Friday, July 31, 2009

The Everly Brothers

How was I to know that the album that I found at the West Kildonan Library, The Very Best Of The Everly Brothers, which was released c. 1968, consisted of rerecordings. In that the brothers were ahead of their time, think Gord’s Gold, especially the second volume.

Ok this isn’t about Gordon Lightfoot.

Good collections of the Everlys abound. But once I wised up to the bogus nature of my find, I made it a point to get the originals, and it wasn’t such an ordeal. The Cadence recordings, well I got those on a UK Pickwick release, an album called The Everly Brothers Greatest Hits Collection, which I found at A&A Records in Eaton Place.

A&A was just another franchise, with the usual top 40 selection. But that one time, maybe late 70s, they had a shipment of these UK releases, some on Pickwick, and they had a whole rack full of Quality collections, of which I’ve written before.

Anyway it was a double album, with both sides of every Cadence hit by the brothers. Can’t complain. Their Warner Brothers hits come from The Golden Hits Of The Everly Brothers, one of those albums that’s been around forever, and is still around. The collection is rounded off with Gone Gone Gone and Bowling Green, which I got somewhere else, the former off the single, the latter I think from a promotional album, but I lie after all, I replaced all the WB tracks with CD copies, picked up from Walk Right Back: The Everly Brothers On Warner Brothers, 1960 – 1969, which I got from, you guessed it, the West Kildonan Library.

In the end I have here 34 of their 36 top 100 hits - not too bad...

The Everly Brothers:

Bye Bye Love – One of the great statements of total and complete self pity. Covers abound, notably by Simon & Garfunkel and by George Harrison. From the summer of 1957.
I Wonder If Care As Much – Contending with difficult feelings, the deterioration of a relationship. This is heady stuff for 50s rock and roll. Jackson Browne built a whole career out of this sort of thing. The B side of Bye Bye Love, it spent a week in the top 100 in the summer of 1957.
Wake Up Little Susie – The tale of the couple that fell asleep in the cinema, and got home super late. Uh huh. The reputation is shot. My how things change. This reached number 1 in the fall of 1957.
Maybe Tomorrow – Not the Jim Croce song, which anyway was pretty obscure.
This Little Girl Of Mine – And the perfect girl she is. From the winter of 1958.
Should We Tell Him – A guy and his girl are faced with the dilemma of what to do about the other guy, told from the perspective of the other guy. The B side of This Little Girl Of Mine, it was a small hit in the winter of 1958.
All I Have To Do Is Dream – One of the great ballads of rock and roll, sung by the brothers who alternate between unison and harmony in a way that sends chills up your spine. So many people covered this, from Richard Chamberlain to The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Number 1 in the spring of 1958. “Only trouble is...gee whiz…”
Claudette – Claudette was a phone receptionist at Duffy’s Taxi, when I was a driver there so many years ago. Written and originally recorded by Roy Orbison, this was the B side of All I Have To Do Is Dream, and a hit in the spring of 1958.
Bird Dog – A song about the guy everybody despises. Steals the guy’s chick and everything. But he had to stand on tiptoe to kiss the teacher. What age group are we singing about here? And how does his gf feel about being called “my quail?” Number 1 in the autumn of 1958. “He’s a biiiird…”
Devoted To You – Oh wow, another great slow dance. The B side of Bird Dog and a top 10 hit in its own right in the fall of ’58. Covered by James Taylor and Carly Simon, and by the Beach Boys on their Party! album.
Problems – I guess there’s always been this perception that kids don’t have real problems, and here are the E Brothers telling us that it just ain’t so. If the litany of difficulties doesn’t persuade you, then that incredible descending guitar figure will. From late 1958.
Love Of My Life – This was becoming the Everly Brothers ballad formula. The B side of Problems and a hit at the same time.
Take A Message To Mary – Guy gets nailed, doesn’t want his girlfriend (wife?) to know. Who is he protecting? From the spring of 1959. Dylan covered this on Self Portrait.
Poor Jenny – Now this is real trouble, a date turned to disaster. Place got raided, Jenny ended up in jail. What kind of places does he take his dates to, anyway. Sounds like the relationship is over. The B side of Take A Message To Mary, from the spring of 1959.
(‘Til) I Kissed You – Ok, kissing is alright. What’s next. From the fall of 1959.
Oh What A Feeling – Not the Crowbar song. Another song about the deterioration of a relationship. I already mentioned Jackson Browne right? Think Late For The Sky, or Lightfoot doing If You Could Read My Mind, and then remember that this is late 50s.
Let It Be Me – The composers of this song, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, undoubtedly could have retired on the royalties from this song alone. Even Dylan did it. Betty Everett & Jerry Butler put it back on the chart in 1964, and Bobbie Gentry & Glen Campbell did the same in 1969. A straight love song and another great slow dance, and we hear strings here for the first time on an Everly Brothers record. From the winter of 1960.
Since You Broke My Heart – The pain of breakup.
When Will I Be Loved – I’ve had all the bad stuff, they sing, when does the good stuff happen. From the summer of 1960. This was a huge hit for Linda Rondstadt in 1975.
Be Bop A Lula – This cover of Gene Vincent’s hit was the B side of When Will I Be Loved and a hit in the summer of 1960.
Like Strangers – Another song on the theme of a love gone sour. From late 1960.
Brand New Heartache – Every time an old flame come ‘round, it’s curtains. Yeah I’ve knows girls like that…
I’m Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail – A song a mother sings about her son. This was a recording that Cadence had sitting around, and they released it after the brothers had left the label. It is unadorned – the brothers singing accompanied by a lone acoustic guitar. It made the chart in the fall of 1962.
Lightning Express – A song about a stowaway, and the suckers who believe his sad tale. The B side of I’m Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail, featuring the same sparse arrangement.
Cathy’s Clown – I knew a Cathy a long time ago, and a Kathy also. The Brothers' kickoff hit on Warner Brothers went to number 1 in the summer of 1960.
So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad) – It is, isn’t it. A touching song about the deterioration of a relationship. From the fall of 1960.
Walk Right Back – A pop masterpiece, and a hit in the winter of 1961. Redone by Anne Murray in the late 70s.
Lucille – The brothers have their own ideas about how to do Little Richard. They clean it up of course; “sister” becomes “daddy.” This was the B side of So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad) and a hit in the fall of 1960.
Stick With Me Baby – We’ll find a way, overcome the odds - optimism, as it could only exist in a rock and roll song. The B side of Temptation was a hit in the summer of 1961.
Always It’s You – This is really All I Have To Do Is Dream redux, right down to the tremolo guitar. The B side of Cathy’s Clown, and a hit in the summer of 1960.
Temptation – There are many songs called “Temptation” and this is one of them. Pure lust. From the summer of 1961.
Ebony Eyes – It was that streak of death-rock that happened in the early 60s; I think it was rock and roll’s first, misguided I think, attempt to come to deal with serious subject matter, and what’s more serious than death. There was Teen Angel by Mark Dinning, there was Tell Laura I Love Her by Ray Peterson, there was Last Kiss by J. Frank Wilson, a rather late entry. And there was Ebony Eyes by The Everly Brothers. The hero of our tale was serving his country, and so he arranged to marry his girl (his “ebony eyes”) at the base, because he didn’t have time for leave, or something. And so the chaplain authorized him to “send for my ebony eyes.” I can just see them arriving in a little jar. Anyway, she dies. Her plane goes down. He knows when an announcement on the PA tells everyone who has friends or relatives on flight 103 to attend the chapel across the street. How convenient that there’s a chapel across from the airport. This soap opera, the B side of Walk Right Back, was a hit in the winter of 1961.
Crying In The Rain – Hide how you feel, that’s how it is when you’re a guy maybe, especially if how you feel is sad. A common theme – think Tracks Of My Tears, Two Faces Have I, The Great Pretender, etc etc. From the winter of 1962.
Don’t Blame Me – The avoidance of personal responsibility in matters of romance is seen here as an expression of fate, but the repercussions may be serious. Still, this *is* romantic. From the fall of 1961
That’s Old Fashioned (That’s The Way Love Should Be) – The old ways are always the best? This is a brassy track, with old fashioned horn charts. From the summer of 1962.
I’m Not Angry – Now he sure does sound angry, and the lyrics vindictive as all get out, but the singer proclaims that he’s not angry, he’s “just hurt.” And I believe him. There’s a lot of overlap there. This is a profound psychological portrait of complicated emotions. Not the Elvis Costello song.
How Can I Meet Her – He disses her, and he wants nothing more than to meet her. Yet another exploration of complicated emotions. The B side of That’s Old Fashioned (That’s The Way Love Should Be), and a hit in the summer of 1962.
Muskrat – This is a kind of folksong that turns up a lot; there’s a version by Buffy Ste. Marie, and one by Chilliwack, that I can think of offhand. I think both of them are called Groundhog, though. From the fall of '61, the B side of Don't Blame Me.
Gone Gone Gone – Here is where the brothers rock out. From late 1964, they were competing with the UK bands by this point.
Bowling Green – Their last top 100 entry, this tale of hometown nostalgia just barely snuck into the top 40 in the summer of 1967, though it reached number 1 on Toronto’s CHUM chart.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sal Mineo

Sal Mineo didn’t have much of a music career. He was an actor, and he played Gene Krupa in The Gene Krupa Story. I know that from a Trivial Pursuit question, and I actually saw The Gene Krupa Story – well I saw part of it, on TV, one night long ago. His Wikipedia article has a list of his movies but no discography. Truth is he actually had 6 records in the top 100, all in 1957.

Sal Mineo:

Start Movin’ (In My Direction) – Another of those 50s rock and roll songs that still has one foot in pop – not in the rhythm, but in the use of the vocal chorus, and in the fact that Mineo sounds like he’s channelling Johnny Ray with swiveling hips. It’s not clear, though, whether the object of his affection is a friend, a stranger, someone he’s been dating a bit, his maiden aunt… A hit in the summer of 1957.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

June, 1957

  • Start Movin' (In My Direction) - Sal Mineo
  • I'm Walkin' - Ricky Nelson
  • Freight Train - Rusty Draper
  • Bye Bye Love - The Everly Brothers
  • I Wonder If I Care As Much - The Everly Brothers
  • Rock Your Little Baby To Sleep - Buddy Knox
  • Wondering - Patti Page
  • Puttin' On The Style - Lonnie Donegan
  • Gamblin' Man - Lonnie Donegan
  • It's Not For Me To Say - Johnny Mathis
  • Old Cape Cod - Patti Page
  • Freight Train - Chris McDevit Group featuring Nancy Whiskey
  • My Dream - The Platters
  • Gonna Find Me A Bluebird - Marvin Rainwater
  • (You Hit The Wrong Note) Billy Goat - Bill Haley & His Comets
  • Miss Froggie - Warren Smith
  • I Like Your Kind Of Love - Andy Williams
  • Short Fat Fannie - Larry Williams
  • Shangri La - The Four Coins
  • Queen Of The Senior Prom - The Mills Brothers
  • Dearest - Mickey & Sylvia
  • Valley Of Tears - Fats Domino
  • Girl With The Golden Braids - Perry Como
  • Goin' Steady - Tommy Sands
  • Little White Lies - Betty Johnson
  • Teddy Bear - Elvis Presley
  • Jenny Jenny - Little Richard
  • C. C. Rider - Chuck Willis
  • Over The Mountain - Johnny & Joe
  • Oh Baby Doll - Chuck Berry

Monday, July 27, 2009

May, 1957

  • Dark Moon - Bonnie Guitar
  • Empty Arms - Teresa Brewer
  • White Silver Sands - Don Rondo
  • After School - Randy Starr
  • Empty Arms - Ivory Joe Hunter
  • Dark Moon - Gale Storm
  • Shish Kebab - Ralph Marterie & His Orchestra
  • Talkin' To The Blues - Jim Lowe
  • Rosie Lee - The Mello Tones
  • Love Letters In The Sand - Pat Boone
  • Four Walls - Jim Reeves
  • Pledge Of Love - Ken Copeland
  • I Just Don't Know - The Four Lads
  • Fabulous - Charlie Gracie
  • I'm Stickin' With You - The Fontane Sisters
  • Searchin' - The Coasters
  • Teenager's Romance - Ricky Nelson
  • Young Blood - The Coasters
  • Yes Tonight Josephine - Johnny Ray
  • Cocoanut Woman - Harry Belafonte

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Eddie Cochran

Eddie Cochran died in April, 160, at the age of 22. Gene Vincent was in the same car at the same time, but he lived to tell. They were in England at the time.

