This Caprice label (there were others) was formed in 1960 by Neil
Galligan, Hutch Davie and Gerry Granahan in New York City. It was located at 101 West 55th Street.
Galligan had previously been General Manager of Canadian-American Records, and arranged the
funding to start Caprice as Gerry Granahan's label, with Granahan the sole owner on paper. Congress
was a subsidiary label that Galligan started in 1962. Hutch Davie was the musical director for both
Caprice and Congress. Gerry Granahan was also the main producer for the Caprice label.
The story of Caprice Records is a complicated one. Between 1960 and 1963, Caprice released 21 singles and two LPs. Both LPs were released in true stereo, and the New York studios used for recording had stereo capabilities such that all their masters should have been recorded in stereo. Yet, except for the tracks on the two stereo albums, the rest of the Caprice material has yet to surface in stereo, including many singles by Janie Grant and a single by the Five Satins recording as the Wildwoods. The location of the master tapes, as well as some of the events leading to the demise of the label, add some mystery to the story.
One of Granahan's band members went to school with a young female singer from Patterson, New Jersey, Rose Marie Castilli, whom they gave the name Janie Grant. Grant's first single, "Triangle" [Caprice 104], which she wrote, entered the charts in March, 1961, eventually reaching the national Top-30 at #29. It might have reached considerably higher, as it made top-10 in many cities, but not simultaneously. Airplay started in February and lasted until August in various places around the country. The followup single, "Romeo" [Caprice 109], released in July, was by all measures a dud, only reaching #75 nationally and not scoring very high in any city and not even getting much airplay. The next single, "Unhappy (Birthday)" [Caprice 111] fared even worse, as it didn't chart at all, anywhere. "Oh Johnny" [Caprice 113] was next, in February, 1962, and got scant little airplay and no national chart recognition.
In the summer of 1962, Grant released "That Greasy Kid Stuff" [Caprice 115], a novelty number playing off the Vitalis hair tonic ads which asked, "Are you still using that greasy kid stuff" on your hair (in unstated reference to best-selling Brylcreem)? The song featured several vignettes where the hero (including popular then-president JFK) was caught up short by someone asking whether he was still using "that icky, sticky, ooey-gooey greasy kid stuff." The song also made top-10 in several smaller cities, but the overall effect was still only #74 nationally, despite a memorable novelty. One more failed single for Caprice ("Peggy Got Engaged", Caprice 119), and the label was discontinued. Janie Grant signed with United Artists, had five more non-charting singles, another one for Parkway, and that was that. Janie Grant's twelve Caprice sides, as well as four other singles, have been reissued on the CD Teenage Girls, Volume One.
Caprice had its first top-20 hit in late 1961, with "'Til" by the Angels [Caprice 107], which peaked at #14 in January, 1962. The Angels were a vocal trio from Orange, New Jersey, including lead singer Linda Jankowski (Jansen) backed by sisters Phyllis "Jiggs" Allbut and Barbara "Bibbs" Allbut. The Angels had another hit on Caprice in February, 1962, with "Cry Baby Cry" [Caprice 112] which eventually reached #38. About that time, Linda Jansen left the group and was replaced by Peggy Santiglia. Their next single, "Everybody Loves a Lover" [Caprice 116], only reached #103. Two additional singles ("I'd Be Good For You"/"You Should Have Told Me," Caprice 118, and "Cotton Fields"/"A Moment Ago", Caprice 121) flopped. Caprice did issue an album of the early recordings of the group titled And the Angels Sing.
In 1963, The Angels met producers Feldman-Goldstein-Gottehrer who wrote a new song for the Shirelles, and asked the Angels to do a demo of the record. Granahan was okay with this if he got a cut, but he has told interviewers that his lawyer worked a deal behind his back where Granahan was completely cut out. The result of this deal was that the Angels signed with Mercury Records and were assigned to their "teen" subsidiary, Smash Records. The publisher (essentially, FGG) liked the Angels' demo so much they wanted the demo out as the commercial record, and Smash gladly obliged. It was their #1 hit "My Boyfriend's Back" [Smash 1834] in the summer of 1963.
