Monday, October 1, 2007

The Great Clyde McPhatter

(Updated January 20, 2019)
Clyde's biggest pop hits were Lover's Question and Lover Please. He started as a lead singer in The Dominoes in the early 1950s, and then had his own Drifters group in 1954-55 on the Atlantic label. That made him huge. In 1955 after an army stint he went solo and stayed that way up to the 1970s, when he died in 1972.
My interest is his solo work. He was on Atlantic in the late 50s, MGM in 59-60, Mercury 1960-65, and smaller labels after that when his success faded.
His music had a glorious joy to it, and infectious melody and beat. A high tenor, he influenced many other such negro singers like Jackie Wilson and Dee Clark.
There are some good reissue CDs now which I can recommend. For Atlantic, "Deep Sea Ball". For MGM and Mercury there is "Rockin' and Boppin'" on the Ring Of Stars label, available at Continental Records ( At his wikipedia article there is an extensive list of his hits and singles.

Here is a 1962 single picture cover. It was sold recently by Times Square Records of New York and included the news clip of Clyde's death in 1972. Click the image to see it larger.

You won't find all his good stuff by any means, so here are some highlights which may be rare. Press a title to listen.

Atlantic label:
Thirty Days - 1956 - his fourth solo single, a rocker.
Come What May - 1958 - what a joyful rendition. Recorded by Elvis in 1965.
Lovey Dovey - 1959 - the Clovers song, in a definitive uptempo style, later copied by Buddy Knox.
Deep Sea Ball - 1960 - a nonhit single after he had left Atlantic. In fact recorded in 1958 obviously inspired by Rockin Robin, written by Winfield Scott.

Think Me A Kiss - 1960 - medium hit
Whisper Softly
The Glory Of Love
This Is Not Goodbye

Ta Ta (Just Like a Baby) - 1960 hit. Not remembered as much, maybe because the title TaTa means little, so I add the brackets to remind of the words. Written by Clyde and not intended as the hit side, it's a winner.
I'll Love You Til the Cows Come Home -1961 nonhit. A neat R&B composition. Flip of "Tomorrow Is a-Comin", which I think was meant as the A-side.
I Never Knew - 1961 #17 R&B, #56 Pop.
Happiness - The type of song that to me defines Clyde. Flip of "I Never Knew".
Deep In the Heart Of Harlem - 1964 moderate hit.
Happy Good Times - Flip of the Harlem single.
Three Rooms With Running Water - I think the second best song on his "Songs Of the Big City" album of 1964. It would have been a good choice for a single.
Baby Baby - 1964 single, from his album Live At The Apollo. This mono sounds better than the album stereo, where his voice in the middle is overpowered by the instruments on both sides. A rare nonhit single, his second-last on Mercury.


The second incarnation of The Drifters, 1955-59 without Clyde, often tried to use soundalike singers to recapture the McPhatter sound. There was David Baughan in 1954-55. There was Bobby Hendricks in 1958, singing on Drip Drop. In 1959 on the hit "(If You Cry) True Love True Love", everyone must have thought that lead Johnny Lee Williams was Clyde. If you can point out others make a comment. There were also separate individual singers. Listen to the comparisons:

Honey Bee - Drifters with David Baughan. Recorded ~1954 but released in 1961 on the back of Some Kind Of Wonderful.
(If You Cry) True Love True Love - Drifters with Johnny Lee Williams
Drip Drop - Drifters with Bobby Hendricks. #58 pop, uncharted R&B.
Itchy Twitchy Feeling - Bobby Hendricks 1958 solo hit after parting with The Drifters
Just Keep It Up - 1959 solo hit by Dee Clark

Brook Benton's influence
Brook wrote Lover's Question. When Clyde started with Mercury he recorded some more of Brook's compositions. Here are a couple of obscure originals by Brook that you can compare with Clyde's. I have no evidence that Brook released these, maybe he sang them as demonstration discs. Will it surprise you to hear Brook singing Lover's Question?

Lover's Question by Brook
You're For Me by Brook
You're For Me - Clyde's recording as an unsuccessful followup to Ta Ta. The flip was also written by Brook - I Just Want To Love You.

Clyde Otis was usually Brook's co-writer.
Jimmy Oliver had been the guitarist for The Drifters and Clyde for a few years. In 1960 he and Clyde collaborated writing Ta Ta and some other songs for that album.
Belford Hendricks was the arranger for many of these Mercury R&B records including Benton's. He was so good at arranging those strings, and adjusting them for an R&B sound. Check the sliding strings sound in Brook's Kiddio. In fact I've decided to give it to ya rat now, because it cries out for illustration. Blacks went crazy for it in mid-1960. It was US Billboard pop #7, and R&B #1 for nine weeks. Written by Benton and Otis. Check out the duet hits by Brook and Dinah Washington as other excellent examples - Baby You've Got What It Takes, and Rockin Good Way. There, that saves me from writing a separate article.

Kiddio by Brook Benton


This Atlantic Hits LP was released in 1963 after his Lover Please success. One side is his Drifters songs, the other solo.

MGM tried to cash in with a "Greatest Hits" LP too, all their own recordings. I've only ever come across this one copy.

His first album on MGM in 1959 was "Let's Start Over Again", containing only ballads and no hits. (click an image to see it larger)

You'll never find it and it won't be reissued, so here's a link to the complete ALBUM.

The 1963 Mercury Greatest Hits LP contained only Mercury recordings, but some were rerecordings of his 50s hits. Not all of these were hits of course.

Following a Ta Ta album in 1960, Mercury released an album a year including Lover Please in 1962. Golden Blues Hits (1961) was full of GREAT renditions of other hits. The little known Rhythm and Soul LP of 1963 included some unsuccessful singles at the time, and had a harder edge.

Raining In My Heart
Honest I Do

Here's a link to the complete Golden Blues album.

Hey Love

Link to the complete ALBUM

Lover Please LP . . . . . Live At The Apollo

Songs Of The Big City - 1964

Here's a link to sample the ENTIRE ALBUM.

May I Sing For You was a 1962 Wing label LP mostly ballads.

Link to complete ALBUM

After Mercury he recorded a couple years on the Amy label, and that is on a CD titled "A Shot of Rhythm and Blues". Then he spent three years living in England, creating a following in the "northern soul" scene, which was the northeast section of England.
Returning to the US, Decca records produced an album titled "Welcome Home" and two singles, which were not successful. You may never find that so here is some material.

Samples of the singles:
I'll Belong To You
Why Can't We Get Together
Here's a link to hear the other 10 songs of the COMPLETE ALBUM.

To see an image larger click on it.

Clyde's son
Clyde had a son with Ruth Brown out of wedlock ("Ron McPhatter"). He is now known and performing himself as Ronn David. His website is at Check his YouTube channel.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Al Caiola and his Big Guitar

(Updated April 17, 2014)

Al Caiola is the pop guitarist who made hits of The Magnificent Seven and Bonanza themes in 1961. He had large orchestral backing from the United Artists label, and he adopted the style of Duane Eddy at the time - a twangy bass lead guitar sound. He was with UA thruout the 60s, releasing loads of records besides his hits. There was an import CD available from Australia at amazon titled "Bonanza - 1960-1969", which I can recommend.
It's another one of those situations where you'll never find all his good stuff reissued. Here is a complete list of his UA singles for the record. Highlighted titles have audio samples.

The Magnificent Seven / The Lonely Rebel _ _ _ 1960
Bonanza / Bounty Hunter - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- 1961
Autumn In Cheyenne / Speak Low
Rollerama / Stampede - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1962
Experiment In Terror / Sergeants 3 March
Katusha / Love Is Like Champagne
Guitar Boogie / Kalinka - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1963
Mexicali Rose
Gunsmoke / Ciao
Guns Of Navarone / James Bond Theme
Women Of The World (La Donna Nel Mondo) - - - - - - -
- - - - -/ Redigo
Burke's Law Theme / Smoke Signal
From Russia With Love / Mexican Summer - - - - - 1964
The World Of the Brothers Grimm .........................
....../ Baby Elephant Walk
On the Trail / Wheels West
Tuff Guitar / Hound Dog
Bash Brannigan / Hunky Funky ...........................1965
Ring Of Fire / Gabrielle
Glory Guys / Forget Domani
The Trials Of O'Brien / Walking Down the Line
Batman Theme / Karelia ......................................1966
Duel At Diablo / Sugar Me Sweet
Hill Country Theme .............................................
...../ Stay Awhile (Quedato Un Rato Mas0
Return Of the Seven / Rat Patrol
Eight On the Lam / Sailor From Gibraltar ...............1967
Tiny Bubbles / Stag Or Drag
Never Pick Up a Stranger / Sleepwalk
Bossa Nova Noel / Holiday On Skiis .............................
.......(with Riz Ortolani)
Here Is Where I Belong / Sound Of Music ..............1968
Scalphunters Theme / Theme For November
High Chaparral / Master Jack .................................1969
Infinity Blue / Soul American
Stiletto / Guitar Woman .........................................1969

There are some singles here that I'd still like to add to my collection.

Samples: Jezebel, Two Guitars, Big Guitar

Samples: Tall Man, Gunslinger, The Deputy

See his wikipedia article for a list of his albums.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Diamonds - rare recordings

(Updated Oct.19, 2020)

You know The Diamonds from their 1957 hit "Little Darlin'". There are a couple of CD compilations now which present a lot more. Many of their releases of course weren't hits, and won't be found in collections. For the record here is a list..

Complete singles discography:

Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _/ Nip Sip (Coral) 1955
Smooch Me / Be My Lovin Baby (Coral)
Why Do Fools Fall In Love / You Baby You .. (Mercury...) 1956
Church Bells May Ring / Little Girl Of Mine
Love Love Love / Every Night About This Time
Soft Summer Breeze / Ka-Ding-Dong
A Thousand Miles Away / Every Minute Of the Day
Little Darlin / Faithful and True ...................................1957
Words Of Love / Don't Say Goodbye
Zip Zip / Oh How I Wish
Passion Flower .. (dj only) Merc #71194 .....1957
Silhouettes / Daddy Cool
The Stroll / Land Of Beauty
Straight Skirts / Patsy (uncertain)
High Sign / Don't Let Me Down (Chic-lets) ................1958
Kathy-O / The Happy Years
Walking Along / Eternal Lovers
She Say / From the Bottom Of My Heart ....................1959
Gretchen / A Mother's Love
Sneaky Alligator / Holding Your Hand
Young In Years / The Twenty-Second Day
Batman Wolfman Frankenstein or Dracula / Walkin' the Stroll
Real True Love / Tell the Truth ..................................1960
Slave Girl / The Pencil Song
The Crumble / You'd Be Mine
You Short-Changed Me / I Sho' Lawd Will (Merc 71782) ..1961
The Munch / Woomai-Ling
One Summer Night / It's a Doggone Shame
The Horizontal Lieutenant / The Vanishing American ...1962

Highlighted titles can be heard by pressing. It's probably your only chance to hear them.


Their greatest album was this 1959 Wing label compilation of 12 of their best rock&roll singles. Not fully a greatest hits album, it was very enjoyable, and features my favorite picture of them.

The Diamonds' western album

A very rare 1959 album you probably never even heard of. Twelve traditional western songs in standard arrangements with Pete Rugolo's orchestra. I found it at California Albums.
Here's a link to the complete album. Otherwise it will never be available, regardless of quality

Their first album

In 1957 following their smash Little Darlin', this album contained all original songs without any hits. The song Zip Zip was then released as a single hit.

Here is a link to the other 11 songs of the complete ALBUM.

The Diamonds Meet Pete Rugolo
album can be sampled HERE.

" The Diamonds 1970s " album

This is sometimes seen in their discographies. It was in 1971. Lead Dave Somerville was no longer there, but original member Mike Douglas was leading it. Under Douglas they were moving into the Blood Sweat And Tears style. Click any picture to see it larger.

Sample the entire album.



The Diamonds CD that I would recommend is "The Diamonds Collection" on the Stardust label.

The official website for the original group:

A new authorized website at is no longer available as of 2020.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Nancy Sinatra and her Boots

Nancy Sinatra was one of the outstanding female singers of the late 1960s in the US, Frank's daughter of course. She's still going.
She had six Billboard US top 40 hits and more above that, plus duets with Lee Hazlewood and Frank.
These days she may sometimes be called a one-hit wonder because only Boots is remembered, but that's a typical today's error. That term is thrown around when people don't know enough, at singers who had more that one top 40. Besides, I say why does one national hit make a person a queer "wonder". It's a big accomplishment.

Here are some musical questions and comparisons. Press a selection to hear it.

These Boots Are Made For Walking - #1 1966
Arranged by Billy Strange, like all her other hits, and written by Lee Hazlewood. The descending bass intro has made it famous. Lee used to be a radio dj and had experience at mastering and processing songs to sound best on radio. I'm not saying he did this, but here's an example of what analog AM radio did for this song. The album version sounds lame in comparison. Who can comment on what radio did? Digital versions today are even more lame. It shows that mastering method is more important than bitrate. Stereo sources here have been merged to mono.

Boots - radio recording
Boots - album recording

Friday's Child - #36 1966
One of those frank anguished songs of that era like "At Seventeen" by Janis Ian. By Hazlewood again. Too depressed for me, but well arranged. However, her hits album had a version which was not the hit single version. Can Warner Brothers/ Reprise explain why? That's a strange ripoff. Was there originally a different recording on an album? The hit version is the impressive one.

Friday's Child - Greatest Hits version
Friday's Child - hit single version

You Only Live Twice - #44 1967
The James Bond movie theme. The movie music was on the United Artists label. They rerecorded it for their own Reprise label and had it on the flip of Jackson, and it charted. I think the soundtrack song turns out more impressive.

movie version
Reprise version

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Name the Song?

(Updated September 4, 2018)

Some music I've recorded off air in past years without identification. They're good enough to try to find out. Press any highlighted title to hear.
Who, title, when, etc.

1. Strange Things Happen
Is this Bobby Vinton? UPDATE: It's Johnny Tillotson from 1967~.

2. ?~Love Is Gone~?
Maybe from the 80s. Could this be a tribute to Karen Carpenter? Maybe produced by her husband? Maybe in Canada?
ANSWER: It's Karen Marklinger of Winnipeg Canada in 1971. Moment Of Love from the album Colours Of The Rainbow.

3. If I Found a New Girl
By who? Sounds like ~1959. UPDATE: This is by Little Caesar & The Consuls from 1963 in Canada. This is a revised edition.

4. There was also a mid-50s female R&B song with the line "Everybody made merry...and Mary got mad". I think about a Christmas party. UPDATE: It was "Christopher Columbus" by Dinah Washington in 1957.

5. Butterfly instrumental.
Which orchestra? This is the early 1970s international hit written by Danyel Gerard. From the beat I'd say German. It's not James Last, I checked his. This is a partial recording from Shaw Cable background music.
UPDATE: I now know this is the Werner Muller orchestra with Bob Powels on trumpet. The LP Golden Trumpet.

6. LAURA - who is the singer etc. ANSWER: Eileen Farrell, US opera singer.

7. OUT OF THIS WORLD - singer etc.

Press "comments" below to reply.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Comedy of Ray Stevens

(Updated December 21, 2007)

Y'all probably know the songs Ahab the Arab and Guitarzan from the 1960s. What's worth checking out is a lot of his unknown obscurities that weren't hits. How do these titles sound: Rockin Teenage Mummies, Mr Baker the Undertaker, The Old English Surfer, Mary My Secretary. These were non-hit singles from the 1960s.

Ray started out at the beginning. Uhh, I mean in the late 50s. He tried some teen rock + roll ballads that weren't successful. He recorded a novelty song called Cholly Wolly Chang, about the Chinese inventing R&R. It wasn't a hit, and I don't even know if it was released as a single, but it appeared on some compilation LPs. The song was inspired by the hit Ling Ting Tong by the Five Keys.
In 1960 came a glimmer of success, with Sergeant Preston Of the Yukon. It was the first of his musical joke style records. It didn't chart but is found on some CDs now.
In 1961 he charted with, get this: Jeremiah Peabody's Polunsaturated Pleasant-Tasting Fast-Acting Green and Purple Pills. Based on the medicinal commercials that were heard on TV at the time. He was using a solid R&R beat as backup. Next was Scratch My Back. Then came his big breakthru with Ahab the Arab in 1962.
I know of three versions of Ahab: There's a long full version found on LPs; the single was shortened with the end cut; and there's a live version. Get this: when he went into Mercury studios to record Ahab he saw Clyde McPhatter recording in another room. He then changed the song words to call the camel Clyde.

Some of his singles are extremely rare and weren't on albums. You'd never find them, so here's a chance to hear samples. Press a title:

Cholley Wolly Chang (unknown origin)
Rockin Teenage Mummies (1965)
Mr. Baker the Undertaker (1965)
The Old English Surfer (1965)
Mary My Secretary (1967)

And Furthermore ....

Ray has kept recording to the present. Some are hard to find because all albums haven't been chosen for online purchasing, and they don't choose just individual songs.
In 1983 he had a good album titled "#1 With a Bullet". Here are two good samples:
The Sheik Of R&B
The Pirate Song - a takeoff on Laurel and Hardy, and on the British "Carry On" movie series. There is also a live version called The Gay Pirate Song, not as good as this original. And this one has been edited in some releases to eliminate a homosexual implication. Mine is complete.

Then in this millenium he has given us:
Osama Yo' Mama
The New Battle Of New Orleans - a takeoff on the chaos in NO after hurricane Katrina.

(posted September 2, 2007)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Do you remember Jack Scott

(updated May 1, 2009)

The great Jack Scott, one of the original damn hard rockers of the late 50s.
His first hit was My True Love in 1958, a slow moody gem of a rock ballad. It went to #3, and is one of the basic classic oldies. Followed by With Your Love, #28, a similar style. Then Goodbye Baby, a #8, with a rousing B-side Save My Soul. With Goodbye Baby he established a style of a hypnotic repetitive medium rock beat which he used well the rest of his career.
Jack was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, but moved to Detroit, USA at age ten. Both nations would like to lay claim to him. He has a strong following to this day, and reissues are not hard to find. It was a time when Conway Twitty was doing similar things in rock+roll. Elvis was in the army 1958-1960, and they helped fill the gap. It seems like when Elvis returned, these two singers stopped having big hits, as if they were no longer needed. Is that fate?
Some other notable Scott hits were The Way I Walk (#35 1959), What In the World's Come Over You (#5 1960), and Burning Bridges (#3 1960).
Jack did spend 1959 in the army, but single releases on the Carlton label continued, including the #78 I Never Felt Like This. It had a haunting ballad on the B-side, "Bella", a great example of that style.
In 1960 he was on the Top Rank label. At the same time as Conway Twitty he had a single of What Am I Living For, without about similarities. Plus he made an album of that name, very rare but good rock+roll. Another rare LP was What In the World's Come Over you. I know someone who found it for $1 in a stack at a Goodwill thrift shop. The definition of jealousy.
There was an album titled "I Remember Hank Williams". I was disappointed that he concentrated on slow ballads, and it didn't work well for his style. But a great LP the next year was "The Spirit Moves Me". That collection of uptempo spirituals worked very well.
He switched to Capitol in 1961 and released there until 1963. Some had a country tendency, but he was never far from that rock style, at least putting some good ones on B-sides. Examples of these are Sad Story, Strange Desire, Grizzly Bear. In 1963 came Laugh and the World Laughs With You, a non-hit which was played in my area, which is on a par with From a Jack To a King by Ned Miller.
In 1963 he was on RCA's Groove label. Among others, there was a Christmas release of There's Trouble Brewing/ Jingle Bell Slide, plus another hypnotic rock song Wiggle On Out.
That was it for his rock fame, but he has never quit making appearances. In Winnipeg Canada, home of the famed Burton Cummings, Burton has insisted on inviting him to rock revival events there. Burton can't get him out of his head either.

Click to hear a sample:
Save My Soul
Grizzly Bear
Laugh and the World Laughs With You
Wiggle On Out

The Spirit Moves Me 1961 album

This has to be one of the greatest gospel albums of the rock era, but it's so so obscure. It should be known. Sample the ENTIRE ALBUM here. It's uptempo and compares with Elvis', but contains a few songs you've never heard. Click the cover image to see it larger.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Did you know Conway Twitty was a rocker

Before he started singing country in the mid-60s, he was one of the biggest rock stars. He had chart hits between 1958 and 1960, plus other good releases outside that.
Conway tried out with Sun Records around 1956 but wasn't accepted. While there he wrote and recorded "Rockhouse", later done by Orbison on Sun, and by Buddy Knox on an LP. His real name was Harold Jenkins, which he changed in 1957. Then he recorded 3 or 4 singles on Mercury, which were not successful.
It started in 1958 on MGM records when he wrote his first big hit, It's Only Make Believe, a #1. Followups were The Story Of My Love (#28), Hey Little Lucy (#87), Mona Lisa (#29), Danny Boy (#10), Lonely Blue Boy (#6), What Am I Living For (#26), Is a Bluebird Blue (#35), C'est Si Bon (#22) in 1960.
He rocked up some of those old standards, to the extent that some radio stations rebelled against his "desecration" of a song like Danny Boy. Now "Lonely Blue Boy", not to be confused with Paul Anka's Lonely Boy, was an altered version of a song Elvis Presley sang for King Creole named "Danny" (not "Danny Boy"), which was not included in the movie or released until recently. This was one of Conway's slower sexy style rock songs, which he was good at, similar to Elvis on his "Elvis Is Back" album. That style was also shown in Make Me Know You're Mine, flip of Story Of My Love, and others.
In fact I'd say that while sexy Elvis was in the army 1958 to 1960, and ran out out of prerecorded hits mid-1959, Conway played the role of a replacement during that time.
Look at Conway's cover portraits of the time and you see that same curled-lip demeanor. Jack Scott was another similar singer at the time.
By the end of 1960 Conway ran out of big hits even tho his MGM recordings continued til 1963, with some good collectables in that period. He was then in the category of "whatever happened to ..?". In 1961 his record of "A Million Teardrops" was played where I lived and got noticed, but didn't make the charts nationally for whatever reason...the gods and dj's only know.
Pictured is his 1961 LP "The Conway Twitty Touch" with a great portrait. In 1963 he released an album "R&B '63" with great renditions of classic hits, including a good version of Shirley + Lee's "Let the Good Times Roll". But it wasn't being noticed.
So let's pay attention again and not forget. Let's get those reissues going, play them all on oldies radio, not just It's Only Make Believe, and keep Conway Twitty on the rock and roll pedestal he belongs on.

To hear a song sample press the title:
A Million Teardrops
Let the Good Times Roll
Make Me Know You're Mine
Lonely Blue Boy
Danny (Elvis)

Do you know you can download any of these photos by right-clicking on them.

Here is a good website (non-English) with descriptions and samples of his hit singles:

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Diane Ray wanted the lifeguard; Diane Renay wanted the sailor.

(updated November 29, 2014)

"Please Don't Talk To the Lifeguard" was a #31 hit in 1963 for Diane Ray of North Carolina. It was one of the staples of 1960s oldies but is not common now. A great catchy tune. Diane followed it up with more singles, which were not hits. The album "The Exciting Years" collects some of these, but is very rare.

Diane Ray samples:
Please Don't Talk To the Lifeguard
Just So Bobby Can See
Tied Up With Mary

Diane Renay wanted the sailor. Born Renee Diane Kushner and working out of Philadelphia and produced by Bob Crewe, she hit big in 1964 with "Navy Blue", reaching #6. The followup was "Kiss Me Sailor", #29 nationally. Diane had a strong zesty voice
and the songs were energetic.
An album titled Navy Blue was
a success. It contained the song
Bell Bottom Trousers, which
was not released as a single, but
which I think could have made
a successful trio of hits. As it
was, this was the extent of her fame.
By the way, Bell-Bottom Trousers was a pop hit in 1945, and is based on an old sea shanty.

These two Dianes with the confusing names are good examples of the early 60s solo girl sound, along with Joanie Sommers, Leslie Gore and others. Then there were the "girl groups" like The Ronettes in addition. Those are other stories.
Speaking of Joanie Sommers, you've got to hear her 1960 nonhit Ruby Duby Du (press).

Song samples for Diane Renay:
Navy Blue and Kiss Me Sailor parts
Bell-Bottom Trousers

Bell-Bottom Trousers by Connie Boswell 1945 (edited)
Bell-Bottom Trousers - part of the bawdy sea shanty, sung by Oscar Brand

Diane Renay has her own website at:

Anyone is welcome to leave comments - press comments below.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The first Jay and the Americans

(Updated April 20, 2014)

Jay and the Americans were one of the greatest groups of the 60s. The main lead singer was Jay Black. But in their first couple of years the lead was Jay Traynor. He sang on their first classic hit "She Cried" in 1962, and on the resulting album. Jay Black came in starting with "Only In America" and "Come a Little Bit Closer".
Each of them was asked to use the name Jay. The real names were John Traynor and David Blatt. They were from the New York area.
Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were the producers in the early years of The Americans. They had been working at Atlantic Records with The Drifters. When they left, they retained some rights to their productions. Only In America had been meant for The Drifters, and that recording exists, but was not released at the time. The instrumental backing was then used for The Americans' recording with Jay Black. Similarly, "Yes" was recorded by Ben E.King, and the backing track was reused for this terrific recording by Jay Traynor and the Americans. It was on the album, and also on a non-hit single in 1963, and it deserves more attention.
The next Americans' album, Come A Little Bit Closer, contained songs by both Black and Traynor. At Jay Traynor's website he lists exactly which songs he sang.
After about four singles, only one of which was a hit, Traynor left the group. He recorded some sol0 songs, most notably "I Rise I Fall" on the Coral label in 1964. It was not a hit, but is one of those that when you hear it, you say it could have been and should have been. You get mad at the radio stations for not playing it. The song was good enough for Johnny Tillotson to have a minor hit, and for Rick Nelson to include on his Decca "For You" album.
Someone should reissue Jay's rendition.
Jay Traynor is currently part of the East coast Tokens revival group, Jay Siegel and the Tokens.
Jay had one of the best voices of that era, perfectly suited for the time, and made She Cried an irresistible treasure.

Here Jay Traynor is at the Coral recording studio in 1964.
The flip side of this single was "How Sweet It Is",
also a good song.

The She Cried album with the original members, with Jay Traynor in the middle top.

To hear song samples press the title:
I Rise I Fall
How Sweet It Is
She Cried

John "Jay" Traynor died on January 2, 2014 and no longer has a website at:


Friday, January 26, 2007

The Everly Brothers in the mid 1960s.

(updated March 3, 2012)

When the brothers were drafted in 1962, it upset their career. In addition, the British invasion changed American tastes. In 1963 they had no hits. They had sporadic success in the US from 1964 on.
But in my opinion, at that time they produced some of their most impressive music. There was the driving power of "The Price Of Love". There were the seductive chords of Torture and of Love Is Strange. Lovey Kravezit was a great song with a carnival beat. It was a takeoff on the female character in Dean Martin's Matt Helm movie. The Ferris Wheel was a great nonhit. On the Rock 'N Soul album there was an amazing arrangement of Dancing In the Street. The Power Of Love was powerful, but not on the charts.
Some of the nonhits in 1963 that may be of interest to collectors include Don't Ask Me To Be Friends, Hello Amy, and Nancy's Minuet. Nancy's Minuet is a special one. Don Everly (the dark-haired) wrote it in 1961 inspired by Henry Mancini's Experiment In Terror. It imitates the haunting repetitive bass effect for a mysterious mood. Don was really taken by this, but it was not released until an insignificant single in 1963, and it wasn't the hit he wished for.
The Everlys had more airplay in the mid-60s in Canada and England than the US. It's worth investigating these songs.

When The Everlys performed in Winnipeg, Canada in 1967,
they played many of these mid-60s songs. Is that good-looking guitarist on the right in a rapture playing the chords to Love Is Strange?

