Tuesday, October 17, 2017
The Peculiar and Unique Cluelessness of the Song-Poet
That the average song-poet is not in the least bit up to the task of constructing an effective lyric for a pop record is so clear as to not be worth arguing. The list of ways song-poets have missed the boat on songwriting is long and often comical. It includes, but is hardly limited to, choosing an unwieldy title, constructing lyrics which cannot possibly scan well when sung, tortured rhyme schemes, dumb concepts and mangled English.
Which brings us to today's feature, and a few words about Answer Records. As you no doubt know, way back when, any time there was a particularly unusual big hit record, or a novelty record, or a hit which was much bigger than the typical hit of the day, there would usually be multiple answer records. A few of them even became big hits, and at least one - Hot Rod Lincoln - became a bigger hit than the song which inspired it. One thing I've never seen on an answer record was the phrase "answer record" in the song title. Another thing I've not seen is an answer record which got the name of the original hit song wrong.
Then, up to the plate stepped song-poet Neil Gibson, who, in around 1976 or so, submitted his masterwork to the Preview company. What he wrote was a response to the then-fairly-recent hit "Help Me Make It Through the Night", what he titled it was "Answer To: 'Take the Ribbons From My Hair'". The thing is, there isn't a song titled "Take the Ribbons From My Hair", at least not that I can find. My thinking is that if you are inspired enough by a song on the radio, that you want to produce and promote an answer song, you ought to know the name of the song in question. And then you might want to create your own title.
After all, Jody Miller's "Queen of the House" was not titled "Answer to: 'Trailers for Sale or Rent".
Download: Gene Marshall: Answer To - "Take the Ribbons From My Hair"
The flip side of this record is a song called "Handful of Teardrops". Question - who the hell holds teardrops? This is so clunky a phrase that in all of the internet, a Google search shows it to have ever been used only eight times.
The song lives down to its title, and while there are a couple of really nice, complex piano fills near the end, that's the only saving grace. The most notable thing about it is the absolutely horrendous quality of the recording, the production and the pressing. This record sounds awful.
Download: Gene Marshall - Handful of Teardrops