Ranwood, as it turns out, was co-owned by bandleader, and grandparent-favorite, Lawrence Welk starting back in 1968. Together with Dot Records creator Randy Wood, Ranwood (see where the name comes from?) would enjoy moderate success up until, and surpassing the acquisition by Mr. Lawrence Welk, whose bulk library was released on the label. Any way you spin it, this logo is one that can’t be beat!
My first exposure to Lawrence Welk was by means of the Lawrence Welk Show. This was a beloved entertainment hour by my grandparents which we’d watch almost nightly (though at the time, G.I. Joe or Heathcliff was more my speed). I purchased 200 Years of American Music, a double LP, in memory of my grandparents, and she acts as a pretty good reminder of that period of my life.
From the Six Fat Dutchmen, to Billy Vaughn, to the Lennon Sisters, to Pat Boone singing Hymns We Love, Dot Records is home to almost 600 albums, whose complete, full-color catalogue can be had for a measly double nickel. Unlock the door to the (piercing) enchanted sounds of Eddie Peabody on Man With the Banjo, or roll along with the Spaghetti Rag playin’ Jo Ann Castle on Ragtime Piano Gal, or better yet, exercise your inner desire for mid-50s variety shows with Calcutta! by Lawrence Welk. Yes, all the albums you could ever hope to want are here on Dot Records, so don’t delay! Cut and fill out the attached coupon, flip that puppy into an envelope and mail it to:
Sunset and Vine
Hollywood 28, Calif.
A lifetime worth of (regrettable) unforgettable musical euphoria awaits you!
Home to Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Coral Records was the not-so-ugly stepsister (subsidiary) of Decca Records. Formed in 1949, Coral Records saw fan-favorite releases by these, and many other big-name artists: Milton Berle, Lawrence Welk, Patsy Cline, Debbie Reynolds and the McGuire Sisters.
Unfortunately, Coral Records’ inspiring logo wasn’t enough to save the label’s merger with MCA Records in the 1960s. Save for the Lawrence Welk recordings, what was once known as a thriving and prolific label (they had Buddy Holly and the Crickets for crying out loud!) would devolve and become swallowed up by the Universal Music Group machine.
The phrase, “Buddy Holly Lives” may be true, but his label is now owned by a theme park.
On a recent excursion to the corner thrift shops, I was able to unearth a few awkward gems. Let me back-up a bit and say, wholeheartedly, that inflation is a bastard. I’m going to sound very old, very quickly here, so please bear with me. I can remember strolling into any random thrift shop and paying nothing over $0.99 for a used record. Today, tainted by the thick, grubby hands of the monetary virus known as inflation, these thrift shops, that receive all of these records for free, mind you, are selling records for $3 a pop! Granted, yes, $3 for a record is still a monumental steal, but I clearly would have picked up at least two, possibly three more albums had the price been “what it used to be.”
I believe it was George Costanza who said, “I pay what I want.” I’m strongly considering adopting that principle. It blows my feeble mind to think who would ever pay $3 for a scratched-to-hell Lawrence Welk album with a ripped cover. Ok, my teeny-tiny rant over with, I wanted to present the three, newest additions to my collection. First up is the 1975 Win, Lose or Draw by the Allman Brothers Band. My catalog of Allman Brothers music is small, so this will help the cause.
Second is a 1962 UK release of Mrs. Mills’ Mrs. Mills Plays the Roaring Twenties. In almost pristine shape, Mrs. Mills Plays the Roaring Twenties is a nostalgic (for someone, I suppose) keepsake for the burlesque-inspired and boa flinging dance parlors of a decade nearly a century old. Not to mention, the cover is priceless (even though it was had for three times the price I would have like to have paid).
Last, but certainly not least, is a magnificent 1975 album from an artist I’d never heard of, Martin Crosbie (with Thelma). Yesterday When I Was Young, released on the Irish Olympic Records label, showcases a stern, and slightly annoyed Martin Crosbie standing atop a few dry rocks directly in front of a roaring river. I can’t wait to listen to this album.
In short, inflation is an inevitable priss, and $3 for an album is still not bad (screams to himself), especially considering the unknown gem that potentially waits in the dimly lit, and dust-filled shelves of your local thrift store.