Friday, 23 August 2019

Norris In Waiting


I realise that writing about Christmas records as the August bank Holiday approaches is a little unseasonal, but I realised that I had not yet featured this disc on the blog and, as I included the A-side on this week’s World’s Worst Records Radio Show it seemed apposite to share it with you now.

The Ping Pongs’ Pinky Tail/The Things I’d Like For Christmas was unearthed by fellow obscure music blogger Bob Purse, and first shared by him, via WFMU, back in December 2014. It’s a howl: the lyrics are inane but the performance is a riot, wonderfully discordant and almost wilfully awkward, with a stilting, arrhythmic piano, dreadful drums and reedy, weedy vocals. It’s ace.

What attracted me to the disc is that the group credited with the performance, the Ping Pongs, are clearly the same act credited as the Seaboard Coastliners on several tracks on the Norris the Troubadour collection Our Centennial Album, including (appropriately enough) Christmas Time Philosophy, Singing Sied the Showboy, I Am Back From Vietnam, Grits and Gravy and But The Rock Rolls On. Bob thought at the time that the group may have been employed by the Globe song poem studio, and this would certainly make sense, as Norridge Mayhems, aka Norris the Troubadour, did put a load of work their way: several earlier Norris the Troubadour recordings (also collected on Our Centennial Album) feature Globe’s go-to male vocalist Sammy Marshall.

Both songs on this particular 45 were written by Adolph Salvatori. He had at least three more of his compositions recorded: around 1956 (which I would think is the best part of two decades before Pinky Tail was issued) he received a co-composer credit on the 45 When I Found You, issued by the Kansas City label Continental. Recorded by Bobbie Clark with Herb Six and his Orchestra, his co-author that time was Paul Salvatori, his brother. He also penned two songs released in 1960 by song-poem label Star-Light: Promise Me and Somewhere In This World turned up on a four-track EP credited to Mickey Shore with The Versatones.

The Salvatori brothers had big plans in the world of show business: in 1931 Adolph penned the three-act drama Julie le Ferrier, and Paul also saw himself as an author of hit shows. Back in 1936 both men (and their financial backers) invested thousands of dollars in their stage musical From Out Of the Darkness. Sadly the show, due to play in Chicago, never got off the ground, but Adolph and Paul insited that their investors would get back every cent they had spent on the project. Paul found himself a job as a song-plugger, working out of Chicago, and the pair continued in the business, working together as well as individually. The year after their flop, Adolph got bitten by the foxtrot bug and seized by inspiration wrote the songs This Is Heaven, Won’t You Please Get In the Mood, I Was Just Pretending, Why Can’t We Be Friends and My Heart Went Astray In Havana. This appears to have been Adolph’s busiest period, although the pair would continue to write throughout the decade and into the 40s.

In 1947 Tommy Dorsey recorded one of Paul’s songs, My Love For You. Spurred on by this success, the following year the brothers set up their own publishing company, Salvatori Music, publishing several songbooks containing works by both of them. Adolph also saw himself as a bit of a journalist, penning (and copyrighting) articles including 1974’s Welcome to Our Home (In Forest Park, Il.), and What Makes A Person Great (In Forest Park, Il.)? Did I mention that Adolph lived most of his life in Forest Park, Illinois?

It’s odd then that someone who had been involved in the business for so many years would resort to using song-poem outfits to get his songs recorded. However exactly the same thing happened with Norridge B. mayhems, of course: after a little early success he too was forced to employ companies like Globe to have his songs recorded. You have to wonder if Norridge and Adolph (or Paul) ever met. I’d like to think that they would have been friends – or at least friendly rivals.

Enjoy!

Download Pinky HERE


Download Christmas HERE



My thanks to Bob Purse for first blogging this wonderful record!


Friday, 16 August 2019

The Joy Of Lex


The album I’m featuring today comes courtesy of Dave Frankel, owner of Inner Groove Records of Collingswood, NJ. Dave is also a follower of this here blog, and was kind enough to send me a rip of this album when it turned up in his store recently.

And, oh my, what a record it is. Joy and Love From Lex James is an absolute pip! Through a mix of standards and his own compositions, pianist Lex lets us into his wonderful world.

Hailing from Big Spring, Texas, as the sleeve notes declare: “Lex James has been in the spotlight musically since his ‘stage debut’ at the age of six in his home town.” By the mid-1950s he had left home: in 1956 we find him working with a second pianist, Art Darcy, at the cameo Room in Palm Springs; three years later he’s earning a living in Pasadena, living in a custom-built, mobile trailer along with Art, his partner, and their two grand pianos. By the middle of the following year, James was vice president of the Los Angeles Pianists Club, an organisation made up mainly of cocktail bar pianists, with Darcy a member of the same organisation’s grandly-named Executive Council. Peachy.

But after a year of playing at separate venues, Lex and Art wanted to try something different. Playing piano nightly in in the town’s Old Virginia restaurant was not enough for the ambitious Mr. James: he wanted to bring two-piano music to one-horse towns, as he told Pasadena’s Independent newspaper. “The thing that got us started on this trailer idea was the problem of finding matching pianos. Even In large cities, it’s hard to find two available grand pianos of the same kind - not to mention matching the tone quality and touch. In small towns, where we want to play, it’s almost impossible”

Lex left the Old Virginia in June 1960, planning to put their $25,000 two-piano mobile studio on the road, dragging the contraption behind a three-quarter-ton cab. James and Darcy took turns driving the truck that pulled their piano parlour. “We had to hunt for a long time before we found a trailer company willing to build it,” he admitted. “They all tried to discourage us.” The two pianos were strapped and clamped into a standard large house-trailer, 35 feet long and eight feet wide. One side of the trailer had been adapted to open down to form a piano unloading ramp. “We use a hydraulic jack,” said James, “and put special oversize ball-bearing casters on the piano feet. Sometimes we have to take off the legs and pull the two pianos on dollies, on their edges, like harps.” The whole rigamarole was worth all the trouble, he insisted, because the joy of playing two perfectly-matched pianos was superior to the joy of making any other kind of music. “We try to make it sound like one gigantic instrument. In most teams you can tell who has the melody and who is playing support. But we try to toss the melody back and forth between us so fast that nobody can tell who is doing what.”

Obviously at some point between setting out on the road in the summer of ’60 and his solo album debut (issued around 1972 would be my guess, as most of the covers on the album originally appeared around 1969/1970) Lex and Art abandoned their plans to bring two-piano music to the masses, and our Lex found his way back to California. In 1966 he was playing piano nightly at Lydia and Leonard Stahl’s Town House, in Arcadia

This Liberace in lace (check out those shirts!) continued playing in restaurants: in 1973 he could be found, bringing his own special brand of keyboard magic to the new Medallion Room in San Gabriel five nights a week. Lex even had his own fan club, run from a tiny office in Pasadena. I’ve found evidence that Lex and Art continued to tour, although one would assume without the trailer, appearing together in Tucson in 1976.

Then something else happened: Lex found God, and became the Reverend Lex James, still playing the piano but this time to the glory of the almighty. As late as 2001 Lex and Art were still touring together, playing for mostly religious audiences. Sadly he passed away in 2009 at the age of 77. He was survived by Art, happily in these more liberated times able to announce himself as having been Lex’s life partner, after something like a half-century together.

Here are a couple of tracks from this magnificent album, Where Do I Begin (Love Story) and Sunday. Thanks Dave! I owe you one.

Enjoy!

Download Love HERE



Download Sunday HERE


Saturday, 10 August 2019

Let's Go To The Beach


Over the last few weeks I’ve been treating listeners of The World’s Worst Records Radio Show to the selected cuts from the delightful CD album by Fernando Y Francisco. Realising that not everyone who reads this here blog listens or has access to the radio show, I thought I’d treat you to it too.

Issued in 2003, Vamos a la Playa (Let’s Go to the Beach) is the only album (to date, anyway) from Venezuela’s Francisco y Fernando, two semi-naked backpacking chums who self-funded the recording and release of the ten tracks (in other, less reputable corners of the net you’ll find Sacven credited as the label that issued ValP: Sacven isn’t a label, it’s a copyright society, similar to BMI or ASCAP, the Sociedad de Autores y Compositores de Venezuela).

With our boys vocalising (you can’t really call this singing) over pre-recorded backing tracks, bad midi programmes and the like, unsurprisingly the CD disappeared without a trace, selling probably no more than a handful of copies to family and friends. In fact, it would have been forgotten forever if Francisco had not appeared on a local TV talent show, TV Libre, a year or so after the release of their magnum opus, performing an a cappella version of the title song. His appalling performance quickly became something of a viral hit in his home country, igniting interest in the album.

And, my goodness, what an album it is! Highlights include the wonderful Rigi – sample lyric “Rigi, rigi-rigi-rigi, rigi-rigi-rigi, rigi-rigi-rigi”, the title track Vamos a la Playa and the incredible Con La “P” – a song that pretty much consists of an endless list of things that begin With A “P”. It may make some sense in the boys’ native tongue but does not travel well at all: from what I can make out “Podemo decir pana, pana, panaderia/Ponte, ponte, ponte, las pilas” translates as “I can say bread, bread, bakery/Put on, put on, put in the batteries”. Shamelessly, Con La “P” uses the same backing track as Vamos a la Playa.

I love the way that the boys take every opportunity to remind listeners who is performing, shouting out “Francisco Y Fernando” at every opportunity, like there’s some old school rapper in da house, yo, yo yo! Luckily they refrain from doing so during the woefully out of tune ballad Mariluisa and the Ricky Martin-esque Yo Quiero. Francisco is still making a racket today, performing in tourist bars under the name Francisco el Playero. Fernando has kept a respectful silence for more than a decade.

You can find most of the album on YouTube if you wish to, but for now here are what for me are the two standout tracks, the aforementioned Rigi and the title track, Vamos a la Playa.

Enjoy

Download Vamos HERE



Download Rigi HERE

Friday, 2 August 2019

Pot Holing For Fun and Profit



You’ll recall – for it was only a couple of week ago – that I recently introduced you to Chuck Holden’s weird and wonderful 45 The Cave, issued by Joe Leahy’s Unique Records in 1956. Well, apparently that’s not the only peculiar record about damp and dark crevasses.  

Gary “Spider” Webb’s The Cave (Parts one and two) was originally issued by the tiny Bamboo label in 1961. It’s just as nuts as the Chuck Holden track, but this time with an added sense of suspense that gives it a more Timothy-esque twist. Oh, hang on: that makes three crazy cave records.

I’ve not been able to discover much about Webb, apart from his being a former serviceman, stationed at the Naval Air Station Alameda in California in 1959. He was also an impressive drummer, winning an all-Navy talent contest and appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show. Webb’s parents owned an apartment complex in Hollywood, called The Hollywood Argyle, and he would go on to play on sessions for our old friend Gary Paxton. Paxton formed a studio band called The Hollywood Argyles (presumably named after the apartment complex) for a one-off single by his friend Kim Fowley, Alley-Oop. When that song became a hit – eventually selling over a million copies in the US alone - Paxton formed a touring band, and Webb became their drummer. He did not perform on the record.

Being a drummer kind of complicates things, because there’s another Spider Webb who was also a drummer, and details about the two different men have been conflated across the Internet.

We can be reasonably sure that the 45 issued on Donna records in March 1960 and credited to Spider Webb, Drum City  (again in two parts), was by our Gaz for several reasons. First of all, the other Spider Webb, born Kenneth Ronald Rice, was only 15 at the time of the recording. Also, a year before a band called Spider Webb And The Insects had been signed to Donna’s parent company, Del-Fi. SW&TI are notable because a former member was Tom Fogarty, brother of John who would go on to become the rhythm guitarist for Creedence Clearwater Revival.

When Tom was still in the band SW&TI recorded an unissued session for Del-Fi, but after the tracks recorded were rejected the band broke up; Tom went on to find fame and fortune and a solo Spider recorded his one-off single for Del-Fi’s sister label. That’s what you call research!

Two years after The Cave our Spider Webb issued a further 45, this time credited to his previous band Spider Webb And The Insects. Maggie/Big Noise From Winnetka was issued in 1963 by the tiny Lugar label, but it does not appear to feature any CCR alumni.

The other Spider Webb, an American jazz drummer and session musician, recorded with United Artists and Holland-Dozier-Holland in his early teens, before joining forces with King Curtis around 1967. He would go on to record for Fantasy in the 1970s, and was once married to the legendary Carol Kaye. As of three years ago, our Gaz was still living in California.

Enjoy!

Download Part One HERE


Download Part Two HERE

Friday, 26 July 2019

I Feel Liberal


Politics. Haven’t you had enough of politics?

Not only is the Leader of the Free World™ a racist, misogynistic simpleton, Britain now has it’s own Mini-Me Trump in the shape of BoJo the Clown, a man who has successfully lied and cheated his way to the top, aided by a party so desperate to cling on to power that they’d shove their own granny under a big red bus (emblazoned with more lies about where your money goes) to do so. The world is going to hell in a handcart… so we may as well go out singing.

Issued in 1982 and masterminded by one-time hitmaker Jesse Rae, I Feel Liberal (Alright) was an attempt to get Scottish politician and then-leader of the Liberal Party David Steele into the pop charts... and perhaps install him as Prime Minister into the bargain. And it’s horrible. A funky little tune with a stupid chorus and a few quotes from a Steele speech (given, if memory serves, at a Liberal Party conference) stapled on, the song even came with its own dance, the Steel Step, with instructions on the reverse of the sleeve. Steele's profile was at an all-time high: his party had recently entered into an alliance (referenced in his 'vocal') with the SDP, and the two parties would go on to win 25 percent of the vote at the next General Election.

The flip side, credited to Luzuli (the name of Rae’s publishing company), was simply a version of the a-side with Steel’s ‘vocals’ erased. The disc was issued to coincide with the Party Assembly in Bournemouth. Unsurprisingly it did not sell well, making copies quite hard to find these days. David Steel would not become PM, although he would eventually be elevated to the House of Lords.

Rae, who wrote and produced the disc, performed on it and issued it on his own Scotland Video label, had a minor hit in 1985 when his follow-up single Over the Sea, was picked up for national distribution by WEA. In the same year that I Feel Liberal was issued Rae had his biggest success, writing the number three hit Inside Out for soft soul act Odyssey. The self-styled “funk warrior” and former farmer from the Scottish Borders town of St Boswells had a penchant for hanging about in full clan regalia, and his self-funded pop videos, shot in dramatic rural landscapes were alleged to have inspired the look of the Highlander films. A long-time supporter of Scottish independence, Rae ran, unsuccessfully, for the Scottish Parliament in 2007 and 2011. In 2015 he attempted to stand for election to the House of Commons – as an independent, naturally - but wasn’t permitted to take his signature claymore (a traditional Scottish variant of the late medieval two-handed sword) into the polling station. He’s still performing and recording today.

Anyway, here are both sides of this ridiculous record. My thanks to Mr. Weird and Wacky for the sound files, and to 45Cat for the images.

Enjoy!

Download Steel HERE


Download Luzuli HERE


Friday, 19 July 2019

Le Freak


I featured the a-side of this disc on my radio show this week, and was horrified to discover that I had never blogged about it – although it did get a chapter all to itself in The World’s Worst Records Volume Two, and Michael was gracious enough to grant me an interview for that. Here’s an excerpt from that chapter.

Welcome to the weird, weird world of Chainmale, the antipodean performance artist, poet, and musician better known to his family as Michael Freeland.

Michael was born in Melbourne in 1952 but grew up in Sydney, his family relocating there when he was four years old. He showed an early aptitude for music and performance, appearing in musicals at the Castle Cove Primary School. Pleasingly, an early musical influence was the murderously brilliant Elva Miller: “My father bought a recording of Mrs Miller, not for her singing quality but for her guts. It inspired him and made him laugh,” he explains. When he moved on to Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School Michael was introduced to eurythmy, a form of expressive movement originated by Steiner and Marie von Sivers in the second decade of the 20th century. Primarily a performance art, eurythmy is also used in education and for therapeutic purposes. “I later used eurythmy in combination with classical French mime and method acting to form my own school of performance,” he says.
“At the end of 1968, at 16, with ambitions to become an animal collector like Gerald Durrell, I left school to become a zookeeper. On returning from a collecting trip in the Outback and in the far north of Australia I took a second job working at night as an assistant stage manager at The Music Hall at Neutral Bay in Sydney.

“This all happened in 1969/70, when Australia was involved in the Vietnam war and Sydney’s streets were filled with personnel on R and R. There were demonstrations everywhere: I left home and spent several months as a hippy, travelling north and pretending I was Arlo Guthrie, with three chords to my repertoire. I remember going into a pub on the Queensland-Northern Territory border and asking if I could sing for my supper: I got halfway through the first song and a bloke came up and said he would buy me a meal if I promised not to sing another note!”

Michael produced a two-man poetry show specifically aimed at children. Recalled from Childhood featured the poems Michael had learned from his mother, father and grandmother, and it was here that he got his first crack at fame, of sorts, appearing on the Australian TV show GTK (Get To Know) in 1973. “GTK was the first of the rock video type shows in the world,” he explains. GTK “set the pace for all that was to follow. I then went to work in television, at ABC, in staging and floor managing.” He continued to perform, busking around Sydney before leaving ABC to study drama at the Mechthild Harkness Speech and Drama Studios. It was there that Michael’s passion for mime was born.

