Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Gale Storm R.I.P.

Dot Records' founder Randy Wood, who produced and recorded TV star Gale (My Little Margie) Storm is alive and well at age 91 living in Southern California as are his three kids and wife. His son John Wood is a first rate jazz pianist and a friend of mine and keeps me up date on his dad AND mom's activities. A wonderful extended family of grandparents, children and grandchildren.

I called John a couple of nights ago and told him the sad news about Storm whom he knew from the time he worked for his dad as the world's littlest recording studio timekeeper. John can even recall, when he was around five, Gale coming to Gallatin, TN where Dot was originally located and workiing out the details of her recording contract. The idea of recording Storm, according to John, was not his dad's but John's little sister who implored her father to "Make a record with [My Little] Margie." ("And a little child shall. . .") And so he did!

John says you can't imagine what it was like to be five years old and suddenly have a TV character sitting at the dinner table in what was, for all practical purposes, rural Tennessee. He can still recall his sister and himself asking Gale, i.e. "Margie," questions about "Freddie," "Mr. Honeywell," "Roberta" (Charlie Farrell's girlfriend in the series played by Hillary Brooke), "Mrs. Odetts." et al. I wonder if they asked her to do the "Margie gurgle" after dinner?

And I remember: ". . .I want a nice old comfortable father. I try to look after him, but he just won't settle down. I've got a problem. Believe me, I've got a problem!"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A JENNIE SMITH DISCOGRAPHY








 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
























 
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SINGLES
* He's My Guy / We'll Be Together Again RCA 9628 (also on lp Jennie) (1957)
* Walkin 'neath the Moonlight/ My First Mistake - Columbia 4-41171 (1958)
* Huggin' My Pillow (sweet side) / Huggin' My Pillow (beat side) Columbia 4-41370 (1958)
* It's a Cryin' Shame/ Go Slow Little Heart - Columbia 4-41495 (1958)
* Your First Broken Heart / It’s Murder For Roberta - Canadian American 135 (1962)
* If You Should See Him/As I Love You - Canadian American 139 (1962)
* Go Away Little Boy / Let It Be Me - Canadian American 150 (1963)
* I'll Get By / My Man - Canadian American 156 (also on lp Nightly Yours) (1963)
* As Time Goes By / Never Trust a Stranger - GNP Crescendo 379 (1966)
* I Wanna Be Free / More Than You Know - GNP Crescendo 392 (1967)
* Feelin' Groovy / Our Song- GNP Crescendo 401 (1968)
* Why Don’t You Believe Me / Suspicion - Top Rank RA 2077

