Dean Martin is, hands down, my favorite entertainer (as evidenced by the name of this blog). My late Italian Grandmother would play his albums constantly on her wall length Sears console stereo as she had the scratchy vinyls stacked on the automatic changer spindle as high as they could possibly go. Every once in a while she would have to get up and nudge the needle that had become stuck in an endless skip. (I would later give her cds of every Martin track, but as grateful as she was, she still spun the wax.)
Unfortunately, I did not come around to Dino's music until he passed away. Even though it was Christmas day, Grandma was not in a joyous mood. While one of his cd's was playing in the background, a song that I had heard countless times before, finally resonated with me...Innamorata. I saw how it brought tears to my Grandma's eyes.
Since I was just starting to collect 78s at this time, I thought it would be fun to also round up some of Dino's tracks. Purple Capitols were found in abundance everywhere I looked. Even grabbed a few on eBay at decent prices.
Then I discovered that he had recorded 10 sides...5 discs...before he embarked on his massive Capitol output. In the 16 years that I have been collecting Martin 78s, I have all but one. It hasn't been the case of being outbid at the last second or finding it in an antique store only to be cracked or unplayable...it's that I have never come across one...online or in person...for sale, on display, mentioned or otherwise.
In late November of 1947, Dean Martin recorded One Foot In Heaven and The Night Is Young And You're So Beautiful for Embassy Records just before a recording ban went into effect on January 1, 1948.
Of course this is probably the most coveted Dean Martin 78 out there...but I'm starting to wonder...are there even any out there...other than the pics found in a book included with the box set of cd's I have? (see below)
I have had this record as an eBay saved search for almost 15 years now and never once had a hit...which only added to the mystique. I recently saw the following exchange on The Dean Martin Fan Center's Bulletin Board which only dimmed my hopes further of ever finding the record:
[Dear DMFC: I wanted to reply to the person who asked if anyone has a copy of Dean's 78 recording on the Embassy Record label. The answer is "Yes".
We (Record Review & Prices) did a story of the most valuable record discs of all time, and Dean's Embassy recording of "One Foot in Heaven" was included in the top 100.
We believe that there are only three (3) copies in existence today. Two of them are in the possession of your Fan Center's president, Neil Daniels (which one of them was displayed in the Bear Family set he produced), along with another copy we knew changed hands over 25 years ago, but have lost track of who has it today in their possession. If anyone turns up another copy, they would have a Goldmine on their hands.]
But...just last week, there it was in my inbox. I had to read and re-read the listing many times over. For five days, I couldn't think much about anything else. I left the window open on my computer just to remind me every time I sat down at my desk. After a very anxious auction process, the record became mine. The only obstacle left was the ride in the US Mail.
Now...I can finally say, without a doubt, that the record does indeed exist after having arrived in the mail safely today. This is my personal Zulu's Ball or Original Stack O' Lee Blues.
I just wish my Grandmother was here to see it...although I have a feeling she already has.
For a sense of completeness, here are pics of his other 78s that were released pre-Capitol...
And just found and obtained...the only other pre-Capitol release that I was missing. Not a 78 but rather an EP containing the Apollo sides.