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Command Performance
briefly: Command Performance Records, 1717 North Vine St., Suite 4, Hollywood, Calif. 90028
then: 6253 Hollywood Blvd., Suite 1115, Hollywood CA 90028
then: 6000 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood CA 90028

-- Singles --

108: Peckham & Carter -- Looking For A Good Time (Peckham-Carter) / I Got News (Bill Weir Jr.-Mary Weir) (fuzz-guitar rocker; prob. not a song-poem record; pr. John J. Cevetello; eng. Bill Dashiell)

110: Donnie Elbert -- Your Red Wagon (You Can Push It Or Pull It) (Dallas-Elbert) / Who's It Gonna Be (D. Elbert-C. Zippon)
Note: Donnie Elbert was a moderately successful soul vocalist, songwriter and producer, best known for his meticulous recreations of the Motown sound. He played every instrument on many of his records, delivering them with a driving falsetto lead. His biggest hit was a cover of "Where Did Our Love Go," recorded in 1969 but not released until 1971. Distrustful of long-term contracts, Elbert recorded independently and leased his masters to whatever labels he could interest in them. Consequently, the same titles -- often the same recordings, even -- appear on numerous releases, in equally numerous sets of pairings, making for a messy discography

The point at which Elbert's recordings interest us are the several singles he cut for Command Performance Records early in this important song-poem company's lifespan. He reportedly did about a dozen in all for them, but only one -- "Your Red Wagon (You Can Push It Or Pull It)" b/w "Who's It Gonna Be" (CP 110) -- has surfaced so far. True to form, even that one record amounts to a major discographical headache.

Among the many companies to which Elbert leased masters in his peripatetic career was Gateway Recordings, Inc. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a company that, in Elbert's words, "didn't know a lot about the music business." In spite of that assessment, "Run Little Girl" (Gateway 731), flipped with "Who's It Gonna Be," was nearly a hit upon its April 1964 release. A little more than a year later, "Your Red Wagon (You Can Push It Or Pull It)" topsided Gateway 761, with "Never Again" the flip.

Fast forward to 1972, and "Your Red Wagon (You Can Push It Or Pull It)" and "Who's It Gonna Be," in the same versions as on Gateway, reappear as the two sides of Command Performance 110. Another year later and the same two were included in Elbert's The Real Me album on ALA Records, a label out of Los Angeles. All seven of Elbert's Gateway sides were accounted for on the album (the odd number due to one of the tracks, "Do Wat'Cha Wanna," having reversed two different singles), accounting for all but three of the album's ten tracks. Elbert was quite the recycler.

Of the three releases of "Your Red Wagon" and "Who's It Gonna Be," there is nearly no conformity to the writing and publishing credits. On the album release, writing credit for both songs went to Elbert alone, while the Gateway credits matched those on Command Performance (see above) except that engineer John Cevetello's name was added as co-writer of "Your Red Wagon." BMI's database adds yet another set of possibilities. Publishing credits are nearly as murky as the writing credits, and in one version include Curtis Mayfield's Curtom Publishing.

My conclusion is that these two songs are not song-poem recordings. Elbert and Cevetello were music business professionals and Celestine Dallas, listed in several versions as co-writer of one or both of the songs in question, was a frequent Elbert collaborator. That leaves just "C. Zippon" among the various credited songwriters as the only possible candidate for song-poethood, yet there is no evidence that even he or she qualified as a song-poet either. The most plausible scenario is that Command Performance began as at least a quasi-legitimate outfit -- if leasing obscure eight-year-old tracks can be said to constitute a form f legitimacy -- but went all-song-poem soon afterward. Command Performance 121, a legitimate Johnny Otis session featuring the Three Tons Of Joy, reinforces this point. Elbert died in 1989, and so can't be reached for comment.

One item that further muddies the waters of this story is the fact that there was another Gateway -- a true song-poem company operating out of Hollywood in the mid-'50s. Check out this song-poem solicitation ad from the March 1955 issue of Popular Mechanics. The company is probably not related to the Pittsburgh Gateway, but it's a neat ad nonetheless.

