1959: Today at the 30th Street Studio

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by DMortensen, Jan 15, 2019.

  1. DMortensen

    DMortensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Seattle, WA USA
    February 1:

    No session today in 30th St.
  2. GLouie

    GLouie Forum Resident

    Dan, could you mention what day of the week it was in the 1959 entries? I don't have my perpetual calendar handy!
  3. DMortensen

    DMortensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Seattle, WA USA
    I keep mine in my favorites because it comes up once in a while.

    The AFM reports don't state the day, but my calendar says that Feb. 1 was a Sunday.
  4. DMortensen

    DMortensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Seattle, WA USA
    February 2 (posting early cause I'll be busy on the 2nd):

    Already I'm going to break my pledge of doing less work on this project because there were a number of interesting sessions today that illustrate various points.

    First, there was one session that wasn't in 30th St at all but gives us a chance to talk about the Hotel St. George in Brooklyn.

    As you see if you read that Wikipedia, Columbia Records used the Grand Colorama Ballroom at the Hotel for recording sessions, and there was one today for 3.5 hours (no times listed) with Leonard Bernstein and "the regular personnel of the N.Y. Philharmonic", recording Franck's Symphony in D Minor.

    The first session of the day that was actually in 30th St was "Lee and Paul" "with orchestral accompaniment", from 9am to noon.

    Lee and Paul were composers and songwriters Lee Pockriss and Paul Vance in what seems to be their only performing collaboration.

    Songs they had co-written together included the timeless "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini", but today they recorded another novelty song called The Chick, along with Valentina, My Valentina.

    Their orchestra was:

    Leader: Lee Pockriss
    Contractor: Frank Carroll
    Sax: Sidney Jakowsky
    Bass: Russell A Savakus
    Drums: Herbert Lovelle
    Guitar: George Barnes, Alexander Caiola, and John Pizzarelli
    Piano: Harold (aka "Buddy") Weed

    The second session of the day was Roy Hamilton with Marion Evans and His Orchestra, from 2:30-5:30pm.

    We saw pictures in the other thread of Roy and Marion separately, but the session in that thread that had Roy's pictures also had Jim Foglesong, and I don't see his name on this report although they didn't really name producers on these reports.

    Songs recorded were:

    -Great Day
    -Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive
    (ed.: a Harold Arlen song)
    -Blow, Gabriel, Blow
    -That Great Come and Get It Day

    Musicians were:

    ---Marion Evans
    ---Edward Goldberg
    ---Bernie Glow
    ---John Bello
    ---Carl Severinsen (ed.: Later known as "Doc")
    ---Irving Berger
    ---Harry Divito
    ---Frank Rehak
    ---Seymour Berger
    ---Rodney Levitt
    ---Joseph Soldo
    ---Gerald S nfino (sic)
    ---Sol Schlinger
    ---William Slapin
    ---John Hafer
    ---John Pizzarelli
    ---Osie Johnson
    ---Milt Hinton
    ---Bernie Leighton

    There were two more sessions on consecutive days with Roy and these same leader and contractor, and I think it's interesting to see how the orchestra changed and will post comparative groups on those days.

    If you can find recordings that contain those songs and post pictures, that would be cool and will continue the part where we identify albums recorded in 30th St., or the Hotel St. George.
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  5. DMortensen

    DMortensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Seattle, WA USA
    February 3 (Tuesday):

    There were two sessions today, both continuations of previous sessions:

    The first, from 2:30-5:30pm, was Stan Freeman and His Orchestra continuing their recordings of songs titled with women's names: Marquita; Alice Blue Gown; Estrellita; and Diane.

    The orchestra was almost the same, with the replacement of violinists George Berg and Harry Urbont with Mac Ceppos and Sam Rand, and drummer Frank Garisto Jr and bassist Sam Bruno with Osie Johnson and Milt Hinton respectively.

    As we see in the post above, the latter two players were working the day before as well, and as will see in a few lines they were busy men those days.

