Friday, August 10, 2007

I Won't Always Love a Cake of Ice

Listening to a new 45 aquisition this evening with a friend, I was reminded of a somewhat similar 45 from the same era, a bubbly b-side obscurity from 1954 by the trio of Don, Dick and Jimmy, called "You Can't Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too".

There's a lot to like in this goofy little number. The close, perfectly executed harmonies, and the swingin' backing, especially as it really kicks in at the start of the second verse.

But I actually get the biggest kick, as is often the case, out of one of the smallest moments. Each time the three part harmony returns, during a verse, with the word "listen", there is something irresistable about the voice of the guy with the top harmony. He doesn't sound quite like this anywhere else in the song, either in vocal tone or the way he says the words, and it really catches my ear every time.

Quite a fun little record!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

You Know How Soft It Can Be

I may be virtually alone in this preference, but "The Ballad of John and Yoko" has been on my list of the best half-dozen Beatles songs for as long as I've been listening to the Beatles. At times, I've listed it as my favorite of the entire Beatles canon.

So how could I possibly fail to share with the assembled multitude this first rate cover version of this wonderful tune, performed, of course, by The Percy Faith Strings.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Who Was He?

Several years ago, I went through a short period of time during which I came across a bunch of Scandanavian related 45's and 78's that I really really liked. These were all dance records, in most cases made by American descendants or perhaps immigrants. My favorite of these, "The Norway Rhinelander" has already been posted here, well over a year ago.

But a close second would be a recording with a more roundabout story. At some point during that phase, I found a 45 with a curious title. It read "Johan Pa Snippen". That wasn't the curious part. The subtitle, presumably a translation, read "The Jazz Farmer". (That was the curious part.)

It was quite enjoyable, and I played it a bunch of times, put in o a mix tape, and moved on to whatever came next. Around that time, I came across an estate sale-sized batch of reel to reel tapes recorded by a reel/real pack-rat, someone who recorded just about anything and everything off the radio and kept detailed notes of every last recording, sometimes dozens of separate recordings on one reel.

I was listening to one of these, which featured the sound from about 10 minutes of a local Chicago TV show called "International Cafe". Coming out of applause for one performance, I heard a familiar melody, followed by some fairly hyperactive singing in Swedish. Near the end of the performance, I realized that it was "Johan Pa Snippen", and was rewarded for my close attention when the announcer indicated that I was correct.

As far as I can tell, he identifies the singer as "Siggy Furst", but I could be wrong on the spelling and prounouciation of both names. Regardless, this is a recording that I find completely infectious, more than 15 years after I first heard it. The energy in the singer's performance is wonderful, and, well, I love this sort of instrumental performance anyway.

Who was Siggy Furst? Darned if I know. What is he singing about? A Jazz Farmer? What is a Jazz Farmer? Anyone who can translate this is certainly more than welcome to offer up the translation!