Song of the Day: Four Um “Day Dreaming”
Off all the genres of records I like to collect, one of my favorite is the “private press lounge record”. Starting in the early ’60s, bands (and individuals) could record and release their own records and not have to be signed to an actual record label, or could release their work through tiny, independent regional labels. That lounge band you saw at the Holiday Inn in Sheboygan last summer or that hot combo that played on your cruise ship might have some records for sale at the table in the back after their set. Generally these records consisted of covers of whatever was hot at the time, although the bolder ones had original songs too. These records fall into a few categories: truly awful, so bad they’re actually good, generally bad but have one or two great tracks where they somehow got it together and finally there’s the great LPs which have you wondering why this particular band didn’t ever do anything more.
Last week at a local estate sale, the record selections weren’t that great, so I took a chance on a private press lounge record by a group called Four Um from 1972. The album is entitled Just Us and is on the Libra 7 Records label out of Buffalo (straight from the Riviera Inn). The group traveled to Cincinnati to record it. The songs are all covers of hits from the period, including “What the World Needs Now”, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “Summertime” and a cool cover of “Thank You” which mixes the Sly and the Family Stone song with the Sam and Dave one! The whole record’s great and (I know now) often goes for a few hundred dollars on the collector’s market. I chose to feature the song “Day Dreaming” by Aretha Franklin. This songs shows the band’s great vocals. Other songs show off their instrumental prowess, like a seven minute psyched out version of “Scarborough Fair”. Enjoy and if anyone has any more info on these guys, please let me know.