Sunday, April 09, 2006

American Idol, 1944 style!

Welcome to the first post of AudiOddities... as stated in the description, this is where I'll be posting stuff that's not commercial released 78 shellac... and I have quite a few things in here that aren't in the mold of the Shellac Shanty. Amazing what kind of gems (and junque) you can find at the thrift stores and the flea markets and the anteeky stores......

...kinda like these recordings here. I found three 7-inch home-recording discs in a bag of 45s at the thrift store tonight, all dated 1944, and done on a RecorDisc machine. These were recorded in someone's living room, and probably during some kind of party where alcohol was involved (as you can probably tell in a couple of the recordings). The two gentlen singing billed themselves as "Chick & Stick", and, well, would have been given the old heave-ho by the british guy on American Idol in the very early rounds. Not to mention a distinct lack of microphone technique (very overdriven during the alleged singing)...

Home recordings were popular in the mid to late 40s, and could take many forms. I have seen some recordings of voices from home front to the soldier fighting on the lines in WW2, I have seen some transcriptions of radio broadcasts, and some others of just voices of family for rememberance. I have some also of some darn good country/western artists rehearsing in their living room in Grangeville, Idaho (which I'll post one of these eons, because this family was DARN GOOD, musically). It's kind of like pot-luck with these, you never know what you're gonna get until you drop the needle on the disc. And hope that the disc doesn't self-destruct. I have had that happen with some acetate-on-glass recordings, the record groove surface was flaking off DURING PLAYBACK! Good thing I had the computer and the reel-to-reel in record mode as I was playing the disc.... I hate seeing history go bye-bye.

(deep cleansing breath)

The other reason for this blog is to include stuff like this:

I found this record in the same bag of 45s that had the Chick & Stick sides in it. It was put out by Mattel Toys for one of their Barbie-type doll lines, only the doll's name was apparently "Heather", and was supposed to be a singing pop star type thing, marketed under the name of "Rock Flowers" (how groovy and hip was THAT...). The disc is a burnt-orange plastic (always condusive for that pristine pressing quality...NOT!) disc with some slots next to the spindle hole for the doll to put her feet in so that it would spin merrily at 33 1/3 rpm and the pre-teens of 1970 (when this was released) would go "Ooo!" and "Ahh!" and then dance merrily around the room, knocking kiddie-phono and doll off of the table, onto the floor, etc etc etc....

The music is, well, not too bad on the second side, "Sweet Times" (aimed at the non-white kids), it's got some kick to it! The "Sing My Song" side? Break out the insulin! Someone was on some of the leftover brown tabs from Woodstock when they wrote THOSE lyrics!


Oh well, enough drivel. I'll post some more later on, after you get over the initial shock of these recordings.

As always, please feel free to leave comments, and the tunes can be enjoyed by right-clicking on the link and downloading, if you don't want to hear them straight off.



  • Brad,

    Fun stuff! Thanks. I love listening to home recordings, even when they're this bad! The Heather sides are a treat, too.

    The home recordings I find in thrifts are often unlabeled (and, therefore, could be anything) or too trashed to bother with. Every once in a great while, something cool shows up.


    By Blogger Lee Hartsfeld, at 11:32 PM  

  • Brad & Lee,

    After my father passed away, I was forced by my family to part w/ most of my beloved “junk” as we prepared to sell the house. I came across my collection of 45s & 33 1/3 records and everything had to stop – as I went back down memory lane. I actually have that plastic burnt-orange Mattel record, and I remember adoring it for all its oddities.

    Now, I can’t remember exactly how I came into possession of this record, but I can tell you I played the hell out of it when I was a child - in the early eighties. I’m just now finding out after searching the internet that it accompanied a special line of Mattel Barbie dolls – that’s news to me. But to have the actual “Heather” doll & record…Wow, I wonder how much that would be worth? I wonder how much the record itself is worth?

    Until I reached your blog, I had not heard that syrupy “Sing My Song” or the groovy “Sweet Times” in over 20yrs – thank you for that!


    By Blogger tea397, at 7:53 PM  

  • Bubblegum collectors know the Rock Flowers, you bet! Heather was one of the Rock Flowers Dolls that can be seen here. Matt of Scrubbles posted videos of the dolls.

    In addition to the doll 45s, the Rock Flowers also released at least two full length LPs [bottom of alphabetical page] that are prized among bubblegum lovers. Singer Debra Clinger was also in other cartoon and bubblegum bands, such as Kaptain Kool and the Kongs [Peter Pan Records], and was a Sid and Marty Krofft soundtrack singer. I have wondered if she was related to Peggy Clinger, the singer for the Cattanooga Cats cartoon band.

    By Blogger Katya Oddio, at 4:06 PM  

  • They were sisters! They recorded as the Clinger Sisters, duh. Here's a radio show [pls stream] and playlist featuring them in their many bubblegum guises. It is brought to you by the Test Pattern show on WZBC, Boston College Radio. Cool! Thanks for the share, Impaler!

    By Blogger Katya Oddio, at 4:27 PM  

  • Oh my God! I had Heather! And Rosemary! I played those bright plastic disks to death while making homemade clothes for the Rock Flowers. I hadn't heard those songs in at least 30 years, but I could still sing along. I can't remember what I did yesterday, but I remember the lyrics to Sweet Times. Thank you SO much for posting these.

    By Anonymous TAW, at 6:23 PM  

  • Oh my god- I've wanted to hear Sweet Times for so long!! And now the link doesn't seem to work!!
    I'd be so grateful if you could post it again. GENIUS!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:35 AM  

  • Oh My Gosh!! I just bought all the Rock Flowers plastic records on Ebay, but they skip all over the place. I am dying to have "Sweet Times" and "Sing My Song", but your link doesn't work. Please post again & THANKS!!!

    By Blogger MZ, at 2:15 PM  

  • I found a couple recordisc that were my great uncles, who performed professionally in the 40'a and 50's in So Cal. One disc says title Slim Gaillard...recorder Don, John, Gene (his name was Tom)other side tilte looks like Carl Calls. How can I get these records played, and how am I sure John, Gene, or Don didn't end up being famous and I have a teasure on my hands? Any suggestions?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:46 AM  

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