Sunday, September 28, 2014

Record #0572: Stray Cat Strut / You Don't Believe Me – STRAY CATS

EMI America B-8122 (original) USA, Jun. 11, 1982
Words & Music bySide ABrian Setzer; Side B – Brian Setzer, Lee Rocker, Slim Jim Phantom
Musicians: Brian Setzer (guitars, lead vocals), Lee Rocker (upright bass, backing vocals), Slim Jim Phantom (drums, backing vocals)
Recording sessions: Side A - produced by Dave Edmunds at either Eden or Jam Studios, London, UK, 1981 ; Side B - produced by The Stray Cats and Hein Hoven at Air Studios, London, UK, 1981
Highest chart positions:  Side A - US #3, US Rock #41, UK #11; Side B - UK #57

Here's one of the best trios in modern rockabilly with their highest entry in the US charts. The group was "discovered" in the UK well before the success was found in the States. "Stray Cat Strut" had its peak in the UK over a year before it did the same in the US.

The UK release of "Stray Cat Strut" (Arista SCAT 3) had "Drink That Bottle Down" on the flip side.

I used to play the Stray Cats' records a lot in my late teens and combed my hair into a tall quiff every day. :)
Still dig their songs - especially Setzer's guitar work.

List price:  Not listed in Goldmine's catalog

Record #0571: See See Rider / The Story of My Love (I Had a Dream) – LaVERN BAKER

Atlantic 45-2167 (original) USA, Nov. 1962
Words & Music bySide A – trad. arranged by Ray Ellis; Side B – A. Nugetre (Ahmet Ertegün)
Musicians: LaVern Baker (lead vocals), Buddy Lucas (tenor sax), Ernie Hayes (organ), Joe
Richardson (guitar), Carl Lynch (guitar), Everett Barksdale (guitar), Paul Griffin
(piano), Russ Saunders (bass), Sticks Evans (drums), an unknown backing vocal group
Recording sessions: Produced by Ahmet Ertegün in New York, NY, Sep. 26, 1962
Highest chart positions:  US #34, US R&B #9

Here's Baker's great take on this blues / R&B classic. What a great voice she had!

Both sides were recorded in Baker's final session for Atlantic Records, and "See See Rider" was her last entry in US Top 40 and US R&B Top 10.

List price:  Very Good+ is $6, Near Mint is $12

Record #0570: Working In the Coal Mine / Mexico – LEE DORSEY

Amy 958 (original) USA, Jul. 1966
Words & Music bySide AAllen Toussaint, Marshall Sehorn; Side B – Toussaint, Sehorn
Musicians: Lee Dorsey (vocals), Allen Toussaint (piano), others unknown
Recording sessions: Produced by Allen Toussaint and Marshall Sehorn at Cosimo Recording Studio, New Orleans, LA, 1966
Highest chart positions:  US #8, US R&B #5, UK #8

This was Dorsey's biggest hit single. His next single "Holy Cow" did also pretty well, reaching #23 in US, #10 in US R&B and #6 in UK.

"Working In the Coal Mine" was later covered by a bunch of artists and groups. Devo had a fair hit with it in 1981 (US #43, US Dance #30, US Rock #53, UK #76).

List price:  Very Good+ is $5, Near Mint is $10

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Record #0569: We Can Work It Out / Day Tripper – THE BEATLES

Capitol 5555 (original) USA, Dec. 6, 1965
Words & Music bySide A – John Lennon, Paul McCartney; Side B – Lennon, McCartney
Musicians: Paul McCartney (lead vocals on side A and on side B verses, bass, harmony vocals on side B chorus), John Lennon (lead vocals on side B chorus, rhythm guitar, harmonium on side A, guitar solo on side B, harmony vocals on side A and on side B verses), George Harrison (harmony vocals and lead guitar riff on side B, possibly tambourine on side A), Ringo Starr (drums, tambourine)
Recording sessions: Produced by George Martin at EMI (Abbey Road) Studios, London, UK, Side A - Oct. 20 & 29; Side B - Oct. 16, 1965
Highest chart positions:  Side A - US #1, UK #1, Canada #1, Ireland #1; Side B - US #5, UK #1

This was one of the Beatles' double A-sided singles, ie. no flip sides on this. While both sides hit #1 in the UK, it seems that "We Can Work It Out" was slightly predominant side in the States and also considered more as an A-side.

Although Lennon and McCartney did collaborate when writing these songs, "Day Tripper" is mostly John's and "We Can Work It Out" is mostly Paul's.

These songs were recorded in the "Rubber Soul" sessions, but were not chosen into the album. In the US these were included on album "Yesterday and Today", which was released between "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver". In the UK, the songs were never released on a studio album.

