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
The Hollies, Stop! Stop! Stop!, Imperial 12339, 1967
The Hollies were a British Invasion group that had real legs. Their North American successes were nothing compared to their boatload of UK hits, but they still had hit after hit here into the 80s. This title track became just the group’s second top 10 US hit at Chrstmas 1966, and Imperial put out this album. It has both sides of the single with the rest of the album made up of songs from an earlier British album called For Certain Because.
It must have driven the band crazy to have their music be released chopped up like that. Modern singles paired with old album tracks doesn’t help anyone build a career. In early 1967, the group signed with Epic records. I’m sure the lack of any sort of creative direction on the part of Imperial was a motivating factor. The back copy of this record is frankly really appalling.
But other changes were coming too. Graham Nash soon got really tired of the pop direction the band was heading. With serious creative differences going on, he left the band in 1968 with the thought of being a songwriter. Running songs by some friends one day, they decided they sounded pretty damned good and Crosby Stills Nash & Young were born.
Cost: $2, $466 Remaining
Sonny Curtis, Beatle Hits Flamenco Guitar Style, Imperial LP-9276, 1964
At the time this record came out, Sonny Curtis was most famous for being the infamous replacement for Buddy Holly in The Crickets. They put out some great records that made them Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame members in their own right, but their songs (like I Fought The Law) were best known after other people covered them. So landing a solo contract with Imperial Records in 1964 was a pretty good coup for an artist who hadn’t yet proven he could sell records. For a first release, why not do what everyone else seemed to be doing and record some Beatle music?
And, it’s awesome. It didn’t sell worth a damn, but this is one really well done record. It obviously came out later in 1964, with most of the songs coming from the Hard Day’s Night soundtrack. That alone makes it stand out from the other records this week, but the arrangements and the playing make this an enjoyable record.
Sonny Curtis is best known for Love Is All Round, the theme song for The Mary Tyler Moore Show. This album came out 6 years before that, and it just shows his versatility. This is likely to be my most favorite Beatles tribute record.
Cost: $5, $575 Remaining