Saturday, May 27, 2006

It's just...... Dinner Music!

I was debating just WHERE to post this album... first of all, CURSES BE TO MY DIGITAL CAMERAS!! I can't seem to get EITHER of them to get a pic so I can post the very bland and generic cover of this LP for you to gander in amazement at, or to get a shot of the label, which tells you even less.

So, I'll tell you what this collection is: Dinner Music. That's ALL the cover says. No artist info, nuttin'. Oh, yes, it is on a 10-inch Pontiac label 33 1/3 rpm disc. There's the clue! THese were sold for 79 cents each, made of some kind of polystyrene/shellac combination, and usually very very BAD. Or at least very very BORING.

As Peter Schickele once said: "These pieces were performed by an orchestra, under the direction of a conductor with a baton."

I didn't know whether to mar the mood of MoodieToonz with these exercises in blandness, or to stick them in the Oddities blog (this one)... I figured they were a little off-kilter, enough to put them here instead of there, and DEFINATELY not in the Shellac Shanty.

So, have some dinner music....

A Dream Of Love
On Wings Of Song
None But The Lonely Heart
Calm Is The Night
I Love Thee
I Love You Truly

Well, after listening to these terpsichorian trepidations, one wonders if this is music for dinner, or music to make you run from the dinner table into the Room of Relief. In some of these cuts it sounds like the orchestra is actually trying to get to the vomitorium.... but hey, whadd'ya want for 79 cents in 1952, rubber bisquick?

OK, here's a lousy pic of the cover....

and here's an even lousier shot of the label... I'll fix these as soon as I can get the damn camera to do what I want it to do...

I hate technology...

While we're at it, here's another wonderful Pontiac 79 cent record, Songs of Ireland. Yep, that's all it says, "Songs of Ireland". See for yourself...

Now, as you will all note, the tracks on the cover do NOT match what is on the label! Here's the label to prove it:

Here are the tracks as noted on the labels:

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen / Irish Washer Woman
Believe Me / Wearin' Of The Green
Come Back To Erin / Fisher's Horn Pipe
My Wild Irish Rose / An Irishman's Heart to the Ladies
Killarney / The Teetotaller's Reel
The HArp That Once Through Tara's Halls / Stack of Barley
The Last Rose of Summer - St. Patrick's Day in the Morning

The recordings themselves are, again, pretty pedestrian, but there are a couple of flashes of brilliance... we're not talking high-fidelity here, considering this is 1951 for this disc, and again a 79-center, but hey, not bad once you get the shellac noise out of these, and the discs were in pretty good shape, too.

I need to go to bed.

I still hate technology...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Metrics are Coming!!!

I ran across this while hitting the thrift stores for 78s and other stuff, and thought "Wow, what a great LP for the AudiOddities blog!" I usually keep my eyes out for things that are.... different... and this one certainly qualifies! Recorded and released in 1977 by Janeen Brady, these songs are meant for "children of all ages" to help instill the metric system of measurement into the old, stodgy, fuddy-duddy American citizenry. Well, almost 30 years later, I'll leave it up to you as to the level of success of Ms. Brady and friends.

The LP was released on Brite Records, a label out of Salt Lake City, Utah, and doesn't have a catalogue number on the label! Also, performance credits are limited to a group of names in the "Thanks to:" section inside the jacket: Rebecca Terry, Marvin Payne, and Brian Fetzer get the vocal credits, and "Special Thanks" go out to Quintessence, David Lambourne, Janet Todd, Ed Pratt, and Dennis Nichols. I assume these are the other performers. Arrangements are by Rob Simpson (who also gets Direcor credit), Clive Romney, Dennis Crockett, and Phil Davis.

Here are the cuts, in track order:

The Metric System
March of the Centimeters
Give Me A Liter
Kelly Kilogram
Divide A Meter By Ten
Millimeter Boogie
Decimeter And A Dime
Inches And Feet
Peter, Peter
A Liter Is...

Hope you enjoy these as you drink your 355 ml can of your favorite beverage!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

World of Literature on 78rpm

Well, it's been a while since I have put something up here, so to honour your patience, here's a set of 78rpm discs that I think are quite unusual. I found these at a thrift store in Idaho several years ago, and have just now gotten to them to do encodes of them... and they're some pretty interesting stuff, as far as spoken-word discs go.

American Books Company amd Decca Records got together in the early 50s to produce some sets of literary works under the Audio Education label. I found two of these sets, both entitled World of Literature (but containing different material), in absolutely pristine-looking condition, so I snagged them. As soon as I can get my doggoned cheapy digital camera to quit eating batteries, I'll get a pic of the front cover and one of the disc labels (or I suppose I could just scan the damn things....) for you. There were a few entries in this series (as catalogued in the liner notes), but so far, I have only seen these two sets that I have here.

The shellac quality is fantastic, even with a few scratches in the grooves that CoolEdit had issues with... you can get an idea which disc got the most play.

We'll start with the pure spoken word poetry, read by Alexander Scourby. His renditions of Alfred Noyes' The Highwayman, the old ballad Edward, Edward, John Masefield's familiar Sea Fever,, and Rudyard Kipling's If, all are very inspired solo readings, much like the recitations given during Presentation Day in schools in the early part of the 20th century. Some schools and homeschool groups still do this, and these poems would be great material for such a recitation.

The remaining two pieces are different than the solo recitations. Agnes Moorehead (Endora, the nagging mother-in-law on the old TV series "Bewitched", along with several other notable film credits) reads the John Greenleaf Whittier vignette of Stonewall Jackson's encounter with a Union patriot Barbara Frietchie with an orchestral background. A moving piece, especially if you are a follower of the North. Nonetheless, it is a picture of patriotism that should be carried in the hearts of all American patriots in these troubled times. It is also the literary proof that one person can, indeed, make a difference and take a stand, especially if their heart and soul commands them to do so.

The final recording in this set gives us the recording stars from the Northeast, the Ames Brothers. Their vocalisation and harmony are lent to the old spiritual Go Down Moses. This was from an earlier Coral label release, as opposed to tracks that were done specifically for the World of Literature set. The brothers and a Hammon organ, can't beat that with a stick!

As you can probably guess, the last two sides were played the most, but they still transferred very well, and I hope that you enjoy them. I'll work on the other set I have and post that one in the future.