Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cara Mia

I sure do love Cara Stewart. Admittedly, her records nearly all sound fairly similar, each of them being structured along one of about three or four templates, but each of those are such great templates, with Lee Hudson usually playing a low-rent Les Paul to her sultry Mary Ford. Today's offering has the fairly ridiculous title, "What Time Does the Last Moon Leave?", and it appeared on the little known "Advance Records" label.

You might be fascinated to learn that, based on an ad in Billboard that the author of these two songs took out, this record dates not to the 1950's or even the 1960's, but some time in late 1970 or early 1971. It was, says the ad "very apropos for the moon shot" (the first of which, of course, had been 18 months earlier, a time delay which is actually quite "timely", in terms of how quickly song-poem musicians keep up with trends).

The flip side is more of the same, in terms of the sound, and is titled "My Ladder of Dreams".

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hobby Horse Round-Up

"Charming" is not a word that I use very much. And it certainly isn't a word that I'd use to describe very many song-poems. But there are a few, and exhibit A may be today's feature, Gene Marshall's performance of "Hobby Horse Round-Up". These are genuinely sweet, whimsical words, set to a fairly appropriate backing, with a particularly well selected bass line.

I could always do without that God-awful synth that they were using by this point, and Gene reads the melody wrong early in the performance, but these are minor complaints. It's actually a tribute to Gene Marshall and the other song-poem singers, that they so rarely flubbed a word or a melody, since they were very likely seeing these words and music for the first and only time, upon singing them. And his warm, sweet vocal here fits the lyrics well. A winner.

Now, onto the flip side, where we find the deeply odd "Riders of the Purple Sky", complete with disco beat (I dig the drumming at about 1:35), Clavinet, and inscructable lyrics, wherein the riders are actually of several Purple Things (sage, sky, day), and it seems that far more is being imparted than 100 seconds could possibly contain. What's it all about, Gene? What's it all about, Priscilla? Another winner!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Every Boy He Knows

It seemed like it was about time for some Sammy Marshall, so just in time, I came up with today's feature, which appeared on the very rare Lydian Records label. This is the only record I've ever seen on Lydian, and it's the only one listed in the Lydian Records discography at AS/PMA.

Please note that this record, "Every Boy I Know", features what someone has determined to be "The Nashville Sound". While this is technically true (Lydian was provided with its tracks, like dozens of other tiny labels, by the Globe Records song-poem factory, based in Nashville), I can't imagine anyone actually thinking that either side of this record represented any "sound" that a music fan would think was associated with Nashville.

The flip side is "It's a Long Time (Now It's Too Late)", which features a lyric that I admittedly cannot comprehend. Most lines seem to be pining for a lost (or never had) love, while the third line of the song indicates that his loved one is with him.

By the way, the cruddy sound is from the pressing, not from my turntable or other sound equipment.

Monday, September 05, 2011

For Labor Day

What better way to pay tribute to the working men and women of our country and world on Labor Day (well, America's Labor Day, anyway) than with a look at one of those jobs which is so indispensable that its practitioners can't even get Labor Day off - the Policemen and Policewomen of our cities, towns and villages. The song is "We Proudly Hail Our Police". And what better man to do it than Frank Perry, who is woefully under-represented among the listings of song-poems to be had. And what better accompaniment than the that fabulous band "The 'Big Action Sound'", which is nothing more than the ol' Chamberlain!

The AS/PMA website has this record as being from the early '70's, which seems fairly amazing. I'm assuming that this comes from some sort of listing in a trade publication or an ad in the same, since the AS/PMA folks didn't know the artist for either side of the record. Their dates tend to be correct, though.

On the flip side, we have the Chamberlain man himself, Rodd Keith, in his guise as Rod Rivers, also with the fictional "Big Action Sound", on a less than stellar effort, "To Love". The lyrics here get positively circular, and more than a bit hard to follow: