Tuesday, September 28, 2010


We've solved a few more musical mysteries this past week ... so let's get right down to it!

You remember Chi Coltrane's "Thunder & Lightning" from '72?
Well, Columbia didn't record it, others did and all Columbia / Sony has is the master tape, not the session tape - so it can't actually be "Remastered".

Would love to find who actually holds the session tape(s), if they still exist!!! That's one of my choice picks for 1972!
I've always loved that song, too ... it did VERY well here in Chicago (peaking at #4) ... and is another one of those legitimate Top 20 National Hits that rarely seems to get any airplay on oldies radio today, other than as a "Forgotten 45" or Forgotten Hit. (Personally, I feel it deserves better than that! It's also one of the very earliest Forgotten Hits we ever featured way back in 1999 ... so I'm ready to hear it again! How 'bout you?) kk

As far as who owns the master, I don't know ... but maybe somebody out there does. It was not at all uncommon for many of the artists to record their "pre-discovered" track for a local label and then, when the record started to catch on regionally, lease or sell that master to a major label for better distribution. Chi Coltrane ultimately ended up signed to Columbia Records and even cut an album called "Thunder And Lightning" once the single became a hit.
However, in his book "The Billboard Book Of One Hit Wonders", author Wayne Jancik implies that Coltrane DID, in fact, record "Thunder And Lighning" for Columbia Records.
Coltrane was born in Racine, Wisconsin, and was already studying classical piano at the age of seven! Growing up, she sang in the church choir and, by the time high school graduation rolled around, was already out performing in bars and other hot spots around the state.
After attending Salter School of Music in Los Angeles for two years, she moved to Chicago and formed a group called "Chicago Coltrane".
According to Janck's book "While working the club scene (in the Windy City), Chi caught the attention of talent scouts for Columbia Records. Contracts were signed, arrangements were made, and songs were recorded. But, with the exception of her lone tuffy, 'Thunder And Lightning', Chi's self-titled debut disk featured only humdrum hoofers. The LP did place on Billboard's top pop albums chart, and 'Thunder' rumbled the airwaves, but lightning did not strike twice for Chi. Follow up 45's like 'Go Like Elijah', 'You Were My Friend', and 'Who Ever Told You' sank from sight with nary a spin."
Based on THAT information, I would have to say that if anybody has or owns the master, it would be Sony Music / Columbia Records / Legacy. (kk)

re: 1969:
>>>I don't know if you will be able to help me but in about 1967 / 1968 my boyfriend (later to be come my husband but we divorced a long time ago), bought an imported record with a B side which just had 1969 in numbers on the back. As we did not speak and have not spoken in over 35 years I cannot ask him about the artist or the A side of the record but I know it was a girl singer and I think her name started with S but I cannot be sure. I know it was on a black record label and I think it was RCA Victor but not sure. I know this is a long shot but the song keeps going round in my head every now and again and I would like to get a copy if I could.Some of the lines are: "Hey I hate to picture 1969" if that helps. Thank for you help and if you cannot, thanks for trying. (Grace)
It's most definitely 1969 by Ross Hannaman (A female). Released in 1967 on New Rose 52 in 1967. Not sure if it got over here. Attaching the song.

Thank you so much!
Yes, this IS the one I that I have been looking for.
You have been a fantastic help!
Isn't it weird the stuff that sticks in our minds all these years later?!?!? Especially since this one didn't chart here in The States, Great Britain or Canada!!! Hoping this is the one you've been looking for after all these years! (kk)

Hi Kent,
Member Phil Beckman asks: “Are there any Trade Martin collections available, or planned?” While not exclusively a Trade Martin collection, Ace issued a Coed Records collection a few years back, “The Coed Records Story”. It includes two Trade Martin tracks that are well worth owning, “Joanne” and Strategy”. Used copies are available on amazon.com for around $10.
Mike Edwards

Thanks, Mike ... you'll find more on "Joanne" below ... along with some brand new comments from Trade, too! (kk)

>>>Trade Martin put out several 45's while he was at COED. One of my favorites is "Hula Hula Dancing Doll", which got a fair amount of airplay on WBZ. Sadly, (to me anyway) the only Trade Martin song that shows up on CD is "That Stranger Used to Be My Girl". It's also a great song, one of the few Top 40 songs featuring a tuba, and does show up in stereo! Are there any Trade Martin collections available, or planned? (Phil Beckman)
>>>I asked Trade if a "career retrospective" might be something we could look forward to in the future ... here's what he had to say (kk):

