The Manchesters, Beatlerama, Diplomat 2310, 1964
The ultimate discount label wasn’t going to be left out of the Beatles craze. After all, according to the liner notes on this album, “The Beatles and their music approach the hysteria of the twist and similar music”. Of course there’s just the one Beatles song, Please Please Me, and one other public domain song, My Bonnie, that The Beatles covered when they were in The Manchesters shoes in Hamburg in 1961.
Other than that, the rama that fills the rest of this album doesn’t quite live up to the hysteria of the twist. The drummer loses time more often than Ringo does, and the singer forgets the words more often than John did.
It’s an interesting curiosity, but I think I’d prefer to find volume one, or even Diplomat’s other Beatles knock off. The Beatle Buddies were supposedly an all girl band who recorded songs like He Loves You!
Cost: $3, $589 Remaining
Madelaine/Sister Adele, Dominique, Diplomat 2303 & 1020, 1963
First of all, who says you can’t buy an Adele record on vinyl for cheap? True, this might not be the first Adele that comes to mind, but still… This was going to be a lesson on label variation, meaning I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw two different labels for the same dopey copy cat album from our friends at Diplomat Records. They’re the schlocky outfit that had a JFK tribute album out in stores within a week of the assassination. Just after that tragedy, with the national mood in a funk similar to the election of Donald Trump, Ed Sullivan dispensed with the usual pop act and featured a film of a Belgian Nun singing some simple Bible themed songs she’d written to children. Well, the record that Nun made was quickly leased to Phillips Records, and both the album and the single of Dominique quickly shot to number one.
Naturally, Diplomat Records needed to grab a hold of that gravy train. They rush released a cheaply recorded version by “Sister Adele” which was somehow “Sung By Madelaine”. Whomever is singing, it’s clear that they sing in French as a second language. Not that I speak French, but I’m familiar enough with the original record to know that Sister Adele isn’t singing the same words. I almost want to study French to solve the mystery, with the hope being that she sings something along the lines of “you fools, you saved Fifty Cents but didn’t get the real record”.
But while I couldn’t believe Diplomat shelled out to print two different covers, the one with the fake nun pretending to sing to some kids out in the woods of New Jersey is actually a Stereo pressing! Why a discount label would even bother with that expense is beyond me, and I can’t find any information about any other Diplomat records coming out in Stereo. Still, I listened to it and sure enough it’s in some kind of Stereo. Madeleine comes out of one speaker and the fake background nuns come out of the other! I’m beginning to realize that I might have just found the Holy Grail of the discount record, pun very much intended.
Cost: $2, $611 Remaining
The Candymen Orchestra, Let’s Twist, Diplomat FM-112, 1962
It’s always a great day for an artist when their first record comes out. Every “jukebox” movie ever made has that moment in it. Strangely though, it’s very hard to find any background information about The Candymen Orchestra online. Not that their record’s jacket has much information to begin with, but Discogs.com’s discography for them has this as their only offering. Welcome to the world of the discount record.
The masterminds at Diplomat Records, a division of the Synthetic Plastics Company of Newark, New Jersey, saw that The Twist was more than a hit record. It had been a famous number one for Chubby Checker in 1960, but it never really went away. In 1962, the original record did the impossible and returned to number one in a twist-mania that lasted until surf-mania took over in 1963. The market was flooded with twist knock off records from serious jazz artists all the way down to something like this.
Diplomat Records were the sort of things that would be sold at drug stores or out of the trunk of some guy’s Studebaker. The company would get a somewhat competent group of musicians, pay them a flat fee to record as many public domain tunes as they could come up with that fit the popular theme of the day, and then sell baby sell. Often times, a hit record would be copied as closely as possible and then the album would come out with a very deceptive cover that would trick enough people into buying it that they would profit from the endeavor. I’ve been very lucky at finding a trove of these records, and while they aren’t much to listen to very often, they are enough to have another theme week featuring!
Cost: $2, $791 Remaining