PopBopRocktilUDrop

From the Land of Band Box Records

The Finer Arts Record Label has a long and somewhat clouded history – and the name Finer Arts lives to this day as a family owned enterprise in Denver, Colorado – although the vinyl recording days are long past.   But the label’s heyday was back some nearly 50 years ago when Morris Bernstein served as a partner with Frank Kavelin and also as a producer, song writer and more.  Morris was the son of immigrant parents and was born in southern Colorado in the town of Capulin.   During his lifetime, Morris composed more the 600 songs.  Many of the songs performed by the Finer Arts recording acts were written by him.  According to the Jewish Theater News in Denver, Morris composed for political figures Roy Romer and President Ronald Regan.

Bernstein of Finer Arts

Bernstein of Finer Arts

Finer Arts began in Hollywood, California where it’s earliest releases were recorded.  Many of these releases would be reissued by Finer Arts on labels bearing the Denver address.  Morris also owned Trans-World Records which had the distinction of releasing Otis Redding’s first single.  Bernstein and Kavelin apparently did have disagreements and so the label fractured sometime in the 1960’s with Bernstein setting up in Denver, Colorado recording new acts but also releasing previous tracks from the original label in California.  Visit the Kavelin family page to learn much more about Bernstein – Finer Arts – Lute Records and more.

Finer Arts lists 60 South Glencoe Street on most of its labels.  I do not know if that residence ever actually served as a recording studio.  Morris (sometimes “Morey”), passed away in

60 South Glencoe – Denver – Home – Studio or Both?

Among Bernstein’s compositions was the sound track to “Israel O’ Israel” became the basis for a later production of “Suddenly Hope”.  The Israel sound track was released on Finer Arts release 777 in 1982.

Finer Arts - Israel

Hollywood Argyles

There are two acts that stand out above the others within the Finer Arts catalog:  First, The Hollywood Argyles with their release of Finer Arts 1002 as listed below.   The original Argyles were the creation of Gary Paxton – who in fact recorded “Alley Oop” solo back in mid 1960.  There were many Hollywood Argyle releases prior to the Finer Arts 1961 recording.  Based on the success of the release – Gary put together a performing group to fill appearance dates.  Prior to the Argyles – Paxton was one-half of the duo Skip and Flip (“Cherry Pie” and “It Was I”).  Skip was Skip Battin, who would later join the Byrds.  I contacted Paxton and he told me he never traveled to or worked in Denver, but did production work for Morris often in Hollywood, thus the Hollywood Argyle release on Finer Arts.

Paxton also told me that he had traveled for a time to Nashville to do some work and thus tracks such as the two shown below on Capitol Records which were most likely cut in the Country Music Capitol.

PAXTON GARY - CAPITOL 5467 ADD PAXTON GARY - CAPITOL 5467 ADD_0001

Otis Redding & the Shooters

The other Finer Arts release of note is one by Otis Redding (with the Shooters on one side).  According to the Jewish News article, “Bernstein claims to have discovered by Otis Redding and Jan and Dean.”  Quiet a claim.  This record below was released on Trans World records – and some sources claim the Finer Arts 2016 is a “reissue”.  An item on-line however – publicizing a switch in ownership for Finer Arts also included Trans World.  So go figure.  For sure the Finer Arts recording date is one of the very earliest for Redding (he also had a release on Orbit records in 1961).  Which came first?  Where does Trans World fit in?  Who discovered Otis Redding?  D The advertisement for this release from Billboard appears below – November, 1966.  An Otis Redding biography indeed does relate about an early trip to Hollywood where Otis tested the waters and it was during this visit that he recorded the tracks shown here – first released on the Trans-World label – which was also a Morey Bernstein venture – Then he up and departed back to Texas to resume his quest.

A Bernstein Discovery?

OTIS REDDING AD 11-66

Finer Arts 45s

Finer Arts 1001 – Doug & Freddy & the Pyramids – “I Know You’re Lyin'” b/w Take a Chance of Love”

The orange label release is an original commercial first issue and the Red Label could have been a 2nd issue but could be first. The second set of scans below were a re-release of Doug and Freddy once the label was located in Denver.

