Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Immortal Bob Lloyd

Somewhere out there is, or was, a man named Bob Lloyd. His prominence in the song-poem world rests on just one side of one record, the thoroughly amazing "Our Hearts Were Meant to Beat as One". This song was on the first two song-poem compilations, and if you haven't heard it, I encourage you to seek it out. It is as incompetent a performance - by the pianist, but much more outlandishly, by the singer - as there is on a song-poem record.

The song-poem database only reports two Bob Lloyd records out there, both on the tiny Dial label (not, I assure you, the famed Soul label which featured Joe Tex, among others). There certainly may have been others discovered since AS/PMA was mothballed. I have now found a third, on the even tinier Rocket label (not, I assure you, Elton John's late '70's label).

And while the vocal on "If It's All the Same to You" is not as ridiculous as on "Our Hearts", it also confirms, in my mind, that Bob Lloyd was not meant to be a balladeer. Simply put, this is a truly bad vocal performance. Lloyd's sense of pitch is not developed, and his tone doesn't lend itself to this style of song.

On a separate note, I'd like to point out the unusual name of the song-poet - Smith A. Hopkins - and express my curiosity as to whether he was related to my favorite song-poet ever, Edith Hopkins, who wrote one of those songs sung by Bob Lloyd on the Dial label.

The flip side, "Slow Train Boogie", is a masterwork in comparison with its flip side. Lloyd still can't really stay in tune, but this material doesn't particularly require him to. The backing band doesn't quite have the energy that the song requires, but the pianist is trying, and the rockabilly guitar solo approaches the passable level, which is a small miracle.

Who are you - or were you - Bob Lloyd? A grateful batch of song-poem enthusiasts thank you, wherever you are!


Anonymous said...

Bob....this may be my favorite piece of writing you've ever done! Well...ok, the Pete Seeger eulogy notwithstanding....oh my gosh, you nailed it/him and it made me laugh more than once.

When I saw that today was Bob Lloyd day, I got really excited!

I have to admit, this record shows Bob Lloyd (and company) having more competence than I previously gave him/them credit for!! A-side sounds like someone trying to sound like Elvis backed by The Fleetwoods...... and I like "Slow Train" very much! Beats entire rockabilly compilations I have!

Nothing can beat "Our Hearts Beat As One" of course (my fave moment on that record: the second out-of-tune piano that cascades onto the record at one point.)

Stellar post today, sir! "
Who are you - or were you - Bob Lloyd? " HAHAHAHA!

Kip W [Muffaroo] said...

This reminds me very much of "The Canyons of Your Mind" by the Bonzo Dog Band, though I doubt they ever heard of each other.

Great coincidence that Anon mentions the Pete Seeger article, because I read that just before coming over here (pausing only to read the HUAC testimony).

Somehow, you weren't bookmarked in this browser. You are now.

DrunkenHobo said...

Nice to hear some Rockabilly on here. Cheers Rocket is A (TN) Label on Rockin' Country Style