Thursday, December 28, 2023

Travelin’ Band: Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall

For decades, rumors have circulated among Creedence Clearwater Revival’s fans about a long-lost recording of their legendary 1970 show at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Today, the long-fabled performance is available in its entirety on multiple formats as Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall. Coinciding with the album release, the new documentary concert film, Travelin’ Band: Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall, is available now streaming on Netflix.


The stunning new concert album and film find CCR at the apex of their career, playing the most prestigious venue in London. Placing listeners front and center at the show, the album features John Fogerty, Tom Fogerty, Doug Clifford, and Stu Cook performing the classic hits "Fortunate Son," "Proud Mary," "Born on the Bayou," "Bad Moon Rising," and more.


Travelin’ Band: Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall is directed by two-time GRAMMY® Award winner Bob Smeaton (The Beatles Anthology and Jimi Hendrix: Band of Gypsies). The film takes viewers from the band’s earliest years together in El Cerrito, CA through their meteoric rise to fame. Featuring a wealth of unseen footage, Travelin’ Band culminates with the band’s show at the Royal Albert Hall—marking the only concert footage of the original CCR lineup to be released in its entirety.


The documentary is fantastic. Ninety minutes summarizing their career, narrated by Jeff Bridges, with archival footage from rehearsal footage and rare interviews. The highlight of the documentary, of course, is the Royal Albert Hall performance, which concluded with a 15-minute standing ovation after the performance. 


Highly recommended.



Friday, December 22, 2023

A Christmas Tradition

This is that annual reminder of a playlist available for listening to, with over 300 vintage Christmas songs not commonly heard over the radio.

Any flat disc record, made between (circa) 1898 and 1959 and playing at a speed around 78 revolutions per minute is referred to today by collectors as a "78." The materials of which these discs were made and with which they were coated were also various; shellac eventually became the most common of materials. Generally 78s are made of a brittle material which uses a shellac resin (which is why collectors also refer to them as shellac records). During and after World War II when shellac supplies were extremely limited (used for the war cause), many 78 rpm records were pressed in vinyl instead of shellac.

In 1948, Columbia Records unveiled the 33 1/3 RPM long playing record. It played for about 20 minutes per side. Then came the battle of the speeds. RCA in 1949 began offering records (and record players) that played at 45 revolutions per minute.

If asked how much these discs are worth, there really is no set guide to determine the value. Anyone with the correct record player can play these recordings and they are a dime a dozen at antique fairs and eBay.

After two months of cataloging more than 3,000 of the old 33s, 45s and 78s to CD format, and separating those with a holiday theme, I loaded more than 300 Christmas songs onto a streaming playlist for you to enjoy. In the spirit of of mixtape from years gone by, I found a modern way to bring these songs to the masses for the holiday season, without having to burn hundreds of CDs. 

If you are like me, every holiday you tune to a local radio station that traditionally plays the same Christmas songs over and over and over... and yeah, it gets tedious hearing the same recordings every year. Christmas is a time to establish a fond look back through nostalgic vocals and my frustration grows knowing that Gene Autry's rendition of Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Bing Crosby's White Christmas is going to play on rotation... again and again.

What you will hear on this streaming radio station (accessible with a simple click of a button on your computer, iPad, tablet, iPhone, etc.) are vintage Christmas offerings all dated pre-1960 and chances are you haven't heard these renditions. Examples include:

I Want Eddie Fisher for Christmas (1954, Betty Johnson)
Frosty the Snowman (1950, Guy Lombaro and his Orchestra)
Santa and the Doodle-Li-Boop (1954, Art Carney)
I Want You for Christmas (1937, Mae Questel as Betty Boop)
All Around the Christmas Tree (1940, Raymond Scott and his New Orchestra)
Barnyard Christmas (1952, Spike Jones and The Bell Sisters)
The Birthday of a King (1949, Judy Garland)
Jingle Bells (1935, Benny Goodman and his Orchestra)
It Happened in Sun Valley (1941, Glenn Miller and his Orchestra)
Christmas in Killarney (1950, Dennis Day with The Mellowmen)
The First Noel (1942, Nelson Eddy and Robert Armbruster's Orchestra)
Let's Start the New Year Right (1942, Bing Crosby)
Hello, Mr. Kringle (1939, Kay Kyser)
Jingle Bells (1934, Ozzie Nelson and his Orchestra, and Harriet Hilliard)
All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth (1949, Danny Kaye and Patty Andrews)
Yah, Das Ist Ein Christmas Tree (1953, Mel Blanc)
Silent Night (1921, Florence Easton)
Silver Bells (1938, Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys)
Christmas on the Plains (1949, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans)
The Night Before Christmas (1952, Gene Autry and Rosemary Clooney)
O Come, All Ye Faithful (1938, Frances Langford)
Boogie Woogie Santa Claus (1950, Patti Page)
Happy Little Christmas Friend (1953, Rosemary Clooney)
Ol' Saint Nicholas (1949, Doris Day)
A Ride in Santa's Sleigh (1953, Judy Valentine)
Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1934, Harry Reser)
Santa Claus is on His Way (1941, Sammy Kaye and his Orchestra)
Silent Night (1940, Kate Smith)
Suzy Snowflake (1951, Rosemary Clooney)
Auld Lang Syne (1939, Erwin Bendel with Tiny Till and his Orchestra)
Baby, It's Cold Outside (1949, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan)
Christmas Day (1952, Eddie Fisher)
Meet Me Under the Mistletoe (1941, Dick Roberston)
Merry Christmas Polka (1949, Guy Lombardo and The Andrews Sisters)
I'll Be Home for Christmas (1947, Eddy Howard)
Five Pound Box of Money (1959, Pearl Bailey)
The Man with the Whiskers (1938, Hoosier Hot Shots)
March of the Toys (1939, Tommy Dorsey)
Hark, the Herald Angels Sing (1938, Kenny Baker)
I Want You for Christmas (1937, Russ Morgan)
The Kissing Bridge (1953, The Fontane Sisters and Perry Como)
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (1952, Molly Bee)
Here Comes Santa Claus (1949, Doris Day)
I Believe in Santa Claus (1955, The Mills Brothers)
Little Sandy Sleighfoot (1957, Jimmy Dean)
The Man with the Bag (1950, Kay Starr)
Merry Christmas Waltz (1949, Gordon MacRae)
Christmas Alphabet (1954, The McGuire Sisters)
Let It Snow, Let It Snow (1946, Bob Crosby)
I Saw Mommy do the Mombo (1954, Jimmy Boyd)
The Mistletoe Kiss (1948, Primo Scala and The Keynotes)
My Christmas Song for You (1945, Hoagy Carmichael and Martha Mears)
Christmas Night in Harlem (1934, Todd Rollins and his Orchestra)