--Phil Milstein (much of the biographical and discographical information used here was adapted from Soul Survivor magazine. Thanks to Richard Pack and Michael J. Sweeney for their fine research on Elbert)

113: The Goodtimers -- Something Of Value (Wiliam E. Kimmons) / Broke (Richard E. Knowles) (engineer: Billy Jay)
120: Patricia Ann Michaels -- California Sunshine (Michael Kaplan) / Tar And Cement (A. Celentano-Paul Vance-Lee Pockriss)
121: Marie Adams & The Three Tons Of Joy featured with The Johnny Otis Show -- Whispers / Get On Up And Do It Baby (Try It, You'll Like It) (both wr. J. Otis) (not a song-poem record)
131: The Goodtimers -- Forgive Me (Keith Holtzman) / Maria (Ron Rickmon)
137: The Goodtimers -- Like A Breath Of Spring (Shirley Watkins) / One Letter (W.L. Goodbread)
156: The Goodtimers -- That Is My Goal (James H. Squires) / Moon Of Hawaii (Walter J. Dorsey) (1973)
162: Donnie Brooks -- Dan Was Loved By Everyone (Dedicated To The Memory Of Dan Blocker) (Vivian West) / We Expect So Too Little And Don't Get Enough (Dorothy R. Clinton) (1973)
170: The Goodtimers -- The Hobo Man (Mrs. Josephine Wenck) / A Winner All The Way (Mrs. Margaret A. Dodson) (©1973)
176: The Tune-Timers -- This Is America (Elbert Wheeler) / I Would If I Could (Tony Crocco) (1974)
178: The Tune-Timers -- My Friend Pedro (George Mees) / They Must Be Said (Gideon Akers)
185: The Tune-Timers -- Beginning To End (Jo Ann Patricia Myles) / Heaven's Voices (Lena L. Potterf) (©1974)
205: The Music Magicians -- Lonesome Town (Posey Chambliss) / Convertibles And Headbands (Mrs. Louise Nelson) (©1974)
210: The Tune-Timers -- Just Give Me Time (Percy Moffett & Roger Freeman) / Jo (How Much Does It Cost) (Mrs. Shirley Loscheider) (©1974)
213: The Tune Timers -- If It Hadn't Been For Mother (Marvin Trytten) / My True Love (Woodrow W. Wilmer)
216: The Music Magicians -- The World Today (Glen Maragh) / You Have A Change Of Heart (Marie Conley) (©1974)
217: The Music Magicians -- I Remember When (Margaret Allshouse) / No We Just Aren't Living Like We Should (George Olson) (©1974)
223: The Music Magicians -- Hawaii (L. Fosnight) / Since I Met You (Polly Melton) / That Sweet Old Fashioned Mother Of Mine (Charles Cockle) // Women Truckdrivers (Robert E. May) / Let's Jump With The Band (Joe Howard) / Moonlight Waltz (Zelma Wright) (©1974)
237: The Tune-Timers -- Lorrene (Brian Barb) / Evening In Paris (Raymond DiMartini) (©1974)
239: The Tune-Timers -- Down At The Corner (Deborah Wetzig) / Yes I Do (Neville Williams) (©1974)
250: The Tune-Timers -- Telephone Line (Mrs. Frances L. Streich) / Mister Man In The Moon (Alma Bennett) (©1975)
251: The Tune-Timers -- Don't Fall In Love (Inez P. Erickson) / My Religion (Mrs. Carrie D. Nash) (©1975)
254: The Tune-Timers -- Lawd, It's Killing Me (Howard E. Gillis) / The Dream Of My Life (William R. French) (©1975)
256: The Tune-Timers -- The Way To Glory / The Silver-Studded Saddle (both wr. Adolph J. G. Babel) (©1975)
267: The Tune-Timers -- The Golden State (Simon Van Beek, Sr.) / A Lost Dream (Cindy Clark) (©1975)
269: The Tune-Timers -- It's Time To Put It Together (Charlie Thomas & Patricia Deuto) / This World (Mrs. Sybil Hedges) (©1975)
273: The Tune-Timers -- Blowin' For The Bridge (Adolph J.G. Babel) / Little Princess (Charles F. Turpin) (©1975)
274: The Tune-Timers -- Your Letter (Johnie F. Harris) / You Can Make All My Dreams Come True (Mrs. Mary Pizer) (©1975)
275: The Tune-Timers -- Marie (Mrs. Ruth L. Webster) / Walking Out The Door (Bill Burr) (©1975)