FINER ARTS 1001 - DOUG AND FREDDY - A Finer Arts 1001 B - Doug and Freddy - I Know You're Lyin'

FINER ARTS 1001 - DOUG AND FREDDY RED AFINER ARTS 1001 - DOUG AND FREDDY RED B

FINER ARTS 1001 - DOUG & FREDDY - A FINER ARTS 1001 - DOUG & FREDDY - B

Finer Arts 1002 – Hollywood Argyles – “The Morning After” b/w “See You in the Morning”

Finer Arts 1002 DJ - Hollywood Argyles - See You in the Morning Finer Arts 1002 DJ - Hollywood Argyles - The Morning After
Finer Arts 1003 – Larry Stevens – “Just Think of Me” b/w “Somewhere There is a Someone”

Finer Arts 1003 DJ - Stevens Trio, Larry - Just Think of Me R Finer Arts 1003 DJ - Stevens Trio, Larry - Somewhere There is Someone R

Finer Arts 1003 - Stevens Trio, Larry - Just Think Of Me Finer Arts 1003 - Stevens Trio, Larry - Somewhere There Is Someone
Finer Arts 1004 – Robie Lester – “Ballad of Cheatin’ Life” b/w “Miracle of Life”

Finer Arts 1004 - Lester, Robie - The Ballad of Cheatin John Finer Arts 1004 - Lester, Robie - The Miracle of Life
Finer Arts 1005 – Viviane Greene – “Thanks for Nothing” b/w You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You”

Greene is listed on this 1950 Denver Post newspaper advertisement as an “added attraction” for the nationally known group The Charioteers – appearing at the Rossonian Lounge at 2650 Welton Street (image from “The Denver Eye”)

VIVIANE GREENE AT ROSSONIAN

Finer Arts 1005 - Greene, Viviane - Thanks For Nothing Finer Arts 1005 - Greene, Viviane - You'r e Nobody Till Somebody Loves You
Finer Arts 1006 – Joni Davis – “Somewhere There is Someone” b/w “Too Lonesome to Cry”
(A rare Finer Arts picture sleeve – Only one I know of)

DAVIS JONI - FINER ARTS PS

Finer Arts 1006 - Davis, Joni - Somewhere There is Someone Finer Arts 1006 - Davis, Joni - Too Lonesome to Cry
Finer Arts 1007 – Fabulous Enchanters – “Why Are You Crying” b/w “Something Blue”

The Fabulous Enchanters were a local duo who released this one single on Morey Bernstein’s Finer Arts label which dates from 1962. “Something Blue” was penned by Bernstein as was usually the case with many Finer Arts releases.

Group Members:

Marlene McDade
Ronald Stewart

Finer Arts 1007 - Fab Enchanters - Something Blue Finer Arts 1007 - Fab Enchanters - Why Are You Crying

Finer Arts 1009 – Ce Cee Carol – “Oh! Mr.Judge” – b/w Tag-A-Long”

Finer Arts 1009 - Carol, Cee Cee - Oh Mr. Judge Finer Arts 1009 - Carol, Cee Cee - Tag Along

Finer Arts 2008 – Vicki Martin – “Beware My Love” b/w “Handful of Dust”

Finer Arts 2008 - Martin, Vicki - A Handful of Dust Finer Arts 2008 - Martin, Vicki - Beware My Love
Finer Arts 2009 – Julie D’Anne – “Restless Wind” b/w “Tag-a-Long”

Finer Arts 2009 - D'Anne, Julie - Restless Wind Finer Arts 2009 - D'Anne, Julie - Tag-a-Long
Finer Arts 2010 – Don Rutherford – “Eskimo Song” b/w “Punishment of Love”

Finer Arts 2010 - Rutherford, Don & Emotionals -- The Eskimo Song Finer Arts 2010 - Rutherford, Don & Emotionals -- The Punishment of Love
Finer Arts 2011 – Hustlers – “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” b/w “Julianne”

This group started off at the University of Colorado in the 1960’s. Members included Mike Wuergler (bass), Mel Anderson (guitar), Jan Camp (vocals, percussion) and Adrian Anderson (banjo).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Finer Arts 2011 - Hustlers - The Heart is a Lonely Hunter Finer Arts 2011- Hustlers - Julianne
Finer Arts 2011 – Hustlers – “I Came Home” b/w “Lowlands of the Sea”
(undocumented release – redundant #)
Finer Arts 2012 – Jerry & Julie – “Thanks for Nothing” b/w “Too Lonesome to Cry”

