Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Return of Gary Roberts

First, I have - as promised - gone back and updated yet another month's worth of previously damaged posts, in this case, the month of August, 2014, which featured three posts: an odd late-era Film City release sung by Jim Wheeler, three quarters of an Air EP (the missing song explained in the notes), and a sort of wonderful 1950's Tin Pan Alley number

With that out of the way, here's what this week's record looks like: 

One of my intentions at this site is to document virtually every Gary Roberts record that I come across. Not because he was a great singer - based on the evidence, he wasn't even a good singer. Not because his records stand out as song-poems - but rather, just the opposite. They are, with a couple of exceptions, utterly prosaic. Gary Roberts and the majority of his releases are exactly what I would describe as the average song-poems: badly written lyrics, corny, unimaginative music and barely competent (if that) singing.

Plus, it's worth noting that, for song-poem fans who discovered the genre during a certain era, Gary Roberts' voice was the first one they ever heard singing a song-poem. His rendition of the utterly amazing "Do You Know the Difference Between Big Wood and Brush" led off the first vinyl reissue of song-poems, and the subsequent first CD re-issue of song-poems, back in the '90's, and I have it on good authority that "Big Wood and Brush" was the single most popular song-poem among those who discovered the genre via those re-issues, back in the 1990's and early 2000's.

For both of those reasons - the fame of his biggest "hit" and the utterly stereotypical-ness of his oeuvre, I want to spread the joy of a Gary Roberts record whenever I find one. And it's been over a year and a half.

Today's song is "Gold and Silver", a record that fits everything I just said about this artist and his work at the Sterling label. An added minus is the truly awful sound of the pressing. "Gold and Silver" shows precious (heh) little creativity in any area, and features just enough poorly phrased lines and badly structured music to keep things mildly interesting.

Download: Gary Roberts - Gold and Silver

An appropriately loping beat introduces the flip side, "Cowboy's Song of Oregon". The lyricist has had enough of those New York rodeos (?), and will resume the Cowboy life as practiced in Oregon. Is it my imagination or does this side seem to be slowing down, to the point where one expects it to stop any time, on a couple of different occasions?

Download: Gary Roberts - Cowboy's Song of Oregon


Stu Shea said...

Both sides of this are just as you say--like farina, but with an occasional odd-shaped raisin.

The b-side seems a little early to be a "Rhinestone Cowboy" influenced lyric, but it seems to be about that just the same.

I'd love to know who was responsible for the D-grade bass playing on so many of the Sterling 45s!

Thanks for posting!

Timmy said...

Hokey Dokey, Pard.