Sunday, February 19, 2012

Vinyl Record News & Music Notes

Rare Vinyl Stamper for Beatles’ ‘Twist & Shout’ Fetches Big Bucks At eBay Auction

by: Joe Robinson

A very rare pressing stamper — the metal disc used to press copies of vinyl records — for the A-side of the original Beatles 7″ vinyl release of ‘Twist & Shout’ has sold for $3,499 during an eBay auction. The stamper, which comes in its original shipping envelope bearing the name of the manufacturer, AFM Engineering, is dated Feb. 25, 1964 — less than one week before the single’s March 2, 1964, release.

Read the rest at


our friends over at have this sad news:

Michael Davis of the MC5 Passes Away From Liver Failure

Michael Davis, a member of the legendary MC5, has passed away from liver failure at the age of 68. His death was reported by his wife, Angela Davis, who said he had been fighting the disease for almost a month at Enloe Medical Center in Chico, CA.




Also, Clint Eastwood’s Cowboy Favorites to be reissued on vinyl for first time.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Real Gone Music, the reissue label that has won many critical kudos in its initial months of operation, has announced its March 2012 releases. Featured are B.J. Thomas’ The Complete Scepter Singles, Frankie Avalon’s Muscle Beach Party: The United Artists Sessions, The Tubes’ Young & Rich/Now, Rick Springfield’s Beginnings..., David Axelrod’s Messiah, Wishbone Ash’s Live Dates II and Clint Eastwood’s Rawhide’s Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites. Street date for all is March 27, 2012.

From his 1966 recording of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” through his 1972 double-sided hit single “That’s What Friends Are For”/”Happier Than the Morning Sun,” B.J. Thomas enjoyed a string of hits rivaled by few artists of that time. And the fact that he did this on an indie label, Scepter, makes the achievement even more impressive. Various compilations of Thomas’ Scepter sides have come and gone. But Real Gone’s 44-track anthology is the first to offer A- and B-sides of every one of the artists’ Scepter singles, including his 19 hits. Many of the B-sides never appeared on albums. DJ/journalist Michael Ragogna wrote the notes, which feature quotes from Thomas.

Frankie Avalon’s late ’50s/early ’60s recordings practically define an era in pop music. But while there have been many reissues of his legendary Chancellor recordings, his later output has proven elusive. Frankie Avalon: Muscle Beach Party: The United Artists Sessions features 20 stereo tracks recorded in 1964 and ’65. The set’s centerpiece is Frankie’s album Muscle Beach Party and Other Movie Songs, which features music from his films (notably a version of “Runnin’ Wild,” his spotlight solo in the Muscle Beach Party movie). In addition are his rare UA singles plus tracks from the soundtrack of I’ll Take Sweden, a Bob Hope comedy in which he co-starred. The set features liners by Tom Pickles and photos.

One might think that the debut solo album, sporting two hits, from one of the ’80s’ biggest heartthrobs would have been reissued long ago, but Rick Springfield’s 1972 Capitol release Beginnings... was indeed the “beginnings” of a series of misadventures in the music business that were to plague the singer until he broke through with “Jessie’s Girl” and a role on the soap opera General Hospital. Springfield had scored a major hit in Australia with “Speak to the Sky” (the song appears here in its re-recorded U.S. hit version) when he moved to the States and made Beginnings, but there was a serious disconnect between the music and the marketing. The label seemed bent on selling him as a Tiger Beat teen heartthrob but Springfield’s songwriting betrayed an artist with loftier ambitions, switching from Big Star-esque power pop (“Mother Can You Carry Me”) to T-Rexish glam (“Hooky Jo”) to McCartney-esque balladry (“What Would the Children Think”). Springfield left Capitol following disappointing initial sales; this album deserved a wider audience then and still does now.

Having previously set a Catholic Mass to psychedelic guitar in 1967 with the Electric Prunes album Mass in F Minor, in 1971 legendary arranger/producer David Axelrod went for Baroque and set Georg Friedrich Handel’s signature work Messiah to contemporary instrumentation as well. But he didn’t do it alone — frequent collaborator Julian “Cannonball” Adderley conducted the orchestra. The result was a record far more restrained, even respectful, than Mass in F Minor, with psychedelic guitar, a funk rhythm section, flute and electric piano contributing tasty, swinging instrumental passages. This cult favorite is given its first reissue here of any kind, with new liner notes and photos. Another Real Gone (ahem) resurrection, just in time for Easter!

