Polly Bergen, All Alone By The Telephone, Columbia 1300, 1959
The idea for this blog came from being at a party the day after I’d been to an amazing record show in Portland. There was a turntable going and everyone was talking about records and what I found, when a very smart grad student asked me “How do you know where to put the needle when you want to hear a particular song?” Aside from suddenly feeling older than rocks, I was also validated for possessing knowledge that suddenly seemed en-vogue. Buying a record in 1993 was uncool, but buying them if you were born in 1993 is Broad City Cool.
I’ve been waiting to find the right way to tell that story here, and today’s album seems like the perfect chance. I’ll bet there are a lot of people out there that just can’t conceive of a time where you would have to wait by the telephone to hear form someone. Imagine it’s 1959, your Studebaker is in the shop, and you’re all dolled up in your pink negligee. But the phone isn’t ringing. There is literally noting you can do but put on a Polly Bergen record. And wait.
I know The Beatles get all the credit with Sgt. Pepper for inventing the “concept” album. I think that isn’t exactly true. Sure, many teen oriented albums before The Beatles came along featured a hit single or two and were then filled by rerecording other people’s hits. But almost all adult oriented albums had a consistent theme like this one. It might seem like a campy idea now, but people in 1959 would have related to this album’s sentiment.
I just wish I enjoyed it more! The orchestra is incredibly lush and the songs are just so bad that it took a real effort to listen to both sides. Still, I’ll never get rid of this record, just because of the cover! Miss Bergen was a gravelly-voiced actress first, and a torch singer second, hung around with The Rat Pack, and last acted in a memorable in a cameo in The Sopranos. This $1 record is like a mini poster and it’s still a win for me.
The VG+ record also came in a great Capitol Records inner sleeve. There will be a posting on “sleeve shifting” just as soon as I find a Columbia inner sleeve holding a Capitol record.
Cost $1, $982 Remaining