Previous Vocal Group Record of the Week
#815 (6/7/14 - 6/20/14)

SPOTLIGHT ON THE ALERT LABEL

"You Didn't Sign Your Letter With Love"/
"Bake That Chicken Pie"
by The Four Blades
on Alert 422 A/B
released in 1948

"If I Was A Itty Bitty Girl, Part 1"
by Grace Smith....
Bill Johnson And Orchestra
on Alert 202-A
released in 1946


Above: Alert Records advertisement from The Billboard dated 5/25/46. Alert Records, Inc., located in Brooklyn, NY, existed from 1946 to 1950. It was owned and operated by Solly Abrams. There was a 200 series (jazz), 400 series (blues) and 600 series (spirituals). Some of its featured artists were Avery Parrish, Brownie McGhee, Dud Bascomb, Champion Jack Dupree, and The Four Blades. Dud's orchestra included Tiny Grimes on guitar, Paul Bascomb on tenor sax and "Big Sid" Catlett on drums.

In 1948, Alert started a children's records line on their Kiddie Time label, which was sold to Jubilee Records in 1949.

The Benny Bell records were released on the Bell label (possibly distributed by Alert, although a Malverne 1946 ad shows they were the distributor in the New York metropolitan area).


Above: Alert Records advertisement from The Billboard dated 5/18/46.




Above: (Left) Bell Records advertisement from The Billboard dated 11/10/47 and (Right) Alert Records request for "Record Salesmen" from The Billboard dated 8/7/48.

Benny Bell's composition, the risqué (at the time in 1946) song "Shaving Cream" was made famous by Dr. Demento in the 1970s.


Above: Alert Records advertisement from The Billboard dated 5/8/48. "Willie Jordan" was actually a Champion Jack Dupree combo that included Brownie McGhee.

Above Top: Label image of Alert 202 released sometime in 1946. Grace Smith followed with two releases on the National label in 1948. Velma Nelson, who is credited as composer, had the original version of "Itty Bitty Girl, Parts I & II," released on Aladdin in mid-1946.

Above Bottom: 1946 photo of Bill Johnson's Musical Notes (L-R) Clifton "Skeeter" Best (guitar), Jimmy Robinson (Bass fiddle), Egbert Victor (piano), and Bill Johnson (alto sax). The above label also credits Ray Turner (tenor sax) and Gene Brooks (drums).


Above: Label images of Alert 422. Note the change to a single tower label design. It is the first of two sequential records by The Four Blades, both on the Alert label (1948). "You Didn't Sign..." is the only song credited to Withbourne A. Small in the BMI repertoire.

Quote (from "Bake That Chicken Pie"): "What's your favorite dish? Neck bones is mine."

Listen to this week's selections by The Four Blades and Grace Smith/Bill Johnson's Orchestra on the Alert Label:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

     A. Stream RealAudio...
 
          1. You Didn't Sign Your Letter With Love - The Four Blades
          2. Bake That Chicken Pie - The Four Blades
          3. If I Was A Itty Bitty Girl, Part 1 - Grace Smith/Bill Johnson's Orchestra
 
          ALL THREE played in sequence

     B. Download RealAudio...
 
          1. You Didn't Sign Your Letter With Love - The Four Blades
          2. Bake That Chicken Pie - The Four Blades
          3. If I Was A Itty Bitty Girl, Part 1 - Grace Smith/Bill Johnson's Orchestra

     C. Stream/Download Media Player...
 
          1. You Didn't Sign Your Letter With Love - The Four Blades
          2. Bake That Chicken Pie - The Four Blades
          3. If I Was A Itty Bitty Girl, Part 1 - Grace Smith/Bill Johnson's Orchestra

     [To download audio files, right-click on link and then select "Save (Link) Target As..."]


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