The Liverpools, Beatle Mania In The USA, Wyncote 9001, 1964
Yet again, I found yet another badly done discount record of some group rush recording a copy of The Beatles in the wake of their phenomenal entry into the US market. Today’s group are The Liverpools, which makes sense because they sound like they’re from Liverpool, Pennsylvania. The court-room sketch artist who drew the cover appears to have had a thing for Paul McCartney, because all four Liverpools look like the bassist for The Beatles. No “recorded in England”, no photography, no description of the group at all, this is a bare bones effort that was designed to fool only the most gullible record buyer. I found a release date for this album of January 25, 1964, which would mean it was on sale before The Beatles first performed on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9.
The cover “art” is really just a copy of the Billboard Magazine ad that Capitol Records placed around the 1963-64 New Years issue with a simple drawing of four haircuts and the simple tag line “The Beatles Are Coming”. Wyncote Records was a very short lived discount subsidiary of Cameo-Parkway records, the Philadelphia based independent label that dominated the early 1960s charts with one dance craze hit after another (helped by the natural promotional power of the locally based but nationally televised American Bandstand). This stunning piece of vinyl was the label’s first release.
Their label is a copy of Parkway Records, but I’m not sure that affected sales too much one way or the others. These were the kinds of records that would be sold out of the trunk of someone’s car or at a drug store. So while The Liverpools, if that’s really who they were, would only briefly be able to sell a few records to the unsuspecting. Now, it’s something I listen to form time to time just for a few laughs.
Cost: $4, $592 Remaining
Various Artists, All The Hits By All The Stars, Parkway 7013, 1962
The Cameo-Parkway record company was on fire in 1962. Their stable of artists were on average the hottest recording acts that produced the best selling records of the era. They had the cutest teen idols, the sassiest girl groups, some above average doo-wop groups, plus the king and queen of the dance record in Chubby Checker and Dee Dee Sharp. Sure, the New York producers working out of the Brill Building wrote more sophisticated songs, Phil Spector in Los Angeles was perfecting the pop single, and a small Detroit based company called Motown was building a massive creative assembly line, but for a few shining months, Cameo-Parkway ruled the airwaves.
So why not take a bit of a victory lap and run up some sales with a company wide greatest hits package? Far from doing any damage creatively that a greatest hits package usually implies, this little album has Chubby Checker’s two #1 hits, four #2 hits, a few other top tens, and three top 20 songs. All were less than four years old at the time, so this was very much a contemporary hits package. Of course, all of these songs became pretty much obsolete once I Want To Hold Your Hand came along, but this was a big seller in it’s day.
And it also became a really huge collector’s item for a while. When the bubble burst on the teen dance hit sound, Cameo-Parkway collapsed like yesterday’s mashed potatoes into the usual story of corruption, bankruptcy and legal battles. Their entire catalogue of music was tied up for years until Alan Klein ended up with it somehow. He refused to release any of the music on CD for decades, insisting on only issuing cheaply remade 45s of Cameo artists with no money going to the artists. That’s why there are so many bad versions of these songs out there. Even by the “original artists”, no one really wants to listen to a 1974 Dutch recording of Pony Time. As a result, mint copies of this record were worth a lot in the 1990s because it was the only way to hear these records on LP. Now of course, with Alan Klein dead and the music out on CD and digital downloads, my patience was rewarded by finding this VG cope for $2.
Cost:$2, $644 Remaining