Today’s piece is inspired by (i.e., lifted from) a special Top 40 list of 7-inch vinyl compiled by 45Cat contributor, stereotom. These (literally) defining songs — whose titles all begin with the phrase “What Is a [blank]” — have been organized chronologically and married with streaming audio where possible (click on song titles). Was just about ready to post this piece when I stumbled on the fact that a key Johnny Cash tune was missing from this list. Any others?
Music by Alec Wilder; words by Alan Beck; orchestra directed by Mitch Miller.
Billboard‘s review in their August 4, 1951 edition: “[‘What Is a Boy?’] This is the original, done here to cover on Jan Peerce’s hit version. Godfrey’s family following should be good for a few sales. [‘What Is a Girl?’ The sequel and companion piece to ‘What Is a Boy?’ is similar in construction and ideas. Godfrey recites it Edgar Guest style with a pretty background set up for him by Alec Wilder.”
Billboard‘s review in their August 4, 1951 edition: “[‘Girl’ side] Companion recitation piece to ‘What Is a Boy?’ follows the same successful format of the earlier work. Writer Spear handles the background ork on this but comic Jackie Gleason fails to inject enough schmaltz into his reading. [‘Boy‘ side] Coverage waxing doesn’t figure to catch the Jan Peerce disk. Again Gleason doesn’t sell the recitation very strongly.”
Spoken rap by Steve Allen, while the 45 label appears to indicate that the orchestral backing is an arrangement of “Mississippi Mud” by Harry Barris & James Cavanaugh (though I don’t hear the same chord changes — compare with Paul Whiteman’s original version from 1928)..
Billboard‘s review in the January 14, 1956 edition: “Following up the successful ‘What Is a Wife’ bit, Allen comes thru with an apt successor which carries a load of crazy mixed-up double talk. This is extremely well-written material, good for lots of chuckles and with Allen riding high on TV, albums and the ‘Wife’ disk, this could just carry on the happy trend. It’s a particularly good programming bet.”
According to Audio Culture (“the noisy library of New Zealand music”):
“In the early to mid-1960s, Westport radio station 3YZ was a home of broadcasting talent. Reon Murtha, Lloyd Scott, Peter Sinclair, Bill Toft, Ian Watkin, Bob Sutton, Warwick Burke and John Pike were just some of the announcers who either started or built their careers there. A good broadcasting team is only as good as its technical support and writers. 3YZ was lucky to have the witty producer/writer Alwyn (Hop) Owen on staff (he later founded the long-running RNZ Spectrum series). In 1960 Owen and station announcer Pike recorded ‘What is a Rugby Supporter?’ – a spoken monologue reminiscent of the newsreel shorts shown in cinemas before the main feature. Calling themselves The Rugbymen (with the Halftimers), it was released on Kiwi, backed with ‘The Rugged Rugby Playing Trail’.”
“What Is a Grandmother?” by Paul Randal
Written (in all likelihood) by (Ruth) Roberts, (Bill) Katz, (Gene) Pillar, (Stanley) Clayton & (Teresa) Brewer
This 45 — released March 1961 on Roulette. — appears to be Randal’s sole release.
“What Is a Daddy?” by Jeff Price
Written by Joe Darion & Hecky Krasnow.
Arranged & conducted by Glenn Osser.
Released 1962 on May (“product of Colpix/Columbia Pictures Corp”).
Cash Box’s 45 review in their December 8, 1962 edition: “[A-side] In this adaptation of ‘The Night Before Christmas’ a disk jockey learns from Santa himself that he’s doing something worthwhile by working Xmas eve spinning Holiday songs. [B-side] A sympathetic view of the deejay.”
Another 45Cat contributor recalls with a chuckle: “He was one of the best bluffers on TVs ‘Hollywood Squares’ game show, such that contestants would try to avoid choosing his square unless they needed to. The pinnacle best bluff on the show was when he was queried, ‘Who wrote The Diary of Anne Frank?’ He rolled his eyes, seemed to be thinking deeply, and had Peter Marshall begin to inform the contestant, ‘It appears Robert doesn’t have…” – he blurted out, “That new Hollywood guy, Spielberg.” The contestant agreed with him! If you search clips from Hollywood Squares, you will glimpse him in a number of saved games.”
Dreier — American news reporter and commentator who worked with NBC Radio during the 1940s, and later with the ABC Information Radio network in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Variety notes in their bio of Dreier: “While in Los Angeles, an on-air commentary he delivered, ‘What Is a Jew,’ became a rallying cry for fund-raising to help Israel during and after the Six-Day War and was sold as a record in local shops.”
Both sides “composed” by Don Bresnahan & Alex Dreier.
Streaming audio on YouTube still but a pipe dream — sing along in your head [To the tune of “What Is Truth“]:
A whole bunch of kids with real long hair Standin’ throwin’ rocks at the town square Might be fun but I don’t think it’s fair Cause they call me the town square
Sure was different back when I was a kid Some of the mean things that I did The old man took down the razor strap And he’d say Ben bend over my lap
Then the lonely voice of youth cried awow that is truth You can’t even whistle at a girl anymore It could be a boy and he might get sore Then again he might not you can’t ever tell
Some of them fellers are really swell They travel a lot and they’re really hip Seems they’re always takin’ a trip Bet there’s a lot of pretty country to see Ridin’ around in an LSD And the lonely voice of truth cries what is youth
I saw a young man sittin’ on the witness stand And the man with the book said raise your right hand Not that right hand you’re other right hand The young man on the stand didn’t understand
The judge said son do you solemnly swear Said I swear I can’t hear you on account of my hair Really it was long as a horses tail But I guess that’s the US male And the lonely voice of truth cries what is youth
Heck I went to college for quite awhile They say I made straight A’s in wild Guess I was a little bit slow I flunked protestin’ two years in a row
Couldn’t learn to speak the language of the kids in town I’d say burn it up instead of burn it down Even used pot to wipe out my head But I used the one that was under the bed And the lonely voice of truth cried What are youth doin’
Youth are my friends youth and youth but not himth
“Original lyric from the motion picture, Romeo and Juliet.”
Written by Nina Rota & Eugene Walter.
Produced by Bernie Lawrence — arranged & conducted by Jimmy Wisner.
Designated by Billboard as a “Special Merit Spotlight” (new single deserving special attention of programmers and dealers) for the week ending Sept. 5, 1970: “Good new group sound with the original film lyric from Romeo and Juliet make this outstanding arrangement a hot contender for the Hot 100 chart. Could prove a big one.”
It’s almost impossible to fathom now, but at one time in the United States, tiny “indie” labels could actually get their records played on the radio. This period was a narrow window of time, as predictably (and inevitably), the major labels would consolidate their hold on the marketplace by effectively shutting out indies from commercial radio playlists by the early-to-mid 1970s (and sometimes, as shown below, by purchasing the masters of songs that were proving “hot”).
Billboard‘s “Bubbling Under” chart, which began in 1959 during rock ‘n’ roll’s initial wave, I have discovered to be a fairly fertile vein of offbeat and undersung recordings that once tickled the ears of a relative few for but a brief period of time. A huge tip of the hat to Top40Weekly.com, who labored mightily to make this information readily available.
Zero to 180, as a public service, has scrutinized these less-remembered tracks to identify some of the more curious 45s worthy of rediscovery. Thisextended playlist includes a few major labels, as well as a handful of “name” artists, but otherwise is a “pop underground” of 45 tracks for whom classic oldies radio, alas, has no use. These specially-selected tracks from 1959-1976 serve as a tribute to the scrappy independent labels who had hoped to hit it big during a time in the early rock ‘n’ roll era when the radio airwaves were more of a meritocracy. This piece is also a(n) historical reminder of how regional radio once was before programming decisions essentially became the province of some guy in the “central office.”
“Bubbling Under” — sounds like a fun concept for a radio program(me), right?
Note: This piece is a little “heavy” with content — please allow time to load.
AUDIO LINK for “Little Bitty Johnny” by Travis & Bob
peaked at #114 on July 13, 1959 [Sandy]
“Little Bitty Johnny” is the follow-up to the duo’s ace debut 45 “Tell Her No” on Mobile-based label, Sandy (and a single that made it as far as New Zealand).
