Sunday, November 15, 2020

Rockin' Her, Rollin' Her, Holdin' Her, and I Wonder What Else!

 Greetings!

As it so happens - and in a complete coincidence - the next month for me to update, just as the Christmas ads and music start their far-to-early comeback into our lives, was December of 2011, a month when I featured four Christmas themed song-poem 45's. Those I fixed today include records by Cara Stewart, Gene Marshall, Jeff Lawrence (who made very few song-poem records) and Gus Colletti's "Santa is a Superman". I also wrote a post that month, with no music in it, but directing people to my WFMU posting of one of my favorite Christmas albums ever

We now join our program, already in progress

~~


Today, a wonderfully awful, or perhaps awfully wonderful selection from the folks at Tin Pan Alley, circa 1958. During that time period, the TPA folks seemed to have received more comic song poems and/or those with ridiculous titles, than ALL other labels combined. And since TPA, in those days, was more adept than their competitors, at turning out music that sounded at least roughly like the music of the day, the results are often extremely entertaining, as well as being ridiculous. 

This one may stretch the bounds of acceptability a tiny bit, from today's lens, in terms of its comic portrayal of a then-frequently stereotyped culture of the day, but boy oh boy, does it make me smile. 

The first voice heard is that of Margie Sands, who only turns up on one other documented song-poem record, which I've posted here previously. And the song is half hers, to be sure. But she is essentially the guest artist as far as the listing goes. The credits on the label to "He's A-Rockin' and A-Rollin' and A-Holdin' Me Tight" (!) is "Jack Verdi with Margie Sands". Jack Verdi made only a handful of records for the label himself, one of which I've previously featured

I'll leave it at that. The charms of this record have to be experienced first hand. Hope you love as much as I do. 

Download: Jack Verdi with Margie Sands - He's A-Rockin' and A-Rollin' and A-Holdin' Me Tight

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For the flip side, "If You Were There", it's Jack Verdi, solo, showing that perhaps he was not at his best on romantic ballads. This record seems to be the result of someone who listened to a bunch of Platters records trying to recreate the same, without any of the necessary skills needed to achieve that level of greatness. 

Download: Jack Verdi - If You Were There

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Sunday, November 08, 2020

Tragic Song Poem

Well, it's been two weeks without a post - that's almost entirely due to me being a political junkie of sorts, and spending most of my free time obsessively watching the pre- and post-election news. And all I can say is... that's a relief...

Anyway, I have again updated a previous month's worth of posts, and not only does this mean I've completed the "fixing" of another year - 2012 is done, now, with the completion of January - but that January featured a bumper crop of song-poem records - twelve of them in all - so those who weren't reading/listening back then have, as of today, 14 new sides to listen to! Yay!

Among the posts I have rehabbed are: A Bobbi Blake record on MSR, an incomprehensible song sung by Norm Burns, a set of two early Preview offerings from Rodd Keith, a New Year's Day post from Sammy Marshall, and an impossibly rare and fascinating acetate from the pen of Norridge Mayhams, certainly the latter being my favorite of the bunch. 

And now....

It's back to Film City and the world of Rodd Keith in his Rod Rogers persona. Today's first offering is a tragic tale, perhaps inspired by all the teen tragedy records which peppered the charts in the first half of the 1960's. It's called "Lisa", and rarely has the appellation "Swinging Strings" seemed less appropriate to tie into the song being performed, than it does of the tale of a groom-to-be describing the scene as everyone learns that there is to be no wedding, and why. "Rod Rogers and the Dreary Strings and Woodwinds" would be more accurate. 

Oh, and the phrase "hit broadside" has to be among the least musical combinations of words I've ever heard in a song - song-poem or otherwise - although I do enjoy the fact that "broadside" is then rhymed with "bride". 

