Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fun With Scratchy Records Two

It's been a while since I have posted some old time scratched up relics from the past so I thought I'd share two examples of some of my overplayed and now retired grooves.  They got craters in them groove and one is cracked.

Don Hollinger-Cruel World (Atco 45-6492) 1967

Hardly anything shows up on the internet about  Delton (Don) Hollinger and so far nobody has put up this little funky R and B number, however the plug side  Until I Find You can be found on you tube.  I don't believe there's has been a stock copy of Atco 6492 only promo copies have been found from time to time and very pricey too on EBAY.  (further researched showed that somebody on EBAY had a stock copy of said song).  I'm not sure paying 40 dollars for a new copy warrants the situation to replace my old VG- G+ version, it still plays but I compare it to driving down a gravel road with bumps along the way.  Hollinger was a journeyman soul singer, he came from Georgia and had a much more grittier and growling vocal than Otis Redding or Bobby "blue" Bland. And since before the internet made things easier to research, and since there's not much about Hollinger and this forgotten soul classic, I'm guessing that the sessions sound like they came from Florida  at Criteria Studios, or perhaps a lesser known studio in Atlanta. You might call it a live in the studio recording with no overdubs.  It turned out to be the only single that he would record for Atco.  He would continue to write music for others and record off and on till his passing in 1991.  The best writeup comes from this site:

This single I got came from a Drive In on some promotion night in 1968, we were at an old now forgotten drive in in Waterloo and we won a batch of records, which I thought was a big deal but most of them were DJ promos of bands and artists nobody gave much thought about.  Somewhere in that stack of 45s, I recall most of them were blah, there was an Anita Bryant 45, Joe South And The Believers A Fool In Love and Cruel World/Until I Find You.  Being a 7 year old brat, these records were subjects of frisbee flying or trying to reproduce our own label.  Since they were black and white, why not take some magic markers and add color?  Didn't look so good on the other side of the 45 but Cruel World was left alone.   Had I known that trying to find a replacement copy would mean taking out a second mortgage on the house, I would have treated this record much more better.

And guess what. Cruel World is now on You Tube. Somebody remembered!

Bobby Brant-Piano Nellie  (East West 45-EW 124) 1958

The East West Story (1957-1958) simplified: 

Atlantic had three divisions of varying degree for their record roster.  Of course the big one was Atlantic, which at that time was for R and B and Doo Wop groups, Atco was more of a rock and roll label even back in the 1950s, that's where Bobby Darin started after being on Decca and of course later on Vanilla Fudge, Cream and Sonny And Cher would be on Atco. Which leaves us East West, better known as the one off label for also-rans or licensed from minor labels.  David Gates (Bread)  released Swinging Baby Doll (EW 123-1958) a rockabilly number that's like Bobby Darin with more a guitar sound, Charles Brown recorded When Did You Leave Heaven (EW 106 1957) in typical Brown fashion but the Dick Jacobs inspired arrangements date this badly.  Jay Holliday Wang Dang Doo (EW 102) is fairly tough rockabilly until the cornball vocal chorus derails the whole thing.  Al Henderson Ding Dong Dandy (EW 113) gives visions of something that Bobby Rydell would get away with, with higher chart placings.  The only artist that got any chart position in the East West era (circa 1957-58) would be the Kingsmen (part of Bill Haley and The Comets fame) and their number 35  Week End (EW 115) in 1958.  Their followup Cat Walk (EW 120) didn't chart.

The strange aura of East West can be attributed to the different types of oddball music, Daddy Lolo (oriental rock and roll) by Ganim's Asia Minors (EW 109) would have sounded out of place even on AM radio in 1957,  The Tracey Twins' out of tune Heartbreak Hill (EW 108) The Glowtones period piece doo wop The Girl I Love (EW 101) and some attempts to cash in on the teen beat also came up with minimal results (Tony Castle, Burt Taylor).  But by 1959 Atlantic closed up East West and it remained closed until 1990 when they restarted the label and it did have much more success with the likes of AC DC, Pantera and En Vogue on the roster.

Although The Kingsmen' Week End was perhaps the better known rocking song, the toughest rocking single came from Bobby Nelson Poe, aka The Poe Kat aka Bobby Blant. Recording for Jim Lowe's White Rock label, Piano Nellie got picked up for distribution via East West EW 124.  Brant's Rhythm Rockers actually was the first rock and roll band backing up Wanda Jackson (Let's Have A Party) and Piano Nellie features the piano work of Big Al Downing, one of rock's most unknown players but had a style all his own.  After this single, Poe would focus his energies on management, getting a number 33 hit with She's The One by The Chartbusters (Mutual 502).  Poe would also would think up of something called the Pop Music Survey which basically is survey and consulting radio stations on upcoming hit singles.  Something that would backfire years later with the overplayed format surveys that radio stations haven't changed in 3 decades. Poe passed away in 2011.

If you followed this blog (and some folks do), you will note the importance of Piano Nellie.  My copy has seen better days and eventually I did replace this record with a much more playable reissue of the White Rock single that I got overseas via EBAY.  There's a hairline crack on this record and sad to say a victim of a five year doing abuse to this record.   Since I have not seen any pictures of the East West 45 of Piano Nellie, I decided to offer the services of my reference copy.  This record was included in a box of ten singles that was bought for a dollar at either an old Wells store or K mart.  Again, most of the other records were as good and were used for frisbees and I can name some of other 45s from this batch.  Ben E King's Let The Water Run Down (Atco 6415) was another song that I played till the grooves wrote off, great Bo Diddley riff, that 45 got replaced from a trip to St. Louis,  Ray Agee  Open Up Your Heart/The Gamble (Shirley 123631), The Spectors Three I Know Why (3 Trey T-102) and The Drifters He's Just A Playboy (Atlantic 2253) were also part of this collection. There was a Carla Thomas Stax single in there too but I didn't much care for that one.  You may have noticed that most if not all of these labels were part of the Atlantic Records distribution which might explain why all of these were in these cheapo cheapo box sets that sold for two dollars at the local department store.  The version of The Gamble off you Tube sounds like my old record:

Nevertheless Piano Nellie is quintessential rockabilly with Downing's piano driving the beat.  Gives me visions of The Blasters and perhaps if the Blasters would have heard this with Gene Taylor  perhaps they might have taken a crack at this song.  I can see Phil Alvin singing to this.  Of course, had we taken care of our records better than what we did 50 years back we can still listen to them today rather than leaving them as ref copies.  It's better to get the White Rock reissue, cheaper to than the East West copies which sell for at least 50 to 90 dollars in VG shape or better. 

Come to think of it, this is Al Downing's baby.  Bobby Brant just adds a bit of singing to sweeten the pot. Plus the band cooks too.  This is rock and roll.

The original fun with scratchy records can be found over here at this link:  Updates is that I found links that actually do have The Train by Ray Charles and The Cabin Crew so you can actually hear the songs:

I noticed that these scans of my scratchy 45s were found on a 45 cat website.  If it's a way to keep these records alive, even after the grooves have been wore off and only serve as reference copies so be it. 

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