#96 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for the week of July 4, 1959.
Written by Travis Pritchett
“Roulette” by Russ Conway
peaked at #106 on August 3, 1959 [Cub]
The person who uploaded this jukebox audio clip on YouTube has this to say: “Composed by Russ, the single has more POKE than the album version. For my money, it’s Russ’ BEST up-tempo piece. But how DID he get a piano to SOUND like this? Many others tried, but none succeeded.”
Cash Box‘s “London Lowdown and England’s Top 30 Records” chart notes that “Roulette” was still holding strong at the #4 position in the July 25, 1959 issue.
Reporting from NYC, the October 3, 1959 issue of Cash Box informs us that “Mills Music has just acquired the publishing rights to Russ Conway’s third successive English hit, ‘China Tea.’ Mills also has the same rights to the previous Conway clicks, ‘Side Saddle‘ and ‘Roulette.’ Writer of all three is Trevor Stanford.”
Billboard‘s picked “Baghdad Rock” as one of their “Spotlight Winners” for the week of October 26, 1959: “The group has two interesting sides that can easily catch on. The attractive, Oriental theme is given a colorful instrumental treatment with oboe spotlighted over rhythm accompaniment. Both sides move all the way. There’s already action in some Eastern marts.” [e.g., Philadelphia]
“Baghdad Rock” — on the heels of Jerry Reed’s “Rockin’ in Baghdad” from two years earlier.
Written by Zane-Ramal-Tharon
AUDIO LINK for “Clap Your Hands(Pt. 1)” by The Wheels with The Teddy Vann Chorus & Orchestra
peaked at #102 on January 4, 1960 [Folly]
“Clap Your Hands” also reached #79 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles the week ending February 20, 1960.
Billboard‘s review in their January 25, 1960 edition: “Infectious ditty is intoned with spirit here by the duo, and it has the rollicking 1920’s sound. Good jock side.”
#2 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart (i.e., “a compilation, in order of strength, of up and coming records showing signs of breaking into the Cash Box Top 100″) — for the week ending March 12, 1960.
Bob Leszczak’s Who Did It First? recounts the song’s history: “There were two very similar renditions of this song entitled ‘The Wind,’ and they were released six years apart. First came the version on Detroit’s Fortune Records label from 1954 by The Diablos, featuring Nolan Strong on lead. Strong was a cousin of future hit maker Barrett Strong of “Money” fame. ‘The Wind’ sold well, especially in the big urban areas of the United States, but did not make the charts. Strong’s voice was similar to that of Clyde McPhatter, and the group had a big impact on a young Bill ‘Smokey’ Robinson.”
According to Discogs, most recordings for the Detroit-based Fortune label were recorded at the in-house Fortune Recording Studio.
Written by Strong, Eubanks, Hunter, Gutierrez & Edwards
AUDIO LINK for “If The World Don’t End Tomorrow (I’m Comin’ After You)”
by Doug Warren and the Rays
The whistling part by Jones was a last-minute substitution, as a result of the flautist failing to show for the recording session.
“Itchin'” ended up being a B-side breakout hit.
“Itchin'” was deemed a Music Vendor R&B “Sure Bet” for September 26, 1960.
Billboard‘s September 12, 1960 edition reports that “Jimmy Jones is a newcomer on the singing scene who had the good fortune of scoring with two hits in a row. Twenty-three-year-old Jimmy made his disk debut with Handy Man, his own composition, a million-seller, and went on to hit with Good Timin’. He has two sock sides on his latest Cub single, Ee-Ii-Oh! b/w Itchin’ For Love. The tremendous success of his songs in England (something that does not happen quickly to American artists) has led to the scheduling of a British tour that begins Oct. 5.”
Billboard‘s review in their January 30, 1961 edition: “Cute swinging novelty madly punches out the story of the chick who had so much on the ball she was banned in Boston—among other places. Assisting instrumental and vocal groups all add to this strong side.”
#83 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for the week of March 18, 1961.