Download: Rod Rogers and the Swinging Strings - Lisa

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On the flip side is a much brighter, shuffling, sun-shiny number titled "I Want Only You Sweetheart". The music is a bit deceiving - the protagonist of the song is suffering from a distrusting gal pal, and it's not clear if he's succeeding in convincing her of his trustworthiness. I greatly enjoy the backing track that Rodd put together for this one. 

Download: Rod Rogers and the Swinging Strings - I Want Only You Sweetheart

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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Hallus "Slim" Sargent and His Friends on The Mustang Line

Hi, how are you?

Today, I have again corrected the posts for a month from the distant past, in this case, February of 2012. In that month, I shared a song-poem which contained a bit of direct plagiarism, a particularly incompetent Tin Pan Alley release, a Halmark record for Valentine's Day, and a typically moldy Film-City EP. 

Enjoy!

And now: 

Add caption

Today's feature is the first in quite a while from Gene Marshall. And "The Mustang Line" features what I find to be a fairly weird set of lyrics. For most of the lyric, the song-poet, one Hallus "Slim" Sargent, seems to be paying tribute to two friends he made on "The Mustang Line", in quite positive terms, going so far as to credit them from saving him from being "out in the cold". He mentions them by name, over and over again. Then suddenly, about 2/3rds of the way through, his lyric turns against them, telling them they "know where they can go", saying that he needs to break free of them and of The Mustang Line before they "cook my goose". 

Anyone have any idea what the hell is going on here? I'm assuming "The Mustang Line" is a car factory, producing Mustangs, but perhaps I'm wrong about that. If it's not, I have no idea what it might be.  

Any insight would be appreciated. And if you, like me, have none, well, just enjoy Gene's masterful singing and the asinine background vocal arrangement. 

Download: Gene Marshall - The Mustang Line

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The flip side is "Leave Me Well Alone", a four word phrase I'd personally not encountered before, at least not without the word "Enough" in between the last two words. However, a web search finds it to be common, so what do I know? 

Aside from that, it's a pretty standard "I'm fed up with you and want to write about it" song-poem, one of the many standard templates used by song-poets since the genre was invented. 

 Download: Gene Marshall - Leave Me Well Alone

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VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE!

Unless your candidate has an orange glow about him, in which case, please disregard. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Moon Man - The Sammy Marshall Version

 Good day to you all!

First of all, let me know if you have any trouble playing or downloading tracks. Blogger overhauled their interface in the last few weeks, and as of today, I can no longer use their "classic" view, and I fear the new arrangement may have some bugs in it. So far, it's been a fairly irritating experience. 

And now, my latest updates - we've reached March of 2012 in my backwards repairing of old posts. In that month, I featured a nice Rod Rogers/Film City platter, a Cara Stewart offering with what I found to be confused lyric, a Sammy Marshall record about twisting, and a double helping of Gene Marshall, two Preview singles in one post, with both featured sides being about the moon. 

Speaking of Sammy Marshall twisting, AND of records about the moon, by coincidence, before I saw which tracks needed to be refurbished today, I had chosen a Sammy Marshall record about Twisting. And it's also about the Moon. It's about Twisting on the Moon. 


That title may well sound familiar to you. Just over seven years ago, I posted a Rod Rogers version of the exact same song, from a Film City pressing - same words, even the same melody, indicating that song-poet ????? wrote the entire thing. In that Film City posting, I even mentioned that there was a third version of the song, then-currently available to be heard in an eBay posting (alas, no more). I also mentioned the Sammy Marshall version, which I did not own at the time. 

But I own it now, and it's time to offer it up. A comparison with the Rod Rogers disc is unfair, as the level of attention to detail, craftsmanship and talent on many records involving Rodd Keith, as well as the typical otherworldliness of the Chamberlin's sounds, make the Rod version the winner almost without listening. But Sammy's version has its own charms, and it's always nice to hear Sammy on an upbeat number, particularly a twist-tacular one. 

