Monday, February 12, 2024

Another Piece of the Norris Puzzle

To start today's post, let me just reiterate that, any time I come to own a previously unknown / unshared record linked to the fabulous Norridge Mayhams (AKA Norris the Troubadour), it will get shared here, and very promptly. 

I will do this even though many of these records have a dubious - or even virtually no - connection to song-poems. The link remains that, at a certain point in the 1960's, Norris stopped performing his own songs (or, as in this case, hiring and no doubt paying existing outfits to record them), and started using the song-poem companies to record his songs. But even at that point, as he had always done, it seems likely that he wrote both the words and the music for his material, so even when he used the song-poem companies, his releases were a little different than the standard material found on those releases. 

However, I find his story - and his music - endless fascinating, and so will always share with you what I find. And here's something believed to be unique among the tens of thousands of people who utilized the song-poem companies at one point or another. Norridge Mayhams wrote an actual, honest-to-goodness popular hit record. The song was "We'll Build a Bungalow", and you can hear the hit version here. Note the absence of Mayhams' name on the label. He spent years trying to sue his way into both receiving writer's credit for and receiving the profits of his song. 

Anyway, Norris recorded (and paid for others to record) "Let's Build a Bungalow" on his own labels more than a half dozen times, from the 1940's through his final records in the 1980's. But I'm going to guess that my new acquisition, heard below, is the first recording of the song, and it appears on Norris' own Co-Ed label, on a 78, which I'm guessing is from the late 1940's (although the lousy sound quality suggests to me the recycled shellac which was used near the end of World War II). It's credited to Carl Bostic and His Orchestra, a conglomeration which appeared on other Co-Ed 78's, as well, including one that I've shared before on this site, in a most excellent performance of an excellent song

For all of the reasons that I described above, this is probably better described as a Vanity Record than a Song-Poem, but again, in the interest of bringing more Norris/Norridge Mayhams to the world, I'm sharing it here. I'd like to draw particular attention to the almost random nature of the piano solo, particularly from 1:45 to 2:10. Some measures feature only a single note, others have flurries of notes which seem played almost by accident. 

Download: Carl Bostic and His Orchestra - We'll Build a Bungalow (You Spell It For Two)


On the flip side, Carl Bostic and His Orchestra return, with a song called - and I want to get this right, exactly as it appears on the label - "I WANT A Co-ED by my SIDE". In case you just thought "Co-Ed was a clever label name, with a clever and unique logo, well, no. Norris was obsessed with all things college, and wrote songs about various aspects of college for much of his life. For me, the highlight of this song is the rather unusual use of language in spots, which is a trademark of Norris' compositions, although the pianist, yet again, makes some unusual choices in both the solo and in his fills. 

 Download: Carl Bostic and His Orchestra - I WANT A Co-ED by my SIDE



Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Now THAT'S What I Call Lyrics!

Every now and then I hear a new-to-me song-poem record that has that something extra that just completely captures me. One of the relatively recent times this happened was with a record on Tin Pan Alley by Jimmy Dee called "That's the Life For Me", and nearly two years ago, I labeled it my favorite song-poem purchase of the year, in this post

Well, I recently was lucky enough to purchase another Jimmy Dee record, and while I don't think this is anywhere near as good as "That's the Life For Me", I still wanted to win the record (on eBay) as soon as I heard the song file excerpt. And that's because "Cry Baby Blues!" contains a single lyrical line that made me laugh out loud, all by myself, and I literally kept laughing about that line through the rest of the song's playing time, during that first listen. 

And I don't think I'll say too much more. It's got a great sound, bouncy and infectious - I love late '50's Tin Pan Alley song-poems as much as any in the genre. But that line just kills me. Hopefully, you'll laugh, too - if not, then I suppose you and I laugh at different things. Or maybe setting you up to hear it will ruin that moment. I hope not. 

Download: Jimmy Dee - Cry Baby Blues!


The flip side is "Heavenly Melody", and if the flip side didn't already convince me that Jimmy Dee shouldn't have done slow material (and it sorta did), this one seals the deal - I don't dig this at all, at all. 