_____________Photos copyright 2007 George Slivinsky

Rock 'N Soul album 1964:

Gone Gone Gone album 1965:

______Beat & Soul - 1965

In Our Image album 1966:

To hear a song sample press the title:
The Price Of Love
Love Is Strange
Dancing In the Street
Nancy's Minuet
Lovey Kravezit
(You Got) The Power Of Love
Torture (flip of Gone Gone Gone)

Other Everly rarities:

In 1961 Don Everly produced
three singles on his new Calliope label that were not Everly vocals. He used the artist name Adrian Kimberly, and used an orchestra and chorus. Listen to the first one:
Pomp and Circumstance - #34 Billboard
Black Mountain Stomp - flip side

In 1988 the brothers released a vocal of Don't Worry Baby sung together with The Beach Boys:
Don't Worry Baby - Capitol single

The Christmas album
The very rare 1962 album Christmas With the Everly Brothers.

Click an image to see it larger.
Here's a link to hear the COMPLETE ALBUM.
I have a second copy you could bid on in comments. It's very good mono.

A detailed list of their singles and albums can be found at Wikipedia:

Their fan club is at


Teresa Brewer in the 1960s and more.

(Updated Sept.15, 2013)

In 1962 Teresa switched from the Coral label to Philips. It was past the prime of pop music and her hit-making. However she kept recording fantastic music on Philips, which doesn't get as much exposure as it deserves. She also had some of the greatest album cover portraits. Like Peggy Lee, I feel this period was her prime as a person.
You should at least get to know her 1963 songs Second Hand Rose, He Understands Me, and She'll Never Love You Like I Do. All are on this Terrific Teresa LP. In 1967 she was still releasing great music on the LP Texas Leather and Mexican Lace, which included an amazing rendition of The Comancheros besides the great title song.
In 1968 on the SSS label she recorded "Ride-a-Roo", about a novelty toy which started in England. It's an inflated balloon with ears, which you sat on and bounced. In the US it was called a SpaceHopper.

______________Gold Country - 1966 album____________

A fantastic rendition of I Love You Drops.
Great versions of Ain't Had No Lovin, Baby,
Another, Once a Day.

_________Naughty Naughty Naughty - 1960 album_______

This album was still on the Coral label, but it's worth looking at, isn't it. And listening to. The theme is the Gay Nineties. There are great melodic renditions of:

I've Got Rings On My Fingers, By the Light Of the Silvery Moon, Naughty Naughty Naughty, When I Lost You, Ma He's Making Eyes At Me, Shine On Harvest Moon, When You Wore a Tulip, Honeymoon, Last Night On the Back Porch, Be My Little Bumble Bee, There's Yes Yes In Your Eyes, Naughty 90s.


Greatest Hits album on Philips 1962_____________________

The luscious lass rerecorded her Coral hits for this release.
In addition there was the new recording The Ballad Of Lover's Hill, a beautiful dramatic Civil War ballad with a happy ending, issued as a single in 1962.

Teresa's Philips singles
  1. The Ballad Of Lover's Hill /Not Like a Sister _ _ _ _ _ _ 1962
  2. She'll Never Love You Like I Do /The Thrill Is Gone _ _1963
  3. Second Hand Rose /Stand-In
  4. He Understands Me /Just Before We Say Goodbye
  5. Come On In /Simple Things _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 1964
  6. Dern Ya (Dang Me) /Mama Never Told Me
  7. Goldfinger /Make Room For One More Fool _ _ _ _ _ _ 1965
  8. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious /I've Grown Accustomed To His Face
  9. Say Something Sweet To Your Sweetheart /What About Mine
  10. Little Buddy /Little Bitty Grain Of Sand
  11. Handle With Care/I Can't Remember Ever Loving You_1966
  12. Evil On Your Mind /Ain't Had No Loving _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _1966
(highlighted titles can be heard by pressing)

Teresa's Philips albums
  1. Teresa Brewer's Greatest Hits _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 1962
  2. Terrific Teresa _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 1963
  3. Moments To Remember _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 1964
  4. Golden Hits Of 1964
  5. Dear Heart, Goldfinger & Other Great Movie Songs _1965
  6. Songs For Our Fighting Men _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 1966
  7. Gold Country
  8. Texas Leather and Mexican Lace _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _1967

To hear song samples press the title:
Second Hand Rose
He Understands Me
She'll Never Love You Like I Do
I Love You Drops
The Comancheros
Texas Leather and Mexican Lace
Ballad Of Lover's Hill


Outside the 60s, this song was Teresa's crowning glory, her trademark. A #1 hit in 1950, she rerecorded it several times. You must get to know the other versions, while there's someone around to show you. I'm spelling the titles the way each label had it. Press the highlighted title to hear the sample.

1. Music! Music! Music! - 1950 London label. This is the one you find on current compilation albums, the original. My sample is from old vinyl, and only for comparison.

2. (Put Another Nickel In) Music! Music! Music! - Coral label recording for the 1955 album of that name.

3. Music, Music, Music - Philips label for their 1962 Greatest Hits LP. This is a patented Nashville production.

4. Music, Music, Music - Amsterdam label rock and roll style version (did you know?), for a single and 1973 album of that name, where there were several R&R style renditions. It was her then-husband Bob Thiele who operated that label.

