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ARSCLIST  June 2009

ARSCLIST June 2009

Subject:

Re: Vaughn Meader

From:

Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 15 Jun 2009 14:39:18 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (186 lines)

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Vaughn Meader
From: Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Sat, June 13, 2009 8:28 pm
To: [log in to unmask]

A couple of factual corrections on this, with my apologies for writing
before checking.

First of all it's DOUD, not Dowd.

Second of all, Robin didn't work on the First Family albums. Earle
Doud's co-producer on those was 
Bob Booker. Indeed, the Collectables label CD reissue was licensed from
Bob Booker Productions.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, June 12, 2009 7:22 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Vaughn Meader


> The first First Family album was recorded in front of an audience in
> the Ballroom studio at Fine Recording. John Quinn was the engineer 
>(some of you might know John, he later owned The Mix Place studio on
> 5th Avenue, which had a very long run as a sound-for-picture studio).
> John told me that the recording took place the night that the Cuban
> missle crisis came to a head, I think meaning the night before the
> Soviet ships turned around and didn't try to run the blockade. 

Not quite.  Monday Oct 22 was the date of the recording session, and at
7 PM JFK gave his televised speech which was the first public
announcement of the situation and announced the quarantine which was to
begin on Wednesday Oct 24 at 10 AM.  The ships started to turn around
later on Wednesday, and the famous Stevenson U.N. speech was on
Thursday.  The Life magazine article which is still folded inside my
original personal copy of Vol 1 stated that the cast watched JFK's
speech just before the recording session began.  The tensions and the
hope that JFK had the crisis under control undoubtedly added to the
recording.  The relief of the country at the end of the crisis undoubted
added to the need for comic relief that season and accounted for the
explosion of millions of sales of both this album and My Son the Folk
Singer in December. 

It is mostly forgotten that Vaughn Meader's comic portrayal of JFK was
well known by the public when the album was released -- he had made a
number of well publicized TV appearances by the time of the release of
the album -- but that Allen Sherman was absolutely totally unknown by
the public when his album was released.  He had only appeared at insider
show-biz parties, had never performed publicly, and the only television
appearance I have ever been able to document was in a group shot of the
production crew on an anniversary show of "I've Got A Secret" which he
had invented and produced until tamer heads ousted him.  It took months
for Gary Moore to convince the fatally shy Sherman to make his debut on
his show to promote the release of the second album.    

I actually saw Meader's JFK TV debut and I have an original CBS kine of
the program EXCEPT for Meader's appearance!  In was on Celebrity Talent
Scouts, a Summer replacement show, and his section was clipped out of
the kine before I bought it in 1971.  At least the commercials are still
intact.  

Mike Biel  [log in to unmask]  



He said 
> everyone was aware of what was going on, which heightened the comedic tension and enhanced the 
> intensity of the performance. Most bits were achieved in one take.
>
> The second First Family album was done at Columbia's 30th Street studio.
>
> Both albums used to be available on a reissue CD, I'm not sure if it's still in print.
>
> Mike is right that mono versions of the first LP seem to be more common, but I've found several 
> stereo around and there never is a shortage of the record at used LP places. In the dollar cutout 
> bins at The Bop Shop in Rochester late last year, I counted no fewer than a dozen copies, I think 
> all mono.
>
> If what Mike said about the album being taken out of print after the JFK assassination is true, 
> then it sold many, many copies in relatively short time, meaning it was quite a phenom in its day. 
> It did win a Grammy.
>
> The producer team on the First Family records, Robin and Dowd made another record at Fine 
> Recording, "Welcome to the LBJ Ranch," again with John Quinn engineering. This was what I'd call 
> performance art of a sort, "interviews" with various officials and celebrities of the day with the 
> goofy answers spliced together from tapes of the actual people responding to media questions, 
> performed in what sounds like real time in front of an audience. I'm not sure if this 
> technique/comedic device had been used on a record album before.
>
> -- Tom Fine
>
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Michael Biel" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Friday, June 12, 2009 2:35 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Vaughn Meader
>
>
> For many years my only copy of Vol 2 was the stereo copy. I had not
> gotten it by the time of the assassination, and found it in Stereo
> Record King in Phila around 1965. I GRABBED IT QUICKLY! I got monos
> from about 2or 3 pressing plants years later. But I remember shopping
> for the best price of Vol 1 the weekend of Thanksgiving and seeing, for
> example, 300copies mono and no stereo on the counter at E.J. Korvettes
> in Paramus NJ for $1.79 which turned out to be the best price but they
> were GONE by the time I returned about an hour later!!! It was the
> closest store of the ones I checked, so it was first and then I decided
> to get it as I circled back towards home. My brother in law ended up
> getting it for me in NYC later the afternoon.
>
> I have a shelf full of the tribute albums which took over the xmas
> season of 63 as this and My Son the Folk Singer had taken over the 62
> season. I'm working on an article about this and was showing Leah some
> of the Billboard articles last night. But they are missing a couple of
> the important issues from the on=line file, and I already have those
> photocopied though.
>
> Mike Biel [log in to unmask]
>
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Vaughn Meader
> From: David Weiner <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Fri, June 12, 2009 1:59 pm
> To: [log in to unmask]
>
> By the way, despite charting high on the Billboard STEREO charts,
> stereo
> copies of the two First Family albums as well as My Son the Folk Singer
> are very rare. Of the thousands of copies of each that I have seen, I
> have only three stereo copies of the 1st First Family, and one each of
> Vol 2 and My Son. During the phenominal sales period for these albums
> Dec 62 thru 63 I never saw one stereo copy of any of these in dozens of
> major stores in the NYC area. I think that the reissues of the two
> First Family albums have been mastered off of mono vinyl pressings.
>
> Mike Biel [log in to unmask]
>
>
> =======
> I vividly remember buying Volume 2 of THE FIRST FAMILY at Sam Goody in
> Valley Stream, LI, right after it came out. On sale - think it was
> $2.88!
>
> Near the front entrance, they had a BIG pile of the mono albums and a
> much
> smaller stack of stereos side-by-side. No shrink wrap! I bought the
> mono.
>
> Dave Weiner
>
>
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Vaughn Meader
> From: David Weiner <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Fri, June 12, 2009 1:59 pm
> To: [log in to unmask]
>
> By the way, despite charting high on the Billboard STEREO charts, stereo
> copies of the two First Family albums as well as My Son the Folk Singer
> are very rare. Of the thousands of copies of each that I have seen, I
> have only three stereo copies of the 1st First Family, and one each of
> Vol 2 and My Son. During the phenominal sales period for these albums
> Dec 62 thru 63 I never saw one stereo copy of any of these in dozens of
> major stores in the NYC area. I think that the reissues of the two
> First Family albums have been mastered off of mono vinyl pressings.
>
> Mike Biel [log in to unmask]
>
>
> =======
> I vividly remember buying Volume 2 of THE FIRST FAMILY at Sam Goody in
> Valley Stream, LI, right after it came out. On sale - think it was
> $2.88!
>
> Near the front entrance, they had a BIG pile of the mono albums and a
> much
> smaller stack of stereos side-by-side. No shrink wrap! I bought the
> mono.
>
> Dave Weiner
> 

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