Saturday, January 2, 2010

Tommy Edwards

He was more R & B than, say, Johnny Mathis, but he wasn’t as R & B as, say, Sam Cooke or Clyde McPhatter. In that he was uniquely 50s, similar in a way to Brook Benton, though their styles were highly dissimilar.

My possession of this collection dates back to the early days of my haunting all those used record hangouts. I’m sure I got it at Pyramid, sure in the sense of “I’m not all that sure,” but I can’t imagine where else I got it, it was definitely second-hand, and usually if I can’t remember where I got a used record, that means I got it at Pyramid.

It’s a decent collection too. 11 of his 14 hits are on here; of his top 40 records, only The Morning Side Of The Mountain is missing.

Tommy Edwards:

I Really Don’t Want To Know – Every guy wants to be the first, that’s what I hear. I’m sure I read it somewhere. This paean to the desire to be that special guy has had an usually prolific life, seeing versions by Les Paul & Mary Ford, Ronnie Dove, Solomon Burke, and a remarkable one by Elvis. Edwards’ version, suitably dressed in strings and pathos, was a hit in the summer of 1960.
My Melancholy Baby – A song written in 1912. This also appears everywhere, but more in the MOR and jazz world. Another song about being a hero, though there is an element of emotional fusion that doesn’t sound all that healthy to me. From the summer of 1959.
Don’t Fence Me In – This tribute to open spaces was originally a hit for Bing Crosby. I prefer Edwards, I have to admit to not being a huge Crosby fan, though I’ve almost gotten dissed to death for admitting that I’m not a Johnny Mathis fan. Truth is, though, I don’t find it all that convincing, not by Crosby, not by Edwards. From the spring of 1960.
Blue Heartaches – Ah, but what other colour is there. Our Hero is playing mind games, a bit, with the one who broke his heart.
It’s Only The Good Times – It’s what he remembers of a relationship gone sour. I don’t think it’s like that in real life. I think we remember the bad stuff too. Sometimes it’s all we remember. It’s Only The Bad Times he should sing. From the summer of ’59, the B side of My Melancholy Baby.
Unloved –He has his heart set on one girl, and it’s all very romantic and wonderful. The title refers to his only other alternative. It’s an odd way to phrase it, “nobody loves me, I am unloved…”
New In The Ways Of Love – Really. I hear that every woman wants to be the first… He professes to a degree of inexperience that would be embarrassing if he were serious, which in the end he isn’t. This is from the winter of 1959 / 1960.
I’ve Been There – “Don’t tell me about her arms” sings our hero off the top. Now how weird is that. Well, she has a birth mark above her left elbow… From the fall of 1959.
It’s Not The End Of Everything – Oh no? Of course it is, that’s the point. Ask Skeeter Davis, after all. From the fall of 1960, Edwards’ last hit, which is kind of ironic I suppose…
Love Is All We Need – It’s an ok ballad this, with the chorus and all, but listen to Mel Carter’s recording from 1966. This is from the winter of 58 / 59.
Please Mr. Sun – In which our hero calls upon the very elements to come to his aid. Done before by Johnny Ray, but Edwards brings an element of civility. From the spring of 1959.
It’s All In The Game – His signature tune, the one for which he is remembered. He recorded this in 1951, and I’ve never heard that version. This one is from the fall of 1958, and it reached number one. I heard it first by The Four Tops who did it in 1970, and there is one by Cliff Richard from 1964, and even a version by Van Morrison from 1979’s Into The Music.
Romance as dialectic.

No comments:

Locations of visitors to this page