Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sammy Country

Today, a record which would have fooled me. If I didn't know Sammy Marshall's voice (disguised here as Sonny Marcell), and didn't know about song-poems, the first side of this record is competent and professional enough, including the lyrics and melody, that it would have convinced me it was a legitimate release aimed at the country market of the early or mid 1960's.

It's not that it's necessarily all that great, and it certainly doesn't have that special something that either makes a song-poem wonderfully weird or that makes a legit record sound like a hit, but that's actually sort of why it stands out to me. The lyrics all work, at a level rarely heard on a Globe company song-poem, and the performances all fit well. This sounds like a genuine (but failed) real label release. Does anyone else hear that?

Download: Sonny Marcell - It's For You That I Yearn

I'm not sure what the story is on Modern Records. I was inclined to think that the songwriter here, A. C. Olsen, set up the label with the help of the Globe song-poem factory, but the only other documented release on the label was written by someone else. Perhaps a few friends in the Nashville area set up the company.

Whatever the story, nothing I said about the A-side applies to the B-Side, "Your Empty Arms". The opening guitar is slightly out of tune, the arrangement is bland, the lyrics are both clunky and they have been given melodic choices which play up that clunkiness, before those involved gave up completely and have Sammy/Sonny start talking the words.

But more than anything, there is an edit at the 1:16 point which is probably the worst edit I've ever heard on a song-poem record. It results in a measure with seven beats, and which clearly cuts from one take to a different one, one with a different production sound and which is in just a tiny bit lower key (maybe an eighth of a tone).

Given what it is that appeals to those who collect song-poems, I wouldn't be surprised if this half-assed side is the more popular of the two, among those listening to today's post.

Download: Sonny Marcell - Your Empty Arms


Timmy said...

No comment.
(See, I love good Country Music. These 2 cuts here seem as normal slightly below average songs of the genre, yet are legitimate. So, i have nothing to say about them. They are just your standard Nashville-TinPanAlley-Ranch stash, that some bozo spewed out for a product. These both could have easily hit the charts, as not. They're better than some that have! But they aint nothin' but throw-aways, to me.)

Stu Shea said...

I think that the only thing that makes me think these might not fit on the country charts are the odd little vibraphone bits. Throw a piano in there instead and it might sound more fitting...