Upon picking up today's record, titled "Come Away with Me", I was immediately put in the mind of Norah Jones' gorgeous, sultry and immaculately performed hit record of the same name. Upon putting the needle to the record, I was immediately pulled away from that mindset, and sent instead to my imagined site of this recording session.
By this point in the Tin Pan Alley story, they had moved about as far as possible from their origins, wherein established performers and backing musicians performed often first-rate renditions of song-poem lyrics. That had been in the mid-'50's. This record appears to date from about 1969, when the near talentless likes of Bob Gerard fronted an equally inept backing band on material such as today's record and the immortal "Snow Man".
It certainly sounds like ol' Bob is reading this tune for the first time, as he goes along, and he sounds hesitant at several points, failing to follow the melody at all at a few others. The bass player sounds like he's a bit more on board here than on "Snow Man", but he's still clearly not up to the task, flubbing more than a few notes of his own.
Then there are the words, in which "baby" is enticed to come to a land where there are flowers everywhere, rainbows and strawberry clouds in the crimson sky, lollipop trees, floating birds, fairies, and rabbits which chase eagles. Naturally, you'd come to the same conclusion I did, and which is confirmed by the lyrics - this is the place "where boys turn into men". Yeah.
Download: Bob Gerard - Come Away With Me
In comparison, "Stepping Out", heard on the flip side, is downright competent. In comparison. Only in comparison. At least the guitarist, whose chording is prominent on the track, seems largely to know what he was doing. Bob Gerard still doesn't seem to always know where the tune is going until he gets to it. The track itself is distracting enough that you might miss this deeply thought out lyric:
You see folks around the town
Standing, walking sitting down
Download: Bob Gerard - Stepping Out
By the way, this weekend, I posted a rare vanity release from Tin Pan Alley, over at WFMU's Beware of the Blog. It's fairly hideous, and for some (me included), that makes it worth a listen or two. You can find that post here.