In his short career he’d had 7 hit records in North America; in the UK his history was a bit different, where he had 6 slightly different records in the top 20. I got this album called Legendary Masters Series from the Centennial Library, buried deep in the old stacks. It was a double album, part of the same series that featured Fats Domino and Ricky Nelson. And apparently 2 records didn’t provide enough space to include all 7 hits. I managed to pick up a few others from a random collection I found at Red River Books, but I still don’t have Drive-In Show or Teenage Heaven, which are undoubtedly about the same thing.

Eddie Cochran:

Eddie’s Blues – A bluesy but meandering instrumental.
Linda Lou – A song about a farm girl. Well, she gets up with the roosters and the hens, she must be sleeping in the barn.
Pink Pegged Slacks – A variation on the blue suede shoes theme.
Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie – Not to be confused with Jenny Jenny by Little Richard. From the winter of 1958.
Something Else – Don’t bother lookin’ man, she’s something else. Sometimes that’s the only way you can describe someone. A hit in the winter of 1959 and his last US hit. I think there’s a version of Led Zeppelin doing this somewhere.
Skinny Jim – The anti-hero.
Let’s Get Together – An alternate take of C’mon Everybody. Not the Chet Powers song (aka Get Together)
Long Tall Sally – A respectable rockabilly rendition of Little Richard’s song. Competes nicely with Elvis and The Beatles. And he sings the real words.
Bo Weevil – This is Brook Benton’s song, not Fats Domino’s.
Completely Sweet
Three Steps To Heaven - Reminiscent of Chuck Berry’s 13 Question Method, but Eddie is a lot more straight-forward. Step 1: find a girl to love. Ok. Cochrane died in April, 1960, and this hit the UK top 20 in May. A bit morbid.
Cherished Memories – A love song with a military rhythm.
Pretty Little Devil
Who Can I Count On – Patsy Cline did this, but this is the rock and roll version.
Thinkin’ About You
Opportunity – To love you, of course.
Latch On – A weird expression, but I guess you have to keep coming up with new stuff.
I’m Ready – Not the Muddy Waters song. But he’s ready for the same thing.
Three Stars – Not to be confused with Three Stars Will Shine Tonight by Richard Chamberlain (aka Dr. Kildare). A song for Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Havens. Not too maudlin, overall. Cochran himself was history when this was released, and I don’t know that anyone ever released a tribute to him. This was a hit for Tommy Dee.
Cotton Picker – Apparently it was the lowest of the low, in terms of occupations. He will do anything else, but he will not be a cotton picker, no jumping down, no spinning around…
Summertime Blues – One could write a thesis on this song. Here we are at the dawn of the rock and roll era, and summer time was to achieve mythical status as a time of endless sunshine, surfing, cruising, hamburger eating, and unmentionable activities, and here is old Eddie, cursing and swearing about the summer, how it doesn’t work for him, how he is doomed, how there is no hope. It is surprising to me that The Beach Boys covered this, but they did, and on their first LP, but it was Blue Cheer that psychedelicized it and put it back on the charts in 1968, and The Who revived it yet again in 1970, after performing it at Woodstock, which performance is featured prominently in the movie, though not on the LP. From the fall of 1958.
Cut Across Shorty – A race for Miss Lucy’s hand, in which she encourages her beloved to cheat. All fair’s in love, right? Rod Steward covered this.
Milk Cow Blues – Elvis did this on one of his Sun singles; Ricky Nelson did it. Cochrane restores the original feel. Almost.
My Way – Not the Frank Sinatra song. Still, more swaggering, but the same idea.
• Blue Suede Shoes – A more or less by-the-book cover of Carl Perkins’ hit. Elvis did it too. So did Jimi Hendrix.
Nervous Breakdown – The spector of mental illness used as a metaphor for romantic excess.
C’mon Everybody – One of the all-time great party records. From late 1958.
Sittin’ In The Balcony – Eddie sits with his favourite girl, in the last row, and he doesn’t even know where he is (a movie? A symphony?). Written by John Loudermilk, and a hit late in 1958.
Twenty-Flight Rock – Poor guy has to run up 20 stories, and he ends up “too tired to rock.” The Stones covered this one of their live albums.
Teenage Cutie – I bet. Cochrane wasn’t that old, so this wasn’t all that sick.
Hallelujah, I Love Her So – The Ray Charles song, done up with strings and smarm…
Fourth Man Theme – I think this is supposed to be Third Man Theme really, from the movie, which was from the Graham Greene novel. Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass put it into the top 50 in 1965.
Weekend – Kind of same idea as Summertime Blues, though not as dire. On the other hand the expectations seem to be kind of higher here. The Move covered this to great effect.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Henry "Red" Allen's All Stars

Today I’m lazy, so I will just reprint the liner notes from the RCA anthology whence I pulled this track:

Henry “Red” Allen, Jr., whose father led a New Orleans marching band, was only eight years younger than Louis Armstrong, and grew up in the shadow of Armstrong and Oliver, but turned into a constantly evolving musician whose late work impressed a modernist like Don Ellis. He is reunited here wth Coleman Hawkins, with whom he had made some classic sides a quarter-century earlier.

Henry "Red" Allen's All Stars:

Love Is Just Around The Corner – Recorded in March, 1957. This features Coleman Hawkins on sax and Cozy Cole on drums.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jimmy Dorsey

Jimmy Dorsey (his brother was Tommy) was a rare example of big band leader who made the transition from 40s swing to 50s not swing. He managed to have 2 singles (3 songs) on the chart in 1957.

Jimmy Dorsey:

So Rare – A song about steak? A bit of modified big band swing. From the summer of 1957.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lloyd Price

Lloyd Price was an R&B singer, he was from New Orleans, and his chart career lasted from 1957 until 1964. His most covered song, and his biggest accomplishment, was Lawdy Miss Clawdy, covered by everyone and his brother, which was a #1 R&B hit in 1952, and which I do not have. Don’t yell at me. I just don’t have it.

What I do have is a collection called Personality, a budget cassette release which has 8 tracks, and I have 3 songs I picked up on some random collection that I got a Pyramid Records. That gives me 11 out of his 17 top 100 singles – for the record.

Lloyd Price:

Stagger Lee – This was a popular tale of gambling and murder, to a great New Orleans beat. I knew the song by Wilson Pickett, but that was later. There are, of course, millions of other versions. There’s a whole story behind this song; read about it if you’re ambitious on Wikipedia. This record, though, was a number 1 hit in the winter of 1959.
Personality – Over and over, sings Price, I tried to prove my love to you. We don’t know exactly what the obstacle was, as he waxes eloquent over his girl’s personality. A big one in the summer of ’59.
I’m Gonna Get Married – Johnny you’re too young, sing the girls. I thought his name was Lloyd. In spite of all the opposition, all the advice to the contrary, all the nay sayers, he’s gonna go and do it. Sheesh. From the fall of 1959.
Lady Luck – Karma is a bummer. Lloyd is determined to overcome. From the winter of 1960.
Question – Prices waxes philosophical. From the summer of 1960.
Where Were You (On Our Wedding Day) – Stood up at the alter, what a drag. Where were you when I said “I do” he asks. Strange that they went ahead with the ceremony without her. Still, Lloyd is angry, Give me back my ring! hew demands. I guess he's not gonna get married after all. From the spring of 1959.
Just Because – Not the country song, as done by Elvis. This is a kind of clink clink clink ballad. John Lennon covered it in 1975 on Rock & Roll. From the spring of 1957.
Won’cha Come Home – The lyrics beg, but the voice insists. From late 1959.
Just Call Me (And I’ll Understand) – Think I’ll Be There by Bobby Darin / Gerry & The Pacemakers, or Call On Me by Chicago. From the fall of 1960.
Come Into My Heart – Another love song, New Orleans style. From late 1959, the A side of Won’cha Come Home.
Never Let Me Go – The flip side of Lady Luck was a hit in its own right in the winter of 1960. A slow dance, with strings and all.
For Love – It’s getting generic by now. From the spring of 1960.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Del Vikings

The Del Vikings, an interracial harmony group, had 3 hits, all in 1957. My collection, which I cobbled together, has 2 of them. Come Go With me comes from American Graffiti, and Whispering Bells comes from the Stand By Me soundtrack. Where the others come from I can’t remember, except The White Cliffs Of Dover came right off the single.

The Del Vikings:

Come Go With Me – I don’t get the contradictory title. I guess it just creates a kind of underlying tension that defines one of the great rock and roll classics of the 50s. It rocks, it bops, it sails. From the spring of 1957.
Come Along With Me – Basically Come Go With Me redux, but good for all that.
The White Cliffs Of Dover – A hit for Vera Lynn during WW2. This is the doo-wop version.
A Sunday Kind Of Love – Originally by The Harptones, this is a slight update, and more uptempo. Also done by Jan & Dean.
Whispering Bells – There’s nothing whispering about this song. From the summer of 1957.

Monday, July 20, 2009

April, 1957

  • Come Go With Me - The Del Vikings
  • Sittin' In The Balcony - Johnny Dee
  • Lucille - Little Richard
  • Just Because - Lloyd Price
  • He's Mine - The Patters
  • Cumberland Gap - Lonnie Donegan
  • Mama Look-A-Boo-Boo - Harry Belafonte
  • All Shook Up - Elvis Presley
  • That's How Your Heartaches Begin - Elvis Presley
  • Mangoes - Rosemary Clooney
  • I'm Not A Juvenile Delinquent - Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers
  • I'm Stickin' With You - Jimmy Bowen
  • First Date, First Kiss, First Love - Sonny James
  • Sittin' In The Balcony - Eddie Cochran
  • School Day (Ring Ring Goes The Bell) - Chuck Berry
  • Rock-A-Billy - Guy Mitchell
  • I'm Sorry - The Platters
  • So Rare - Jimmy Dorsey
  • A White Sport Coat (And A Pink Carnation) - Marty Robbins
  • Banana Boat (Day-O) - Stan Freberg
  • (There'll Be) Peace In The Valley (For Me) - Elvis Presley
  • Pledge Of Love - Mitchell Torok
  • There Oughta Be A Law - Mickey & Sylvia

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Jive Bombers

One hit wonders extraordinaire.

The Jive Bombers:

Bad Boy – I had, at one time, an album that was like The Roots Of Rock And Roll or some such thing, which consisted of pre-rock and roll records, late 40s and early 50s R&B tracks that presaged 50s rock and roll, and this track was on it, which is chronologically odd, but stylistically telling. The song is about a guilty conscience it seems; he is bad because he is doing something about feeling bad. Ok. From the winter of 1957.

Ferlin Husky

We’ve encountered this guy, as Jeanne Shepherd’s singing partner. Here is on his own.

Now this guy is real country. He had 41 country hits, including the aforesaid duets, and 4 pop hits, all early on in his career, and 3 of which are found on this album, called The Hits Of Ferlin Husky, which I picked up at Pyramid Records.

Ferlin Husky:

Wings Of A Dove – This basic song of religious devotion was a hit in the winter of 1961. The imagery of the dove suggests peace. That’s a good thing I guess.
Walkin’ And Hummin’ – A song of unrelenting, unapologetic, unmitigated self-pity. Hey no problem; we’ve all been there, right? This appears to have been the title track of a 1961 album.
I’ve Got A Woman’s Love – A man stands back and looks at his life, and how much his woman’s love and support means to him. A bit simplistic, but touching for all that.
Little Tom – One of those tearjerkers that Grand Ole Opry stars liked so much, this one about a kid from a broken, nay destroyed, family. A top 10 hit on the country charts in 1955.
Homesick – Don’t know where exactly he is, or why he can’t go home, but this is a good survey of the emotionally dysfunctional male (too sick to die, to proud to cry, can’s “swaller” what he eats) all brought home by the fiddle in true Grand Old Opry style.
Eli, Camel – It’s about the camel in the cigarette ad. Great. My kid had a friend called Eli, and he’d say I’m going to Eli’s house, and I’d say Eli the Camel with a hump upon his back? And he’d say, sure Dad. Besides that, though, I worked for an interesting guy named Eli once upon a time, but he was not, as far as I could tell, a camel.
Gone – Oh my, how sad. This paean to failed romance was his first pop hit, if you can call it pop, which you can, but that doesn’t actually make it pop, in the winter / spring of 1957.
Hank’s Song – A song the lyrics of which are composed almost entirely of titles of Hank Williams songs. Clever. I think it actually works, too.
The Waltz You Saved For Me – This song, which is from the winter of 1961 / 62 is not actually in waltz time, though it can fool you into thinking it is. I don’t know who it is singing with him, but she tones down the hillbilly feel of this considerably.
Before I Lose My Mind – This seems to be a common theme also; think Crazy by Patsy Cline, I’ll Go Crazy by James Brown etc.
Drunken Driver – Lest we think that the don’t-drink-and-drive campaign is recent. The story of a man who gets tanked, gets behind the wheel, and runs down his own kids. A real tear jerker.
I’ll Baby Sit With You – A bit playful, a bit perverted. This scandal sheet was a country hit in 1955.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Russell Arms

He only ever had one hit. So this is his greatest hits I guess. All the hits.

Russell Arms:

Cinco Robles – Five Oaks. He did better than Les Paul & Mary Ford with this, but neither version made the top 20. That was in the winter of 1957. He pulls the same trick as Mary Ford, sings harmony with himself.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Patsy Cline

It was at the then new Sir William Stephenson branch of the Winnipeg Public Library that I found The Patsy Cline Collection. It’s huge really, and so I saved a custom selection of tracks. Elsewhere I have the whole thing. That’s for later. But all 13 of her hits are here.

This is a whole other world, this music. I don’t know how anyone ever had pizzazz to sing country music after listening to Patsy Cline. It’s nothing I grew up with; I just listened to top 40, pop, R&B etc. But that’s where the web comes in. My friend, whom I’ve never met face to face, well she lives in the south, and grew up hearing this stuff all the time. She says my mama used to listen to this.

So pal, lets go walkin…. After midniiiiight…

Patsy Cline:

Walkin’ After Midnight – This song is about walking and about midnight. It’s about being in the dark, it’s about finding your way in the dark, it’s about how there is one kind of darkness and another kind of darkness, it’s about how the same environment can be so radically different given the context, it’s about solitude, it’s about unrealistic hopes, it’s about dreams that sustain us. The song walks, the rhythm, you’d know the song was about walking even if you didn’t understand a word. It was a monumental achievement that has challenged generations of country singers. Kellie Pickler, eat your heart out. A number 1 hit on the country charts, the songs reached number 12 on Billboard pop in the winter of 1957.
A Poor Man’s Roses (A Rich Man’s Gold) – This dissertation on the relative merits of wealth vs. love was the B side of Walkin’ After Midnight, and it was a country hit in its own right. On the pop charts it was a hit for Patti Page. Thing is, a poor man can’t afford roses either.
Try Again – A song of encouragement to the broken hearted.
Hungry For Love – A song of separation and longing.
Just Out Of Reach – A hit in 1960 for Solomon Burke, recorded also by Brenda Lee and Percy Sledge.
I’m Moving Along – Not to be confused with I’m Moving On by Hank Snow, Patsy was moving much slower, but in fact it’s about not getting stuck, counting your losses, brushing yourself off, and moving on.
Got A Lot Of Rhythm In My Soul – Here Patsy comes out swinging. There are different kinds of rhythm, and while the ostensible subject of the song is music, well… From 1959.
There He Goes – A hit for Jerry Wallace as There She Goes. A song about being bad and regretting it.
I Fall To Pieces – A song about a relationship with the temperature turned down. “You want me to act like we’ve never kissed” sings Patsy, with a controlled voice that sounds on the verge of, well, falling to pieces. One of her great records, this was a hit in the fall of 1961 – no surprise, number 1 on the country charts.
True Love – Well the subject doesn’t get more basic.
Crazy – It is the denial of the validity of one’s emotions that she’s singing about here. I’m crazy for feeling this way. Nothing there that a good therapist can’t fix. But ah, if only it were that simple… This was Patsy’s only top 10 hit, and that was late in 1961.
Who Can I Count On – Just when you thought you knew who was who. This was the B side of Crazy and it was a hit in the fall of 1961. It had been done previously by Eddie Cochran.
I Love You So Much It Hurts – It’s not supposed to hurt. Something is wrong here. But she knows that.
South Of The Border (Down Mexico Way) – Another Mexican tale.
Strange – Another love song. With classic understatement, Patsy describes the events that tell of the imploding of relationship as “strange.” From the winter of 1962 and this was the B side of She’s Got You.
You’re Stronger Than Me – The emotional inequities in a relationship. This is from 1962.
She’s Got You – How much investment one has in a relationship, how that investment manifests itself in physical things, in memories, in feelings. How it stings when the relationship is done. From the winter of 1962.
You Made Me Love You – A standard from, like, the 30s. Nilsson did a great version of this.
You Belong To Me – Another great. The longing and wistful quality of her voice on this is what made Patsy Cline Patsy Cline. It the Duprees who put this on the chart, but nobody could do it like Patsy.
Heartaches – This was kind of standard. The Ames Brothers did it; so did The Marcels. This version was a hit in the fall of 1962.
Your Cheatin’ Heart – The Hank Williams classic. Patsy was competing with Elvis, with Ray Charles, with Frankie Laine, but nobody was better suited to cover this song.
That’s My Desire – Another standard. Recorded by Frankie Laine, and by Dion & The Belmonts.
Half As Much – Another Hank Williams song, one that had been a hit for Rosemary Clooney.
I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You) – Hank again.
When I Get Thru With You (You’ll Love Me Too) – There’s a competition here, and it’s not clear whether she is stealing another girl’s guy, whether he’s hers already but he’s straying, or what.
Imagine That – The B side of When I Get Thru With You, another song of longing.
So Wrong
Why Can’t He Be You – Ouch. This is the opposite of Love The One Your With in a way. This was the B side of Heartaches, and it actually reached number 107 on the top 100. Don’t ask.
Leavin’ On Your Mind – From the winter of 1963. This is where the collaboration between Patsy Cline and Own Bradley shines. She sings her heart out, understated as always, and Bradley adds just the right combo of strings, chorus, Floyd Cramer soundalike piano, and the result can’t be described. No man, you gotta hear it…
Back In Baby’s Arms – It’s nice to hear her sing a happy song, but there’s still that melancholy quality in the voice, subtle it is, but all the pizzicato in the world can’t change it.
Faded Love – Patsy waxes nostalgic for “our faded love.” A bit of strange way to put it. A hit from the fall of 1963, by which time Patsy Cline had been dead for just over half a year.
Someday – Vaughn Monroe did this. But he didn’t have that longing in his voice…
Sweet Dreams (Of You) – How sad this is. I should hate you, she sings. From the summer of 1963.
Always – Irving Berlin wrote this. There are dozens of versions, maybe hundreds, and my favourite is by Harry Nilsson. Or not. Maybe this one’s my favourite. Maybe. Sorry Harry…
He Called Me Baby – I bet could he couldn’t pronounce Patsy. Another song of longing…

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Steve Lawrence

Now let’s see. Steve Lawrence had a total of 24 singles on the Billboard top 100, the first in 1957 and the last in 1972. 8 of those singles were on Coral Records and 3 were on ABC Paramount. I have 3 of those 11 on a cassette-only collection called Pretty Blue Eyes.

