Friday, 12 November 2010

Joe Houston - Doin' The Twist (Crown CLP 5246)


Side One:
1. Doin' The Twist
2. Twisting The Twist
3. Crazy Twist
4. White House Twist
5. Chitlun's Twist

Side Two:
1. Rocking The Twist
2. Roy's Twist
3. Joe's Twist
4. Texas Twist
5. Casino Twist

We thank a new donor, El Enmascadero Del Platter, to the blog for this Joe Houston LP issued in 1962 on the budget Crown label. Crown had existed since 1953 as part of the Biharis Modern / RPM / Flair setup and had been used for the occasional 45 rpm single release. In 1957 the Biharis transformed Crown into an outlet for budget LPs, starting with reissues of Modern and RPM LPs including some good jazz, R&B and rock and roll by artists such as Stan Getz, Hadda Brooks, The Cadets, Joe Houston, B.B. King, Wardell Gray and Vido Musso.

"Hum Bug" - Joe Houston 45 on Crown 1953/54 (scan courtesy of Joan K)
Thanks to "Brian with a B" for cleaned up version of LP cover
The story of Crown can be found on the admirable Both Sides Now website which includes many cover scans which provide an excellent impression of the kind of material issued on Crown once the back catalogue of Modern / RPM LPs had been exhausted. There were dozens of issues of cover versions both of chart hits and of the top stage and film musicals of the day. All kinds of generic music was pushed out on Crown, such as brass bands, polkas, Christmas tunes, honky tonk piano, George Liberace, Hawaiian music, children’s songs, you get the picture.

Packaging and vinyl quality were shoddy in the extreme, but in amongst the schlock there were many releases of good R&B material from the vaults of Modern, RPM and Flair, which means that cheapo Crown LPs have always been of interest to fans of rhythm and blues. Indeed Ace (UK) have reissued a number of Crown albums on CD but naturally with extra tracks and vastly improved packaging.



No passing fad was immune from a cheap knock off on Crown and in 1962 at the height of the Twist craze the label issued a number of discs to cash in on the dance that was sweeping the nation. The tracks on this Joe Houston album were probably recorded for the LP and not simply gathered from the catalogues of Modern, RPM and Flair. We’ll be continuing our look at the Crown label on a number of upcoming posts, including a look at another twist LP which takes a different approach to this one!

Now it’s over to El Enmascadero Del Platter who recalls the impact of those Crown LPs at first hand:

Doin' The Twist- Joe Houston is one of those "record collector" records. When I worked in a used record store in Boston in the '80's, it (along with Joe's Twisting In Orbit and Rock and Roll with Joe Houston and his Rockets), was one of the "grail" records that the owner kept displayed on the wall. I have the same display on a wall of my record room today. The ultra-cheap Crown label was generally sold in grocery stores and the like, not record stores (remember record stores?)... The cover photo is glued unevenly on a plain white cardboard sleeve. Crown pressings are crude, but have a sound all their own. They kind of jump out of the speakers in a raw, gritty sort of way.

Thank you, El Enmascadero Del Platter!

Ripped from vinyl at 96 kbps. Password = greaseyspoon

Download from here:

http://www119.zippyshare.com/v/Bbu9BKQf/file.html


1. Doin' The Twist
2. Twisting The Twist
3. Crazy Twist
4. White House Twist
5. Chitlun's Twist
6. Rocking The Twist
7. Roy's Twist
8. Joe's Twist
9. Texas Twist
10. Casino Twist



And now for a special treat – a visit to the record room of El Enmascadero Del Platter at a top secret location somewhere in the USA.




Pride of place (in my view) goes to the 1940s Sparton radio / record player. Ain’t that a killer?



My 78 playing setup is a late 1940's Sparton am/phono console (78 RPM only) I trash-picked it when I was living in Boston. One morning I saw it out by the curb and said "I'll take that!"... I had to get a new cartridge for it- one of the local Boston used record stores, (Stereo Jack's, I think) got it for me. It has one 12" speaker that puts out a surprising amount of bass, not to mention sheer volume, on late forties and fifties 78's. It doesn't sound as good on records from the twenties. Although I have several other portable record players capable of playing 78's, the Sparton has the best tone, by far.

It could really stand to be refinished - the veneer is mostly all off the top, which is why I keep a tablecloth on it. Recently, it stopped putting out sound, but I was able to repair it by replacing one of the 6V6 power tubes. It just started suffering from a little mechanical squeaking sound when the turntable is spinning, which I plan to address soon. I don't think it will be too hard to fix. Every time I move, someone tries to talk me into discarding it, and I just laugh. Needless to say, for those in the throes of advanced record-collector disease, moving is a daunting task to be avoided if at all possible.

Once again, thank you to El Enmascadero Del Platter for this post.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Alright!

Anonymous said...

YOU'RE BACK! We have missed you, mate. - d.

boogiewoody said...

Cheers, chums. Yep I'm back, but still classified as walking wounded. If I'm going down, I'm going down rockin'!

Mark Barry said...

Beautiful stuff - as a 30-year fan of Rhythm 'n' Blues, Doo Wop and all that goes with it - I love your site.

Great photos - keep up the good work.

Mark Barry, Reckless Records, Soho, London.
Amazon New Reviewer UK - Number 8, USA 144.