Saturday Single No. 308

One of the things that happen as music comes into the Echoes In The Wind studios is that it gathers in piles until it’s dealt with. That’s true, no matter what format: On my desk right now is a slight pile of CDs waiting to be logged and tagged:  Bright Morning Stars by the Wailin’ Jennys, which was a birthday present from the Texas Gal a few weeks ago, along with Treacherous, Too by the Neville Brothers and a self-titled album by the Sweet Tchoupitoulas, both of which I found on the bargain shelf in one of the local pawnshops last weekend.

Behind me, under my central table – which I use to play baseball and occasionally to take notes from reference books – there is a crate of LPs: About twenty of them are spoken word records discarded from the public school libraries in St. Francis, the growing burg about fifty miles southeast of here where Rob teaches English. He brought them here on the late winter day in 2009 when the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl, so the date for the tags should be no trouble when I get around to it. The most interesting among the spoken-word albums? Probably e.e. cummings reads his poetry or perhaps Poems and Letters of Emily Dickinson Read By Julie Harris.

In the same crate are about thirty LPs from my dad’s collection that made their way to the EITW studios shortly after the Texas Gal and I set up housekeeping here at Under The Oaks and shortly after my sister had finished sorting through the boxes of stuff that wound up in her garage when Mom moved into assisted living. The records are mostly the Christmas albums that Dad collected in the 1960s (and possibly into the 1970s) from the local Firestone, Goodyear and RCA dealers, with a few non-seasonal religious records and a couple of odd things. One of those odd things might be my favorite among the records from Dad: Scandinavian Melodies and Other Piano Favorites by Audrey Landquist.

And in the digital shelves that are hidden from view inside the (rapidly filling) external hard drive, there is a jumble of stuff in a folder called ZTemp Files (The “Z” keeps the file at the bottom of its home folder, or else it would be stuck between the folders of music labeled “T” and “U.” More than twenty-three gigabytes of music sit in that temporary folder right now, ranging from an eight-CD set of tunes from Doug Sahm and his Sir Douglas Quintet to an OGG sound file from the BBC of London’s Big Ben tolling midnight.

Among the items that until recently took up space in that “ZTemp” file were two thousand or so mp3s from the vast “Lost Jukebox” series that showed up online about – and this is a vastly wild guess – ten years ago. (I base that time period on the fact that an index of the 170 CDs crammed with obscure singles from the 1960s and early 1970s was published online on a Tripod website.)

I learned about the Lost Jukebox during my scavenging days in the summer of 2006, just after I’d found the world of music blogging. I managed to find most of them, and two thousand or so files sat in my “ZTemp” folder for a long time as I groaned at the thought of tracking down accurate catalog numbers and release years for them. But about six months ago – having discovered the index on those Tripod pages – I decided to transfer all the Lost Jukebox stuff I had into the permanent music files and work on tagging them with the correct data when they pop up on random. That’s going slowly, but I likely get four or five files tagged on those days when the RealPlayer keeps me company as I putter in the EITW studios.

And at the same time, I learn what I’ve got in those Lost Jukebox files. This morning, as I looked for Saturday songs, I came across a Cajun workout titled “Saturday Nite Special” by a group called the Sundown Playboys. It was sufficiently different from most of the other records I find in the Lost Jukebox files (lots of garage rock, lots of early psychedelica and lots of sweet symphonic pop) that it caught my ear.

It turns out that “Saturday Nite Special” was a release on Apple Records, having been brought to London from the U.S. by one Ringo Starr. The Sundown Playboys had a lengthy history, having been founded in 1948 by musicians that included Cajun accordionist Lionel Cormier. After Lionel’s death in 1971, the band carried on with his son and his grandson joining the band. All Music Guide and Amazon list several compilations of the band’s work, and those are something to think about. And in 2010, “Saturday Nite Special” was one of the tunes selected for the anthology Come And Get It – The Best Of Apple Records.

Back in 1972, “Saturday Nite Special” was released on 45s in the U.S. and in the U.K. It was also released – as the poster at YouTube notes – on a limited release 78 rpm record. And for all of that – a Beatle bringing Cajun music to London and releasing it on Apple with a special 78 rpm release – “Saturday Nite Special” is today’s Saturday Single.

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3 Responses to “Saturday Single No. 308”

  1. Alex says:

    Completely weird and bizarre and cool.

    Apple Records may have been a mess as a business model, but it sure was a fun mess for a few years!

  2. Tim McMullen says:

    A fun musical piece, and an interesting glimpse of the workings of the “stacks” (as we used to call them in library lingo).

  3. Paco Malo says:

    That’s the real thing, fur sure. And a 78!? Wow.

    Keep digging in that stack of Cajun and Nawlins’ music. Moreover, get yourself some Zydeco. That Louisiana music is infectious and you never stop lovin’ it once it’s in your veins.

    Laissez le bon temps rouler!

    Great job, WhiteRay.

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