Saturday, May 31, 2008

Surprise!

I had thought that this post would announce the demise of the original U.P. GROOVES! website. For those who don't know, I created the site using WebTV's Page Builder feature, and I had thought it would vanish when I had to close my WebTV account.

I thought that day had come on May 16, when - after eight years of faithful service to myself and my family - our 2000 Sony WebTV Plus unit suddenly went black. Apparently, its "video card" failed. There was no place in our immediate area where we could get the thing fixed, or buy a new one. So we wound up having to order a new MSN TV 2 unit online (using my personal computer).

We got the new unit exactly one week after the old one "blew out." Much to my surprise, I learned that our old WebTV addresses were still usable with the new MSN TV 2! So I didn't have to send out that mass e-mail to my U.P. GROOVES e-mail list, or publish the big obit here, after all! (Too bad - they were really quite nice.)

So, for those still interested, the original U.P. GROOVES! website is still - at this writing - online at http://tinyurl.com/y8o5rn. (Astonishingly - at least to me - more people still discover the project through the site than this blog!)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Loose Ends and Closing Credits

[NOTE TO NEWCOMERS: This was the last of the thirteen entries with which I began this blog, all entered in rapid succession during late February / early March 2008.]

And now, some loose ends that I still need to tie up.

First of all, is this single a U.P. Groove?

Arthur D. Noel - LINDA BROUGHT THE RAIN DOWN b/w PRETTY WORDS (Stop ST-1699). I've found very little info about this single or Mr. Noel, though he may have some U.P. connections (the single was made in Nashville, TN). Side B is a Marty Robbins song, while Side A was written by one Jim Aho - Elmer's relative, maybe? Or Elmer himself, under a pseudonym?


THE COTTERILL SISTERS - These three sisters from Iron Mountain were a musical trio that traveled throughout the world during the 1910s-20s, even performing for royal audiences. I figured that they'd have been likely to make a commercial record, but as far as I know they never did. However, I stand ready to stand corrected.

ELMER M. AHO - Aside from what I've cited in previous posts, I've caught many fleeting glimpses of his name on other record labels. I know that Mr. Aho hosts a country-oldies request show every Saturday night on an Ishpeming country station that I normally can't receive; I still hope to get in touch with him and get info about his other recording exploits.

NEIL BOUGIE - This Escanaban apparently recorded an album which was produced by Gary S. Paxton, the former L.A. music biggie who later became Tammy Faye Bakker's record producer. I heard radio ads for the album ("Gary Paxton is a producer ... Neil Bougie is an artist"), but I never saw the album itself in any stores, nor have I seen a copy to this day.

"SAULT STE. MARIE" by DEAN MARTIN - I know Dino recorded a song called "Sault Ste. Marie," written by one Kevin Bowe, for one of his albums; but (a) I haven't heard the song, though I've read its lyrics; and (b) I have no idea whether the "Soo" of the song was in Michigan or in Ontario! (My attempts to contact Mr. Bowe have so far led nowhere.)

KRIS ERIK STEVENS - I have found out about Kris Erik's 1972 album FEELINGS, which is now duly listed in "Some Grooves I Don't Have"; even so, can anyone tell me if Kris Erik put out any other records?

POLKAS - Besides Paul Ray, the Ramblers, Viola Turpeinen and other acts I've already mentioned, I'm sure other U.P.-connected polka acts made commercial records, and if anyone has any extra data on the subject, I'm here. (For those who don't know, Frankie Yankovic was neither a U.P. native nor a permanent U.P. resident, though he often vacationed and performed in the U.P.)


And now to give credit where credit is due ... The following people have all played major roles in the realization of this project, providing me with info and pointing me in some right directions:

KIP BROWN - creator of the Yahoo! Group "michiganmusicfromthesixties"

RANDY HAUCK - the recording engineer who worked with Omo the Hobo, and provided me with most of my info about him

BRIAN R. JUNTIKKA - U.P. native, devoted polka collector, host of the syndicated radio show "Polka Time America"

GARY ELSWORTH MYERS - Milwaukee-born musician/author/publisher, whose books Do You Hear That Beat? and On that Wisconsin Beat are both histories of Wisconsin's recorded music, often straying into the U.P. His website is http://home.earthlink.net/~gem777

STEVEN SEYMOUR - Veteran journalist and co-owner (with his wife Sue) of The Record Rack in Escanaba, one of Michigan's few remaining independent record stores. He is the author of the book Rock'n'Roll Graffiti, and yes, he has his own blog - http://rocknrollgraffiti.blogspot.com/.

DAVID WATCHORN - bassist for The Prophets of Doom and other Escanaba-area bands; he's sometimes spoken of starting his own website about the Prophets, and I hope he will.

The CUCA RECORDS DATABASE - The starting point for those interested in the history of the Sauk City, WI-based record company that played a major role in the U.P. GROOVES! saga. (And it's pronounced KOO-ka, not ... you know.) http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/cuca

And also these various and sundry individuals who had some influence or effect on the project: Catte Adams, Gerald Anderson, "Ange," Jim Brogan, Elaine Buchbinder, Lynn Coffey, Joe Dehut, John Douros, Mike Dugo, S.M. Geer, Don Heikkila, Professor Michael Irish, Jim Kirchstein, "Lady J" Koda, Frank Merrill Jr., Gene Michaels, Phil Nadeau, Lawrence & Mathew Olivares, "Country Paul" Payton, Michael Thom, Bill the VinylSpinner, Larry Wheatley, Brendan Williams, and the fine people at the Spectropop and Hillbilly Yahoo! Groups.

Well ... there. That's the "last of the first" set of posts for this U.P. GROOVES! blog. Of course, I'll be entering new info and correcting false info in these posts whenever I can, and there's always the possibility of all-new posts in the future. But for now, I thank you for your interest, and hope we'll meet again sometime.


Groovingly yours,

Andrew Charles, Amateur Popular-Culture Historian.
www.facebook.com/andrew.c.jones2

"I believe in music - I believe in love." (Mac Davis)

High School / College Bands & Choirs

I've sometimes been asked how - or if - records by U.P. high school or college bands and choirs fit into this project. The short answer is, they do.



During the decades when vinyl ruled, numerous high school and college musical groups in the U.P. made albums, usually as fundraisers. (The school bands and choirs of my birthplace, Escanaba, when under the direction of the late Conrad Beck (or his son John D. Beck), were quite prolific.)

Here are the high school / college band / choir albums I have in my collection:

Escanaba Area High School Choir and Madrigal Singers - [title unknown] (Silver Crest ES-DE-MENC-67; date unknown).

Escanaba Area Senior High School Choir & Chorale - CONCERT ECHOES & "BRIGADOON" HIGHLIGHTS (Century 34900; 1968?).

Escanaba Area High School Choir & Chorale - [title unknown] (Mark MC 1423; 1979). With John D. Beck, Director and Mary Snyder & Thom (Tom?) Knoll, accompanists.

The Fantastics - THE FANTASTICS OF NORTHERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY (Nuggett NRS-106). The Fantastics, a show-band led by Northern Michigan University professor Tim Lautzenheiser, were NMU's "musical ambassadors," regularly touring U.P. schools and appearing on local television, especially WLUC-TV's annual March of Dimes Telethon (for many years, the U.P.'s only TV showcase for local talent). Their one album was recorded, curiously enough, in Tennessee, and co-produced by Fred Carter, Jr., veteran country musician and father of current country star Deana Carter.

And here are the ones I don't have, but know about:

Jeffers High School Jazz Ensemble - "HIGHLIGHTS" OF 1976-77 (RPC label). School now known as Painesdale-Jeffers.

Michigan Tech Lab Jazz Band / Larry Scott Quartet - SOME LIKE IT HOT, SOME LIKE IT COOL (Record label; 1974). Side One is the "hot" side, by the student jazz band at Michigan Technological University (MTU) in Houghton; Side Two, the "cool" side, is by the Houghton-based Larry Scott Quartet. Both bands included Michael Irish, then an MTU student, now head of MTU's music department.

Northern Michigan University Marching Band - title unknown (1969). I'm told the NMU marching band put out an album in 1969, but I know nothing else about it.

Suomi College Choir - SUOMI-OPISTON KUORO (label unknown). Recorded during the choir's 1963 tour of Finland; choir directed by Prof.Arthur J. Hill.

There's one record in my collection, though, that's a puzzle. I'm not even sure if it's from the U.P. It languished in the bargain bin of The Record Rack in Esky until I took it off their hands for 50 cents.



