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CURTIS KNIGHT (& THE SQUIRES)

PPX backing tracks

Originally Ed Chalpin's main business was recording backing tracks for cover versions of chart hits. He then licensed these recordings to record companies / artists abroad who recorded their vocals on top thus creating their own (often translated) cover versions. The PPX Enterprises Inc. stationery (used for Jimi's contract and for correspondence at least up to 1984) stated "Representing the largest and most diversified available library of Music Masters in the World".

There isn't a single shred of evidence that Jimi Hendrix would have played on any of these recordings nor has anyone involved ever claimed that he did but they offer interesting background information on PPX Enterprises, Inc. And knowing what kind of an operation Chalpin had been running puts the later turns of events in a proper context, the same "music business" that Chalpin was in was completely different in nature than the one that Jimi Hendrix later found himself in.

When Chalpin started releasing his Knight / Hendrix -recordings he already had contacts in place all over the world resulting in the tracks over the years spreading around the globe with different releases in probably hundreds of different countries. The cover version business also goes some way explaining why Chalpin made so many different mixes of the Knight tracks and why there are so many different compilations, he was used to stretching the material that he had as far as he could and then some. He had little interest in making cohesive albums of the material or any other artistic concerns instead working on a track to track basis and focusing on getting the most use out of any one recording.

As the same backing track was licensed multiple times by different labels in different countries some of these uncredited backing tracks can be tracked down. Listed here are the ones that I have been able to identify and any leads there are for finding others. A starting point for this list was the Billboard 1 October 1966 article that names many artists and labels that Chalpin had sold backing tracks to. Indeed without that article it would have been impossible to identify any of them as the backing tracks were never credited to PPX, at least not on the releases that I have seen. There must be loads more, I hope that the ones listed here will help others come to light.

Chalpin was quoted in Billboard issue 1 October 1966 1 as saying "I'm only doing a cover once every six weeks now" and estimating that 80% of his product at the time was original material so it would seem that by 1966 the cover version part of his operations was winding down. So most (if not all) of the backing tracks out there can probably be found on releases that came out pre-1967.

Musicians
About the artists actually recording the backing tracks Billboard 1 reported: "For cover records, Chalpin often uses a house name like Chet Avery or an unknown artist or group. One artist estimated he'd recorded more than 35 records for Chalpin, all of which were released, including such tunes as "Big Bad John", "Little Bitty Tear", and a German version of "Wooden Heart" ". The only name given here is Chet Avery and indeed, the recording of "Runaway" released under his own name used a backing track that also popped up in Argentina. So Chet Avery is one of the musicians appearing on these tracks but as the article tells us there probably were many others.

Twin Hits
A label called Twin Hits released a lot of tracks credited to PPX. In fact all of the releases on the label (that I have seen) were produced by PPX so Twin Hits might well have been Chalpin's own label. The label's output was also exclusively covers of recent hits, see the discography on www.45cat.com. Records were released in Australia and the USA. Looks like the label started in 1963 as the 16 May issue of the Australian newspaper "The Age" carried a Twin Hits ad which exclaimed "First Release!". If anyone owns any of these discs please get in touch.

Tracks

Here's a list of info on tracks that I've been able to gather so far. If you have anything to add or corrections please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


RUNAWAY

Rocky Pontoni - Fugitiva
45 "Fugitiva / Esta Noche Mi Amor, Esta Noche" (Vik 31Z-4009) Argentina 196?
The backing is credited to "Chet Malboro Y Su Orquesta"
Listen to on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ttl6xt6zbdY

Chet Avery - Runaway
Split single with Jeff Mills:
45 "Jeff Mills - But I Do" / "Chet Avery - Runaway" (RCA 47-9350) Germany 1961
Listen to on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a52oGewdlpQ


BANG BANG

Claire Lepage - Bang Bang
LP "Bang! Bang!" (Télédisc TD 361) 196?
"Bang! Bang! / Garçon Manque / J'entends Cette Musique / Le Coeur Qui Jazze / Le Jour Viendra / Il Est A Moi / L'Amour N'attend Pas / Comment Se Fait... / Un Jeune Homme Bien / Le Premier Chagrin D'Amour / Je Suis Triste / L'Amitié
The backing for "Bang! Bang!" is credited to Jerry De Villiers
Listen to on YouTube (Bang Bang): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8M5XFRzPd5Q

Sylvie Vartan - Bang Bang
LP "La Reine De Saba" (RCA XLPL-1.7235) 1974
"La Reine De Saba / Love Is Blue / Hymne A L'amour / Les Feuilles Mortes / The Music Played / Les Moulins De Mon Couer / Holiday / Rock'N Roll Man / Ne Me Quitte Pas / Bang Bang / Dadou Ron Ron / Qui Saura"
The string parts sound the same as the other versions but there are additional instruments and the sound quality on this clip is poor. It could be a different mix of the same backing track with new overdubs or an alternate take, can anyone provide me with a better sounding version?
Listen to on YouTube (Bang Bang): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9v3coPInmTQ