277: The Tune-Timers -- This Road That I Walk On (Earl N. Massey) / Heartaches And Tears (Mrs. Jo Ence) (©1975)
278: The Tune-Timers -- Stormy Love (Gregory L. Gibney) / Soodle De Doo (Fay D. Simpkins) (©1975)
279: The Tune-Timers -- Are We Really Parting (John H. Miller) / If I Were You (Mrs. Emma Pacini) (©1975)
281: The Tune-Timers -- My Someone (Grayce A. Beatificato) / Are They Also Missing You (Esther Edens) (©1975)
282: The Tune-Timers -- We'll Meet (C. O. Henry) / Love Will Come My Way (Mrs. Ida M. Prologo) (©1975)
283: The Tune-Timers -- Headstart Graduation Song (June Patterson) / What A Feeling (Nelson Byfield) (©1975)
284: The Tune-Timers -- I'm So Tired Of Crying (Mrs. Cheryl Schoenfelder) / Trust In Me (Elro Perry, Jr.) (©1975)
285: The Tune-Timers -- Too Late To Cry (Mrs. Kay Schmidt) / Wake Up America (Betty Williams) (©1975)
286: The Tune-Timers -- Secret Love (Mrs. Katherine T. Hamilton) / All I Remember (Bruno F. Opice) (©1975)
287: The Tune-Timers -- Lonely Tears (Charles C. Dittman) / Parting (Thomas M. Reed) (©1975)
288: The Tune-Timers -- Rec'non Day (Frank A. Feudi) / Every Day I Have To Cry (Charles Smith) (©1975)
289: The Tune-Timers -- My Neon Baby (James Spurlock) / Ain't Satisfied (Joseph B. Vincent) (©1975)
290: The Tune-Timers -- The Blind Boy And His Mother (Mrs. Elfriede Palm) / Close By The Fire (Lois Miller) (©1975)
292: The Tune-Timers -- Where It's At (Deloris Winston Moore) / Old Jake (Robert F. Harsh) (©1975)
EP 294: The Tune-Timers -- Tainted Wings (Sara Jane Malatian) / The Years Of Silence (Mona Mudge) // I Wonder (Harry Fineberg) / Lonely Girl (Mario Banks) / Summer Sun (Mrs. Sarah Donovan) / I'm Going Home For Christmas (Mrs. Lorraine M. Barber) (©1975)
295: The Tune-Timers -- Don't Push Around (Willie Perry) / I Trusted Him (Janice L. Reuss) (©1975)
302: The Tune-Timers -- So Bad (Donald Thomas) / Distant Love (Inge C. Randol) (©1975)
306: The Tune-Timers -- Our Land (Mrs. Shirley Hochstedler) / Paul Cotton Ride (Basil Pinker) (©1975)
307: The Tune-Timers -- Mental Letter (Melvin L. Calloway) / California Fall (Carey E. Smith) (©1975)
309: The Tune-Timers -- The Last Race Of Liberty Belle (Frances Commander Cox) / Lights Go Out (Guy Hawks) (©1975)
310: The Tune-Timers -- A Baby Like You (Amett Tackett) / Hurting Love (Ronald F. Ross) (©1975)
312: The Tune-Timers -- Girl Life Must Go On (Lawrence Olksiew) / Jesus' Plea (Rosalie Parker) (©1975)
313: The Tune-Timers -- Yesterday Once Again (Thomas J. Schmechel) / Reason For Living (Lyle R. Mayers) (©1975)
365: The Tune-Timers -- The Male Population (Robin Bruer) / Eternity (Constance Burmeister) (©1977)
373: The Tune-Timers -- I May Be Late (Annie Mae Brown) / Let Me Come Up To You (Consuelo Gonzalez) (©1977)
374: The Tune-Timers -- Writing Music For You (John Armstrong, Sr.) / Lavender Rose (Denis W. Levasser) (©1977)
375: The Tune-Timers -- Love (Corris Lamers) / But Most Of All: I Like You (Cora Moore) (©1977)
377: The Tune-Timers -- Darling, I Love You So Much (Gizella Crispen) / I Want You To Love Me Like You Love Me (Sally Sims) (©1977)
390: The Tune-Timers -- Dear Elvis Presley Goodbye / A Mother
404: The Tune-Timers -- Elvis Our King / Fantastic Voyage
428: The Tune-Timers -- Moon (Ben Russian) / Blue Waters (Bonnie Dunlap) (©1979)
467: Clear Vision -- A Little Morning Rain (Enza Cooper) / Prisoner's Mind (Carroll Hall) / Two Stars (Robert Dexter) // Heart To Heart (Steve St. Julian) / They Did Not Know (Emil Konvalin) / A Loving Mood (Joyce Simmons) (©1981)

