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ELDER MUSIC: Fifties EPs

While I am away in New York City for a couple of weeks, a fantastic group of elderbloggers and elderblog readers agreed to fill in for me. Today it is Peter Tibbles who says of himself:

I'm an Australian from a small country town with a strange name (the town that is; oh me too, I guess) who now lives in the big smoke (Melbourne). I'm divorced with no kids (which means, of course, that I never grew up). A mathematician by training, I've worked for more than 40 years in the IT industry (which may be some sort of a record). In a nutshell:

I drink wine
I listen to music
I read books
Often at the same time.


I've been thinking about recorded music in the fifties. I do that quite a bit. We had everything back then. Okay, I hear what you saying, there were no CDs, no MP3s, no iPods. You've made your point, you young folks. We had 78s, 45s, 33s  All of those things. Singles and Long Players. We also had EPs, Extended Plays, 7 inch 45s.

These were great value for money. I still have one of my sister's with its price tag on it. It cost about one-and-a-half times the price of a single. Great value, because these had four or five songs on them. Back then, whenever an artist recorded an album, it usually consisted of two or three hits, maybe another good song or two and a bunch of filler.

The EP came out with the best four or five songs from the album and no fillers. And it cost a lot less than having to buy three or four singles or the album. No wonder we liked them.

JohnnieRay-MrEmotion The first EP was that very one of my sister's with the price tag. This is Johnnie Ray. What a great one this is. (Pam, if you're reading this, I still have it if you want it.) It was called Mr Emotion and it has on it Cry, Walkin' My Baby Back Home, All of Me and I'm Gonna Walk and Talk with My Lord. Okay, three out of four songs ain't bad and here is Cry.

JohnnieRay The second was also Pam's. Now, this may come as a surprise to you all, but this was Johnnie Ray as well. This had the rather prosaic title of Johnnie Ray. There was Just Walking in the Rain, Please Mr. Sun, All of Me and Tell the Lady I said Goodbye. Again, three out of four. I guess Johnnie was fond of All of Me. Instead, here is Walking in the Rain.

ElvisPresley-JailhouseRock The third one (I think - I'm getting a bit hazy about the order of these) was Elvis. I can't remember whose this was but now we're talking. This was the Jailhouse Rock EP, and what a beauty this was. Five tracks on this one. The songs are Jailhouse Rock, Don't Leave Me Now, I Want to be Free, Baby, I Don't Care and Treat Me Nice. Five out of five. Here's the last cut.

I recall other Elvis EPs we had. Old Shep springs to mind but I don't think either of us wishes to claim that one. It's not in the box. I believe Poor Boy was on that one.

LittleRichard The next (or previous) was definitely mine. Little Richard. This one has gone as well, but what a fine disk it was. I played it and played it. Mum wasn't impressed but didn't say anything unless I turned it up too high. The tracks were Tutti Frutti, Rip It Up, Ready Teddy and Long Tall Sally. Four out of four. Maybe the best EP ever.

I can't do a cover so I attached a photo. And here is Ready Teddy from the 1956 movie, The Girl Can't Help It.

BobLuman There were others: Bob Luman with Let's Think about Living and three other songs that have slipped my mind  Not really slipped, I can read them from the back cover and I could always put on the record and play it but I don't really want to.

StonePoneys-DifferentDrum The Stone Poneys' EP Different Drum was probably the last I ever bought. That's where I discovered and fell in love with Linda Ronstadt. She remained the love of my life until Emmylou Harris smiled at me one day. This one had Different Drum, Some of Shelly's Blues, Hobo, Up to my Neck in High Muddy Water. Four out of four. We're into the era of groovy covers. Here is Different Drum.

By this stage I was buying albums and I think everyone else was as well, as EPs went the way of 78s. This is a far from an exhaustive survey, even of what I still have in the box in the music room, but they are notable ones I remember fondly.

EDITORIAL NOTE: While I am away, The Elder Storytelling Place is on hiatus. You can read past stories here. And if you are inclined, you could send in stories for publication when I return. All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.

Comments

There were, also, 7-inch 78 rpm records (a few of which are in my collection) with the central small hole rather than the larger holes of the 45s.

My first extended play was probably the 2nd platter I purchased - each side full of Oscar Levant, Piano, Eugene Ormandy conducting The Philadelphia Orchestra playing Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. It is still one of my favorites among the approximately 1500 platters (78s, 45s, 33 1/3s), CDs, and casette tapes in Hunky Husband's and my collection.

I have heard of (and heard) all those people except Bob Luman. I don't remember EP's, but I had plenty of LP albums and 45's.

Thanks for the music. Used to sneak into my brother's room and play his 45's. Can still recognize most songs from the 50's by the first notes. Have collected my faves on mp3 & listen on the bus to downtown.

Those songs soothed me during difficult times of my life. My life savers. Motown music is top quality to this day. Oh I wish I could have worked at Hitsville, USA.

Some great blasts from the past!!!! Thanks!!!!!!!

I'm with you on Emmylou! She remains incredibly beautiful.

Sadly, the soundtrack from most Elvis movies was complete schlock. There would occasionally be something salvageable -- as in "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You" from Blue Hawaii. Jailhouse Rock was an exception; the title track production number is arguably the musical highlight of all of his films. I think JR is the one in which he tells the ingenue that "you bring out the beast in me, baby."

I was in that era a combo folkie, gospel, blues, and classical music fanatic. Switching between faves Bach and the Weavers, Staple Singers and Shostakovich, as examples, it's a wonder I ever opened a book or did my algebra homework (and passed my exams). My aunt had a full set of red shades of Revlon nail polish (in those small bottles with long spear-shaped add-ons to the caps). And, on visits from Manhattan to her home in Norwalk, CT, I'd test each bottle while the needle spun on selections from her 78 collection to rival Sam Goody's aisles. She, too, was a fan of the same "exotic" music you and the commenters recall with deep pleasure. I thank you for all the warm memories you evoke.

Yes, I remember the EPs. Think I only have a few.

I liked "Cry." Was never an Elvis fan. Have my own theory about why he became so popular and has nothing to do with singing talent. Think his continued popularity has more to do with promotion.

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