Sam Chalpin - Bang Bang

LP "My Father The Pop Singer" (ATCO 33-191) 1966?
"Leader Of The Pack / Satisfaction / Bang Bang / Dominique / Somewhere / I Want To Hold Your Hand / I Can't Stop Loving You / Michelle / Daydream / Batman"
Since this lp was recorded by Ed Chalpin and features his father Sam Chalpin on vocals all of the backing tracks on this record must be PPX productions. So there is a big possibility that there are more versions of the lp tracks with other artists' vocals out there in addition to "Bang Bang", Chalpin likely used whatever tracks were handy for this release.
Listen to on YouTube (Bang Bang): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9yemBvfFIw


SOMEWHERE

Sam Chalpin - Somewhere

LP "My Father The Pop Singer" (ATCO 33-191) 1966?
"Leader Of The Pack / Satisfaction / Bang Bang / Dominique / Somewhere / I Want To Hold Your Hand / I Can't Stop Loving You / Michelle / Daydream / Batman"
Since this lp was recorded by Ed Chalpin and features his father Sam Chalpin on vocals all of the backing tracks on this record must be PPX productions. So there is a big possibility that there are more versions of the lp tracks with other artists' vocals out there in addition to "Bang Bang", Chalpin likely used whatever tracks were handy for this release.
Listen to on YouTube (Bang Bang): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9yemBvfFIw

Riff Corio - Somewhere?
Split single with The Trixies. I haven't heard this track but as it's labelled as a PPX production there's a very good chance that the backing track is the same one as on the Sam Chalpin lp:
45 "The Trixies - Popsicles And Icicles / Riff Corio - Somewhere" (Twin Hits TH-048) Australia 1963 4
"A PPX PRODUCTION" state both sides of the record.


FROM A JACK TO A KING

Chet Avery - From A Jack To A King
Split single with Tim Reynolds:
45 "Chet Avery - From A Jack To A King / Tim Reynolds - Little Town Flirt" (Twin Hits TH-001) Australia 1963 3
"A PPX PRODUCTION" state both sides of the record.


MEMPHIS TENNESEE

Bernd Spier - Memphis Tennesee
Mentioned in Billboard 1 as an Ed Chalpin production
45 "Memphis Tennessee / Ohne Ein Bestimmtes Ziel (No Particular Place To Go)" (CBS 1618) in Germany in September 1965 2
Listen to on YouTube (Memphis Tennesee): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUOAlGIsUbw

The Hubs - Memphis?
Split single with Dan Gaynes. I haven't heard this track but as it's labelled as a PPX production there's a very good chance that the backing track is the same one as on the Bernd Spier single:
45 "Dan Gaynes - Ring Of Fire / The Hubs - Memphis" (Twin Hits TH-025) Australia 1963 5
"A PPX PRODUCTION" state both sides of the record.


ARTISTS WITH UNIDENTIFIED PPX BACKING TRACK SONGS

Olivia Molina
According to Billboard 1 her releases on the "Peerless" -label contain PPX productions. The only disc by her on Peerless that I can find is this one so one or more backing tracks on this release probably originated from Chalpin:
EP "Juego De Palabras" (Peerless EPP623) Mexico 1965
"Juego De Palabras / Juego De Manos / Mi Pesadilla / Yo Te Quiero Mucho"
Listen to on YouTube (Juego De Palabras): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHggRGIh5A4
Listen to on YouTube (Juego De Manos):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoL6mrTgiNc
Listen to on YouTube (Mi Pesadilla):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQqnq3ZcIMQ
Listen to on YouTube (Yo Te Quiero Mucho):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Cqgm8hfi3g

Mayte Gaos
Releases in Mexico

Chucho Avellanet
Releases in Puerto Rico

Michèle Richard
According to Billboard 1 her releases on the Météor-label in Canada contain PPX productions. Here are some of the Météor-releases, there are a lot more, unknown which of the tracks are PPX productions.

"Valse De Noêl / C'est Noêl Qui S'en Vient" (Météor 531) Canada 1959
Listen to on YouTube (Valse De Noêl) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hs8LZTlLzPk

"Quand Le Film Est Triste !!! / Brise Doucement Notre Amour !" (Météor 318) Canada 1962
Listen to on YouTube (Quand Le Film Est Triste !!!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urFxkHOv2HM

"J'entends Siffler Le Train / Ce Que J'aime Aujourd'hui" (Météor 326) Canada 1963
Listen to on YouTube (J'entends Siffler Le Train) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tv6KJf0SES8

Mighty Sparrow
Releases on RCA Victor in Trinidad


Labels
These recording labels were listed by Billboard 1 without any artist names mentioned so PPX product is lurking out there somewhere on releases by these companies:

Zafiro, Spain
Silver, Italy
Teldec (RCA), Germany
Karusell, Scandinavia
Sonet, Denmark
Vic (RCA), Argentina
?, England
?, Chile
?, France
?, Belgium
?, Brazil



SOURCES
1 Billboard 1 Oct 1966
2 The label scans on the website www.45cat.com are stamped "14.9.1965"
3 listed on the website www.45cat.com
4 listed on the website www.45cat.com
5 listed on the website www.45cat.com