Welcome to Mellow's Log Cabin. This blog's purpose is to supply information on a diversity of American southern music - ranging from country, blues, old-time and folk to R&B, rock'n'roll and rockabilly. I regularly present my research results about artists, labels, shows and also give guest writers a chance to publish their texts here on occasion.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mike Thomas on TPA

Mike Thomas - From California to Las Vegas (TPA 63-625)

The TPA label was owned by Jack Covais, a lyricist and violinist originally from Italy. He immigrated to New York City in his youth and founded Tin Pan Alley Publishing in 1941, in order to publish his own works. By 1953, he had founded his own label Tin Pan Alley, which recorded hundreds of song-poems during the 1950s and 1960s. It was a song-poem label, which means that writers could send in their poems for a fee to the record company, which set it to music and recorded it by one of their (mostly obscure and unprofessional) artists. The writer received a copy of the record in exchange. Some companies used previously recorded music backing tracks to overdub the singer later on. Thus, sometimes countless different poems were set to the same backing track. Tin Pan Alley's recorded output, in contrast, was mostly on a relatively high level regarding recording technique and musical quality.

After Jack Covais' death sometimes in the 1960s, it was first operated by his brother and then by Covais' newphew Sal Covais, who continued the company under the name of TPA in Sarasota, Florida.

Of Mike Thomas, nothing can be found. He was featured on countless Tin Pan Alley/TPA discs. "From California to Las Vegas," however, stands out as probably one of his best works for TPA. A garage rocker from the 1960s par excellence, it featured some nice harmonica backing during the intro and a long, wild guitar solo.

Read more about Tin Pan Alley plus a discography at songpoemmusic.com.

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