Download: Sammy Marshall - Twisting on the Moon

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On the flip side, we have a track which, oddly, sounds more like Lee Hudson's productions than it does the usual Globe product. I don't find much to like in the maudlin "A Boy Like Me Needs a Girl Like You", but the violin is rather nice, and I must say that I do think he shows real vocal talent (which he certainly had) here, particularly near and at the end of the song.  

Download: Sammy Marshall - A Boy Like Me Needs a Girl Like You 

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Saturday, October 03, 2020

Nancy and Rod Do It Again

Happy October!

First, for anyone who was interested in the section in my previous post about the early use of the term "Rock and Roll" in Billboard from the 40's, I encourage you to revisit the last post, and have a look at the comments, where a reader with a fantastic name has shared more information, indicating that the term was used considerably earlier in Billboard. Thanks for that!

I have also, as usual, updated another month worth of posts, in this case, April of 2012, which featured five posts (those were the days), one of which had four songs in it, for a total of 12 links fixed!. These include a largely religious Halmark EP, a silly but endearing record on Tin Pan Alley, an extremely early "Real Pros" record on Cinema, and both of song-poem records I've acquired which have picture sleeves, on on Sterling (featuring Norm Burns), and one on the tiny "Endeavor" label, featuring an instrumental song-poem

And speaking of tiny labels, let's bring on our friend Jerome. 


I only have a handful of records by either Nancy Sherman or Rod Barton (a singer who I spoke with on a phone a couple of times, a few years ago), but I tend to enjoy those records I have heard by each of them. And here they are, teamed up on a record which seems likely to be from 1961, based on the available information.

The opening 25 seconds of "Come On, Let's Do It Again" are not promising, but then a jazzy groove picks up, and a lounge style performance ensues from everyone involved. There's even a slinky guitar solo half way through, followed by an understated sax solo. All in all, a fun little record.

Download: Nancy Sherman and Rod Barton - Come On, Let's Do It Again
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The flip side, "I'll Always Care" is credited to The Coeds, a female vocal quartet which seems to be otherwise undocumented on song-poem records. They do an almost passable job, to the point that I'm sure some people would think this was just another failed girl group or teen record, but the harmonies turn ragged fairly often - several of the chords simply aren't quite there, if you know what I mean. That sixth chord at the end, for example, should make me swoon, but it fails to deliver.

Oh, and the song is pretty much nothing, lyrically and musically.

Download: The Coeds - I'll Always Care
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Monday, September 21, 2020

See the U.S.A., In Your... Airstream

Howdy,

Before getting to this week's corrected posts from the past, OR this week's feature, I wanted to share something I came across while engaging in another of my hobbies. I have been and continue to be fascinated by music charts of all eras, and it was while doing some research in issues of Billboard from 1946 at I came across a remarkable review.

To start, I'll say that versions of the phrase "rock and roll", specifically those alluding to sex, have been heard in blues records as early as the 1930's. But the use of the specific term in any popular written or spoken media is generally believed to have come about in the early 1950's. So I was startled to see this review in that 1946 edition of Billboard.


I've consulted with a friend who is a well known expert and published author on the subject of Blues and Rhythm and Blues and he agrees this is historic, and encouraged me to post it.

I would ask that any readers, if you're of a mind to, share this post with others who might be in the know and see if this is some sort of first, or nearly first from mainstream media. I'm really interested to hear what people have to say, and if this is as historic as I suspect it is, I would like it to be shared more widely than I'm capable of doing. I will also post this to my other blog the next time I post there.

UPDATE 10/3/20: Please see the comments section for this post = a knowledgeable reader with a most excellent name has offered up evidence of even (considerably) earlier use of the same phrase in Billboard. Details are in the comments. 

~~~

Getting back to song-poems.... I have now repaired the posts for the month of May, 2012. Included in this batch are two, back to back features in which I shared multiple tracks that had been sent to me by others, over the years, a pair of special posts meant to celebrate some exciting events in my life and that of my family, featuring some of my favorite song poems ever. Those repaired posts can be found here and here.

The other posts that month featured a comedic turn by Gene Marshall and a most excellent Rod Rogers on a Film City pairing. It was also at that time that my mid 1990's private album release of a set of comic songs was published by Happy Puppy records, and I announced that album in yet another post that month.

~~



Finally, here's today's stellar production. It features the always inept Bob Gerard, who seemed to usually be accompanied by perhaps the most hapless of all the bands Tin Pan Alley put forth over the years. Perhaps you remember Mr. Gerard from the stunningly awful song "Snow Man", a post of which I will be fixing in a matter of weeks, or perhaps the highly entertaining, and totally incomprehensible "The Proon Doon Walk".

Today's first side doesn't quite give those ridiculous records a run for their money, but it's still enjoyably off-kilter and stunning in its poor quality. I was going to write that it's all about traveling the USA in a camper, but "all about" is stretching it, as the lyric here is two four line verses and a chorus, followed by a repeat of two of them, and "Let's Get a Camper" is over in just about 90 incompetent seconds.

And those lyrics - grade school level, to be sure, obvious rhymes abounding and tortured turns of phrase throughout. Using the words "Trilled" and "Scamper" indicate how far the song poet had to reach to create something approaching rhyming poetry.

Musically, it's not quite as awful as the records I mentioned above, no one performing on this record could have conceivably used it to present themselves as worthy of a job in the music field. And Bob Gerard is his typical, aggressively amateur sounding self.

Please enjoy - to a ridiculous degree if you like - Bob Gerard's Tin Pan Alley release, "Let's Get a Camper":

Download: Bob Gerard - Let's Get a Camper
Play:

The flip side, "My Blessings", doesn't have anything ridiculous on the scale of "Camper" to recommend it - it's largely just a boring dirge of a piece, badly played and annoyingly warbled without any of the fun of this ensemble's typical car-crash stylings. I'm sure the lyrics were heart felt and meaningful to the song-poet, but they're about as cookie cutter as these things ever get.

Download: Bob Gerard - My Blessings
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Saturday, September 12, 2020

A Civil Rights Fable

Today, I have an extremely interesting record, one that is perfect as well for this particularly moment in history.

But first, I want to say that I have again updated another quartet of posts, this time from June of 2012. These posts include: a fun Gene Marshall record about an honest-to-goodness real sea-bound college, an interesting record from Norm Burns combining social relevance with supper club stylings, a Sammy Marshall special featuring some truly odd and interesting lyrical turns of phrase, and some less than competent garage band material from Mike Thomas and Tin Pan Alley. I must say, that was a particularly strong month of offerings.

And now:



I don't quite know what to make of this record, which I just acquired a few days ago.

I thought I knew that Sandy Stanton largely shut down his Fable outfit in the late '50's, with few documented releases after that point, and with Film City apparently coming to life by 1963 or so. A few much higher-numbered Fable releases exist, including one from the early '70's that I've posted, but nothing has been documented between release record # 714, circa 1958 or 1959, and record # 1060, which is undated.

Yet here's a record that has to be from at least the fall of 1963, based on one of the references (multiple sites indicate that year, but it could be guesswork), it features the Chamberlin, which was the hallmark of Stanton's releases on Film City and its offshoots (and never during the heyday of Fable), and it could be a vanity release or a hybrid or even some other category entirely, rather than a song poem.

Both sides of this record have been available online before, and one still is, but neither has been identified as a Fable release, or listed with the credit seen here, to Sandy Stanton's Orch and Chorus. The artist in question, Bob Starr, seems to have reissued the record, along with other recordings, naming his band "The All Star Band", at some point in the late '60's, entirely removing its link to the song-poem world.

None of that would be terribly interesting to much more than a few people, were in not for the fairly fascinating content of the record. For both songs on this record are about aspects of the civil rights movement in the early and mid 1960's. What's more, both are catchy and well made. They sound nothing like anything else I've ever heard on Fable, and I'm fairly certain that the drummer here is NOT the Chamberlin, but rather an actual drummer playing along with the Chamberlin player. which I'm not aware of ever being done on a Film City production.

The listed A-side, and the better of the two, to my ears, is the swinging, R and B flavored "The Freedom March". After the martial opening, the movin' and groovin' begins. The opening lines remind me of "Rockin' Robin" of all things, and I'm fairly certain that "Old Abe Lincoln" did NOT sign the Bill of Rights, but putting that aside, I find this record fairly addictive and even intoxicating in spots.

Download: Bob Starr with Sandy Stanton Orch and Chorus - The Freedom March
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The Flip Side, "The Jail House King" is no slouch either. It features a righteously proud lyric about Martin Luther King, Jr., referred to here are "Luther King", no doubt because it fit the pattern of the lyrics better.

This is a decent ballad-style record, especially for a song-poem record, and I really enjoy Bob Starr's Folk-Blues style of singing.

Download: Bob Starr with Sandy Stanton Orch and Chorus - The Jail House King
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I would be very interested in hearing anyone else's thoughts, information, insights or other input about this unique record.



Monday, August 31, 2020

A Tale of Two Bonnies

I've been a bit busy these last two weeks, hence there have been no posts. We had a pipe spring a leak in the basement ten days ago, and it damaged several stacks of my reel to reel tapes - more on this when I next post to my other site. But my free time since, until yesterday, was largely taken up with various ways of drying out and reviving the tapes and boxes that got damaged. 

But now I've had time to work up a new post, AND, as usual, to repair another month's worth of old posts. The big news, to me at least, on this front, is that I've finally gotten the chance to fix a post featuring one of the two or three best song-poems I've ever posted, Cara Stewart and Jeff Reynolds with  "Doc Nut", a song-poem so good I even got it onto the Dr. Demento show. Definitely one of my top ten favorite song-poems, as you may have heard if you listened to the podcast I was interviewed on. That post can be found here

The other posts I fixed include a rather horrible, very late period Film City record featuring Jimmie James, an even worse record from Cinema's catch all group "The Real Pros", and a truly curious release on Fable from well after that label was believed to have been defunct.

And now: 


Today's entry, from Preview, seems to be unique. It's credited to Bonnie Britton, and the few sites out there that have mentioned this record also mention that it seems to involve two different singers, singing under that name. I think it's possible that both songs are sung by the same person, using a different register, but concede that it's more likely that it's two different women. 

And I don't think either of them belonged in front of a microphone. 

This is the ONLY record known on Preview or anywhere else to be credited to Bonnie Britton. The same sites I mentioned above indicate that there is some suspicion that the singer on the b-side might be a singer who appeared somewhat frequently on Preview who was billed as Bonnie Graham, but even those sites are unsure, and I'm not familiar enough with Bonnie Graham to comment. I don't recall thinking that she couldn't sing, however, and I definitely think that's the case on both sides, here. 

The more blatently incompetent singer is heard on the A-side, singing a song apparently written by someone who lived in Alaska, as it's a peon to The Land of the Midnight Sun (I'm assuming the song-poet to have been an American, and not from any of the foreign "Lands of the Midnight Sun"). This singer positively warbles at times, with a barely controlled soprano drawing several of the words completely out of the shape the started in. The label helpfully made the song-poet believe that the record was a reasonable length for a pop record in the late 1960's, adding more than 45 seconds to its actual length.

Download: Bonnie Britton - My Land

Play:

The flip side, "Kissin' Kinfolk", has some downright peculiar lyrics, as befits the title subject, and it's quite worth listening closely to them. This side's Bonnie has a pouty, teasing and whiny tone to her voice, no particular style, and a distinct difficulty staying on pitch.

I think this is a fairly odd record, from the lyrics, to the idiosycratic backing to what I find to be a genuinely irritating vocal style. And in this case, the label added nearly 20 seconds to the length listed on the label.

Download: Bonnie Britton - Kissin' Kinfolk
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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

When "Your" Ready - Be My Steady

Good Day, Y'all!

As usual, I have re-purposed another month's worth of posts, in this case, posts from exactly eight years ago this month, August of 2012. What a different world it was then. 

I actually made five posts that month - those were the days - and have repaired all of them. These include: A scratchy but very enjoyable Norm Burns record, a Sammy Marshall record with a very famous title, a Mike Thomas/Tin Pan Alley special with a ridiculous title, one of the last couple of records (and a terrible one, too) put out my Norridge Mayhams, and a bouncy, countrified Rodd Keith and the Raindrops number

And speaking of Rodd Keith: 


It has been quite a while since I featured Rodd Keith, in any of his guises, and that's why I turned to my pile of Roddeliciousness and selcted a platter from around 1964 or 1965. "When Your (sic) Ready - Be My Steady" features a frothy Chamberlin track, a Rodd-and-Rodd duet, and some cutesy lyrics that feature all of the most obvious rhymes possible.

An interesting sidelight here is that the song-poet, who wrote both sides of this record, covered up the publishing information with his own name. It's also not clear to me at all why they wouldn't have chosen to correct the song-poet's spelling...

Download: Rod Rogers and the Swinging Strings - When Your Ready - Be My Steady
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The flip side, "Harbor of Love" is a down-tempo thing, which drags on and on, seeming to be much more than the 30 seconds longer than it is, compared to its fun flip side. This is only moderate on the Unctuous-Rodd scale, but it's too far up that ladder for my tastes.

Download: Rod Rogers and the Swinging Strings - Harbor of Love
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Saturday, August 08, 2020

Johnny Williams and His Hot Spot

First off, I must acknowledge that I've taken more time than usual (maybe than ever) between posts. I only posted twice in July. I'm hoping to not have this happen again.

 I have now returned to correcting/updating formerly broken links, and in my reverse chronological order pattern, I have now repaired posts from September of 2012, including a nearly unique Halmark entry - featuring a guitar and vocal specialty on one side! - a clever and funny Gene Marshall record, an early Real Pros 45 featuring their one-man-band performer on one side and Rodd Keith on the other, and another Rodd Keith record (as Rod Rogers), on the tiny Lutone label.

 And NOW!!!!



I may have mentioned a few times - such as every time I post one of his records - how much I love Johnny Williams and his decidedly unprofessional, off the cuff sounding and barely in control vocal style. So every time I manage to put my hands on one of his records, it's a sure bet that it will end up here within a few days or weeks.

And while today's offering is not perhaps among his masterpieces, it's close enough. As you can see above, it's got a superbly catchy titled, "I've Got a Hot Spot In My Heart For You", and it's got everything I could want from Johnny - a hyperactive guitar intro, a fun, bouncy backing, simple, but effective lyrics and a highly energized vocal from the lead singer, who as usual sounds like a 70 year old man who is missing some of his teeth.

 I really have to wonder what Tin Pan Alley was thinking in employing this guy, and putting him in front of almost comically revved up backing. What's more, I would love to know what the customers thought, upon hearing Mr. Williams' interpretation of their lyrical submissions.

On the other hand, it's true that Tin Pan Alley generally did a better job of superficially capturing the trends of the day in real time than most song-poem labels, and that by this point (this record is from around 1959) some rock and roll was getting fairly silly and at times frantic - this record does capture a bit of the energy of a record like "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck" - if little of the talent or quality. But even compared with the hit records I'm thinking of, this is just over-the-top weird and ridiculous. And man, do I love it. 

Download: Johnny Williams - I've Got a Hot Spot In My Heart For You
