Paul Buff Presents The Pal And Original Sound Studio Archives, Vol. 1
- If You Love Me (I Want To Know Tonight) by Johnny Fortune (2:05)
- Tell Me Yes by Johnny Fisher (1:59
- Dog Patch Creeper by Velveteens (2:57)
- T Bone by The Masters (2:29)
- Breaktime by The Masters (2:26)
- Troubled Times by Sonny Wilson (2:21)
- Chocolate Milk (1961/2007 Version) by Paul Buff (2:52)
- Little Princess by Dino Dupree (1:53)
- Ambrosial by Dino Dupree (2:01)
- Can't Stand Up by The Pal Studio Band (4:56)
- Deserie by Paul Buff & Ray Collins (1:42)
- Slow Bird by Paul Buff (2:08)
- Dear Jeepers by Bob Guy (2:27)
- The Big Surfer by Brian Lord And The Midnighters (2:29)
- Hey Nelda by Ned And Nelda (2:09)
- Love Of My Life by Ron Roman (2:03)
- Cyclophony by Frank Zappa & Steve Allen (16:00)
Welcome to Volume 1 of Paul Buff's 20-volume series of recordings from Pal Studios and Original Sound Studios! Pal Records was a record company run by his mother Olivia and stepfather Ward Allen. After Paul Buff was honorably discharged from the military, he finished putting together Pal Studios in December 1957. The studio costs were $12.50/hour for mono recording and $15/hour for stereo. Local musicians booked the studio to make recordings of their rehearsals and repertoire. When Pal Records wound itself down in mid-1959, Paul Buff created his first record label – Emmy. Other labels (Plaza, Yukon and Vigah!) would follow shortly thereafter. The music presented on this series was released on extremely rare records that would literally cost thousands if you can find them. In addition, there are many unreleased tracks spanning from 1960 to 1969. Paul Buff is now making them available again for everyone to appreciate.
The first Emmy release was by Johnny Fortune (born John Stephen Sudetta). Fortune found Pal Studios through an ad that Buff placed, and his first single "If You Love Me (I Want To Know Tonight)" was released in September 1959. Johnny recorded two singles for Emmy before moving on to numerous other companies, including Johnny Fisher's Park Ave. label, when he issued his well-known instrumental "Soul Surfer" in 1963.
Johnny Fisher started out at Pal Studios as a singer/guitarist, and he recorded the Emmy single "Tell Me Yes" that was released in early 1960. "Tell Me Yes" used the same phasing effect that was recently used on Miss Toni Fisher's "The Big Hurt." Because of this intended similarity, John Fisher's disc was considered an "answer song." Fisher was also part of The Masters and appeared as the rhythm guitarist on their "T Bone" single. After recording a handful of tracks for Emmy, Fisher left Pal to create the Park Ave. and Crusader labels.
The Velveteens were a family affair – namely, the Valenzuela family. (Mario) John Valenzuela was the leader of this Pomona, California-based instrumental band who backed many different artists in the early '60s. "Dog Patch Creeper" was the A-side of their Emmy single and is an excellent example of what Paul Buff calls "the power of amateurs." Their sound could be described as rough or crude, but they delivered their material with an irresistible charm. The song's riff was copied by Frank Zappa for his later song "Tryin' To Grow A Chin."
The Masters started out as Paul Buff, lead guitarist Ronnie Williams and rhythm guitarist Johnny Fisher. After releasing the single "T Bone"/ "Sunday Blues," The Masters were just Buff and Williams on multi-tracked parts. The only exception was "Breaktime," a mid-1961 track that was co-written by Buff, Williams and guitarist Frank Zappa, a friend of Ronnie Williams who first came to Pal Studios in late 1960. As nearly all Zappa fans know, "Breaktime" was his first released recording and the record sells for hundreds of dollars.
Sonny Wilson was an Elvis-styled vocalist. Like Elvis, Sonny recorded a single for the Sun label ("The Great Pretender") as his debut release. Sonny Wilson's backing band sometimes included Paul Buff and Dave Aerni, and they played local bars when not recording. This extra money was essential for Buff to keep Pal going. "Troubled Times" was first issued on Buff's Plaza label in August 1961 before an edited version was licensed to Candix. It was produced by Paul Buff and John Fisher. Wilson recorded many tracks at Pal, but only three were released at the time. This 20-volume series will eventually include all of Sonny Wilson's recordings.