Alright, keep going. He had 4 hits on United Artists, including Portrait Of My Love, and I don’t have any of those. But I do have a collection of his Columbia hits, called Steve Lawrence’s Greatest Hits, which has 10 tracks including 1 out of 8 hits. One. Uno. I don’t know how they defined “greatest hits” at Columbia, but it wasn’t the same way I do.

The Greatest Hits LP, by the way, I found it at one of these seasonal sales, Winnipeg Folk Festival most probably. I don’t remember where I bought the cassette; I just know that I bought it new.

Steve Lawrence:

Party Doll – From the spring of 1957, This cover of Buddy Knox’s hit reached the top 10 in its own right. It was a brief flirtation with rock and roll for Mr. Lawrence.
Footsteps – Steve is haunted. From the spring of 1960.
Pretty Blue Eyes – One of those upbeat ballads. The Guess Who did two versions of this during their obscure days on Quality Records. From the winter of 1960.
Come Back Silly Girl – A lilting melody that one can not resist. A hit for The Lettermen.
I Hear A Rhapsody – The label says that this is with Eydie Gorme, but I don’t hear her voice on this. The Supremes, well, they heard a whole symphony. And Burton Cummings, he played the rhapsody.
Somebody Else Is Taking My Place – Ouch, but Steve doesn’t sound all that bothered by it.
Why, Why, Why – Do you make me cry….
You Don’t Know
Go Away Little Girl – His big hit. The classic story of the older man and the younger woman, jail bait perhaps. Think Young Girl by Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, Five Short Minutes by Jim Croce. This beat them all. Went right to the top of the chart in the winter of 1963. The Happenings covered this, and so did Donny Osmond, but we won’t talk about that.
Sweet Maria – A song of parting. Has a bit of that mid eastern thing going on, but only on the bare surface.
The Impossible Dream – Here it is. Had to be here. Lawrence gives a low key but not ineffective performance.
I Want To Be With You – A fairly basic and honest statement of feeling. I have a version of some woman singer doing this. Eydie Gorme?
Love Me With All Your Heart – One of those songs that turns up everywhere. The Ray Charles Singers put it on the chart in 1964. Lawrence sings the heck out of it, especially at the end.
More – The Theme From Mondo Cane, The Theme From Mondo Cane, and the Theme From Mondo Cane. Someone could do a blog just on versions of this song. We have heard Catarena Valente, Roger Williams. It was a hit for Kai Winding.
A Room Without Windows – The ultimate honeymoon. I don’t think it would work for more than a few hours.
Millions Of Roses
What Now My Love – Another standard. The last song was Millions Of Roses. This should be Millions Of Versions. But only Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass and Mitch Ryder had hits with it, and both versions were atypical. This version, though, is typical.
Where Can I Go – A refugee song. Ray Charles did this, but Lawrence sings a verse in Yiddish. You can’t beat that.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Buddy Knox

One of those quirks of fate: Knox was a Texan, he had a few hits in the late 50 / early 60s, ultimately retired to a farm in southern Manitoba. Heck, we were almost neighbours.

Party Doll came from the American Graffiti soundtrack, Hula Love came from the single, and the others came from a cassette collection of his Liberty recordings.

Buddy Knox:

Party Doll - I saw a gal walkin’ down the street, sings Buddy. Maybe I want to have a party with you. The objectification of the female reached number 1 in the spring of 1957.
Hula Love – Paradise Hawaiian style, apologies to Elvis . The guy in the story comes from some “savage land” the name of which I would not attempt to reproduce here. Ultimately this is one of those the adults-are-against-us song, (think Pocohontas, think Runnin’ Bear), and it reached the top 10 in the fall of 1957.
Ling-Ting-Tong – A cover of The Five Keys hit from 1955. From the spring of 1961.
Lovey Dovey – Nonesense words. Otis & Carla covered this. From the winter of 1961.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ruth Brown

I guess she was kind of the Aretha Franklin of her day, but in reverse. Aretha was too tame until she switched from Columbia to Atlantic, then she hit her stride. Brown was not tame enough, and she had to popify her sound to go mainstream. But Brown only managed to put two songs into the top 40, seven on the top 100, all between 1957 and 1962. Both the tracks I have here are from Atlantic Rhythm & Blues compilations.

Ruth Brown:

Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean – Superb R & B from early 50s Atlantic. A song about abuse, and all that goes along with it. A remake of this on Phillips made the charts in 1962.
Lucky Lips – This whole concept is just too bizarre. I will decline to discuss the ramifications. This mild obscenity (shoot! I said I wouldn’t do that) reached the top 30 in the winter of 1957. Even more bizarre, it was a hit again in a cover version by Cliff Richard

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Charlie Gracie

An early Cameo-Parkway artist and another Elvis wannabe. Cameo did well later with Chubby Checker and Bobby Rydell and Frankie Avalon and Fabian and The Tymes and The Orlons and even ? And The Mysterians. But Gracie’s career was underwhelming; he only ever had three hits, all in 1957, and I have two.

Charlie Gracie:

Butterfly – The girl flits from guy to guy, I guess. A number 1 hit in the winter of 1957.
Fabulous – An Elvis soundalike record. Think Treat Me Nice, which actually didn’t come out till later. From the summer of 1957.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tommy Sands

The rush of teen idols is on, not that teen idols are necessarily a bad thing. Just about all of ‘em, Bobby Vee, Johnny Burnette, Gene McDaniels, even Bobby Sherman, had at least one transcendent record, some had more. Fabian was an exception, but we’ll get to him later.

Like Tab Hunter, Sands made movies, but unlike Hunter, Sands movie career was a spinoff of his music career. Sands had 11 top 100 singles, and I’ve only got two, and I don’t remember where I got those two.

Tommy Sands:

Teenage Crush – First came A Rose And A Baby Ruth (“we had a quarrel, a teenage quarrel”), then Young Love, and now Teenage Crush. It didn’t stop there, oh no, Puppy Love was yet to come. From the winter of 1957.
Goin’ Steady – Believe it or not, there’s a bit of Elvis inflection going on here. This picks up on the teenage romance theme, and it was a hit in the summer of 1957.

Friday, July 10, 2009

March, 1957

  • Teenage Crush - Tommy Sands
  • Butterfly - Charlie Gracie
  • Butterfly - Andy Williams
  • Can I Steal A Little Love - Frank Sinatra
  • Lucky Lips - Ruth Brown
  • Round And Round - Perry Como
  • Party Doll - Buddy Knox
  • Only One Love - George Hamilton IV
  • Rip It Up - Elvis Presley
  • Party Doll - Steve Lawrence
  • Bad Boy - Jive Bombers
  • Almost Paradise - Roger Williams
  • On Treasure Island - Gale Storm
  • Walkin' After Midnight - Patsy Cline
  • I'm Walkin' - Fats Domino
  • A Poor Man's Roses (Or A Rich Man's Gold) - Patti Page
  • I'm Waiting Just For You - Pat Boone
  • Little Darlin' - The Diamonds
  • Why Baby Why - Pat Boone
  • Gone - Ferlin Husky
  • Lucky - Ralph Marterie & His Orchestra
  • Almost Paradise - Lou Stein
  • Forty Cups Of Coffee - Bill Haley & His Comets
  • Let There Be You - The Five Keys
  • Little Darlin' - The Gladiolas

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Terry Gilkyson & The Easy Riders

They were coming out of the woodwork, first The Tarriers, then The Easy Riders. These guys really laid the foundation for The Kingston Trio, who would be credited with singlehandedly kicking off the folk revival. But we know better…

Terry Gilkyson & The Easy Riders

Marianne – A bit of calypso in what sounds like paradise. From the winter of 1957. A bit funny too. I will be so happy I will kiss my mother-in-law (Phooey!)…

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mickey & Sylvia

Mickey & Sylvia were not husband and wife. They weren’t even girlfriend and boyfriend. Not according to Mickey, anyway. What they were, according to legend, was teacher / pupil. Sylvia got Mickey to teach her to play guitar, and she convinced him, somehow, that they ought to be a duet.

Mickey was Mickey “Guitar” Baker, who ended up being a venerated session player, and Sylvia was Sylvia Robinson, who recorded Pillow Talk, and founded, or cofounded or something, Sugar Hill Records and was therefore a rap midwife.

And together, they were unlike anyone else in the annals of pop / rock / R & B. This collection, which I picked up Pyramid Records, has seven of their eight hits – missing is Lovedrops, who knows why. They did a single called Love Is A Treasure which was not a hit, but I know it exists because I found it, the single. It wasn’t on the collection.

Mickey & Sylvia:

Love Is Strange – I guess that’s probably an understatement. This song was written by Bo Diddley though it doesn’t sound like it. He credited it to his wife, Ethel Smith. As the two parlay, singing together, Mickey treating us to some for the 50s sophisticated electric guitar, then trading love insights (how do you call your lover boy), we are treated to a song that has no parallel in pop music. It was hit in the winter of 1957 (their only top 40 hit), was covered later by Buddy Holly whose version was released posthumously in 1969, with The Fireballs accompanying his vocals, it was a hit for Peaches & Herb in 1967 (that was the version I grew up with) and Wings put it on their first album in 1972.
What Will I Do – All kinds of terrible things apparently. Rather a desperate attachment I’d say. From the winter of 1961.
I Got A New Idea On Love – Cute, but I doubt that it’s a new idea.
Love Will Make You Fail In School – “Sylvia, are you doing your homework??” Concentrate on your studies, don’t get sidetracked by extra-curricular interests. A warning in song. Until the end – then Sylvia, wonderful Sylvia, proclaims that, in fact, it’s school that will make you fail in love. Put those books away and come and …. Truly inspiring…
There’ll Be No Backing Out – This is about one thing, and one thing only. Squeezing, not teasing. I don’t know who the sax man is, but he’s good…
Bewildered – Not to be confused with Bewitched (Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald) this Love Is Strange soundalike was a hit of sorts in the winter of 1958.
No Good Lover – Mickey treats us to his solo vocal and his guitar pyrotechnics. Sylvia also takes the mike. Bluesy.
Dearest – And here they do a kind of ballad, though it’s not too different from their usual fare. From the summer of 1957. The flip side of There Oughta Be A Law.
Say The Word – A call-me-any-time song.
Love Is The Only Thing – A nice thought – not true, but a nice thought. They go kind of smooth here, harmonies throughout, a bit heavier than usual on the orchestration.
There Oughta Be A Law – Typical complaint, I do the work, you do the play. Nice. This is kind of the typical Mickey & Sylvia humour, complete with the “Mickey!,” “Yes Sylvia!”. But there is an undercurrent of bitterness here, until the end. “There oughta be a law keeping us together.”
This Is My Story – A little different. A remake of the old Gene & Eunice hit from 1955. Also done by The Crew Cuts.
Love Is A Treasure – I guess it is, after all.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

February, 1957

  • Too Much - Elvis Presley
  • Cinco Robles - Russell Arms
  • I Love My Baby - Jill Corey
  • Look Homeward Angel - Johnny Ray
  • Fools Fall In Love - The Drifters
  • I Dreamed - Betty Johnston
  • Love Is Strange - Mickey & Sylvia
  • You Don't Owe Me A Thing - Johnny Ray
  • Four Walls - Jim Lowe
  • Playing For Keeps - Elvis Presley
  • Your True Love - Carl Perkins
  • Marianne - The Hilltoppers
  • Knee Deep In The Blues - Guy Mitchell
  • Wringle Wrangle - Bill Hayes
  • I Miss You So - Chris Conner
  • Mystery Train - Elvis Presley
  • Marianne - Terry Gilkyson & The Easy Riders
  • Who Nees You - The Four Lads
  • Without Love (There Is Nothing) - Clyde McPhatter
  • Ballerina - Nat King Cole
  • Chantez Chatez - Dinah Shore
  • Cinco Robles - Les Paul & Mary Ford

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tab Hunter

What starts here, if it didn’t already with George Hamilton IV, is the teen idol phenomenon, and Tommy Sands was close behind. Soon came Ricky Nelson, Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Bobby Vee, etc etc. Hunter was a Hollywood star – he was in dozens of movies – but his recording career was less than spectacular. He had 7 top 100 singles, all between 1957 and 1959, and only 3 made the top 40.

Tab Hunter:

Young Love – Fought its way up the chart against the Sonny James version; both reached number 1. This is straight pop, a bit too straight. Sonny James sweeps the floor with this guy.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Bill Evans / George Russell

To you from the world of jazz, and given that the Jazz Festival is in full swing here, how appropriate is that. I wish I could remember the name of the RCA anthology that I got this from.

Russell was the composer / arranger; Evans was the star musician.

