May 16, 2011
Having finished listening to my 12″ LPs, I’ve moved on to the 10-inchers (make yer jokes).
The 10″ 33 1/3 rpm LP (Long Play) record was introduced in 1948 by Columbia Records. Most 10″ LPs of popular music have 3 or 4 songs per side (compared to 5 or 6 on a 12″ LP). Interestingly, Columbia also introduced the 12″ LP at the same time but reserved the larger format for more expensive classical music releases and Broadway original cast recordings. The 12″ size quickly proved to be more popular with all music consumers and by 1956 Columbia and other major labels had discontinued the 10″ LP (more history here and here).
I don’t have a lot of 10″ LPs – only about 3 dozen all told, most of them jazz. Because they were produced for such a short time they’re much rarer than 12″ LPs. I notice in my Goldmine record price guide that for many artists – if their discography extends back that far – their 10″ records will often be the most valuable items in their catalog (not that I’m intending to sell).
There are some very cool 10″ record covers in my collection – bold and simple mid 20th century graphic design (especially on the jazz titles). Here are a few of my favourites:
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Too bad about the water damage.
Cool hand-lettering on the Storyville logo on the label.
This last one is a numbered, limited edition release from 1990 – two 10″ LPs in a fancy letterpress cover – demonstrating that obsolete formats never really go away, they just become art.
May 15, 2011
On May 16, 2008 I wrote:
I’ve decided to cull the herd. I’m going to go through all the records on the shelves and try to “edit” my collection a little – enough to get all those records off the floor, I hope. I’ve also decided to listen to all my records. I figure if I listen to 10 a day it shouldn’t take me more than a year and a half.
Well, mission accomplished. All the records are off the floor and on shelves, though my prediction about how long it would take was a little rosy (life got in the way a bunch).
I even filed all the records that were in my display stand. All that’s left there now is the three records I bought this year (and Stiches the Clown). It’s looking a tad bare. I guess I’ll keep filling it with my latest acquisitions – should take me quite a while as it can hold about 120+ records.
I’ve listened to all the 12″ LPs now. Here’s the final numbers:
I say “A” mission accomplished because I still have some culling to do – a small number of 45s, 78s and 10-inch LPs (some cool cover scans coming soon).
78 rpms without jackets – getting a little dusty.
78s and 10″ LPs
May 12, 2011
I still have a way to go to reach my goal of collecting every record put out by the Canadian Talent Library – some 268 LPs all told (according to The Canadian Encyclopedia) of which I have 47. It’s a challenging but achievable goal.
A brief history: The non-profit CTL began in 1962 as a subscription service for easy listening radio stations. The goal was to get more Canadian talent (composers and performers) on the radio at a time when there was little Canadian music on the airwaves (Canadian content wasn’t regulated by law until 1970).
Initially, recordings were issued only to subscribing stations, but in 1966 CTL began licensing its records to major labels such as RCA, Columbia and United Artists for commercial release. The CTL’s biggest seller was undoubtedly a 1975 album by composer/vibes player Hagood Hardy that featured his instrumental hit The Homecoming (a song originally written as background for a tea commercial). The album sold over 200,000 copies – I find it just about every time I visit a thrift store (and yet have somehow managed to avoid buying it).
Other CTL records are a little harder to find. I’d dearly love to have a copy of CTL 5049, a 1964 compilation that has Gordon Lightfoot’s first recorded songs (2 originals and 4 covers including Turn, Turn, Turn and The Auctioneer). Another album I absolutely need for my collection is CTL 5014 – “Canadian Football Songs” by The Dal Richards Orchestra and Chorus – one peppy “fight song” for each of the CFL’s (then) 9 teams (you can download the songs here, but I still want the album for the cover art).
I’m a little conflicted in my feelings about the CTL. Much of it is a little too easy and bland for my taste (like most of the Laurie Bower Singers’ prodigious output). Many CTL records featured the cream of Toronto’s jazz players – Terry Riley (organ), Moe Koffman (flute), Peter Appleyard (vibes), Rob McConnell (trombone), among others, but they were constricted by the needs of the middle-of-the-road radio format.
Nevertheless, there are some standout tracks to be found in CTL grooves. I’ve assembled a little “mix-tape” of some of my favourite cuts from my small sampling of the CTL catalogue.
1. Peter Appleyard: Soulful Strut
The British-born vibes player recorded 8 albums for the CTL.
2. Guido Basso: Give Her My Love
An original by the Toronto horn player.
3. Bob Lucier: Too High
“Canada’s king of the steel guitar.” The song is by Stevie Wonder.
4. Ben McPeek: Kapuskasing Kaper
McPeek’s orchestra plays on more than a dozen CTL records. The composer, conductor, arranger, and pianist also wrote more than 2,000 ad jingles.
5. Rob McConnell and The Boss Brass: Canadian Pie
McConnell created the Boss Brass for a CTL recording session in 1968.
6. Jackie Mittoo: Telstar
The Jamaican organ superstar lived in Toronto (off and on) from the late 60s until his death in 1990. He made two records for the CTL.
March 16, 2011
The big bookshelf is finished! (except for the small stack of “problem children” in front). I shudder to think how much it must weigh.
Now I’m zipping through the smaller bookcase. I’m in the midst of the Christmas section. It might feel a little odd listening to Christmas music in March except that the weather is hovering around freezing and my yard is still under a few feet of snow. So ho ho ho and mistletoe and presents for pretty girls and all that.
