“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

“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 JeffersonTommyKaye, 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 1973 debut LP, Thomas Jefferson Kaye.

I've Got to Be Strong 45“I’ve Got to Be Strong” can be found on Jackson’s Tribute to Rhythm & Blues Vol. 2 LP from 1966.

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 television special:

“Slick”     Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass     1968

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.

PBS’s American Experience explains the concept for “Beat of the Brass”:

CBS produced several television specials featuring Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, each one a ratings success.  The Beat of the Brass, which aired in April of 1968, was the most ambitious:  it showed the band in a range of locales, including New Orleans and Ellis Island, and received gobs of advance coverage in the entertainment press.

In an article entitled “2nd TV Special Climaxes Albert Month at A&M,” Record World reported in its April 20, 1968 issue that the first television special Singer Presents Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass “garnered the highest Nielsen ratings of any hour special in the history of television, label reports, and the encore showing landed in the list of the 12 top-rated shows of the week.”  The article also notes that “nine albums later, they could be the top audio-visual unit in the nation” and that “every Alpert album has made more than a million dollars.”

“Slick” can be found on 1968’s Beat of the Brass album (the group’s twelfth, I believe), as well as the B-side for “Cabaret.” 

“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.


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”     El Chicano     1971

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

hp photosmart 720

“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” by The San Sebastian Strings    1970

Body Surfing With the Jet Set” serves, fittingly, as side one’s closing track of 1970 album, Soft Sea.  Sadly, this song nor any other tracks from this album would be issued as singles.

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).”

“Licks Off of Records”: The Fact Is, I’m This Good Because I Practice

Martin Mull, along with The Gong Show, Rocky Horror and Monty Python, made the 1970s rather zany — a word I would not use to describe the present-day.  “Licks Off of Records” is a classic Martin Mull lyric:

Song was originally released on 1973’s Martin Mull and His Fabulous Furniture in Your Living Room album.

Martin Mull LP

Tommy Tedesco = Ex-Con?

Wacky clip of Martin Mull from the Fernwood Tonight television show singing a song about noses — with sublime support from master session musician, Tommy Tedesco, who Mull jokingly asserts, learned his guitar chops while incarcerated: