Monday, August 31, 2015

Under the Influence

So I came across an auction of a record by perhaps my favorite Song-Poem singer, Norm Burns, singing a song with a title that has to rank up there with "You Insulted Me" (which was sung by Sammy Marshall), as the songs with the most stereotypical song-poem-perfect titles. There was no way I wasn't going to go for a song called "Don't Influence Me", especially with Norm as the singer.

And while this isn't an all time winner (the ones with the great titles rarely are), it's a solid Norm performance of a suitably ridiculous lyric and song. It's great to hear Norm sing lines such as "lead me by the nose", and the decidedly unmusical title phrase.

Here 'tis:

Download: Norm Burns - Don't Influence Me

Flipping the record over, we find "Hello My Sweet" a peppy, upbeat song, complete with Norm (or someone) whistling, and an extended piano break, perhaps disguising there having been too few lyrics to sustain a three minute pop song. The lyrics seem to be a dismissal of a wayward lover, but in the final line, it sounds like he's welcomed her back, so I'm confused... Norm shines, as he almost always did.

Download: Norm Burns: Hello My Sweet

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Rod Rogers Sings More Military Melodies!!

Last April, we all enjoyed a few rousing patriotic songs courtesy of the famous team of lyricist Clarence M. Boness and composer/man-about-town Rodd Keith (as Rod Rogers), on Film City release # 1067, which you can hear here. An earlier posting of a later Boness/Rogers team-up, linked within that post, is currently not working. I hope to restore the old posts soon.

But Mr. Boness was hardly just a four-song wonder. Today, we get to hear yet another two amazing patriotic/military numbers. First up is a tribute to everyone's favorite defense command personnel, the Air Defense Command, or, for convenience sake, The A.D.C. Rodd gives it all, with a stirring march sound and an appropriate and stirring (well, to the degree that the Chamberlin could muster it) solo. Dig the Roddtastick harmonies at the end!

Download: Rod Rogers with the Film City Orchestra: The A. D. C.

On the flip side is Mr. Boness tribute to The Six Ninety First, starting with a quote from the song "Old Folks At Home". I can't say I'm familiar with the specific base he's referring to here, but it clearly is another aspect of Air Defense, based on the lyrics. I love the Mandolin-esque solo, and the general pep and verve of the entire enterprise.

Download: Rod Rogers with the Film City Orchestra - The Six Ninety First

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Vicki Doesn't Need a Makeover

A few frantic weeks and I ended up missing my posting for last week entirely, without even realizing it. Well, I'll try to get back on schedule early next week!

For the second week in a row, here's a previously unknown singer (sic), in this case on a teeny tiny label - the only record I've ever seen on this particular label, Hit Records International.

The singer is only identified as "Vicki", and perhaps that's in order to save her some embarrassment, as she clearly had no business being in a recording studio - I'm reminded of the beautiful but tone-deaf singer who Keith Partridge went crazy over in an episode of The Partridge Family - as long as he was looking at her, he couldn't hear her awful singing, which sounded very much like this anonymous "Vicki". The song, "You Can't Make Me Over", is not likely to make anyone forget Dionne Warwick's much more forcefully worded "Don't Make Me Over".

Download: Vicki - You Can't Make Me Over

Now that you've seen the title of the flip side, "The One I Love", I hate to burst your bubbles, but this is not an early version of the R.E.M. hit, although I'd love to hear "Vicki" take a crack at that one. No, this one is a bland love ballad with completely predictable lyrics and another interesting vocal interpretation.

Download: Vicki - The One I Love

Friday, August 07, 2015

Rockin' Hard with Rusty Ray and Phil Carroll!

As I've written before, Phil Carroll is something of a song-poem lyricist superstar, having been the wordsmith behind such songs as "Yippee Hippee", "Watch Johnny Carson", "I Take a Fancy to Nancy", and my personal favorite by a wide margin, "Dreams of Love". Most of these can be found online or on the previously released song-poem compilations. MSR records even seems to have had a separate set of label numbers just for Phil Carroll's songs!

But here's a double dose of Phil Carroll, seemingly from a few years down the line from those MSR releases. Appearing on the "Action" label, which seems to have been a small off-brand label for some of Sandy Stanton's releases (perhaps after the demise of Film City?), and notable for some truly horrible sounding pressings (this record included) - I understand from Phil Milstein that Stich Stampfel, whose vanity pressings on Action have label numbers just before this one, complained a lot about the pressings of his records. 

So I apologize for the sound quality of these files, but they come by them honestly. 

The singer here is one "Rusty Ray", who I don't recognize at all - anyone else out there want to hazard a guess as to whether he's one of the song-poem stalwarts or a one-time interloper? The first song I'm offering up, "Magic Touch", strikes me as an attempt to make a early-70's hard-rock record on a Chamberlin, a ridiculous concept if there ever was one. If there's any doubt, please enjoy the direct rip from a well known example of the genre near the ending. I hope you laugh as much as I did.

Download: Rusty Ray and the "Swinging Strings" - Magic Touch

The flip side, "A One and A Two", seems to be an attempt at a mid-'60's dance number, complete with instructions making up much of the lyric, although the suggestions of what to do for each couplet are different enough that I suspect anyone trying them as they are called out would likely sprain something. And again, the Chamberlin is probably not the right instrument for an interactive dance track.

I have to wonder if, after getting such wonderful results from MSR (largely from Rodd Keith) if Phil Carroll was satisfied with the work done by Sandy Stanton's crew. The answer is probably yes, as he submitted another two-fer, including the song "When They All Go to Chicago", sung by Dick Kent (as "Dick Lee"), which I hope you'll again be able to hear here, when I get the old posts back up and running (the files are currently dead). I'm hoping to have the old posts repaired soon.

Download: Rusty Ray and the "Swinging Strings" - A One and A Two