LPs
Jennie RCA LPT1047 (1957)
1.MY VERY GOOD FRIEND IN THE LOOKING GLASS 2.SOMETIMES I'M HAPPY 3. I'M A FOOL TO WANT YOU 4. WE'LL BE TOGETHER AGAIN 5. HE'S MY GUY 6.(YOU MAY NOT BE AN ANGEL BUT) I'LL STRING ALONG WITH YOU 7. YOU DO SOMETHING TO ME 8. ALL MY LIFE 9. THREE LITTLE WORDS 10.NO SUCH LUCK 11.I HEAR MUSIC 12.WHEN I FALL IN LOVE
Ray Ellis (arr,cond)Recorded in New York City,1957
(has also been issued twice in Japan on CD)
Love Among the Young Columbia CS 8028 (1958)
1.LOVE AMONG THE YOUNG 2.IMPOSSIBLE 3.A VERY SPECIAL LOVE 4.WHILE WE'RE YOUNG 5.YOUNG AND FOOLISH 6.TAKE ME IN YOUR ARMS 7 .CROSS YOUR HEART 8. A FINE ROMANCE 9.TEACHER, TEACHER 10.'S WONDERFUL 11.THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER YOU 12.ALL I DO IS DREAM OF YOU
Ray Ellis (arr,cond)Recorded in New York City,1958
Nightly Yours on the Steve Allen Show Canadian-American CALP 1010
1.THIS COULD BE THE START OF SOMETHING BIG 2.FLY ME TO THE MOON 3.I'LL GET BY 4.SPEAK LOW 5.AS LONG AS HE NEEDS ME 6.MY MAN 7.LET'S FACE THE MUSIC AND DANCE 8.THEY'VE GOT A LOT TO LEARN 9.MEAN TO ME 10.GRAVY WALTZ 11.SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME 12.NICE AND EASY
MORT GARSON (ARR)
Jennie DOT DLP 25586 
1.SPRING IN MAINE 2.AFTER A WHILE 3.YOU'D KNOW IT 4.WITH YOU 5.AFTER YOU 6.I LOVE YOU TODAY 7.THE THINGS MY HEART TELLS ME 8.TONIGHT 9.NEVER HAD THIS FEELING BEFORE 10 .PRETEND YOU DON'T SEE HIM 11.LIFE IS BUT A DREAM12.WHEN I'M IN LOVE
BOB ENEVOLDSEN (ARR) DONN TRENNER(COND)
CDs
Five J Ladies Sing. NORMA NOCD5688 CD Tracks 9-12: 9.I CONCENTRATE ON YOU 10.ONE NOTE SAMBA 11.QUIET NIGHTS 12.NICE 'N EASY
Jennie Smith on the Steve Allen Show (private issue) (1963-1964)
Imposible (w/ Bob Enevoldsen ts), It's Always You, Call Me Irresponsible, Witchcraft, You'd Know It, April's Fool, Lover Man, Our Day Will Come, When the World Was Young, In the Still of the Night, Sure Thing, Big Band Remote Spoof (w/ Steve Allen, Gary Crosby), Just Because We're Kids, Yesterday

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Portrait of Jennie Smith from Life Magazine, 12/15/57















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click pages to enlarge
(courtesy of Jennie Smith)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

HOLD IT! I THINK YOU'RE GONNA LIKE THIS PICTURE
























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To give you an idea of just how much faith Capitol Records had in this singer-pianist when they signed her in 1957, note that the glamour shots were all taken by no less than THE Bruno of Hollywood. Alas, shortly after the last shutter on the session was snapped, Simpson opted for marriage over career, thus most of these shots have not been seen before. . .until now. I came into possession of them when Carole supplied them to me for use on the cover of her new SSJ album "Live" (and otherwise). Here is the photo the label finally decided on: a shot of Simpson looking (to my eyes) remarkably like Academy Award-winning actress Dorothy Malone.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ronnie Deauville alert

In addition to the intro to the Ronnie Deauville "This is Your Life" episode that's been on Youtube for quite a while, Ronnie's sister Sheryl recently alerted me to two more R. D. segments from the program that have recently been uploaded to Youtube: here are part two and three. Now if one could view the entire presentation. Handsome guy. Easy to understand why Paramount Pictures had just signed him to a contract just prior to the double whammy that eventually sent his career into total eclipse.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

TOTEMIC RELIC



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Singer Beverly Kenney 's copy of Billie Holliday's (sic) 78 rpm "Any Old Time" b/w "The Man I Love" on the, uh, Sentry label (and you thought that record bootlegs were a relatively recent phenom.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Annals of ongoing lamentation over the disappearance of record stores

In the immortal words of Joe Brainard, "I Remember" that I bought my copy of Dick and Kiz Harp's "Again" LP at Londeree's Music store in Charleston, West Virginia in 1962 during the city's annual Dollar Days sale, where a lot of stuff was sold for a buck for one day only. The clerk who sold it to me was named Madge Orchid. I can even recall that she looked like a slightly less attractive version of singer Carole Simpson. For that matter, Madge probably sold me Carole's Capitol album for uno samolian also.