“I resurrected Recalled From Childhood as a school show, and put together a performance of original poetry at the Stanley Palmer Culture Palace in Darlinghurst. Then in early 1975 I joined the Queensland Theatre Company with their Arts Council Schools Presentation, touring throughout Queensland. I met my first wife while in Queensland, and in late 1975 we returned to Sydney.”
Michael returned to busking, this time incorporating mime into his act. “That worked well and we began to earn a decent living,” he says. “Although it must be remembered that in those days busking was illegal.” Being chased by the police became part of the act and Michael worked his occasional brushes with the law into his routine. “We were invited to perform at the Sydney Opera House, in the lunchtime outdoor venue, and also by the Sydney City Council in their Martin Place outdoor venue. This was very satisfying because the very person who was trying to arrest me a week earlier was now carrying my gear and setting it up!”

Under the name The Modern Mime Theatre he organised a series of performances in schools and won a contract with the Arts Council of New South Wales, which in turn lead to work in other states. “I found that I was booked out for two years in advance with three shows a day, five days a week, with one or two evening shows on top of that if I wanted them.” In January 1977 Michael performed at the first annual Sydney Festival: he would perform there each year until 1983. His act was going down well: that same year reviewer David Rowbotham, writing in Queensland’s Courier Mail newspaper wrote that Michael’s performance ‘speaks volumes for the possibilities of his art. He is a classic entertainer and storyteller.’

“In 1978, with an 18 month and a six week old baby, we headed over to the UK on our way to the Fools’ Festival in Amsterdam. I busked in Leicester Square in London, in Amsterdam, on the steps of the cathedral in Cologne and in front of the Pompidou Centre in Paris. After four weeks we returned to Australia and went back on tour.” As his act, and his confidence, grew he added fire breathing and balancing on a unicycle to his act and The Modern Mime Theatre became a duo in July 1978 when Canadian-born actor and mime artist Bob Eustace joined; the pair had been friends since they first performed together in 1972.

It was when Michael and his family got back to Australia that he created the piece of art for which certain people, me included, will always be grateful: the 7” single Freakout. Released under the name Chainmale (“It just seemed like a cool name,” he laughs) and backed with the electro-boogie track Mean Little Woman, Freakout is one of the most unsettling three minutes ever committed to vinyl: Numanesque keyboards, crying babies, manic screaming and with the words sung and music played in different time signatures to add to the disturbing effect. Odd and disquieting, Michael would incorporate the song into his act, building an uncomfortable and intense mime performance around his lyrics. That performance would later be adapted for use in a video filmed to accompany the single, now available for all to wonder at via YouTube.

“We were driving down a lane in the back streets of Hobart and I was jumping out of my skin. We passed a sound studio and my wife said, ‘why don’t you go in and record one of those songs you’re always making up?’ So, I went in an asked. Nick Armstrong (the studio proprietor) asked what I wanted to record. I went home, wrote out the lyrics, brought them back, and sang them to him with a single beat of my hand on the desk. He looked at me incredulously and said, ‘is that it?’ I said ‘Yeah. If (renowned Australian musician) Billy Thorpe can get away with ‘mashed potato yeah, oh yeah!’ then we’ll kill it’!”

Armstrong asked Michael if he would object to his having his friend Ian Clyne, best known for his keyboard work with the sixties band The Loved Ones, look over his song. “Ian and I met a couple of days later to record it having never met before. He played the sort of thing he thought I would like: it was big, but it was conservative. I said I wanted something with no holds barred; no constraints of convention, just freak out and do what you want. He smiled and said, ‘this is going to be fun’. As we were recording the vocals I got excited: my heart started racing and my tempo with it. He tried conducting me but I was gone.

“When we finished he said to me ‘you started in 8/8 and you ended up in 7/8’. I asked if we should do it again. We hit playback and Ian said ‘no, it works! You sound like you’re freaking out! Hell knows how you’ll ever sing it live’. That was the birth of Chainmale. I was around 30, I already had three kids, and in those days rock stars were around 18! I think Ian was around 14 when he was playing at the Wembley Stadium with the Loved Ones.”

Issued by the independent Candle Records in 1979, very few vinyl copies of Freakout exist: “I think about 1000 copies were pressed, of which only a fraction made it to the stores. However every now and then someone tells me they have a copy,” Michael says. “Did I consider myself a serious singer? I considered myself a serious performer with serious concepts to put forward and humour, confrontation, and sound were the best ways I had of achieving that. I don’t think anyone would come to hear my voice for the musical lilt in it, however they might come to experience the theatrical content of it.”

