Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Oldies - Across The Moon by Kitt 'N' Kory

Beyond the tiny review I found in a Billboard Magazine from February 15, 1960, I haven't been able to find any information about these kids -- but their music speaks for itself...

This record was produced by Morty Craft, a veteran A&R man who had worked for MGM, Mercury, and ABC-Paramount in the 1940's and 1950's. In 1959, he went to work for a Canadian company called United Telefilm as the head of their subsidiary label, Warwick Records. With a background as a musician, and leader of radio orchestras and dance bands, he had the musical chops to record a lot of material himself. Despite his best efforts, though, Warwick Records went bankrupt just a few years later. It probably didn't help that he seemed to be obsessed with the music of the distant past (like me), which led him to release a tribute to Al Jolson as his first album on the new label.  If he's still around, Morty would be 90 years old now. I've heard rumors that he's been recently spotted at conga music concerts in New York City. I'd sure like the opportunity to speak with him. One of the other young kids he worked with and recorded while at Warwick was a talented teener from Queens who went by the name Jerry Landis at the time. You know that kid as Paul Simon!

So if you know anything at all about Kitt 'N' Kory, or anything else about this record, or you can hook me up with Morty Craft, please shoot me an e-mail

New Oldies - The Greatest Hits You've Never Heard is actually a radio format that I've been working on for years.  If you'd like to know more about it, please contact me.  I love to explain how it works!

1 comment:

  1. I've already shot you an e-mail, Joe, but for the sake of anyone checking this out, the "Kory" in the duo was a guy named Jimmie Tennant. He'd have another single (under his real name) on the Warwick label, #533, just a couple of months later called "Salute". That was a break-in styled tribute to Elvis Presley's return Home from the Army. But instead of using Elvis's records for the break-in's, Jimmie recorded the songs himself and used those.

    By 1963, Tennant would be using the stage name Jimmy Velvet, a variation of a name that was used by a singer he had managed in the year before, Jimmy Velvit (who's real name is Jimmy Mullins). Jimmy made the Velvet name official in 1965.

    The girl in Kitt N Kory was a girl named "Judy", that according to a comment made by Jimmy in his 2007 book, INSIDE THE DREAM.

    Jimmy began his recording career in early 1958 on the Thunder label, out of Miami, Florida. In January, 1959, there was a release on the AMP label out of Columbus, Indiana by Jimmie Tennant, but that (as I've only recently learned) was a DIFFERENT Jimmie Tennant.

    As confusing as that may be, it was when Tennant adapted to the Velvet name that resulted in further confusion with his name. His first release using the latter was in April, 1963, with two songs back-to-back that had been released the year before by Jimmy Velvit (Mullins), "You're Mine And We Belong Together" (the Robert & Johnny song), and "I'm Gonna Try To Forget The One I Love", a song written by Mullins. The trouble began when they (Velvet and his partner in the deal, Ray Curran) used the Mullins release (on Cub Records) as an informational guide, whereas Tennant's last name was mis-spelled as Velvit. The label was also supposed to be VELVET (to sell the songs with the name recognition), but the label too was as VELVIT. Jimmy has told me that only 1,000 copies were made of the release, but most were destroyed because of the error. A (halfway) corrected issue was released by July on the VELVET Record name, but his last name was still as "Velvit". This was while he and Curran, were trying to sell the songs to a larger label. They had earlier hired Topps Records, a distributor, to take on the task. In August, 1963, Cortland Records was chosen, and the same two sides were released on their WITCH label subsidiary. But during that time, Jimmy was unknowing of the Cortland deal, and he was off on his own trying to sell the sides. In August, he found himself in Nashville making arrangements with Felton Jarvis of ABC-Paramount. It was after his return after signing contracts in New York in September that he learned of the Cortland arrangement from a trade paper. Jarvis left it to Velvet to straighten things out, whereas Velvet told Cortland exec's that they had no rights to the songs, that they were in effect stolen. Not wanting any trouble, Cortland quickly withdrew the WITCH release and all promotion of it.

    In November, ABC-Paramount released "We Belong Together", but this time backed with "The History Of Love", a song that Jimmy had co-written.

    As confusing as it got between the two Jimmy's, it seemed to continue into the 1970's. Mullins would sometimes have releases using the name Jimmy Velvet, two times in 1967 (on Blue Records and Bell Records), and on a couple of issues around 1973 on the BI label. It was those BI releases that caused trouble for the legal Jimmy Velvet, as this was near the same time as Mullins was in legal troubles of his own and serving time in prison. Billboard ran a story about the real Jimmy Velvet saying that he was not THAT Jimmy Velvet.

    Fred Clemens