Thursday, October 30, 2014

Singles Going Steady 20-St Louis Singles

Two months ago, I might have managed to have one of the best bargain hunts ever found in Davenport, which I documented in the last installment.  I made the comment that that August finds might have been the best overall finds in an era which the 45 is all but forgotten.  For the 45 crate digger, and there are some of you out there that enjoy the 45 as much as me, it's like finding a 20 dollar bill in a bar parking lot, or a gold nugget in your gravel, very few and far between and it's too bad that will never happen again.  You have to be in the right place at the right time and well heck, getting Bob Dylan and Buddy Holly 45s and in decent shape makes it all worthwhile.  But I also considered that to be a fluke, that 9 out of 10 bargain hunts what you do find in 45s are either scratched up or unworthy pop crap nobody cares about anymore.  Except for the 45 hoarder.

Last week's bargain hunt in St Louis was the Fall bargain hunt event.  Madison I was up there in July and wasn't too impressed with the stuff found so I turned my attention to St. Louis, home of the Cardinals, Chuck Berry and still a few great record stores.  The majority of stuff came from Record Exchange, home of the largest upstairs collection of 45s and I spent 5 and half hours combing through what was available and basically ignoring the dumpster 45s, the ones by the walls, not priced, no jacket and I'd still be up there if the owner gave me the free rein like he did last Friday.  Vintage Vinyl, had the second most vinyl records but the 45s were on the ground and while it was fun sorting through the dumpers, the problem was that shoppers were trying to get through my big fat behind while crate digging 45s.  But the thrift stores was where it was at but alas once again, The Salvation Army in Granite City, which had benefited from the closing of the Vintage Vinyl in that city and had some 45s rescued by me in 2009, their selection was no better than any other thrift store, although I did score up Tea For Two Cha Cha from Tommie Dorsey  (Decca 9-30704) a 1958 remake.  The B side My Baby Just Cares For Me, I am more familiar with Nina Simone's version.  The big band era was over in 58 but Dorsey still hung around to make singles but at that time getting on the cha cha craze that was sweeping the nation.  A bit of cheese but also some of historical value.

For the most part, the records found were to me historical documents as well.  Growing up, there was no shortage of 45s anywhere and those that my mom bought came from 4 for a dollar and the 10 pack of records that K mart had on sale.  But a lot of the EBAY records that I did comb over were either overpriced or didn't exist.  Which was the reason why I targeted going to St Louis and Record Exchange for forgotten 45s.  And I came up with some long sought after stuff.  After scaring away the employee by mentioning I was looking for a better copy of Cruel World by Don Hollinger, I did ask him what time he close shop and he mentioned 9 PM.  It was 3 05 when I begin my search.  And although they might have had that record, I did finally find Frankie Randall's Tears And Kisses (RCA 47-8434) as a DJ promo for three dollars.  And it's nice to finally have a copy that I can play without retributions from the grooves wrote off on my copy.  Randall, a pop singer, fairly does a nice job on a David Gates (Later the main songwriter of Bread's biggest hits) arrangement that echoes part motown and part Phil Spector.  I'm guessing Hal Blaine is playing drums on this song, noticed by his patented staggered eights beats on the fadeout.  I'm surprised this hasn't shown up in You Tube.

For those silly answer records that Dickie Goodman put out, there were others answer records that I did find.  One of those Report To The Nation by Winkly & Nutly (Jim Stag/Bob Mitchell doing a parody of Hunkley/Brinkley when those two were the toast of network news radio).  Report To The Nation (MK-101 1960)

Written by Bob Krasnow, rumor has this record peaking at  the charts at a lowly 91 in 1960. For a novelty record this has some of the up and coming radio and record executives, with Bob Mitchell later joining forces with the late Tom Donohue for Autumn Records and Krasnow forming Loma Records and Blue Thumb.

The Salvation Army in Marion had a beat up copy of Report To The Nation but I think they threw it out to the landfill, that copy was beat up, but Record Exchange had this for 10 dollars.  But it's one of those have to have singles.  The other answer record was The Great Debate by Ron Cameron Nazy interviewing Mr. Ickson, a play on Richard Nixon (3 Trey 45-3013 released 1960) and compare this to Report To The Nation kind of a disappointment and only clocks in at 1:30 rather than the 1:50 on the forty five

For thrift store 45s, Granite City Goodwill had more to choose from and I found a decent copy of Johnny Russell Red Necks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer (RCA Gold Standard GB-10168 1973), and Kenny Rogers/First Edition of Lady, Play Your Symphony (Jolly Rogers/MGM J-1001 1972) Rogers who had some hits with The First Edition moved over from Reprise to his own label Jolly Rogers, and promptly disappeared from view till 1975 which he became a country artist.  The Jolly Rogers 45s are somewhat hard to come by, although they're not worth much on the market.  I didn't expect to find much at the St Vincent DePaul but what I came up was Jackie Lee's aka Jacky  White Horses (Phillips 40533  1968) and a fairly decent copy of Billy Grammar's Gotta Travel On (Monument 45-400  1958).

I think I took home about 25 45s, for the best and unusual 10, I offer up these.

1.  I Wanna Take You Higher-Brian Auger & The Trinity (RCA 74-0381)  1970  RCA had the instrumental Listen Here as a promo but certain radio stations actually played the B side which was a cover of Sly And The Family Stone's album cut classic.  The gospel station KTOF actually did play some Brian Auger once in a while including this song and so did the mighty G100 (later KKRQ The Fox). Auger managed to have some fine singles out there that I did find at thrift stores and later on I did buy a few of his RCA albums and do think a couple of them are classics (Oblivion Express, Closer To It!) but in all honesty I liked the ones that didn't have Alex Livengood singing on them.  But that's a matter of opinion.

