Saturday, March 28, 2009

Song Poem or Not?

This week's posting is a bit delayed, due to having been out of town and missing the usual Wednesday/Thursday posting. I plan to be back on schedule next week.

And the more I listen to and research today's song, the more I doubt it's a song poem. I bought it because it was advertised as such, and because it was listed on ASPMA, which showed the "Clinton" label, with its two known singles, to have been part of the giant Globe family of labels.

However, ever since hearing this record, I've wondered about its pedigree. The songs are very good, and the A-side is nothing short of excellent, in my opinion. That could also be said about many of my favorite song-poems, but with a few exceptions, even the greatest song-poems seem to have something "off" about them. And while the vocalizing on the b-side of this single might not be to everyone's taste, it's not all that unusual in comparison with many of the 45's released in the early '60's.

On the other hand, there is precious little information on this platter's label, a song-poem hallmark (if you'll pardon the pun). And it is listed on ASPMA, and there's no way for me to know what sort of other information that organization might have had in determining that the Clinton label belonged there.

But then, among that minimal information, there is this: "Don Ralke Orchestra". I learn from Wikipedia that Ralke was a well known Hollywood music insider, who was involved in everything from well received films to the musical endevours of William Shatner and Murry Wilson. That could point to this being a novelty record or a legit release, but seems to make it less likely that its a song poem.

But what do I know? I do know this - the A-Side is a hell of a tune, and an equally great performance by both the band and the singer. And the B-Side, while perhaps not as great a song or performance, has an instrumental track that I really enjoy.

See what you think, and by all means, offer up a thought or two!

Bob Newkirk with "Rhythm Or Blues":

Bob Newkirk with "Dance of Love":

Oh, and Happy Birthday to Stu


T.Rebentine said...

Not a song-poem record in my opinion. Bob Newkirk was certainly a lounge/night club singer.

Hear his medley of My Fair Lady here :

Holy Cow said...

i found a different record on the Clinton Records label. Ben Michaels - Apple Pie Dance b/w Crusin' Round In The Rain. Also credited to Don Ralke. from Hollywood, CA. label is blue and silver. A side is a dance craze type of 60s rock.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the flashback to my childhood. Clinton records was the record label of Jack Clinton Hudgins (I may have spelled the last name wrong, the last time I saw Jack was the early 70s). My father had made some small investment in the label and his return was tons of 45s. I recall my father saying cynically at some time in the 60s that they couldn't give the records away in bars.

I remember records by Bob Newkirk and Ben Michaels. I preferred "Apple Pie" (another Ben Michaels 45) to "Apple Pie Dance". I contributed the 45s of "Apple Pie" and "Apple Pie Dance" to Dr. Demento some time in the early 70s. He told me he had another 45 by Ben Michaels called "I'm Better than the Beatles". (Btw, Michael K. Benton, likely listed as the composer of "Apple Pie Dance", was an alter ego of Ben Michaels).

Anonymous said...

Bob Newkirk is the father of the of the legendary singer Anastacia.
She has sold over 25 Million Albums. There are thousands of videos of her on youtube.
She has one of the Greatest Voices in the business and simply the best entertainer live.

Sammy Reed said...

These songs aren't working now.

Sammy Reed said...

Thanks once again, Bob, for getting these songs fixed!
Shoot, just about anything on independent labels from the early-60's sounds like song-poems to me, so I wouldn't really know.

E. Purdy said...

I was so happy to get to listen to your posting re Bob Newkirk. Back in the 50s-60s, I worked for the agency that was promoting him. He was a very handsome, personable young man. I have one of his 45's on the Clinton label: "Once Again" backed with "The Anniversary Song." Thank you!

Stu Shea said...

After all this time..."Rhythm or Blues" came up on my music player. I don't have the singer listed in my database, so I came back here where I knew I'd find the info. Don't ever think I told you this, Bob, but I'm pretty sure I have a picture sleeve 45 of lounge music by Bob Newkirk!

Graham said...

Sounds like they might be worth a listen, but the links are gone.