31 December 2007

End of Year Mystery Roundup (2) Cold Cases

Having talked up the success rate, here now are some persistent PopArchives mysteries, mentioned in the hope that some emails will come in to clear them up.

If you have an answer, or even a vital clue, please email [link], or leave a comment at the end of this post. The links are to the relevant pages at The Website.

Just who was William Plunkett, composer of The Megatrons' Velvet Waters? For that matter, who were The Megatrons? And what was the full extent of Haywood Henry's role in all this?
[Link: Tony Worsley - Velvet Waters]

Did Johnny Curtis, composer of Picking Up Pebbles, record the original version, and who was Johnny Curtis, anyway?
[Link: Matt Flinders - Picking Up Pebbles]

How did Ray Brown & the Whispers get hold of Go To Him, and while you're there, can you clear up the chronology of this song for once and for all?
[Link: Ray Brown & The Whispers - Go To Him]

Supplementary question:
In which New South Wales town does Leicester-born Bess Coleman, co-writer of Go To Him, now live? (And why hasn't she already stumbled on my site while browsing the Web, and emailed me with deep insights into the story of Go To Him? Has she never tried a vanity search at Google? Come on, Bess, you can do it!)
[Link: Ray Brown & The Whispers - Go To Him]

How did that disparate group of Keith Reid, Andy Qunta, Maggie Ryder and Chris Thompson get together to write You're The Voice? I mean, were they all sitting together in a conference room somewhere, or did they mail each other (this was 1985), or was it a Round Robin where one started it off and passed it on, or what..?
[Link: John Farnham - You're The Voice]

Okay, I give up: who did record the original version of Sounds of Goodbye? I've gone for George Morgan, but there's always been a sneaking sense of doubt.
[Link: Kamahl - Sounds Of Goodbye]

Was Patricia Dahlquist the first to record the obscure Bertie Higgins composition Waiting For The Rain, or is there an earlier version lurking somewhere?
[Link: Emma Hannah - Waiting For The Rain]

Which came first: Your Love Still Brings Me To My Knees by Saundra Steele or Your Love Still Brings Me To My Knees by Dusty Springfield? I'm going for Saundra Steele, but they both seem to be from January 1980, so...
[Link: Marcia Hines - Your Love Still Brings Me To My Knees]

Who recorded the acetate of Happy Without You that Ron Tudor played to The Strangers before Peter Robinson rearranged it and they recorded it?
[Link: The Strangers - Happy Without You]

Who on earth were Our Patch Of Blue, who recorded the original version of Zoom Zoom Zoom? And who were the writers Bernard de Cesare and Pasquale Zompa?
[Link: Cam-Pact - Zoom Zoom Zoom]

Graham Gouldman didn't really write Just A Poor Boy, did he? It was an Aussie composition, written by members of The Bowery Boys, right?
[Link: Mike Furber & The Bowery Boys - Just A Poor Boy]

Any answers? Email [link], or leave a comment, please!

29 December 2007

End of Year Mystery Roundup (1) Solved

The Blog and The Website have a fair record in clearing up mysteries.

Sometimes it seems I just have to ask a question then sit back and wait for the answer to turn up in my Inbox.

Some examples:

Question: Did Jimmy Page play lead guitar on Security, a UK single by Thane Russal - actually Doug Gibbons - that was a hit in Australia and, as far as I can see, nowhere else?
Answer: No, that wasn't Jimmy Page, it was Bob Johnson (later with Steeleye Span).
The emailer: Mick Brill, who played bass on the record, a longtime associate of Doug Gibbons, now living in Italy.See: The Security page at The Website.

Question: Who was (E. Goldman), as he appears in the small print as the composer of Gene Pitney's lesser known gem Billy You're My Friend (1968)?
Answer: Ed Goldman, who wrote the song when he was still a piano major at the Juilliard School of Music.
The emailer: Ed Goldman. Can you imagine how excited I was to hear from him?
And Ed was delighted to learn that his song had charted in Australia, and to read comments at The Blog by a couple of Australians who had never forgotten Billy You're My Friend.
See: The small print: Ed Goldman, writer of Billy You're My Friend and earlier posts linked from there.

Question: Was Edward R. (Eddie) White the songwriter the same Edward R. White who appeared in some movie bit parts, notably Robert Duvall's Angelo My Love (1983)?
Answer: Yes, he was.
The emailer: John Sprung, who attended the premiere of Angelo My Love with his dad and Eddie White. Mr Sprung Sr and Eddie were old friends from the days when Eddie was in an orphanage where John's dad was a counselor. Following an exchange of emails with John, I ended up buying Eddie White's autobiography Yesterday's Cake, cleverly named from the practice of bakeries donating old cakes to orphanages. (It's a helluva story, something I'll save for a later post.)
See: Yesterday's Cake, Eddie White's autobiography and earlier posts linked from there.