Chainmale recorded two further tracks, Schizophrenic Breakdown (a jolly little sing-along about crazy people) and the bizarre electro/skinhead anthem Kickback, in 1982. Videos were made for Freakout and for these two tracks: the video for Kickback – which is listed on YouTube as the ‘worst 80s music video’ ever made - features Michael and his young son Joel in skinhead gear, scaring the wits out of anyone who should happen to pass them by. “What we did others got to years later. The subjects of the songs were whatever I was experiencing at the time. The lightheartedness in Schizophrenic Breakdown is the lightheartedness you find in a riot. Everyone participating in a riot is jovial: it’s a release. The rage is only for the cameras, when they are given the opportunity to spout about their cause.

Freakout was the only record issued. The problem with the other two videos was getting TV play. Kickback had drinking and smoking in, which was against airplay policies, and Schizophrenic Breakdown could have upset people who might link it more with the illness rather than with the splitting of the social fabric in the UK into an apartheid similar to that in South Africa. As we already had the videos we put together a pilot for TV by adding some sketches, but I got sidetracked with life and with touring.”

Michael continued to perform until the mid-1990s. More recently he has become an author, penning two well-received satirical novels – 1995’s Pius Humble and The Company (1996) - under the pseudonym Bogan Gate, a name he took from a small village in NSW. 

How does the man once known as Chainmale, whose recorded work (thanks primarily to its resurrection on YouTube) is both feted by people who love it and ridiculed by others feel about his newfound fame? “I think it’s great. At least it’s not mediocre!”

Here are both sides of this exceptional disc: enjoy!

Download Freakout HERE


Download Mean HERE

Friday, 12 July 2019

Spelunking

I’ve been listening to a lot of what you would loosely categorise as library music and exotica recently. This is thanks primarily to my friend DJ GeorgyGirl, whose show, High Waisted Modernists, follows my own World’s Worst Records Radio Show on a Wednesday evening (and is an absolute must-listen), and to the recent purchase of a Martin Denny CD collection which pulls together eight of his albums, including Exotica, Exotica 2, Exotica 3 and Forbidden Island.


Today’s disc comes from the world of Exotica, a genre that took its name from Denny’s 1957 album and which is defined by Wikipedia as “the non-native, pseudo experience of insular Oceania, Southeast Asia, Hawaii, the Amazon basin, the Andes and tribal Africa. Denny described the musical style as ‘a combination of the South Pacific and the Orient...what a lot of people imagined the islands to be like...it's pure fantasy though.’ While the South Seas forms the core region, exotica reflects the ‘musical impressions’ of every place from standard travel destinations to the mythical ‘shangri-las’ dreamt of by armchair safari-ers.” Well, that clears that up then.

Chuck Holden’s The Cave not only encompasses the above, it also adds a wonderful layer of weird, a patina of peculiar if you will. When I found that it was also issued by Joe Leahy’s Unique Records, well I just had to have a copy.

I don’t know a lot about Holden: this is the only disc listed by him at Discogs, and that only appears to exist as promos – no one yet has turned up a stock copy. But it’s an absolute pip: Holden strums his zither (or I guess it could be an autoharp) while some unnamed, dusky sounding maiden shrieks over the top of his rather basic instrumentation. It’s mad and it’s ace! I have unearthed a few details though: as leader of the Charles Holden Orchestra he had a residency at Manhattan’s El Morocco nightclub in the 1950s and ‘60s. Credited as Charles Holden and Orchestra, they released one album, again on Unique, Dancing at “El Morocco”, 25 light jazz arrangements of popular classics including You’re the Cream in My Coffee, Putting on the Ritz and, tantalisingly, The Third Man Theme which I’ve not heard but one has to wonder if Mr. H dusts off his zither for. According to the album’s sleeve notes “the most unique and outstanding characteristic of Mr. Holden’s eight-piece group is its tremendous repertoire which includes the favorite songs of every well-known patron who frequents the club.”

Anyway, make of this what you will. I love it, and it led me down a path of discovery towards more cave-themed oddities, some of which you’ll hear if you tune in to next week’s World’s Worst Records Radio Show.

Here are both sides, The Cave and My Lost Melody. Enjoy!


Download Cave HERE

Download Melody HERE

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