Fats Domino, This Is Fats Domino, Imperial LP-9028, 1956
This is not only Fats Domino, but it’s a wonderful into to a real artist just doing his thing. Fats Domino’s last charting record was his 1968 cover of The Beatles’ Lady Madonna, and it sounds like it could be on this album. The Fat Man doesn’t have to explain himself to you, thank you very much. While he doesn’t get much press these days, he is hanging in there at age 89, and even losing “everything” in Hurricane Katrina didn’t dampen his spirit.
This was Domino’s third album, and, like most 50s albums, it’s just a collection of singles that were complied into an LP. In 1956, the 12″ LP was still a pretty new invention, so many artists didn’t conceive of an album as a specific creative entity with its own theme. Records like these are merely a portrait of the artist at a particular place and time. But this particular place and time featured Fats Domino’s biggest hit, and just the opening note of Blueberry Hill is enough to pull you in to the whole record.
While the $10 price tag of this record is waaay above the normal price tag of a record in this blog, it’s also waaay below the usual trading price for a record of this age and condition. Dropping a need on this for the first time, I couldn’t believe how smooth this copy plays. Not only was the LP a new invention, but vinyl production was still in the early stages of its development. To find a 61 year old record that is pop free is really something, especially one of this quality.
Cost: $10, $138 Remaining
Dr. Murray Banks, What You Can Learn From The Kinsey Report, Audio Masterworks LPA-1210, 1956
The first thing I learned from this record is that Dr. Murray Banks missed his calling. Instead of being a Clinical Psychologist, a professor, and an in demand public speaker, he should haver been a stand-up comedian. At least he tries really hard to be one on this, his first of many self-help records he released from the 50s to the 70s. The Queens accent only adds to the charms of the lecture. When he tells stories of people who were interviewed by Kinsey, it’s like getting sex advice from Archie Bunker.
I suppose the comedy approach is what allows Banks to explain the material without coming off as creepy or perverse in the Eisenhower years. He has to explain some things that are probably not as taboo as they once were, and the record sounds even more dated when he delves into the “proper roles for genders”. Apparently Mrs. Dr. Murray Banks enjoys being home with the children while Dr. Murray Banks travels the country talking about sex to college co-eds.
What makes this record a must for a cocktail party though are the stories. One man who reveals his interest in a particular horse got irate when the interviewer asked if it was a male horse or a female horse. The man insisted that the horse was female and didn’t want anyone to think he was a queer. Speaking of queer, Audio Fidelity, the highly technical company that helped pioneer stereo records, released this record on the Audio Masterpiece label. I suppose it would have been difficult for Dr. Murray Banks to land a major label deal and Audio Fidelity came to the rescue. At least they didn’t go all out on describing the technical aspects of recording this lecture. That it’s in mono is just fine, lest we hear a horse screech from one channel to another.
Cost: $2, $285 Remaining
Bobby Darin, Twist With Bobby Darin, Atco 33-138, 1961
Josh White, The Josh White Stories, ABC Paramount ABC-124, 1956
Bobby Darin released a ton of albums, and they’re all great. There’s just hard to find in great shape. So I didn’t think twice about picking this one up for $2, I just added this to my pile and kept on flipping thought the bins. A month later, I was in the mood to twist (not really, but, memo to all aspiring bands out there, don’t ever name your album after a dance craze) and I got this record out.
This is sort of a compilation album, with a mix of old hits, new hits and Darin originals. I’m not sure if it ever got a CD release, although it is available on iTunes. Albums of this era rarely had a cohesive theme beyond what the title implied. Still, Bobby Darin is one of my favorite singers, and I was really looking forward to this record.
So imagine my surprise/disappointment/curiosity/acceptance when I pulled out this record. The Josh White Stories is among the least twistable records imaginable, beginning with the nearly five minute version of The Boll Weevil Song. My bad for breaking my Rule Number One: always look at the record you’re about to buy before you buy it! It just so happens that The Josh White Stories is a really amazing record by an incredible performer that I had never heard of. So it’s really a win win for me. I’m now a Josh White fan too.
Cost: $2, $394 Remaining
Various Artists, Session At Midnight, Capitol T-707, 1956
It’s hard to find much background information on this record. It seems to be the product of a bunch of LA Jazz musicians, some of whom were signed to Capitol Records dropping by the Capitol studios on Melrose Avenue for one last jam session before it was closed and all recording was consolidated in the brand new Capitol Tower.
But it really doesn’t matter about the album’s background. This record is really really great! Jazz isn’t a genre I know much about, but outside of a few well known artists or landmark records, most of them can be had for a pretty cheap price. Maybe a real aficionado wouldn’t get too excited by this record, but I sure love it.
It just goes to show you what you can find in a bargain bin if you’re willing to take a chance. Checking online, I see it listed in worse shape than my $2 copy for as much as $25, so there must be some people looking for it. Not that they’re getting this one any time soon!
Cost: $2, $889 Remaining