Friday, November 30, 2018
Time seems to be fleeting again, and I really want to get another set of song-poems out there before the month ends in three hours or so. I had one post ready to go, then found out that the song in question was readily available on youtube. So I've grabbed a record by one of my favorite singers, Norm Burns, and am offering it up instead. It's Sterling Records' attempt at a Gospel feel, not terribly successful, I'd say, but I almost always find Norm worth hearing. Here's "I Am Going Home With Him".
Download: Norm Burns and the Five Stars - I Am Going Home With Him
I won't be surprised if the flip side is the preferred one for many listeners. "My Broken Heart Will Heal Someday", is a fairly bland, midtempo thing, but there's some stellar drumming going on, and the little fill in melodies (and the song melody itself) are not too shabby, at least in places. In other places, particularly at the section starting at 1:48, the construction is laughably bad. But honestly, mostly I just really dig the drumming.
Download: Norm Burns and the Five Stars - My Broken Heart Will Heal Someday.
Friday, November 23, 2018
Greeting and salutations, and for those who celebrated it, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. I have a double play for you today, one song-poem offering and one which might be a song-poem, might be a vanity record and might be something else.
Before getting to any music, I want to thank a couple of folks who let me know that one of the files was corrupted in last week's post. It has been corrected, thanks to "reservatory" and anonymous.
I also had poster "KL" send a few links, including a youtube posting of a vanity pressing on Preview, a record which went for a whole lot of money last year ($1625!). You can see and hear it here. And for those on Facebook, you can see and hear a Rod Rogers/Frank Perry release here.
And speaking of Film City:
This is the only documented song-poem record to be released under the name "Jad Dees". Mr. Dees - or at least someone with the same odd name - had a career, at least for a time, as a country and western singer, belonged to a group called, of all things "The Beverly Hill Billies", which you can read about here. He also appeared in at least one movie, and had a few records out on legit labels in the 1930's. I imagine there's at least an interesting, if not fascinating story about how he ended up cutting two songs by song-poet Fred Wolf for the Film City outfit.
This very early Film City effort is notable for the herding-related shouting and whistling heard three times during the record. The lyrics themselves are one cowboy cliche after another, and the Chamberlin - despite the appropriate shuffle beat - could hardly fit the genre more poorly. But all in all, it's a fun little record.
Download: Jad Dees with the Swinging Strings - Rollin' Down the Mountain
The flip side "This Old World Just Keeps on Turning", plods along its way. It's barely 20 seconds longer than "Rollin' Down", yet it seems ages longer, due to the ponderous nature of the song, arrangement and vocal performance.
Download: Jad Dees with the Swinging Strings - This Old World Just Keeps on Turning
Now to the more confounding of the two records. We have here a record by Jim Wayne on the Pacer label, written by Opal Scaggs. Opal Scaggs seems to have been the owner of the label, as every record released on Pacer seems to list her as the songwriter.
On the side of considering this to be a song-poem is the fact that Opal Scaggs wrote lyrics for at least one song-poem on another label, along with Pacer appearing to have been a vanity label. On the other side are multiple sites indicating that Jim Wayne worked, under that name, for multiple labels, some not likely song-poem related all around the same time as this record's release (reportedly, 1968), and one person who stated, without evidence, that the sax player on this record is Boots Randolph.
It's certainly possible that this was a vanity release, perhaps one even target at actual hit status by Ms. Scaggs, and perhaps she wrote the words and music to the songs. I'm interested to hear what any of you think.
But I wouldn't be sharing it at all if it wasn't for the fact that one of the sides - with the ultra catchy title "You'll Find Another Sucker If You Try" - makes me smile, due to the peppy arrangement, in combination with (and this is the key factor) Jim Wayne's endearingly ridiculous vocal delivery.
Flipping the record over, we find another case where a record of the same length - in this case, barely a second of difference - seems to stretch out for way too long. Your mileage, of course, may vary. But on "I Pretended She Was You", aside from Jim Wayne's continued over-the-top, over-enunciating vocal stylings, very little hear stays with me.
Download: Jim Wayne - I Pretended She Was You
Saturday, November 10, 2018
It comes as no surprise that the basic scam of the song-poem company would draw into it's net some people whose writing was a bit, say, prone towards pretentiousness. And there are more than enough examples to fill three months of posts here - "The Human Breakdown of Absurdity", "Life and Myself" and "Virgin Child of the Universe" come to mind.
I have no doubt my mouth dropped open in wonder upon hearing each of those three - particularly "Life and Myself", which cracks me up to this day. And like that song, today I have another Gene Marshall masterpiece, which also caused me to nearly burst into laughter, all by myself. It's called "Loneliness", and while the opening lines are more than a bit ponderous, the real sign of trouble is when, barely a third of the way through the record, Gene has to speak the writer's words, for nearly a minute.
That's no surprise, given the presence of several words which would terrifically difficult to set to music, such as "presently", "correlation" and "wherein". And is it just me, or, in this section does Gene Marshall sound like Rod Serling introducing a Twilight Zone episode?
Download: Gene Marshall - Loneliness
The song on the flip side is called "When Young Eyes Meet". The same song-poet as on "Loneliness" provided this lyric, and he does considerably better with a more direct, at times genuinely affecting set of words. The music is too bland, and the quality of those words too uneven to make this anything special, but the lyrics do give more than a bit of insight into a part of the writer's life, things that may have inspired not only this song, but also "Loneliness".
Download: Gene Marshall - When Young Eyes Meet
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
What better day than a day dedicated to all things scary to offer up a new find on one of the most consistently, frighteningly awful labels out there, the tiny and mysterious Noval Records label.
First up is a song with an absolutely quintessential song-poem title, "Thoughts", sung by Noval's resident female - as always, not credited on the label (that's the songwriters' names you see in the scans). There are at least a few other obvious titles that could have been given to this lyric, but no, the song-poet with "Thoughts".
A lugubrious pace and somnambulistic setting by the combo drag this one down, as they do on about 80% of Noval's releases. The singer - as this singer always does - sounds like a hometown girl performing in an amateur hour at the local church, although I am head over heels for the spectacularly incompetent swooping in her voice at 1:26 - It borders on self-parody, and it's worth the price of admission.
The flip side, "Following Around With You", features the same vocalist, but the band, as heard here, is about the peppiest that I've ever heard on a Noval release, and it's sort of led by a plucked guitar, another rarity on this label. The whole thing (except the typically awful vocal) sounds more like a Globe production than the typical Noval output.
That doesn't make any of it very good at all. Lyrically, it's actually a close relative to "Thoughts" - a woman pining for someone who has likely been untrue - although the specifics are different (the reference to the Army seems to fly in from another song entirely). Musically, despite the peppier beat (it's not actually peppy, but it's a rock and roll stomper compared to most Noval records), nothing of interest happens, aside from a few badly played moments. And is it just me, or does this seem to go on forever.
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Man, I have genuinely lost track of time. I had no idea I hadn't posted in over two weeks. I need to get back into a rhythm.
Before I get to today's feature, I want to share that the date for the obnoxiously racist Halmark release featured two weeks ago has been identified as 1969. Please see the comments to my previous post for details; I have updated the post.
I have often found the late-era Tin Pan Alley efforts by the band called "New Image" to be half-assed in a usually uninteresting, occasionally entertaining way. But here's one I actually like as a record. It still has that oompah feeling heard on so many TPA records of the '70's and later, but in this case, the loping beat, the stripped down backing and the pleading vocalist fit the lyrics nicely, and.... I dunno, the whole thing "works" for me, even while I recognize that it's got bargain basement lyrics and a garage demo level backing. It's also over in just 106 seconds, so there's barely a welcome to be worn out. It's called "Here I Am Without You", and here it is:
Download: New Image - Here I Am Without You
But, as I find myself saying quite often, the flip side - I Want to Be the One - does not do it for me, despite being in the sort of '50's setting that would often appeal to me. I find myself tuning out, not caring much about the lyrics or the performance.
Download: New Image - I Want to Be the One
Sunday, September 30, 2018
Today's post is really about one song on a four song EP, one awful song that is aggressively ugly in concept and execution. So I'll briefly mention the first, third and fourth tracks on this Halmark masterpiece, and focus on that one song. And then I'll offer up a palate cleanser, a record so ridiculous that it must be heard.
The entire EP is credited to Bob Storm, and that sounds about right based on the vocals here. The first song is "The Higher You Are", set to one of the typically moldy old-style music beds that Halmark recycled with astounding regularly (as well as contempt for their customers).
Download: Bob Storm - The Higher You Are
Now about that atrocity. It comes up next, and it's called "Old Sambo". I'm mostly going to let you discover the astonishing nature of this lyric for yourself as it plays on your computer, but first, I'm going to wonder - did the folks at Halmark literally have no shame? Was there no lyric that they would reject? When they read the first line of the recitation (yes, it's one of those), didn't anyone suggest that this was beyond the pale? What on earth did the folks who submitted the other three sets of lyrics think, when they played their song, then listened to the rest of the record?
Please remember (or be advised) that the heyday of this label was the early '70's through the late '70's; even though the music here sounds like the record is from the early to mid '50's, it is actually more likely this record came out during Richard Nixon's second administration, or during Gerald Ford's presidency, and it could not have come out before 1967, in any case.
(Addendum: readers far more clever than I am have determined that this record is from 1969. Please see the comments!)
Again, was nothing off limits? Did every single person - even this lyricist, get the come-on responses from Halmark, telling them how wonderful their writing was? Why didn't "Bob Storm" (whoever he really was, not (Bob) storm his way out of the recording studio?
Okay, I've written far too much, again. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you... "Old Sambo":
Download: Bob Storm - Old Sambo
Okay, that's over with. The best thing I can say about "I Can't Think" is that it uses, as it's music bed, my favorite Halmark backing track, the one most memorably used behind "My Hamburger Baby". Not that anything interesting is done with it:
Download: Bob Storm - I Can't Think
We finish off with another track that features a spoken introduction. The most interesting thing, to me, about "Lisa Maria", is that the title of the song is not featured in the lyrics, as sung - Bob Storm consistently sings about "Lisa Marie", not "Maria":
Download: Bob Storm - Lisa Maria
Don't miss the bonus track, below the label scan!
As promised, here is a palate cleanser.
I suspect this is actually a vanity recording, but it could be a song-poem, and regardless, there is a lot of overlap here between the two, whichever it is.
It's called "For You". And this is a SPECTACULARLY bad song, with ridiculously simple lyrics, which move quickly into something at least somewhat stalker-esque. I'll assume for the moment that the man credited, Jesse James Hall, is both the writer and the singer here. If not, he's probably the writer, rather than the singer. The label is "Song-makers, Inc. of New York City, and the whole thing smells like a bottom of the barrel production.
Consider these inspired opening lines, the ones that, of course, are meant to catch the listener's ear:
I live for only you,
Without you I can't live
Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoo
I live for only you.
A short time later, after expressing that he hopes she loves him too, he becomes more insistent:
I'll go on living
As long as you live for me.
As a piece of songwriting, this is a masterpiece of incompetence. And it gets it all done in just 97 seconds.
Download: Jesse James Hall - For You
Monday, September 24, 2018
And not to take away from the niftiness of all that, but Rod Rogers' features are among the most cloying, infantile songs and performances that I've ever heard on a song-poem, reaching the level of some of Dora Hall's worst kiddie offerings. That the quality of the songs and lyrics take the focus away from some pretty creative Chamberlin arrangements is even more frustrating; there's some nice stuff going on instrumentally here, but in combination with these lyrics, they just strike me as over-the-top cutesy-ness to go with the lyrics.
First up is "Kitty Cat"
Download: Rod Rogers - Kitty Cat
And Ms. Rosenberger couldn't give all of her attention to her dear, beloved kitty, so she also provided us with a song about her two dogs, "Skip and Mitzi".
Download: Rod Rogers - Skip and Mitzi
Turning the record over, we find "Sonny Marcell" with the only non-animal-related track on the EP, and the dullest of the four (to these ears, anyway), to boot, "A Spanish Town". At least the music sort of matches the feel of the lyrics, in a stereotypical way. The sudden double tracking, on the other hand, doesn't work at all:
Download: Sonny Marcell - A Spanish Town
As mentioned above, Sonny changes his last name to "Marshall" in time to present one of his patented early '60's-styled rockers. Despite the presence of Rodd Keith on the flip side, this is easily my favorite of the four songs, but I am a sucker for that twist beat, and Sonny/Sammy's way with this sort of material.
Download: Sonny Marshall - A Little Bird
Sunday, September 09, 2018
It's Norm Time here at Song-Poem central. I wish it was Norm Time almost as often as it was Rodd Time, but I just don't have as many Norm Burns records. Today's feature is not one of Norm's (or Sterling's) outstanding efforts, but I think it's solid in all areas but one. The band plays a nice pop-rock backing, with what I consider some particularly stellar drumming. Norm projects real feeling and sells the song well. The only thing that keeps this from being an all around winner are some truly cookie-cutter, seventh grade romance level lyrics. There is not a single original or interesting thing said in this words, is there?
Ah, well, you can't have it all. At least not always.
Download: Norm Burns: Come Back, My Darling
The dichotomy between that side and its flip side "Out in the World" is pretty stark, to these ears. Maybe it's just me, but here I find a band which sounds like its going through the motions, and a singer who doesn't sound engaged with the lyrics or the song. The stodgy beat, meandering melody and mediocre, often non-musical lyrics don't help, but as the flip demonstrated, at least poor lyrics can be overcome somewhat if the rest of the record is decent. Then again, the flip didn't go on for almost three and a half dull minutes.
Download: Norm Burns: Out in the World
Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Today, I have a downright peculiar sets of lyrics from the pen of one Jay Andrews, set to music by the Globe song-poem factory, assigned to Sammy Marshall (identified here as "Sonny Marshall"), and licensed out (or however that worked) to the Air label.
On the better of the two sides we have "In-Law Blues", which contains the phrase I've alluded to above, "My mammy and my mammy-in-law", or parts thereof, several times. Really. Has anyone else ever expressed that relationship in that way...ever? "My mammy-in-law." Plus, it just rolls off the tongue, particularly when set to music.
The story the song tells is prosaic, but the way it's expressed, lyrically and musically (this band should not be in the same state as a record identified as a "blues") make it stand out for me. I think my mouth dropped open while listening to this record for the first time.
And is it just me, or does this 165 second number seem to go on forever.
Download: Sonny Marshall - In-Law Blues
On the flip side is the primarily stultifying "Naughty Lady". Mr. Andrews lyrics suggest that he was going for suave sophistication, and Sammy (er, Sonny) and the band certainly treat it like that was the intent, although they are not remotely successful in doing so.
Lyrics like "can one so blasé feel such a thrill" and "Lady.... please", certainly don't help. I will admit that when he sang "Naughty lady, I'm on to you", I was hoping for the next line to be "Lady.... let's screw". That would have pepped things up. Alas, no.
Download: Sonny Marshall - Naughty Lady
Thursday, August 16, 2018
It's been 41 years since the King of Rock and Roll last saw the inside of an earthly bathroom, and in honor of this death anniversary, I want to offer up a full song-poem album, one on the Royal Master label, featuring three singers - Matt Vincent, Jaye Pauley and Jim Ward - not heard on this site before. In all, nearly 45 minutes of song-poems.
(I hoped to have more to say about the album, the anniversary and the individual tracks, and set aside a couple of hours to do so, but car problems last night (now resolved) ate up that time, and a third hour as well, and in order to get this up today, I'm just going to share the tracks. I haven't even had a chance to make sure there are no glitches in the MP3's. Please let me know if there are any issues.)
So herewith, the front cover of this masterpiece:
And the record label for side one, containing all the song titles and lyricists:
And here are the two sides of the album:
Download: Various Artists - A Tribute to the King, Side One
Download: Various Artists - A Tribute to the King, Side Two
Here is the back cover:
Here is the label for side two:
And a close-up of the back cover, showing the performers of each song:
Monday, August 06, 2018
It's been ages - oddly enough, exactly a year, actually - since I featured a Halmark single here. There's a good reason for that. While there are some fabulous releases on Halmark - virtually all of those being fabulous because of their entertaining level of awfulness - there are many more releases on Halmark which are simply awful, without the benefit of being funny, endearing or otherworldly.
I seem to have nearly exhausted my pre-arranged stack of worthy Halmark releases, so I am only now sharing them when I newly come across which is worth hearing. And I hadn't had that experience in many a month. Until last week.
And actually, I find the first three tracks here to be also unsuitably stultifying. But that last one makes it all worth while. But there may be some of you, who perhaps are particularly fond of that all-too-common item, the dead Elvis song-poem, who may enjoy the first of our four part saga here. It's called "An August Day", it's set to a track we now know to have been originally created to back up the song "By the Time I Get to Phoenix", and is true more often than not on Halmark, the singer is not named.
Download: Halmark Productions - An August Day
The less said about the next two, ponderous, Christian numbers, the better. The first is "In Gratitude", and what appears to be a slightly off center pressing makes me even more woozy than the performance itself.
Download: Halmark Productions - In Gratitude
A favorite, dramatically awful Halmark backing track is the only thing which holds appeal to me in "He's Coming Back to Stay", and it's been used to much greater effect elsewhere. I wonder if the writer minded that the singer speaks, rather than sings, the majority of her lyrics. Then again, with non-musical phrases like "available time" and "people who haven't accepted the Lord", what other choice did they have?
Download: Halmark Productions - He's Coming Back to Stay
But the reason for sharing this record is the track called "Hunting Country". The lyrics here are all over the map, and gloriously stupid. But I'll let you experience the joys of this ridiculous track without spoiling them.
Download: Halmark Productions - Hunting Country
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
I'll write it again: "Cut-Rate, Dime-Store Zeppelin". That's exactly what I thought upon listening to "Hard Times" on the Tin Pan Alley label, as sung by Mike Thomas with a trio of musicians behind him. If there's a third adjective to further modify the crumminess of this performance, it applies, too.
And I honestly do wonder if someone at TPA told the band and the singer, "Hey, go listen to this Led Zeppelin stuff - it's really popular - see if you can work up something like that".
Whether that happened or not, the results fit the description, at least to these ears, particularly after the 1:30 point. The slow, bluesy backing, the guitarist wailing his solo around those chords in a certain way, the drawling high pitched singer, the drum fills near the end. Not that I think any of this is done competently, of course. It's not. But I can't imagine that they stumbled onto this genre by accident. Even if the results are sort of a car crash.
Download: Mike Thomas - Hard Times
On the flip side, we have an earnest performance - and a very typical one at that - of an equally earnest, religious lyric, in a song titled "Lord of the Sky", also by Mike Thomas. Nothing much stands out here - this could be the quintessential TPA release of this era.
Download: Mike Thomas - Lord of the Sky
Monday, July 16, 2018
Relatively early in my days of song-poem collecting, I asked song-poem maven Phil Milstein for his insight into what was the most popular song-poem, among those he'd heard from and interacted with. His answer was that it was Gary Robert's magnificently weird and half-assed "Do You Know the Difference Between Big Wood and Brush". This made sense to me, because not only was it likely the first song-poem most fans heard (at that point, at least, as it was the lead track on both the first vinyl and the first CD song-poem compilations), but it has a lot of the hallmarks (sic) of the best/worst of song-poems - utterly personal lyrics, no sense (by the lyricist) of what will and won't work when set to music - in this case, spectacularly so - minimal effort by the backing band, and a singer who is no great shakes.
Today, I have an example of what happens when a musical genius, his better days behind him, is offered a chance to work with a similarly convoluted, personal set of lyrics, words which have no business being made into a song. And I find the results stunning, sad, astonishing at times. I would not rank the weirdness on a level with "Big Wood and Brush", but this record is deeply odd in its own ways, while sharing that glorious factor of incompetent storytelling in the lyrics.
The genius in question is Rodd Keith, performing on one of the first records released on Sandy Stanton's "Action Records" label, along with the "Big Action Sound", which is simply the Chamberlin. My guess - and it's just that - is that at this point (1972), Rodd was under contract with MSR, and could not appear as either Rod Rogers or Rodd Keith, so he shows up here as "Terry Thomas", perhaps in honor of the great British comic actor.
Anyway, this record is a mess. Rodd's Chamberlin choices, while they do contain some interesting parts, are often shrill and ugly. Vocally I hear a shell of the man who'd offered so many great performances in the 1960's. And the material he was given to work with is... something else - I'll let you discover its charms.
See what you think!
Download: Terry Thomas and the "Big Action Sound" - I'm a Lonely Man
On the flip side is a song for which Rodd - as Terry Thomas - actually took co-writer credit. It's a better song (lyrics by the same person as on "Lonely Man"). Rodd sounds a bit more engaged, and the track is more cohesive, too, but there's nothing there that holds my attention. Your mileage may vary.
Download: Terry Thomas and the "Big Action Sound" - Make Up Your Mind
Wednesday, July 04, 2018
Today, we're going to travel back in time, to the era when America was Mambo crazy, and join with one of my favorite early song-poem purveyors, Teacho Wiltshire (who, in a rare exception to the song-poem rule, went on to a significant "legit" career in music), on one of my favorite labels, Tin Pan Alley, for a little bit of MAMBO-ITIS! Take it, Teacho:
Download: Teacho Wiltshire, His Piano and Orchestra: Mambo-Itis
Having just expressed my undying appreciation for Teacho, I must now backtrack and say that I find very little like about the song on the flip side, "Time is Precious (Don't Waste It)", or his ingratiating, smarmy vocal performance. Perhaps you'll find more to like.
Download: Teacho Wiltshire, His Piano and Orchestra - Time is Precious (Don't Waste It)
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
First, thanks to the good folks at Blogger, the problem with pop-up ads has, I'm told, been addressed. Please let me know if that's the case, or, especially, if that's NOT the case.
I was recently lucky enough to acquire four records on the previously unlisted, undocumented "Howden Records" label. They were advertised as song-poems, and I was skeptical at first, but then I noticed that almost half of the eight tracks were by Betty Bond, who was definitely part of the Bob Quimby's Tropical Records outfit, which dealt in song-poems, and which was specifically in the habit of setting up vanity labels for some of the song-poets who sent them material. Such would appear to be the case for "Howden", as all of the songs are written by one HOWard DENnington.
The sides which don't feature Betty Bond feature two singers not previously known to the song-poem world, and today's record - which contains what I find to be among the best of the eight tracks - features Ella Howard. She's not the greatest singer, and both songs sound fairly similar. But like some other Tropical records I've heard (admittedly, not a lot), they have a bit more quality and variety to the composition and arrangement than most song-poems (at least those not involving Rodd Keith).
Here's the first of the songs, "It's the Natural Thing"
Download: Ella Howard - It's the Natural Thing
And the flip side, "Without You".
Download: Ella Howard - Without You
Sunday, June 17, 2018
First and foremost, Happy Father's Day to all of you fathers out there, and to the fathers of everyone reading this!
Here's my solemn promise to everyone out there - when I obtain a Roger Smith 45, I will always post it here very quickly. Or maybe that doesn't mean much to anyone but me, but I sure do love the barely-in-control vocals on many of his records (at least the upbeat ones).
Here we have a very early release on the Ronnie label (the first one documented at AS/PMA), dated to early 1961, via a mention in Billboard within a list of records believed to have "limited sales potential". That assessment was no doubt accurate, but I really enjoy one side of the record, "Margie Now", which features some lyrics about the nicknames of a certain young woman. The words seem to assume we will understand what the changes in names indicate about her, but I admit to being clueless about this. But Roger Smith sure sells it, and the pedal steel sounds nice, too.
There is a some truly awful damage to the record, at the 2:32 point, which is really peculiar, lasting essentially two rotations of the disc, and barely visible at all on the record itself. It plays right through, though.
Download: Roger Smith: Margie Now
I cannot work up much (or any) enthusiasm for the flip side, "Aloha, Miss Hawaii", but it would have been quite topical at the time, given that this record was produced less than 18 months after our 50th state joined the union, and the lyrics are serviceable enough. Like the flip side, this record sounds, to me, very much as if it came from the early days of the Globe song-poem factory.
Download: Roger Smith: Aloha, Miss Hawaii
Thursday, June 07, 2018
Lane Records - apparently the property o f George E. Clements - appears to have been among the tiniest of tiny labels. The AS/PMA website only confirms two releases, numbers 101 and 102, and it seems unlikely that there were many more releases, if any.
The other (known) release on the label appears to have featured the work of singers/song-poem factories associated with several labels, but # 102, which I was lucky enough to acquire a few weeks ago, features Rodd Keith, in his guise of Rod Rogers, and his Film City sound, thanks to the Chamberlin.
On "Such a Love", my choice for the better of the two sides, Rodd chose a frequent favorite of his, a shuffling pop beat, along with some atmospheric flute accompaniments, and the whole concoction bounces along quite nicely - there's a nice, thickly chorded solo, and I'm particularly fond of the flute coda.
Download: Rod Rogers - Such a Love
The flip side, "Gone With Your Goodbye", is more in the ponderous MOR style that Rodd often favored for some of the more introspective or longing lyrics that he was given to work with. It's not a favorite style of mine, but it's nearly always impressive to hear what he was able to do with the Chamberlin, and beyond that, perhaps some of you out there find more to enjoy in it than I do.
Download: Rod Rogers - Gone With Your Good-Bye
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
It's been quite a while since I offered up a slice of Sammy Marshall - four months, it seems. That's understandable, I guess - while I love some of his records, the majority of them are quite "samey" and in a style that doesn't make "Samey" work. But here he is, early in his career (1962, per the song-poem database website), on the tiny Arco label. I know that label is very difficult to read, but here he is operating under the name "Sandy Singer".
In this case, he's doing one of his patented, peppy, early '60's, twist style numbers, in this case, one called "A Little Bit Early".
Download: Sandy Singer (Sammy Marshall) - A Little Bit Early
The flip side has pretty much the same beat and feel, with the addition of some stereotypical Native American drumbeats and sounds, as well as equally stereotypical lyrics referring to the same population. These aspects are pretty standard issue for the era, while and not so acceptable today. It's a story of a love affair between the singer and an Indian beauty, called "Oklahoma City, Okla".
Download: Sandy Singer (Sammy Marshall) - Oklahoma City, Okla
Friday, May 18, 2018
First, I wanted to thank everyone for their recent comments. I would like to point you to Darryl Bullock's suggestion that on the "Carof on the Boys" post from last month, the singer might be Rodd Keith (who did record on that label). I'm not sure I'm hearing it, but I'm not sure I'm not, either. Thanks to Stu Shea for more information about Mando Guitars, too - it seems the group chose its name completely separate from the actual instrument of that name, which didn't exist at the time.
I particularly want to acknowledge Sammy Reed, who has identified the release date and some other information regarding my last few posts. But even more so, I want to point to you Sammy's own site, where he has posted nearly three dozen song-poems, primarily ones from this site which were lost in the Divshare meltdown a few years ago.
I do intend to fix those posts - and maybe this will push me to do so (I took several down about a year ago, intending to fix them) - but in the meantime, and that may be a long meantime, you can find a bunch of them here.
And now, back to the countdown:
From 1975 comes a set of two soul-pop entries, featuring the unmistakable voice of Dick Kent. It is a song-poem truism - to use the phrase of another collector - that for those labels that did try to copy trends in pop music, they always seemed to be 2-4 years behind those trends. So it is with this record, both sides of which feature musical sounds which strike me as being very 1971-72 in nature.
"Springtime Blues" is pressed a little bit off center, giving it a minutely wobbly effect, a fun feature for a song which literally mentions singing out of tune. The song-poet did not provide anywhere near enough lyrics for a 150 second single, so we are treated to a lengthy band instrumental (over 50 of those seconds), featuring electric piano and (buried) wailing guitar, and then a repeat of the first verse!
