It seems the only thing shared among the many responses to the latest Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, is that they’re passionately held. Fans either love or hate the re-boot additions to the space saga, often it seems along generational lines, and this has invited a re-evaluation of George Lucas’ critically panned prequel trilogy from the early 00s. There seems to be a single line of agreement between all Star Wars fans, and that is that Lucas’ “special editions” which tweaked the three original films were poorly executed and entirely unwelcome.

You may ask what on Earth this has to do with records, or Roy Orbison in particular. Turns out science fiction movies are not the only media to receive and unwelcome change. Composers of Western classical music have long revisited their works to make revisions large and small — in one famous example Beethoven was inspired by the recently invented metronome to add tempo markings to his music which propels it to a remarkable pace. This was the subject of an episode of Radiolab shared here on the Hymies blog in 2013.

A 2010 album by the new wave pop band Squeeze faithfully recreated fourteen of the bands classic songs, adding to each a tiny alteration — they called it Spot the Difference. Another greatest hits collection, America’s History, altered hit tracks more surreptitiously, adding lush orchestration by producer George Martin without identifying the tracks as different from those which charted as singles.

And then there is this Roy Orbison collection from a Sun Records series. The album naturally opens with “Ooby Dooby,” the song which put Orbison on the musical map. The Sun single was already a re-recording of a song he recorded for the Je-Wel label with the Teen Kings, which was played over the phone to Sun founder Sam Phillips by a record store owner.

The original Sun singles are notorious for the noisy hiss on even the cleanest copies, as you can hear in the recording of our 45 below.

While the sound has been tidied up forĀ The Sun Story Volume 4, there is also the addition of an overdubbed piano part, which we think is as welcome as Greedo shooting first in the Star Wars special edition.

Here’s our own copy of that original Sun single:

And here’s the same song from The Sun Story Volume 4 with the superfluous piano part. Other Orbison tracks have been overdubbed with backing vocals as well. “Ooby Dooby” is probably the most well-known of the songs Orbison recorded between 1956-58, although he also recorded the original version of his composition “Claudette” (widely heard as performed by the Everly Brothers) in the legendary studio.

Along with many other famous artists, Orbison soon left Sun Records. He struggled financially for a while, but soon found his voice, and his place on the pop chart, with a more crooning style on a series of successful singles for Monument Records. The singer of our favorite rockabilly track didn’t really want to be a rocker at all.

Before their exciting rise to television stardom, our friends The Cactus Blossoms held down Monday nights at the Turf Club with a residency that became the place for local fans of country music to connect. With a ‘who’s who’ band of top talent, honed a live set that they have since taken around the world.

They’re returning to their Turf Club Mondays, but only for this month. Charlie Parr and Andrew Broder are also taking on January residencies at the midway “remnant of the 40s.” They have special guests planned which includes ourselves, who will be back to DJ rockabilly and country singles on the 15th.

While their first two discs — including 2013’s Live at the Turf Club — are out of print and unlikely to return, fans can expect to hear some songs from them, as well as their debut LP for Red House Records, You’re Dreaming.

Here’s that performance of “Mississippi” from the new Twin Peaks series which won the duo countless new fans and accolades.

porter and dolly we found it

It’s always fun to listen to a stack of 45s you’ve never heard before, especially if there’s a mixture of genres and some new names. Sometimes what seems to be a familiar name isn’t so at all — we’ve always called these records “mistaken identities.” It could be a group’s name, as in the case of this band called Starship we posted last summer, or it could be an individual as in the case of today’s single.

This goofy 1975 single on a German label is credited to Jack White’s Crazy Gang. Coincidentally, the famous musician Jack White was born the same year this record was released — although he wasn’t Jack White just yet. His name was John Anthony Gillis, and he took his wife Meg’s last name when they were married. He was pictured with a “crazy gang” of his own on a Third Man Records single after he appeared on the most recent (and “sadly temporary”) Muppets show.

…Even if its a little cold out there. We’ll be open 1-6pm today.

Here’s a song by Lightnin Hopkins.

Marine reservist Major Bill Hendricks started the Toys for Tots program in 1947, finding inspiration when his wife could not find a charity to take a homemade Raggedy Ann doll she hoped could go to a child in need.

In the sixty-nine years since, the organization has distributed more than 469 million toys to children. They stopped accepting second-hand toys in 1980, owing to the mixed-message implied and the time involved in refurbishing them, which previously had been done by Marine reservists.

In 1995 Secretary of Defense William Perry added the Toys for Tots program to the Marine Reserve Corps official list of missions. The organization distributes toys at other times of the year besides the holidays, for instance working with FEMA to provide toys for children during the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

You can find opportunities to donate on their official website here.

Hendricks worked as a director of public relations for Warner Brother Studios when he founded the charity, and in its first year the familiar donation bins made their debut at Warner theaters. His position provided the opportunity to get celebrity support for the charity when it went national the following year.

This 1980 promotional record was sent to radio stations by Warner Brothers and features a side of celebrity spots, including Frank Sinatra, Michael MacDonald (of the Doobie Brothers) and George Harrison.

toys for tots

« Older entries § Newer entries »

This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.