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 & WesternFavorites on a single disc that was most likely released in 1968.
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.
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.
“The Little Girl I Once Knew” The Beach Boys 1965
Check out the deep bottom in this stereo 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.