>>>You know, I do plan on eventually releasing a collection down the road (maybe this Spring or Summer) ... and I'll include most and maybe even all of my Coed, RCA, Toot & Buddha releases. It's always nice to be remembered in a positive way. THANKS AGAIN Kent & Phil!!! (Trade Martin)
Several of Trade's recordings have turned up on a couple of Coed Records various artists compilations (there was the Coed Records Story on ACE and I believe also a cd on Collectables) but what has amazed me is that they've almost never gotten the correct 45 rpm versions out there! Almost all of Trade's Coed 45s have multitracked lead vocals, and they show up on cd with a single lead vocal (the stereo That Stranger Used To Be My Girl is a perfect example), yet, the one time he had a 45 with a single lead vocal (the song Joanne), it turns up on cd only with a multitracked lead vocal and with background singers that come in a lot earlier than they do on the original 45! If Trade ever does do a career perspective cd, I hope he would maybe make it a double cd collection and include both versions of the Coed recordings that have turned up (both the 45 version and the alternates).
Tom Diehl
What the heck's the deal with that?!?!? Is there an overdub missing? Did Martin actually record multiple versions of these singles? Inquiring Minds want to know!!! (kk)
Kent ...
OK, here's the answer to the big question that was asked.When these 'new guys' ... mixers, mastering men, compilation producers ... or whatever else they may call them ... (who are not stupid and know what they're doing in most cases) ... get an assignment to 'put together' a CD of some dated recordings, most of the time, they are not familiar with the recordings and they probably (almost never) refer to or get to listen to the original record. So they're sent a bunch of stereo (usually two track ... that's what my early records were) quarter inch tapes and many times either don't get to the correct take (final) or the actual 'final master' which was "overdubbed"
(two track to two track) and contained either hand claps, a double voice or harmony voice, an extra instrumental, percussion or maybe even some added background parts. Not knowing the original recording, they just do the best they can with what they've got and the purchaser of the finished product buys it ... and, if they remember the original record, realizes that something is missing or different.
I believe that most listeners don't realize the difference.
Kent, this has been done to many of my records from ROME to RCA and beyond too, but there's not much any of us record people can do about this annoying problem.
At any rate, I'm POSITIVE that this IS the answer to the big question.
Warmest regards,
And, as we've discussed SO many times before in Forgotten Hits, it'll only get worse from here ... as more and more of the "people in charge" WEREN'T around when this music was first being made ... didn't grow up listening to it and loving it and memorizing every tiny little nuance (which sometimes are the very best part OF these records)!!! Generations to come may never really know what this music REALLY sounded like (unless they're able to still pick up a copy of an old 45 somewhere ... and, of course, find SOME piece of apparatus that'll actually PLAY the damn thing!!! What a shame. Instead of preserving this music in some sort of a time capsule for all future generations to share and enjoy, we seem to continue to bastardize these great, classic recordings. That being said, it seems that the IMPORT compilations take a lot more care in preserving the integrity of the original recordings ... or, at the very least, offer numerous different takes and versions of this material (and clearly note as much in their product.) It's a shame so few companies here in America ... where much of this great music was created in the first place ... take as much care to get things right.
That being said, let's listen to BOTH versions of "Joanne" (as submitted by FH Reader Tom Diehl). kk

Joanne - the original 45 version

The alternate "CD-Mix" / Compilation Reissue Version
Meanwhile, we got LOTS of responses to THIS one ... and, ultimately, The Forgotten Hits Crew came through again! Check it out!
>>>Here's one for "Helping Out Our Readers": When I was 13 in the summer of 1965, my friend Art and I built a "wireless broadcaster" out of some radio parts we bought at the Six Corners Olson Electronics, all screwed to a piece of scrap 1 X 6. We hooked it up to his shortwave listening antenna (about 30 feet of wire strung from his house to his garage) connected it to his record player, and grabbed a 45 from the pile of records he had just sitting on a basement shelf. Then we took a transistor radio and ran around the neighborhood seeing how far away we could hear it. When the 45 ended, we went back to the basement and put it on again and then ran in the other direction. You could literally hear it a block away, west past Overhill and east past Oriole. The 45 was "Rocket Ride," but it was not (obviously) the 1978 Kiss song, nor the 1963 doo-wop piece by Johnny Greco. It was a pounding instrumental, all drums and guitars, and so up-tempo it was borderline manic. I have no recall of the artist, and think it may have been a B-side. I just don't know, but it was a fun stunt and I've always wondered if anyone else in the neighborhood swung past the frequency then and heard it too. I'd love to know the artist, and certainly hear the song again if anybody has it. (Jeff Duntemann)
>>>OK, THIS should be an interesting one!!! (I thought you were going to ask if anyone on the list happened to be cruising through your neighborhood that afternoon and heard your "pirate" broadcast!!! lol) So I guess we're probably more likely to get an answer to the "mystery artist" than a positive response to the OTHER question! (lol) Have at it readers ... I'm betting that somebody out there knows EXACTLY what song Jeff is talking about! (kk)