Clint Eastwood has demonstrated a deep love and aptitude for music as both an actor and a director (e.g. Play Misty for Me; Bird) during his entire career. On Rawhide’s Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites he is fresh from his success on the TV series Rawhide, crooning (and quite competently so) a collection of Country & Western favorites. Real Gone has added both sides of his 1962 single “Rowdy” b/w “Cowboy Wedding Song” to the CD release of this 1963 stereo album; the vinyl release (the album’s first-ever reissue in the vinyl format) features 180-gram vinyl pressing.

The fact that two albums by The Tubes, Young & Rich and Now (their second and third releases) have been out of print for years — and Now never even issued on CD in this country — is eloquent testimony to the fact that they are one of the most underrated bands of the ’70s (though not underrated by all — used CD copies of these albums sell for staggering figures online). Salacious Zappa-like satire? Check. Over-the-top theatricality à la Alice Cooper? Check. BOC-like hard rock? Check. Even avant-garde, Beefheart-ian atonality cropped up in unexpected places. The two-disc set features liner notes by Gene Sculatti drawn from a new interview with drummer Prairie Prince.

When a band has not one, not two, but three releases entitled Live Dates, it’s a pretty good bet that the band in question is pretty good in concert. And in the case of Wishbone Ash, that’s an understatement; various line-ups of the group have been rocking the globe with their patented brand of twin-guitar hard/progressive rock for 40 years now. Though Live Dates (1973) charted, and Live Dates III (2001) is well-thought-of by their fan base, it’s Live Dates II (released in 1980 and assembled from various 1976-1980 shows) that’s considered the real gem of the three; it ranks as probably the key document of the Wishbone Ash version 2.0 lineup of guitarists Andy Powell (he of the Flying V) and Laurie Wisefield, bassist Martin Turner and drummer Steve Upton. Real Gone’s reissue features the complete, limited-edition double-album of which only 25,000 copies were originally released, and only in the UK—80 minutes of guitar bliss on a single CD.

Street date March 27

B.J. Thomas’ The Complete Scepter Singles 2CD-Set

Frankie Avalon’s Muscle Beach Party: The United Artists Sessions CD

The Tubes’ Young & Rich/Now 2CD-Set

Rick Springfield’s Beginnings... CD

David Axelrod’s Messiah CD

Wishbone Ash’s Live Dates II CD

Clint Eastwood’s Rawhide’s Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites CD

Clint Eastwood’s Rawhide’s Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites LP


and in music history for february 19th:

On February 19, 1878, Edison was issued the first patent (U.S. patent #200,521) for the phonograph. While other inventors had produced devices that could record sounds, Edison's phonograph was the first to be able to reproduce the recorded sound.

In 1955, Rock 'n' Roll was still in its infancy when 25 year old Joni James entered the US charts with "How Important Can It Be?". The tune would climb all the way to #2 and become the first of her seven Top 40 entries.

In 1955, Pat Boone released the single "Two Hearts," his first chart hit. It peaked at #16.

In 1956, Elvis Presley, billed as "Country Music's Mr. Rhythm," performed two matinees and an evening show at Fort Homer Hesterly Armory in Tampa.

Also in 1956, the Platters recorded "(You've Got) The Magic Touch."

In 1958, singer/songwriter Carl Perkins left the Sun label to sign with Columbia Records as their first rockabilly artist. His Sun labelmate Johnny Cash made the same leap two years later.

In 1958, Larry Williams recorded his composition "Dizzy Miss Lizzie."

In 1958, the Miracles released their first single "Got A Job," an answer to the Silhouettes' #1 hit "Get A Job."

In 1962, Chuck Berry began serving a three-year sentence in the Indiana Federal Penitentiary after being convicted in a second trial of transporting a minor across state lines for immoral purposes. (The first trial, in which Berry was found guilty was overturned after the judge was found to have uttered racist remarks.) He was released 20 months later.

In 1964, a British company shipped a half-ton of Beatle wigs to the US. An American reporter asked John Lennon, "How do you feel about teenagers imitating you with Beatle wigs?" John replied "They're not imitating us because we don't wear Beatle wigs."

In 1964, Simon & Garfunkel completed work on their original acoustic version of "The Sounds Of Silence" for their first album "Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M." The track was later overdubbed with drums, electric bass and electric guitar, all without the knowledge or participation of Simon & Garfunkel, and re-released as a single in September 1965. By early January 1966 it was #1 on the Billboard pop singles chart.

In 1965, at EMI's Abbey Road Studios in London, the Beatles recorded the John Lennon composition "You're Going To Lose That Girl."

In 1966, Lou Christie enjoys his only US number one record with "Lightnin' Strikes", a song that his record company, MGM, hated so much, they initially refused to release. Label head Lenny Shear actually threw the tape in the wastebasket and said it was "a piece of crap." After Christie's management team promoted the record themselves, it started to gain attention and three months later, Billboard magazine featured a picture of Shear presenting Christie with a Gold record. It became a #11 hit in the UK.

In 1969, in Memphis, Elvis Presley, with then-unknown pianist Ronnie Milsap, recorded Eddie Rabbitts' composition "Kentucky Rain."

In 1971, Paul McCartney's lawsuit to remove Allen Klein as manager of the Beatles' financial affairs began at London's Royal Courts of Justice.

In 1972, on CBS-TV's "All In The Family," Sammy Davis Jr. made a memorable guest appearance during which he gave the show's main character, white bigot Archie Bunker, a surprise kiss.

In 1972, as the debut single by his new band Wings, Paul McCartney released "Give Ireland Back to the Irish." It was barred from airplay in the UK since it was banned by the BBC, Radio Luxembourg and the Independent Television Authority. The record reached #1 on the singles charts in the Republic of Ireland and Spain, and despite the air-play ban still reached #16 in the UK. It peaked at #21 in the U.S.

Also in 1972, although he had written songs that were recorded by The Turtles, Rick Nelson, Blood Sweat and Tears, Lulu, The Monkees and Three Dog Night, Harry Nilsson had his only US number one hit with "Without You", a tune written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger.

In 1974, Smokey Robinson, Helen Reddy and Roger Miller are among the hosts at the very first American Music Awards. Created by TV veteran Dick Clark to compete with The Grammys, awards are presented based on record sales, airplay as well as votes. Among this years' winners are The Carpenters for Favorite Band, Jim Croce, Favorite Male Artist, and Tony Orlando And Dawn, Favorite Single for "Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Ole Oak Tree".

In 1974, KISS made their TV debut on "Don Kirshner's Rock Concert" on ABC.

In 1976, Rich Stevens, former lead vocalist of Tower of Power was arrested and charged in what was believed to be the drug-related murders of three men the night before in San Jose, California. The following November, Stevens was found guilty on three counts of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison.

In 1977, "Blinded By The Light" reached the top of the Billboard singles chart for Manfred Mann's Earth Band, although it had earlier been a commercial failure for the song's writer, Bruce Springsteen.

In 1980, singer Bon Scott, lead vocalist of AC/DC, died when he choked on his vomit after an all-night drinking binge at the age of 33.

In 1981, five years after being found guilty of "subconscious plagiarism" of the Chiffons' "He's So Fine" in his song "My Sweet Lord," George Harrison was ordered to pay $587,000 to the plaintiff, ABKCO Music.

In 1982, Ozzy Osbourne was arrested in San Antonio, Texas for urinating on a statue in front of the Alamo. After he made bail, the Black Sabbath singer skipped town. Osbourne was subsequently banned from the city for ten years.

In 1998, country music singer/comedian (Hee Haw) Louis Marshall "Grandpa" Jones died after a stroke at age 84.

In 2004, the family of Johnny Cash blocked an attempt by advertisers to use his hit song "Ring of Fire" to promote a hemorrhoid-relief product, even though the idea had been approved by Merle Kilgore, who wrote the song with June Carter Cash. Johnny Cash's daughter Rosanne said the family "would never allow the song to be demeaned like that."

In 2009, bassist Kelly Groucutt, a former member of the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), died following a heart attack at 63.

In 2010, in Miami, Gloria and Emilio Estefan gathered Latino musicians – including Carlos Santana, Jose Feliciano, David Archuleta, and Jon Secada – to record a Spanish-language version of "We Are The World" for Haiti earthquake relief.

birthdays today include (among others): Smokey Robinson (1940), Lou Christie (1943) & Toni Iommi - Black Sabbath (1948)