The top of each label says: "JUNIOR GIRLS' PLAY 1957 presents 'LIVE IT UP' Angela Suino, Nancy Willard, Jane Abeshouse, Beate Kaulfuss, Alice Basford, Betty Edson." There's no info about what record company made this - just a number, HBOP-0895, printed on the label and imprinted in the deadwax. The cover is white and blank; someone taped a page from the program onto it, but this page only shows (on one side) the show's logo and (on the other) a list of "Senior women and their guests" who were being honored by the "Junior women" at the production, and some other people and businesses who were thanked; but, again, no indication of where the performance took place or where the recording was made.



If anyone is familiar with this record and/or where it was made, please let me know.



And if this project results in a book, there will be a special section devoted entirely to listing all the high school and college band and choir albums I learn about.



So yes, high school & college musical group albums do indeed have a place in U.P. GROOVES!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Vigilantes, otherwise known as...

All of the following records are by the same band (with variations), whose members (including "Jimmy B" Brogan and Lloyd Hugo) came from Houghton, Hancock, L'Anse and Lake Linden; they were the house band at the Copper Drift Lounge in the Hotel Scott in Hancock.

The Vigilantes - RAMBLIN' ON b/w SOMEDAY (SOMEONE WILL COME TO ME) (Cuca 1042). Side A was later re-titled "Travelin' On."

The Vigilantes - HIGHLAND FLING b/w NO NEVER (Cuca 1064). This single may never have been released.

The Vigilantes - WARM WIND b/w CATERPILLAR CRAWL (Hermi 001).

The Playboys - HARLEM NOCTURNE b/w BLUE MOON (Heartbeat 60).

The Lovers - TEMPTATION b/w BLUE TANGO (Sunny 1).

The Pastels - KING OF FOOLS b/w MARY (Limelight 3007).

The Flagmen - DRAG STRIP USA b/w MARY (Limelight 3014).

These two singles apparently shared the same B-side.

The All Nighters - YOU TALK TOO MUCH b/w SUMMERTIME BLUES (GMA 1).

The All Nighters - HEY BABY b/w TALK TO ME (Erie 001).

The All Nighters - GIRL DON'T GO b/w HELLO (Erie 002)

The All Nighters - LIVE AT THE BARN [ALBUM] (Erie LP 1).

This same band also played backup on these singles:

Johnny Tucker & the Pastels - MR. KENNEDY b/w WALK WITH ME (Sonic 30864)

Jay Johnson - KAREN b/w MARRIED TO SHERRI (USA 749).

Richard Parker - MONKEY ALL OVER b/w WELCOME TO PARADISE (Philips 40133; c. 1965)

Omo the Hobo

WELLMAN J. OMOHUNDRO

(Smiley Joe / Omo The Hobo / Omo the Lobo)

This charmingly eccentric troubador was born in Fayette in 1917 and died in Marquette in 1996. He apparently traveled throughout the country and around the world performing his (mostly self-composed) ballads and tunes, some of which were written-to-order. He released more than 100 records, ranging from children's songs to risque "party" discs.

Omo made most of his recordings during the mid-1960s at a California studio; he sold them during his performances (as "souvenirs," for a $1 "tip") or out of his home, either in Fayette or in Everding, CA.

SINGLES

On the ACCENT label, credited to SMILEY JOE OMOHUNDRO:

1080: I DON'T DRINK TO GET DRUNK b/w BROTHER I'VE HAD IT (also released on Accent 1098)

1082: SOMEONE JUST WANTING TO TAKE WHAT I GOT b/w THEY MADE A FOOL OUT OF ME

1092: THE MOON WAS A LITTLE YELLOW AND I WAS A LITTLE CHICKEN MYSELF b/w MY WIFE AND I

1100: YOU HAD YOUR WAY; I'M BROKE TODAY b/w HONEY YOU'VE MADE ME A BEGGAR; HELP I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU

1152: YOU HAD YOUR WAY NOW I'LL HAVE MINE b/w I'M BROKE TODAY

1169: I'M SALTING MY NUTS TODAY AND GIVING MY ICE AWAY b/w I DON'T HAVE AN EVIL MIND

1170: I DON'T DRINK TO GET DRUNK b/w ALCOHOLIC IS MY NAME

On the OMO THE HOBO label and credited to OMO THE HOBO, except as indicated:

IMPORTANT NOTE: I received the following info from two diferent sources, whom I'll call H and M. Sometimes the sources differ; when they do, I've marked the items with H and M, appropriately. If an item's not marked H or M, it's on both their lists.

As you'll see, Omo had the habit of re-releasing the same songs over and over again on different singles, with different combinations of A-sides and B-sides.

Omo 101: WHAT MAKES ME DO THE THINGS I DO b/w SWEETHEART I'LL ALWAYS LOVE YOU [M]

Omo the Lobo 101/112: OMOHUNDRO OR MOHUNDRO b/w I'M A POLICE OFFICER [M]

Omo the Lobo 101/134: KEEP SMILING b/w CINDY [M]

Omo the Hobo 102/214: LIKE A CLAP OF THUNDER b/w I"M JUST A HICK FROM THE STICKS [M]

103: DON'T LEAVE YOUR MEAT BALL b/w I WAS THE ONLY COWBOY WITH CLASS HO COULD RIDE THAT GIRL'S HORSE [M]

104: Medley: JUST BECAUSE & WABASH CANNONBALL b/w Medley: PISTOL PACKIN' MAMA & SAN ANTONIO ROSE [H]

104: QUIET PLEASE THE BABY'S ASLEEP b/w X STANDS FOR THE CROSS [M]

105: I'M NOT COMPLAINING JUST EXPLAINING b/w TEENAGERS BALL [M]

106: I'M A POLICE OFFICER HANDY WITH MY ROD b/w I'M A BARTENDER MY PISTOLS ALWAYS LOADED

106/112: I'M A POLICE OFFICER HANDY WITH MY ROD b/w I'M A POLICE OFFICER [M says these are different songs than on the above single]

106/154: I'M A BARTENDER MY PISTOL'S ALWAYS LOADED b/w HEY BARTENDER I'LL SWAP MY WIFE FOR A BOTTLE OF BOOZE [M]

107: HOLD ON TO MY HEART b/w WAITRESS SERVICE PLEASE [H]

107: HERE'S TO EVERY GIRL b/w DEAR OLD DAD, DON'T BE SAD [M]

108: Same as Accent 1170 above [M]

108/147: I DON'T DRINK TO GET DRUNK I JUST LIKE TO DRINK b/w I'M A DR. I WORK FOR MEDICARE [M]

108/208: ALKY-HOLIC IS MY NAME b/w I FELL FOR THAT CHICK LIKE A TON OF BRICKS [M]

108/208: ALKY-HOLIC IS MY NAME b/w I DON'T DRINK TO GET DRUNK I JUST LIKE TO DRINK (this song credited to OMO - JOAN) [M]

109: A SKUNK SHOULD NEVER GET DRUNK b/w DO YOU CHEAT ON YOUR WIFE [M]

110: I'M SELLING MY NUTS TODAY AND GIVING MY ICE AWAY b/w I'M A COTTON PICKIN' CHICKEN PLUCKER [M]

110/152: I'M SELLING MY NUTS TODAY AND GIVING MY ICE AWAY b/w MY GIRL WEARS SHORT HAIR AND BANGS [M]

Omo 112: HEY FIREMEN PUT OUT THE FIRE b/w I'M A POLICE OFFICER [H]

112/136: HEY FIREMAN PUT OUT HE FIRE b/w WORKIN' MAN'S SONG [M]

112/212: HEY FIREMAN PUT OUT THE FIRE b/w I'M A COP ... A DAMN GOOD DETECTIVE [M]

112/???: THE COP AND THE DRUNK (sticker covering "Hey Fireman" title on label) b/w I'M A POLICE OFFICER [M]

113: I'VE GOT THE WORLD BY THE TAIL b/w VITAMIN JUICE [H]

113/209: I'VE GOT THE WORLD BY THE TAIL b/w I'M A PEACE LOVIN' DR. [M]

114: MY HORSE GOT AWAY b/w I'M THE MAN IN THE MOON

"214-A or 114-A"/214-B: MY HORSE GOT AWAY b/w I'M JUST A HICK FROM THE STICKS [M]

115: GOD SENT AN ANGEL TO HELP ME UNDERSTAND b/w X STANDS FOR THE CROSS

115/221: X STANDS FOR THE CROSS (changed by sticker to HOORAY FOR THE U.S. ARMY, which is the song on the record) b/w MR. PRESIDENT [M]

116: OMO THE HOBO b/w THEY CALL ME A BUM

117: RIDE HIM COWBOY b/w MY COWGIRL FROM WAY OUT WEST

118: QUIET PLEASE BABIES SLEEPING b/w SWEET DREAMS [H]

119: DANNY BOY b/w GALWAY BAY [M]

Omo the Lobo 120: HOLD ON TO MY HEART b/w PRETTY GIRL by Omo the Lobo, as are all others on that label [M]