October 20, 2010
A Golden Throat could be defined as a celebrity, not necessarily known for their singing, who nevertheless makes records, often with unintentionally hilarious results.
Why do they do it? Vanity? Delusion? Perhaps. Or it could be they’ve been persuaded to knock out a “cash-in” record while they’re a hot commodity (starring in a hit TV series, for instance), maybe even against their better judgement.
I have plenty of Golden Throats in my record collection and I love them all. Here’s a smattering. See if you can identify the singer (or should that be “singer”?). All the following are Oscar-winning (or nominated) actors and actresses. Leave your guesses in the comments.
This is for fun, not a contest. If you were at my Name-That-Tune party in January these will be familiar, exerpt for numbers 3 and 9 which are new.
Golden throat or red herring?
1. Two time actor nominee.
2. Winner (supporting actress).
3. Multiple nominations, one win (actor).
4. Nominee (supporting actor).
5. Nominee (supporting actress)
6. Many nominations, 4 wins (actress).
7. Winner (supporting actor).
8. Nominee (actor), though certainly not for this movie.
9. Multiple nominee, one win (actress).
10. One nomination plus one win (actor).
11. Many nominations, two wins (actress).
12. Five time nominee (supporting actor, actor).
September 18, 2010
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The Rapture (20:39)
The Rapture is described as “A simulated post rapture news broadcast.” It’s one side of a 2 LP set in a gatefold sleeve. The other three sides consist of country-style gospel music by The Singing Harris Family and the testimony of Rev. D. B. Caves who had a near-death experience and recounts his glimpse of heaven. I think this record is as astonishing (if not as polished) as the legendary Flight F-I-N-A-L but is not nearly as well known. The cover artwork alone is worth the price of admission.
September 13, 2010
I’m listening to my Christian records now and there’s some pretty messed up stuff.
Here’s a little audio cut-up I did of a Baptist church service for children:
He Stinketh (3:19)
Here’s the source material:
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I Am The Resurrection and The Life (Side 2) (19:44)
More Christiananity coming soon.
August 30, 2010
The Zodiac Cosmic Sounds
This is by far the best record in my tiny section of astrology records. The music by Mort Garson (electronic instruments played by Paul Beaver) and words by Jacques Wilson (performed by Cyrus Faryar) are mind blowingly awesome.
A note on the back cover says “Must be played in the dark” so turn out the lights to listen to the first cut – Aries:
The team of Garson and Wilson also collaborated on a series of records for A&M for each sign of zodiac. It’s pretty good too (the music is entirely electronic), but not nearly as psychedelic. I have the Sagittarius record – that’s my sign. Apparently I’m candid, impulsive and reckless.
August 26, 2010
The Culling continues in the spoken word section. I’ve finished literature (poetry, prose and drama) and now I’m in instructional records. I must say it’s a welcome breath of goofiness after such literary heavyweights as T.S. Eliot and Samuel Beckett. Here’s a sampling:
Betty White’s How To Cha Cha Cha
Not that Betty White – this Betty was “one of America’s most prominent dance instructors”. She authored several books including Dancing Made Easy, Teen Age Dance Book and Teen Age Dance Etiquette.
She also released a series of “Strictly for Dancing” instruction records (with male narrator) including Fox Trot, Hustle, Rhumba, Waltz, Polka, Tango and Disco.
I’ve found no biographical information about Betty online amidst the millions of hits for the other Betty White, but I did find the complete text of her 1952 Teen Age Dance Book.
While there’s a certain absurdist charm in listening to Getting Along in English or The 700 Words You Will Need Most In Germany, I can’t see myself wanting to use any of my language instruction records again, so I’ve culled the lot. I may regret this if I take up conversational Yiddish or Swahili in the future, but I’m willing to risk it.
A collage of excerpts from some of the notable fitness records in my collection:
Armed Forces Workout
Master Gunnery Sergeant Bill Dower, who trained Lou Gossett Jr. for his role as the drill instructor in An Officer and A Gentleman, conducts the Armed Forces Workout on this K-tel record. Workout music includes sound-alike covers of Eye of the Tiger, Gonna Fly Now (Rocky Theme), and Beat It.
It’s Ed Allen Time
Ed Allen hosted a popular syndicated TV exercise program that began in 1963. The music on this 1965 record is very different from the type of music you find on later fitness records.
Keep Fit To Drums
also has unusual music for exercise routines – drums and steel drums played by “The Samaroo Kids”
Get Fighting Fit with 2Para
What delights me about this record is that the instructor reminds me of Monty Python’s Eric Idle, who I can totally see playing a character like this.
Billy Golembiewski: Hear How To Be A Better Bowler
A sop to the deluded Googler who comes to this site expecting to find something about bowling.
August 13, 2010
I’m still slogging my way through the spoken word section. There’s a subection I should call something like “Radio Bores” – guys at radio stations who did cranky editorials or “amusing” reflections on life’s foibles. I guess someone thought they had enough of a following to warrant their words being committed to the posterity of vinyl. Here are a few examples. They all seem to be from the 60s or early 70s. Though not as common now (I dunno, I hardly listen to commercial radio), the Radio Bore still exists.
Taken For Granted
Rules Of The House