Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Eternals

The EternalsThe first version of Come Go With Me that I ever heard was by a Winnipeg group called the Eternals. That was in the summer of 1967, when their version was in the local top 5 Canadian hits, which was tacked on to the weekly to 40 published by CKRC.

This is not those Eternals.

This group was an R&B vocal group, and they had only had one top 100 single, which didn’t make it any higher than 78. I don’t know how they did on the R&B charts. I got both these songs off of an Italian collection of some kind. It was a series and most volumes featured more than one artist – hence only 2 tracks by The Eternals, the longevity of whose rep has proved, alas, less than eternal.

The Eternals:

Babalu’s Wedding Day – Doo-wop meets cacophony. I know that this song is from 1959 because it has an entry in The Heart Of Rock And Soul, where the storyline is given, and it’s totally surreal. I’ll only tell you that the bride’s name is Hoskie Bopalena, and that the groom misses the ceremony because a monkey steals his money so he can’t call for a ride. It’s all a bit, you know, weird.
Rockin’ In The Jungle – Another attempt to associate R & B with primitive society. In this case they kind of pull it off, just because these guys are so out there. From the summer of 1959.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Falcons

The FalconsThere were all these bird groups: The Ravens, The Robins, The Cardinals, The Penguins, The Orioles. Later we had The Byrds, The Yardbirds, The Eagles, The Blackbyrds, but that was a different universe.

Eddie Floyd and Wilson Picket both sang in this group at various times.

The Falcons had 2 hits, one in ’59 and one in ’62, and I have both, and I know that I got the later one from a collection of pre-Atlantic recordings by Wilson Pickett. I can’t remember where I got the other.

The Falcons:

You’re So Fine – Here is doo-wop transitioning to R & B. The lyrics are not much more than an excuse to sing something, but then we hear what may be the greatest compliment in pop music: “You’re my first cup of coffee.” From the summer of 1959.
I Found A Love – One of those heartfelt ballads that presaged songs like When A Man Loves A Woman. Wilson Pickett sings lead on this, and he redid it solo later. From the spring of 1962.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Mystics

The Mystics Another great white doo-wop group. If there one hit was any indication, they were sublime. I wonder, though, why they only had one hit.

The Mystics:

Hushabye – A doo-wop lullaby and the formula works wonderfully. The words are ostensibly to a child, but we know different. Pomus & Shuman wrote this. The Beach Boys revived this on their All Summer Long LP. From the summer of 1959.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Anita Bryant

Anita Bryant There is Wagner. He was Hitler's favourite composer, and they played his music in the death camps. It was not random. Wagner was an avowed anti-Semite, and not a very nice person overall.

Here's the problem though: his music is magnificent. I had an album once upon a time (in fact I'm pretty sure I still have it somewhere) of Georg Solti playing overtures and orchestral interludes from Wagner's operas, and it was breathtaking. I borrowed once a copy of one his operas, The Flying Dutchman I believe, and I sat through it, libretto in hand, and I enjoyed every minute, bombastic as it was.

Wagner is perhaps the most grotesque example, but one thinks also of Dostoevsky, of other artists who created great and beautiful art but were the worst of human beings. It's even rumoured that Charles Manson wrote some of the songs credited to Dennis Wilson.

Now let's scale this down a bit. Anita Bryant is no Richard Wagner, but one thing she's most known for, after the orange juice and Miss Oklahoma, is gay bashing. So we need to separate, when we listen to Ms. Bryant, the voice from the person. And I suppose it's legitimate, because why should I be deprived of beauty just because the integrity of its creator is questionable. I leave the question open for debate.

The other question here, of course, is how beautiful was Anita Bryant’s voice anyway. That debate is also open.

The album is Anita Bryant's Greatest Hits, which seems to have been released in 1963, and which inexplicably left off Wonderland By Night. I have it though; no halfwit album compiler can stop me from getting all the top 40 hits. Apart from 3 of her 4 top 40 hits, the album pays no attention to chart singles, so her 7 non-top 40 hits are missing. It's vinyl, this album, no fancy CD or MP3 or DVD or anything. I remembering seeing, but not buying, it, at A Book And Record Place, so named undoubtedly to be first in the Yellow Pages. More later...

Anita Bryant:

Paper Roses – Your flowers were real, but your love was fake, laments our heroine, in a treatise that examines the role flowers play in a relationship. Then there’s the whole idea of truth, lies, pretending, honesty. Must mostly it’s about flowers. Her biggest hit, from the summer of 1960. Marie Osmond had a hit with this almost 15 years later.
The Wedding – A Fantasy, not about love or romance or even sex, just about the wedding itself. A hit in 1965 for Julie Rogers.
Step By Step – The deconstruction of a relationship. A bit country.
Till There Was You – Unabashed romantic sentiment from The Music Man. Her first hit, in the summer of 1959. Covered more famously by The Beatles on their second LP.
I’m Not A Child Anymore – A song about growing up. Not too deep.
Free – Not the Chicago song. A song about the end of a relationship.
In My Little Corner Of The World – On the surface it’s just another love song, the idea, though, is this: I have my space, you’re welcome to join me in it. Like George Jones sang: I’ll Share My World With You. But Jones also sang Walk Through This World With Me, and that seems to be more about what all that love stuff is about. This was a hit in the fall of 1960.
Sleepin’ At The Foot Of The Bed – A corny old country song, not what she does best. I have a version by Little Jimmy Dickens; his version makes sense.
It’s A Cold Cold Winter – Always good when you can bring the very weather into the service of a broken heart. The steel guitar doesn’t hurt either.
Pretty Lies – People pretend, they obfuscate, they prevaricate. They hide the truth to protect themselves and others. This guy, though, he lied. So there.
Hurry Home
Wonderland By Night – There are instrumental hit versions of this song by Louis Prima and by Bert Kaempfert, but this was the one with the words. A song about a one night stand, more or less, but of course nobody calls it that. From the winter of 1961.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

July, 1959

  • You're So Fine - The Falcons
  • M.T.A. - The Kingston Trio
  • Only Sixteen - Sam Cooke
  • Wonderful You - Jimmie Rodgers
  • Rockin' In The Jungle - The Eternals
  • Leave My Kitten Alone - Little Willie John
  • There Goes My Baby - The Drifters
  • 40 Miles Of Bad Road - Duane Eddy
  • Twixt Twelve And Twenty - Pat Boone
  • Back In The U.S.A. / Memphis, Tennessee - Chuck Berry
  • Sweeter Than You / Just A Little Too Much - Ricky Nelson
  • Big Hunk O' Love - Elvis Presley
  • Lavender Blue - Sammy Turner
  • What A Difference A Day Makes - Dinah Washington
  • Ragtime Cowboy Joe - The Chipmunks
  • Till There Was You - Anita Bryant
  • Mona Lisa - Carl Mann
  • See You In September - The Tempos
  • 10,000 Drums - Carl Smith
  • Taboo - Arthur Lyman
  • Ciao Ciao Bambina - Jacky Noquez

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