Download: Jimmy Dee - Heavenly Melody


Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Born Loser

Looks like it's been just over six months since I featured Gene Marshall, and I must rectify that! 

I think maybe I've just been a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of Gene Marshall records in my collection that I haven't shared, as well as the fact that, well, most of them are exceedingly bland, musically, often despite the typically masterful vocal work by our man Gene. The records made for Preview after Rodd moved over to MSR, as well as the records that Gene made for other labels, under multiple names, are usually lacking that something special that I try to feature here as often as possible. The exceptions from that era and those other labels are usually the result of something outstanding or weird about the lyrics themselves. 

Nothing stands out about the lyrics of "Born Loser", but man, do I love the bluesy backing the band is providing here, almost undoubtedly with a major assist, if not with the whole arrangement from, Rodd Keith. The interplay of the guitarist and the keyboard is compelling - and those keyboard fills are absolutely magical - and the drumming is as excellent as it usually was in this area of the Preview label. Gene's reading of the lyric is a bit more workmanlike than it is on many of the records I've shared here, and a couple of the embellishments don't land quite right, but that's only a deficit in terms of comparison to Gene's best work - he still sounds great. 

Download: Gene Marshall - Born Loser


On the flip side, we have the far more generic "Loving Each Other". The band - again, especially the guitarist and pianist - are doing some nice stuff, but in the service of a bland arrangement of a bland song. Oddly, I actually find Gene's vocal to be stronger here than on "Born Loser" but only by a matter of a few degrees, and that certainly doesn't make me like this side better. Nope. The whole thing is over in 109 seconds. 

Download: Gene Marshall - Loving Each Other



Sunday, January 14, 2024

Patty Payne's Pain


Let's celebrate with two weepers from the waning days of Film City!

This record's label number os 4120, just 25 lower than the highest numbered Film City disc documented. And it features one Patty Payne (along with the ubiquitous "Swinging Strings", who does not show up on any other listed release on the label. There were a few discs by Patty Stanton (presumably a relative of label boss Sandy Stanton), but this doesn't sound like her, to me. 

Patty Payne has a nice aching quality to her voice, and I wouldn't be surprised if she made other song-poem records (or perhaps even legit records) under another name. Perhaps someone out there with more of an ear for the female singers of song-poems can suggest if this is the case. 

And these two songs are definite downers - especially side one, "Don't Hang Up Now". The singer is calling an ex, "one last time", and spends the call running down how hurt she is, how she's prayed for him to change, and all of the chances she's give him. That's weepy enough, but in the last verse of this nearly four minute (!) song-poem we learn the tragic reason why this is absolutely the last time he'll hear from her.    

(By the way, whoever was playing the Chamberlin for the label, by this point, did not have skills anywhere near those of Rodd Keith. The arrangement is pedestrian and really clunky at times, even for a Chamberlin.)

Download: Patty Payne with the "Swinging Strings" - Don't Hang Up Now


The flip side is perhaps not quite as tragic, but also, not coincidentally, was written by the same song-poet. Perhaps she was the first person named on this page

Anyway, in "Daddy's Found a New Love", well... Daddy has found a new love. And Mommy is talking to Daddy about how hard it will be to have to tell her children all about the situation, and how the children are missing him. Along the way, she mentions some of the things she's heard about the new love - both good (her looks) and bad (how she treats men). 

This side of the record is beat to hell, by the way. The song quality is nearly as bad as any record I've ever shared here. 

Download: Patty Payne with the "Swinging Strings" - Daddy's Found a New Love


Friday, December 29, 2023

She Wants Him Back. He's Just Passing Through


I hope everyone is having a lovely holiday season, whatever it is you celebrate or don't celebrate. Here's hoping for a fabulous 2024. 

Whatever happens next year, though, it will happen without one of my favorite people in the world. Tommy Smothers died this week, and I want to just say a word or two here. That's because I think The Smothers Brothers - in addition to what they did for the expanding of boundries in television (and for letting Pete Seeger back on the air) - they were, in my opinion, one of the half dozen greatest comedy acts of the 20th century. I'm probably forgetting someone or some team, but I'd put them with Monty Python, The Marx Brothers, Shelley Berman, George Carlin and David Letterman and the staff of "Late Night" on that short list. 

And specifically for Tommy, I'd say that I'm not sure anyone ever had better comic timing or a more fully realized comic persona. And he was a hell of a guitar player, too, something that flew under the radar, but of which he was very proud. 

My favorite political site, has a nice write up about Tommy, saying far more than I want to here, and doing it better than could. 

Here are my two favorite Smothers Brothers tracks, both of which make my personal all-time favorite top 200 tracks ever recorded: Mediocre Fred and Crabs Walk Sideways.

Also, please keep reading after the song-poem post below, as I am debuting my latest recording, a parody song I've been working on, off and on, for the last seven months or so. 


For the last post of the year, I have a sweet record from the early days of the Globe song-poem factory, featuring the honey-voiced Kris Arden and the ubiquitous Sammy Marshall, both acoompanied by the usual gang, here identified as "The Keys". This record is from early enough in Globe's existence that they hadn't fallen into the bland, interchangable backing sounds that crop up repeatedly on later releases. 

Oddly, the AS/PMA page for this label has the artists reversed, each credited with the wrong side, and that error has made its way onto other discographies, as well. AS/PMA also dates the release to 1962, but this three star non-recommadation ("moderate sales potential") from Billboard says 1961. I was amused to see, a few slots down from that listing, Eddie Holland's "Jamie" - which is a GREAT record and which did chart top 40 pop and top ten R & B - relagated to a very poor two star rating. 

Kris Arden's offering, "Sundown Valley" is particularly nice, a country flavored shuffle in which the singer tries to coax a someone special to come back to her hometown, with a few enticing things about the town that they experience together. Kris' vocal is just lovely, the equal (in the song poem world) of a Cara Stewart performance, and that's high praise from me, indeed.  

Download: Kris Arden and the Keys - Sundown Valley


It strikes me that Sammy Marshall's turn, on the flip side, could be considered the answer record to "Sundown Valley", and the fact that both of the songs were written by the same song-poet makes that even more possible, although I have no way of knowing for certain. 

Anyway, in "Just Passing Through", Sammy sings of a woman who has fallen in love with him, despite his best efforts to let her know he wasn't going to stick around, which could certainly explain why Kris' man is no longer in "Sundown Valley". 

The music here is a little less compelling - I could certainly do without the sax solo, for one thing - but I am a sucker for that pained tone on certain words and notes, something that Sammy excelled at. 

Download: Sammy Marshall and the Keys - Just Passing Through



And now for something completely different. About six years ago, something inspired me - something insistent - to write a parody lyric for the song "Up Up and Away" by the Fifth Dimension. This is not even a record that I like - not when it came out when I was seven, and not now - and although I've written and recorded parodies in the past, all but one were of records that I love. Anyway, it wasn't until April of this year that I decided to make a track of my parody. 

Anyone my age or perhaps even 10-15 years younger will likely know the song this is based on, but for those who don't, the original can be found here

I decided along the way that I wanted my music track to sound as close to exactly like the original Fifth Dimension track as I could possibly get out of my Midi set-up, and I think I succeeded to the point that the track sounds like a Karaoke track. It is not - I built it from the ground up, instrument by instrument. I worked on it off and on, sometimes on weekends, mostly when I took days off from work. It took me over seven months! 

I am very happy with the final product.... except that I can't settle on which prospective title is better, the one that reflects the original song's title ("Come, Come in and Play") or the one which better reflects the text of the parody ("My Curio Filled Room"). Regardless, I hope you enjoy it, and would love to hear comments, including thoughts on the better title. 

Download: Bob Purse - My Curio Filled Room (AKA Come, Come In and Play)

Monday, December 18, 2023

Is It Too Late? It's NEVER Too Late


The larger song-poem factories must have turned out dozens of records a year. MSR, Film City and Globe, for example, may have released hundreds of records every calendar year. Small labels such as Noval or Star Crest may have released far under one hundred records over the course of their existence. In the middle are companies including Tin Pan Alley and Sterling, who seem to have released about 25-35 records a year, or somewhere around two or three a month. 

I bring all this up because today's release features related titles, and my strong guess is that it was just a coincidence. If Tin Pan Alley was making four to six song-poems a month, there's no way they had much of a backlog of material waiting for release, or enough "in the can" to pair two songs who's titles both ask and answer the same question. 

Ellen Wayne is the singer, and the question in song is "Is It Too Late For Me?" This record is likely from 1960 or 1961, and this song is a slow, weepy ballad, with triplets - both chorded and played individually - on the guitar (that is, when the guitarist doesn't miss the strings). In theory, this sort of thing should appeal to me, but the whole thing is ham-fisted, particularly her overly wobbly, borderline weepy vocal. 

I wonder if the song-poet here, Richards Simmonds, later dropped one letter from his first and last names and became very famous. 

Download: Ellen Wayne - Is It Too Late For Me?


The answer to the question comes from a different song-poet - Louis Gallo (this guy?), on the flip side. And the answer, of course is: "It's NEVER Too Late". And this is an almost infinitely better record than the flip. It's bouncy, swingin' and Ellen's style works much better at this tempo. The guitarist handles the part considerably more effectively and the song doesn't wear out its welcome, lasting less than 90 seconds.   

Download: Ellen Wayne - It's Never Too Late


Tuesday, December 12, 2023

A Really Interesting Globe Acetate


I am doing a LOT of rearranging the various types of recorded material I have in my basement - shelving things differently, putting some things in boxes to get them out of the way, etc. And last month, I came across a Globe acetate that - according to my carefully saved eBay email - I bought over 11 years ago (for five dollars!), and then seemingly just put with some other 10 inch records in my basement. I'm not sure I ever even listened to it before last week. 

I'd like to correct that oversight right now, because this is a really interesting record. It is, as mentioned, a 10 inch acetate but, like several others I've owned, it is recorded at 45 RPM and only the internal seven inches are recorded, as if it were a standard 45 that just got cut too big. 

The vocalist is Oscar Franck, who does not turn up on any other song-poem releases that I've been able to find. A man with the same name did work for a time as a songwriter, and is listed with more than 50 renditions recorded of his songs on Discogs. The obituary for that Oscar Franck is here. Is this the same guy? Who knows!?!

The writer of both sides is Earl Green, who perhaps is related to Earl Grey of Tea fame, but who also does not show up in the song-poem database. And that's far too common a name to search for. However, neither of these song titles (combined with his name) bring up anything. 

These are not full band performances of the type that you'd have found on one of the many, many 45's that the Globe song-poem factory churned out for literally dozens of labels. Both sides feature very small combos, and these were almost certainly seen as demos. But they both strike me as pretty darn good, for what they are, albeit with that special "something" that sets them apart as the work of  an amateur songwriter. 

The better of the two, to my ears, is "I'll Walk a Million Miles or More". This strikes me as a solid performance of a genuinely well constructed song. But I'm partial to the pop sounds of the late 1950's, anyway. In his best 1958ish Conway Twitty-esque voice, Oscar Franck emotes some (almost) typical pimple-rock lyrics. Meanwhile, the chords leading up to each individual line of the bridge are pretty interesting. I wonder if Earl Green wrote the whole song, or, as was usually the case, someone put the music together for him, and provided those weird guitar patterns. 

About those words, though - this is what I was referring to earlier. Two odd turns of phrase signal this as the work of an amateur, and both would have been cleaned up by someone if this was meant for anything beyond a piece of vinyl for the lyricist to take home. The first is "to kiss your lip". Not lips, lip. And the other is the deeply clunky "I'd walk another million miles, just for you and hold your hand". 


Download: Oscar Franck - I'll Walk a Million Miles or More


The flip side is "Don't Cry Little Girl". On this one, Oscar Franck sounds more like he's channeling any of a number of late '50's or early '60's teen idol types. I hear some Bobby Darin, some Gene Pitney, some Del Shannon and at least one other singer whose name is escaping me at the moment. If the other side sounded straight outta 1958, this one sounds like the music of 1962 to me. It even sounds - as did the flip - like something that, with a bit of professional help, might have been a song actually offered for the 1962. But I think the main conceit of the lyric - that not only does the boy not know "the other woman", all she did was ask him what time it was - would probably have needed to be reworked. 


All in all, a very interesting record. Sorry it took me 11 years to get to it!

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

This One Can't Wait for March 31st

Christmas is a-coming and it's a-jumping
 Christmas is a-coming and it's a-jumping 
 Christmas is a-coming and it's a-jumping 
Boy it won't be long
 - Lead Belly

I wanted to start out by making sure everyone knew that I know what time of year it is, and that Advent starts this Sunday. Because I'm going to share a record which was created for use on an entirely different Christian holiday, but I just obtained the record this week, and I can't wait four months to share it. It looks like this: 

When a song-poem shows up for sale or auction with a title as ridiculous as "I Love My Little Red Nose Rabbit the Best", the chances are - always - that the actual recording will be a let down. That's absolutely usually the case. But I went for it anyway and was delighted to win the auction at a low price and no other bidders. 

It is, as you've no doubt guessed, an Easter-themed record. And Sammy Marshall, under the frequently used name Sonny Marcell, is the performer. And I think that's almost all I'll say, as I'd like you to experience all aspects of this 85 second masterpiece for yourselves. I'll only say that Sammy gives it his all, and never for a moment sounds like he's contemptuous of the material.  Here 'tis. Happy Easter.  

Download: Sonny Marcell - I Love My Little Red Nose Rabbit the Best


Incidentally, this song was copyrighted on May 18th, 1964, and song-poet John Hansen clearly had big intentions for it, as he took out classified ads in at least three issues of Billboard Magazine in 1964 and 1965. Curiously, only one of those issue dates was before or anywhere near Easter in those years. Also please note that in one of those ads, Mr. Hansen was additionally plugging his song "I Hire a Monkey". Who wouldn't pay to hear that one?  

The flip side is "My Love Letter Came From Paris", and like "Red Nose Rabbit", it just featuring Sammy and a pianist (as stated in those ads, by the way). The narrated part of this record in the middle has some marvelously lyrical phrases, such as "In the state of New Jersey", "Every time I see long, cold winters", and "annual rainfall". In fact, that entire section is one clunky phrase after another, to the point (at least for me) of hilarity. Oh, and don't miss the end of the sung sections, where we learn that receiving a letter from Paris reminds him of.... their time together in Paris.  

Incidentally, I'd like to dedicate this post to Sammy Marshall - real name Marc Simpson, as I learned only recently that Sammy Marshall/Ben Tate/Sonny Marcell/Marc Simpson/Etc.... died five years ago, in May of 2018. Here is his obituary

Download: Sonny Marcell - My Love Letter Came From Paris


Thursday, November 23, 2023

Fables of the Banana Queen for Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers, and a big THANK YOU to everyone everywhere who reads and listens to my posts. I have something extremely rare and also, quite entertaining for you today. It's a 78 RPM acetate on the Fable label. And it looks like this: 

My best guess is that only a handful of copies of this record were made, or perhaps only one. Certainly, this record wouldn't have been pressed in anywhere near the number of copies that a "released" Fable (or any other label's records, song-poem or otherwise) would have been. 

Happily, both songs are fairly delightful. I am guessing that these are song-poems, although with Fable, that's not a given - the label released plenty of records which were not. I'd be interested to hear what anyone out there thinks. Normally, the odd subject matter of the first side I'm sharing - "Banana Queen" - would be a clear clue that it WAS a song poem. Yet Fable released several songs of an odd nature which were probably not song-poems. So I'm really guessing. 

Anyway, this is a whole lot of fun. It's got a calypso beat, the sort of reverb-laden production that I love, funny and creative lyrics, and I would venture to say that it absolutely deserved to be released. But it does not appear that a release ever occurred. 

Download: Unknown - Banana Queen


No performer is listed on either side. The flip side, "Baby You're the Best" does bear the name "Shirley", but as the song is sung by a male, that clearly refers to someone other than the performer. Maybe Shirley was "The Best". 

"Baby, You're the Best" is a rockabilly flavored number. It features a bass line lifted directly from "Don't Be Cruel", a "wild man" sort of lead vocal, with simple backing by a small combo. It's a bit too understated for me, but things perk up briefly on a couple of slightly more swingin' bridge sections.

Given the Calypso influence on one side, and the "Don't Be Cruel" influence on the other, I would peg this release from very late 1956 or some time in 1957. And since nothing, ever, has sounded as great as late 1956 and all of 1957, these are quite wonderful to hear.  

Download: Unknown - Baby You're the Best



Wednesday, November 08, 2023

What's The Story?

It's Native American Heritage Month. 

There are certainly a plethora of reasons why its important that there is a Native American Heritage Month, and it would nice if the existence of this occasion was as publicized even a quarter as much as, say Black History Month, or even as much as that thing they do during the World Series when everyone holds up cards for people who fought cancer. 

But it doesn't get that attention. So here's an example from the world of the song-poem that demonstrates in its own small way one reason why it's important that there is a Native American Heritage Month. This record, "Hurry Up Old Man" by Bob Gerard, is certainly nowhere near the most egregious insult that the Native Americans have experienced. Undoubtedly not even the most egregious sin against them that took place in the year this record was made (1967 - the copyright listing is here). 

But it'll do. The co-opting of stereotypical (and no doubt inaccurate) "Indian" musical styles and the catchphrases and tossed-off references in the lyrics would, I'm sure, be insulting to many Natives. 

Beyond that, I honestly don't know what the story here is about. The sound quality of this record is abysmal, and I can't make out just enough words in the second verse to cause me to completely lose the thread of whatever story the songwriters - and it took three people to write this masterpiece, none of whom, oddly was label head Jack Covais, who often claimed a songwriting credit - were trying to tell. There are a couple of other key lines I also can't decipher. And the title line comes at the end, and seems to be almost an afterthought, although given that it is the title, I assume it was meant to have some importance. If anyone wants to share what they think the entire lyric is, I'd be much obliged. 

Download: Bob Gerard - Hurry Up Old Man


The flip side, "Tell Me", is one of these supper club sort of thing with a Latin lilt, and is about as tedious as a song-poem can be. Jack Covais did credit himself as the cowriter of this one. I hope he was proud. 

Download: Bob Gerard - Tell Me



Monday, October 30, 2023

Not.... Exactly....

So I try not to feature the same label for two weeks in a row, but last week's post, although it featured a record on Preview, that record wasn't actually a song-poem, being something nearly unique - a vanity release from that label. I decided another Preview record wasn't a bad idea, and here it is: 

It's always fun to see some poor grammar in a song-poem title. I mean, the labels could have corrected any of these, had they chosen to, but perhaps they feared (or actually ran into) song-poets who would complain that "you changed my song title". In this case, "You're Not Exactly What I Ask For" could have been saved with just a little "ed", and if the song-poet had "experience" just a little more ED in her life, mayhap she would have "know" that. 

Anyway, if this was a true "first person" song - that is, if the song-poet was writing about her own life - let's hope she did not play her song for the object of her apparently limited affection. Because the point of the song is that she's pretty sure there is a guy out there that she'd MUCH rather be with, but it's clear to her now that's probably never going to happen, so she's going to settle. And she's going to hope she comes to love the big lug who has given her his life, love and laundry. And his house! God help him if the other guy "comes along". The song of a deeply ethically challanged, er, challange woman. 

Barbara Foster is the performer, and I believe I understand correctly that this is the same singer who became better known as Bobbi Blake on MSR and who also pops up quite frequently a one of The Real Pros on Cinema. 

I'll also note that this song seems to go on forever. Surely, at three and three quarter minutes long, it's in the upper five percent of song-poems in length. 


The flip side is called "But I Need You Most of All", and I'll admit I am not quite processing what this song-poet was on about. Barbara Foster sings again, and musically, this is a bit of a continuation of the flip side - although I really like some of what the guitarist and the pianist do on this track. 

