“Tulsa Telephone Book”: Pre-Internet Woes

I have a transcription LP of a Ralph Emery radio show from 1971, with Glen Campbell as the featured guest.  Here are Ralph and Glen introducing a wry and rascally analog tale – “Tulsa Telephone Book” – from Tom T. Hall’s new album at the time, In Search of a Song:

“Tulsa Telephone Book” was never issued as a 45 – thus, Ralph Emery was spinning an LP track on this particular radio broadcast.

Tom T Hall LP

“Comin’ Down”: B-Side? Try Song of the Year

In July 1974 Dave Dudley was the featured guest on an episode of (Your Local Navy Recruiter Presents) Navy Hoedown.  On this broadcast, host Hal Durham appears to be giving Dave Dudley a good poke in the ribs when – after listening to uptempo ballad, “Comin’ Down” – he inquires, “So, was that a side-B song for you?”  How cathartic it is, then, for the listener when Dudley calmly responds, “No, that was a recording that won Song of the Year”:

Comin’ Down – Dave Dudley

[Pssst:  Click the triangle above to play “Comin’ Down” by Dave Dudley.]

Navy Hoedown LP

Mercury released “Comin’ Down” b/w “Six-O-One” (both songs written by Dave Dudley)   in February 1970 – on the heels of “Pool Shark” (written by Tom T. Hall) released the month before.

Comin' Down - Dave Dudley 45

“G-Man Hoover”: Rat-a-Tat-Tat Blues

I love the simulated police sirens and machine gun fire that open “G-Man Hoover,” the homage to J. Edgar from 1972’s Discover America, Van Dyke Parks’ take on Calypso music — and follow-up to landmark debut album, Song Cycle from 1968:

All of the songs on Discover America are covers, and “G-Man Hoover” – no exception – was originally a 78 released by Sir Lancelot with Gerald Clark & the Calypso Orchestra in the mid-1940s on the Varsity label (Smithsonian Folkways would include this track on a compilation album, The Real Calypso: 1927-1946, released in 1966).

Van Dyke Fun Fact

The first track on Discover America, “Jack Palance”, is a one-minute clip of The Mighty Sparrow’s actual version of the song.  In 1974 Van Dyke would produce Mighty Sparrow’s Warner Brothers release, Hot and Sweet.

Mighty Sparrow - Hot & Sweet LP

“Mother Benge”: Rocksteady Shakes Hands with Reggae

Very little seems to be known about this great single from the late rocksteady/early reggae era other than the artist name (Cliff & the Diamonds), the producer (Joe Abrahams), and song title (“Mother Benge”) – check out the hip musical non-sequitur that opens the song:

“Mother Benge”      Cliff & the Diamonds     1968

Subtle sweet moment at the 1:21 mark when guitarist, Lyn Taitt, swipes the strings in  inimitable fashion.

Released 1968 on Jamaican label, Hornet, this 45 would later command big prices decades later [$245 in 2011 and $126 in 2010].

Mother Benge 45

“I’ve Got to Be Strong”: Cultivating Inner Discipline

The horns really drive the sound in this great 1966 single – “I’ve Got to Be Strong” –       from Chuck Jackson on the Wand label, an imprint of Scepter:

Song arranged and co-written by Thomas Jefferson “Tommy” Kaye, legendary hipster, songwriter and producer who, in 1973, would produce the third album by Loudon Wainwright III (with the hit, “Dead Skunk”) and also Link Wray’s Be What You Want To album, as well as his own debut LP, Thomas Jefferson Kaye.

I've Got to Be Strong 45“I’ve Got to Be Strong” can be found on Chuck’s Tribute to Rhythm & Blues vol. 2 LP.

Chuck Jackson LP

“Slick”: Musical Athletics as Envisioned by Herb Alpert

Herb Alpert demonstrates music’s connection with athletics in this playfully surreal video for “Slick” by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, from ‘Beat of the Brass’ – Herb’s 1968 TV show:

There’s a comically dangerous moment (or is it dangerously comic?) around the 2:09 mark when Herb Alpert has to duck swiftly to avoid getting beaned by a line drive.

