Thursday, March 27, 2008

'I Almost Lost My Mind' b/w 'Stranded In The Jungle': Jayne Mansfield cover poses for Bell Records, 1956

This odd little 7-inch, 78-rpm record was the 2nd to be issued by the Bell label.

It was part of their series of 'budget' cover versions of songs from the current pop music charts, similar to releases around that time by the Tops record label, or by 'sound-alike' bands in the 1960's and '70's.

With a 49¢ price tag and some vaguely incongruous stock cheesecake photos on a slightly vertically-oriented outer sleeve, they likely were sold in variety stores and department stores rather than record shops.

According to a Bell Records page at a 'Good Girl Art' in Vintage Paperbacks website, Arthur Shimkin "...had started Golden Records in 1948 to complement the new Little Golden Books line from Simon & Schuster. In 1954 Arthur Shimkin also started the Bell Records label which, according to the jackets, was (at that time) 'Distributed by Pocket Books, Inc.'"

(Also follow the link to that 'Good Girl Art' page for more examples of early Bell sleeve art)

Listen to:
Dottie Evans
with Jimmy Carroll Orch. and chorus -
I Almost Lost My Mind

(Bell Records 7", 1956)

(click for audio)

- A beautiful song and perhaps one difficult to mess up, Ivory Joe Hunter had first recorded his immortal composition back in 1950.

- Follow link to All Music.Com for more info about orchestra leader Jimmy Carroll, and the busy schedule he kept in the 1950's and beyond.

Listen to:
Jimmy Leyden
with Jimmy Carroll Orch. and chorus -
Stranded In The Jungle

(Bell Records 7", 1956)

(Sorry, the file for 'Stranded In The Jungle' has been deleted.)

Speaking personally, I'm very fond of this decidedly 'whitened' version of The Cadets big '56 hit, 'Stranded In The Jungle'.

What it loses in 'down 'n' dirtiness' it makes up for in the way it retains the song's genre-mocking sense of humor.

(See also: The New York Dolls' 1970's revival)

- - And so is it just me, or did Bell Records intend for this to be a 'double B-sided' single?
Curiously, both on the label and the sleeve, each side of this record is labeled '2'.
Hmm, it's an interesting strategy...

Ownership of Bell Records would change hands in 1961, as it became a thriving label for soul, rock and pop music throughout that decade and into the early 1970's, picking up it's subsidiary labels, Amy and Mala, in the process.

In 1974, Bell Records, along with the Colpix and Colgems labels would be absorbed into the then-newly-founded Arista label.

- - And lastly but hardly leastly; Speaking of Jayne Mansfield in 1956, follow this link to a print ad featuring Jayne from the spring of that year, looking like it might be from the same photo session.


Donna Lethal said...

Ooh - I have this - I love the look on Jayne's face! They must have had a huge budget for that one striped cushion ...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post, I own a 45rpm version of this one ! (same sleeve)

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