Saturday, June 30, 2012

Record #0039: Almost Grown / Little Queenie – CHUCK BERRY

Chess 1722 (original) USA, March 1959
Words & Music by:  Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry (guitar & lead vocals), Johnnie Johnson (piano), Willie Dixon (bass), Fred Below (drums), Harvey & the New Moonglows (incl.Marvin Gay) with Etta James (backing vocals on side A), an unknown 2nd guitar player
Recording sessions:
 Chess Studios, Chicago, IL, Feb. 1959
Highest chart positions:  Side A - US #32, US R&B #3; Side B – US #80

This was one of Chuck Berry’s 14 US Top 40 and 15 US R&B Top 10 singles.

Berry had a role (as himself) in 1959 movie “Go, Johnny, Go!” where he performed “Little Queenie” and two other songs.

There was a quite a solid bunch of musicians making this one. Gotta love Johnnie Johnson’s piano!

List price:  “Very Good+” is $15 and “Near Mint” is $30

Friday, June 29, 2012

Record #0038: Burn That Candle / Oh My Darlin’ – THE CUES

Capitol 3245 (original 78 rpm) USA, Sep. 1955
Words & Music by:  Side A – Winfield Scott (Robie Kirk); Side BCharles Calhoun (Jesse Stone)
 Jimmy Breedlove (lead vocals on side A), Ollie Jones (lead vocals on side B), Eddie Barnes (vocals), Robie Kirk (vocals), Abel DeCosta (vocals), others unknown
Recording sessions:
 Capitol Studio, New York, NY, Side A – Aug.11. and Side B – Aug.24, 1955
Highest chart positions:  US #86

Three posts ago I mentioned a group called “the Cues” as they provided backing vocals for Chuck Willis. This was their second biggest hit (their highest charting came with single “Why?”, US #77).

Burn That Candle” had just started to climb the charts, when Bill Haley & His Comets released their cover version of the song in November 1955. The Cues’ original stopped climbing and Haley’s cover went up to #9 in US charts (also in R&B).

The Cues backed many hit artists of the day, but they did it under different names. They provided backing vocals for LaVern Baker in “the Gliders” (including her biggest hits “Tweedle Dee” and “Jim Dandy”), for Joe Turner in “the Blues Kings” (incl. hits like “Shake, Rattle And Roll” and “Flip, Flop And Fly”), for Ruth Brown in “the Rhythmakers” (incl. hit “I Can See Everybody’s Baby”) and for few others as well.

Robie Kirk became a very successful songwriter. The biggest hit he ever wrote was Elvis Presley’s “Return To Sender” (co-written by Otis Blackwell), which went #1 in the UK and #2 in the US, where it sold over one million copies.

List price:  As per Les Docks’ “American Premium Record Guide 1900-1965” this record would go for $8-$12. This is a fairly rare record as 78 rpm.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Record #0037: Bye Bye, Love / Missing You – WEBB PIERCE

RCA 47-3040 (original) USA, May 1957
Words & Music by:  Side A – Felice& Boudleaux Bryant; Side B – Dale Noe, Red Sovine
Webb Pierce (vocals), Hank Garland (guitar), Harold Bradley (guitar), Floyd “Lightnin’” Chance (bass), Buddy Harman (drums), Owen Bradley (piano), the Jordanaires (backing vocals)
Recording sessions:
 Owen Bradley Studio, Nashville, TN, Apr.14, 1957
Highest chart positions:  Side A - US #73, US Country #7; Side B – US Country #7

“Bye Bye, Love” is a cover version of the Everly Brothers' original hit (US #2, US Country #1) of spring ‘57. Also Pierce did well with this in the Country charts. Too bad I wasn’t able to find his version in YouTube.

This is yet another hit record that was made in Bradley’s Barn with top notch musicians.

