Well, as you may have seen on other blogs, or learned for yourself, Divshare is back up and running. Thanks to everyone who chimed in, either with confirmations that it wasn't "just me" or ideas for other sites. By the time I had an opportunity to look more in depth at some of those other sites, the divshare folks (who were remarkably responsive, this time around) had let me know they were back in business.
I've also included a bonus at the bottom for those who love the late '50's and early '60's as much as I do, and I will post again a few times in the next week in order to get caught up.
Today's feature comes from a guy I've been happily corresponding with for over four months now. His name is Andy, and he first contacted me regarding my posts about Merigail Moreland. This led to a sharing of a lot of late '50's and early '60's singles through e-mail (mostly - and with great appreciation) from him to me, as we discovered where our tastes overlap, and what we have that might be of interest to each other.
His interest is not really in song-poems, but as he owns some, he was nice enough to send a few my way, and so far, this is my favorite among those he's sent. It's on Tin Pan Alley, and features Gus Colletti, whose stylings would seem to be spectacularly mismatched for a song titled "At the Rock and Roll Party". He has a choked, strained quality which seems more in tune with ballad singers, or at least dramatic readings of more serious material (not that I'd like him in that material, but at least it would seem a better match).
At the same time, though, this seems to show the influence of Paul Anka, one of my least favorite singers of the era. The band is giving it their best, but the whole enterprise seems doomed to failure, due to the choice of vocalists. Still, it's fun failure!
I cannot even pretend to drum up any enthusiasm for the flip side, the appropriately sad and dreary song "Life is Sad and Dreary". Tin Pan Alley at least tried to capture the sounds of the day, and this sounds like any number of hit songs of the era, without sounding like it would ever have been a hit, itself. And this does seem like a slightly better match for Gus Colletti's supposed skills than the rave up on the flip side.
By the way, in sending me all of these treasures, along the way, Andy sent me a record that has become easily my favorite "new-to-me" record, one that I've heard for the first time and can't get enough of, in at least the last five or six years. It's called "Love in Return" by the Nightingales.
This is close to a perfect record. I love the wild drumming, the struggle the girls have to stay on pitch and in unison several times during the song, and the bridges are particularly magical to me, and only the presence of a dumb-guy vocal at the end of each of those bridges keeps me from thinking this to be among the best things ever released.
This was a cover of a release on a larger label. I've heard that one, too, and it has absolutely none of the charm and magic of this record. The really captured lightning in a bottle here.