Brian's Music Musings

Sunday, October 24, 2010


School Belles

I discovered a record on Ebay, that I just couldn't resist. Is it rare? The word rare is so overused I don't know what it means anymore. Is it difficult to find? Maybe, but probably not so much. But is it odd or a little different? Yes. I tend to think so. The record is by the School Belles. My first indication that I really needed to buy the record, was what I thought could be the actual flip side. It has three tracks and each one listed a different dance type. I thought maybe it was an EP of sorts. I am correct, sort of. It did have three songs on that side. The flip side listed the same bold title that the EP side had, but then I started reading a little closer. It said, "Which Dance Will Play? What? When I got the record, I was able to figure it all out.

First, it was a promotional copy, which makes a difference in the story. A stock copy has one different side to it (Swing Swang). I listened to and examined the side with the three tracks. Each one was the same song, but they had a different beat to it. The dances all signified the tempo and style of the track. So why put three versions of the same song on your record? It's because the flip side had all three versions on the same track. So, how does that work? Simple. When you play the cut, you never know which actual version of the song will play. At a certain point in the grooves, the needle goes to one of the three tracks. You never know which one you will get. Therefore, the DJ copies had the three tracks listed on the flip so that less adventurous platter spinners could confirm exactly which version they were going to play. The record was issued around June of 1959 and this could be the same School Belles that recorded "Waiting For My Date" on Dot in 1958. If so, according to Billboard, they were from Dallas, and included Diana and Leta Moore. See a picture of them here!

I know there were a few LP's in the 70's 80's like Monty Python, Rush and I am pretty sure there were was a kids Golden record that I have actually seen that played more than one track depending on the way it tracked. It's a fairly unique concept that has not had phenomenal success. Anyway, it's the fun of record collecting with at least in this case, a minimal investment.

Sunday, October 17, 2010



Pharaoh records of McAllen Texas appears to have released 50 or so discs from the early to late 60's. I am hardly an expert on the label and only have two of their issues. The first is perhaps an association with the name , as the group is also called the Pharaohs. If I Had The Power/Come To Me. I bought it because my former supervisor at work remembered listening to them when he was in Texas. They may have gone to his high school. That was from 1961. My other release is their first for 1962, and possibly the label's third release called My Twistin Mexicali Baby by Robert Burney. It just happens to be on red plastic and is a promotional release. As I started digging a little, I realized that Major Bill Smith was associated with the label. He had a boatload of labels that he was associated with in Texas, including the Le Cam label that had original issues by Bruce Channel, Jr Frank Wilson and more. You could also tie him to Charay, Viva, Shalimar and a lot more. There is a label that I would love to see a CD release of, with some really classic south Texas rock and ballads. A few sides have turned up on various compilations, including the best of Texas Doo Wop, V1 and 2.

Sometimes with as much research that you do as an avid record collector, you (I) run across stuff all the time that I never realized....and should have. No harm done of course, but you go away wondering what you really do know about records, and then tuck it away for future use. Such was the case with the record below. A record I remember hearing on the radio in Los Angeles during the late 60's early 70's oldies revival, the Sa Shays. The first press in on the Alfi label, but when it was first pressed on the Zen label, it was on a pink label, before they pressed it on the more familiar black label. One interesting note is that when the record was reviewed in Billboard, December 1961, they listed the Alfi label instead of Zen.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Decastro Sisters, fun flip, KVMR

Have you ever run across a record that has taken you years to find, and wonder why? You look at the records books, and it the value shown is generous by showing 10-20 bucks. Then you wonder, if that's so, where are all the records? Why have I only seen one in 5 years of searching? Is everybody keeping their copy just so I can't buy one? I know they are out there.
Such is the case with a record I bought about a year ago. Still have not added it to my site, but thought I would at least add the picture here. The De Castro Sisters are probably not the world's most collectible artist, but they had a great sound. "The Wedding Song" just does not show up for sale much. I bought the one copy I saw. They put the previously issued I'm Bewildered on the flip Abbott 3002). I wonder if the DJ's saw that side, thought it was the plug side, and tossed it.? After all, they already spun I'm Bewildered earlier. Maybe that would explain the sticker on the promo copy shown, so the DJ's would play the intended side. Who knows? I do know there are other copies out there, they just don't come up for sale much. If you had a mint copy, I'd buy it for 10-20 bucks.