Omo the Lobo 121: WAITRESS, SERVICE PLEASE b/w I LIKE TO WAIT ON CUSTOMERS [M]

Omo the Lobo 121/209: WAITRESS, SERVICE PLEASE b/w I'M A MAILMAN WITH THE LONGEST ROUTE IN TOWN [M]

Omo the Lobo 121/221: WAITRESS, SERVICE PLEASE b/w MR. PRESIDENT [M]

Omo the Lobo 123: THE MOON WAS YELLOW AND I WAS A LITTLE CHICKEN MYSELF b/w BROKE TODAY, TOMORROW TOO [M]

Omo the Lobo 124: COWBOYS MADE A FOOL OUT OF ME b/w MY GIRL DAISY [M]

Omo the Lobo 124/225: MY GIRL DAISY b/w THE MOON WAS YELLOW AND I WAS A LITTLE CHICKEN MYSELF [M]

Omo the Lobo 125: WHAT MAKES ME DO THE THINGS I DO b/w MY DARLING SWEETHEART

Omo the Lobo 126: YOU RODE MY MOTORCYCLE, BUT YOU GAVE ME THE AIR b/w I'M A TRUCK DRIVING FOOL - by Omo the Lobo (I'm not sure whether "Lobo" means "Wolf," or is a combination of "Love" and "Hobo")

Omo the Lobo 127: I GOT POPCORN BALLS AND HOT NUTS ALL THE TIME b/w HAVE YOU HAD A PIECE OF AGGIE'S PIZZA TODAY? [M]

Omo the Lobo 127/228: I GOT POPCORN BALLS AND HOT NUTS ALL THE TIME b/w THE GOLF GAME (this side credited to Joe & Juanita) [M]

Omo the Lobo 129: See EP's list below.

Omo the Lobo 130: I'D SURE LIKE TO SEE MY OLD GAL FLO AGAIN b/w I WENT TO HELEN GOT TURNED DOWN [M]

Omo the Lobo 130/158: I'D SURE LIKE TO SEE MY OLD GAL FLO AGAIN b/w I SQUEEZED HER SO HARD I FELT HER CRACK [M]

Omo the Lobo 130/ 209: I WENT TO HELEN GOT TURNED DOWN b/w DO YOU CHEAT ON YOUR WIFE [M]

133: ME AND MY WIFE LOVE AND FIGHT b/w SHUT UP YOU TALK TOO MUCH [H says this is Hobo; M says it's Lobo]

134: THE BIG BOSS b/w CINDY LOU - by Smiley Joe Omohundro

Omo the Lobo 134/151: ME AND MY WIFE LOVE AND FIGHT b/w DO YOU CHEAT ON YOUR BETTER HALF? [M]

Omo the Lobo 136: BROTHER, I'VE HAD IT b/w WORKIN' MAN'S SONG [M]

137: MONEY'S MADE ME A BEGGAR b/w HELLO I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU [M]

138: SAN ANTONE ROSE b/w YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE [M]

139: OKLAHOMA HILLS b/w HOME ON THE RANGE [M]

140: GOOD OLD CALIFORNIA b/w FISHING AND WISHING [M]

142: I LOST MY BABY b/w SOMEONE'S JUST WAITIN' TO TAKE WHAT I GOT [M]

144: I'M A LOVER, NOT A FIGHTER b/w MY CIGARETTE SMOKIN' BABY [M]

146: CRAWDAD SONG b/w RELEASE ME [M]

147: I WORK FOR THE GOVERNMENT b/w I'M A DR. I WORK FOR MEDICARE

At this point, H's list ends; everything below is from M.

149: I'M THE BARTENDER'S BAR MAID b/w I CAN"T GO ON A BENDER CAUSE I'M THE BARTENDER

150: I'M A COTTON PICKIN' CHICKEN PLUCKER b/w I KISSED HER AS SHE GOT TATTOOED

150/209: I'M A COTTON PICKIN' CHICKEN PLUCKER b/w I'M A MAILMAN WITH THE LONGEST ROUTE IN TOWN

151: WASHED UP COWBOY b/w DO YOU CHEAT ON YOUR BETTER HALF?

153: IF YOU DON'T COME SOON I'M GOIN' OFF BY MYSELF b/w MY GIRL WEARS FURS - MINK ALL DAY AND FOX ALL NITE

154: HEY BARTENDER I'LL SWAP MY WIFE FOR A BOTTLE OF BOOZE b/w I CAN'T GO ON A BENDER CAUSE I'M THE BARTENDER

155: I'M NOT MYSELF I'M SOMEBODY ELSE b/w WHY DO I DO THE THINGS I DO

156: OLD SQUIRRELS CAN'T CRACK THEIR NUTS b/w OLD BUTCHERS NEVER DIE THEY JUST QUIT POUNDIN' THEIR MEAT

157: THE 2 HEADED PANSY WHISTLED WHILE HE WORKED b/w OLD FAIRIES NEVER DIE THEY JUST BLOW AWAY

159: I GOOSED THE WAITRESS AND SAW FLYING SAUCERS b/w "I FORGOT THE TITLE, WRITE YOUR OWN BELOW"

159/166: I GOOSED THE WAITRESS AND SAW FLYING SAUCERS b/w ALL DAY AND ALL NITE - MARY ANN

160: WHAT HE DID FOR ME HE CAN DO FOR YOU b/w HIS SALVATION IS MY INSPIRATION

161: 7 WOODPECKERS TALKED ABOUT THEIR PECKERS b/w AT THE NUDIST CAMP THE 1ST 3 DAYS WERE THE HARDEST

163: MY WIFE'S LIKE A DOORKNOB EVERYONE GETS THEIR TURN b/w MY WIFE SAID GIDDY UP AND GO AND HAS GOT UP AND WENT

164/166: POOL GAME WAS HARD, MY CUE WAS TOO SHORT TO HIT MY BALLS b/w ALL DAY AND ALL NITE MARY ANN

166: ALL DAY AND ALL NITE MARY-ANN b/w GRANNY GOOSE GOT A GOOSE

168: MERRY CHRISTMAS b/w HAPPY NEW YEAR

173: SOUTH OF THE BORDER b/w COOL WATER

174: FOOL ON A BARSTOOL b/w WHEN THE LEAVES BEGIN TO FALL

Omo the Lobo 198: SHUT THAT GATE b/w THERE WILL BE NO TOMORROW

Omo the Lobo 199: WABASH CANNON BALL b/w RED RIVER VALLEY

Omo the Lobo 201: YOU DON'T LOVE ME b/w MY GIRL FROM OUTER SPACE

202: THE APARTMENT (credited to Omo & Juanita) b/w POLICEMAN AND THE HIPPIE

205: THE MOTHER FROCKER'S CORK SOAKIN' CONVENTION b/w I'M BILL SLIPPERS BIG BULL SHIPPER & BONNIE THE COOK

207: I'M BROKE TODAY b/w YOU HAD YOUR WAY NOW I'LL HAVE MINE

208/225: I DON'T DRINK TO GET DRUNK I JUST LIKE TO DRINK b/w THE MOON WAS YELLOW AND I WAS A LITTLE CHICKEN MYSELF

209: I'M A MAILMAN WITY THE LONGEST ROUTE IN TOWN b/w I'M A PEACE LOVIN' DR.

212: I'M A POLICE OFFICER - DON"T DRINK WHEN YOU DRIVE b/w I'M A COP - A DARN GOOD DETECTIVE

212: CIGARETTES AND WHISKEY STORY (says "I'm A Cop - A Darn Good Detective" on the label) b/w I'M A POLICE OFFICER

212/214: I'M A POLICE OFFICER - DON'T DRINK WHEN YOU DRIVE b/w MY HORSE GOT AWAY

214: MY HORSE GOT AWAY b/w I'M JUST A HICK FROM THE STICKS

221: HOORAY FOR THE U.S.A. b/w MR. PRESIDENT

225: MY DARLING SWEETHEART b/w THE MOON WAS YELLOW AND I WAS A LITTLE CHICKEN MYSELF

226: THE POOL GAME b/w THE GOLF GAME - both sides by Joe & Juanita

231: I LOVE YOU MOTHER b/w DADDY I LOVE YOU

249: Same as 148 above.

308: DO YOU CHEAT ON YOUR WIFE b/w I DON'T DRINK TO GET DRUNK I JUST LIKE TO DRINK

EP'S

All on Omo the Hobo label and credited to Omo the Hobo except as indicated.

no number: My Wife Married Old Gronel OAO (?) and Went Off On A Bender + 6 other songs.

4: 20 FUNNY SONGS (samples of songs)

7: 11 ORIGINAL SONGS b/w 10 ORIGINAL SONGS (samples)

Omo the Lobo 9: I'm a Dr. I Work For Medicare + 7 other songs.

