“Chef d’Oeuvre”: Negative Radio Plays?

I am reading the memoir of music industry legend, Bob Thiele — producer at Coral Records who “discovered” Buddy Holly and would later work with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Albert Ayler, Joe Turner, Otis Spann, Gil Scott-Heron, and BernardPrettyPurdie & the Playboys, among many other artists.

Funny Thiele didn’t mention having produced Jon Appleton‘s (highly) experimental album.  The fact that “Chef D’Oeuvre” was released as a 45 delights me to no end:

“Chef d’Oeuvre”     Jon Appleton     1969

Be sure to listen for the stereophonic loop of a Chef Boyardee jingle – a recurring motif.

45Cat’s Harvestman Man humorously observes:  “If it’s possible for a record to actually get a negative number of plays on the radio, this would be a likely candidate … it is that weird.”

Appleton 45

Thanks to Vintage Vinyl Revival for the liner notes to Appleton Syntonic Menagerie from which I take this excerpt:

“Labels, categories, boundary lines – the neat classifications separating musical experiences – are dissolving rapidly.  Young musicians and listeners, brought up in a “global village” because of the pervasiveness of television, recordings, and transistor radios, refuse to be compressed by past conventions.  The popular music of the present is, for example, a continually changing fusion of rock, country and wester, blues, Indian influenes, echoes of Appalachian ballads, jazz, rhythm and blues, and many other elements.

“Simultaneously, young composers – who, in another time, would have been called “classical” composers – are also probing, discovering, and transcending territorial markings of the past. Jon Howard Appleton, for example.  Since 1967, he has been Director of the Electronic Music Studio at Dartmouth, where he is also Assistant Professor of Music.  [This] The first album of his work – on Flying Dutchman – reveals the open-ended scope and resourcefulness of the new music as well as Appleton’s inventive singularity.”

Appleton would release one more LP for Flying Dutchman – a collaboration with Don Cherry, father of Neneh.

Alvino Rey: Steel Guitarist Bandleader

Thanks to Andy Volk of the Steel Guitar Forum for pointing me to Anne Miller’s fascinating profile of steel guitarist bandleader Alvino Rey for the Smithsonian in which we learn Rey, as a consultant for Gibson in the 1930s, helped develop the prototype for the ES-150 (made famous by Charlie Christian), the first modern electric guitar.  Alvino Rey, therefore, is an un(der)-acknowledged “father of the electric guitar.”

Alvino Rey:  musical bat advocate

Alvino Rey - bat fanCan you name any other pop bandleaders who played the steel guitar besides Alvino Rey? I didn’t think so.

In this TV clip, Lawrence Welk informs his audience that Alvino Rey is(was) a Capitol recording artist whose latest album is Ping Pong — and then insists that Rey play a song not even on the album!   Rey’s musicianship in this performance is masterful:

“Hindustan”     Alvino Rey on The Lawrence Welk Show     1959?

The Smithsonian article also pointed out the reason for the facial resemblance between Alvino Rey and Win (& Will) Butler of Arcade Fire:  it’s genetic.  Rey is the Butler brothers’ grandfather – a fact that becomes quite clear when you look at the photo that accompanies this tribute page from the Gibson Guitars website:

“Built by Alvino Rey and John Kutilek as a test bed for their new pickup, the instrument pictured here (below) comprises a simple frame to which a vestigial ‘body’, fingerboard and headstock – all of which are fabricated from sheet brass – are attached.  Hardware includes a brass nut and bridge, inexpensive tuners and a basic trapeze tailpiece.  The pickup itself consists of two magnets with the strings running between the top magnet and a coil of wire.  The pickup was hardwired with no jack socket or controls.”

Alvino Rey with gibson es-150 prototype in 1997     (gibson guitars website)

Alvino Rey with ES-150 Prototype

Alvino Rey:  A Futuristic Musical Coda

Alvino Rey would pass in 2004, and the following year, Arcade Fire would release a split single, with a 1940 radio broadcast of the Alvino Rey Orchestra used for the flip side.  This performance of the song, “My Buddy,” would also feature Win & Will Butler’s grandmother, Luise King Rey (of The King Sisters) on the Sono-Vox, a 1930s electronic precursor to the “talk box” that Rey himself pioneered and was “rediscovered” in the 1960s & 70s by the two Petes:  Drake & Frampton.