    The second session this day was Roy Hamilton with Marion Evans and His Orchestra continuing their recording with

    Get Happy
    The Lonesome Road
    Some Days There Just Ain't No Fish

    I confess, the last title sucked me in, so here it is:

    Was that a Mitch Miller-mandated novelty song? Did it take off?

    Here's the Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate etc.:

    Ac-Cent-Tchu-ate the Positive

    That's a pretty swinging arrangement!

    It's mildly interesting to see how the players changed from day to day, so I've decided to put each of the three days' personnel side by side so the mild changes are visible. Here's the first two:


    Osie and Milt have some WORK!

    That said, as Ashley Kahn showed us in his great book about the Kind Of Blue sessions, which took place in this year, the standard rate for a sideman at this time was a little over US$50, plus a little more for cartage for drummers and bassists, so although they were working they weren't getting rich. OTOH you could rent an adequate if not better apartment in NYC in those days for $50/month, so two sessions a day could cover your rent and utilities for a month. So not bad.

    Here's the album front cover and labels:


    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I found the album back cover on eBay, but the notes by "Roy Hamilton's discoverer, Bill Cook" are not very enlightening although they call attention to Milt Hinton, "...whose accurate, artistic fingers and smiling face have long been an inspiration to Roy. Milt is a 'must' on all Roy's recording dates, and has only missed one session in Roy's five-year career."

    That's nice.
  6. DMortensen

    DMortensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Seattle, WA USA
    February 4 (Wednesday):

    Only one session, from 7:30-10:30pm, with Roy Hamilton and Marion Evans and His Orchestra.

    Personnel changes as noted:


    I believe the Contractor is there to take care of lining up all the people and finding new ones to replace people who can't be there on a particular day. Probably they arrange to pay everyone and keep track of taxes? Post if you know more about this part, please.
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  7. the pope ondine

    the pope ondine Forum Resident

    love this thread
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  8. The Hole Got Fixed

    The Hole Got Fixed Owens, Poell, Saberi

    A great thread.
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  9. DMortensen

    DMortensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Seattle, WA USA
    February 5:

    Only one session today, from 2:30-5:30pm, a continuation of the Stan Freeman and His Orchestra recordings of songs with women's names.

    The players changed around a little in the first two sessions of this series and a lot today, so here's another comparison between the three sessions:


    As I indicated in the first post, there are bursts of both astonishing accomplishment as well as nearly instantly forgettable work in the life of this studio (and probably all others), and for me this little run is towards the latter end of the scale. As we get closer to the end of the month the direction will change, either due to the participants or their work or both.
  10. John DeAngelis

    John DeAngelis Senior Member

    New York, NY
    That sounds about right to me.
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  11. DMortensen

    DMortensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Seattle, WA USA
  12. Pelvis Ressley

    Pelvis Ressley Down in the Jungle Room

    Capac, Michigan
    Bill Cook was a New Jersey radio DJ that later became Roy Hamilton's manager. He composed one of Roy's Epic Records hit singles, "You Can Have Her".
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  13. DMortensen

    DMortensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Seattle, WA USA
    February 6:

    Two sessions today.

    The first, from 10am-1pm, was the opera and aspiring blues singer Eileen Farrell with Max Rudolf and His Orchestra.

    Songs recorded were:

    Luigi Cherubini: Excerpts from "Medea": Neris' Aria; Solo un pinto

    Beethoven: Excerpt from "Fidelio": Abscheulicher wo dilst du hin

    Weber: Excerpt from "Der Freischutz": Leise, Leise

    (Apologies for butchering any or all of that.)

    Musicians were:

    Max Rudolf
    Contractor and bassoon:
    Loren Glickman
    Felix Galimir
    Paul Gershman
    Louis Gabowitz
    Herbert Baumel
    Max Pollikoff
    Helen Kwalwasser
    Renato Ladetto
    Bernard Eichenbaum
    Charles Jaffe (? on aptness of link)
    Joyce Robbins
    Avram Weiss
    Norman Carr
    Jesse Tryon
    Walter Trampler
    Leon Frengut
    Jack Braunstein
    Arthur Granick
    Charles McCracken
    George Ricci
    Arthur Winograd
    Jules Eskin
    Julius Levine
    Samuel Levitan
    Julius Baker
    Murray Panitz
    Harry Shulman
    Leonard Arner
    Bernard Portnoy
    Ernest Bright
    Elias Carmen
    Horn (French Horn, right?):
    John Barrows
    Ray Alonge
    James Buffington
    Ralph Brown

    That was quite the distinguished string section, huh? It was fun seeing all those people and what they did; I wish I could do that for everyone.

    I'm not able to find any albums with these songs by these headliners. Can any of you find anything?

    There were no sessions on the 7th, 8th, or 9th, so I'll take advantage of that gap and describe on one of those days the second session that was today.
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  14. DMortensen

    DMortensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Seattle, WA USA
    February 6 #2:

    The other session today was with Ted Straeter and His Orchestra, which consisted of:

    Leader and Piano:
    Ted Straeter
    Otto F. Schmidt
    Herman T. Alpert
    Unknown Instrument:
    Edward James Costa
    Herbert J. Mann
    Ed Shaughnessy
    Al Caiola

    It went from 2:30-5:30pm, and songs recorded were:

    My Girl Is Just Enough Woman For Me
    Terribly Attractive
    The Way You Look Tonight
    They Didn't Believe Me

    The album that had these songs on it was


    It took some doing, but I found a clear version of the back so you could read Dorothy Kilgallen's immortal liner notes (with a picture presumably taken in 30th St.):


    in which she points out that he was the entertainment at her wedding but does not note that she married the witty playwright, actor, and director Moss Hart (who died much too young a couple years after this).

    It took a while, for some reason, to find this exact album with these songs; another album that I found had liner notes by Rogers E. M. Whitaker, who was a staff member, editor, fact-checker, tone-setter, and long-time writer at the New Yorker magazine. One of his duties was to write about college football games; another was writing the "Goings On About Town" column which involved spending lots of time in clubs, cabarets, and other night spots, where he undoubtedly got to know Ted Straeter.

    An excerpt from his obituary in the New Yorker, which I found in a train enthusiast web site:

    "In the early thirties, Whitaker had taken on another chore for the magazine, which lasted forty years — going to supper clubs and cabarets and writing short reviews of them for the Goings On About Town section. (From 1943 to 1963, over the initials R.E.M.W. or R.W., he also wrote about these clubs and cabarets in the column Tables for Two.)

    "Whitaker found that he liked nothing better than dining in the Persian Room, taking in the midnight show at the Copacabana or the late show at the Blue Angel, and then trundling off to an after-hours spot in Harlem or the Village before diving into a big breakfast of turkey hash and orange muffins, ducking into a hotel barbershop for a quick shave and a shine, and reporting to his desk promptly at 10 a.m.

    "He quickly made friends with the musicians and comics he wrote about, and he was often invited to climb on a train with Duke Ellington when the Ellington band went on tour. He helped a number of performers — Harry Belafonte, Debbie Reynolds, Orson Bean, Jonathan Winters — get their first Broadway-musical parts. He gave Cy Coleman, the composer of "Little Me," "Sweet Charity," and "Barnum," his first rave when Coleman was a very young jazz pianist.

    "Growing up," Coleman has said, "I had always wanted to be a concert pianist, and Whitaker's praise really got me started on a career I wasn't yet quite sure I wanted. It sent me spiralling in a strange way." (Coleman later wrote "On the Twentieth Century" with Whitaker in mind.)

    "Whitaker also gave Lenny Bruce his only good notice when Bruce first opened at the Blue Angel.

    "In the night-life world, for reasons that are lost to history, he was known as Popsie.

    '"Popsie Whitaker reigned supreme,"' Bobby Short has said. "'He was one of the few who knew, one of the few wise men I've met, and it was gratifying to know we were getting across to someone as intrinsically stylish as he was. The little blurbs he wrote were actually brilliant reviews that exerted a terribly important influence, because in two or three words he had it out flat exactly what you were up to. If you were bright, you picked it up and went on from there.'" (Paragraphing by Dan.)


    Since Straeter routinely played the Persian Room at the Plaza Hotel, it seems safe to say that they knew each other well.

    Whitaker was also a rabid train enthusiast, spending nearly every weekend and vacation on train trips, and writing about them under the pen name "E. M. Frimbo".

    Readers of the 30th St thread know that we did a lot of work to find the identity of one of the early Masterworks people, Paul Tyler Turner, and that HE was an Electric Railroad Enthusiast. I don't know how specific Whitaker was in his appreciation of railroads, but it's easy to imagine the two of them sharing railroad joys if they ever met.
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  15. DMortensen

    DMortensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Seattle, WA USA
    Finally got to casually listen to the Sabicas CD on a decent stereo, and the low end sound is indeed present and distracting. It's almost like an organ pipe at a very low frequency, not like a motor or grounding problem or anything like that in my experience.

    Noticed several things on one pass listening while doing something else:

    1) It's only on some songs and not on others;
    2) It's gated out on some songs when the music goes quiet, so someone was paying attention at some point in the production chain;
    3) It was more noticeable in adjacent rooms in my house than in the listening room, which makes sense because the lows are omnidirectional while mid/highs are progressively more directional.

    I should be able to hook up your examples to my stereo tomorrow and listen to them as well, to see if I can identify the sound as the same as what I heard today.

    There are not a lot of low frequencies in that guitar recording IMHO (i.e., it sounded like an "old" recording rather than what I think of as the pristine Columbia signal chain, if that makes any sense), so simply high passing would get rid of the noise and not much music. (Now that I type this, I'm not sure what kind of high-pass is in my signal chain, if any. Should be able to look at that tomorrow, too.)
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  16. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    City of Angels
    Great thread. I assume Charles Mingus did his groundbreaking 1959 Columbia sessions here. Uh-Um is the classic album never topped imo.
  17. DMortensen

    DMortensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Seattle, WA USA
    Thank you, and yes, there were two Mingus sessions in May in 30th St.
  18. DMortensen

    DMortensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Seattle, WA USA
    February 10:

    Only one session today, for a total of 2 (!) hours but no specific hours reported. Andre Kostelanetz conducted The New York Philharmonic Orchestra, members unspecified but their regular personnel.

    Pieces recorded were:

    Gershwin: Bess, Oh Where Is My Bess from "Porgy and Bess"
    Gershwin: Prelude No. 2
    Kern: Symphonic Pictures

    Contractor was J. De Angelis, and there's not much more in the recording report about this session.

    This session resulted in the first side of this album



    Not a lot of secret information in the album notes, either.

    Here's the label


    Not a very colorful label, either.
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  19. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Milwaukee, WI
    That's a Masterworks label. They were gray through much (most?) of the LP era.
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  20. DMortensen

    DMortensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Seattle, WA USA
    February 11:

    There were no sessions in the reports for today.
  21. DMortensen

    DMortensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Seattle, WA USA
    We've had a lot of snow here recently, by Seattle standards, and shoveling has taken some time but I got to listen to these last night and compare them to the Sabicas recording mentioned earlier.

    Setting up the FFT analysis would have been a whole other level of complexity, but I realized that my stereo system is based around a Behringer X32 Rack which has a 1/3 octave RTA (Real Time Analyzer) built in which would work as a basic indicator of spectral content even though lacking the precision of SMAART or SIM. So I did that, and the reader should take this as anecdotal evidence rather than definitive proof, which I'll elaborate on a little in a bit.

    For disc playback I use an OPPO BDP-103 Bluray player, and speakers are Meyer HM-5's with one of the companion subwoofers placed on the floor in a corner, which I think is eighth space loading (fake edit: confirmed).

    Youtube playback from the headphone jack of a MacBook Pro running ~35' to a line in on the Rack.

    No highpass filters or EQ were on any input or output.

    The pictures below are of the EQ section, which is used as a visual when setting any EQ's. (I realized while typing that it doesn't show the effect of inserted 1/3 octave EQ's, but just checked and there are none in use). The pictures were taken with a handheld iPhone, which is why things might not be perfectly square and parallel.

    The little hyphens above each of the vertical lines indicate the peak reading over some seconds (5, maybe?) for that frequency band; the solid blue bars are the amplitude of that frequency band at the moment the picture was taken. Frequencies are on the horizontal axis, amplitude, from 20Hz on the left (lows) to 20KHz (20,000 Hz) on the right (highs). Amplitude is on the vertical axis, from something below -15dB at the bottom to 0dB in the middle to +15 at the top. The readings are all below 0 because of where the input trim pot is set, and I'm not going to take the time to explain that beyond pointing out that Sabicas is solo guitar, with its dynamic range, while the Horowitz is solo piano, with its very different dynamic range and frequency content from the guitar. It was tough to set the gain so that the background noise was the same with the guitar and the piano, but I did try.

    So here is Sabicas:



    These were both taken during the first song on the Sabicas CD. There is a pronounced spike right at 60Hz, and that is something that could be expected if there was a problem related to AC line voltage contamination (typically a grounding problem of some sort) of the audio signal somewhere in the signal chain between microphone and CD encoding. That is a long chain that stretches over many years, and I'll reiterate that this CD is not from Columbia/Sony AFAI can tell.

    The next three are from the Horowitz Schubert 4 Impromptus, D. 935, Op. 142: No. 2 that you (Mal) linked:




    Obviously they are from different parts of the song; the first two are from quiet parts while the third is louder. Regardless, we can see there there is nothing like the 60Hz spike that is in the Sabicas, and I could not hear anything I felt was rumble, objectionable or not.

    This is why my post here is anecdotal rather than definitive. I'm not convinced that Youtube, as valuable a resource as it is for giving us the ability to watch a near-infinite amount of entertaining stuff, allows audio through exactly as original. I know for a fact that they mysteriously process both audio and video to meet their standards, and if there was a bunch of junk at the bottom of the spectrum that added nothing while taking up storage that they wouldn't and shouldn't chop all that off.

    If you have the original material on disc of some sort, can you confirm that what you hear from that is what you hear from this Youtube recording? I looked for a CD of this recording and couldn't find one.

    I'll also point out preemptively that the bandwidth of these recordings seems so narrow (nothing above 2KHz in the Horowitz) because the overall amplitude is so low, and the normal spectrum of sound that we enjoy listening to drops with increasing frequency so all the higher part of the spectrum is below -15 or -20 from the peak midrange. I had a hard time setting the input trim on the channel so that the loudest parts didn't clip the channel. If your example was less thunderous it might have been easier. :)

    The guitar is pretty jangly when he's strumming hard, so those frequencies are clearly visible.

    There is definitely some low frequency content present in the Horowitz, but as you say, it is broader band and more intertwined in the sound of the piano.

    Maybe a Broadway show with singing would show the rumble more, or a string quartet or something? Given how mono-frequency the Sabicas rumble is, it may well an electronic problem rather than a furnace one.

    But, again, anecdotal rather than definitive.
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  22. John DeAngelis

    John DeAngelis Senior Member

    New York, NY
    When I was growing up, I was always pleased to see the name Peter DeAngelis (arranger/orch. leader) on Frankie Avalon records since we shared the same last name, but I never know there was a J. De Angelis too!
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  23. DMortensen

    DMortensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Seattle, WA USA
    February 12:

    Only one session today, from 10am-1pm:

    Matthew Raimondi, leader and violin
    David Tudor, piano

    Morton Feldman: Extensions for Violin and Piano

    This is on that same John Cage/Morton Feldman The Early Years album that was listed earlier in the thread.

    Here is that music that was recorded today, with a picture of the cover

    Try to keep from dancing....
  24. Mal

    Mal Phorum Physicist

    Perhaps the Sabicas LF noise was introduced in mastering?

    The Youtube Horowitz clip has the same LF noise as the CDs:

    1993: Complete Masterworks Recordings 1962 - 1973 [see Volume VIII for the Schubert Impromptus]

    The original LP release was Columbia Masterworks M 32342:

    Horowitz - Beethoven / Schubert - Moonlight Sonata / Impromptus

    Re-issued on CD here (no silver foil for the mini-LP sleeve, alas):

    2009: Complete Original Jacket Collection [album # 49, see Volume VI of the Complete Masterworks box for the Beethoven]

    Seems to be the same 1993 mastering used for both sets.

    Here's the Beethoven which also has the 'furnace rumble' - recorded at 30th Street, April 1972:

    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
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  25. DMortensen

    DMortensen Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Seattle, WA USA
    February 13 (Friday):

    There were two sessions today.

    The first, from 10am to 1pm, was Max Rudolf conducting the Columbia Symphony made up of mostly the same people as on February 6, with a few exceptions as noted below.

    They recorded Wagner's Sigfried Idyll. A search for that recording by that conductor and group comes up empty when I do it; can anyone find it?

    Orchestral differences that jump out at me:

    -add Eugene Bergen
    -Julius Baker only
    -replace Leonard Arner with Emanuel Tivan
    -replace Elias Carmen with Jack Knitzer
    -delete John Barrows and Ralph Brown
    -replace with Paul Ingraham
    New: Trumpet:
    John Ware

    I think the math works out to the same number of people, so that must be a thing, to add here and delete there to augment or add new sound (trumpet in this case) but keep the payroll the same.

    The second session was from 7-11pm, and featured singers Jennie Smith and Jill Corey accompanied by Jimmy Carroll and His Orchestra, consisting of:

    —- Jimmy Carroll
    —- Frank Carroll
    —- Al Casamenti
    —- John Pizzarelli
    —- Dan Perri
    —- Bradley Spinney
    —- Dick Hyman
    —- Herbert Lovelle

    One would think that Frank Carroll also played bass, but that's not in the report.

    It took finding Jimmy's obit in the NY Times to determine that they were brothers. They certainly did a lot of sessions together, and that must have been nice.

    Jennie Smith and Jill Corey were solo singers, and this session resulted in one song for Jennie and two for Jill:

    Huggin' My Pillow for Jennie;

    Dream Boy and Love Will Find Out The Way for Jill.

    Jennie's session was a remake; it seems to have turned out that they put out both versions of the song on the same 45, one side being "The Sweet Side) with Ray Ellis and His Orchestra, the other being "The Sweet Beat Side) with Jimmy Carroll and His Orchestra. I couldn't find audible versions of either, though.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I kind of figured she'd be a '50's style teen pop singer, since she was pretty young (21?), and found one song that proved me right:

    However, there's no evidence yet that this was a Columbia song or when it was recorded; her 1959 output was more like this:

    It's Murder For Roberta

    which is lot more torch singer than doo wop.

    Jill Corey seems like a pretty relentless self-promoter, as that clearly self-written but detailed Wikipedia link shows. Why should she source anything when she was there? She had a heck of a run.

    I did find pictures of the single, but just the Dream Boy side:


    This song is blocked on Youtube in my country, but here is the Love Will Find Out The Way song:

    Love Will Find Out The Way (1959) - Jill Corey

    Sounds more like harpsichord than piano accompanying a church hymn, which seems appropriate for her background and interests. The title seems awkward to me, but that's me.

    This song of hers from 1958 sounds more appropriately Columbia pop-y:

    Various - Pop Hit Party -Big Daddy - Jill Corey /Columbia 1958
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