2.   I Can't Stop-The Smiths (Columbia 4-44494)  1968  No relation to the Marion Iowa band of the early 70s or the more popular legendary British band with Morrissey and Johnny Marrs but rather a band that made this one off for Columbia before shortening their name to Smith and picking up Gayle McCormick and making a couple of albums for Dunhill. I Can't Stop kinda reminds me of Paul Revere And The Raiders but with horns added in.  Never seen this 45 till I saw 2 copies over at Record Exchange.  Now they only have one left.

3.  Gator Tails And Monkey Ribs-The Spats (ABC Paramount 45-10585)  1964  For a garage rock band I have never heard this song prior to the internet but I can actually hear melodies from the likes of Louie Louie, Farmer John, The Game Of Love and so forth. Led by the Johnson Brothers, Dick on vocals, they recorded 5 singles and an album for ABC Paramount but in the CD era, forgotten.  Unless you get bored and start listening to 45s, or research the internet for forgotten garage rock classics.  Did well on the regional charts although on Billboard it appeared for one week at number 96.

4.  Those Fabulous Sixties-National Lampoon (Banana/Blue Thumb BTA 218)   1972
B side to the Les Crane parody Deteriorata, National Lampoon actually made some enjoyable funny albums of the 1970s, the Visa compiled Greatest Misses comes to mind.  To which this recording makes fun of those late night record ads  you see that now come from Time Life or Star Vista they're now called.  Whoever did the Bob Dylan vocal makes a better a Dylan than the Bob we know and love nowadays. You might know him as Christopher Guest who would later join forces with Rob "meathead" Reiner to do a spoof rock movie This Is Spinal Tap.  Another single that I have never seen till I came across it over at Euclid Records.

5.  Last Night Ska-Bryon Lee And The Ska Kings (Atlantic 45-2236)  1964  Before reggae there was something from Jamaica called Ska and in the early 60s that sound was the big thing going on down there. Up here in the US a different story although some minor Jamaica hits did come about, the most well known, Millie Small's My Boy Lollipop.  The Skatallies were perhaps the best and well known but Bryon Lee and his band (known moreso as The Dragonaires) were just as good as they covered some of the more finer jazz and R and B instrumental numbers.  This is a cover of the Mar Keys's classic number. Atlantic did issue an 1964 album called Jamaica Ska which features Bryon Lee and The Maytals and is very hard to find and if you do find it, very pricey.   The 45s are no less cheaper either.

6.  Darlene-Whispering Pigg  (East West EW-111)  1958  From the mind of Larry "Pigg" Randall and produced by Norman Petty (who'll appear later on in this list) this oddball number didn't do much on the charts.  Atlantic, interested in signing up some Petty acts I think, put this out on the short lived East West label to which it didn't do much.  Darlene was about Larry's girlfriend at the time who would leave him later on for Jimmy Bowen (Producer to the stars, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Waylon Jennings, later president of MCA Nashville) who had a minor successful recording career of his own.

7.  Baby,  Come Back-The Equals (RCA Victor 47-9583)  1968  Originally recorded in 1966 but issued two years later via RCA it made it up to number 32.  RCA did compiled the best of their output for President Records, an over the pond label for the album Baby Come Back, that record also featured Police On My Back, later covered by The Clash.  Eddy Grant would go on a solo career and a big 80s hit with Electric Avenue.

8.  California Blues-Redwing (Fantasy FANT-657)  1971  While it is known that Credence Clearwater Revival is the best selling band ever to be on Fantasy Records, they actually had some competition from Sacramento's Redwing, not to be confused with the bar band that was around Cedar Rapids in the early 80s.  Their music was more Poco than CCR but Redwing does have a few hardcore fans out there keeping their memory alive. Tim Schmidt did join up with Poco before Redwing started recording for Fantasy.  They made five listenable albums before calling it a day.  Strange about Fantasy Records rehashing and reissing and repacking out CCR albums but they never ever reissued a single Redwing album on CD (as far as I know).  A kind of injustice there if you ask me.

9.  Come On, React!-The Fireballs (Atco 45-6614)  1968  Perhaps the longest lasting band that Norman Petty produced, they were originally a instrumental surf band making a few recordings for Top Rank (later reissued via Sundazed).  Of course Jimmy Gilmer got a hit with Sugar Shack but still remained with the band till their breakup in around 1969.  They scored an off the wall hit with Bottle Of Wine and then managed to pop this song up to number 63 and on the regional charts managed to hit the top 30.  Certainly there was much more to The Fireballs then Sugar Shack, their version of Say I Am What I Am is better than Tommy James' version.

10.  God, Love, And Rock And Roll (We Believe)-Teegarden and Vanwinkle  (Plumm  68102)  1970
Also can be found under Westbound W-170   Perhaps one of the hardest to find 45s in an era that I grew up listening to, I came across the Plumm 45 version rather than the Westbound.label although I'm sure it's still the same song but on different labels.  Skip "Van Winkle" Knape plays some mighty cool organ on here and David Teegarden is one of the most underrated drummers out there. Both would play on Bob Seger's Smokin O.P.s LP for Palladium/Reprise (later reissued on Capitol) later on.

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