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 millions of times. “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

Willie “Billy” Gales was Ike Turner’s drummer during the 1940s and 50s, but he did cut a few sides as a singer in his lifetime. This tune, “If I Never Had Known You” is a Turner original; is a lyric about feeling low and ashamed (and grateful); is sung so tenderly, but in the way of a powerful gospel singer confessing himself to his congregation.

This is on Federal Records out of Cincinnati, which was actually Mr. James Brown’s first label. Released in 1956, it has that warm, hi-fi fidelity which is a feature of many great 1950s-era 78 rpm recordings.

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Conti Condoli was a well-known trumpeter in the 1940s & 50s. He had a long, strong, and creative career playing and recording with superstars of the era: Sarah Vaughn, Stan Kenton and Woody Herman to name a few. Remarkably, in 1972, he ended up a permanent fixture in the Tonight Show band; Johnny Carson was the host of the show.

Here he is on a rare side as leader, on a small-ran Chicago label called Chance. This delicious mambo features legendary Chicago horn man/woodmind man, Ira Sullivan!

From 1954, an urban scorcher, and recorded so beautifully.                                                                                               Conti Condoli - Mambo Junior 78rpm

I really love this one.

Wildwood Flower is a timeless, classic, immortal, indispensable tune. I first heard Maybelle Carter, of the great Carter Family, do a version of it on The Johnny Cash Show sometime in the 70s. This is a solo guitar take on it, masterfully and playfully performed by one of the geniuses of the instrument: Chet Atkins.

Also, this a vinyl 78, which came about in the later years of the 78rpm era. Virtually all 78s, until about the early 1950s, were made of a combination material consisting of pitch and shellac ; shellac being the secretion of the female lac bug, which live in the forests of Thailand and India. During the WWII effort, shellac was recalled and collected by the government to be used for military materials, and vinyl became the standard. Vinyl, in fact, sounds fuller and is much quieter than shellac. Plus, you could fit many more grooves (micro grooves actually) on to the side of a vinyl than a shellac ; hence, the birth of long playing 33 and 45 rpm records.

This is also a rare, DJ only copy that RCA would send out to radio stations for promotional purposes. The melody will get stuck in your head.

Chet Atkins – Wildwood Flower << PLAY