Stevie Wonder released a quite successful cover of "We Can Work It Out" in 1971 (US #13, US R&B #3, UK #27)

List price
:  Very Good+ is $15, Near Mint is $30. A 1968 re-issue with text "A Subsidiary of" is listed at $50 for a Near Mint.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Record #0568: (Theme From) Silver City / Bluer Than Blue – THE VENTURES

Dolton 44 (original, 2nd pressing?) USA, Aug. 1961
Music bySide A – Hank Levine; Side BDick Glasser, Tommy Allsup
Musicians: Nokie Edwards (lead guitar), Bob Bogle (bass), Don Wilson (rhythm guitar), Howie Johnson (drums), and an orchestra conducted by Hank Levine
Recording sessions: Produced by Josie Wilson and Bob Reisdorff in Hollywood, CA, 1961
Highest chart positions:  US #83

Both tracks are from the group's album "The Colorful Ventures" (US Album #94) released on Oct. 2, 1961. As for the style, these two do not sound very typical tracks of the Ventures. Maybe it's the orchestra ... and Duane Eddy influences on the A-side.

By this time the Ventures were completing the transition where Edwards and Bogle switched places in lead guitar and bass. The album liner notes still credit Edwards for both lead and bass guitars. The A-side has definitely Nokie picking the lead. Not 100% sure of the flip.

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

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Record #0567: Kicks / Shake It Up – PAUL REVERE AND THE RAIDERS Featuring Mark Lindsay

Columbia 4-43556 (original) USA, Feb. 28, 1966
Words & Music bySide ABarry Mann, Cynthia Weil; Side B – Paul Revere, Mark Lindsay
Musicians: Mark Lindsay (lead vocals), Paul Revere (keyboards, backing vocals), Drake Levin (lead guitar, backing vocals), Phil Volk (bass, backing vocals), Hal Blaine (drums)
Recording sessions: Produced by Terry Melcher at CBS Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA, Jan./Feb. 1966
Highest chart positions:  US #4, Canada #1

This was the first US Top 10 entry for the group. They still had to wait for another five years until getting their first US #1 hit with "Indian Reservation".

Mann and Weil first offered "Kicks" for the Animals, but Eric Burdon turned it down.

List price
:  Very Good+ is $5, Near Mint is $10

Record #0566: Why Do Fools Fall In Love / Please Be Mine – THE TEENAGERS FEATURING FRANKIE LYMON

Gee 1002 (original, probably 1st pressing) USA, Jan. 10, 1956
Words & Music bySide AFrankie Lymon, George Goldner (who didn't supposedly write a note nor a word for this) Herman Santiago, Jimmy Merchant; Side B – Lymon, Goldner (probably same thing as on the A-side)
Musicians: Frankie Lymon (lead tenor), Jimmy Merchant (first tenor), Herman Santiago (second tenor), Joe Negroni (baritone), Sherman Garnes (bass vocals), Jimmy Wright (sax), others unknown
Recording sessions: Produced by George Goldner at Bell Sound Studio, New York, NY, Dec. 5, 1955
Highest chart positions:  US #6, US R&B #1, UK #1

A 13-year-old Lymon was leading this group (called "The Premiers" at that time), when they walked into the studio to record their debut single "Why Do Birds Sing So Gay?"/"Please Be Mine". The A-side and the group were re-named before the record was pressed to vinyl (and shellac).

What a debut it was! An international hit, that was later ranked at #307 in Rolling Stone Magazine's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".

The credits for the title song were afterwards settled in court.

List price:  Very Good+ is $15, Near Mint is $30 (many variants with different pricing)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Record #0565: Fabulous / Just Lookin' – CHARLIE GRACIE

Cameo 107 (original) USA, Apr. 1957
Words & Music bySide A – Harry Land (Bernie Lowe), John Sheldon (Kal Mann); Side B – Mann, Lowe
Musicians: Charlie Gracie (lead vocals and lead guitar), Joe Sgro (rhythm guitar), Joe Macho (bass), Jerry Kilgore (drums), Bernie Lowe (piano), Dave Appell & the Applejacks (backing vocals)
Recording sessions: Produced by Bernie Lowe at Reco-Art Sound Recording Studio, Philadelphia, PA, April 5 & 9, 1957
Highest chart positions:  US #16, UK #8

"Fabulous" was Charlie Gracie's second and the last entry in US Top 20. He did score a couple of more hits in the UK, though.

Kal Mann and Bernie Lowe founded Cameo-Parkway Records in 1956. They also wrote many hit songs together; the biggest hit being Elvis Presley's "Teddy Bear" in 1957 (US #1, US R&B #1, US Country #1, UK #3). Dave Appell was the A&R director of Cameo-Parkway, and also co-wrote some of the label's biggest hits with Kal Mann (e.g. Chubby Checker's "Let's Twist Again").

I actually like the flip side more. Nice guitar work by Gracie.

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