Monday, January 30, 2012

When You Put This Song In Your Cassette...

This is another one of those weeks when there's too much on my plate to say much about the offering of the week, but like the U. S. Mail, I'm dedicated to delivering as promised. So here's the Queen of MSR, Bobbi Blake, with a song with an intriguing line in the middle of its lyric. "When you put this song in your cassette, you can bet I'll be gone". Was the writer of this lyric having her song commissioned primarily as a way of breaking up with her beau? It seems at least possible, given the lyric! Here's "Put On":

The most intriguing thing about the flip side of this record, "Say it With a Smile" (by the same song-poet, by the way), is that the billing is for "Bobbie Blake", rather than "Bobbi Blake". This occurred from time to time on MSR singles, but I don't think I've seen both spellings, one each on either side of a 45, other than on this record:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Norm Burns: Soul Stomper!

Here's one from the "What the Hell Was That, Man?" file. As much as I love Norm Burns - and I really do - one phrase which would never fit him is "Soul Stomping". Yet here we have Norm singing a song by that title. But.... aside from that title, which is sung about 600 times, I'm damned if I know what on Earth he's singing about. There are two extremely short verses here, and a whole lot of repetitive chorusing, but the combination of the beat-to-hell record and the fact that Norm sang too far away from the mike, keeps me from discerning more of the lyrics. I hear:

I see Miss Blackwell with her nice set of tools
working out like a dizzy fool
I am only of a ?????
and in my right hand is my liquid snack pack


The other verse is really only two lines long, before it returns to repeating the title, and appears to involve Norm interacting with a streetwalker, but I'm not even sure I'm hearing that right.

All in all, a fabulous - and fabulously weird - find:

The flip side, "Brown Eyes", is yet another entry in the "my loved one has passed away" genre of song poems:

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Great Norridge Mayhams Find

STOP THE PRESSES!!! This is BIG!!! Well, at least is BIG if you love Norridge Mayhams as much as I do.

I've written here about "Norris the Troubadour" before, linked to the great article about him at the AS/PMA website, and even posted my live, cover version performance of his song "Mary Ann McCarthy". What I don't think I ever expected to find was an acetate containing two different versions of a song he later commissioned, during the time he was interacting with various song poem companies.

The song in question is "Be No Fool - Play It Cool - Stay in School", and it appeared on his Mayhams Collegiate label at least four times. All of these may have been the same version, the one sung by Sammy Marshall, credited variously to "Professor Marcel's Collegians", "The Professor" and on Mayham's classic double album, to "Norris The Troubadour Seaboard Coastliners".

However, it's now clear that this wasn't the original rendition. I have managed to take ownership of the aforementioned Mayhams Collegiate Label Acetate, with two performances of "Be No Fool - Play It Cool - Stay in School". Both are performed by the little known Julia Abreau. A trip through the AS/PMA website shows that Ms. Abreau shows up exactly twice - once, on the Air label, doing a song with no known Norridge connection (however, Air was connected to the Globe family of labels, home to Sammy Marshall, so there's that connection), but the other, a record credited to Miss J.M. Abreau, appeared on the "Little Shirley" label, on which she sang two songs by... yes... Norridge Mayhams!

So what do we have here? Well, one side says "Piano Vocal", and the other side says "Organ Vocal". Oh, but that barely scratches the surface of the wonders of this record. Just have a listen to Julia Abreau's vocal performance on the swinging piano side of this record, and tell me this isn't a huge song-poem find:

Well, that was tons of fun, wasn't it? But I bet it scarcely prepared you for the "organ voice" version, in which the organ plays a beat that had me prepared for a version of "Hava Nagila", before Julia Abreau came in, READING the words, as a poem. I love the little asides - "if they're smart that is", and especially, at the end, "best thing for ya, ya know!". To me, this whole version sounds like a weird transmission from an alternate universe, where this is typical of the sounds heard on the radio. Or something. Enjoy!:

(a note - I usually do a small amount of correcting of surface noise, if needed, on the records I post here. In this case, I found that attempting this correction led this record to have a very odd, processed sound, so aside from a few huge "pops", I haven't touched this one, leading to more surface noise than my postings usually have)

Sunday, January 08, 2012

His Conscience Lets Him Borrow Melodies...

...As long as they're in the public domain!

I realized with shock, this weekend, that I hadn't featured a Rodd Keith Preview label record in six months. I've been fairly focused on his Film City stuff (a personal favorite), but I know that plenty of his fans (probably a majority) prefer the Preview material. So to make up for that, here are two early records from that most popular of song-poem labels.

First up, and leading to my joke in the title, is a little something called "My Heart and My Conscience". It doesn't take a doctorate in musicology to notice that Rodd basically lifted the melody from the verse of "Jingle Bells" for this song. In case one did miss it during the vocal, Rodd helpful plays that "Dashing Through the Snow" (etc.) melody, virtually note for note, during the organ solo! Overall, though, this is a peppy, fun and well played and sung record:

"Fun" is not a word I would associate with the flip side of this record, a song titled "Would You Look For Me?", song being a questionable term, given that Rodd speaks the entire text over a middle of the road backing track. And that text is really something, isn't it? "Everyone says 'Hello!'":

For today's bonus record, here's Rodd in light middle of the road (almost Country) mode, with "I Wish It Could Be Me":

And a near sound-alike on the flip-side, "Poor Old Heart":

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Leaping Into 2012

To kick of 2012, here's a song-poem from that most peppy of s-p performers, Sammy Marshall, one which is only truly appropriate every four years or so, including the one which just began, 20 hours ago (from where I sit, anyway). It's called (of course) "Leap Year"!

While song-poet R. O. Chandler handling of this subject matter perhaps doesn't match the mastery with which a similar theme was addressed by Gilbert and Sullivan, it's still a more creative lyric than is found in the vast majority of the records one finds in this genre. Sing it, Sammy!:

This record, which is stamped with a date in 1962, appeared on the Hi-Lo label, on which there are only two identified records. I'd have suggested that the label was a vanity project of Mr. or Ms. Chapman, but the other record on Hi-Lo contains songs by a different writer. Presumably there are other "Hi-Lo" records out there, as the label numbers on the two identified records are dozens of digits apart.

R. O. Chandler is back, with another fairly clever lyric, on the flip side, "Save a Little Drop For Me". What's more, Sammy and the band sound enthused by the song, and there's even a sound effect!