In the fall of 1961, Caprice recorded James Ray Raymond on the Rudy Clark-written "If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody" [Caprice 110]. Clark had been pitching songs to Granahan, who told Clark he couldn't sing very well, and to find someone who sang like Ray Charles to do his demos. The next time Granahan saw Clark, he was rehearsing James Ray, a diminutive homeless 20-year-old. Granahan noted of Ray, "He really looked emaciated, but when he opened his mouth, it was all over." Granahan told Clark not to let Ray go anywhere. After signing Ray, Granahan recorded him on Clark's "If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody," which made #22 on the pop charts and #10 on the R&B chart. Buddy Lucas was playing harmonica on the song, which used a tuba instead of a bass and used the unlikely 3/4 waltz time on an R&B record.
In April, 1962, Ray had a smaller hit with another Rudy Clark song, "Itty Bitty Pieces" [Caprice 114], a #41 pop hit that sounded a lot like Lloyd Price. His third and last single for Caprice, "A Miracle" [Caprice 117], did not chart. Ray, unfortunately, died of a drug overdose in 1964 at the age of only 23. Later, in 1987, George Harrison took his "I've Got My Mind Set on You" to #1. Caprice issued an album of Ray's Caprice recordings in 1962, complete with a cover photo of the 5'1" Ray wearing the 5'5" Granahan's suit and tie.
Besides Janie Grant, the Angels, and James Ray, Caprice had few other artists, and none of them charted. These included the Wildwoods (actually, The Five Satins), the Allie-Oops Group, Marty Hill, Jesse Dean, Gerry Granahan, and Buddy Lucas, each of which had only one single except Granahan with two.
Where the tapes are today is unclear. Granahan has told interviewers that he still owns the rights to all the masters, but having the rights and having the tapes are two different things. Granahan has also said that in 1963 the actual master tapes were seized by a hit man who told him they were in his basement and sneered, "I have some bad news for you. I had a flood and everything got destroyed." This was about the time his lawyer made a deal to cut him out of any future Angels records just as they were about to have their #1 hit, "My Boyfriend's Back," which started out as a demo while the girls were still signed with Caprice. The record business, it seems, was then as always a dirty business.
Granahan said that he finally folded the label in 1963 when he discovered that silent partner Neil Galligan was selling records off the books. That did it for the partnership and label, and Galligan and Granahan split up, with Granahan getting control of the (stolen?) master tapes and Galligan getting some of the publishing. Granahan also noted that Galligan gave the tapes for Canadian-American to "investors in North Dakota" who sold the masters of some hits for $500 apiece. Joey Welz, who eventually became the owner of Canadian-American Records, started a label called Caprice International in the 1990s, using the abandoned Caprice name and logo, and reactivated Canadian American. At the time, Welz had no idea where all the tapes had made it to.
After the Caprice label was discontinued in 1963, several other ("not to be confused with") labels with the Caprice name appeared. In the mid-to-late 1960s, a Caprice label operated from Nashville, Tennessee, producing country and western records. There was also a Canadian label by that name operating out of Montreal, issuing French-language pop and country records. Finally, later there is a Swedish label from Stockholm using the name Caprice today. None of these other Caprice labels had anything to do with the Caprice/Congress label with the possible exception of the Welz label, which had ties through Canadian-American.