I love listening to the flipsides of records. Sometimes you know it's a filler, and not much thought went into the song. Even some of those can surprise you. Then you have the records that really didn't have another side by the artist on the "A" side, and they either put a different artist on the flip, or they just slapped an instrumental on by either the label house band or maybe the band from the A side. There are a lot of gems out there. I am rediscovering them all the time. The latest for me is the flip of Russian Bandstand. A great instrumental called Brass Wail, is on the flip.

I'm on a small hiatus from my radio show this month, or at least most of it. Next week John Rumsey hosts, and the following week it's Little Angel B at the controls. Always good to take a break every now and then.

Sunday, October 03, 2010


Victors, Virtues - Blues in the ????

In a couple of days I will have a new page on my website with some great pictures and a stories concerning Hugh Barrett and the Victors. The info comes from an original member of the Victors, Richard Mayer. I mentioned the interview in last week's blog and shared the interview links there. Richard has allowed me to use some great pictures of the group, and all of them will be seen for the first time on the WWW. Richard lost track of the other members of the group, so I am hoping that some of them will see themselves and contact me. Go to for the link.

I have always been a bit confused by a record that the instrumental group, the Virtues ,released in 1959. The "A: side was Vaya Con Dios, per the Billboard ads that were promoting it. The original issue was on the Hunt label, and then issued on ABC for the wide distribution. My issue was on the flip side. My Hunt label has it listed as Blues In The Night. One of the writers included Frank Virtuoso, who was the man behind the Virtues. It was not the Harold Arlen composed song, but in fact their own composition. I suppose that is not so unusual to have two different songs with the same name, there are likely hundreds of examples. What was interesting to me is that ABC sent out promotional copies with "Blues In The Night" and they erased out the word night, and used a stamper to add "Cellar". Stock copies appear to all have Night on them. Sooo, how many promotional copies got out without the correction? Or did they fix them all?

Sunday, September 26, 2010


The Victors,Ribbon records, the Mark IV

Last night on my radio show at KVMR-FM, I featured segments of my interview with Richard Mayer, former member of the Victors which featured Hugh Barrett. He was on the recording of Fungus Among Us on the Madison label, in 1962. You can listen to the first hour of the show or you can listen to the entire interview. Terry Noland first recorded the song in 1958 for Brunswick, and then re-released it in 1961 to coincide with the Victors issue, which gained popularity in the Midwest. Also played was the follow up "Devils Love", a song by Chuck Baker who was a member of the group, and an instrumental by Bobby Angel and the Hillsiders called Submarine Race.

My interest in the Ribbon label is probably unfounded and accidental. The best known group on the label were the Fireflies, but there were a number of really great artists/songs including Berlin Perry and the Gleams, the Scott Brothers, and a pretty decent teener by Frank Gari. That was actually my latest acquisition in my now apparently finish to running the label. There are two Ribbon numbers that are not accounted for - 6907 and 6912. All 4 of my sources show these "empty", but I also realize sometimes sources and publications tend to borrow information from one another. In any case, unless those numbers are shown with a legitimate release, I will figure I have all known issues on Ribbon. Still, that only means a total of 12 records.

Always on the lookout for odd 78's, or at least odd to me. The Mark IV had a fun two sider that featured Make With The Shake and 45 RPM. Originally released on the Cosmic label, they pressed a bunch of 45's in March of 1958, and certainly as shown on the right, some 78's. Canadian issues were on Reo - both 45 and 78. Probably not considered a real late 78 by most, but certainly a fun one that doesn't show up all the time.

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