Download: The Real Pros - Springtime Blues
On the flipside is another midtempo shuffle, one which even more strongly sounds like 1971 to me, especially in the drumming and piano playing. This side is generally put together better than "Springtime Blues", and the lyrics certainly have more meat. If it wasn't for the ultra-cheesy synths, I could absolutely believe someone could find this record, and believe it was a failed attempt to make a hit record in the early '70's. Not a very good one, but it does have that sound, which is not really something I find myself saying, all that often.
Download: The Real Pros - Don't You Know I Love You
Tuesday, May 08, 2018
As I've alluded to, perhaps a bit too often, actually, I've not exactly been providing a song-poem record "a week", more like a song-poem record every ten days. As a bit of an apology for that, and a reward for sticking with me, today I have an entire song-poem album for you. This was produced by Iris Tipton, a prolific song-poet, using 12 song-poems she commissioned from two song-poem factories, and titled, most catchily, "Let's Go Country with Iris Tipton, et al" (or, "Country Style" if you prefer what's on the record label itself), released on her own Iris label.
Iris Tipton wrote the all-time classic song-poems "I Spent My Last Three Dollars On an Irish Sweepstake Ticket, and "In God We Trust", both of them high up on my list of favorite records (song-poem or otherwise) and the latter of which was the song with which I kicked off the "song-poem of the week project, way back when. On this album, she co-wrote all the songs on side one with another prolific song-poet, John W. Stephenson (who also had his own label, Cowtown).
Sorry about the crappy sound in advance - it doesn't appear to be my turntable/needle, as I tried a few times on two of them to get it to play better. I think it's just the pressing, but if I can get it to play better, I will replace the files.
As I have done before with full albums, I have not separated out the tracks, but rather, have side one and side two for you dining and dancing pleasure. The performers on side one are the rarely documented Johnny Gatlin (who I'm guessing, from the sound of him, was working with the Globe song-poem factory) and the quite well known Cara Stewart (with, of course, the Lee Hudson sound). One may discern a sameness about the melodies of some of the Johnny Gatlin songs. I don't know about you, but it is with great relief and great enjoyment that the final song, featuring the incomparable voice of Cara Stewart, breaks the tedium, even if "physique" is hardly a song that belongs in a sultry love song. The credits listed for the six short songs (the whole side is 13 minutes long) can be viewed from the label, below the links.
Download: Various Artists - Iris Tipton's Let's Go Country", Side One
Side two continues with Cara Stewart, happily heard on four of the six, slightly longer tunes (this is a 16 minute side), and joined for the first two, by the previously unknown Gary Williams, who clearly was also from the Lee Hudson song-poem outfit. The subject matter and lyrics to "I Selected Your Picture" make that one a standout. Even with that, I can't help but smile, again, when Cara returns, although her first song on side two, "I Want To Lock You Up Inside My Heart", has some of the most insipid lyrics I've ever heard.
Download: Various Artists - Iris Tipton's Let's Go Country", Side Two
Here's that back cover:
And here's the address on that back cover, 4709 Beethoven Street in Los Angeles
Monday, April 30, 2018
As I wrote on my other blog, and reiterate today, time is simply getting away from me this month. So just a relative few words about this week's posting (very few about the second side), and then they can speak for themselves.
I bought this record last week, and wanted to get it right up here because it's so unusual. For one thing, neither artist seems to show up on any other song-poem 45. For another thing, one side is an instrumental, something you rarely see on a song-poem. It's certainly possible that "Carment Y Laura Waltz" by The Mandoguitars is a vanity release - a completed recording which someone paid Tin Pan Alley to release. But (and I may be missing something) I'm not aware of TPA doing vanity releases. But there are a handful of other records from this era of the label (1958-59) which also feature otherwise unknown names, so it's possible. But regardless of its parenthood, it's an interesting listen, and something that seems to be virtually unique among TPA releases.
Download: The Mandoguitars - Carmen Y Laura Waltz
Okay, raise your hands, how many of you even knew a Mando-Guitar was a thing. I didn't.
The flip side, featuring the equally otherwise unknown Frank Villani with "My Little Valentine" couldn't more clearly be a song-poem - and a fairly awful one at that, if it came stamped with "I am a song-poem" on the label.
Download: Frank Villani: My Little Valentine