Sunday, October 26, 2008

Old records never die


So the plan was simple – I had the house to myself, a stack of old 78s that I had been gradually collecting from here and there, markets and the like, for some time, I even had three boxes full that my old boss Vic was throwing out – I dug out the Kingsley Stereo (woodgrain, internal stereo speakers housed in the sides, coin on the tone arm to stop it skipping) there was a six pack in the fridge, some green ginger wine in the cupboard, so what the hell – let’s play some records!!

I sifted through the boxes and through the pile in the garage and pulled out anything that looked good, or had a label I liked or a description that seemed well interesting and then I carefully balanced that twenty cent piece on the tone arm and listened thru the crackle and farts and had quite an educational night.

English banjo maestro Olly Oakly kicked things off with his sizzlin’ picking on The Mountaineer’s March (Regal label) which wasn’t too bad at all a place to kick off…

The Elliots
on the Winner label (damn fine looking label too – I bought this in Mt Gambier just cos of the label ) were a comedy duo who’s a-side the Moscovitch Band was a pisstake Russian marching toon that was dang funny… b-side sucked though, didn’t even make it to the end.

The next song I recognised straight away – Brother Bones & His Shadows, Sweet Georgia Brown with whistling, sax solo, and the Brother’s bone playin percussion. Yep, it’s the Harlem Globetrotters Theme. Nice, clean copy too.

Another beer and then it was time for Jerry Lewis and We’ve Had A Very Merry Christmas! I love Jerry’s kid schtick. Still funny after all these years…

Now this was a sweet find – Aussie label W&G (1957) a double sider with The Moonlighters doing doo-wop classic Little Darlin’ on one side and Rex Turner on the other doing Butterfly. Turner is an early rockabilly dude but this was a stone cold pop tune. Sweet too.

Slim Gaillard
on MGM doing A Serenade To A Poodle (with barks by Jim Hawthorne). Yep, as good as it sounds. What was that guy smoking?

Tipple of ginger wine to chase the beer down. Les Welch, one of Australia’s first real swingin’ pop stars (who you ask? History tends to overlook him but trust me, he was there in the beginning- even co-founded festival records). First up on Tempo is the old country favourite, Cigarettes, Whusky and Wild Wild Women with the Naked City 7 backing him up as he whoops it up. The b-side with a different band (8 Beat Boys) is the swinging and pumpin’ Elevator Boogie Blues. Then onto a Pacific label release with the Naked City 7 again – Get Up Off The Floor Hanna (them hogs gotta be fed)… a comedy hillbilly track about a gal who goes out to a party, freezes, gets home and drops dead but dad don’t have any sympathy cos, well, them hogs gotta be fed! B-side is a monologue called Life Gets Teejus… funny fella this Les.

Then another Pacific release with orchestra called The Thing. A novelty song about a strange thing that causes all sorts of trouble. Once again though the b-side is the killer. The Boogie Woogie 4 doing Boogie Woogie Stampede and boy, could Les play a piano. Raucous Boogie woogie pianer and stompin. Strange guy, he obviously wanted to keep his hand in every pie, I’m gonna have to dig a little deeper.

More Aussies with the Southern Jazz Group (1950 Wilco label) and the Columbus Stockade Blues. An Aussie Trad Jazz band who were big in their day, and I mean big.

And this was a real find even though it’s pretty scratchy now. On the Broadcast Deluxe series – the winner of the Australian Interstate Championship 1929. Harry Berry doing Fantasie Brilliante (Excerpts) on solo cornet!! Whatever happened to Harry?

Another Pacific release – Ray Dickson doing the Rock And Roll Waltz. At first I thought the belt was loose, a real strange sound, a waltz then it rocks out?? With burst of sax and drums! But no that’s what it is. Apparently Kay Starr had a big hit with this… a very odd little toon about finding yr parents waltzing to yr rock and roll! The b-side was a country style ballad about deserts and coyotes?? Maybe Pacific liked to cover all spectrums? Anyway, great song.

Kay Kyser
and orchestra on Columbia doing the woody woodpecker song!!? A jazzy workout of our fave peckerhead complete with trademark laugh. And that’s the b-side! The a-side was called Kiss, Kiss, Kissin’ In The Corn with some real Bing Crosby style vocals by one Dick Jurgen.

Then it’s a piss break, more beer and Jack Parnell on Parlophone from the 1954 Super Rhythm Style Series doing the Duke’s Skin Deep. Parnell is no Louis Bellson but this song rocks. Other side Devil Eyes has that real cinematic feel with some bombastic ott vocals to open it up.

Matty O’Neil on Decca with a country lament we all understand – Don’t Sell Daddy Any More Whiskey… which reminds me, there’s some Maker’s Mark in the cupboard, might be time for a shot or two. This rekkid has been played a bit too often though and the surface noise ruins it. I’m gonna have to keep an eye out for another copy cos what I can hear sounds great.

Well, the bourbon might not have been such a great idea cos I’m fadin’. Let’s see what the Two Barnstormers can offer me. Whoa, old time fiddle and geetar with the Mary Jane Waltz and Wildflower Waltz… damn, that’s some sweet fiddlin’. Regal Zonophone, nice lookin’ label.

And another Regal Zonophone job, this time it’s old time country bluegrass with McFarland & Gardner – School House Dreams. Mandolin, violin and guitar… sweet as… I might just call it quits, I can’t see it getting’ any better than this tonight. And the beers done anyway.

Now I know I’ve got some Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong and Billy Eckstine in the woodbox (part of the inheritance!)… maybe next time I might dig some jazz gems out. Maybe the old man had some Les Welch in there too. and trust me, you ain’t heard Glenn Miller until you’ve heard him on 78… that’s the only way to hear these guys.

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