Question: Who was the bearded panel operator for Melbourne deejay Barry Ferber, immortalised in their single The Bearded Beetle (1964)?
Answer: Dave Dexter, who later worked on air in New Zealand on Radio Hauraki.
The emailer: (1) Radio historian Wayne Mac identified Dave Dexter. (2) Dave's son Julian recently posted a comment, confirming our conclusions and providing some more background.
See: More on the Bearded Beetle, which includes Jake Dexter's comments.

Question: Who is Nick Lampe, whose fine single Flower Garden (1969) unaccountably charted in Melbourne, Australia and hardly anywhere else?
Answer: Singer-songwriter Nicholas Lampariello, who turned his back on the music business after one album on Atlantic, now a social worker in New York.
The emailer: Robert Thompson in Melbourne who read my post, persevered with his search for Nick Lampe, and ended up phoning him at his workplace in New York.
See: At last: the Nick Lampe story, probably the only biography of Nick Lampe on the Web, written with Nick as the primary source after Robert put him in touch with me. (Type "Nick Lampe" at Google, hit I'm Feeling Lucky, and you'll end up back here, at this very blog!)

There are others, but that's enough for now.

Next: some PopArchives mysteries that won't go away.

28 December 2007

Ah, that Robinson Crusoe theme!

Some lovely genius has posted to YouTube the opening 20 seconds of Les aventures de Robinson Crusoe (1964), a European series that was shown in Australia on ABC-TV. If you were there, you'll recognise the theme music, a stirring melody that I've never forgotten.

Internet Movie database lists three series composers, Robert Mellin, Gian Piero Reverberi and Georges Van Parys. A reviewer, Rob Neal, writes:
It is also worth noting that the haunting score is also now available in an expanded CD from Silva Screen. The original soundtrack was in mono, but it seems there was such a demand for this piece, that the composers recently recreated a medley with a full orchestra in stereo.
This was another of those series that the ABC used to show in the afternoons during school holidays. Sir Francis Drake was another: I wrote about it (and its equally haunting theme) last year.

[YouTube link]
[Soundtrack and series DVD at Amazon.co.uk]

19 December 2007

Close 'N Play!

After my post about Ol' Fatso by Augie Rios a commenter wrote: Don't know how, but I had the 45 of this in my "Close & Play" when I was a child.

I didn't know how, either, mainly because I'd never heard of a Close & Play, which turns out to be a record player for kids: CLOSE 'N PLAY AUTOMATIC PHONOGRAPH - CLOSE LID... RECORD PLAYS.

That would've been an exceptionally groovy present for a kid in the 60s or 70s.

07 December 2007

You study 'em hard and hopin' to pass...

CNN.com shows how to make James Brown sound tedious:

CNN Special Investigations Unit Classroom Edition: James Brown: Say it Proud ...

Teachers: Please preview this program, as its content may not be appropriate for all students.

Grade Level: 9-12, College

Subject Areas: Fine Arts, Social Studies


The CNN Special Investigations Unit Classroom Edition: James Brown: Say it Proud and its corresponding discussion questions and activity challenge students to:

1. Examine the legacy of James Brown;
2. Identify the historical context of key events in Brown's life;
3. Design an exhibit for a memorial to James Brown.

Discussion Questions...


05 December 2007

That's our lad!

To remind yourself of the excellence of Brisbane band Transport, watch these high quality live videos recorded in LA earlier this year. They're at Rehearsals.com, performances of The People Have Spoken, Soda Pop and This Infidelity. [Link] There's also a video interview and a text article. Transport haven't gigged lately, but their new album The Inner Chimp is now downloadable.

And to see a completely different side of Transport's singer-guitarist Keir Nuttall (vocals, guitar) and Steve Pope (drums), here they are in Kate Miller-Heidke's band performing Keir Nuttall's composition Space They Cannot Touch. No Parental Advisory necessary for this one:

(Okay, disclosure: I'm Keir's dad, but you probably knew that.)

01 December 2007

Is 128kbps good enough for an mp3?

A handful of years ago when I first started ripping mp3s it was commonly held that 128kpbs was as high as you needed to go, because after that the improvement in sound quality was unnoticeable.

I've stuck to that, and a recent online experiment at Cognitive Daily supports it. Read the full story here, and as usual the comments are worth reading too.

Cognitive Daily home: http://scienceblogs.com/cognitivedaily
Cognitive Daily feed: