Saturday, January 31, 2009


A couple of Europeans singing in German. One a classical singer of the 1930's and the other a big hit of 1959.

Joseph Schmidt - Today is the happiest day of my life

A Romanian Jew who unfortunately was a star in Berlin when Hitler came to power which destroyed his career and life as he died in a refugee camp in 1942.
Only about 1.50 m tall he had a powerful voice

Ivo Robic - Morgen - Also available on You Tube. Robic was a Croatian singer who sang this song in German; it was translated as an English language hit 'One more sunrise' for Lesley Uggams.

Listen here.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Four songs so a Kiwi quartet in more ways than one with Howard's four being present. I've mentioned the All Blacks parody that Gerry Merito had a major hand in; I've mentioned Sea of Love, the Bluebeat but not Bill & Boyd.

I had a couple of personal links to Bill and Boyd - but things I couldn't put in a blog as they were work related. So we have today Bill & Boyd with I wanna love my life away (a Gene Pitney song) and the Howard Morrison Quartet with My old mans an All Black

So tune up your ears for them


Adam Wade was the first African American to host a television game show back in 1975. Now in his 70's he had 3-4 hits, Writing on the Wall probably his best known.
A really silky voiced singer he reminds people of Johnny Mathias. Today we have for your listening pleasure 'Take good care of her' which can be heard here.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Gracie Fields - Wish me Good Luck (as you wave me goodbye).

This tune was probably recorded during WW I I. Interestingly it was used as the theme in a Lotto advertisement a couple of years ago. On a trip to Europe a few years ago we went to Capri and saw the Villa where Gracie Fields used to live.

Change of system. I have decided to link to a word within the blog rather than list the whole link in future. This will mean a cleaner looking page I would guess.

Click here to listen to Gracie.


All from about 50 years ago.

Dinah Lee - the Bluebeat Girl. Now singing in Australia.

Keil Isles - led by Herma Keil who later branched out on his own to great success. One of the stars of the TV series 'Lets Go' hosted by Peter Sinclair.

I remember going to the Farmers in Auckland to see Lonnie Donegan sing a couple of songs and autograph his records. The Keil Isles also played and while Lonnie was signing autographs a chap went up to him who was connected to the Donegan entourage and said "Hey Lonnie this backing group is really top notch" Lonnie just said 'Yeah' and carried on signing. I don't even think he was even listening. However the guy, who could have been his Manager, was clearly impressed.

Ronnie Sundin - A short bright star of the late 50's with his cover of 'Sea of Love' being much better than the American original. Backed by the incomparable (for over 50 years) Bill Sevesi, under the name of Will Jess. I am sure Bill is still going strong.


Al Oster is a wonderful Canadian singer who sang songs mainly based upon the Yukon region of Canada. Here are the only two songs of his that I have 'Next Boat' and 'Midnight Sun'.

He was awarded the Order of Canada in 1999 in recognition of his tremendous contribution to Canadian heritage. Greatly underated and largely unknown outside of Canada. 

Next Boat and Midnight Sun.


The King

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Is this the greatest name ever of a group:


If not it must be close. The background seems to be that the sound is that of a penny whistle and the band leader was a Aaron 'Big Voice" Jack Lerole from South Africa. Sadly he died in 2003. The record came out in 1958 and was the theme for a TV show which brought it to the attention of the public. It went on to sell about 3 million copies but whether the musicians ever got a lot of money out of it is debated. 


Gary (Garry) Mills had this song 'I'll step down' as a minor hit around 1961. There is some debate if his name should have one or two G's. Some claim it may have been a spelling mistake that dropped one G from a record he made.

Resonably typical of mistakes that continually to be made on CD's. When I bought a copy of one of the 'Memories' compilations recently they had, from memory, Marty Robbins photo but said it was Perry Como. Pretty slack really; which makes you wonder if they have any real interest in the product. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Gerry Merito - dead at 70. The comedy genius and a founding member of the Howard Morrison Quartet died yesterday in the Waikato. He was performing to the very end.

Merito penned hits such as My Old Man's an All Black for the quartet in 1960 about the all Blacks tour that year to South Africa. The Battle of the Waikato was based on The Battle of New Orleans; more the Lonnie Donnegan version than that of Johnny Horton.

