Saturday, January 26, 2013

Record #0250: Pickin’ Berries (EP) – CHUCK BERRY

A1 “Carol”, A2 “Hey Pedro”, B1 “Beautiful Delilah”, B2 “Vacation Time”
Chess EP 5124 (original) USA, 1958
Words & Music by:  Chuck Berry
 Chuck Berry (vocals and guitar), Johnnie Johnson (piano), G. Smith (bass), Ebby Hardy (drums), possibly a second, unknown guitarist on B1 & B2
Recording sessions: A1 & A2 – Chess Studio, Chicago, IL, May 2, 1958; B1 & B2 – Chess Studio, Apr. 20, 1958
Highest chart positions:  I couldn’t find any info

Here’s a bit of something special as the 250th record of the blog. This is Berry’s fourth EP on Chess label.

Side A was released as a single (Chess 1700, US #18, US R&B #9) in Aug. 1958 and side B was another single (Chess 1697, US #81) released the month before.

List price:  This is a rare piece. I truly wish I had the picture sleeve, too.

Record #0249: Ringo / Bonanza – LORNE GREENE

RCA 47-8444 (original) USA, Oct. 1964
Words & Music by:  Side A – Don Robertson, Hal Blair; Side BJay Livingston, Ray Evans
Musicians: Lorne Greene (vocals) and an orchestra & chorus conducted by Don Ralke
Recording sessions: Produced by Joe Reisman at RCA Victor’s Music Center of the World, Hollywood, CA, 1964
Highest chart positions:  US #1, US Country #21, US AC #1, UK #22

Dun-da-da-dun ... BONANZA! Yes, the flip is the theme song of the TV series, but even though it was sung by Greene, I don’t think this version was ever played in the series.

Somewhat incredible as it may seem, “Ringo” reached US #1 (on Dec. 5, 1964), taking the place from The Shangri-Las “Leader of the Pack”. It stayed there for one week and was dropped by Bobby Vinton’s “Mr. Lonely”.

Both songs were also released on Greene’s 1964 album “Welcome To the Ponderosa” (US Album #35).

List price:  Very Good+ is $4, Near Mint is $8

Record #0248: Open Up the Doghouse (Two Cats Are Comin’ In) / Long, Long Ago – DEAN MARTIN AND NAT “KING” COLE

Capitol F2985 (original) USA, Dec. 1954
Words & Music by:  Marvin Fisher, Roy Alfred
Musicians: Nat “King” Cole (vocals), Dean Martin (vocals), John Collins (guitar), Lew Brown (piano), Charlie Harris (bass), Lee Young (drums), Skeets Herfurt (alto sax), Harry Klee (alto sax), Ted Nash (tenor sax), Chuck Gentry (baritone sax), Mannie Klein, Conrad Gozzo, John Best (trumpets), Si Zentner, Ed Kusby, Murry McEachern (trombones)
Recording sessions: Capitol Recording Studio, Hollywood, CA, 2 – 5 pm on Sep. 7, 1954
Highest chart positions:  unknown

Supposedly Cole was first set to do this session with Frank Sinatra, who called it off at the last minute.

The A side is here and the flip here.

List price:  Very Good+ is $7.50, Near Mint is $15

Friday, January 25, 2013

Record #0247: Last Night / Night Before – MAR-KEYS

Satellite 107 (original) USA, Jun. 1961
Music by:  Side A – credited for Mar-Keys, but actually written by Charles Axton, Floyd Newman, Gilbert C. Caple, Jerry Lee Smith, Chips Moman ; Side B – Mar-Keys
Musicians: Jerry Lee “Smoochy” Smith (organ), Charles “Packy” Axton (tenor sax), Donald “Duck” Dunn (bass), Steve Cropper (guitar on side B ?, holding the root note on the organ on side A), Terry Johnson (drums), Floyd Newman (sax), Don Nix (sax), Wayne Jackson (trumpet)
Recording sessions: Memphis, TN, 1961
Highest chart positions:  US #3, US R&B #2

This group had the beginnings for other Memphis groups like the Memphis Horns and Booker T. & the M.G.’s. Also, while being bands, the latter and the Mar-Keys were also house bands for Stax, playing on most of the records released by the label. (Satellite Records changed its name to Stax Records in Sep. 1961)

Cropper and Dunn (who passed away last May) both played in the Blues Brothers movies and soundtracks in 1980 and 1998.

Both tracks of this 45 are here.

List price:  Very Good+ is $15, Near Mint is $30

Record #0246: The Grand Coulee Dam / Nobody Loves Like an Irishman – LONNIE DONEGAN & HIS SKIFFLE GROUP

Dot 15792 (original) USA, May 1958
Words & Music by:  Side AWoody Guthrie, Lonnie Donegan; Side B – Lonnie Donegan
Musicians: Lonnie Donegan (vocals and guitar), Jimmy Currie (guitar), Mickey Ashman (bass), Nick Nicholls (drums)
Recording sessions: Pinewood Film Studios, Buckinghamshire, UK, Nov. 1957
Highest chart positions:  UK #6

Another one from Britain’s biggest before the Beatles. This release didn’t do much in the States, but it was a fairly big one in the UK.

Bob Dylan also covered this Woody Guthrie original in Guthrie’s tribute concert in Carnegie Hall, Jan. 20, 1968.

List price:  Very Good+ is $10, Near Mint is $20