“My Buddy” (live)     Alvino Rey Orchestra     1940

Lucille Ball would use a Sono-Vox to emulate the sound of a freight train whistle in this fascinating Pathe newsreel snippet:

1960 Capitol LP

Alvino Rey LP

Joe Meek’s Bike Anthem of ’64

Hey, just in time for summer:  here’s a catchy bicycle-themed dance step “Bike Beat” from 1964 that was actually a work-for-hire product by Joe (“Telstar“) Meek for Raleigh Bicycles and was only released on flexi-disc!  Providing the backing track are Joe Meek’s house band, The Outlaws, disguised as “The Rally Rounders” – with lead guitar work almost certainly supplied by future Deep Purple guitarist, Richie Blackmore, dude:

“Bike Beat” (pt. 2)     The Rally Rounders (a.k.a,, The Outlaws)     1964

Dance steps provided below – be the first on your block to learn the “Tandem” and “Brake”!

Bike Beat sleeveThis is the tenth refreshing example of Music in Advertising on Zero to 180.

Bob & Lucille: King Rockabilly

Interesting to learn that the Canadian Sweethearts (who later signed with A&M and Epic) had passed through Cincinnati’s King Records briefly in the guise of Bob & Lucille.

King’s Syd Nathan would lease two tracks from two different Bob & Lucille 45s that had been released in the late 1950s on tiny Hollywood-based Ditto label and package them as a King single in 1962.  “Eeny-Meeny-Miney-Moe” is the A-side and a classic rockabilly track:

“Eeny-Meeny-Miney-Moe”     Bob & Lucille      recorded Dec. 1958

Even more interesting was the decision by Starday-King in 1973 – long after Syd Nathan had passed – to reissue this 45.  Could it possibly have been in response to resurgence of interest in 1950s roots rock that George Lucas’s American Graffiti (also released in 1973) helped ignite?   (*See related “Roots Rock Reawakening” addendum in prior Zero to 180 piece that features “Seven Deadly Finns” by Brian Eno).

      1962 King 45                                          1973 King Reissue 45

Bob & Lucille King 45-aBob & Lucille King 45-b

“Eeny-Meeny-Miney-Moe” would also be included on 1978 “Vintage Vault Collector Series” album King-Federal Rockabillys.

King-Federal Rockabillys LP

Carl Dobson & the Liberals: Lefty Reggae

In the interest of fair and balanced coverage (given yesterday’s item about 60s soul group The Conservatives), today’s piece features an unshamedly left-leaning outfit — Jamaica’s Carl Dobson & the Liberals on their (1976?) single, “Whopin Mama”:

“Whopin Mama” + Dub     Carl Dobson & the Liberals     1976

Great production from legendary reggae team – Joe Gibbs and his trusty engineer, Errol T. (The Mighty Two) – with the dub B-side surgically attached in this special YouTube mix.

Carl Dobson would also release a couple of singles backed by the “Mighty Liberals” around this same time.

This “wicked” 45 sold at an online auction in 2010 for $26.

Carl Dobson 45Prior to this recording, Dobson would also put out a couple of discs with the esteemed Morwells (Maurice Wellington & Eric “Bingy Bunny” Lamont) in 1974 & 1975.

UPDATE = 9/19/17

Message from Maurice Lindsay, founding member of The Liberals:

“One of my songs is listed on this site, the 1976 hit reggae song – titled; Wooping Mama, by Carl Dobson & the Liberals, my name is Maurice Lindsay and I am the founder and a member of The Liberals.  I am also, the co-author and producer of this song which was distributed on the Joe Gibbs label.  I now live in Massachusetts, USA and Carl Dobson lives in Ontario, Canada.  We have lost touch with each other, if anyone knows how I can reach Carl Dobson please let me know.  My first recording with Carl Dobson was in 1975 and it was our first hit single called “Bag A Wire” by Morris Lindsey and Carl Dobson on the Dynamic Sound Label, where the miss-spelled my name as on the label as Morris Lindsey instead of Maurice Lindsay.”

The Conservatives: Tax Breaks for the Funky?

Heavy funk circa 1969 from a band with a most unlikely moniker, The Conservatives:

“Who Understands” (pt. 1)     The Conservatives     1969?

“Who Understands” (pt. 1 & 2) appears to be the second of two 45s released by the Chicago-based label, Ebonic Sound – both by The Conservatives (“That’s All” b/w “Crunchin’ Song“).

Conservatives 45The Conservatives also recorded two prior singles. for Huey P. Meaux’s Tribe label (a subsidiary of London) that were released, respectively, in October, 1967 & March, 1968.