Monday, August 30, 2010

Buddy Knox and The Rhythm Orchids - Party Doll - Roulette, 1957

Today's record is a classic bit of Rockabilly from Texas legend Buddy Knox. From his website: "Buddy Wayne Knox, born July 20, 1933 in Happy Texas; was the first artist of the rock era to write and perform his own number one hit song, "Party Doll". The song earned Knox a gold record in 1957 as well as a BMI million performance award. Knox was the very first Texas rockabilly artist to be awarded a gold record and he was one of the innovators of the southwestern style of rockabilly that became known as "Tex-Mex" music."

Buddy got the Rhythm Orchids together in college with a couple of fellow students, and they got noticed early on by Roy Orbison.  Interesting tidbit on the recording of "Party Doll": the recording studio was in a high traffic area and lacked good sound-proofing, so all the recording was done after midnight to avoid the sounds of traffic. "Party Doll" was a big hit and launched the carreer of the Rythym Orchids. After signing to Roulette, they released a few more hits like "Hula Girl" and "Rock Your Little Baby To Sleep", but after 1957 it proved to difficult to continue this string of successes.

On February 14th, 1999, Rockabilly Hall of Fame member and Rock ‘n Roll legend Buddy Knox, 65, died in Bremerton, Washington, after a battle with cancer.
Check out, a great site maintained by Buddy's family to honor his memory.  They have a more in-depth biography and audio samples of all of his big hits.

Roulette Records was founded in late 1956 by George Goldner, Joe Kolsky, Morris Levy and Phil Khals, and was based in New York City. Here's a juicy label story gleaned from Wikipedia: "Goldner subsequently bowed out of his partnership interest in Roulette, and sold his labels Tico, Rama, End, Gone and Gee record labels to Morris Levy to cover his gambling debts." Lots of great music on these other labels which were rolled into Roulette. In 1986, Morris was exposed and convicted for extorting money from an FBI informant. Levy was tried and convicted on charges of extortion but died in Ghent, New York before serving any time in prison. Sounds like the "Roulette" name was appropriate, these dudes were gamblin' gansters! In 1989, Roulette Records was sold to a consortium of EMI and Rhino Records, which later were acquired by The WEA Group (Warner/Elektra/Atlantic).

And here's the clip! If ya like it, grab it off Amazon for a whopping $.99. 45s of this aren't that hard to come but either, I've got one for sale at the moment but it is in pretty rough shape.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Labor Day Sunday at Niagara!

Now you have another chance to catch me this Labor Day weekend - at NYC's Niagara Bar!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

New residency alert! I'm doing first Fridays at The Charleston. Located right across the street from the Bedford L stop. Boom!

Monday, August 23, 2010

My new mix is up! This month, it's inspired by the legendary movie, "The Big Lebowski".  Hope ya enjoy!
The Crash Abides by djmikecrash

Wanda Jackson - Funnel Of Love - Capital, 1961

Wanda Jackson! A true legend. Her website dubs her "the First Lady of Rockabilly and America's first female Rock and Roll singer" - and it's true. Wanda, born October 20, 1937, has been rockin' since the 50's, and she's still going strong! In fact she's playing here in Williamsburg at the Knitting Factory soon (click here for details). I was lucky enough to catch her there this past winter and she was amazing, so I highly recommend you catch her if you can.
While on stage she shared some stories of touring with Elvis, who it is said encouraged her to take up the Rockabilly style. She also got to work with greats like pianist Big Al Downing and guitarists Roy Clark and Buck Owens. After going a more country route starting in the 60's, some European interest in Rockabilly got her touring the Rockabilly circuit again in the 80s.  (Side note: notice the Brits are way more into good older American music than Americans?) Wanda Jackson is a member of the Rock and Roll as well as the Rockabilly halls of fame.
Blurry iPhone pic of Wanda's Knitting Factory performance, Winter 2010
This is one of the first 45s I bought when I started getting 7" crazy. While it's not as upbeat as something like "Let's Have A Party" or "Fujiyama Mama" (a big hit in Japan despite concerns about it's references to the atomic bomb), Wanda's powerful voice and it's unique melancholy-weird vibe really makes this perhaps my favorite in her catalog. Maybe that's why it's been covered by Southern Culture on the Skids, Mike Ness, Demented Are Go, Meat Puppets and The Fall.
 Johnny Mercer first suggested the idea of starting Capital Records while he was golfing with Harold Arlen and Bobby Sherwood saying, "I think it would be fun." The rest is, as they say, history - Capital Records is now one of the big boys.
Here's a link to an MP3 download from the Amazon site.  Unfortunately, I think this might be an "album only" download: Funnel Of Love
And now, the clip!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Antique Acetate Love Letter

I found an antique acetate in a shop in Brooklyn about a month ago. For those that don't know, from the 1930s to the late 1950s, before the introduction of magnetic tape, recordings were often made directly to acetate discs. I finally got around to converting the audio to a digital format, and after some manipulation to get it to the proper speed (my turntable doesn't support 78RPM) and to remove a little of the noise I was surprised to uncover a love letter! Given the likely time period this technology was used was pre-50's, and the acetate was marked "Ft. Dix Gen Hospital", I'd like to imagine these are the words of a solider returned home from WWII, recovering in the hospital, missing his love.

Antique Audio Love Letter by djmikecrash

If the embedded audio isn't working, just go directly to my Soundcloud page here.
I tried my best to transcribe the full message, here it is:
"Hello baby darling, it's me. I may seem a little nervous, but that's because of the surroundings. Uh, I'll tell you about that later. It's been a long time, and I've travelled many long and weary miles, but you're still the sweetest thing on this Earth to me. I've seen mademoiselles in France, and fraulines in Germany, but you're still the one. There's still no one who can compare with you. I love you more than anything on this Earth, and I always will. On this Christmas and these holidays, I wish you the best of everything. You deserve the best of everything now. With all my love, *unintelligible* (aside) Now I'm done."

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I'm at Motor City twice this week! Let's do this!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shake Frantic!

Thursday at Huckleberry Bar! Some of the best cocktails in the city + music by me = WIN.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Tune Rockers - The Green Mosquito - United Artists, 1958

Today's 45 is another simmering RnB blaster - "The Green Mosquito".  I can't find much info on The Tune Rockers, but I do know they were a Buffalo-based band. This little number was the inspiration for The Cramps' "Human Fly".  Lucky Pierre, a popular DJ on Buffalo's WBNY radio station, helped break the band by hiring them to play at his weekly "record hops". They even appeared on American Bandstand (season 2, episode 12) performing this tune. This single spent 10 weeks on the Billboard charts, but the Tune Rockers were unable to ever follow it up.
Wikipedia tells us United Artists was started in 1958 by by Max E. Youngstein, so that would make this one of the label's early releases.  The catalog number is "UA 139 X", but I was unable to find a complete discography.
And here's the clip!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Graveyard Rock!

It's time again for my monthly at Trophy Bar! What better way to get over hump day? Beers and music with me!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Pacesetters - Ronnie's Beat - Wink, 196?

Lately, why does it seem I'm picking 45s to discuss that I can find no info on? Today I pulled out this nice little RnB instro I found, as usual, in a stack of dollar 45s. There's some great honking sax work on this, which as you've probably figured out gets my blood moving.
I recently picked up a Goldmine 45 guide for research purposes, only to find that most of these 45s are not in there. Scouring the web left me little in the way of information. I kept coming across pages for William "Bootsy" Collins' first band, which in some sources is called the "Pacesetters" and in others is called the "Pacemakers" (actually, some sources switch between both names, adding to my confusion).

"Bootsy" Collins

At any rate, the Pacemakers/Pacesetters went on to become James Brown's J.B.s, and of course, stardom with Parliament-Funkadelic. But is this the band that produced this 45? Or is this related to the The äva label's "The Pace-Setters"? Or the "Pace Setters"? This quest for info leaves me with more questions than answers.
Facts on label Wink Records is just as scarce. All I know is that they were based out of New York City. I found a (partial?) label discography here - but of course, there's no dates or further info. By the sound of this record, I'm guessing this is early 60's, perhaps late 50s.
Anyone out there with more info? Anyone?
And now, the clip!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Big Danny Oliver - "Sapphire" - Trend, 1958

Today I've got a Little Richard-esqe screamer for ya! This is one of my favorite records of all time.  Feel the pounding piano as Big Danny Oliver screams about that wicked woman Sapphire! Here's a snippet of the lyrics:

You told me you went to see your mama,
You claimed she was sick in bed.
I checked up on your story -
And you was dancing with a cat named Fred!

If this doesn't make you dance - please go to the doctor immediately because you are dead!

Big Danny Oliver is a mystery man - I can find no bio, no picure, nothin'! He appears to have released two singles, "Sapphire" / "I Wanna Go Steady" and "In The Bottom Of My Heart" / "49th State Blues", both on Trend.  "Handle With Care" and "Baby Don't Cry" are other songs which appeared on comps in the 80s but don't seem to have been released any earlier.  The ripping piano work on this song was probably performed by David Clowney, who would later have a few big instrumental hits as 'Dave 'Baby' Cortez.

Info on Trend is also scarce.  I found out that is was a subsidiary of the Kapp label (started by David Kapp, brother of Decca Records' Jack Kapp).  It appears this song also released on Kapp (# 941, in 1965). Side side side bar - some of Ronnie Dio's pre-Metal pop stuff was on Kapp as well!

Well, even though info on Danny Oliver and Trend is pretty damn hard to come by, and this record is moderately scarce, this song is on a ton of comps. I recommend "Mad Mike Monsters Vol. 2" - loads of great tunes in all sorts of genres.  Just buy the whole damn Mad Mike series and thank me later.

And now - the clip!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I'm pleased to announce I have a new monthly residency at Huckleberry Bar!  I'll be DJing the last Thursday of every month, starting 8/26.   I'm stoked that this great neighborhood bar will have me.  See ya there! Check out their snazzy website for more info: