This Latin side from 1933, on the Brunswick label, is a terrific little rhumba, and the bottle percussion is just the perfect, final piece for the arrangement. Palm trees, sea, and sun come to mind immediately when this tune gets going. Mr. Molina, who was born in Puerto Rico in 1899, was a very popular orchestra leader for about 40 years or so, and he had a big role in introducing tango and rhumba to Californians in the 1940s. And though his 78s are tough to track down in any condition, I found this one, and luckily in Excellent shape – “dime” (di-me) is “tell me” in Spanish.

 

Carlos Molina - Dime

Mr. Olvera was born three days before Christmas 1936, in Aguascalientes, Mexico. He was blinded by lightning at the age of seven months, became a piano prodigy later on, and around 13yo began to play the Hammond organ in the Guadalajara restaurant where he worked. He eventually developed an original technique of gradually opening the organ bars in ways which created vocal inflections, to make the organ sound as if it was singing words! The first big success with his new style was this 1956 78, “Pancho Lopez”, a take on the popular “Ballad of Davy Crockett.” On the RCA label, recorded in Mexico, and such a very creative, colorful cover of this timeless frontier classic.

 

Ernesto Hill Olvera - Pancho Lopez

This virtually forgotten release from 1956 on Chicago’s Argo Label is a classic Mike Simpson, on tenor sax, doing a snazzy spy lounge snapper with JUST the right amount of 007 meets Sammy Davis, Jr. and that¬†50s space-age boozy vibe.

 

mike-simpson-cuban-twilight-78rpm

This a Serbian folk tune which is probably a traditional and has no one author, but through time has changed and evolved as generations of musicians have played it and sang it. “Nas Dva Brata” in the Serbian language is “Us Two Brothers” in English. Two piece vocal duo, guitar and accordion for accompaniment. I would call this a rustic, Balkan toe-tapper, and a great drinking song; and I just love the Italianesque, but very Balkan as well, guitar string work and dense, quick harmonies coming off the accordion against the vocals. Released on Chicago’s PERUN label in the late 1940s, I’m guessing.

 

Nas Dva Brata - Torbica & Velimirovic (PERUN) 78 rpm

This is from Hampton’s “New Movements in Be-Bop” album (1947) which is a real treasure of the initial be-bop storm that was happening in New York in the 40s. Featuring a young, hungry Charles Mingus on bass playing his own composition, the futuristic “Mingus Fingers”, Hamp’s orchestra is as spirited, and tight, as ever.

 

Lionel Hampton - Mingus Fingers

Such a great great jumpy blues, a hopper and a skipper for them alive ones; tappin’ away on repeat at home, too. Crudup outdoes Elvis by some 10 years. Made in Chicago.

Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, voice ¬†& guitar

Melvin Draper, drums

December, 1944

 

Arthur %22Big Boy%22 Crudup - Who's Been Foolin You 78rpm

This is a Greek Decca, #4056. “O riQProE” is my English alphabet translation of the Greek title. I have no clue about any of the information on this label, unfortunately.

But the tune is a wonderful Greek folk-dance number, almost like a very sophisticated waltz; with harmonized vocals, compound rhythms and perfect string interplay.

 

Greek Decca 4056 - %22O riqproe%22 78rpm