Friday, January 24, 2020

Rock 'n Roll Gal and other music-themed pulp paperbacks

Many of the dimestore paperbacks of the 1950s-1970s were cheap and hastily written, but their lurid and sensational covers are now esteemed as examples of kitschy and compelling pop art.

Even classic literature was sometimes promoted with racy cover art. But many of these books mirrored the covers with modern stories about scandalous subject matter such as sex, drugs, and crime.

Here are some that had music-themed titles and/or art.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Imperials – "C'mon Tiger (Gimme a Growl)" b/w "The Glory of Love" (1958)

Price guides and discographies often list this 1958 single by the Imperials as a Little Anthony & the Imperials record, but it's by a completely different group.

These Imperials were from Providence, Rhode Island, and were formed by Joseph DiBiase and Tom Battista, both of whom played in their school band.

DiBiase started playing piano at the age of 5 and later pursued studies in conducting and arranging. He and Battista formed the Imperials as teens, and the group appeared on radio and television. While touring in California, the group was picked up by Liberty Records.

Cash Box  –Mar. 22, 1958

The group's only single was "C'mon Tiger (Gimma a Growl)," a song written by Hal Winn. Winn was a British producer and songwriter who composed a lot of songs with interesting titles, such as "(Come on and) Join the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Girls in Love," recorded by the Cody Sisters in 1959, and "Rate-a-Date Book," recorded by Linda Star & the Starlets in 1963. In the 1970s, Winn produced and composed for the Mystic Moods Orchestra.

The B-side was "The Glory of Love," a pop oldie that has been recorded countless times. The song had been a #1 pop hit for Benny Goodman in 1936 and a #1 R&B hit for the Five Keys in 1951 and would become a minor hit for the Roommates in 1961.

The Imperials recorded their single with the Spencer-Hagen Orchestra, which also recorded separately for Liberty on albums such as Essence of Romance(Hear the orchestra's recording of "Voodoo" here.)

The Imperials don't appear to have lasted long after "C'mon Tiger" was released. DiBiase became a professional organist and organ salesman, directed children's choirs, and composed and arranged MIDI church music that is used in churches nationwide. Battista went on to work in television, becoming an executive vice president at CBS before starting his own syndication and production company. He wrote a novel in 2011, The Company's Man, that includes a fictionalized account of the Imperials.

As a side note, although the Liberty advertisement above and discography sites such as Discogs and 45cat show "C'mon Tiger" as the top side of the single, the Cash Box clipping at the top of this page and Battista's novel mention only "The Glory of Love."

Thursday, January 2, 2020

The Music Weird's best of 2019

1. I Saw You Yesterday – Calm Days

Sample tracks: "Beach Babe," "White Out"

2. Younghusband – Swimmers

Sample track: "Translation"

3. The Ballet – Matchy Matchy

Sample track: "Love Letter"

4. Tennis Club – Pink

Sample track: "Vodkas"

5. Swimming Tapes – Morningside

Sample track: "Passing Ships"

6. Kakkmaddafakka – Diplomacy

Sample track: "Moon Man"

7. Eerie Wanda – Pet Town

Sample track: "Magnetic Woman"

8. Petite League – Rattler

Sample track: "Hang the Cowboy"

9. Lost Film – Zero Summer

Sample track: "It's Fine" 

10. Teen Daze – Bioluminescence

Sample track: "Spring"

11. Jeanines – Jeanines

Sample track: "Either Way"

12. Frankie Cosmos – Close It Quietly

Sample track: "Wannago"

13. Emma Russack & Lachlan Denton – Take the Reigns

Sample track: "Love for Myself"

14. Elva – Winter Sun

Sample track: "Athens"

15. Brother Sports – "Put Out the Fires"

Sample tracks: "Put Out the Fires," "Brooklyn Heights" 

16. Parks, Squares and Alleys – "Lucky 9"

Sample track: "Lucky 9"


While I'm at, I never got around to posting faves of 2018, so here they are for posterity: 

1. gobbinjr – Ocala Wick

2. SALES – forever & ever

3. Magic Potion – Endless Graffiti

4. Parks, Squares and Alleys – Cold Blood Magic

5. Human Touch – Promise Not to Fall

6. Hater – Siesta

7. Motorama – Many Nights

8. The Beths – Future Me Hates Me

9. Garden City Movement – Apollonia

10. Tracyanne & Danny – S/T

11. Cut Worms – Hollow Ground

12. Tape Waves – Distant Light

13. Mat Zo – No Words EP

14. Magic Circuit & Nyanners – Dance EP