I remember hearing them on the radio but was not overly impressed. Then I saw them live, probably sometime around 1956, either at the Epsom Showgrounds or Carlaw Park, in one of the Showtime Spetaculars or something similar. Ronnie Sundin was also on the bill.

I changed my mind - they were just brilliant.

It is probably fitting that Gerry died in the Waikato as one of his greatest songs was 'The Battle of the Waikato'.

I see Sir Howard Morrison is quoted as saying "He was gold to me. I'm just absolutely devastated. He was just a great gift to Maoridom, to the world of music ... and a great example of the mana of his iwi."

He will be missed as one of the greats.

The Battle of the Waikato - penned by the incredible Gerry Merito -


A couple of novelty songs. First is Bob Luman's 'Lets think about living'.  Written by ace songwriter/singer John D Loudermilk. Luman was a country singer who sadly died young at 41 of pneumonia in 1978. 

More of a novelty song is the Cadets version of 'Stranded in the jungle' which can can also be viewed on You Tube. The Jayhawks had the original release with both versions coming out in 1956 but the Cadets version proved the more popular.

"I crashed in the jungle while trying to keep a date, / With my little girl who was back in the States / I was stranded in the jungle, afraid, alone, / Trying to figure a way to get a message back home / But how was I to know that the wreckage of my plane / Had been picked up and spotted, and my girl in Lover's Lane? / And meanwhile, back in the States... / Baby, baby, let's make romance / You know, your old-time lover hasn't got a chance / He's stranded in the jungle, glad as he can be / So, come on pretty baby, just you and me / Meanwhile, back in the jungle... / The boys in the jungle had me on the run, / When something heavy hit me, like an atomic bomb / When I woke up, and my head started to clear, / I had a strange feeling I was with cooking gear / I smelled something cooking, and I looked to see / That's when I found out they was cooking me / Meanwhile, back in the States / Baby, baby, let's make romance / You know, your old-time lover hasn't got a chance / He's stranded in the jungle, glad as he can be / So, come on pretty baby, just you and me / Meanwhile, back in the jungle / I jumped out of the pot, and I finally got away / Frantic and worried about what my baby would say / So, I jumped in the ocean and started to swim / My chances of survival was getting mighty slim / So, I thumbed down a whale who was heading my way / And I reached the States in about half a day / And when I got to Lover's Lane, I was almost dead / But my soul was gone, and here's what I said: / Baby, baby, the man is no good / Oh baby, baby, you should have understood / You can trust me as long as you need, / So, come back pretty baby where you used to be / Cause I love you, / I love you"

Monday, January 26, 2009


Sal Mineo was mainly a film actor, born Salvatore Mineo Jnr. 10 January 1939. He was murdered 12 February 1976. Apart from two Academy Award nominations he had 3 Top 40 singles. 

I like this song 'Start movin' (In my direction)'  -  the song is sometimes titled 'C'mon, start movin' in my direction'

Sunday, January 25, 2009


A singer who was recording for a number of years without a real major hit. His version of Mona Lisa came out at the same time as Conway Twitty's and got overlooked because of that.

Here he does
Judy and I'm coming home. Both songs were sung by Elvis (Judy in 1961) but I think these versions compare very favourably with The King.


I remember listening to the radio some 50 years ago and a song came from almost nowhere to Number 1 on the Hit Parade in a couple of weeks. That song was Dave Burgess singing I'm Available. Today about the only version you can get on any oldies compilation is Margie Rayburn's version.

They are both here - I prefer the Dave Burgess one. Dave Burgess, born 1934, was also a member of The Champs who had instrumental hits with 'Tequila' and 'Too much Tequila'. The Champs was an interesting group. Amongst others at various times were Seals and Croft as well as Glen Campbell.

So here they are - Dave followed by Margie -

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Bill Haley of 'Rock Around the Clock'  fame.  Candy Kisses is from his C & W days and was released in 1948, being re-released upon 'Rock' taking off as a big hit in 1955 when it was used as the soundtrack to 'Blackboard Jungle'.

Blackboard Jungle was a film that had some future stars in it - Sidney Portier, Vic Morrow and Jamie Farr who was Klinger in TV's MASH.  


A couple of songs from Australia's Col Joye. Bye Bye Baby Goodbye and Oh Yeah, Uh Uh which uses a typewriter as a musical instrument. These came out around 1959 I would guess. Col Joye is still performing today and has been awarded the Order of Australia. As you can see a stamp was even put out in his honour. A tremendous musician who has had a 50 year career.