10: I'm A Police Officer Handy With My Rod + 7 other songs.

Accent AC-1104: The Omo the Hobo Party Record (6 selections).

Omo the Lobo 129: They Call Me A Screwball + 5 other songs.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Viola Turpeinen

::::::VIOLA TURPEINEN (1909-1957)::::::

Champion-born accordionist Viola Turpeinen became known as the "Hanuriprinsessa" - the Accordion Princess. During the years 1928-1938 and 1946-1954, she cut no less than 89 sides for the Columbia, Victor and Standard labels.

-COLUMBIA-

Viola's first recordings were the four that she and violinist John Rosendahl made for Columbia Records during a single session on January 11, 1928. Almost immediately after making them, she moved to Victor.

HAMARA SOTTIISI b/w HOLLOLAN POLKKA (Columbia 3074-F; 1928)

KULKURIN SERENADI b/w VANHANMANN SOTTIISI (Columbia 3077-F; 1928)

-VICTOR-

[JR] = with John Rosendahl, violin; [JR&SP] = with John Rosendahl on violin and Sylvia Polso on second accordion; [WS&WB] = with William Syrjala (Viola's husband) on cornet and/or guitar, and Werner Birch on piano.

EMMAN VALSSI [JR] b/w KAUHAVAN POLKKA [JR] (Victor 3-80587; 1928 - later reissued as V-4100)

PENTILLAN VALSSI [JR] b/w JUKAN SOTTIISI [JR] (Victor 3-80634; 1928)

VIOLAN POLKKA [JR] b/w JAAHYVAISVALSSI [JR] (Victor 3-80790; 1928)

HYMY HUULILLA-MASURKA [JR] b/w JALASJARVEN POLKKA [accordion solo] (Victor V-4005; 1928 - later reissued as V-4177)

VIOLON MASURKA [solo] b/w IHANNE VALSSI [solo] (Victor V-4008; 1928)

HANURIMARSSI [JR] b/w PAASSKYS VALSSI [JR] (Victor V-4025; 1928)

IHANA MAA-MASURKKA [JR] b/w KAUSTISEN POLKKA [JR] (Victor V-4034; 1929)

SUOMI-SOTTIISI [JR] b/w ILOINEN-POLKKA [JR] (Victor V-4043; 1929)

SOITTAN POLKKA [solo] b/w MUSTALAISEN SOTTIISI [JR] (Victor V-4048; 1929)

VIULUPOLKKA [JR] b/w TAHTI VALSSI [JR] (Victor V-4051; 1929)

MERELLA-VALSSI [JR&SP] b/w MIKKELIN POLKKA [JR&SP] (Victor V-4112; 1931 - later reissued as V-4155)

KAIKUJA TANSSISALISTA [JR&SP] b/w ILLOISET PAIVAT [JP&SP] (Victor V-4114; 1931)

NEUVOJA NAIMATTOMILLE [JR&SP] b/w non-Viola B-side (Victor V-4117; 1931)

SURUN KAIHO YO - VALSSI [WS&WB] b/w HEI STOP - SOTTIISI [WS&WB] (Victor V-4145; 1934 - later reissued as V-4168)

PEUKALO - POLKKA [WS&WB] b/w TIP TOP - HAMBO [WS&WB] (Victor V-4147; 1934)

AHVENANMAAN - SOTTIISI [WS&WB] b/w ASIKKALAN POLKKA [WS&WB] (Victor V-4149; 1934) BS-83321

UNELMA-VALSSI [accordion solo, and vocal by Viola] b/w KAHDEN VENHEESSA - JENKA [accordion solo] (Victor V-4175; 1938)

Many of these sides would later be re-reissued after RCA acquired Victor; there are also believed to be four unreleased Turpeinen sides in the RCA vaults.

-STANDARD-

Standard Records was originally a Victor subsidiary, until Titos Demetriadas, former head of Victor's international records department, bought the label in 1945. He proceeded to sign many former Victor international artists to the label, including Viola Turpeinen.

CLAP HANDS - POLKA b/w CORVETTE - HAMBO (Standard F-5002; 1946)

LEA SCHOTTISCHE b/w ECHOES OF THE BARN DANCE (Standard F-5004; 1946)

LET'S GO - Polka b/w SUMMER EVENING - Waltz (Kesaillan Valssi) (Standard F-5005; 1946)

OLEANA - Polka b/w NIKOLINA - Hambo (Standard F-5006; 1946)

ANNIVERSARY SONG (Danube Waves - Waltz) b/w ALL MY LOVE (Dolores - Waltz) (Standard F-5025; 1947)

SHAKE YOUR FINGERS - Polka b/wNEW YEAR'S HAMBO (Standard F-5027; 1947)

TANNERI WALTZ (Kulkurin Valssi - Instrumental) b/w HARLEM - Schottische (Standard F-5029; 1947)

SINUA MINA KAIPAAN - Valssi b/w KULKURIN VALSSI [Vocal overdub of "Tanneri Waltz" above] (Standard F-5034; 1947)

SCANDINAVIAN FOLK DANCE b/w GOOD TIME - Polka (HYVAN AJAN - Polkka) (Standard F-5037; 1947)

JOULOYO, JOULOYO (Silent Night) (Viola Turpeinen, vocal) b/w JOULUAULU (Christmas Song) (Viola Turpeinen, vocal) (Standard F-5039; 1948)

TANSSIN OLGAN KANSSA (William Syrjala, vocal) b/w MUSTALAINEN (Gypsy) (Viola Turpeinen, vocal) (Standard F-5043; 1949)

KAUHAVA BRAWL - Polka (Kauhava Tappelu-Polka) b/w JANIE'S POLKA (Standard F-5044; 1949)

EVERYBODY'S WALTZ b/w TOGETHER POLKA (Standard F-5047; 1949)

SAUNASSA - Sottiisi (William Syrjala, vocal) b/wSINNULE RAKKAIN SAVEL SOI - Valssi (Viola Turpeinen, vocal) (Standard F-5052; 1949)

WOODS OF FINLAND - Waltz (Life In The Woods Of Finland) b/w WORKING BEE - Polka (Talkoopolkka) (Standard F-5054; 1950)

LAPSUUDEN TOVERILLE (Childhood Companion) (V. Turpeinen, vocal) b/wKYNTTILAIDEN SYNTTYESSA (Lamplightin' Time In The Valley) (Standard F-5055; 1949)

VINGELSKA - Schottische b/wULLA'S HAMBO (Standard F-5062; 1950)

SVEN'S HAMBO b/w HEINA AIKA - Polka (Haytime- Polka) (Standard F-5067; 1950)

JOLLY FELLOW - Polka (VEKKULI - Polka) b/wFINNISH SCHOTTISCHE MEDLEY (Standard F-5071; 1950)

ON THE BRIDGE IN MOONLIGHT (Kuun Virran Sillalla - Valssi) (V.T., vocal) b/w NOT SINGLE ANYMORE (Meinasin Meinasin Olla - Jenkka) (V.T., vocal) (Standard F-5076; 1953)

IT'S RAINING AND SNOWING (Saata Vetta, Saata Lunta-Jenkka) b/w ELLEN - Polka (Eevan Polkka) 1953 (Standard F-5077; 1953)

CARLA'S WALTZ b/wFINNISH-SWEDISH SCHOTTISCHE (Standard F-5079; 1953)

ILLALA (Tula Tullalla - Jenkka) (Viola Turpeinen, vocal) b/w TAHTI JA MERIPOIKA - Valssi (Standard F-5081; 1953)

TAIKA YO - Valssi (Magic - Waltz) KULLALLEIN MINA KAFFIA KEITAN (Cooking Coffee For My Sweetheart) (V.T., vocal) (Standard F-5086; 1954)

SAARIJARVEN WALTZ (Saarijarven Liisa) b/w TWO ROW ACCORDION - Polka 1953 (Standard F-5088; 1953)

MEILLA EI TAALLA OLE - Valssi b/w SYDAMESTANI RAKASTAN - Schottische (Standard F-5089; 1954)

All of the above Standard recordings, except "Vingelska," "Kuun Virran Syllalla" and "Meinasin Meinasin Olla," were later re-issued on five LPs by the Colonial Record Company.

All of Viola's released recordings, and some "bonus tracks," are now available on four CDs put out by Artie Music, a Finnish record company. This website sells these CDs, but be warned - most of the text is in Finnish: http://www.fiftyrecords.com/kauppa/index.html

Viola Turpeinen died in Florida in 1957, after battling breast cancer.

::::::::::::

Art Van Damme

ART VAN DAMME

Born in Norway, MI in 1920, Art Van Damme was once called "The hippest cat ever to swing an accordion." He dared to take the accordion past its polka-band stereotype and show it was just as valid as a jazz instrument. He became world famous both for his own albums and his work as an NBC staff musician from 1945 through 1960. (He continued to work for NBC even as his recording career took off!) Although he announced his retirement in 1995, he still continues to perform occasionally to this day.

Van Damme made nearly 40 albums, both for American and European labels. Listed below are his US releases:

COCKTAIL CAPERS (Capitol T178)

MORE COCKTAIL CAPERS (Capitol T300 - the cover is classic!)

THE VAN DAMME SOUND (Columbia CL-544)

MARTINI TIME (Columbia CL-630)

MANHATTAN TIME (Columbia CL-801)

ART VAN DAMME & MISS FRANCES BERGEN (Columbia CL-873)

THE ART OF VAN DAMME (Columbia CL-876)

ONCE OVER LIGHTLY (w/ Jo Stafford) (Columbia CL-968) [I have this one!]

THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SONG (Columbia CL-1227)

EVERYTHING'S COMING UP MUSIC (Columbia CL-1382/CS-8177)

ACCORDION A LA MODE (Columbia CL-1563/CS-8363)

ART VAN DAMME SWINGS SWEETLY (Columbia CL-1794/CS 8594)

A PERFECT MATCH (w/ Johnny Smith and Jo Stafford) (Columbia CL-2013/CS-8813)

HOUSE PARTY (Columbia CL-2585)

SEPTET (?) (Columbia CS-8992)

MUSIC FOR LOVERS (Harmony HS 11239)

BLUE WORLD (Pausa PR 7027)

KEEP GOING (Pausa PR 7104)

SQUEEZIN' ART & TENDER FLUTES (Pausa PR 7126)

ART VAN DAMME & FRIENDS (Pausa PR 7151)

LOVER MAN (Pickwick SPC 3009)

BY REQUEST (Sonic Arts Digital LS12)

For a brief but excellent bio of Van Damme, and a longer discography that includes his European albums, go to http://www.spaceagepop.com/vandamme.htm

Alan Lomax in the U.P.

The legendary folk-song collector toured the Northern US in 1938, and made numerous stops in U.P. cities, recording "a mass" of lumberjack songs, Finnish and French folk-tunes, and more than 100 Irish ballads sung by Domenick Gallagher and Johnny Green on Beaver Island. Other cities Lomax visited - and recorded in - include Newberry, Munising, Greenland, Ontonagon, Champion, Baraga, St. Ignace, Amasa, Calumet, Fulton, Red Lake, Hancock, Laurium and Ironwood. (He apparently came to Escanaba and stayed for a while, but made no recordings.)

Info on Lomax's U.P. recordings is scattered throughout many sources, both online and offline, too numerous to list here. One fine article about Lomax's recordings of Finnish folk-songs in the U.P. can be found here: http://www.kantele.com/nwfwebsite/lomax_leary/lomax_leary.html

Lane Dawson & the Dawson Boys

////DAWSON COUNTRY///

The next five singles are all by Lane Dawson and the Dawson Boys, an Ishpeming country band which recorded from 1967-70, and included Jim DeCaire, later co-founder of Da Yoopers.

BLACK MOUNTAIN RAG b/w WELCOME TO MY WORLD (Cuca 67411).

I STOPPED AND LISTENED b/w TRUCKIN' (Cuca 67412).

LONG LONG ROAD (?) b/w IT'S ALL SO WRONG (Cathay 1140).

DOCK OF THE BAY b/w BY THE TIME I GET TO PHOENIX (Cathay 1194/1195).

GREEN GREEN GRASS OF HOME b/w LAURA (What's He Got that I Ain't Got) (Cathay 1196/1197).

CATERPILLAR MAN b/w BOTH SIDES NOW (Nugget[t?] 1065).

STOLEN MOMENTS b/w LONELY MAN (Clark 528).

During the early 1980s, Lane Dawson (solo) made at least two Christian albums - SINGS MORE SONGS OF PRAISE (Shalom 3034) and LOVE LETTERS (Shalom 4019).

////LEAVING DAWSON COUNTRY////

Al Barkl(e)

====AL BARKL(E)====

Born in Iron Mountain in 1927, Al Barkl began his musical career in the U.P., but moved out West in the 1950s. His first two releases were on a Sheboygan, WI label, but the rest of his performing and recording was confined to the Western states, where he worked with and opened for many big-name country acts. (I have been informed that Al Barkl died in 2002.)

By AL BARKLE & THE TRAILBLAZERS:

WOULD YOU MIND b/w LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME ALL ALONE (Polkaland 99; 1951).

HONKY TONK MAN b/w GOODNIGHT WALTZ (Polkaland 100; 1951)

JUMPIN' FROM 6 to 6 b/w WRONG (M&M 3036; 1956).

DIG ME LITTLE MAMA b/w unknown (M&M 3038; 1957).

JUMPIN' FROM SIX TO SIX b/w WHAT MAKES A MAN FOOL AROUND (M&M 4041; 1957).

THE SIGNAL b/w TEENAGE ANGEL (w/ the Tri-tones) (Vita 171; 1957).

SPUTNIK II b/w WITH THIS RING (w/ the Tri-Tones) (Vita 173; 1957).

MUSCLE BEACH b/w GRADUATION PARTY (Frantic 108; 1958).

PRIVATE WAR b/w SODA WATER (w/ Dave Rosas Band) (Frantic 110; 1959).

COME SUMMER b/w GREENBACKS (w/ Dave Rosas Band) (Frantic 111; 1959).

WOLF, WOLF b/w LORELEI (Frantic 113; 1959).

THE SIGNAL b/w WAIT 'TILL THE COMMERCIAL (by Al Barkle & the Starliners w/ Rosie & Romelle) (Koo Koo 1001; 1962).

UNEMPLOYED b/w COMING BACK ON YOUR MIND (Royal American 154; 1975).

By AL BARKL:

ANOTHER DAY IS DAWNING b/w UNEMPLOYED (Voc 108; 1969).

IF IT FEELS GOOD DO IT b/w WOE IS ME (Voc label; number and date unknown)

YOU'RE THE ONE b/w TALK WITH MY HEART (Voc label; number and date unknown; also, Kangaroo 31).

Friday, February 29, 2008

Attilio Baggiore

Luisa Tetrazzini & Attilio Baggiore - PICCOLO AMORE (recorded 1922; released c. 1980 on Rococo Records LP 5361)

The oldest U.P. GROOVE of which I'm aware was recorded in September 1922 and featured Calumet-born operatic tenor Attilio Baggiore.

During the early 1920s, Baggiore was the protege (and probable lover) of the much-older Luisa Tetrazzini, one of the greatest divas of the early 20th century. In September 1922, Tetrazzini made 15 recordings in the studio of The Gramophone Company Ltd. in Middlesex, England (they would be her last studio recordings); two of these were duets with Baggiore. Some of these were made for The Gramophone Company to release; some were intended for (pre-RCA) Victor.

Unfortunately, neither The Gramophone Company nor Victor considered these sides worthy of release, and the metal masters were destroyed. Happily, Tetrazzini kept her own copies of all but one of these tracks, and they were finally released circa 1980 by Rococo Records, a small Canadian company.

Sadly (for us), the one track Tetrazzini couldn't save was one of her duets with Baggiore, a duet from Verdi's RIGOLETTO. But their performance of Lama's "Piccolo Amore" made it to our day. Since its release on Rococo, it's been put out on two multi-CD collections of Terazzini's complete recordings.As for Baggiore, he continued his career and became a highly-regarded tenor in both Italy and America; he toured the US as part of the "National Male Quartet," and sang several times on US radio in the 1930s - he may have even appeared on some early TV programs. But, incredibly, he never made another commercial recording after his time with Tetrazzini!

(Most of the above Baggiore info came from the book LUISA TETRAZZINI: THE FLORENTINE NIGHTINGALE by Charles Neilson Gattey [Amadeus Books, 1994].)

BRAVO, BAGGIORE!

Some Grooves I Don't Have

For much of the information in this post, I am indebted to several people and organizations, who are listed in the post "Loose Ends and Closing Credits."

***SINGLES***

Bad Axe - ROAD RUNNER b/w WAY BACK HOME (SSP Records SSP-202; c.1980s). Bad Axe was an Escanaba-area band led by Greg Brukardt and Jeffrey Krebs; both wrote Side A, while Krebs alone wrote Side B. (Krebs would later record solo.)

Dick Allen & the Fairlanes - DREAMIN' b/w NIGHT TWIST (Cuca 63114; 1963). After his time with the Night Owls (see below), Dick Allen (born in L'anse) recorded "Dreamin'" with members of the Originals, a Green Bay, WI band. However, Dick says he doesn't remember using the name "Fairlanes," nor does he recall the B-side, which may have been by a totally different band. Dick later led the Green Beans (see below).

Jimmy B & the Rockatones - EVERYTHING I DO b/w DREAM GIRL (Cuca 6481; 1964). Band was from Houghton / Hancock; leader "Jimmy B" Brogan was once a member of the Vigilantes (see post on that band).

Benders - CAN'T TAME ME b/w GOT ME DOWN (Big Sound 3006). The Benders were students from Michigan and Wisconsin, based in Menominee, MI; the label was based in Wausau, WI.

John Dee & the Shadows - I'M A ROLLING STONE b/w CAN'T YOU LOVE ME TOO (Raynard 10035; 1965). This short-lived band was based in the twin cities of Marinette, WI / Menominee, MI. They recorded their one single in Milwaukee, WI, where leader John D. Grignon eventually made his home.

Dodge Street Band - SOUTH DAKOTA b/w unknown (Key Wee 001). Label is based in Lake Linden, the credited writer of the song is Roger Laub, Jr. - other than that, I know nothing.

Dopes / Zoom - ESCANABA b/w THERE ARE WAYS (no label name, c.1978). In his book "Rock'n'Roll Graffiti," Steve Seymour tells how he bought this single at a Dopes concert in Madison, WI, in the early 1980s - then unknowingly bought another copy of the same single, with a different label and credited to Zoom, on eBay. He knows nothing else about this band or the record, and right now neither do I.

Excels - LITTLE INNOCENT GIRL b/w SOME KIND OF FUN (Carla 1901); I WANNA BE FREE b/w TOO MUCH TOO SOON (Carla 2344); THE ARRIVAL OF MARY b/w CALIFORNIA ON MY MIND (Carla 2536). The Excels were from Marquette, and recorded for the Detroit-based Carla label.

The Executives - CARA MIA b/w MY SPECIAL ANGEL (Princeton P-112). This Marquette lounge act released a single on the Princeton label - see the French Church listing in "The Grooves I Have" post..

Fastells - TAKE YOU AWAY b/w SO MUCH (Night Owl 6781; 1967). From Negaunee; members Mark Pyykonen and Tom Kemp later joined the Rhythm Rockers (see below).

(Danny & the) Galaxies - IF YOU WANT TO BE MY BABY b/w AD LIB (Darbo 1595; 1960); MY TATTLE TALE b/w LOVE HAS ITS WAY (Guaranteed 216; 1961). Ths band was based in the twin cities of Hurley, WI / Ironwood, MI - drummer Bernie Michelli was from Bessemer. All their tracks were produced by Jimmy Bowen of "I'm Sticking With You" fame (and later head of Capitol Nashville).

Joey Gee & the Bluetones - DON'T YOU JUST KNOW IT b/w LITTLE SEARCHER (Sara 6541). This band, led by "Joey Gee" Giannuzio, was from Iron Mountain/Kingsford. Guitarist Bill Morrison later joined Lexington Project (see below).

Joey Gee & the Come-Ons - SHE'S MEAN b/w YOU KNOW - TILL THE END OF TIME (Sara 6599). After the Bluetones, Joey Gee moved to Milwaukee, WI, and became leader of this band.

The Green Beans - FRICTION b/w SUPERSTITION (Mercury 2504; 1965); WHO NEEDS YOU b/w KNOCK ON MY DOOR (Tower 237; 1966). This quartet assembled in Green Bay, WI, and did most of its recording in Los Angeles with Mike Curb producing, but lead guitarist Dick Allen was from L'anse (see above) and drummer John Truckey was from Sault Ste. Marie.

Heikki Lunta - HEIKKI LUNTA'S SNOW DANCE SONG (Heikki 326), This tribute to the (supposed) Finnish god of winter was issued by Hancock radio station WMPL in 1970; they sold the single at the station for years. However, according to legend, whenever WMPL plays the song on the air, it snows heavily right afterward - which is why some listeners don't want WMPL to play the song ever again.

Henchmen VI - ALL OF THE DAY b/w IS LOVE REAL (Cuca 6731). The Henchmen VI, including Joe Dehut and Scott Kienzle (or is it Heinske? My sources differ), were from Ontonagon. (They are not the Scarlet Henchmen who also recorded for Cuca.) The documentary "Lights! Camera! Action!", which WLUC-TV in Marquette made for its 50th anniversary in 2006, shows a brief clip of the Henchmen VI performing on the station's annual March of Dimes Telethon. ALERT! ALERT! "Is Love Real" appears on the CD "Garage Beat '66 Volume 4: I'm In Need!" (Sundazed SC11150); for further details, go to http://www.sundazed.com/.

Lloyd Hugo - STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE b/w SLOWLY (Belt 103; 1969); IT WON'T TAKE LONG b/w RAIN AIN'T GONNA FALL (Belt 106; 1970); MOTHER TRUCKER b/w IF YOU WILL TAKE MY HAND (Globe 106; 1972). Lloyd was from L'anse, and an ex-Vigilante; he went on to build several Indian casinos.

Betsy Hyde - ? b/w EVERY DAY (Muscle label). While I was a student at Northern Michigan University in Marquette in 1979-80, Marquette singer Betsy Hyde released this single; I can't remember the A-side (it was a Hyde original), but the B-side was Buddy Holly's "Every Day."

Lance Hill - IN THE BACK OF MY MIND b/w RIDING IN A DUMP TRUCK (U.P. Records label). The company's logo consisted of the words "U.P. Records" in an outline map of the U.P., and the motto "Nashville of the North." Both sides were written by Elmer Aho, a Gwinn native who's been writing songs - and getting them on records from time to time - since the 1960s. However, I've been informed that the record may have been actually made in the REAL Nashville - the one in Tennessee - by a company that turned customers' "songpoems" into songs and records, for a fee, and that employed Mr. Hill as a singer*; and that "U.P. Records" may have only existed in Mr. Aho's imagination (certainly, this was the label's only release).

*If you're not sure what I'm talking about, click here: http://www.songpoemmusic.com/what_is.htm

The Infinite Blue - BLACK TRAIN b/w LIES (Tevar 10376; 1971). This band was from Menominee, as was the label, owned by two brothers named Ravet (spell it backwards). Two years earlier, this group played backup on another single, farther down this page.

The Innocence - SUDDENLY JUST LIKE THAT b/w I WALK THE WAVES (Spoke 1000). This was the first of two releases for Spoke Records, which had a Manistique P.O. box. I know nothing about the group, except that they're not the same Innocence who had a Top 40 hit with "There's Got To Be A Word!" Both sides were written by Irene L. Davis, who ran a publishing company called Five State Music.

Ken Kaiser - ME AND THE D.N.R. (The American Heart label, c.1978). This single protested some recent actions by Michigan's Department of Natural Resources.

Paul Kay - COPPER COUNTRY POLKA b/w SHORTY'S POLKA (Bootjack 100; 1971). Paul Kruczynski and his wife Janice still lead a polka band in the western U.P.

Kinetics - I'M BLUE b/w FEELING FROM MY HEART (Studio City). Band was from Houghton; label was in Minneapolis, MN.

Rob Kirk & the Word - GIRLS TALK b/w SUMMER WINDS (Cuca 6761; 1967) Rob Kirk (real name: Gary Alan Kerkes) was from Sault Ste. Marie, and always "dreamed of being a rock and roll star." Unfortunately, he would gain his greatest fame, not as a singer, but as the victim of a murder-for-hire in 1983; Gary E. Myers tells the whole ugly story on pages 44-45 of his new book On That Wisconsin Beat. ALERT! ALERT! Like the Henchmen VI track above, "Girls Talk" appears on the compilation Garage Beat '66 Volume 4: I'm In Need! on the Sundazed label (http://www.sundazed.com/). Hey, Rob, you got a national release! Maybe you're finally on your way!

Mike Koda - LET'S HEAR A WORD (FROM THE FOLKS IN THE CEMETERY) b/w MORE THAN ME (Princeton). Mike Koda, then an NMU student, would later become Cub Koda, leader of Brownsville Station ("Smokin' In the Boys' Room") and writer of the book "Blues For Dummies," the "Vinyl Junkie" column in the record-collector's magazine GOLDMINE, and numerous reviews for the website http://www.allmusic.com/. Cub died in 2000, but his widow "Lady J" still maintains his website at http://www.cubkoda.com/.

Lee Malone & the Nite-Riders - ISABELLA b/w unknown (U.P. Records UP 004). Produced by one J. Barribeau; the label says "Home Grown in Iron Mountain, MI."

Rhea Marquita - MEET ME TONIGHT BENEATH THE MOON b/w WITHOUT YOUR LOVE (Cuca 1087; 1962). Rhea M. Saarinen was from Mass City; only seven weeks after recording her single, she died of cancer at age 37.