Webb Pierce was very productive and popular in the 50’s. He had thirteen #1 singles in the (Country) charts for a total of 113 weeks! His biggest hit “In the Jailhouse Now” spent 21 weeks at #1. I’ll post that one later.

List price:  “Very Good+” is $7.50 and “Near Mint” is $15

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Record #0036: Until Yesterday (Non e la pioggia) / Please Driver (Once Around the Park Again) – TONY BENNETT

Columbia 40213 (original) USA, 1954
Words & Music by:  Side A – William Engvick, Giuseppe Fanciulli; Side B – Chilton Price
Musicians:  Tony Bennett (vocals), Percy Faith and his orchestra, including: Bernie Leighton (piano), Art Ryerson (guitar), Frank Carroll (bass), Terry Snyder (drums) and many others
Recording sessions:  CBS Studios, New York, NY, Dec.4, 1953
Highest chart positions:  Side A - US #25; Side B – US #29

Though this is not among Bennett’s big and famous hit songs, it’s still classy, smooth and well produced.

Art Ryerson played guitar also on Bill Haley’s early rock’n’roll recordings, including “Crazy Man Crazy” in 1953.

List price:  “Very Good+” is $6 and “Near Mint” is $12

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Record #0035: What Am I Living For / Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes – CHUCK WILLIS

Atlantic 1179 (original) USA, April 1958
Words & Music by:  Side A – Art Harris, Fred Jay; Side B – Chuck Willis
Musicians:  Chuck Willis (vocals & guitar), King Curtis (tenor sax), George Barnes (guitar), Al Caiola (guitar), Joe Marshall (drums), Lloyd Trotman (bass), Teddy Charles (vibraphone), Sammy Price (piano), the Cues (backing vocals)
Recording sessions:  New York, NY, Feb.14, 1958
Highest chart positions:  Side A -US #9, US R&B #1; Side B – US #24, US R&B #9

This record is loaded with notable musicians and it also very much sounds like it was played by hard-boiled professionals.

Also famous for his #1 R&B hit “C.C. Rider”, Chuck Willis had his biggest hit with this record that sold over one million copies. “What Am I Living For” was Billboard’s top R&B single of the year.

Willis didn’t see the success of this record, though, as he died soon after its release in a stomach ulcer surgery.

The Cues (a doo-wop group from New York) provided the backing vocals here. I have some of their records to post later.

List price:  “Very Good+” is $15 and “Near Mint” is $30

Monday, June 25, 2012

Record #0034: Four Walls / Talkin’ To the Blues – JIM LOWE

Dot 15569 (original) USA, 1957
Words & Music by:  Side A – Marvin Moore, George Campbell; Side B – Lowe, Moore
Musicians:  Jim Lowe (vocals) with Bob Davie’s Orchestra
Recording sessions: New York, NY, 1957
Highest chart positions:  US #15, UK -

Jim Lowe’s biggest and only #1 hit was “Green Door”. This single did pretty well, too. I can’t find much more information about this one, though.

“Green Door” will be posted here later on.

List price:  “Very Good+” is $6 and “Near Mint” is $12

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Record #0033: I’ll Never Say “Never Again” Again / A Little Bit Independent – NAT KING COLE AND THE TRIO

Capitol F1068 (original) USA, 1950
Words & Music by:  Side A – Harry Woods; Side B – Joe Burke, Edgar Leslie
Musicians:  Nat Cole (vocals, piano), Irving Ashby (guitar), Joe Comfort (bass), Lee Young (drums on A side), possibly Jack Costanzo (percussions), the Starlighters (backing vocals on A side), the King Sisters (backing vocals on B side)
Recording sessions:  Capitol Recording Studio, Hollywood, CA, Feb.9, 1950
Highest chart positions:  Didn’t hit the charts

This single was released between hit singles “Exactly Like You” (US R&B #9) and “Home” (US #22). This still has some feel of the King Cole Trio recordings of the 40’s.

List price:  “Very Good+” is $10 and “Near Mint” is $20