Here are two more tunes with the title ... "Rocket Ride, Parts 1 and 2" by Floyd Turnham and "Rocket Ride" by Narvel Felts ... neither is what I would call a pounding instrumental and clearly guitar isn't a lead instrument in either song so I'll bet neither is what Jeff is looking for ... I have a lead on another tune with the same title but it is taking the purchase of the actual 45 to see if it is it what Jeff is looking for ... stay tuned ...
Tom Diehl

I immediately perked up when I read someone asking about "Rocket Ride" ... sadly, it is 99.9% likely that my version isn't the one he's looking for, altho Lord knows I "remember" things wrong all the time. My version is a soaring instrumental, but with horns and strings, what the Star Trek theme might have sounded like if the show had been done 10 years earlier. It is from a stereo test LP put out by Voice of Music Corp, no artist or even composer given. You can hear a bit of it on my "Beam You Up" promo at the end of #20 at stolfpod.podbean.com
Sorry, Stolf, but YOUR version is NOT the one he's been looking for. Neither is the Floyd Turnham version sent in by Tom Diehl above. But SEVERAL folks on the list nailed this one, which Jeff Duntemann then confirmed himself ... keep reading! (kk)

This is more than likely "Rocket Ride" by Narvel Felts, which was released in 1957.

Not so much a guitar instrumental, but I'm betting the song Jeff is looking for is "Rocket Ride" by Narvel Felts. It also predates 1965 by nearly a decade -- but I'm still betting that this is the one.

Thanks so much for helping with this. I would certainly remember it if I heard it again -- in fact, I can hear it in my head right now! After thinking about it some, I recall that it's got sax or horns of some kind in addition to the guitars, and a weird sense of boogie-woogie gone manic.I have no idea of the artist, none at all. I have not seen the physical 45 since 1965.
... and then this ...
Kent -- I was talking to a friend of mine last night and he suggested the artist might be Narvel Felts, who did record something called Rocket Ride in 1958. He was looking at a Web search, and sure enough, I just hadn't gotten down as far on the Google results as he did. Felts did country, not rock, which is why I hadn't heard of him.It's impossible to be sure if this is the record without hearing it, but maybe somebody out there has it or an MP3.
... and then, digging even deeper ...
Ok ... I think we've got it. See this site:
Pertinent text:
The band that I recorded with at Mercury was still the same that was on my Sun sessions. Also a piano player named Chuck Stacy worked some of the songs on the Chicago session with us. The line-up was myself doing vocals and rhythm guitar, Leon Barnett on lead guitar, J.W. Grubbs on bass, Bob Taylor on drums and Jerry Tuttle playing steel guitar and saxophone; in fact later on that year we recorded an instrumental that featured Jerry on saxophone, called "Rocket Ride." That record came out and really started getting some action, this was early '58. The story goes that Art Talmadge heard a radio station in Chicago play "Rocket Ride" on a slow speed and it sounded like a stroll record to him, and they had a hit at the time with the diamonds "The Stroll", and so he slowed it down, and it was re-issued very quickly as "Rocket Ride Stroll." That was actually a re-recording and I believe it was Sil Austin and the orchestra who recorded "Rocket Ride Stroll" and they issued it under my name. The original "Rocket Ride" was just us, the Rockets. We did that at RCA Studio B in Nashville in October of 1957, featuring Jerry Tuttle on saxophone.
And that led to this:
Bingo! Now, what you're playing is "Rocket Ride Stroll," which implies that the real "Rocket Ride" recording was even faster! If this is the "stroll" version, I *definitely* want to hear the original!
Thanks again for your help.
And, by this point, we had already forwarded Jeff a copy of the Narvel Felts rockin' original ... which he then confirmed WAS the record he remembered blasting across his neighborhood some 45 years ago!!! AMAZING!!! Incredibly, while the record never officially charted and goes back to the earliest days of Rock And Roll, our Forgotten Hits Bloodhound Sleuths solved the mystery again. Way To Go, Gang!!! (kk)
BINGO! That is the item. Nice to hear it again ... and it's interesting in that it's nothing at all like the other couple of pieces of Felts' music that I've been able to locate.Like so much else, they just don't make 'em like that anymore!

Thanks both to you and to the readers who sent it in!
Jeff Duntemann