Among the highlights you will hear "I Want a Television Christmas" by Mindy Carson (which happens to be a 1949 RCA sales promo), the 1953 Christmas Dragnet spoof with Daws Butler and Stan Freberg, a 1953 commercial recording of Amos and Andy's popular "The Lord's Prayer," Basil Rathbone narrating a musical rendition of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" (1942), Bing Crosby's 1942 version of "White Christmas" (not the 1947 re-recording you commonly hear on radio today), Jerry Colonna's 1953 take on "Too Fat for the Chimney," the 1934 version of "Winter Wonderland" performed by Richard Himber (the first recording ever made of that song), and other rarities.

Of the 300 plus recordings, you will no doubt hear the same song (such as "Winter Wonderland" and "The First Noel") performed multiple times but each rendition with a different singer.  

Many familiar songs but with unfamiliar renditions from your favorite singers. (Believe me, I will have this radio station playing all day at home, and streaming through my iPhone when I travel during the holiday season.) The radio station will expire January 1 so enjoy this while it lasts. And I hope this musical yule log not only suits your palate, but many of these songs become a favorite of yours. My Christmas present to you.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

The Ultra Rare Marvel 45s

“An extremely rare group of four children's 45 rpm records of songs & stories, featuring Spider-Man, Captain America, Thor, and Hulk, presented in die-cut sleeves, from the 1966 Marvelmania craze. We have never had the opportunity to offer a set of these insanely cool records, and this set is in excellent condition. The group would make a great addition to any good Silver Age collection.”

That was the description (cut and pasted) from an auction house that recently sold four of those children’s records for a whopping $2,000 gavel price. What makes those 1966 records rare? Who knows? But whatever the reason, they are rarely sold as a set.


The records are 45s so there is about six minutes maximum on each side. For each of these records, Side A contains a song about the superhero and Side B contains an audio drama. The good news is that the stories and the songs are purely original so for fans of the comic books, these are worth seeking out. For the “Captain America” record, as an example, a song about the superhero is on Side A, while a thrilling drama titled “The Bomb Bombs Away” is on Side B. For Thor, Side A has a song about “The Mighty Thor,” and “Thunderbolts and Violets” is the title of the drama for Side B. 


Of particular note was the Spider-Man record. I expected the cartoon theme song but instead it was an original song about the web-crawler. 


A friend of mine had four of them and he was kind enough to lend them to me to transfer to digital format. The link below (provided for one week only) contains the transfers of the four records pictured above. 

This is my Christmas gift to you. 





Friday, December 8, 2023


With almost 40 movies made in the Godzilla franchise, it is refreshing to discover Godzilla: Minus One, thelatest version now in theaters, to be one of the best in the series. I am going to go as far as to say this is one of the best films of the year. 

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the franchise, the movie was released in Japan on November 4, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the release of the first Godzilla movie. What might appear odd at first, the film does not focus on Godzilla. Instead, a war veteran takes center stage with Godzilla lurking in the distance. During World War II, a kamikaze pilot deserts his post and his cowardice results in the death of numerous soldiers. A year later, in post war Japan, he finds himself reliving the ghosts of his past, waking every night in cold sweats. But when a monster rises from the deep, a mutation due to atomic bomb tests, the pilot finds himself with an opportunity to return to combat and redeem himself.  

Humans in this entry are depicted as three-dimensional and realistic, in a war epic that doubles as a love story and a psychological drama. Have no fear, though, for this is a monster movie and when Godzilla takes to the stomping ground during a period of Japanese repentment, boy is the destruction jaw dropping! 

The film is receiving limited distribution so don't wait beyond this weekend to see the movie.

Godzilla: Minus One is a film to experience, not to watch. But to do so is to see it on the big screen. If you enjoy watching any of the Godzilla movies, this is certainly one of the best and – dare I say – as good as a Godzilla film gets?