|The Caprice album label (both mono at far left and stereo at near left) was dark blue with silver printing, with "Caprice Record Corp." in white on two lines above the center hole. The promotional releases had a white label with black printing, with "CAPRICE" in black above the center hole. Both albums released also had the Hutch Davie logo in a diamond at the right of the center hole.|
Number - Title - Artist - [Release Date] (Chart) Contents
LP 1001/SLP 1001 - And the Angels Sing - Angels  And The Angels Sing
(S)/Sentimental Journey (S)/Welcome To The Floor (S)/Cry Baby Cry (S)/River Of Love (S)/A Moment
Ago (S)/Cotton Fields (S)/My Devotion (S)/Everybody Loves A Lover (S)/'Til (S)/Blow Joe (S)/That's All I
Ask Of You (S)
LP 1002/SLP 1002 - James Ray - James Ray  The Old Man And The Mule
(S)/Lazy Bones (S)/I've Got My Mind Set On You, Part I & Part II (S)/St. James Infirmary (S)/Come Rain
Or Come Shine (S)/If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody (S)//Without A Song (S)/Teach Me Tonight
(S)/A Miracle (S)/It's Been A Drag (S)/Welcome To The Floor (S)/Itty Bitty Pieces (S)
Ascot AL 13009 (mono)/ALS 16009 (stereo) - The Angels Sing 12 of Their Greatest Hits -
Angels  Reissue of Caprice LP 1001/SLP 1001. And The Angels Sing (S)/Sentimental
Journey (S)/Welcome To The Floor (S)/Cry Baby Cry (S)/River Of Love (S)/A Moment Ago (S)//Cotton
Fields (S)/My Devotion (S)/Everybody Loves A Lover (S)/'Til (S)/Blow Joe (S)/That's All I Ask Of You (S)
Charly R&B (UK) CRB 1065 - Itty Bitty Pieces - James Ray  One By One
(M)/Marie (M)/Come Rain Or Come Shine (S)/The Old Man And The Mule (S)/Lazy Bones (S)/(I'm Not)
Guilty (M)/On That Day (M)/If You Gotta make A Fool Of Somebody (S)//Itty Bitty Pieces (S)/It's Been A
Drag (S)/St. James Infirmary (S)/Put Me In Your Diary (M)/You Remember The face (M)/Things Are
Gonna Be Different (M)/We Got A Thing Going On (M)/I'm Gonna Keep On Trying (M)
RELATED COMPACT DISCS:
Collectables COL-CD-5199 - If You Gotta Make a Fool Of Somebody - James Ray
 Reissue of Caprice SLP 1002. The Old Man And The Mule (S)/Lazy Bones (S)/I've Got My Mind
Set On You, Parts 1 & 2 (S)/St. James Infirmary (S)/Come Rain Or Come Shine (S)/If You Gotta Make A
Fool Of Somebody (S)/Without A Song (S)/Teach Me Tonight (S)/A Miracle (S)/It's Been A Drag
(S)/Welcome To The Floor (S)/Itty Bitty Pieces (S)
Teensound TSR 56651 - Teenage Girls, Volume 1 - Janie Grant/Diane Ray
 This CD contains all of Janie Grant's Caprice singles, her first three UA singles, and her Parkway
single, as well as Diane Ray's only LP for Mercury. Janie Grant: Triangle (Caprice 104)/Tell Me,
Mama (UA 616)/Romeo (Caprice 109)/She's Going Steady With You (Caprice 104)/That Greasy Kid
Stuff (Caprice 115)/Trying To Forget You (Caprice 115)/Roller Coaster (Caprice 109)/Oh, Johnny
(Caprice 113)/Oh, My Love (Caprice 113)/Peggy Got Engaged (Caprice 119)/Two Is Company And
Three's A Crowd (Caprice 119)/I Wonder Who's Kissing Him Now (Caprice 111)/Unhappy (Caprice
111)/Who's Heart Are You Breaking Now (UA 616)/That Kind Of Boy (UA 649)/Priceless Possession (UA
649)/Too Young For Me (UA 731)/Ribbons And Roses (UA 731)/My Heart, Your Heart (Parkway
982)/And That Reminds Me Of You (Parkway 982); Diane Ray: Please Don't Talk To The
Lifeguard/That's All I Want From You/Happy Happy Birthday Baby/That Boy's Gonna Be
Mine/Snowman/My Summer Love/Just So Bobby Can See/No Arms Can Ever Hold You/Tied Up With
Mary/Slow Dancing With Don/Where Is The Boy/You'd Be So Proud Of Me
X-Bat 5822 - Caprice! - Various Artists  When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano - Wildwoods/Bloop Bloop - Allie Oop's Group/Oh, It Isn't Fair - Marty Hill/Triangle - Janie Grant/Apache - Jesse Dean/Unchained Melody - Gerry Granahan/'Til - Angels/Dance Girl Dance - Gerry Granahan/Romeo - Janie Grant/If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody - James Ray/Unhappy Birthday - Janie Grant/Cry Baby Cry - Angels/Oh Johnny - Janie Grant/Itty Bitty Pieces - James Ray/That Greasy Kid Stuff - Janie Grant/Blow Joe - Angels/A Miracle - James Ray/You Should Have Told Me - Angels/Peggy Got Engaged - Janie Grant/I Can't Go - Buddy Lucas/A Moment Ago - Angels/I've Got My Mind Set On You - James Ray/Gimme Gimme - Janie & Gerry/Young And In Love - Janie & Gerry