Monday, December 17, 2018
A Double Shot of Tin Pan Alley
First up, a record by Mike Thomas with the minimalist house combo that accompanied so many of the tunes he warbled. As I so often do, I really must allow you to enjoy the bizarre charms of "We're Having a Baby", without giving away too much of what goes on in its 98 seconds of existence. Suffice it to say that the weird lines come nearly back to back to back, throughout the ultra-short song. And the bouncy musical bed is just icing on the cake. The fact that this record was pressed just a tiny bit off center just adds to the wooziness that the words create.
I really wonder if the people in the Tin Pan Alley studio just completely lost it, cracking up, after finishing some of these records.
Download: Mike Thomas - We're Having a Baby
The flip side, written by the same song-poet, is pressed even more off center. In this case, the song is of little interest to me, and the off-center effect is nothing but further annoyance. The song, "Planets of Love", is a stultifying slow 6/8 thing, of a type that Tin Pan Alley specialized in. It's genuinely difficult for me to remain focused on the lyrics long enough to care what he's singing about. Something about a marriage proposal underneath the moonlight, I think, but what's with the lyrics about all the evil things we do?
Download: Mike Thomas - Planets of Love
And now, let's jump ahead several years, and enjoy a few minutes with everyone's favorite genre, the TV-Character-Tribute-Song-Poem:
"Dallas" was certainly a smash hit, and a TV phenomenon. Lead character J. R. Ewing inspired a few novelty records, including one that made Billboard's Hot 100. So it's little surprise that at least one song-poet decided to pen a tribute to the dastardly man. And again, it ended up with our friends at Tin Pan Alley. At this point, the house band was called "The Melodiers", although they sound to me like the same band, with Mike Thomas still on lead vocal.
They put together a peppy, power pop like track, with a melody sung rapidly enough that I can't make out everything that's being sung, but it's catchy and fun (and would be even more so if not for the truly crappy condition of this record...).
Download: The Melodiers - J. R.
The flip side is "Gold Plate", and one could be forgiven for thinking it's a remake of "Planets of Love" (above) at first. It has that same, thuddish 6/8 beat, and in this case, I really have no idea what the writer is on about. The singer (Mike Thomas or whoever), seems to have some insight, as he puts far more feeling into the last few lines than I could imagine someone directing at this song, after three minutes of boredom.
Download: The Melodiers - Gold Plate