Finer Arts 2012 - Jerry & Julie A Finer Arts 2012 - Jerry & Julie b
Finer Arts 2013 – Vern Swain – “Cloudy Summer Afternoon” b/w “It Ain’t Me Babe”

FINER ARTS 2013 - SWAIN VERN - A FINER ARTS 2013 - SWAIN VERN - B
Finer Arts 2014 – Hustlers – “Ski Country” b/w “Times I’ve Had”

FINER ARTS 2014 - HUSTLERS - A FINER ARTS 2014 - HUSTLERS - B
Finer Arts 2016 – Otis Redding & the Shooters – “She’s Alright” b/w “Tough Enough”

Finer Arts 2016 - Redding, Otis - She's All Right Finer Arts 2016 - Redding, Otis & Shooters - Tuff Enuff

Finer Arts 2016 V1 - Shooters - She's All Right R Finer Arts 2016 V1 - Shooters - Tuff Enuff R
Finer Arts 2017 – Dawn & the Twilights – “Cry Em’ Out” b/w Do It”

FINER ARTS 2017 - DAWN - A FINER ARTS 2017 - DAWN - B
Finer Arts 2018 – Cantor Maurice Weiss – “Blow the Shofar, Blow” b/w “He Who Knows”

Finer Arts 2018 - Weiss, Maurice - Bow the Shofar Blow Finer Arts 2018 - Weiss, Maurice - He Who Knows
Finer Arts 2019 – Marvells – “Miracle of Life” b/w “What About the Mountain”

Like many recordings acts on Finer Arts – label owner Morey Bernstein wrote many of their tracks. A YouTube visitor attended a performance by the Marvells at Denver’s Cole Jr. High School in the 1960’s.

Finer Arts 2019 - Marvels - The Miracle of Life Finer Arts 2019 - Marvels - What About the Mountain
Finer Arts 2020 – Julie D’Anne & the Soulmates – “Introduction to Zepporah the Lonely Butterfly”b/w Zepporah the Lonely Butterfly”

FINER ARTS 2020 - SHADOWS OF DAWN - A FINER ARTS 2020 - SHADOWS OF DAWN - B

Finer Arts 2021 – Eric Mitchell – “Home Again” b/w – I’m Here My Love”

FINER ARTS 2021 - MITCHELL ERIC - A FINER ARTS 2021 - MITCHELL ERIC - B
Finer Arts 2022 – Marlene McDade – “Miracle of Life” b/w “How Can I Tell Him”

Finer Arts 2022 - McDade, Marlene - How Can I Tell Him Finer Arts 2022 - McDade, Marlene - The Miracle of Life
Finer Arts 2023 – Mel “Chub” Anderson – “Sometimes” b/w “These Changing Times”

Finer Arts 2023 DJ - Anderson, Mel - Sometimes Finer Arts 2023 DJ - Anderson, Mel - These Changing Times
Finer Arts 2024 – Marvells – “How Could You Hurt Me So” b/w “Cause I’m Loving You”

Finer Arts 2024 - Marvells - Cause I'm Loving You Finer Arts 2024 - Marvells - How Could You
Finer Arts 2025 – Newcomers – “My People” b/w Blow the Shofar, Blow”

Finer Arts 2025 - Newcomers - Blow the Shofar, Blow Finer Arts 2025 - Newcomers - My People
Finer Arts 2026 – Marvells – “I’m a Fool for Losing You” b/w “Tomorrow”

Finer Arts 2026 - Marvels - I'm a Fool for Losing You Finer Arts 2026 - Marvels - Tomorrow

Finer Arts 6201 – The Well Diggers – “Crazy Alice” b/w  “Destination Heartbreak” by Jeannie Wyland & Sweettree
(More about this single from Lisa Wheeler at the “North Of Pueblo” Blog Site)

FINER ARTS 6201A

Finer Arts 45-3 – Kaylen Wells – “Time” – b/w “You Gave Me You”

