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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'New York Graffiti – 1619-1750' [4CD Box-Set]
Artist - Various

In short, New York Graffiti – 1619-1750 Broadway: An Independent American Pop Story 1958-1968 is a study of American pop music during the time it exploded into a record industry.

Releasing this November 29th, 2019 via RPM Records / Cherry Red Records UK, some Americans reference the music of their parents from the late 1950s to mid-1960s as the American Graffiti generation.

The term coined by George Lucas in his movie homage to that period and the youth coming of age during that time.

And so RPM uses that reference as it’s setting to focus on the records produced by a group of music companies operating in the ‘tin pan alley’ of New York from the Brill Building at 1619 Broadway and up around the block.

A fascinating story emerges surrounding the growth of a group of independent US Publishing Companies, some 28 in number, the oldest of which Broadway Music was founded in 1914, and how by the end of 1968 all had come under the ownership of one, the Edward Kassner Music Company.

New York Graffiti is set in the time when the song publishers launched their own in house record labels. Not only that, these companies were part of the business as a vertical integration of publishers, writers, arrangers, producers, labels, studios, artists, management, DJs, radio.

Most in the same district of New York, often in the same building. With control of ‘the Song’ then it was about manipulating as much as possible around it’s exploitation for maximum commercial exposure.

With our group of Publishers they specifically launched and ran the labels Joy Records, Seville Records, President Records, Duel, Gulf, Shell Records, Select, and the recordings on this collection are drawn from them.

Included in this quite magnificent, rather wondrous new 4CD Box-Set are singer / songwriter Neil Diamond’s early single as Neil & Jack, and Tom Pacheco in his first band The Raggamuffins.

Also included are artist Shirley Ellis pre-‘Clapping Song’ as Shirley Elliston, soon to be backing Elvis and Dusty in American Studios ‘Memphis Boy’ Bobby Wood, pre-Three Degrees producer Richard Barrett, and ‘Montego Bay’ Bobby Bloom during his time with The Imaginations.

And many examples of where the Song is King such as 'Prisoner of Love,' a 1946 Perry Como record, here as a glorious swing beat number by Billy Duke months before James Brown’s soul defining version.

As included is Ricky Shaw’s stab at Rick Nelson with 'A Fool’s Memory' subsequently covered by Billy Fury, and Bobby Sherman’s R&B classic 'Do You Want To Dance' here given the then-on-trend "twist" treatment by Joey & The Twisters; just before Cliff Richard’s upbeat pop version.

We also get Earl Wade’s bossa version of 'Feel So Bad' which was soon followed by Elvis’s hit single version, and more obscurely Laura Lynn’s beautifully swooning 'It Took A Long Time Coming,' then covered by Robert Plant as an early solo single.

Not to mention the label’s own hits including ‘Bobby’s Girl’, ‘Shout Shout (Knock Yourself Out)’, ‘Little Band Of Gold’, ‘Heartbreaker’, ‘Hootenanny’, ‘Pushin’ Your Luck,’ and so, oh so many more!

In fact, over half the set is on CD for the first time with three tracks previously unreleased and two others freshly mixed down from multi track tapes.

Many very collectable, such as the garage sound of The Barbarians, the early Neil Diamond as Neil & Jack, Northern and early Soul classics including those from Pat Hervey, Roger Pace, Linda Cumbo, Pat Jarvis, Sonny Stiles, The Kampells, Millie Foster, and Curtis Knight.

Disc: 1
1. 'Ankle Bracelet' - the Pyramids
2. 'Story Tellin' Baby' - the Jodimars
3. 'Rock and Roll Kittens' - Judy and Joyce
4. 'Sock Hop' - the Gorman Sisters
5. 'Lavender Coffin' - Russ Cassata
6. 'Blue Flute' - Don Harper
7. 'I Am Yours' - Richard Barrett and the Sevilles
8. 'But Are You Sure' - Ronnie Mitchell
9. 'The King' - Gregg Madden
10. 'Feeling This Thing Called Love' - Wallie Hawkins
11. 'Baby You're a Long Time Dead' - Freddie Scott
12. 'Boca Raton' - Ronnie Mitchell
13. 'Pitter Patter' - the Five Fleets
14. 'A Beautiful Love' - Shirley Elliston
15. 'Lost the Right' (Take 9) - Freddie Scott
16. 'Don't Believe Them' - Wallie Hawkins
17. 'Feel So Bad' - Earl Wade
18. 'Hurricane' - Kenny Dana
19. 'You're Still My Baby' - Earl Wade
20. 'Fools Fall in Love' - Starfires
21. 'Hey You' - the Imaginations
22. 'Shout! Shout! (Knock Yourself Out)' - Ernie Maresca
23. 'It Was Like Heaven' - Little Joey & the Flips
24. 'Heart Breaker' - Dean Christie
25. 'Love Is the Greatest Thing' - the Delacardos
26. 'Oh Love (Stop Knockin on My Door)' - Jamie Horton
27. 'Pretty Baby' - Charlie Gracie
28. 'Bossa Rock' - Bellino

Delving into each disc one at a time and revealing who I personally think stands out for their musical contributions, on this first disc it actually kicks off with truly one of the top doo wops of all time in The Pyramids' 'Ankle Bracelet.'

The glorious lindy hoppin' music of 'Lavender Coffin' from Russ Cassata is another joy to behold, along with 'Baby You're a Long Time Dead' from Freddie Scott, the barbershop quartet vibe of 'Fools Fall in Love' from Starfires, and the groovy disc-ending 'Bossa Rock' by Bellino.

Disc: 2
1. 'When You've Got Love' - Curtis Knight
2. 'Night and Day U.S.A.' - Charlie Gracie
3. 'Wheel and Deal' - Bill Roxy
4. 'Do You Want to Dance' - Joey & the Twisters
5. 'Early Sunday' - Mort Garson and His Orchestra
6. 'Lovin' Time' - the Hideaways
7. 'Go Shout It from a Mountain' - Jamie Horton
8. 'Bobby's Girl' - Marcie Blane
9. 'Love Wheel' - Millie Foster
10. 'Jigsaw Puzzle' - the Chelmars
11. 'A Fool's Memory' - Ricky Shaw
12. 'Even Though' - Susan Lynne
13. 'Lovin' Time' - Sleepy King
14. 'You're Gonna Be Sorry' - Curtis Knight
15. 'Bitterness' - Millie Foster
16. 'There'll Be No Goodbyes' - Susan Lynne
17. 'I'm Afraid' - Neil & Jack
18. 'Til You've Tried Love' - Neil & Jack
19. 'Bye Bye Travelin Man' - Hughie Garrity & the Hollywood Playboys
20. 'Real Churchy' - Al Tousan
21. 'That's All I Need' - Bobby Wood
22. 'Midnight Hassle' - the Frank Virtue Combo
23. 'Nobody Knows' - Michael Zara and the Compliments
24. 'Tell Me More' - Scotty Carrol
25. 'Little Band of Gold' - James Gilreath
26. 'Summers Come and Gone' - the Brandywine Singers
27. 'Hootenanny' - the Glencoves

The finger-snappin' twist of 'When You've Got Love' from Curtis Knight will definitely put a smile on your face, and that's backed by the warm sounds of 'Lovin' Time' from the Hideaways, the beautiful ballad 'Bitterness' by Millie Foster, and upbeat piano and organ work of 'Real Churchy' from Al Tousan.

Arranged and conducted by Bill Ramal, a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music and Columbia University who formed the production team Ramal-Wilson Associates with Marty Wilson, 'Nobody Knows' from Michael Zara and the Compliments is brilliant to listen to even today and so too the second disc closer, the hand-clappin' pop bounce of 'Hootenanny' from the Glencoves (it was actually their debut release and became their only hit, reaching #38 on the Billboard charts).

Disc: 3
1. 'Did I Think About You' - Millie Foster
2. 'Will You Wait' (PT 1) - Larry Banks
3. 'What a Thrill' - Millie Foster
4. 'Devil's Waitin' (On Bald Mountain)' - the Glencoves
5. '609' - Billy Duke
6. 'Larry' - the Allen Sisters
7. 'The Sweetest Boy' - the Kittens
8. 'You Got It Bad' - the Kampells
9. 'The Street' - Terry and the Tunisians
10. 'Snow Surfin'' - Zeke Sheppard
11. 'Boys Cry' - the Four Coins
12. 'Get Lost' - the Sillaways
13. 'Just Like My Baby' - Joan Berry
14. 'I'm Hurt and So Is My Heart' - Little Gigi
15. 'Don't Deceive Me' - Jimmy & Jack
16. 'Just in the Nick of Time' - Billy Lee
17. 'When I Meet a Girl Like You' - the Pageboys
18. 'You've Got to Understand' - the Barbarians
19. 'Pompton Turnpike' - Floyd Morris
20. 'People in Love' - the Taylor Brothers
21. 'Take the Bitter with the Sweet' - Little Gigi
22. 'Hello Lady' - Ludaway
23. 'I Don't Want to Make You Cry' - Billy Lee
24. 'Sha la Lu Luma' - the Twilights
25. 'Hey Little Bird' - the Barbarians
26. 'I Have Love' - the Pageboys

The third disc begins with Millie Foster's shrill ballad 'Did I Think About You,' and is followed by the folk harmony of 'Devil's Waitin' (On Bald Mountain)' (the Glencoves), the doo-wop girl group hybrid Terry and the Tunisians with 'The Street,' and the horn-influenced 'Don't Deceive Me' from Jimmy & Jack.

Another lo-fi gem is the acid uptempo mod jazz of 'Pompton Turnpike' from Floyd Morris, the moody piano supported mid-tempo, harmonica-laced (complete with haunting girl-group chorus) 'I Don't Want to Make You Cry' from Billy Lee, and ends with one of my favorite 7" singles of that time, The Pageboys with 'I Have Love.'

Disc: 4
1. 'The Dixatay' - Billy Butterfield
2. 'Prisoner of Love' - Billy Duke
3. 'Did You Ever Lose Your Mind Over a Boy' - Linda Cumbo
4. 'The Hurtin Kind' - Marcie Blane
5. 'It's Their World' - Ernie Maresca
6. 'Fools Paradise' - Bobby Wood
7. 'Now I'm at the Top' - Scott Bedford Four
8. 'Four Times Faster' - Fish 'N' Chips
9. 'Last Exit to Brooklyn' - Scott Bedford Four
10. 'Girl Can't Take a Joke' - the Druids
11. 'She Belongs to Me' - Ray Emmett and the Superiors
12. 'You Day Is Coming' - James Gilreath
13. 'The Truth Hurts' - Dick Roman
14. 'The Minute My Back Was Turned' - Roger Pace
15. 'Give a Little Bit' - Sonny Stiles and His Kings Men
16. 'You Copped My Soul' - the Demetrons
17. 'Here She Comes' - Sonny Stiles and His Kings Men
18. 'Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow' - Linda Cumbo
19. 'The Soul of My Man' - Pat Jarvis
20. 'Can't Get You Out of My Mind' - Pat Hervey with the Tiaras
21. 'It Took a Long Time Coming' - Laura Lynn
22. 'Alley Pond Park' - Culver Street Playground
23. 'Hate to See a Good Thing Have to Go' - the Raggamuffins
24. 'Cry Alone' - Guardians of the Rainbow
25. 'It Wasn't Happening at All' - the Raggamuffins
26. 'You Can't Do That' - Doris Willingham

The fourth and final disc opens with the upbeat trumpet work of Billy Butterfield's Nola-inspired 'The Dixatay,' and backs that up with the lush orchestrations of 'Now I'm at the Top' (Scott Bedford Four), and another gem, the brilliantly tonal 'Give a Little Bit' by Sonny Stiles and His Kings Men (a young Tom Jones-esque, perhaps?).

The awesome voice of Linda Cumbo next brings us the love song 'Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,' and then we get the staggeringly atmospheric 'Hate to See a Good Thing Have to Go' (the Raggamuffins), with the toe-tappin,' horn-led disco/pop beauty 'You Can't Do That by Doris Willingham rounding the collection off perfectly.

An 80-page, perfect bound book(let) reveals this whole New York Graffiti story in detail, including photos and images never before published, history of the songs, along with biogs of every artist in the box.

Simply put, this gorgeous 4CD Box-Set comprises over 100 tracks and 250 minutes of music for all true music lovers to dive right into!

In closing, is a musical romp through a decade of American Pop history, 1958-1968, following a specific set of Publishers and their record labels who mirrored all the key Pop music movements of that period: Doo Wop, Rock n Roll, RnB, early Soul, Girl Group, Folk, Beat, Garage.