“Spanish Grease”: El Chicano Expands into Italy & UK

El Chicano – a Los Angeles band who created what they termed, “the brown sound” – hit the US top 40 in 1970 with the Latin jazz funk instrumental, “Viva Tirado” on the Kapp label.

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Kapp – an indie label started in 1954 by David Kapp, brother of American Decca label founder, Jack Kapp – had been sold at the end of 1967 to MCA in “a new surge to be a major record complex.”  El Chicano’s 1970 debut album, Viva Tirado, therefore enjoyed international distribution in Canada, Germany and France.  Their second album, Revolución – which includes the track, “Spanish Grease” – saw the group expand into Italy and the UK … but at Canada and Germany’s expense:

“Spanish Grease” is a cover of Willie Bobo’s first hit, co-written with trumpeter/arranger, Melvin Lastie.

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“Chained to Your Heart”: Cycle Soothes the Savage Beast

The soundtrack album to 1969’s notorious biker film, Cycle Savages (starring Bruce Dern) remained out-of-print until reissued on CD in 2012.  This album contains rare cuts by cult psych bands Orphan Egg and The Boston Tea Party – with the latter contributing standout track, “Chained to Your Heart”:

Cycle Savages LP

“They’re the ungrateful, the uninhibited, the undisciplined and the never-challenged!  Their power – the grinding roar of their cycles and the stench of burning rubber in their wake as this breed of savages journeys from area to area searching for trouble – their cry is  ‘rev-up-and-ride’ — in short, it’s their warning to beware!  This wild group of the 70’s is known around the country as the CYCLE SAVAGES.  They steal women, initiate them into their pack, and then sell them on the black market of crime.

“What does the ‘chopper,’ as it is often referred to, represent to this segment of today’s youth?  Is it merely an inexpensive mode of transportation, or is it a means to some sort of common identity?  The motorcycle is a symbol of individuality, independence and freedom.  Jerry Styner’s original musical score, composed specially for Cycle Savages, genuinely expresses the feeling behind the story – the uncertainty of today’s youth in their search for identity, power and an unknown future.”

Soundtrack album executive producers:  Mike Curb & Casey Kasem.

Released 1970 on American International Records.

“Body Surfing With the Jet Set”: Anyone for Beach Bums?

The words of Rod McKuen and music of Anita Kerr effortlessly intertwine on this breezy romp through the Pacific Coast of one’s mind:

Body Surfing With the Jet Set – The San Sebastian Strings

[Pssst:  Click on the triangle above to play ”Body Surfing With the Jet Set” by The San Sebastian Strings.]

Soft Sea LP

“Sunday Morning”: Charlie Louvin’s Week-at-a-Glance

Sunday towers mightily over the other days of the week in Charlie Louvin’s life, as indicated by his choice of song titles over the years:  “Month of Sundays”; “As Long as There Is a Sunday”; “Will You Visit Me on Sundays” – and “Sunday Morning,” the album closer from 1967’s I Forgot to Cry LP on Capitol:

Sunday Morning – Charlie Louvin

[Pssst:  Click on the triangle above to hear “Sunday Morning” by Charlie Louvin.]

This musical code of conduct, recorded July 22, 1966 at CBS’s Nashville studio, was written by Glenn Tubb, who also co-wrote the groundbreaking piece of honky tonk social commentary, “Skip a Rope” – a #1 country hit (and top-40 pop) for Henson Cargill that dared to take on such sensitive topics as spousal abuse, tax evasion and racism.

Charlie Louvin LP

Loudermilk Begat Louvin

Charlie, of course, is one half of the famous Louvin Brothers musical duo, who were born Charlie and Ira Loudermilk – and cousins to country and pop songwriter J.D. Loudermilk, whose body of work includes, interestingly, “Indian Reservation” (Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian).”