Barry & The Tamerlanes, I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight, Valiant 406, 1963
Beginning with an aside, the actual Tamerlane was a Mongol warrior who in the 14th century had a dream of restoring the conquests of Ghangis Khan. His armies swept across Asia, Africa and Europe and it’s estimated they devastated 5% of the world’s population. So, it’s an odd choice of name for a Southern California vocal group. This, their one album, came in the wake of the the middling success of the title track. Both suffered sales-wise by their November 21, 1963 release date. Not many new pop groups could break through in the wake of the Kennedy assassination.
Barry DeVorzon was the founder of tiny Valiant Records. As such, when his one mildly successful group, The Cascades, passed on recording I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight, he could just record it himself and put it out. The rest of the album sounds just the same as the hit, but this is one rare record. My trusty Goldmine price guide values this record at $150. it would be worth double if it was the stereo version. Not too shabby for a $3 vintage store purchase.
Barry would later sign The Association to Valiant before selling the operation to Warner Brothers. He would become a prolific writer for TV and films, with one of his creations, the theme from The Young And The Restless hitting the top 10 in 1976.
Cost: $3, $458 Remaining
The Association, Renaissance, Valiant 5004, 1966
Listening to this album, you would never think that it was so fantastic that a major corporation would buy the small label it was released on just to own the contract of the group featured here. Yet, that’s what happened just after The Association released Renaissance.
Sure, their previous album featured the top 10 smash Along Comes Mary, and the amazingly intensely mellow #1 hit Cherish, but the follow up record’s only top 40 single was the just plainly awful choice of Pandora’s Golden Herbie Jeebies. Would you be surprised to learn that that song peaked at #35?
The album fared better than the single. It peaked at #34 in January , 1967, by which time it was being sold on the classic orange Warner Brother’s label. Yes, the big studio bought the tiny Valiant Record Company just to acquire the services of The Association. The reissued album’s cover remained unchanged, I’m guessing because they didn’t sell many of them, and later buyers had the rare treat of opening a Valiant jacket and finding a Warner Brother’s record slide out.
I suppose I got a collector’s item with having the Valiant red and black label, but part of me wishes I had a second pressing just for the label variance. Still, given how meh this record is, I’m sure I won’t see the label again for a few years. (Because it’ll be hidden inside the untouched jacket in the “A” section of my collection…)
Cost: $1, $866 Remaning