In Kiwiland the hit version of Good bye baby, good bye was Vince C
allager (?) who also had a hit with Mr. Rainbow Man.
I have been looking for the
Vince Callagher versions of these two songs for years with no luck.

Whenever they have put out a compilation
of late 1950's it has never been there and enquiries at the record shops is of course a waste of time. Even the internet seems bare of information.

Links are - Oh Yeah, Uh, Uh followed by Bye Bye Baby

Friday, January 23, 2009


This is an oddity I acquired from somewhere. It is supposed to be a Demo Record at Sun Studios ??
Who knows?

The singer,female, is singing 'Wear my ring around your neck', one of the better Elvis songs.
2 minutes 24 seconds of fairly nasal stuff; although the guitar player doesn't sound too bad. Somehow I don't think she made it!!

Filed under Unknown in Folder One
(There have been some link problems but clicking the link in the Blog below titled Maria Dallas under the date Wed. 21 January 2009 should take you to all the Folders)


Johnny Restivo (his real name) recorded The shape I'm in when only 15 years old (1959) and Paul Simon was on guitar. Paul was working under the name Jerry Landis as it was the S & G duos (with Art Gunfunkel being Tom) Tom and Jerry days. Another 'one semi-hit wonder' who had a few years in the business before retiring.
(There have been some link problems but clicking the link in the Blog below titled Maria Dallas under the date Wed. 21 January 2009 should take you to all the Folders)

Thursday, January 22, 2009


The Allisons (Brian Alford and Bernard Day) recorded Are You Sure in 1961and entered the Eurovision Song Contest but only managed 2nd. It didn't matter much as they stormed to the top of the charts with the song. However, they were basically one hit wonders. A pity as I thought they had great harmonies.

(There have been some
link problems but clicking the link in the Blog below titled Maria Dallas under the date Wed. 21 January 2009 should take you to all the Folders)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Maria Dallas (born Marina Devcich) from Morrinsville had this big hit - Tumblin' Down - in the 1960's, when I was young!  She now lives in Australia. 


Charles Trenet was born in France in 1913 and died in 2001. His hit La Mer was also a big hit for Bobby Darin  - the anglicized version being 'Beyond the Sea'.  La Mer was supposed to have been written on a train during the war in 1943.  You can also view a version on You Tube. 
This was also the name of the film of Darin's life starring Kevin Spacey. The interesting thing I learnt in that film that I hadn't realised was that Darin's wife Sandra Dee never remarried.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Starlight Starbright by Australian singer Lonnie Lee. One of my favourites from around 1959 I would think.

Hope this link works: It seems to:


Have had problems with Mediafire. Went to check a couple of songs loaded OK but they couldn't be found. 

Have checked the two below and the appear OK so will try again.


Frank Crumit - Abdul Abulbul Amir. Written in 1877 by Percy French and made popular again in the 1940's.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I have decided to try Mediafire as the file host. To see the file just click the link below.
I had real problems saving the link but finally managed to post it into Notepad then into the Blogger input box but as I at first put the link at the top it jumbled up all the formatting of the subsequent posting so must remember to always put it at the bottom.

BLUE SMOKE - written in 1940 by Ruru Karaitiana when aboard the troopship Aquitania. It was a hit in 1949 for Ruru and Pixie Williams. I rate it as the greatest NZ song if you class Pokarakare Ana as a traditional song although I understand it was communally written around 1914.
Blue Smoke was the first record wholly produced in NZ from beginning - writing; to end - pressing. It was on the new TANZA (ToAid New Zealand Artists) label and was a stunning first production for the company as it went on to top the charts for weeks.

This version is at 56kbs so not the greatest copy. You should try and buy a version (not easy) and as usual will probably have to purchase 20 songs you already have.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

First posting - words only no sounds

First posting and as I say in the Title - no sounds, just words. The music quality will vary and cannot be expected to match that of a CD and as we all say - support the artists and buy the records - if you can. The problem is that it is almost impossible to get some songs - Vince Callagher singing Rainbow Man and Bye Bye Baby is just two examples.

I'll have to decide what file host to use; I see one will post the file to four or five different ones. Incredible that when I started listening to music we had an old wind up gramophone using steel needles. And today........

Watch this space.