The New Breed - SO WAS THE SUMMER b/w HIGHWAY BLUES (unknown label; c. 1975) The New Breed were from Aurora, WI, but member John Richtig, previously of the Ravelles (see below), was from Iron Mountain.

The Ramblers - MICHIGAN WALTZ b/w RAINDROP POLKA (Rambler GB-720; 1957), I SHOULD BE THE FIRST TO KNOW b/w I BETCHA - Polka (Rambler GB-914; 1958). The Ramblers, led by Ray Adamini, was a polka band that played in the Marquette area during the 1950s-60s, and even had a weekly TV show on WDMJ-TV (now WLUC-TV) in Marquette. The "Lights! Camera! Action!" program (see above) had an interview with Ray Adamini and rare footage of the Ramblers performing.

Ravelles - PSYCHEDELIC MOVEMENT b/w SHE'S FOREVER ON MY MIND (Mobie 340; 1968); SMILE AT THE FLOWERS b/w WHY CAN'T I BE THE ONE (Daizy 15A8; 1969). Founded as Sainte Jon's Academy, this Iron Mountain band once beat both the Prophets of Doom and the Riot Squad in a Battle of the Bands around 1967-68. The Mobie label was based in Chicago, IL.

Renaissance Fair - IN WYRD b/w unknown (Princeton). A Marquette-area band that did this one single for Marquette's Princeton label.

Rhythm Rockers - UNCHAINED MELODY b/w COUNTDOWN (Copper 1090 / 1091). This band was from Alston; if you'd like to see the label of this single, go to http://rcs.law.emory.edu/rcs/pics/d17/17708.htm

Rhythm Rockers - BAD NEWS b/w TWILIGHT (Copper C1006). The label for this single can be seen at http://rcs.law.emory.edu/rcs/pics/d05/5337.htm. ALERT! ALERT! Britain's Ace Records has just released the CD "Rockin' In Wisconsin: The Cuca Records Story, Vol. 3," which includes the Rhythm Rockers' "Bad News"! Go to http://www.acerecords.co.uk/.

Riot Squad - TAKIN' IT EASY b/w BEFORE I LEAVE TONIGHT (Demian M45 d1 [or 208211]). A later single by Escanaba's Riot Squad (see "The Grooves I Have"); as far as I know, both sides are original compositions.

Hoot Roberts - THE KING HAS FALLEN b/w INVITATION TO THE BLUES (Choco label). This single's sides were both taken from his INVITATION TO THE BLUES album (see THE GROOVES I HAVE).

Society - NICOTINE FIT b/w unknown (Spoke label) This was the second release on Manistique's Spoke label, and it's become something of a mystery (at least to me). There was a Wisconsin band called Society, and I thought this record may have been by them; but Gary E. Myers says the band members he's talked to have no memory of this record. Now, it wouldn't surprise me if this disc was actually by The Innocence in disguise (see THE GROOVES I HAVE).

Patty Whipp and the Infinite Blue - WALKIN' b/w IT'S GONE (Tevar 1497; 1969).

***ALBUMS***

[NOTE: For those who've been here before, the high school / college band / choir albums listed here previously are now listed in the post "High School / College Bands & Choirs."]

Charles Hall - FAITHFULLY YOURS (Canzone Productions, number unknown, 1977). This keyboardist and the label were based in Houghton.

Joe Arkansas - YOOPANESE (label unknown; c.1984). Cassette-only release by an embryonic version of Da Yoopers.

Night Ranger - FIND ME A THRILL: THE LOST LIVE ALBUM (unknown Japanese label; c.1988). Yes, Night Ranger, the "Sister Christian" boys! This album, which may be a bootleg and was released only in Japan, includes several tracks recorded during the band's August 1984 appearance in Marquette. ALERT! ALERT! IN JANUARY 2011, THE MARQUETTE CONCERT WILL BE ISSUED LEGITIMATELY ON A CD CALLED "AUTHORIZED BOOTLEG: LIVE MARQUETTE MICHIGAN 8/8/84." IT CAN BE PRE-ORRDERED AT AMAZON.COM.

Kris Erik Stevens [as DJ] - CRUISIN' 1970 (Increase label). This installment of the album series featuring top rock & roll DJs from the rock era "in action" lets us hear Kris Erik recreating a typical WLS program in 1970, when I might have heard him.

Kris Erik Stevens [as performer] - FEELINGS (GRC label, 1972). Kris wrote the lyrics to all the songs on this album (no, as far as I know, it doesn't include the much-maligned Morris Albert tune); Jim Peterik wrote the music to most of them, and Peterik's band The Ides of March did most of the instrumental backing. The album was recorded in both Chicago and Atlanta, GA (GRC's locale), and includes "Training Wheels," the B-side of Kris's Sunlight single (see post "The Grooves I Have") and "Professional Man," which I saw Kris perform on the March of Dimes Telethon, apparently in '72.

Sonny Stitt - TORNADO (Jazz Masters label, 1974). This obscure album by the jazz saxman, released on the Grand Rapids-based Jazz Masters label, includes a track called "Escanaba Beat," composed by Eddie Russ, a Pittsburgh, PA musician who once lived and worked in Escanaba.

The Wayfarers - THE WAYFARERS...LIVE (label unknown, 1974). This trio of NMU students recorded this album, not in concert, but in an NMU bandroom. They continued to perform in the Marquette area well into the 1990s.

The Grooves I Have

These are the U.P.-connected records I have in my personal collection. (And I want to emphasize that, unless I state otherwise in an entry, I do NOT own any of the records I discuss in the other entries of this blog.)

***SINGLES***

The Coppertones - COQUETTE b/w WEDDING BELLS (DL&T Enterprises A-2001); SIX DAYS ON THE ROAD; IF YOU LEAVE ME TONIGHT b/w POLKA MEDLEY; WIPE OUT (Rapid Records OV-379; c.1980). The Coppertones were a Rapid River country band produced by pioneering Escanaba DJ "Wailin' Wayne" Nault. "Coquette," featuring Joe Micheau on steel guitar, became a local hit, thanks to relentless airplay on the local country station; the Rapid Records EP may have been all that "remained" from an aborted album.

Jeff Cowell, Scott Furlow, John Richtig, Jim Counter - IRON MOUNTAIN CENTENNIAL SONG b/w DAYS I'M BACK (Ski Jumping JC-500). This single was released to commemorate the city of Iron Mountain's centennial in 1979. Cowell wrote the A-side; Cowell and Furlow wrote the B-side. Richtig was a member of both the New Breed and Ravelles (see the post "Some Grooves I Don't Have").

Monte DeGrave - SHE STILL CARES b/w KISS IN THE PARK (Athon 109; c.1970). Now an Escanaba-area businessman, Monte was a teenager when he composed and recorded these two songs. Years later, Monte Lee (as he was now calling himself) did a country CD which included a remake of "She Still Cares."

Duke Ellington & his Orch. - ANATOMY OF A MURDER b/w FLIRTIBIRD (Columbia 4-41427; c.1959). Two tunes from the soundtrack of the classic film, which remains the U.P.'s proudest cinematic moment.

Jack Elliott - M.I.A. SOLDIER b/w TRUCKER JIM'S LAST RIDE (Jelly 8-11-79; c. 1979) Mr. Elliott (not Ramblin' Jack) was a Nashville singer / producer, and the B-side is his own composition; but the A-side was written by Elmer M. Aho, a U.P. GROOVES! pioneer (more about him later).

The French Church - SLAPNECK b/w WITHOUT CRYING (Princeton PR-102). This was one of at least four singles released during 1967-68 on Princeton Records, a Marquette label owned by one Fred Crook. The French Church was from Marquette, and included Warren MacDonald, later owner of MacDonald Music Store in Marquette.

Lorraine Irving - IF YOU WERE LOSING HIM TO ME b/w JUST MARRIED (Queensgate 8061Q27). Lorraine was an Escanaba homemaker; the two songs on her only single were first recorded by (respectively) Jean Shepard and Faron Young.

Omo the Hobo / Omo the Lobo / Smiley Joe Omohundro - The Fayette-born troubadour has a separate post on this blog.

The Prophets of Doom - I TOLD YOU b/w BABA-DO-WAH (Peninsula 001; c.1967). Peninsula Records was an unofficial "division" of Bands Unlimited, the Escanaba-based talent agency run by Gene Smiltneck, who produced and engineered Peninsula's two singles. (The label was actually owned by Gene's brother Leon; and there is no connection between this Peninsula label and an earlier Peninsula label based in Cadillac, MI). The Prophets of Doom were one of Bands Unlimited's top attractions in the late '60s; "I Told You" was written by the band's bassist, Dave Watchorn, while "Baba-Do-Wah" was written by one David Brooks.

The Riot Squad - COME ON, LET'S GO b/w FERRY 'CROSS THE MERSEY (Peninsula 002; c.1967). Peninsula's second release was by The Riot Squad (not the British band), who turned out to be the dominant force in the Escanaba music scene; for more than two decades after their breakup, Escanaba's most popular local bands tended to be "descendants" of the Squad. Side A is an eccentric version of the Ritchie Valens oldie, with odd chord and tempo changes and a scorching guitar solo; Side B is the Gerry & the Pacemakers hit with lyrics hopelessly mangled.

Rockarolla - ONE NIGHT STAND (FOR ROCK AND ROLL) b/w WANT YOU TONIGHT (no label name, but recorded at B. Fleetwood Sound; master # NR 16257-1/2). This short-lived Escanaba band, led by Phil Nadeau, wrote and recorded this single in 1985. Nadeau, who also made some earlier tracks with his previous band Tangent, now owns his own guitar-building and repairing business, at www.nadeauguitars.com. Tell him I sent you.

Rocking Chair - YOU CAUGHT ME LAUGHING b/w I.O.I.O. (Musc World 001); DISCO DANCING b/w LOVING & LIVING (Music World 002). Arguably the most successful "descendant" of the Riot Squad, this trio - Greg Curran, Robert Derouin and Brendan Williams, all former Squadders - released these two singles on their own Music World label, as well as an album described in the ALBUMS section below. The first single's songs were written by, respectively, John Hiatt & the Bee Gees; the second single's tunes are both Rocking Chair originals.

Kris Erik Stevens - TRAINING WHEELS b/w I KEPT ON LOVING YOU (Sunlight label). Ishpeming-born Kris Erik became a nationally-known DJ on Chicago's powerful WLS; this single was put out by Sunlight Records, a Chicago label. Side A was written by Jim Peterik, then of the Ides of March ("Vehicle"), later of Survivor ("Eye of the Tiger"); Side B is a Paul Williams / Roger Nichols composition.

***ALBUMS***

[NOTE: For those who've been here before, the high school / college band / choir albums that were listed here previously are now listed in the "High School / College Bands & Choirs" post.]

Come Alive Singers - HAPPY FEET (no label name, but "Recorded and Mastered by Sound 80" - S80 421-2671S); SOMEWHERE IN THE WIND ... I HEAR A SONG (Sound 80 S80 1191S). See separate post on Sacred Heart / Come Alive Singers.

The Gospel Heirs - I WILL SERVE HIM (Golden Echo Recording 808G5213; 1973). This Escanaba-based quartet, who toured and performed throughout the U.P., recorded this album in Appleton, WI.

Mark Mitchell - THE TREES FELL (White Pine 31003X); UNSUNG SONGS (White Pine 003). These albums by this "workingman & songwriter here in the back country of Michigan's Upper Peninsula" is filled with songs about U.P. history and the "unsung" people who made it. THE TREES FELL includes the theme from "Discovering," the long-running outdoors show on WLUC-TV6 in Marquette.

Hoot Roberts - INVITATION TO THE BLUES (Choco 1340-320). This was apparently the only LP release for Choco Records, which gives its address as "RR2, Marquette, Michigan". Wisconsin-based country singer Hoot Roberts also recorded for Wisconsin labels like Cuca and his own Owl label.

Rocking Chair - CHILDHOOD DREAMS (Fantasy World 2481). This direct "descendant" of the Riot Squad (see above) was one of the U.P.'s most popular local bands during the 1970's. Their one album (they'd previously released two singles - see SINGLES section above) included two original compositions.

Warney Ruhl & his Orchestra - MIRACLES IN MUSIC, VOLUME 1 (Gail & Rice Productions, no number). Houghton-born, Suomi College-educated Warney Ruhl led the orchestra on "Dinner Date," a weekday program on the old Mutual Broadcasting System. This album was recorded "live and in stereo" at the Calumet Theatre. (As far as I know, there were no other volumes.)

The Son-Life Singers - "ALIVE AND LIVING" (RPC label; master nos. Z 42441/2). This folk-chorus, from Our Redeemer Lutheran Church of Champion (Viola Turpeinen's hometown), made this album of "Sacred Folk Music" (so says the front cover), including the Youngbloods hit "Get Together."

Up With People - UP WITH PEOPLE (SING-OUT MUSICAL) (Pace 101). For the time being, I'm counting Mackinac Island as part of the U.P., which means bringing in this estimable organization, which began on Mackinac Island as a project of Moral Re-Armaments, Inc. (the former Oxford Group). This album was the soundtrack of a syndicated TV special filmed on Mackinac Island, showing the Colwells (UWP's creators and writers), various soloists (one of whom was a young Glenn Close) and the original UWP chorus going through their, ahem, paces.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan - On Record!

[NOTE TO NEWCOMERS: This was my first post to this blog; for historical purposes, I've left it the way I wrote it, even though certain things have changed along the way.]


Greetings, fellow earthlings. Welcome to U.P. GROOVES! - my attempt to chronicle every commercially-released record, released on or before December 1986, with a connection to the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan. (Why the cut-off date? See below.) If a record involved at least one U.P. native and/or resident in its making, or was recorded in the U.P., or mentions the U.P. in its lyrics or title, it qualifies for mention in U.P. GROOVES!

This blog is actually a "back-up" for my U.P. GROOVES! website, which (at this writing) can still be accesssed at http://tinyurl.com/y8o5rn.

U.P. GROOVES! is an outgrowth of my being (a) a U.P. native and lifelong resident, and (b) a lifelong record collector. I first conceived the project in the mid-1980's, around the time Michigan was preparing to celebrate its sesquicentennial; it was originally going to be an album of records by U.P. rock bands - sort of a U.P. equivalent of "Nuggets" or "Pebbles." I soon discovered, however, that in order to even get started on the project, I'd have to do "primary research" - meaning, I'd have to go out there, track down all the people involved in making these records (at least the ones I could find), and interview them. I was willing, but I wasn't able - I had neither the funds nor the transportation to do all that, and the project went to sleep.

I still don't have the funds or the transportation to do all these interviews. But now I have somethng I never had back then - the internet. In 2000, I began using the 'net to track down some of the people I needed to talk to, and along the way discovered fellow collectors who knew even more about U.P. records than I did.

Now U.P. GROOVES! actually stands a chance of being more than just a "gleam in my eye." It has already expanded beyond its original rock-only focus, and now covers all genres of popular music. And its ultimate objective? First, once I've gotten enough info, I plan to write a series of articles for U.P. papers and magazines; if these go well, I'll expand the project into a book. But, of course, my ultimate goal is to see the info I gather used to create a legitimate CD (or CD series) re-releasing these tracks, or at least the very best of them.The U.P. has always taken great pride in its artistic, popular-culture creations, especially when the "outside world" appreciates them - "Anatomy of a Murder," Ernest Hemingway's "Big Two-Hearted River," etc. Yet it's let its "native-born" records go unchronicled and unheralded - in this project, I hope to rectify that, and give the U.P. something else in which to take pride.

Now, why the cut-off date of December 1986? Because that's when the musical-comedy group Da Yoopers, formed by Jim DeCaire and Joe Potila, released their first single, "Rusty Chevrolet." (For those who've never heard it, it's a Christmas song about a wild ride through a U.P. winter in a disintegrating Chevy.) When Da Yoopers came along, an era came to an end - the era I'm chronicling in U.P. GROOVES! In this era - the U.P. GROOVES! era, if you will - when a U.P. musical act released a commercial record, it was real news - a true rarity - a surprise - an event. When a U.P. act made and put out a commercial record, people really sat up and took notice - "Wow! Some of OUR people did that? Holy Wah!" It was an era of local singers and bands in isolated, far-flung areas, far distant from any recording-industry center, yet who still managed to make a record that they could actually sell to their friends and fans, maybe get played on the radio, perhaps get them some attention outside their own narrow base, and - definitely - show to the world and say, "Hey! That's me/us! I/We made this!"

In some indefinable way, after Da Yoopers began and established themselves, that era ended. Da Yoopers' label, You Guys Records, is the first U.P. record label to last more than a couple of years (at this writing, it's almost 20 years old); and Da Yoopers are the first U.P. musical act to get extensive airplay on national radio (mostly on the Dr. Demento show). Somehow, with Da Yoopers unwittingly leading the way, it became easier - less of a rarity - for U.P. musical acts to make records (and now CDs), and get some attention outside their local areas. Mind you, it's still an event when a U.P. act makes a commercial CD - just not as BIG an event. (I'm not criticizing it, nor am I putting down Da Yoopers - they've been supportive of U.P. GROOVES! up to now. I'm just telling it the way I see it - you may disagree.)

As I continue to transfer info from the site to this blog (reorganizing some of it along the way), I hope you'll continue to tune in, and if you have some relevant comments or info, don't hesitate to post them.