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As I've also said before, I do not, however, believe that Johnny Williams was a singer capable of effectively putting forward a vocal on a ballad and/or on material requiring sensitive feelings. And that's what we have on the flip side "You Went Away". He is, typically, completely over his head. Also, what is that groaning sound that recurs at several points here - it sounds sort of like the bass, or its amp, is malfunctioning. Any guesses?

 Download: Johnny Williams - You Went Away
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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Trouble, Trouble Blues

Greetings - updates to the old posts will have to wait until next time. It's been a terrifically busy 10 days, and I wanted to at least get a post up...


I've rarely featured the Ronnie label here. I find most of their records very bland and samey. I don't know if they were part of the Globe empire - there is some overlap in the quality of that blandness, and Sammy Marshall was the star of both companies. But I discern an even blander sheen on most Ronnie releases than I do Globe. 

Which made this record a pleasant surprise. I make no argument for "Trouble, Trouble Blues" (by May Redding) being great, or outstanding in any significant way, but it does have a bit of energy, mostly in the rhythm section, and even sounds a bit like an early Sterling release in certain aspects. Plus, the guitarist tries to actually do something during the solo. Something. All that said, I think it should be at least 20 bpm faster and then there might have been more to work with. 

Play:  

The aforementioned Sammy Marshall shows up on the flip side, in the guise of "Ben Tate", a name he was only billed under on this label, as far as I know (another reason I'm doubtful as to the Globe link). 

This one is an out and out car crash, mostly because the bass player seems to think he's playing in a different song entirely. Aside from a couple of hysterical Tin Pan Alley records from the mid '60's, I don't think I've ever heard this many flubs on a song-poem record. I mean, the whole thing blows, but at least waiting for the next flub from the bass is entertaining. 

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Saturday, July 11, 2020

Dreamy Music to Make Your Inners Glo

Happy Second Half of the Year. Let's hope it's better than the First Half. 

I have updated another month's worth of broken posts, October of 2012 in this case. We're getting there.....

This week's fixes include a special post of a Bob Storm record sent to me by Darryl Bullock, a set of two disparate offerings from Tin Pan Alley, a pairing of Cara Stewart and "The Mystery Girl" singing a song with a mangled title, and a fairly awful Dick Kent number on MSR. 


As I do whenever I feature either an Edith Hopkins composition and/or a record on her custom label (out of Emporia, Kansas), "Inner-Glo", I will again explain that Ms. Hopkins is my favorite song-poet, based on the high quality of her (large number of) best songs, and also that she was a bit of a curio in the song-poem world in that, although she used the song-poem factories, particularly Globe, it appears that she wrote all the words AND music to her songs, so she was not technically fully part of the song-poem world. Additionally, although it doesn't apply here, she also wrote and commissioned records of certain songs meant to be directed at the legitimate radio/record store/Billboard magazine world, most notably with (but not limited to), the incomparable "What's She Got (That I Ain't Got)", by Betty Jayne.

Anyway, what we have today is a Hopkins special from that Inner-Glo label, from about 1964, and sounding all the world like some sort of brilliant mixture of a Patsy Cline song with production one might have found coming out of certain early '60's Los Angeles studios.

Whatever you want to call it, I think "That's the Place I Should Be" is just lovely. The lilting melody, the appealing duet vocals, and the loping 6/8 beat played by creating a wonderfully dreamy sound. And... I may have mentioned this before, but I adore the sound of a vibraphone, and the presence of one on both sides of this record (including a solo in each track!) is the perfect addition.

Download: Kris Arden - That's the Place I Should Be
Play:

The flip side, "Should I Forget", doesn't have as much going for it - its main attraction for me is some fabulous vibraphone flavoring and another solo. Otherwise, while it's structurally somewhat similar to the flip side, and the lyrics are considerably better than the vast majority of song-poems, there's not much to set it apart from 100 other slow 6/8 weepers.

Download: Kris Arden - Should I Forget
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