Friday, February 8, 2008

Angels to the Rescue

(Versión en español:

Some cross-pollination has occurred in the past couple of days. My friend whiteray mentioned on February 6 in his blog, Echoes in the Wind, that he and I have differing approaches to blogging. He and I know that, but it seems pertinent to give some details on that matter, so look for a second Saturday post coming shortly. Now, on with the scheduled program:

I feared this might be a spectacularly short post. I told you everything I know about Danny Kellarney last time, which is next to nothing. I told you what I know about the songwriters for the A side, “Jealous.” I told you about the orchestra leader. Thank goodness the B side, “You Can't Fool an Angel” (Fraternity 783) was written by a different set of guys. That gives me another bit of history to develop for this post.

Or not. You can see from the label that, because the song had four writers, Fraternity Records didn’t even give first initials, much less the whole names.

So, I looked up the last names anyway. ASCAP reports no Herig or Fiume, no likely Henn, and a couple of weak possibilities for Moss.

Just look up the title, you say. ASCAP shows no record of the song, though it was published originally by Windy City Music, ASCAP. No BMI record, either.

The song probably was not written as far back as “Jealous” (1924), but that could account for its disappearance into the ether, or it could have gone into the public domain and not been restored to copyright protection. In that case, if you’re looking for a song to cover for your next album, have a listen to this poor wee tune that no one loves any more. You can record it for free.

I can tell you that, despite losing this 45 in the Great Meltdown in 1972, I remembered the label name, the artist, and the title of the B side. How did I remember all that? 1. The Fraternity label was fairly distinctive, 2. I didn’t think people should try to fool angels, and 3. I associated the singer’s name with Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland. Doing so made the online search for his name more difficult, but I found his record, obviously. And that’s all I can say about Danny Kellarney. There is one more tidbit I can add once I confirm it, and if that happens, I’ll make a special update post.

Rather than stop writing here, I’ll use the leftover space to reminisce about another tune I lost in the Great Meltdown, one I will most likely never see again. The title, as I recall, was “I’ve Got to Lose These Blues.” The label was Hi-Hat Records, blue with a silver logo. If you do a search for the label name, you find a current label that specializes in square dance/hoedown calling records. Their logo, a high top hat with a walking stick, is very similar to the label of the 45 I owned, so they may have bought the rights to the name and logo.

This new label has interesting wares. You must listen to this square dance version of “Don’t Be Cruel,” called by Masaru Wada! If you are a square dancer, I endorse their products.

But, oh, do I ever digress. So, Hi Hat Records released in the late 1950s a song with the aforementioned title, or one very similar to it. I don’t know the artist. But the songwriter was Bernie O’Neill, my uncle by marriage.

Let me tell you, when you’re a little music fiend like three-year-old caithiseach, you think it is very cool that your uncle wrote a song that made it onto a record. It may well be that I learned what the names in parentheses on a 45 meant when my mom told me Uncle Bernie had written the tune. Once I was old enough to read, I saw that she wasn’t kidding: B. O’Neill was listed as the songwriter. And now I have neither the 45 nor a recording of the tune, thanks to the Great Meltdown.

I can tell you about as much about Uncle Bernie’s music career as I did about Danny Kellarney’s. I can tell you that he was serious about breaking into the music business, and he may have been taken for a bit of a ride by his publishing house. I can tell you he and my mother’s sister, Aunt Anita, didn’t get along so well, and they divorced in the 1960s, when Roman Catholics just did not do that. I remember that people always whispered the word “divorce” whenever it came up regarding Aunt Anita.

But Uncle Bernie was a good guy. His two children, my cousins Chip (Bernie Jr.) and Kathy, were good to me. Chip was murdered in his home in Gary, Indiana in the 1980s, and that is the biggest externally produced tragedy in my family.

Does anyone have a copy of Uncle Bernie’s song? I’d love to have it.

For now, take a listen to Danny Kellarney’s other tune. He also recorded “Never Til Now”/“You Opened Up My Heart” (Fraternity 785), but that one never made it into the bins where my Uncle Tom shopped for the 45s he bought me at twenty to a dollar.

After this dose of obscurity, look for a couple of weeks of homages to personal favorites of significant musical fame whose 45s happened to join my collection when I was a tot. See you Wednesday!

Danny Kellarney, You Can't Fool an Angel mp3

Masaru Wada, Don’t Be Cruel sample mp3

You Can't Fool an Angel label jpg

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