Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Singles Going Steady: Prom Tunes From Davenport

Saturday I spent the whole day in Davenport and managed to find some interesting forty fives of note.  It was also prom night at the ball park as Quad Cities got blown to bits 13-3, and most of the crowd was people attending the prom upstairs.  Sorry to say kiddies that your music of today really sucks.

But then again, this batch of 45s isn't much better.

1)  The Battle Of Kookamonga-Homer And Jethro (RCA 47-7585) #14 1959

Homer and Jethro remains a soft spot in my heart as they were one of the best country duos that can cover country songs for fun and games and this was their only showing on the billboard pop chart.  A parody of The Battle Of New Orleans, this may have been the inspiration for the movie Meatballs almost twenty years later, the simple fact of boys going to camp during the summer and discovering girls and if lucky, finding them swimming with their bathing suits on, or less.   B side was them remaking Waterloo.

2)  Chit Atkins, Make Me A Star-Don Bowman (RCA 47-8384)  1964

Bowman, on the other hand was not as funny as Homer And Jethro and somehow RCA held on to him for a good long time, this was his first RCA 45, his last would be in 1971 and he would move on the Mega for a couple more.  Backed with the Anita Kerr Singers and the famed RCA session players, Bowman yucks it up and attempts to do Wildwood Flower, with flawed results.  Sheb Wooley was better, B side was I Never Did Finish The Song..  Which is as mundane as the title suggests.

3)   Careless Hands-Jan Howard (Challenge 9112)  1961

Future country star but on this song goes for a Connie Francis sound.  The guess is that Jan is using the the famed country sessions players that did so many recordings for Decca/RCA etc etc.  The backing vocals are MOR pop than country and a bit dated so to speak.  B Side Let Me Know is uptempo country somewhat like Lynn Anderson would do later on in the 60s.  I like this song better. Including that bass scatting background singer.

4)   The Son Of Rebel Rouser-Duane Eddy (RCA 47-8276)  #97  1964

Duane's last chart placement and further proof that followup to big hits don't usually guarantee the same results.   But I don't care, I love Duane Eddy's stuff, the Jamie stuff rocks but going to RCA, Eddy begin to embrace a more muzak and MOR sound.   The whooping shouts and the chorus reminds me more of Billy Vaughn than Lee Hazelwood   Then again I rarely see any RCA singles that are not scratched up to holy hell either.  This is playable.

5)   Elusive Butterfly-Bob Lind (World Pacific 77808)   #5  1966

He benefits from Jack Nitchize's arrangements and although the song is probably the best thing Bob ever written, it's not one of those all time favorites that I'd play, probably once a year and that's that.  B side Cheryl's Going Home, might have been the A side till the DJ's flipped it over.  Not exactly memorable. Lind had two other songs that reached the top 100 but I have never heard them.  And not about to start now.

6)  Dance Only With Me-Robert Knight (Dot 45-16256)  1961

Teen pop I suppose, although I'm not sure this is the same one that did Everlasting Love years later, but I'm guessing this is the same Robert Knight that did Isn't It Lonely Together   A variation on the Drifters' Dance With Me I suspect.  B Side Because sucks.

7)   My Heat Cries For You-Ray Charles (ABC Paramount 45-10530) #38  1964
       Baby Don't You Cry #39

I think Guy Mitchell did this way back in the 1950s as a straight pop number.  This was during Ray's attempt to re do country music, but it's more MOR pop than country but Ray really puts his effort into this song and it becomes stronger than it should have been.   B side Baby Don't You Cry is a more big band bossa nova sound, but I can't help but hearing the introduction sounding a lot like The Doors Break On Through To The Other Side.   Perhaps the Doors maybe listened to this?

8)   Take  A Girl Like You-The Foundations (Uni 55210)  1969

More sunny pop from the gang that gave you Build Me Up Buttercup but this didn't chart on the Billboard top 100 although it did on the regional charts.  Can't understand why this didn't do better. B Side I'm Going  Be A Rich Man is perhaps their most hard rocking number but you'll never hear it on the radio.  It almost passes off as a garage rock song.

