Saturday, November 30, 2019

Big Belly Berelly, Trouble with Girls, and a Bit of Plagiarism

I will resume the correction of old posts next week. With the holiday week that is now coming to an end, I've had little time for online activities. I hope that today's wonderfully odd new items will make up for this lack of old fixes. 

This one literally arrived in the mail yesterday, and I couldn't wait to share it. I think each side is good enough to be featured first, but I've chosen the one with the more unusual title and subject matter to go first.

The singer is Sammy Marshall, under the name of Ben Tate, which he used on all of his releases on the Ronnie label. I've usually found Ronnie releases to be staid and way too glossy/bland, but both sides here prove to be an exception, with approximations of someone's idea of what the rock and roll of the day sounded like.

And so here we have "Big Belly Berelly"! Now there may be a way to make that title phrase fit musically in a way that a singer could make it work, rhythmically, but the folks at Ronnie did not find it, as you'll hear. Then there's a line like "Though he wasn't educated", which would be hard for Irving Berlin to make into something musical.

Everyone involved does the best they can with what they were given, and I suspect that someone who didn't speak English might well believe that this was a legitimate release by a label shooting for a hit record. Then again, this record appears to date from about 1965 or 1966, so perhaps not.

Download: Ben Tate (Sammy Marshall) - Big Belly Berelly

The first thing I noticed about the flip side, "Girls Are Trouble" was the writer credit, which is to 'Rattlesnake' Davenport. I sort of wish my name was 'Rattlesnake' Davenport.

The second thing I noticed about this record was that it opens with a blatant and completely unnecessary bit of plagiarism. Not only have the folks at Ronnie quoted a key melody from a number one song from earlier in the decade, I can't figure out why, as going forward from that point, they didn't make that melody part of this song's melody, and, in fact, the chord changes for "Girls Are Trouble" never matches that melody, or the earlier song, for the rest of the record.

Aside from that, this is another faux 1963 style rock and roll record, more obviously song-poemy this time in terms of the performance - complete with uninspired sax and guitar solo, followed immediately by a bum note on the bass - although Sammy tries his best to sell it.

And that opening still cracks me up.

Download: Ben Tate (Sammy Marshall) - Girls Are Trouble


Greenockian said...

Cheers mate. So bad it's good.

Timmy said...

Call him Ben Tate or Sammy Marshall; I will follow him forever.

Sammy Reed said...

Actually, Jim Wheeler's "Port of Call" also ends during tge fadeout.

Apesville said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Apesville said...

Rite Press from 1966

Stu Shea said...

Oh Gosh! Two boppin' sides! Both sides are moderately appealing, but geez, that side B--what a weird record to steal a melody from! Little Peggy March!

I would guess that more than half of the Sammy Marshall/Ben Tate/whoever records feature bass playing that borders on the incompetent. Not sure if that's just a mediocre player or that someone didn't know how to write out a proper lead sheet.

Thanks for posting this!