Paul Buff wanted to create a solo single for his Plaza label in 1961, so he took his middle name (Conrad) and became Paul Conrad. The A-side "Chocolate Milk" was a humorous song dealing with the popular drink. When this volume was initially assembled, this track was transferred from the only copy of the record (beaten up of course!) that is known to exist. It has since been cleaned up and will appear on a later volume of this series, but for now, you can hear some of the original with Paul Buff's 2007 version following it.
Sebastian Anthony Battaglia, known professionally as Dino Dupree, was Frank Zappa's replacement in Joe Perrino And The Mellotones. In fact, Zappa taught Dino the band's set during this two-week changeover period. Dino Dupree cut the Plaza single "Little Princess"/ "Ambrosial" at Pal during the fall of 1961, and the A-side features Buff's stepfather Ward Allen on numerous overdubbed violin parts. "Ambrosial" was an adventurous instrumental that went beyond the typical three chords to create something fresh and exciting.
The Pal Studio Band featured Paul Buff, Frank Zappa and whoever else was around at the time. For the track on this volume, "Can't Stand Up," Buff and Zappa took the recent Dovells hit "You Can't Sit Down" and created their own reinterpretation in the spring of 1963. Zappa taught Paul Buff the drum roll that frequently turns up on this track, and Frank did multiple guitar parts. One of these parts is a fuzz solo that spans the second half of the song. This is the first of the unreleased Pal tracks on this series that feature Frank Zappa.
Another of Zappa's friends, vocalist Ray Collins, did the vocals on a song that he and Paul Buff wrote called "Deserie." Yes, that is the correct spelling! The song was later done by Zappa with The Mothers Of Invention as "Deseri" on the "Cruising With Ruben And The Jets" album in 1968. This version of "Deserie" has Buff playing all the instruments and Collins singing.
Buff licensed two of his instrumentals, "Slow Bird" and "Blind Man's Buff," to the Donna label in 1963. "Slow Bird" is included here, and the B-side will appear on another volume. Once again, Buff played all the instruments – a process that he would frequently employ on nearly all of his other recordings throughout the 1960s.
Another single licensed to Donna was Bob Guy's "Dear Jeepers"/ "Letter From Jeepers." Guy was a local radio personality and Zappa wrote both of these Dracula-inspired send-ups. The A-side is included here, and again, the flip will be featured later.
The common theme here is that when Buff and Zappa did not release a record themselves, they licensed the record to whatever large record company was interested. The Vigah! label was created by Paul Buff to handle Buff/Zappa records that they could not initially place with the biggies. Vigah! was how President John F. Kennedy pronounced the word "vigor," and since the label's first release featured radio personality Brian Lord's JFK impression, it was a fitting start for the label. Zappa's "The Big Surfer" was the A-side, and featured an ending reference to the Peace Corps. After Buff and Zappa proved to Capitol Records that the record was hot (because they bought all the copies at local stores but didn't tell Capitol!), Capitol released the disc but recalled it after just two weeks when civil rights activist Medgar Evers was killed. The B-side was The Midnighters' "Not Another One!," which was Paul Buff and recent Pal associate Dave Aerni on guitar.
The other Vigah! release was considered so odd that it was not sold to another label. "Hey Nelda" by Ned And Nelda (aka Frank Zappa and Ray Collins) was a parody of Paul & Paula's "Hey, Paula." The other side of the record was "Surf Along With Ned And Nelda," which will appear on another volume.
One of Frank Zappa's earliest serious vocal numbers was "Love Of My Life." The original recording was sung by Ray Collins, but this version (with revised lyrics by Dave Aerni) was sung by local vocalist Ron Roman. It was released on Dave Aerni's Daani label in July 1963. This was Roman's first recording, and he turned up later in the '60s as the lead vocalist of Proposition and The Mystic Astrologic Crystal Band.
Closing out this volume is Frank Zappa's appearance on Steve Allen's television show in March 1963. This master was transferred from the original film, so it is the best quality presentation of this track that has ever been released.
|ZFT #||Version #||# discs||Format||Catalog #|| Release
|n/a||TBD||n/a||200 kbps VBR MP3|| Crossfire Publications/
|2010-04-18||723850993321||Digital download edition.|
|n/a||256 kbps VBR or CBR MP3|| Crossfire Publications/
|2010-04-18||n/a||Digital download edition.|
|n/a|| 256 kbps AAC
| Crossfire Publications/
|2010-04-23||n/a||Digital download edition.|
- Frank Zappa did not contribute to these tracks.