Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Collegiate Trip With Gene Marshall

Often when a particularly ridiculous title (or one with a truly unusual turn of phrase) crops up on a song-poem record label, the resulting song turns out to be a disappointment. I've found, though, that this doesn't seem to be the case (in my hearing, at least) for Gene Marshall records with singularly weird titles. Maybe it's something in his consistently measured, sincere reading of whatever was placed in front of him, or maybe the folks at Preview knew how to dole out the right material for the right singer.

Whatever the case, here's another example. What the hell could "Seas and Safaris - College Style" be, I thought to myself. Why, it's a fanciful description of a college semester on a cruise around the world, of course, on the good ship S.S. Universe. On a whim, I did a search, and at the risk of revealing that I'm the last one to know about this, but it turns out that this is a real thing! You can read about it here.

Lyricist Pearl Martuffi dutifully fits in the names of about two dozen ports (and any song that mentions Samoa has had an in with me ever since "The Humpty Dance" did the same), and the Preview folks place the whole thing over a nice, loping MOR track. Best of all is Gene's warm vocal. Bon Voyage!


I cannot work up the same enthusiasm for the turgid flip side, "I Sing to Keep From Crying", although I must say that Gene Marshall again rises to the challenge, and sounds close to tears himself on the opening lines, at the point that he sings of the cause of the heartbreak in the writer's life.


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