Hot off the mailman's truck, and to your ears this week, is a record I was lucky enough to obtain just this week, and for a bargain of a price, given its contents.
What we have here is a tribute worthy of a hero, to that then-hero of the gridiron, O. J. Simpson. And who gets to do the honor but the voice of the label, circa 1973-74 (when this record dates from), Gene Marshall. Writer Thomas Hunter doesn't actually have a lot to say about O.J. - if someone didn't know who the man was, or what he did for a living, nothing in this lyric would give even so much as a clue. The backing track is suitably funky, and the Preview arrangers do a good job of extending a fairly short lyric into a standard 2 1/2 minute pop song.
And of course, the lyricist was 100% correct that (in a very musical phrase indeed) "his popularity is never going down". Of course that's the case - have you seen him on those Naked Gun movies? The guy is a stitch.
Download: Gene Marshall: O. J. Simpson
The flip side presents a few fascinating areas of inquiry. It's a peppy record, with a sinewy melody and understated backing.
Here's what fascinates me: It features a vocal performance credited to "Dean Curtis", who's shows up on well under a dozen known Preview 45's. Maybe I'm projecting more onto this than is there, but the lyrics, in which the writer "thought
But I have a suspicion that this might actually be Rodd Keith. It's not clear to me if Keith was even at Preview by this point (the records with his name on them cease about 200 label numbers earlier. But boy, that vocal is full of things that sound like his inflections, and has the understated sound of some of the records he made for MSR near the end of his life. And the Dean Curtis records dry up by the time that Rodd died.
Or maybe it's more simple - maybe Rodd, having moved on to MSR, had to appear under a different pseudonym - I have no idea how any of that works.
Or maybe it's not Rodd, but just a guy named Dean Curtis, I'm wrong about the Black angle, and there was no effort to deceive anyone, for any reason. What the hell do I know?
Download: Dean Curtis - I Can't Get No Sweet Lovin'