9)   Then I'll Count Again-Johnny Tillotson  #86  1965

Johnny's 45s seem to find their way over here and most of them I enjoyed a lot.  This one, not so much, he's still using the teen idol pop via country way. Written by Chip Taylor (Wild Thing).  Since it clocks two seconds over 2 minutes, you hardly notice it much.  Neither did the compilers of Johnny's Greatest Hits that came out on Varese, they left it off.

10)  Hot Smoke And Sassafras-Bubble Puppy (International Artists IA 128)  #14 1969

Granted from the rest of the Davenport finds, I managed to find something from BDW today, this little hard rock number that still remains one of the best hard rock garage songs ever.  Reissues still have a crappy mix, so I rather much hear this via an old scratchy record.  One of the few times somebody one upped on Ted Nugent during the Amboy Dukes period.

  The Rest of the Finds (and soon to be redonated)

The One Fingered Symphony-Rod Lauren (RCA 47-7786)  1960
Wild Imagination probably was the A side but this is teen idol pop with a heart.  Not bad.

I Don't Want To See Tomorrow-Nat King Cole (Capitol  5261)  #34 1964
LOVE  #81

Later in his life Nat Cole went to a more country sound, like what Ray Charles was doing and for contemporary country at that time, Cole could rival Brother Ray. I can listen to it, B Side LOVE has a bounce jazz like Mack The Knife.  Cole might have been listening to Bobby Darin at that time.

Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On-Dean Martin (Reprise 334)  #22 1965

It has that arrangement that made Everybody Loves Somebody a big hit and while this arrangement was getting tedious this still crack into the top 25.  Jimmy Bowen produced, Ernie Freeman did the arrangements, Earl Palmer is playing drums.  B Side  I'll Be Seeing You is even more tedious.

The First Thing Every Morning-Jimmy Dean (Columbia 4-43283)  #91 1965

Lor Crane (Chad And Jeremy) had a bright idea of taking the Jimmy Bowen way of making Jimmy Dean do songs in a pop vein.  Didn't work very well.  Sounds like a weaker Everybody Loves Somebody.  B side Awkward Situation tells a story about a man talking about the birds and bees to a kid that knew more than his dad.  (But I'll give him five buck to hear how much he really knows,meaning his child, the punch line).  Good for a chuckle.

Goodtime Charlie-Roy Clark (Capitol 5047)  1964

Roy Clark, helluva country guitar player but gawd his albums were spotty as hell.  This song you can file under half assed predicament.   B side Application Of Love is worse.

My Devotion-Tab Hunter (Dot 45-16205)  1961

Laughable teen idol pop garbage.  B Side Wild Side Of Life is another misstep, to which Hunter talks rather than sings the song.   There are great teen idols, and there are good ones and there are so so ones and then there's ones that are simply bad.  Guess where Tab figures in this.

Gotta See Jane- R. Dean Taylor (Rare Earth RE-5026)  #67 1971

Taylor scored big with Indiana Wants Me and then failed to find the decent followup.  This sounds like Indiana Wants Me Part 2.  Taylor would try a couple more times and then faded to one hit wonder status.


TAD said...

Hi Crabby. "Hot Smoke and Sassafras" really is pretty great. An oldies station up here used to play it now and then. Too bad they couldn't turn it into a career. But nobody thought like that back then, right?

R S Crabb said...

For 1969 it was borderline hard rock, garage rock and bit of prog rock for Hot Smoke And Sassafrass and it all came together at 2 minutes 30 seconds. Alas, for Bubble Puppy they were stuck on a label that screwed them over. International Artists was a very shady label even by Roulette's Records standards. The album A Gathering Of Promises is listenable and has moments (Hurry Sundown, a failed followup single) but nothing ever did top Hot Smoke and Sassafras.