Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Flamingoes

The FlamingoesDid the group really perform entire concerts standing on one leg?

This collection, called The Best Of The Flamingoes, which I picked up at the Grande Bibliotheque, has 8 of their 11 hits. Missing are I Was Such A Fool (To Fall In Love With You) from 1960, The Boogaloo Party from 1966, by which time they had changed from End records to Phillips, and Buffalo Soldier, a Polydor release from 1970.

I Only Have Eyes For You appears on the Amercan Graffiti soundtrack.

The Flamingoes:

If I Can’t Have You – You listen to this and you can hear Frank Sinatra doing it, and then you realize then how much this group brings to this otherwise mundane romantic statement of exclusivity. The vocal swoop and sore, the lead is so idiosyncratic that he avoids all romantic clichés, the lyrics notwithstanding. Not the Yvonne Elliman song.
That’s My Desire – A hit for Frankie Laine, and covered by Dion & The Belmonts, this song transforms desire into something purely emotional. Or it tries to; I don’t really think that they’re fooling anyone.
Golden Teardrops – This one seems to inhabit some emotionally complex territory. It’s about how we treasure the sadness that someone feels on our account.
Jump Children – An old fashioned jump blues, new fashioned…
Dream Of A Lifetime – This one really goes all out with the romance.
Kokomo (I Love You So) – A hit for The Crew Cuts in 1955 and I have that version, a hit for Perry Como also in 1955 and I don’t have that version. But this was a remake, a hit in the spring of 1961, though it sounds much older. Not, needless to say, The Beach Boys song.
I’ll Be Home – Not the Randy Newman song. A hit for Pat Boone in 1956, and his version was ok you know, nice ballroom dance, but these guys put soul into it.
A Kiss From Your Lips – How a kiss changes everything – one kiss. The Everly Brothers did Till I Kissed You, The Drifters did This Magic Moment, same idea. It’s so silly, but the music and the singing is such that you believe every word. • The Vow – Marriage as the ultimate romance. “I believe,” he says, “true love never dies.”
The Ladder Of Love – This is really, in its own idiosyncratic way, a song about how we all have different needs. “Some want a little,” they say, “some want a lot, some folks are happy with what they’ve got,” in their best Pirkei Avot manner.
Lovers Never Say Goodbye – This song hit my head every time I tell someone “please wait.” For years I only knew the Sha Na Na version, which closed their The Golden Age Of Rock And Roll album, which I got in Fargo, ND, when I was about 15. And that year the Canadian dollar was actually worth more than the USD. Piece of trivia. But the song… Maybe the best ever about a reluctant parting. It’s not just a goodnight song, no. This is about a prolonged separation, and it’s sweet. “There’s no reason to cry.” This is from the winter of 1959. (We missed it, didn‘t we?)
Love Walked In – What you’d expect. From the fall of 1959.
I Only Have Eyes For You – Some song lyrics speak of how love brings heightened awareness of the world around; others, like this, do the opposite. The world disappears. From a therapeutic point of view, it’s totally not healthy. But unless you’re Jackson Browne, songs aren’t written from a therapeutic POV. From a let’s dance POV, it’s marvelous. This was their biggest and best know hit, and it’s from the summer of 1959. Art Garfunkel did a remake a few decades later.
Goodnight Sweetheart – Not to be confused with Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight (aka Goodnight Sweetheart It’s Time To Go) by The Spaniels, or Goodnight My Love my Jesse Belvin. And this isn’t as good as those other ones, but that’s stiff competition…
Mio Amore – They don’t do Italian like Dean Martin, that’s for sure. Actually this is in English, apart from the title. From the summer of 1960.
Nobody Loves Me Like You – And what do I get out of this relationship? From the summer of 1960.
Your Other Love – The Beatles took the theme, and did This Boy. In fact there are dozens of songs like this, Forget Him by Bobby Rydell is one of my favourites. It’s all useless, he can save his breath, she’ll do what she wants. From the winter of 1961.
Time Was – Not the Canned Heat song. This song about nostalgia was from the summer of 1961. Nobody, though, did nostalgia like The Statler Brothers.

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