“Shenandoah”: Refreshingly Blemished

Diplomat — the boutique label that gave us albums by The Beatle Buddies, The Ska-Men, The Monterey Brass, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Lonesome Valley Singers, Dick Dale, and those Santo & Johnny knock-offs, Dan & Dale — also bequeathed us a 12-inch long-playing release by The Green Valley Guitars, who recorded an eye-popping 33 (!) Country & Western Favorites on a single disc that was most likely released in 1968.

Green Valley Guitars LP

Lead-off instrumental, “Shenandoah,” features a refreshingly human moment around the 33-second mark when the guitarist seems to lose his way momentarily, followed by a brief bit of musical silence and then a rush of melody to make up for lost time:

[Pssst:  Click on the triangle above to play ”Shenandoah” by The Green Valley Guitars.]

Album includes “Boy in Buckskin”; “Blood on the Saddle”; “Boogie on the Guitar”; “Cheyenne”; “San Antonio”; “Wyatt Earp”; “Jesse James”; “Wild Bill Hickok”; “Buffalo Bill”; “Old Cowhand”; “Kentucky Fiddler”; “Nashville, Tennessee”; “Big Rock Candy Mountain”; “Chisholm Trail”; “Pride of the Prairie Mary”; “Boll Weevil” & “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”

Very little is known about The Green Valley Guitars, otherwise.

“The Little Girl I Once Knew”: Pop’s Pregnant Pause

Brian Wilson’s “The Little Girl I Once Knew” languished in relative pop obscurity (on 45 only) until included as a bonus track on the 2-albums-as-1-CD reissue of The Beach Boys Today! b/w Summer Days and Summer Nights released in 1990.  It might be a little challenging for today’s ears to appreciate just how radical it was — especially when considered within the context of 1960s AM pop radio and its non-stop aural barrage — to play a song that contained two (mostly) full measures of musical silence.  Not just once but twice within the same song.  Rather daring for 1965.

Check out the deep bottom in this mono mix:

Carol Kaye’s bass line in the walk-up to the second pregnant pause, in particular, slays me every time — masterful in design and execution.

“The Little Girl I Once Knew” also includes one of pop’s all-time great intros.  As David Leaf aptly observes in the CD liner notes, this single is “the record that’s clearly a bridge between ‘Let Him Run Wild’ and the Pet Sounds album.”  And yet, the song is perceived as a relative chart failure (“only” reached #20 on the pop chart) “coming on the heels of consecutive top-five singles.”  Radio programmers, according to David Leaf, did not appreciate the song’s it’s-the-notes-you-don’t-play aesthetic and were, to some degree, responsible for holding back the single’s performance in the marketplace.

Little Girl - US

                Germany                                    Denmark                                 Sweden

Little Girl - GermanyLittle Girl - DenmarkLittle Girl - Sweden

                       UK                                       France                                    Holland

Little Girl - UKLittle Girl - FranceyLittle Girl - Holland

                   Norway                                   Japan                                   New Zealand

Little Girl - NorwayLittle Girl - JapanLittle Girl - New Zealand