Tuesday, January 29, 2013

And in the Role of "Fred Hamilton".... RODD KEITH!

Over the past few months, one of my longest standing song-poem pals, who I believe I've been corresponding with for the better part of a decade, has sent me some favorites from his collection. With his permission, I'm going to share a few of these over the next few months, interspersed with many more from my collection. Most of these do not have scans of the labels, but on the other hand, given that they are among his favorites, they are quite excellent and shareable, and I didn't want the lack of label scans to prevent me from letting them be heard here.

Today's example comes from the Preview label, and that charming man-about-Preview, Rodd Keith. For whatever reason, on this side of the record, he is billed as "Fred Hamilton", a name not documented on any other Preview record in the AS/PMA database. Be that as it may, it's certainly Rodd singing, and the fantastic production could hardly have been anyone else.

As heard here, Rodd reminds me of no one so much as late period (i.e. the last two decades) Leonard Cohen. And the otherworldly sounds on this track - the overall wooziness, the plucking guitar, the spacy sounds in the background - this is a keeper which should have been anthologized a long time ago. First rate stuff!

ADDENDUM, 1/30/13: A couple of my closest song-poem pals, including the person who supplied these tracks, have written to say that they don't think this is Rodd singing (see comments). I believe that it is, and have other records of his where his singing sounds much like this, but can see their point that it might be someone else. I'd be interested to hear what others think!

On the flip side is a song credited to "The Downtowners", titled "Among My Memories". That group name usually means Rodd and some of his cohorts, and this is no exception. But this side seems like a missed chance - the chorus at the start is absolutely fabulous, but then he does that damn talky-talk thing that rarely works (on a song-poem or elsewhere). Then nearer the end, they kind of mix up the singing and talking, and that doesn't do it for me, either. Throughout, the backing track holds the promise of what might have been. Obviously, dear listener, your mileage may vary. Here 'tis!


Anonymous said...

Hey! I actually don't think that's Rodd singing lead (though it's definitely him singing the echoey background!). I actually think that's an early Gene Marshall! Give it another listen and tell me what you think! That's why I consider this an "all-star" song poem 45, since you've got Rodd, what I think is Gene, and definitely Teri!

Happy you enjoyed the record, I'll try and send you some of the stuff you asked me about asap!

Bob Purse said...

Fascinating - it doesn't sound remotely like Gene Marshall to me. I have records of Gene going back to 1956 (on a budget label, doing a cover of a then-current hit) and he sounds just like Gene Marshall even back then. I wondered where you heard him on this track, but I never thought you meant the lead vocal - doesn't sound like him to me at all. And Gene, as far as I know, never appeard on a Preview record under any name but Gene Marshall. It might not even be Rodd - maybe it really is some guy named Fred Hamilton?!?!?

Stu Shea said...

The voice of "Fred Hamilton" reminds me a bit of the guy who sang "Week End Man," billed as Alan Poe (although several people used that name), on Preview.

Good record.

Darryl Bullock said...

Sorry Bob, but I don't believe that is Rodd either - the vocal is too syrupy and Bing Crosby-esque for him. Funnily enough, the A-side of the following release on Preview (credited to Dan Monday, B-side by Alan Poe) does sound like Rodd to me.

Roaratorio said...

I'm sure this isn't Rodd, as well. The 'Fred Hamilton' name was used on a handful of Preview records, and none of them sound like Rodd; it's closer to the 'Alan Poe' singer (a name which did occasionally have a Rodd Keith vocal behind it).