5. Music, Music, Music - 1974 RCA label rerecording, for an album The Best Of TB. Here is a definitive new rendition true to the original but more perfectly done. Notice how she has developed her technique in speaking the line "come on everybody...keep that old nickelodeon playing". It was later also released on an RCA single, and was included on other albums.

6. Music, Music, Music - 1976 Disco version on the Signature label. Yes. A single in a longer and short version.

The R&B group The Sensations, of Let Me In fame, did a rendition of this song in 1961. It did become a small hit, at #54. There aren't many others who have done it, since Teresa pretty well "owns" it. This leads us to some interesting confusion over voices. Some people think the lead singer of The Sensations was Sue Thompson. No, it was Yvonne Baker. Some people mistake Sue Thompson songs like Norman as being by Teresa Brewer. Passing time and lack of reference books creates many such errors now. With these similar voices, it's interesting how birds of a feather have come together in this. Hear a sample:
Music Music Music - The Sensations


I Wouldn't Dream Of It - an amazing ballad from the Terrific Teresa album
Gonna Get Along Without You Now (1964) - Philips rerecording of her 1952 Coral hit, which was the origin of this song.
Say Something Sweet To Your Sweetheart
Come On In - 1964 single
Dern Ya (Dang Me) - answer to Roger Miller.
Hello Louis (Hello Dolly)
A Hard Day's Night - from the Movie themes LP
Goldfinger - with gunshot sound effects ("Violence Warning").
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious - From Mary Poppins. Which part of this is hard to spell for ya huh? In a 1960s pop-rock style.
Ballad of the Green Berets - from the album Songs For Our Fighting Men.
Step To the Rear - 1968 SSS International single.
Live a Little - flip of Step To Rear, both from the musical "How Now Dow Jones".
Thoroughly Modern Millie - 1967 ABC single. Performer listed as "Bob Thiele and his New Happy Times Orchestra featuring Teresa Brewer special guest star".
Give Me Your Kisses - she had one guest vocal on Bob Thiele's 1972 LP "Those Were the Days"
Unliberated Woman - 1975 Signature single. Lyrics are as good as you think, and the music comes off impressive.
Tonight I Sleep Alone - A 1977 single which got attention for frank sexual lyrics.
No Way Conway - #68 in 1983. Yes it's a humorous play on Conway Twitty's name.

Early 1970s rock recordings

Her 1973 Amsterdam album with the rock theme.

I love this portrait.
If you need to read the contents you can handle the image by clicking on it.
Music To the Man
Late Night Movie
School Days
Playground In My Mind
Give Me Love

In 1973-74 Teresa and her new husband Bob Thiele recorded and produced some songs in England, mostly rock-flavored. Instrumental backing bands used had names like "Head Hands and Feet", and "Oily Rags".
One production was a new recording by Jim Lowe of his 1956 hit Green Door. It wasn't a hit but I found one copy of it on planet Earth, so it should be known. Teresa contributes her voice in the background. Press to listen.

The second Amsterdam album that resulted was "Teresa Brewer In London With Oily Rags". Here's the toughest song from that one: Mama Sure Could Swing a Deal.
A Teresa vocal that wasn't on any album was a 1974 rock version of the 1957 hit Bo Weevil, another rare single. Hear it here.


In 1956/57 Teresa released a rare Christmas album titled "At Christmas Time". It was later reissued as a CD named "Down the Holiday Trail". It is very suitable for children. Before each song she has some cute dialog with her three young daughters. Here's a link to the complete ALBUM.
Other Teresa Christmas links:
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (1953)
All Teresa's 1950s Christmas singles


In addition to the short disco single of Music MM under More Music above, here are other disco songs I know of. The 12" single had 4 and 6 minute versions. On her 1977 LP "Teresa Brewer's New Album" (Image Records #IM 306) there were four other disco selections.

Music MM - 12" single 4 min
Music MM - 12" 6 min
Hello Dolly
I've Got You Under My Skin
Forever and Ever

TERESA'S MOVIE career was spectacular but brief. She was voted by Americans as most popular female singer, and was chosen to star in the 1953 musical "Those Redheads From Seattle". Then she chose to not continue with an acting career. Here is a screenshot from the preview of that movie:

Here's a link to see the full PREVIEW for the movie.

Articles: Go to this LINK to see or download some articles.

In Memory

Teresa died October 17, 2007 of an illness. In tribute, from Songs For Our Fighting Men:

Til We Meet Again


Visit her official fansite at You can see her complete discography, including contents of all albums. You can hear many of her songs. is an encyclopedia of everyone's recordings.
Wikipedia has many such articles.

Facebook Fans Of Teresa Brewer (link) 

Anyone is welcome to make comments, by pressing Comments below.