We’ve all seen this iconic logo by the Victor Talking Machine Company, but did you know, rumor has it, or lore, really, that the original painting that inspired this historic logo (a direct lift, really) by English painter Francis Barraud has a bit of a heartwarming backstory. Sure, a questionable yet awe-inspiring story will certainly help you sell records, so take it with a grain of sentimental salt. Apparently, Francis’ brother Mark had passed away, and Francis inherited his brother’s dog Nipper, a terrier, along with a a cylinder phonograph (Edison, anyone?) and some cylinders with poor, deceased Mark’s voice on them. When little Nipper, as the story goes, would listen to his departed master’s voice projecting through the vibrant horn, he / she would peer at it with inspirational interest, spawning Francis to paint the iconic piece in 1899… but this time (suck it, Edison!) with a disc machine instead of the original cylinder apparatus, and the rest, as they say, and is clearly known, is history. Check out the painting and rogue history on Wikipedia. The photo above was taken, by me, from a recently acquired 78 sleeve, printed some 80-90 years ago. The more you kinda know?
I own a total of one Floyd Cramer record, and this is it. 1966’s Only the Big Ones (RCA Victor), contains some pretty heavy-hitters: The Summer Wind, You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away, Yesterday, What’s New Pussycat?, and a personal favorite, Hang on Sloopy. Only the Big Ones is a bit more groovy to be considered elevator music, but like “yesterday’s” addition, is a very good representation of uplifting, happy-time instrumental piano-jazz music.
If your standard, run-of-the-mill record sleeve is referred to as a jacket, think of this simply designed, 60-year-old, thin sheath as an undershirt for your coveted records. RCA Victor Records manufactured this elegant slogan in the late 1950’s (this one found inside Perry Como’s When You Come to the End of Your Day, LSP-1885 from 1958), and although I wasn’t around then to verify the legitimacy of its claim, I dig the somewhat modest approach at presenting this familiar phrase. I tend to side with a company that developed and released the first 33 1/3 record and the first 45 rpm record, so it’s legit in my book.
… to these recent RCA Victor releases. This is a command, not a suggestion. Top tier entertainment advertising from 1960, right before your very eyes. Como Swings (LSP-2010, 1959), Chet Atkins’ Teensville (LSP-2161, 1960), and Elvis is Back!, presumably from that hip-swingin’ clam bake (LSP-2231, 1960). These titles and many more are “now available in NEW ORTHOPHONIC and LIVING STEREO versions.” Contact your dealer for more details.
By 1951, RCA Victor Records had released enough records to fill a 280 page catalog. This is a fact. From “A” You’re Adorable (47-2899, 1949) by Perry Como to Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20 (LCT-1002, year unknown), RCA’s entire production could be found in clear black and white, and as the catalog itself suggests, “The records in the Request Catalog (not pictured here) your dealer will order for you, gladly and promptly.” So dig in and mosey on down to your brick and mortar for some great RCA Victor releases!
Fire up your lukewarm evening with the penetrating percussion of Eddie Cano and His Sextet with their 1958 debut, Deep in a Drum. Think Calypso, with a musical journey through thundering, yet succinct percussion (mainly congas and bongos). You’ll dig it. Dancing ladies inside conga drumheads spun separately.
Calypso, Harry Belafonte’s third album, is an exciting and turbulent ride. It precedes Jump Up Calypso, my personal favorite, by about five years, and is pure, unquestionable, Belafonte gold. Both figuratively and literally, having officially reaching Gold status, and it was the first LP in history to sell over one million copies. Don’t believe me? Check the cover. “One of the Biggest-Selling Albums of All Time… Says it all, mate!
I was a little apprehensive upon finding Harry Belafonte’s first album in the $1 bin at my local brick & mortar today. I mean, she’s been widely distributed, enjoyed, and redistributed over the past 62 years (1954 -2016), and as a result, she’s a bit beat-the-shit-up. SEVERAL skips marinate the vocal forthcomings of this majestic record, but I still don’t question the trade of my GW. Not only because it’s Mr. Belafonte’s first, but because it’s that damn good.