Lyrically, though.... At first, I thought I'd caught on. She loves him just fine, but more than that, beyond her romantic connection with him, she needs him. Got it. But what to make of this?: 

"I really, really do love you, but the love is still there" 

Huh? That "but" doesn't seem like it fits with the rest of that lyric, and the remainder of that verse is about how she thought she'd fallen out of love, but hadn't. Maybe I'm just dense - well, I'm sure I'm dense, in plenty of ways, actually - but that verse seems to be grabbed at random from another song. Except that, as you'll hear, that section is the only part that has lyrics that might be considered a "verse". The rest of the song is essentially the same few words, rearranged a bit, repeated over and over. And over.  


 Incidentally, based on what's known about a few other songs from this period on Preview, it would appear this release is from 1976. 

Saturday, October 21, 2023

A Vanity Record On Preview!

Before I get to today's rather remarkable find, I wanted to say a few other things. 

First, a reader wrote to me some time ago asking if I had a record on the Meloclass label, referring back to this wonderful post, from 13 years ago, and indicating that another release was by the same group. I did not have the record in question, but he has since found a copy, and has posted it to YouTube. You can find the two sides here and here

Second, an old friend dropped by to comment on my recent post on the Cape Cod label, to say that he also owns a song on this label, and as it turns out, both songs are about Cape Cod. That pairing is here. And, I will add, that site is also dedicated to song-poems, so click at the top of the page and have a look!


And now for something a bit unusual. It is not unusual, per se, for a vanity recording to show up on a label otherwise dedicated to song-poems. There are several labels who routinely engaged in this practice, including all of Sandy Stanton's label, and others who did so occasionally, including Halmark. 

But in the listings found on the Preview page at the AS/PMA, I've only found two records which are clearly vanity records (discounting Rodd Keith's recording of his own song on Preview 2000, at least - not sure it counts as a vanity release of a member of the staff wrote and recorded it). 

That is, a record recorded and sung by the same person who wrote the song. That can't really be considered a song-poem, as the listed writer(s) presumably composed the words and music, if he or she is also performing the work. Both of the clear vanity listings I've found among the Preview database feature a band called Eddie Carter and the Sunset Ramblers, who, in the words of my best pal Stu, were "a well known L.A. country band in the 1960s", and what's more that "Carter also was later the touring and session lead guitarist for the Beach Boys"

One of those two Preview sides is by Eddie Carter and his band, and the other features the band backing someone named William "Chick" Sandone. I just obtained a copy of Chick Sandone's release, and am offering it up here for everyone's perusal. Again, as my friend Stu pointed out to me, Sandone also submitted songs in the more typical way, to Preview, and several of his songs were recorded by the regular Preview team, including one of the songs on this 45. What a successful bandleader (Carter, not Sandone) was doing making a record on Preview is indeed a question for the song-poem ages. 

And a bigger question is this: how did Eddie Carter and the Sunset Ramblers become popular at all, with a bass player who clearly has no idea how to play his instrument. The bass playing here is just as incompetent as that heard on my recent Tin Pan Alley posting (and in the other posts reference within that post). I'm not sure there's a single moment here where the bass player hits a note which is consistent with the chord changes of the songs, on either side. 

What's more, Chick Sandone certainly had an idiosyncratic way with a song, and it's to the band's credit that they learned and played it correctly. Coming out of the verses, this first song suddenly goes into 5/4 or 6/4 time! The two songs are fairly interchangeable, so I'll start with the one that has the far clunkier, less commercial title, "That's Where I Want to Be With You": 

Download: Chick Sandone with Eddie Carter and the Sunset Ramblers - That's Where I Want to Be With You


Everything I said about that side also applies to "I Wish It Could Be Me", except for in this case, there does not appear to be a time signature at all. I defy ANYONE to tell me where the down beat on "1" is going to be in any particular measure. I tried to count out the measures during the parts of the song where he sings, in this one, and found myself completely unable to do so. Interestingly, the otherwise incompetent bass player did seem to know where that down beat was going to be, making me suspect that the bass player was none other than Chick himself. Otherwise, I can't fathom how that musician new where to hit a note with emphasis. Maybe that's how Eddie Carter's band made it - they had an actual bass player who sat out this session in favor of the songwriter/singer. Just a guess. 

Download: Chick Sandone with Eddie Carter and the Sunset Ramblers - I Wish It Could Be Me