Saturday, September 09, 2017

Dick Kent's Home Is His Castle

Before I get to this week's feature, I have quite a bit of housekeeping - a variety of comments which I want to acknowledge, share with the readers and/or respond to. 

First, regarding what I thought was a mysterious performance labeled as being by "Rod Rogers" on Halmark, of all places, a great blogger and frequent commenter here, Darryl Bullock, has indicated that there indeed was another song-poem performer who went by that name, aside from Rodd Keith. He writes: 

Surely the vocalist on Trailways Bus Driver is Nu Sound's dreadful Todd Andrews? Incidentally, there is also at least one Rod Rogers 45 on Nu Sound, 1008: Don't Be A Dope/Birds And Bees And The Stork (both L. Smith). I don't have a copy of the latter but I'd put money on that Rod Rogers being Todd Andrews rather than Rodd Keith 

Regarding a post from February, featuring a singer identified as "Dan Monday", who I indicated was Rodd Keith, I heard the following from our friends at the excellent record label Roaratorio

Just as an FYI.... Rodd Keith was *not* the singer known as Dan Monday, on any of the records, as far as I know. I think this misconception was fueled in part by the misattribution of the Dan Monday track "General Custer's Story Remains Legend" on 'I Died Today' to Rodd... but they were most definitely two different vocalists. Milford Perkins also gets lumped in with the Rodd pseudonyms on occasion, but he too was a different vocalist.

It's not clear to me how the writer knows for certain that Dan Monday is not Rodd - it certainly sounds like him to me - and I admit that I've not written to ask, due to the general busyness that I've alluded to, but I will defer to the folks at Roaratorio, whose knowledge and insight about Rodd far surpass mine. 

Finally, Jake writes to ask: 

Are you aware of any song-poem companies that are still active or is this pretty much a dead medium in the 2010s?

It's not I can't answer this for certain - but I strongly suspect that the scam is still out there. It certainly was a decade ago, when a friend of mine was an avid collector of recent CD releases of song-poems on the then-current song-poem labels. Also, in the late '90's, a few of us got together and purchased a song-poem based on a poem by a late acquaintance of one of our group - I believe the price was $200 - and I think we did business with the folks who now run whatever the current name of Halmark Records has become. To be certain about its continued existence, one might buy a copy of The National Enquirer, or some other similar rag, and look in the classified ads, but that's not something I'm going to do. I know for a fact that the poetry version of this scam (in which people are self published, or have their poems narrated on CD) still exists. 

Thanks, everyone, for writing - I really appreciate all comments!

And now, on with the countdown!


Today, we have the singer best known as "Dick Kent", sounding very young, singing in what I'm guessing was early in his career, trying to "advance" himself up the ladder of success, on the Advance label, under the name "Dick Castle". The song is "A New Love", and the entire, fairly pleasant, non-taxing enterprise sounds like something Paul Anka might have released in the early '60's (which is when I'm guessing this dates from), including Dick himself sounding more than a little bit like Anka. Although I hasten to say, Dick Castle/Kent, like 98% of the vocalists who have ever been recorded, is a better singer than Mr. Anka.

Download: Dick Castle, Vocal, with Page Cavanaugh - A New Love
Play:
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The flip-side, "Dream One Dream At a Time", is a far duller trip, to my ears, a lyric as clunky as the title, and a music bed which has nothing to recommend it.

Download: Dick Castle, Vocal, with Page Cavanaugh - Dream One Dream At a Time
Play:


7 comments:

Stu Shea said...

To split a hair or two, I believe that the "Milford Perkins" credited on "The Vacant House" to be Rodd Keith.
-Stu

Timmy said...

HAhahahahAAAA!!!!!! I deduct from your intro here, Bobbo, that you are not a Paul Anka fan club member...

Jake said...

Thanks for the reply! I almost fell for one of the poetry scams when I was in high school which is how I fell down the rabbit hole and discovered these wonderful gems. I discovered the "Nashville Song Service" company still exists and I submitted some awful lyrics on purpose to see if I'd get one of those "reviews" and contracts back which of course I did. The cheapest bare bones "acoustic guitar/piano" productions they do are $250 with it going up to $999 for the full deluxe package.

Darryl Bullock said...

There are several song-poem outfits still running, the best known probably Magic Key, as featured in the Off the Charts documentary. Ted 'Halmark' Rosen's son Jeff also ran a company, Talent Incorporated, which was running until reasonably recently but now seems to have vanished off the 'net.

BTW, I'm 50/50 on the 'is that Milford really Rodd on Vacant House' debate. It does sound a heck of a lot like him, but maybe the voice is a little too 'sweet'? The higher notes don't quite ring true for me, but I wouldn't like to call it!

Sammy Reed said...

It looks like Magic Key Productions, of "Non-Violent Taekwondo Troopers" fame, is still at it (redrockrecords.com), and Ramsey Kearney is still at it (ramseykearney.com).

Sammy Reed said...

I looked through the classified ads in the Enquirer - or lack thereof. There's now a one-page classified section, with ads for psychic lines, date lines, and work-at-home - but no song-poems. The Examiner and Globe have the same similar one-page classifieds.

Are there any other tabloids anymore besides just these, or is this it?

James Lindbloom said...

Just a note on the speculation that the Rod Rogers credited on a Nu Sound 45 was not Rodd Keith -- it was definitely him. You can hear 'Don't Be A Dope' on the 'Saucers In The Sky' compilation. It was recorded towards the end of Rodd's life, and there's a certain uncomfortable irony in hearing him deliver an anti-drug lyric during a period in which he was ingesting large quantities of recreational pharmaceuticals.

Also, I'm pretty sure that's not Rodd singing 'Vacant House.' Darryl's characterization of the voice being a little too 'sweet' for Rodd is right on the money; both Milford Perkins and Dan Monday have that extra sweetness that sets them audibly apart from Rodd, although it's true that there's some strong similarities on a cursory listen.