Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Zombie Song-Poem

It's always a good time for an early Tin Pan Alley record - in this case, one from 1956. And with the recent death of George Romero, there couldn't be a better time for a tribute to the man behind the modern zombie film, than a Tin Pan Alley song-poem about....yes.... ZOMBIES! 

Here's "Zombies Dance in the Night". It's sung by Alberta Jordan, whose name turns up on only a handful of TPA singles. And that's too bad, because she had a fun sound to her voice, which would have enhanced any number of song-poem records. The AS/PMA website lists one Jordan record, and I own two others, both of which I've now shared here (the other is currently mothballed, due to the loss of the links to my earlier posts.

The record has a bump and grind beat, which is an interesting choice for a song describing Zombies dancing. The author did not provide a whole lot of lyrics, leading to a lot of "La-La-La's" at a few points. But they still paint quite a picture.

Download: Alberta Jordan: Zombies Dance in the Night

The flip side, "Mister Radio Operator". And this is a fine, fun record, with a swinging, early rock and roll beat, with a nice sax solo, and a great feeling throughout. I'm not sure where the protagonist is located, but in the song, she's beginning the title character to somehow manage to pull in a strong signal so that she can hear her favorite music. Alberta Jordan does has a weird way of pronouncing words ending in a long O - including "Radio" - not sure where that accent comes from.

And how do I know this record is from 1956? Well, I did a search for the titles as well as the name of the label, and I found this listing. It seems that label honcho Jack Covais was thorough enough (proud enough?) of his co-writing credits - for writing the music - that he took the time to copyright these songs.

Download: Alberta Jordan: Mister Radio Operator

Monday, July 17, 2017

A Mid-Summer Treat - A Full MSR Album from 1971!

I thought I'd send out something extra special today, especially in light of the fact that I've been sharing more like three "song poems of the week" each month instead of four for most of the year.

So.... here's a FULL album from MSR, titled "New Songs for '71", featuring Dick Kent and the Lancelots on most of the tracks, and Bobbi Boyle (Bobbi Blake, I do believe) and the MSR singers on the remainder.

Just a few notes:
     - I believe that "Hot Pants and Leather Boots That Shine" has traveled the song-poem collector  circuit, although I'm not sure. I just know that I'd heard it before getting this album.
      - Even though that's the case, it is not, by far, in my estimation, the most interesting track here. The next to last song on side, for example, "Do Right", stood out to me for it's ridiculously simplistic sloganeering, and the final track on side one, "California City" is a marvel, in the way it seems to be wanting to tell a story, but simply repeats the same incomprehensible and pointless anecdote twice.
      - The most amazing track here, by far, is on side two, and is called "Forty Going North". I was actually inspired to get up and make sure I still had the same album on the turntable, so different was this from anything else on the album, and indeed, from anything else MSR was doing around this time. Truly an amazing track.

I have not separated out the tracks - they are linked here simply as side one and side two.


Download: Dick Kent and the Lancelots and Bobbi Boyle and the MSR Singers - New Songs for '71, Side One

Download: Dick Kent and the Lancelots and Bobbi Boyle and the MSR Singers - New Songs for '71, Side Two

Friday, July 07, 2017

First, I Will Serve My Country

Well, here we are, with a patriotic tune, appropriate for the week, just a few days late for Independence Day. And it's an early effort by Norm Burns and the folks at Sterling records, from that brief period when they were making a few wonderful, early-'60's sounding rock and roll records. The release comes just a few label numbers after the unimpeachable "Darling, Don't Put Your Hand On Me", which may well be my favorite song-poem record, and which you can hear here.

"Twenty-Three" isn't the equal to that masterpiece - and what is? - but it's a solid record in the same genre, clearly cut from the same cloth, with another unique Norm Burns vocal, and a lyric that tells its story effectively enough. Interesting enough, the lyricist here is female, but wrote a song from the point of view of a young man who has been drafted.

Download: Lew Tobin's Orchestra, Vocal, Norman Burns - Twenty-Three

On the flip side is a straightforward, sad ballad titled "Lost in Hopes of You". The singer's been gone for awhile, and has learned that, in his absence,  his sweetheart has found another. Since this has the same lyricist as "Twenty-Three", it seems at least possible that writer Mary Genco saw this song as being from the perspective of the same person who was portrayed on the flip side, a few months later.

Download: Lew Tobin's Orchestra, Vocal, Norman Burns - Lost in Hopes of You