Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

Category: Mercury Records

Cincinnati (OH-KY-IN tri-state area)
Zeroto180

The “Pre-Nashville A Team” at Cincinnati’s Herzog Studios

The Pleasant Valley Boys were considered country music’s first “A Team” of session players, whose services were highly sought by two of the top country artists in Nashville between 1947 and 1948 at the very dawn of that city’s ascendance as one of the world’s great recording capitals. When you

Read More »
"Spooky"
Zeroto180

George Barnes’ Halloween Guitar

George Barnes recorded a boss guitar instrumental – “Spooky” – that should be part of everyone’s Halloween soundtrack: “Spooky” by George Barnes (1962) Billboard conferred three stars (“moderate sales potential) upon this B-side, as well as its A-side “Trainsville,” in their June 23, 1962 edition.  Exactly fifty years later, in 2012, someone would

Read More »
"Desiree"
Zeroto180

“Desiree”: 30 Hours in the Making

I met John Simson around the time Zero to 180 had first hung out a shingle and was grappling with its mission and scope.  After explaining the website’s concept to Simson, I remember asking if he might suggest any overlooked songs worthy of celebration.  Much later, I would learn the

Read More »
"Ice Cream and Suckers"
Zeroto180

Earliest Recording of a Melodica?

July 2020 Update:  Click here for the latest info One of Zero to 180’s earliest pieces (from 2012) concerned itself with documenting the earliest recording of a melodica (i.e., keyboard version of a harmonica), and 1966* seems to be year to beat in this regard, with the composer, Steve Reich,

Read More »
"Not Runnin' Away"
Zeroto180

Ian McLagan’s Reggae Bump

This past week I had the chance to reread Keith Richards’ 2010 memoir, Life, and somehow I only just now learned that keyboardist Ian McLagan was part of The New Barbarians, a rather unlikely musical aggregation that brought together Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Bobby Keys, and McLagan, with legendary instrumentalists,

Read More »

“Operation X”: Top-Secret Trucker Tune

Dave Dudley’s earliest recordings go back to King Records, interestingly — six sides altogether, with three written by Dudley and one co-written with Louis Innis.  Dudley would record for a handful of small labels before being signed to Mercury in the wake of “Six Days on the Road” and its

Read More »

“Summertime’s Another Name for Love”: Pizzicato in Pop

Chicago’s New Colony Six released seven singles on the Mercury label from 1967-1970. “Summertime’s Another Name for Love,”  from 1968’s Revelations album, sounds like an obvious A-side to me – and yet it ended up being the B-side to “Can’t You See Me Cry.”  I especially enjoy the tantalizingly brief

Read More »

“BluEmmons”: Landmark Steel Guitar Jazz

Just as Louis Jordan’s pairing of jump blues with country-style steel guitar was seen as a radical move in 1947, Buddy Emmons‘ decision to feature his masterful steel guitar stylings within a modern jazz context was considered equally bold in 1963 when Mercury released groundbreaking album, Steel Guitar Jazz.  “BluEmmons”

Read More »
All Categories
Archives