The Beatles, With Tony Sheridan & Their Guests, MGM E-4215, 1964
On June 22, 1961, in Hamburg Germany, Tony Sheridan recorded five songs backed up by a fellow English group he knew from the local club scene. The single My Bonnie did well enough in West Germany (#31), but it would be an unlikely candidate for a major label release in the US if it weren’t for the fact that the backing band was The Beatles. Actually, it still probably didn’t deserve a major label release. The songs are mainly public domain standards, with one incredible instrumental. Cry For A Shadow, originally recorded as The Beatle Bop, is the only song credited as written by John Lennon and George Harrison.
Naturally, there was no way that The Beatles would allow their image on a record that wasn’t really even theirs, so MGM, which licensed the Sheridan tracks from German Polydor came up with this bland green cover that screams THE BEATLES and adds a brief mention of the real artist Tony Sheridan “and their guests”. The “guests”, who are more like party crashers, are billed here as The Titans, but the tracks were released in 1961. As you can see, MGM did what most record companies did when an album had both stereo and mono versions. One extended cover “slick” was printed, and the appropriate edge was exposed, with the other edge covered by the back slick. Someone tore off the upper left corner of this mono record to expose the upside-down “stereo” printed on the front slick. It’s too bad, because real stereo copies of this album are very rare and worth hundreds of dollars.
There were other recordings made that day in Hamburg. With some extra time left in the session, The Ringo-less Beatles recorded four songs themselves. These got leased to Atco Records for yet another major label US release, with the single Ain’t She Sweet hitting the top 20. The two singles off this album My Bonnie and Why didn’t do as well, but these songs were issued countless times over the last 53 years. I suppose the same thing would have happened if MGM got their hands on a tape of John Lennon reading the phone book.
Cost: $5, $419 Remaining
Stories, About Us, Kama Sutra KSBS-2068, 1973
There are a million stories out there about records and how they came to be. This is a good one but it’s not all that unique. There’s the part about the all-white group (Stories) taking an all-black group’s (Hot Chocolate) song (Brother Louie)and having the bigger hit with it. Stories added a nice twist to that story by having the song literally about a white man coming in to a black family and taking away their daughter…
Another story is about how Stories came about in the first place. Michael Brown, who found pop success in the 60s with his previous group The Left Banke met Ian Lloyd through their fathers who had played together for years in orchestras. They set about creating a new baroque/beatlesque rock band and called the group Stories. About Us was their second album and it appeared headed for the great dust bin in the sky and Michael Brown left the group to work on other projects. A previously recorded track that wasn’t on the album was released as a final single, and Brother Louie shot to #1. Kama Sutra recalled the album and added the single to it and quickly re-released it.
The last story here is how unintended success can ruin things. Shocked by their sudden hit status, the group fell apart because covering British Soul records was not the direction they wished their group to go. There was one more album, but Stories certainly go down as being a one hit wonder. It’s true that the rest of the album sounds nothing like the hit, but original copies of this record without the hit are worth big bucks. As it is here, it was fairly priced at $2…
Cost: $2, $502 Remaining
Alvin Simon & Theodore with David Seville, Let’s All Sing With The Chipmunks, Liberty LST-7132, 1961
In an uncharacteristic move for me, I went to file yesterday’s Chipmunk album away into the permanent collection, and in its place I found this $2 version that I’ve had for a few years. It was shoved back in the stack, probably when I was re-filing my Chubby Checker records. And since, believe it or not, this isn’t my preferred type of music, I forgot I even had it.
This record is just a complete reissue of the 1959 original, but it was repackaged to cash in (!) on the animated cartoon series “the boys” got in 1961. Called The Alvin Show it was like a 30 minute version of The Chipmunk Song shown every Saturday morning.
So while I usually get rid of duplicates, especially re-issues, in the permanent collection, I think I just keep both. While I’d never knowingly have two, this one does have the new cover, with the cartoon chipmunks on it. Plus, it’s in stereo, and that’s pretty rare. It also happens to be in virtually mint condition, so this is the copy I’ll pull out on those once a decade occasions that I want to hear The Chipmunks.
Cost: $2, $607 Remaining
Smokey Robinson, Where There’s Smoke…, Motown 5267ML, 1982
I don’t buy re-issues. Mostly because, despite the obvious use of having records around, I’m not building a music collection. Virtually anything, well outside of some of the weird records I find, can be found online at any time from anywhere with virtually no expense of storage issues. So, what I’m really doing is collecting original records with an eye for the unusual. Re-issued records just get in the way and take up space for original records.
Motown actually makes it pretty easy to spot a reissue. They usually have a small print original release date, in case the thinly pressed record and thick paper vs. cardboard sleeve wasn’t clue enough. It’s just that I’ve never seen this record, and it has the long version of my favorite Smokey Robinson solo single. So I tossed it in my pile at the $1 sale without thinking twice.
Pulling out the record made me sink a little. Smokey only put out records on Tamla (Tamla 366 in this case), so seeing the Motown label defines it as a reissue. Cousin’ still works well on it, so it’s a small loss, and this will hold the place for the original I hope to find one day. I’d really be upset if I thought I was getting the 1960 Hi, We’re The Miracles for $1, but it’s not a huge tragedy.
Cost: $1, $617 Remaining