-- Albums --

0817-S: The Tupelo Treasures -- The Legend Lives On (A Very, Very Special Tribute To Elvis)
Ballad Of Elvis (Billy Lee Prather)
Elvis, The Legend, The Symbol Of Good (Wayne Winchester)
The Living Legend Lives On (Marsha Krueger)
Memories Forever (Charles L. Ziegler)
Let The King Of Music Rest In Peace (Patty B. Moore)
Elvis Aron Presley, The Only One For Me (Isabelita C. Losaria)
Elvis, The Singing King (Joyce Keating)
Elvis (Rev. Willie White)
Kisses Without Tears (Albert Thomas Haley)
We'll Never Forget You (Frederick T. Herzog)
The Elvis Song (Harry Sandalidis)
The Tupelo King (Cleave A.L. Jones)
Song To The Elvis Presley (Consuelo Gonzalez)
liner notes read: "In the beginning most people in the music business believed that the long-haired, side-burned kid with the pimples was just a flash in the pan. His shaking, gyrating, wiggling pelvis made him a mere novelty, so they said.¶In the '50s, parents, clergy, PTA groups and others blamed him for contributing to juvenile deliquency. His movements on stage and his music were undermining the American family.¶Contrast this shaky anti-establishment beginning to the '70s when he was considered an institution, a positive force throughout the world.¶In the interim, he commanded one million dollars plus a percentage for his movie roles. He became the KING OF ROCK & ROLL. It is interesting to wonder where RCA Records would be today if not for this Tupelo-born ex-truck driver.¶During the '60s when many singers and groups were getting hits with drug oriented songs, this man refused the temptation. Being the unique individual that he was, he came out publicly against drugs. That was something that most entertainers were not willing to do at the time because of the potential adverse affect it could have on record sales. It seemed that some things were more important than record sales to the King. The key word is integrity.¶DATELINE -- INTERNATIONAL HOTEL (now Las Vegas Hilton), Las Vegas, Nevada (The King's "come-back") -- THE KING BROKE ALL ATTENDANCE RECORDS. The King of Rock & Roll was to become known as the KING OF ENTERTAINERS.¶His world-wide fame is evidenced by the fact that he was billed by his FIRST NAME ONLY. He was on a first name basis with the WORLD and they loved it.¶In 1977 he died in Memphis, Tennessee. Since then his friends, co-workers and others have expressed their feelings about the King. Just about the only group we haven't really heard from are his fans.¶This album contains songs written exclusively by his FANS -- those who loved, respected and will miss him the most.¶We deliberately waited more than a year to release this album, because we wanted to produce it with dignity and NOT to "cash in" on the death of a friend. We believe there is a legitimate market and a need for this product.¶STEVEN USTEN"

Affiliated labels:
Century 21 || Cinema || Hollywood Hitmakers || Major Label

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Discography ©2004 Phil Milstein