Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Vinyl Obscurities - Brunswick label

This time my Vinyl Obscurities are from the UK Brunswick label (Decca in the US),formed in 1916, which was possibly the most famous UK label in the early days of rock and roll because of its association with Bill Haley. Most of my selections are from these early days, with a couple of later releases thrown in. A lot of the label's product was rather conservative, but it had its moments now and then, and with Haley, Brenda Lee and, later, the Who, it had its hitmakers too.
1. Patsy Cline - Walkin' After Midnight/ A Poor Man's Roses. Mint value £50.
This is a one sided demo and was the first hit for a country singer whose voice still sounds amazing today, even though she died aged just 30 in a plane crash in 1963. Later she made such classics as Crazy, I Fall To Pieces and She's Got You, but this is where the legend really began, back in 1957, largely thanks to Decca producer Owen Bradley.

2. Bill Haley & The Comets - R-O-C-K/ The Saints Rock 'n' Roll. Mint value £15.
Strange to think that a rather boring looking man approaching middle age was the catalyst of rock and roll and all that followed. But Bill Haley and his excellent band was where it all began. I've chosen this one because it's an excellent double sider and also the first rock and roll 78 that I can remember my older sister bringing home - and playing to death.
3. Owen Bradley Quintet - Big Guitar/ Sentimental Dream. Mint value £20.
As a record producer Owen Bradley was one of the architects of the Nashville sound and artists who recorded at his studio included Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, Conway Twitty, Buddy Holly and Gene Vincent. This instrumental hit from 1958 features the guitars of Grady Martin and Hank Garland, Bob Moore's bass, Buddy Harman's drums, Dutch McMillin's tenor sax and piano of Owen Bradley himself.
4. The Shirelles - I Met Him On A Sunday/ I Want You To be My Boyfriend. Mint value £70.
This is another one sided demo from 1958 and shows that even then the Shirelles were quite brilliant. This was recorded for the small Tiara label and licensed to US Decca and was a minor hit, but it was only when they signed to Scepter that they began their incredible run of smash hits, including Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Dedicated To the One I Love, Baby It's You, Soldier Boy and many others.
5. Bobby Helms - Schoolboy Crush/ Borrowed Dreams. Mint value £15.
Indiana born Bobby had big US pop hits with Fraulein, My Special Angel and Jingle Bell Rock. This was a more modest hit, but was later covered by Cliff Richard. It's another entry for my whistling records (see earlier blog entry). Bobby continued recording into the 1980s, with success in the country charts.
6. Earl Grant - The End/ Hunky Dunky Doo. Mint value £7.
A multi-instrumentalist from Oklahoma, Earl could be categoried as middle of the road, as this Nat King Cole styled number shows. But this was a big US hit, as was his million selling Ebb Tide.
7. Brenda Lee - Bill Bailey Won't You Please Come Home/ Hummin' The Blues Over You. Mint value £20.
Brenda was just 13 when she recorded her first hit Dynamite in 1957 and went on to have dozens of hits during the sixties. Her success is largely forgotten now, but she was a true star with a fantastic voice.  This was one of her earlier releases, from 1958. The live Youtube clip (with lots of background info) comes from the Oh Boy! show in 1959.
8. Carl Dobkins Jr - Lucky Devil/ (There's A Little Song A-singing) In My Heart. Mint value £10.
Another somewhat forgotten pop star of the late 50s/ early 60s, Dobkins had success with My Heart Is An Open Book and this one, a minor hit, was covered in the UK by Frank Ifield.
9. Carl Perkins - Lonely Heart/ Big Bad Blues. Mint value £15.
Carl was one of the rockabilly greats with Sun recordings such as Blue Suede Shoes, Matchbox, Glad All Over, Honey Don't and Lend Me Your Comb. Had it not been for a car crash in 1956 he might have been as big as Elvis. He toured the UK in 1964 with Chuck Berry (I remember it well!) and recorded this single with the Nashville Teens.
10. Jon-Mark - Baby I Got A Long Way To Go/ Night Comes Down. Unlisted.
This one's a bit obscure as it's not listed in the Rare Record Guide and it's not on Youtube, but it would appear to be by acoustic guitarist Jon Mark Burchell, who accompanied Marianne Faithfull and later teamed up with flautist-saxophonist John Almond, and recorded with the John Mayall band on The Turning Point album. Here's a track Jon-Mark recorded with Almond in the early 70s.

11. Fred Hughes - Baby Boy/ Johnny Jones & The King Casuals - Purple Haze. Mint value £10.
Finally we move on to the late 60s when Brunswick re-emerged as a label specialising in soul music under the control of Nat Tarnopol. Artists included Jackie Wilson, The Artistics, The Chi-Lites and this one - a Northern soul favourite - by Arkansas-born Fred Hughes.


At 10:01 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great selection - I'm particularly jealous of the Patsy Cline and Shirelles demos! Always liked the tracks that Carl Perkins cut with the Nashville Teens. Not 100% sure I've got it - will have to check.
John S

At 11:08 pm , Blogger john marriott said...

The demo to get from the last soul series is Jackie Wilsons It only happens when Iook at you. Very scarce and very in demand. Got one myself but have seen it go at crazy prices considering how "recent" it is
John Marriott

At 9:05 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.


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