatman and Mary Graham (“Do You Really Mean It?” and “Bless You”). From that same session “Once In a While” set the pattern for many of Gene’s subsequent sides – a romantic ballad with added echo. In 1950 Gene had his biggest R&B hit with “My Foolish Heart”. The sides featured here were recorded between 1948 and 1951. In the latter part of this period Gene was also recording for Prestige with whom he had further R&B chart success in 1951 with “Jug”. Gene’s Prestige sides will feature in a future post.

Joan has supplied some label shots from some of Gene’s Chess singles. She is simply indefatigable!

Ripped from vinyl at 320 kbps. Password = greaseyspoon

Download from here (one BIG download as Rapidshare has upped its file size limit):

http://rapidshare.com/files/127957508/Early_Visions.rar

or from here:

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=733EK6MK

Disc 1

1. Swinging For Xmas
2. The Talk Of The Town
3. The Battle
4. Jam For Boppers
5. Do You Really Mean It?
6. Bless You
7. Stuffy
8. Once In A While
9. Pennies From Heaven
10. Cha Bootie
11. More Moon
12. The Last Mile

Disc 2

1. Goodbye
2. Ten Or Eleven
3. It's You Or No One
4. My Foolish Heart
5. Jug Head Ramble
6. You Go To My Head
7. Baby Won't You Please Say Yes
8. Don't Do Me Wrong
9. Prelude To A Kiss
10. Can Anyone Explain
11. You're Not The Kind
12. Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Rock and Roll with Joe Houston and his Rockets (Tops L1518)



Side One:
1. Off Beat
2. Rock That Boogie
3. No Name Rock
4. Goofin'
5. Joe's Rock
6. Tall Gal Blues

Side Two:
1. All Night Long
2. Movin' And Groovin'
3. Corn Bread And Cabbage Greens
4. I Woke Up This Morning
5. Flying Home
6. Teen-Age Boogie

Once again I must thank a certain anonymous sax fan who sent this Joe Houston LP for us all to share. In fact that comes nowhere near a strong enough expression of my gratitude. What I would like each and every one of you bebopwinos out there to do is to get down on your knees and in true “Wayne’s World” fashion yell, “We are not worthy! We are not worthy!”

Anyone who attempts to make sense of the complete 1950s Joe Houston discography is probably doomed to madness as he flitted between various Los Angeles record companies, most notably John Dolphin’s group of labels (Recorded in Hollywood, Cash, Money), the Biharis’ Modern/RPM/Flair/Crown outfit and Jake Porter’s Combo label. Jim Dawson probably nails it in his cover notes to the Ace (UK) CD “Joe Houston Blows Crazy!” In those notes he states that the Biharis bought Joe’s original version of “All Night Long” from John Dolphin and used it on an LP called “Blows All Nite Long” released on Modern in April 1956. The inspiration for this album (according to Jim) was an LP released on the low budget Tops label called “Rock and Roll with Joe Houston”, the tracks for which Joe had recorded in one session, including a new version of “All Night Long”.

The Tops Records story is told at length on The Both Sides Now website. Briefly, Tops Music Enterprises was founded in Los Angeles in 1947 by Carl Doshay and Sam Dickerman as a distribution company which bought up and sold on second hand jukebox records. In the early fifties they started recording cover versions of the hits of the day and releasing them on the low budget Tops Record label. In the mid-fifties Tops started recording and releasing original material by “name” artists who were past the first flush of fame or else by artists who were hopefully up and coming.

And so amongst the rather cheesy albums by the likes of The Jay Wilbur Orchestra, The Christian Chapel Choir, Scatman Crothers, and Akoni Lani & His Islanders, there appeared this gem by Joe Houston. Both Sides Now gives it a release year of 1957 and Modern’s “Blows All Nite Long” as 1956, which doesn’t quite match up with Jim Dawson’s note that the Tops album influenced the Biharis’ decision to release their own Joe Houston album. However, Brian Lee’s Color Radio website (which features some great Joe Houston label shots) gives the Tops album’s release as 1956 which is probably the correct year.

What really matters is the music which is top notch R&B / rock ‘n’ roll. I wouldn’t mind knowing who the backing musicians are! Joan K has supplied some Joe Houston label shots from Money (including the original “All Night Long”) and Modern which will round the post off nicely. Thanks Joan!

Ripped at 320 kbps.

Download from here:

http://www19.zippyshare.com/v/gYgbJ2HH/file.html


1. Off Beat
2. Rock That Boogie
3. No Name Rock
4. Goofin'
5. Joe's Rock
6. Tall Gal Blues
7. All Night Long
8. Movin' And Groovin'
9. Corn Bread And Cabbage Greens
10. I Woke Up This Morning
11. Flying Home
12. Teen-Age Boogie

Friday, 4 July 2008

The Cool, Cool Penguins (Dootone DTL-242 - LP)

Thanks to Joan K for the sights and sounds of this Dootone album from 1958.

You gotta love the album art – 4 guys in penguin suits, a block of ice, a stuffed penguin, it just has to be The Cadillacs! No, only kidding! So let us now turn our attention to The Penguins.

Founded in Los Angeles in late 1953 by tenor Cleveland Duncan and bass/baritone Curtis Williams, The Penguins signed for Dootsie Williams’ Dootone Records in early 1954. Curtis Williams had been working on a song with Gaynel Hodge of The Hollywood Flames for some time prior to inking the pact with the Dootone diskery prexie. That song, “Earth Angel”, would soon become one of the top selling R&B records of all time. Released in the autumn of 1954 as the B side to “Hey Senorita”, its progress up the R&B charts was hesitant at first, but by January 1955 it had reached number one.

This was the era of the cover version, when the major record companies would latch on to successful R&B records and produce sweetened versions which would then pick up the pop chart action. Sure enough several cover versions of “Earth Angel” duly appeared, the most successful of which was that by The Crew Cuts on Mercury which reached number 3 in the pop charts. But this time round there was a twist to the tale as The Penguins’ original version also shot up the pop charts, reaching number 8. “Earth Angel” has subsequently come to be regarded as an important record in the rise of rock and roll as it proved that genuine R&B could sell big in the pop market.

However, there were to be no more big hits for The Penguins. They signed a management deal with Buck Ram who took them to Mercury Records. Ram also owned (the name, the royalties, everything) a fairly nondescript group called The Platters who had been recording unsuccessfully on Federal, and he took these apparent second raters with him to Mercury as part of The Penguins deal. It was The Platters who benefited from Ram’s songwriting, producing and promoting talents as they had a huge hit with “Only You” and were soon speeding down the highway to international stardom. The Penguins, who had refused to sign up to the kind of contract that Ram liked, continued to record unsuccessfully for Mercury for a couple of years before winding up back at Dootone, which brings us to this album “The Cool, Cool Penguins” which was released in 1958.

The sides here were recorded in 1957 and 1958 and are good rock and roll / doowop material. Ripped from vinyl by Joan, there is some surface noise present but the sound quality is generally good. Joan has included scans from one of 3 EPs which were released (in 1958) featuring the tracks from the LP.

For the full story of The Penguins and “Earth Angel” go to Marv Goldberg’s site.

Ripped from vinyl at 192 kbps. Password = greaseyspoon

Download from here:

http://rapidshare.com/files/126864207/The_Cool__Cool_Penguins.rar

1. Do Not Pretend
2. If You're Mine
3. Cold Heart
4. Want Me
5. Sweet Love
6. Let Me Make Up Your Mind
7. Money Talks
8. Lover Or Fool
9. Butterball
10. Heart Of A Fool
11. Be My Lovin' Baby
12. That's How Much I Need You