Friday, December 11, 2009

Teresa Brewer - early recordings

(updated June 4, 2019)

How her recording career started.
Her birth name was Theresa Veronica Breuer. Her father was from Germany and her mother was from the Hungary-Romania area with ancestry in White Russia (Belarus). They lived in Toledo, Ohio, USA. Birth date May 7, 1931 (a girl:).
She quit school at the age of 16 in early 1948, and zipped off to New York for professional singing engagements, accompanied by her aunt. She was a hit in clubs as in the Latin Quarter. Soon an agent offered his service.
At age 18 she was married, to Bill Monahan.
In 1949 London Records, based in England, noticed and signed her.
It took two unsuccessful singles before she hit with Music Music Music. 1949 into 1950 it became a #1 international million seller, while she was 18.
Her permanent residence was just north of New York City, and she worked out of New York.

The singles I know of on London, with Billboard US chart positions and 78 numbers, were:
1949- When the Train Came In / A Man Wrote a Song (511)
- (duets with Bobby Wayne) Copper Canyon / Way Back Home (562)
- I Beeped When I Shoulda Bopped / Old Man Mose (563)
1950- Music M.M. (#1) / Copenhagen (604)
- Choo'n Gum (#17) / Honky Tonkin' (678)
- Punky Punkin' / Cincinnatti Dancing Pig (768)
- Molasses Molasses / Grizzly Bear (794)
- You've Got Me Crying Again / He Can Come Back Any Time He Wants To .... (795)
1951- The Thing (#20) / I Guess I'll Have To Dream The Rest  (873)
- If You Want Some Lovin' / I've Got the Craziest Feeling (967)
- Lonesome Gal / Counterfeit Kisses (970)
- Oceana Roll / The Wang Wang Blues (1083)
- If You Don't Marry Me / I Wish I Wuz (1085)
- Longing For You (#23) / Jazz Me Blues (1086)

Coral early singles:
1951- 1. Sing Sing Sing / I Don't Care
1952- 2. Lovin' Machine / Noodlin' Rag
- 3. Gonna Get Along Without Ya Now (#25) / Roll Them Roly Boly Eyes
- Til I Waltz Again With You (#1)
1953 - Dancing With Someone (Longing For You) (#17)
- Baby Baby Baby (#12) / I Guess It Was You All The Time (solo version) _ _ (from her movie Those Redheads From Seattle)
- a reissue single #65520 of Music Music Music (Coral rerecording) / Gonna Get Along wo Ya Now

Highlighted song titles are linked to online samples.
There were other singles where she sang in duets and groups.

Musical film shorts

In 1951 Teresa filmed eight musical short films. Two were with the Firehouse Five Plus Two band - Music Music Music and Old Man Mose. Then there were Snader Telescriptions. These involved many artists and were used as television filler. She was backed by Jack Pleis and the Dixieland All-Stars on Music Music Music, Copenhagen, I'm The Lonesomest Gal In Town, If You Want Some Lovin', Honky-Tonkin', and I've Got The Craziest Feeling. She was still on the London label at the time, aged 19.

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The backing group in the Craziest Feeling film is the Dixieland All-Stars with Jack Pleis on piano, an arranger for record labels.

Teresa Brewer publicity photo
for Those Redheads From Seattle
 In her one movie role she played a showgirl in Those Redheads From Seattle in 1953.

 Music! Music! Music! - alternate masters:

It seems the hit of Music was processed and mastered at the time to change the sound.
In 1976 London Records reissued 12 songs on the "World Of Teresa Brewer" LP. It has a London recording of Music that's about 20 seconds shorter with a different tone. Maybe they wanted to lower the pitch of the voice by slowing it down. I don't think they had tape at the time, so I don't know the method. The original master was apparently preserved by London and reissued here. Did they realize which edit they were reissuing? In other words the hit issue was slower and longer than what Teresa recorded. Or conversely, did Teresa want to speed up the song in the reissue?

Music! Music! Music! - master from World LP

Child performer

Teresa first performed on a local radio show at age two,
singing Take Me Out To the Ball Game. At age 5 she became a regular performer in a travelling Major Bowes vaudeville show, and she toured with it around North America til 12. She also made a few appearances on Bowes' weekly radio show in New York. From age twelve she was a regular on the local Toledo radio show Pic and Pat. So she was no novice when she hit New York at age 16.
Press here to hear her singing on Major Bowes radio: Darktown Strutters' Ball. This is found on the DVD The Original Amateur Hour hosted by Pat Boone.

Teresa's high school Yearbook entry 1947-48

Publicity photo in New York probably 1948.


Performing on an early television show.

Teresa's home after marriage, in New Rochelle north of New York city.

Teresa in the mid-50s in a rare cheesecake pose (sometime before hair permanents).

Please comment if you have further knowledge.

her fan site is at
Facebook Fans of Teresa Brewer

Friday, February 27, 2009

Elvis Presley - The Rise and Decline and Comeback

(updated November 21, 2009)

In his hit period with RCA I see three phases. First before and during the army. Second from his army return to 1968. Third from his 1969 comeback til his supposed death in 1977.
What I call the decline started after 1965 and lasted til his comeback Christmas TV special in December 1968.
So there are two ways of looking at this - one by his 3 periods, and secondly by the ups and downs.

His first period 1956 - 1959 was the raucous rockabilly, using his instrumental trio as backup. When he was drafted in 1958 RCA picked as many songs as they could for him to record and release while away. These were not the best songs, but kept him afloat, and were collected on his second Golden Hits LP. They ran out of these hit singles by summer 1959 and he was not on the charts until his return in April 1960.

The second phase 1960 -1968.
In Europe he learned some classic European songs like O Sole Mio, and probably matured. On his return he asked the songwriters to adapt some of these for him. So O Sole Mio became It's Now Or Never, Torne a Sorrento became Surrender. Wooden Heart was from a German song.
No time was wasted when he returned. A couple of the songs debuted on the Top 40 immediately at #1. A couple others took a whole two weeks to reach #1.
Well the power of 1960 didn't quite continue in full force. I'd say he continued to have great original hits til the end of 1962 with "She's Not You". But even by 1961 they dropped to the level of "Feel So Bad", and people could sense this.
They were now using fuller arrangements at the Nashville scene. I suspect Boots Randolph was adding those great sax bits in the background, and maybe Floyd Cramer was in piano. These were his greatest productions, based on songs of the greatest writers like Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman.
There were four great regular albums (non-movie) between 1960 and 1965 - Elvis Is Back, Something For Everybody, Potluck, and Elvis For Everyone.
By 1963 his singles started to lack that great originality, tho they were still fine - Return To Sender, One Broken Heart For Sale, Bossa Nova Baby ...
Now they fell back on recycling some previously recorded album songs like Such An Easy Question (from Potluck).
By now his last #1 was Good Luck Charm in 1962. In 1963 he had some top 10s, in 1964 no top tens. In 1965 came his last top 10 until 1969 - Crying In the Chapel at #3 (Billboard). There would be no more #1s until Suspicious Minds in 1969.
In an interview around 1970 Elvis said there was a problem finding great new rock&roll songs by then. RCA started wasting our time with singles like Puppet On a String, Love Letters, and Indescribably Blue. So 1966 - 1968 was the decline. They tried some rockers which were not good enough: Big Boss Man, US Male, Long-Legged Girl, Guitar Man, A Little Less Conversation. They hardly made the Top 40.
But there were also some gems in that period: You'll Be Mine, Judy, Come What May, Tell Me Why ... which deserve attention.

The Comeback Special
So in 1968 Colonel Parker arranged a TV special. Instead of a Christmas theme, Elvis succeeded in making it a general rock&roll theme. He harked back to his early days, rocked in black leather, and had his original trio back.
The following singles were then geared to a new style, fitting the hippie era. There were the liberal themes decrying Negro poverty. Songs like In the Getto and Don't Cry Daddy probably caused the Detroit black riots, because they stirred up the feelings of guilt or bitterness. The music was not the same as the earlier era either.
I call this his third phase, and I relate it to the Second era of rock&roll. The first era was late 50s/early 60s. The second era being late 60s/early 70s. You know how it goes. Second era people don't recognize any music before the Beatles. Oldies start with the Beatles and Supremes, nothing earlier even exists.
So Elvis continued in this vein til 1977.
By the way I don't believe he died at that time. But it sounds like he died maybe a couple years ago. There was talk of Priscilla being left out of the inheritance.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Record-Rama Archives

(updated March 1, 2015)

Record-Rama had been a record store in Pittsburg USA for a few decades. The proprietor Paul Mawhinney has collected the largest vinyl record archive in the world. Now the store is closed and he is trying to sell that archive.
He wants to sell it as a whole collection and wants it preserved that way. His minimum price is $3 million. I say it's worth it. 1.5 million 45s dating from 1948, and a million LPs. This is not store stock, but saved copies of every record he ever dealt with. His aim was to have every single by every artist, and he published his list in his MusicMaster catalog. It probably contains every release by any favorite artist you can think of.
I think the best use would be to make the records accessible to reissue companies and to broadcasters so that anything could be made available to listeners.
He is at the same time clearing out what remains of his store stock. That is arranged thru his website and is a big-time proposition involving a minimum $5,000 purchase.
His store was a mecca for collectors of obscure rare vinyl, and I hope this music will be preserved.

A video on this can be seen at the Vimeo site:
The Archive from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.

The first edition of the MusicMaster catalog in 1982 came in two volumes, one by title and one by artist. It illustrates what he had in the archive at that time. Click to view larger.

Mawhinney's website is

Sale of the collection
The collection has been sold to a Brazilian buyer named Zero Freitas as of December 2012, who plans a museum. This has been announced by The New York Times, CNN Money, and others.