I guess by now that Madge Orchid (if I had a name like that, I could die happy) has probably gone to that big record store in the sky, assuming that there are any remaining up there either. Or maybe in the great beyond, records grow on trees like the watermelons in Jolson's classic "Going to Heaven on a Mule." Or perhaps there just ISN'T any such place as heaven? And that after you die they just put you in ground, shovel dirt over you and you stay nice and warm forever and never have to worry about anything ever again. Most likely, it's the latter. But I digress. . ..

Madge also sold me my first Beverly Kenney LP a few years earlier than '62 for a dollar. My sense is that Madge had very, very refined music tastes, but could not return certain labels for a refund when she was unable to sell them to the populace of the rather culturally backward environs in question. A classic case of too hip for the house.

And then when Dollar Days rolled around, Madge already had all the records picked out for me. I just bought whatever she told me to whether I had heard of the artists or not. Both Kenney and Kiz were brand new to me. It was almost as if Madge was ordering these records for me to buy at a dollar! The copy of Dick and Kiz on the tiny 90th Floor label was probably the only one to've made it out of Dallas, Texas where it was most likely meant to be sold exclusively at the 90th Floor club where the Harps held down the musical fort. (Although I seem to recall someone once telling me that he saw them perform somewhere in Kentucky.) And, now, a half-century later, both of these albums remain in constant rotation here at Oblivion Towers.

And speaking of Carole Simpson---which I did, several.paragraphs ago---her new CD , "Live" (and otherwise)" is now available at CDBaby. Her Capitol album is also scheduled to show up there shortly.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Track o' the Day

Here’s a track by my friend, songwriter-singer Melodye Condos. Not quite, as they say, "close enough for jazz," but still really wonderful.

Melodye writes and sings in a wide variety of styles and genres. This particular cut, "You Never Know," was done, maybe twenty years ago, for an unreleased album. She has since hung up her singing hat but is still writing and, also, trying to get others to record her songs. Too bad that the late, great Eva Cassidy never wrapped her lungs around this one. Nevertheless, Melodye does quite nicely by her own material, in this case, her song, “You Never Know.” If anyone reading this has a professional interest in this or, perhaps, others of her songs, please contact me at drchilledair@yahoo.com.

Here's another performance by Melodye that I posted earlier this year. Obviously not her own material, but a killer “take” on this standard. The pianist is arranger-composer Pat Williams.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Leslie and Gerard

Much like the late, but deeply unlamented Hermann Goering tended to reach for his revolver whenever he heard the word "culture," a phrase that really sets me off is "support the music." As in "I'm going out tonight to The Thirteenth Step Bar and Grill to hear my friend Landa Goshen and... SUPPORT THE MUSIC."

So call me old-fashioned, but I always thought that people went out to HEAR music they were interested in, and that SUPPORT had nothing to do with it. Which brings me to the subject at hand, singer Leslie Lewis and pianist Gerard Hagen. I have heard them on recordings, specifically their recent release on Japan's SSJ Records, "Of Two Minds," but not had the chance to see them perform "live." Their stomping grounds tend to be SoCal's Orange County, and to the best of my knowledge, they've never before breached the Orange Curtain to perform here in the environs of Los Angeles. They have a regular performing schedule "down there," so there's really not much reason for them to leave their OC home base to venture out into the vast unknown of big, bad L.A.

I really love their new CD, plus I have it on good authority that they are absolutely killer in person. So on the 12th of June when they appear at the Hollywood Bar and Grill (in H'wood, CA natch) I'll be there to HEAR them, (not SUPPORT them) and to find out what all the shouting is about. If they're as good in person as on recordings, I'm in for a real treat. Maybe some other Southern Californians who read this blog might also like to give it a shot.

Leslie and Gerard will be aided and abetted by Jeff Littleton bass, Jerry Kalaf drums, Chuck Manning sax.

Parking at the HSB&G is ample and free, and the music starts at 8 pm. With a $10.00 entertainment charge and a dinner or two drink minimum, this long-running intime boite is a true bargain in these increasingly parlous economic times.