Thursday, October 07, 2010

Sandy Stanton



I haven't given enough attention either Film City, one of my favorite song-poem labels, or its owner, Sandy Stanton. I did do a feature on Stanton's earlier label, Fable, over at WFMU, earlier this year, and will offer up part two of that post at some future point.

But what Stanton brought with him to Film City was the amazing early keyboard, The Chamberlain, and today's offering not only features that instrument, most likely played by Rodd Keith, it also features - like many of Film City records - the Chamberlain being completely unable to keep up with itself. If one didn't know this was a basic synthesiser, one might wonder if there were two different bands working at the same time, or if perhaps the drummer was in another room, particularly at the end of the track. This is what the label describes as "New Sounds From Hollywood". Odd that those new sounds didn't become all the rage.

Not only that, but the song itself - "You Yum" - is fairly ridiculous. For example, the line about vitamins made my younger daughter (who was in the room as I digitized this) to laugh out loud both times. And Stanton's vocal gives some indication as to why he was only occasionally the vocalist on the records his labels produced.



The same writer who gave us "You Yum", is also the writer of the B-side, "Turn Back the Clock". While she clearly wrote the song out of some deeply painful experiences and life lessons, the resulting lyric is unfortunately fairly repetitive and monotonous, and leads to the same qualities in the song.



5 comments:

Stuart Shea said...

Especially incompetent, even with the standard of many Film City records. The lyrics to both songs are horrid...the first line of the b-side doesn't even make sense. But the vitamin line is funny. She forgot vitamin K, though...

See Era Bonita said...

Having worked with Sandy Stanton and his Chamberlain at his studio on Willoughby in L.A.in the early 70's, I'd like to add some info. The drummer sounds off because there was no real drummer, just tape loops that had broken over the years and were spliced back together without regard for the beat. That meant some bars in a 4/4 song were 3/4 or even 7/8; fills would come out of nowhere and as a sideman you just had to go with it. I think of Sandy as the Ed Wood Jr. of the song shark business - volume was always the point of a session.

To his credit I think Sandy had a nice voice - similar to Gene Autry if you listen carefully. He sang in tune, his vibrato was not too wide and although most lyrics were drek, he tried to infuse the absurd with a little feeling.

I don't think anyone calls the Chamberlain or Mellotron a synthesizer; a key presses a tape head against a tape loop. You had to release the key at about 8 seconds or there would be a flapping sound. How well the edit point of the loop was done also determined part of the quality of the sound. If you remember the intro to "Strawberry Fields" that flute was done by one of these two instruments so it could sound good in the right hands.

Anonymous said...

Robert Lyle, who collaberated with Sandy Stanton, wrote "Love is a Girl" and "Will it be You or Me?", recorded on Fable Records with the "Swinging Strings". I have the 45 he gave me, and now no turntable! He also gave me his book of poetry before dying 1992. He was my husband's cousin. His lyrics evoked some ragtime/swing era trying to be rock. Barbara Tynes Claiborne

Anonymous said...

I have several of these Fable and Abbey label recordings. Judy

beth said...

Sandy was my husband's father. Would love to hear any stories about him.