Hidden Downloads: David Allyn
While in Dannemora, I read an article in Metronome magazine about my old friend, Dick Bock, who once worked in Music City on Vine Street behind the record counter learning the record business. Now almost 15 years later, he had worked himself up to being President of Pacific Jazz Records and their subsidiary World Pacific Records. Again, I mention that Dick and I almost had success together when he managed me, while I was signed to Discovery Records. I gave him a call.
One week later we were planning the Jerome Kern Album for World Pacific. Being on parole, I was forced to get another job and I found one at a gas station just a block from the house in Baldwin Park. It was part-time, three nights a week. In Southern California, the night fog rolls in like a cloud of pneumonia, and i caught a cold, which turned into laryngitis just two days before the first record date, which set the album back one month."
I was staying very close to Johnny as we chose the songs for the album, meeting in the mornings, afternoons and late P.M. sessions, planning every phrase. John wrote romancing strains around my phrasing and it was a simple, natural marriage of concept. The scores were taking shape and the excitement was building.
Whenever my friends or fans talk about the Kern Album, you can be sure someone always asks, 'Why the Folks Who Live on the Hill wasn't a single record?' It should have been because it was obviously the best track on the album, musically and commercially. But on the day of the mastering, session, I joined Woody Woodward at Radio Recorders to supervise the proper splicing for the single that would precede the album.
I offered to push the 'stop' button myself but they wouldn't hear of it. Imagine, my album, and they wouldn't let me touch the 'stop' button. It was the fate of the album and, as most people say, might have been the fate of my career. The engineer handled the tapes so badly and clumsily that he stretched them, which forced us to go the B-roll, which is known as the safety roll.
But then again, it was me who wasn't strong enough with Woody. I should have punched him out right there in the mastering room. That would have stopped everything because I was still on parole."
Now for the exciting news. Claiborne Ray tells me that A
As Claiborne writes: I am a big fan of David's. I heard him occasionally at the Red Blazer on 46th Street in the '80s or '90s. He sings in tune and has all the warmth
My advice? Grab them fast, while you still can. Both have been out of print for some time and cost a fortune from independent sellers.
Oh, one more thing: Why did David start spelling his last name Allen? As he told me during one of our conversations, To change my luck."
JazzWax note: You can read my interview with David Allyn here. This will take you to Part 1. For additional parts, look above the red date at the top of Part 1, where you'll find a link to the next part. Also, here's another one of my conversations with David.
JazzWax clip: Here's David Allyn singing The Folks Who Live on the Hill. Dig the tender, majestic arrangement by Johnny Mandel...