Clyde McPhatter, May I Sing For You?, Mercury Wing SRW-16224, 1962
I’m coming up to the end of my year of shopping for 365 records with a $1000 budget. It’s to the point that, with 30 days to go and $191 to spend, I still need to buy discount records, but perhaps not this much. While Clyde McPhatter was the original lead singer for The Drifters in the early 50s, and he had a great solo career on Mercury in the early 60s, this 1962 compilation of standards on the discount Mercury Wing label is really not collectible. If the $2 price tag doesn’t tell you that, the crummy title should. May I Sing For You is not a selling feature for a record.
This seems to be the kind of record that happens when a troubled artist like McPhatter has a comeback hit (in this case, the R&B classic Lover Please), material that was sitting in a can somewhere often finally sees the light of day on a discount label like Wing. Artists always record music that falls short of commercial viability. Records like this hope to get some quick sales by people looking for the hit on the radio and end up disappointed by substandard material pressed on cheap vinyl. It’s records like this that also damage careers.
Most major record companies had a discount label or two to handle music not deemed worthy enough for their flagship brand. Mercury had Wing, Capitol had Tower, RCA had Camden, and Columbia had Harmony, all releasing records like this. McPhatter’s solo hits were on the main Mercury label, but out of date music like this came out on Wing. Sometimes, records like this don’t even show up in official artist discographies because they might not have been nationally distributed or the artist may not have even known it was released, such was the business model for them. So enjoy the final discount record of the year, and get ready for the next month of real treasures.
Cost: $2, $189 Remaining