Monday, November 12, 2018

1940s-1950s Era Denver Record Store labels

Hey all. A snowbound day at the casa has me working on a much-neglected project - going through my stacks of 78rpm records. Most of these are not Colorado recordings (lots of hillbilly and some blues, collected from my 1980s West Texas zip days), but one record stood out, for the emphasis of this blog - a 1946 Mushmouth Robinson boogie woogie jazz recording, with an original Denver record store sticker on the label.

 "I Got The Blues" / "Let's Get Some"
Mushmouth Robinson
Black & White 104 - 1946

Then, I discovered two more...

 "Teardrops in Your Eyes" / "Please Open Your Heart"
Lucky Millinder and his Orchestra
King 4419 - 1950

"How Long Must I Be Blue" / "Little Boy"
Little Sylvia with the Heywood Henry Orchestra
Savoy 4112 - 1951

Dennis' Record Shop, located at 2556 Washington St. now shows a block of newly-built apartments. The Rhythm Record Shop, was located at  2615 Welton, and the Melody Record and Radio Shop, was located on East 26th, all in the Five Points neighborhood. The Rhythm Record Shop is now a cannabis dispensary, while I can't make out the complete address for the Melody Record and Radio Shop, to determine its fate.

Five Points has a fantastic local music history.  It became a predominantly African American neighborhood in Denver because discriminatory home sale laws in other neighborhoods forbade African Americans from settling in them. From the 1920s to the 1950s, the area's Welton Street had a rich history of jazz - with more than fifty bars and clubs, where jazz musicians such as Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Nat King Cole, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, and others performed at clubs like the Rossonian and the Rainbow Room. The neighborhood was also mentioned repeatedly in Jack Kerouac's On the Road

As always, if anyone has an info, drop me a line!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Jerry Weaver

Hey all! You know what I love about obscure Colorado music history? I'm always surprised. No, really. Just when I think I have a pretty good grasp on the esoteric music history of the Rocky Mountain State, I discover something else. Take for instance, Jerry Weaver.

Jerry Weaver was known mainly as the guitarist for Aretha Franklin, but he also shows up on recordings by Joe Tex, The Allman Brothers, Frederick Knight, Patti Austin, and Janet Jackson...and apparently he (briefly) called the Pikes Peak-region, home.

The things you learn...

Jerry Weaver was born and raised in Alabama, but moved to Colorado Springs, in the 1960s, after his mother and siblings relocated to the area. In a June, 1969 Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph profile, Weaver told the reporter that he was ready to settle down in his new city, perform in local clubs, and promote local concerts. 

May 29, 1969 
Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph

The first Jerry Weaver-promoted show happened on June 6-8, 1969, at the Melting Pot, on East Costilla, and included the Jerry Weaver Orchestra, Chuck Brown, and the Accents (no idea if this the same group who were regulars at Taylor's Supper Club, in Denver). After the success of that show, he immediately lined up a larger event, to be held that December, in the City Auditorium, featuring the Chantells (see below), Rich Maio and Allison Sheldon (Rich was in the local band, Birmingham Balloon Company), the New York-based doo-wop group, The Magnificent 4, The Beefeaters (no location noted), the Denver-based Mistic Moods (see below), and Jimmy Jules and the Diamonds, out of Louisiana.

Of note, the Mistic Moods (also spelled the Mystic Moods) featured a young Philip Bailey (pictured in front), who would go on to Earth Wind and Fire, and was later a successful solo performer ("Easy Lover" with Phil Collins).

The Cleveland-based Chantells included LaDonna Hudson, her sister Mattie Carol Hudson, and Barbara Bibbs.

After this show, there doesn't seem to be any other local news coverage of Jerry Weaver. He went on to appear on other recordings, including those by Janet Jackson and Mick Jagger. Weaver also recorded his own material, including the fantastic 1972 single "I'm In Love" / "Love Sick Child" on the Sound of Birmingham record label.

According to a 1994 interview with Frederick Knight (Weaver wrote his 1972 hit, "I've Been Lonely So Long"), Weaver had passed away, but I couldn't find any additional information confirming this.

As always, if anyone can add anything to the story, drop me a line!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Rainy Daze Test Pressings

I'm still amazed that I have boxes, which still haven't been unpacked from the 2015 move back home. It's like a Christmas surprise, with each discovery. Take for instance these Rainy Daze test pressings.

I first obtained these, shortly before I moved back to Colorado, from my dear Pueblo friend, and former co-owner of the (now gone) Record Reunion, Joel Scherzer. Joel has been a huge supporter of this blog, and was damn-near solely responsible for keeping me in obscure Colorado records, when I lived in Austin.

A few of these five, double-sided, 7" 45s are marked "Eldorado Studio" out of Hollywood, CA. A few indicate the Uni label, while others are only marked by numbers. Four of the ten sides are marked "Rainy Daze."

You can do a Google search and find quite a bit on the Rainy Daze, so I won't copy and paste it here. The short version is, the band formed in Denver,  in 1965, and included singer/guitarist Tim Gilbert and his brother Kip on drums, plus lead guitarist Mac Ferris, bassist Sam Fuller, and keyboardist Bob Heckendorf. The group released an album, That Acapulco Gold, and the title song made it to #70 on the Billboard Hot 100, in 1967... but was pulled, due to the marijuana reference. The band broke up, shortly after that,  but Gilbert put out one more song as The Rainy Daze, on the White Whale label - the 1968 recording of "Make Me Laugh," which was recorded with session musicians.

This little tidbit helps solve the mystery of the age of these, as one of the test pressings is for "Make Me Laugh."

Notice the official release is 2:07, while the test pressing is marked 2:47. The B-side, of both the test pressing and the official release, is "My Door is  Always Open." That single clocked in at 2:46, the same as the test pressing.

Among the stash is a test pressing of two versions of "Stop Sign." Both are marked 2:42, which was the running time of the official release. Listening to both, they sound exactly the same.

Also included is a test pressing of "Blood of Oblivion," which was included on the group's debut LP. The pressing shows a running time of 2:23, while the official release clocks in at 2:40.


While "Stop Sign" was the official flipside of "Blood of Oblivion," the test pressing shows "Two Heads are Better Than One," which appears to have never been released.

Rounding out the find are two discs, marked only "#1" and "#2." Both songs are instrumentals. I thought they might simply be the instrumental backing of a song, but neither one seem to match up with any of the cuts on Acapulco Gold.

As always, dear reader, if anyone has a clue on these, drop me a line...

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Elk Bugles Radio Show (All Covers Show)


Every Thursday from 4:00 -5:00 pm (MT) Elk Bugles is the Colorado music show featuring the little-known vinyl of the state. Tune in every week to hear unknown and unheard Colorado vinyl records, from the 1930s to the 1980s – the records missing from the state’s music history books.
Link to show 

On today’s show it’s all about the covers – 1960s era songs made famous by others, covered by those Colorado bands and singers you are probably unfamiliar with.

Louie Louie
John Overton and Alma

It Got a Line On You (Spirit)
OMI Express


Stupid Girl  (Rolling Stones)

Ode to Billy Joe ((Bobbie Gentry)
Chokin’ Kind (Joe Simon)
Middle of it All

Wipe Out / Orange Blossom Special (Venturas)
Great Speckled Bird

California Sun (Rivieras)
Guys and Doll

Sometimes (Gene Thomas)
Richy C and the Casanovas

Ma Belle Ami (Tee Set)

Wichita Lineman (Glenn Campbell)
Pete Wernick

California Dreaming (Mamas and Papas)
Duncan Tuck

Colours (Donovan)
Dave Jackson

Unicorn (Irish Rovers)
Bob Turner

Walk on By (Dionne Warwick)
Frankie Rino and the Innovations

Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows (Leslie Gore)

King of the Road (Roger Miller)
Caller Don Franklin and the Wagon Masters

No Credit
Joey Buffalo and Sonics

Monday, October 29, 2018

Colorado 8-tracks: World Sound Factory and Pikes Peak Tape

Hey all! So I'm digging around a thrift in Pueblo, when I discovered this "sound-alike" (Top 40 songs performed by studio singers, who attempt to sound like the original artists) country and pop music 8-track sandwiched in between a Herb Alpert album and a Firestone Christmas LP. I was about to throw it back, when I noticed the back of the tape showed a Denver address.

I know, I know, it's not vinyl, but the obscure Colorado music geek in me wanted to learn more...

Much like the Deeds Electronic Company, which produced blatantly bootlegged recordings of popular songs, the World Sound Factory, located at 1075 West Arizona, hyped studio singers recording Marie Osmond ("Paper Roses"), Chuck Berry ("Johnny B. Goode"), and Dusty Springfield ("Son of a Preacher Man"), among other popular 1970s hits.

It appears the company may have also had a West Coast office, as a 1974 Billboard ad for the company shows a Los Angeles area code.  Also of note, a 1974 Bakersfield, CA newspaper ad, with the Denver address, makes note that "factory direct prices" for the tapes cost $2.47, with a list price of $6.98.

The tape I found, Son of a Preacherman, shows it is "Country Pop Hits Vol. V," which implies there are, at least, four others out there. As is usually the case, the studio singers are not credited.

I found no earlier (pre-1974) mentions of the World Sound Factory. There were no further mentions of company, or the tapes, after 1974.

Then, a couple of days later, I'm back at the same thrift in Pueblo, and spot this - a handful of 8-tracks from a Colorado Springs outfit called Pikes Peak Tape:

I put the Carpenters Close to You tape in, and realized it was actually the "real" version of this LP, which was apparently bootlegged by the company. Further internet sleuthing indicates that Pikes Peak Tape was based at 1409 S. 8th, and was active around the same time as the World Sound Factory (1973-1974). 

Billboard Sep. 29, 1973

The catalog numbers on the tapes are pretty high (the Carpenters tape is noted as "181"), so I can't help but wonder if there are hundreds of Pikes Peak tapes scattered about. Most of these tapes found their way in truck stops, sold as budget music to drivers needing an audible boost on the road. 

I found it odd that both of these Colorado-based companies, with apparently no connection, began and ended production, around the same time. 

Short lived, much like the format itself. 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Elk Bugles Radio Show - Episode 13


Every Thursday from 4:00 -5:00 pm (MT) Elk Bugles is the Colorado music show featuring the little-known vinyl of the state. Tune in every week to hear unknown and unheard Colorado vinyl records, from the 1930s to the 1980s – the records missing from the state’s music history books.

(NOTE: Today's show was a replay of Episode 2, 
which, due to a technical issue, didn't play in its entirety, when it originally aired, in August. There was obviously still an issue, about three-quarters of the way into the show - my apologies)

Soft Restraints
Trish Kinney
The Crime
Debra Lewis
Jennie Rylatt
NORAD Commanders
Up Tight

NORAD Commanders
Hot Pants
Lazy B Wranglers

Lazy B Wranglers
High Among the Colorado Rockies
Southern Colorado

Flounder DelRay
Everything You’ve Wanted To Know About Colorado That John Denver Forgot To Tell You
Orlie & The Saints
Denver Twist and Freeze