FINER ARTS 45-3 - WELLS KAYLEN - A FINER ARTS 45-3 - WELLS KAYLEN - B

Finer Arts 777/45 – Doug Duggan – “Come Home” b/w “Stop”

FINER ARTS 777 - DUGGAN DOUG - A FINER ARTS 777 - DUGGAN DOUG - B

Finer Arts 777 – Susan Nelson – “The Soft Touch Of You” b/w “Time Will Make My Hurt Go Away”

FINER ARTS 777 - NELSON SUSAN - B FINER ARTS 777 - NELSON SUSAN - B2

Finer Arts 45-5 – Marina & Ocean Fire – “Hot Ride” b/w “I Know You’re Lying”

FINER ARTS 45-5 - MARINA & OCEAN FIRE A FINER ARTS 45-5 - MARINA & OCEAN FIRE B

Trans-World 45’s

Trans World 6907 – Ce Cee Carol – “Tag-A-Long” b/w Oh! Mr. Judge”

Trans-World 6907A - Carol, Ce Cee - Tag-A-Long Trans-World 6907B - Carol, Ce Cee - Oh Mr Judge

Trans World 6908 – Otis Redding & The Shooters – “She’s All Right” b/w “Tuff Enough” featuring Jackie

Trans World 6908 - Shooters - She's All Right R Trans World 6908 - Shooters - Tuff Enuff R

Trans World 6906 – Hong Kong White Sox ‘ “Cholley-Oop” b/w “He’d Better Go” by Brumley Prunk

TRANS WORLD 6906 C

TRANS WORLD 6906 B TRANS WORLD 6906 A

Other 45 Labels

45 – Landa 681 – Robie Lester with Don Ralke Orch. – The Miracle of Life b/w Ball of Cheating John

The A Side is a Morey Bernstein Composition and the record is produced by Finer Arts – probably during the Hollywood based days

LANDA 681 - LESTER ROBBIE - A LANDA 681 - LESTER ROBBIE - B

Finer Arts LP’s

LP – The Hustlers – Finer Arts 103 – Ski Country

Hustlers (1) Hustlers - Finer Arts 103 LP - Husters - Ski Country F (2)

Hustlers - Finer Arts LP 103 - Hustlers Ski Country SD 1 (1)Hustlers - Finer Arts LP 103 - Hustlers Ski Country SD 1 (2)

LP – The Hustlers – Finer Arts 104 – The Hustlers In Action

HUSTLERS - FINER ARTS - IN ACTION CA HUSTLERS - FINER ARTS - IN ACTION CB

Hustlers - Finer Arts LP 104 - Hustlers In Action BC (2)Hustlers - Finer Arts LP 104 - Hustlers In Action SD 2

LP – Finer Arts 2001 – The Vincent Brothers – Prelude to Discovery

Vincent - Finer Arts 2001 LP - Vincent Brothers - Prelude to Discovery BC (2) Vincent - Finer Arts 2001 LP - Vincent Brothers - Prelude to Discovery BC (1)

Vincent - Finer Arts 2001 LP - Vincent Brothers - Prelude to Discovery BC (3) Vincent - Finer Arts 2001 LP - Vincent Brothers - Prelude to Discovery BC (4)

LP – Finer Arts 777 – Morey Bernstein – Israel Oh Israel

Finer Arts - Israel

BERNSTEIN - MOREY - FA777 - 1 BERNSTEIN - MOREY - FA777 - 2

BERNSTEIN - MOREY - FA777 - 3 BERNSTEIN - MOREY - FA777 - 4

4 Comments

    • Great Find Lisa! And even greater information on Morey – Have you ever located a photo of him? Would love to place one in the Finer Arts section. It is pretty solidly established that he did indeed “discover” Otis Redding in California when Otis was an upstart – but haven’t been able to link him as of yet to his claim of “discovering Jan and Dean”. Any insight there? Thanks again

  1. Hi, I purchased about 10 reel to reels of the original recordings of Israel of Israel a couple of years ago, from a collector, on 2″ tape. I was wondering if anyone might know the best person to sell these to locally. Any info would be great. I am near Denver. Thanks.

    • Not sure who to refer you to – Contacting the Bernstein family in Denver has proven to be difficult – Perhaps someone will see your comment and be able to help find a home for the tapes

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: