Monday, June 04, 2012

"You Killed Me With Your Tongue..."

Yep, those are the words - "You killed me with your tongue" - and who better to sing such overwrought lyrics than our own Sammy Marshall, the king of the pained song-poem vocal, the veritable Prince of amateur songwriter heartbreak. And that's just (arguably) the most over the top moment in "Marble Casket". Other moments in the running: "you shoved my bleeding heart", "your scalding tears", and of course the title metaphor. Oh, and there are really only about four chords here - would it have been that hard for the bass player to keep them straight. Apparently so, judging from the segment beginning at about the one minute mark.

"Marble Casket" appeared on the tiny Blue-J label, part of the Globe song-poem factory of labels. This label was perhaps a group effort, as a glance at the songwriting credits on this 45, and the others listed at AS/PMA shows not a single writer (as is often the case for these small labels), but four or five names which turn up in various combinations as the writers on some (but not all) of the songs from the label. One of the writers who shows up on other Blue-J records (but not on this one) is listed here as the publisher of these songs!

Also worth noting, at least for the curiosity factor, is that the label address, listed as a Post Office Box at the AS/PMA site, is technically given as, not "P.O. Box 30", but rather "Drawer 30", in Stanton, Ill (just outside of Champaign). I'm quite certain I've never seen that particular phrase as an address before.

The best things I can say about the flip side, "Please Try", are that it's fairly peppy, and that it's over in the blink of an eye, lasting all of 113 seconds. I didn't start my turntable up slowly, by the way - the opening guitar really does sound like that.


Stu Shea said...

Sammy Marshall's records seem to be plagued with horrible bass players, as I recall.

Darryl Bullock said...

Chaw Mank - interesting character who dabbled on and off in the song poem market for decades.

Charles "Chaw" Mank Jr. was a songwriter, band leader, silent movie organist, radio host, psychic and fan club operator amongst other things. He was also the co-author of Valentino, the book which inspired the Rudolf Nureyev movie.

Born in Staunton, Illinois (where Blu-J Records was later based), he served as pianist in the Fred Weidner Orchestra, later starting his own group, Chaw Mank's Blue Ribbon Dance Band, who cut several of their own records...he also launched a record company of the same name which released a number of 78s.

Chaw was a prolific songwriter, one of his biggest hits bring Bringing Mary Home, co-written with Joe Kingston and John Duffey and subsequently recorded by the Country Gentlemen, Red Sovine and Ricky Skaggs.