Bill Evans / George Russell:

Concerto For Billy The Kid – Recorded in October, 1956. Features Evans on piano, Art Farmer on trumpet, Hal McKusick on alto sax, Barry Galbraith on guitar, Milt Hinton on bass, Paul Mortian on drums. Few of those names mean anything to me. I don’t know what this has to do with Billy The Kid, and it’s not any kind of concerto.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sonny James

Look at a map of Winnipeg and you’ll see that the downtown streets follow a predictable east-west / north-south pattern, but there’s a point slightly north where the angle shifts, and the direction is more northwest- southeast / northeast-southwest. The twain meets right on the corner of Notre Dame (pronounced English “noter dame”, not French) and Princess, which is Donald going south. Right at that corner is where I discovered Pyramid Records and that was in 1983.

The trade then was highly organized, and the records were neatly categorized. So if you brought them blues albums to trade, you could trade it for blues albums, and if you brought country albums, you could take country albums, and it worked like that for all the categories. Didn’t last long, the system, but it was a noble experiment. They also had a rack of new albums, imports, and I didn’t buy many, but I got a few: Link Wray, The Beatles At The Star Club. They had a Danny & The Juniors collection that I did not buy, for which I have been kicking myself ever since (well not hard, I couldn’t buy everything).

The moved a few times, and when I picked up this Sonny James album the store lived on the south side of Portage Avenue, near Edmonton, and it was there until 1993, when it moved, the 5th time, to a location on Smith Street, which I was only ever at maybe twice. There is an obscure web source that suggests that it moved to Portage it 1990, but it seems that it was there longer than 4 years. Anyway it was on the way home from work, and it was downtown and I could take a quick detour when I had court appearances and the like. Don was the owner, Ken was in charge of the books. I assume the book section was clean, I know that they didn’t sell “dirty” magazines, not even old copies of Playboy.

It wasn’t just a store, Pyramid, it was a culture unto itself, a small universe. I spent more hours there then at all the other stores combined, and I traded and traded and traded. And we were all on a first name basis. Don even sent me a client once.

It was a TV advertised album I think, The Sonny James album, and I also had a cassette collection that had nine tracks. James had a phenomenal number of hits on the country chart, a phenomenal number of them number 1, but on the pop charts he had 18 records between 1957 and 1971. I have 10 of them.

Sonny James:

You’re The Only World I Know – This song about romantic fusion was a hit late in 1964.
True Love’s A Blessing – Not every relationship is based on love, says Sonny. He delivers this with all the panache of an adolescent reading about love in a comic book. From 1966.
Behind The Tear – Sonny sings of crying, and all the layers behind it.
I’ll Keep Holding On – Not The Marvelettes song. A song of dedication, though “holding on” is a strange way to express it. This is from 1965
Room In Your Heart – I still love you, sings, Sonny, can’t you see. Is there room in your heart he asks. It’s a bit disjointed from a temporal perspective. From 1966.
Young Love – His pop hit, from the winter of 1957. Went right to number 1, artistically blowing away the competition by Tab Hunter. Donny Osmond covered this, but we won’t talk of that. A great starry eyed teenage romance record, with the best brushes this side of Ringo Starr.
Take Good Care Of Her – It was Adam Wade that put this on the map, but Sonny’s version gives it a country flavour to this tale of a love gone to someone else.
First Date, First Kiss, First Love – The obvious follow-up to Young Love, it has a bit of opportunism about it. Plays fast and loose with dating experience, and patronizing. From the spring of 1957.
The Minute Your Gone – A song about obsessiveness. Covered by Cliff Richard. From the summer of 1963.
Since I Met You Baby – The Ivory Joe Hunter hit. It didn’t take much to countrify it. From the fall of 1969.
Only The Lonely – The Roy Orbison hit. James’ version was number 1 on the country chart in 1969.
Here Comes Honey Again – Now we know what happened to Bobby Goldsboro’s chick. From 1972.
That’s Why I Love You Like I Do – From 1971
Don’t Keep Me Hangin’ On – Release Me, with new words and tune, or You Keep Me Hanging On. From 1970 in waltz time.
Running Bear – From the summer of 1969, and a number 1 for Johnny Preston 9 ½ years earlier. This is very silly really, and way out of date by 1969. The Guess Who redid it 1972.
Bright Lights, Big City – The Jimmy Reed song, a bit out of character for James, but it’s good. From the summer of 1971.
It’s The Little Things – A song about the trivialities of married life, those ones that make the difference. From 1967.
Need You – A come back to me song. Please forget and forgive the days gone by he sings. It’s all so simple, isn’t it. From 1967
Heaven Says Hello – Everything’s perfect here. From 1968.
Born To Be With You – He gives this old Chordettes hit a rather frantic arrangement. From late 1968.
Only Love Can Break A Heart – The old Gene Pitney song. From 1972.
I’ll Never Find Another You – This remake of The Seekers hit from 1965 was a hit for James in the summer of 1967. The words here are the typical romantic claptrap, but there’s a beauty in the melody, and in James’ delivery, that makes the whole thing very real.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Humphrey Lyttleton & His Band

Apparently this guy was big news in the UK. He seems to have been more of a personality than an innovator. The only track I have came from a jazz anthology called Best Of Dixieland, though this track doesn’t sound so Dixieland to me.

Humphrey Lyttleton & His Band:

Christopher Columbus – Sounds like one of those Arthur Murray let’s learn to dance numbers.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Clarence "Frogman" Henry

Now Clarence Henry, he had 6 top 100 singles, 1 in ’57, and the rest in ’61 / 62. I have the 3 that made the top 40 (top 20 really) and I got them from some reissued singles.

Clarence "Frogman" Henry:

I Ain’t Got No Home – Grammar isn’t important. As Dave Marsh astutely pointed out in The Heart Of Rock & Soul, “In their entire careers, neither Prince nor Michael Jackson did anything quite this strange.” A song about a guy with nowhere to live turns into a song by a girl with no man, then a frog with no family, as our auteur transforms his voice into that of a young maiden, then that of the proffered creature. Weird. The Band covered this on Moondog Matinee, but they eschewed the vocal pyrotechnics. From the winter of 1957.
But I Do – I don’t know why I love you but I do, sings Henry, in words that reflect the true nature of true love, though armies of sociologists and psychologists would have us believe otherwise. From the spring of 1961.
You Always Hurt The One You Love – I suppose there’s truth in that, although “always” may be taken in the wrong sense, thereby justifying all manner of wrongdoing. Famous by the Mills Brothers, and a hit for Henry in the summer of 1961.
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