Billboard‘s review in their February 20, 1961 edition: “A marching rocker rhythm here. Rolling drums set the beat with the melody voiced by whistling and a guitar. Chorus and an organ move in later. Interesting arrangement.”
Cash Box‘s February 25, 1961 review is even more enthusiastic: “We’ll bet our bottom dollar that the Laurie affiliate, Rust Records, has a smash in the Nomads’ instrumental, “Bounty Hunter.” It’s a galloping, western-flavored opus with an infectious whistling and sans-lyric chants backdrop. Perfect stuff for a TV theme.”
#8 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead’ chart for April 1, 1961.
#3 on Music Vendor‘s “Beat of the Week – Heading for the Top 100” chart for the week of March 20, 1961.
AUDIO LINK for “Hey You, What Are You, Some Kind of Nut?” by Andy Cory
peaked at #121 on May 1, 1961 [Silver Bid]
Andy Cory’s recorded output — two singles — would include a 45 for King Records the following year, about which Discogs provides this bit of background info: “Oddball hootenanny-style telling of historical vignettes, not in a comic vein. Andy Cory is best known for his earlier novelty, ‘Hey, What Are You, Some Kind Of Nut?’ Totally left-field release for King.”
A “Spotlight Winner of the Week” in the March 27, 1961 edition of Billboard who described the track as “an amusing novelty number with musical background by the lad who had a hit with ‘Mister Custer‘ a while back.”
#37 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week of May 20, 1961.
The fluke hit of “Tequila” inspired a host of alcohol-themed instrumentals in its wake, including the more generic “Cerveza” (‘Boots Brown’ a.k.a., Shorty Rogers) as well as the brand-specific “Bacardi” and “Seagrams” (from the previous year).
As previously noted, 1960’s “Seagrams” by The Viceroys was issued on Bethlehem, a subsidiary label of King. Unfortunately, the Seagrams Corporation didn’t take kindly to the appropriation of its name and threatened to sue for trademark infringement, with some stations refusing to play a song named for a commercial product without being paid for advertising time. A sheepish notice in Billboard on March 23, 1960, said, “We Goofed!” [to be more specific, “When this instrumental came to us, it was titled ‘Seagram’s.’ We missed the possible legal conflict with the Seagram’s trademark and also the policy at many radio stations of not playing a record with a commericial product name in its title.”] and indicated that “Seagrams” was now changed to “Seagreen.”
Oddly, not only did Ralph Marterie experience no blowback for trademark infringement, Billboard‘s May 8, 1961 edition awarded “Bacardi” three stars (i.e., moderate sales potential) and had only good things to say [“Latin-style instrumental, blues-derived. Very danceable and good listening, too. Worth strong exposure.”] in its review.
“The Presidential Peace Conference (Pts. 1&2)” by The Sickniks
peaked at #105 on June 26, 1961 [Amy]
streaming audio not yet available
Cash Box gave this a B+ in their June 24, 1961 review: “Novelty already making some noise, has a voice imitating President Kennedy answering various queries (by famed personalities) at a press conference. Catchy combo beat between the questions. Could be programming difficulties due to the use of real names and matter of taste employed in some of the answers.”
#22 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for June 17, 1961.
Written by Baron, Stallman, Jacobson & Eugene.
Click on 45 sleeve below to view in high resolution
AUDIO LINK for “Song of the Nairobi Trio” by The Fortune Tellers
peaked at #114 on September 25, 1961 [Music Makers]
Cash Box reporting in the July 22, 1961 issue — “Bob Schwaid of Music Makers, all aglow with the response to his Fortune Tellers’ waxing of “Song Of The Nairobi Trio” noting sales coming in from the eastern seaboard.”
Avid Listener‘s celebration of Dickie Goodman’s Cold War-era political satire includes this 45 summary recap: “In 1961, Goodman made his next Cold War song, ‘Berlin Top Ten,’ again a commentary on government-policed radio. The song begins with disc jockey Happy Hans Kaput playing a snippet of the supposed number one song in East Berlin, ‘Don’t Fence Me In.’ This is undoubtedly a commentary on the Berlin Wall, which had just begun to “fence in” East Berlin when the song was released. (The Berlin Wall actually surrounded West Berlin.) Happy Hans is then machine-gunned by the “secret police” and replaced by Boris the Spinner, “the people’s disc jockey.” After a few more news announcements and song snippets, the sound of marching soldiers and machine guns are heard once again. This time it is Boris’s turn to face the secret police and he signs off with a snippet of ‘I’ll Never Smile Again’ by the Platters.”
AUDIO LINK for “The Roach” by Gene and Wendell with The Sweethearts
peaked at #117 on October 30, 1961 [Ray Star]
#33 on Music Vendor‘s Top 40 Rhythm & Blues chart for December 4, 1961.
#14 on Billboard‘s R&B chart for the week of January 6, 1962.
#11 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 9, 1961.
Written by Alonzo Willis and Steve Venet (brother of Nick Venet).
Dance steps below — be sure to “kill that roach”
AUDIO LINK for “She Put the Hurt on Me” by Prince La La
peaked at #119 on October 20, 1961 [AFO]
Prince La La backed by the A.F.O. Studio Combo.
#28 on Billboard‘s R&B chart for the week of October 16, 1961.
#23 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart for the week of October 14, 1961.
December 18, 1961 edition of Billboard reports that “a number of disks have never as yet made the ‘Hot 100’ but have come close to it and have been selling quietly for a long period — good example is Prince La La’s ‘She Put the Hurt On Me’ on AFO.”
Rod Bernard of Opelousas, Louisiana — as noted in an early Zero to 180 piece –would record his rumination about the “Cajun Interstate” (i.e., the Atchafalaya Expressway on Interstate 10) eight years later for Shelby Singleton’s SSS International label.
“Colinda” was identified by Billboard as a “Regional Breakout” single in Baltimore, as reported in the May 19, 1962 edition.
#8 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 24, 1962.
#45 on Music Reporter‘s “Headed for the Big 50” chart (May 19, 1962).
AUDIO LINK for “How’s My Ex Treating You” [B-side?] by Jerry Lee Lewis
peaked at #114 on September 22, 1962 [Sun]
Recording is notable for the baritone “fuzz” guitar intro.
Released here and abroad as a B-side (according to 45Cat), and yet Billboard‘s review from the July 21, 1962 edition clearly considers it the A-side — “This moving treatment by Jerry Lee Lewis of a country weeper, which features his exciting piano work, could turn into his best record in over a year. It spots a mighty good vocal performance by the singer on a strong lyric and the wild pianoing is there too. Flip is ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’.”
#26 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for October 20, 1962.
AUDIO LINK for “Big Noise From Winnetka (Pt. 1)” by Cozy Cole
peaked at #121 on January 26, 1963 [Coral]
Billboard‘s review from the November 10, 1962 edition — “The first side here is a great reading of the oldie in up-to-date terms. The side is reminiscent of a big one for Cole some time back, ‘Topsy [Pt. 2].’ There’s much drum beating and torrid whistling.”
#5 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 29, 1962.
The team of songwriters behind “Big Noise from Winnetka (Pts. 1 & 2)”:
Gil Rodin, Bob Crosby, Bob Haggart & Ray Bauduc.
Curious to find that the same two songs “Tore Up” b/w “I Get So Tired” were released by two tiny labels in 1962 (Skylark and Star-a-Fire) and then again the following year (Darcey) — 45Cat notes that “Lester Sill’s Darcey label picked it up for national distribution in very early 1963.”
Cash Box‘s review of the 1963 Darcey release: “The new Hollywood based label can get off the ground in solid sales style with this dual-mart, pop-r&b deck that bows the enticing, gravely-voice style of Harmonica Fats. Pulsating, steady driving shuffle rhythm affair with a ‘one more time’ closer. Can bust thru.”
In December 2018, an original copy of a UK demo 45 sold for £75.
Link to Seymour Stein King Records history piece that contains (1) bonus Beatles trivia about earliest US 45s being issued on indie labels when Capitol (EMI’s American subsidiary label) passed on The Beatles’ first four singles, and (2) the strange-but-true story behind Stein’s seed money for launching Sire Records (pssst, it has something to do with The Beatles).
AUDIO LINK for “The Sound of Surf” by Percy Faith Orchestra
peaked at #111 on September 21, 1963 [Columbia]
“The Sound of Surf” is a 45-only non-LP track that eventually appeared on CD.
Song picked by Billboard as a “Pop Spotlight” winner in the August 17, 1963 edition accompanied by these words of praise: “Here’s a mighty catchy Percy Faith instrumental, with surf and wind-swept chorus, big fiddle effects and insistent surf beat. Melodic side could catch much across-the-board play and sale.”
#25 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for September 7, 1963.
peaked at #103 on September 21, 1963 [20th Century Fox]
Link to full-page promotional ad in the September 7, 1963 edition of Billboard in which Jim Lowe gives a shout out to “Music Operators: My mother thanks you … My father thanks you … And Granny thanks you.”
#31 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for September 28, 1963.
Written by Fred Hertz & Charles Grean
“Eefananny” by The Ardells
peaked at #109 on September 28, 1963 [Epic]
A “Pick of the Week” by Cash Box in its September 7, 1963 edition — “The eefin sound – a wacky vocal rhythm accompaniment style, some 100 years old – has entered the teen-market. It’s a natural for novelty dates, as “Eefananny,” a joyful folkish cut, so engagingly demonstrates. If the merry sound catches on, and from where we sit it should, figure The Ardells to make the chart rounds with their version.”
Likewise a Billboard “Pop Spotlight” winner in the September 7, 1963 edition — “Here’s a novelty item that might go with the kiddies. It’s a nutty side that might go with air play. There’s another version of the side, but this one, at a bit slower tempo, can get play.”
“Eefananny” written by none other than Jerry Reed.
eefin’ = a tutorial
Rear sleeve liner notes:
Between 75 and 100 years ago, an old Negro lived in a little shack on the backs of the Cumberland River near Nashville, Tennessee. He lived alone and to amuse himself and other folks he would sit around all day eefin’. He said he got a lot of pleasure out of doing this, and people would come and listen for hours and hours to hear him make this funny sound. Once he was asked how he made this sound and he said, “You pucker up your mouth, wiggle your tongue, snap your teeth, and out it comes!”
After he died, people in the hill country picked up this eefin’ and used it as a rhythm for their musical get-togethers. This record, EEFANANNY, was recorded with this revived sound known as eefin’.
AUDIO LINK for “Guitars, Guitars, Guitars” by Al Casey with the K-C-Ettes
peaked at #116 on October 12, 1963 [Stacy]
A “Pop Spotlight” pick in Billboard‘s September 21, 1963 edition — “Strong blues with the surf sound from the Chicago guitarist. It has a solid chance with gal chorus and strong gut work.”
Billboard‘s September 28, 1963 edition shows a guy in a gorilla suit cradling Chicago disk jockey Dick Kemp — 45 alleged to have “hot sales reaction” in the Midwestern markets of Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago.
As noted on 45Cat, this B-side ended up being the (near) hit. But look at the number of times it’s been released on 7-inch vinyl, including twice in 1963 — clearly something more going on here. According to 45Cat’s rhythmdog, here’s the story: “Howard Pitman was a former member of The Five Crowns. Concord was his label. Both sides were sold to Cortland, along with the Ideals’ contract when ‘The Gorilla’ became a huge Chicago hit at least in part due to heavy promotion by DJ Herb Kent. This Concord release is the first release for both sides, which were later put out on Cortland paired with a variety of other sides, some of them not by the Ideals.”
Cash Box‘s March 21, 1964 issue reports that “Cortland’s veepee Earl Glicken advised that The Ideals, who did so well with ‘The Gorilla,’ cut a follow-up item last week tagged ‘More Gorilla,’ which is being rushed out to dealers.”
Written by Eddie Williams, Howard Pitman & Jerry Murray — instrumental backing by The Outlaws.
Cash Box‘s review in the September 28, 1963 issue: “The teen dance crowd will surely dig this hard-drivin’ hip-swinger geared strictly for dancing. A vigorous vocal and constant handclapping sets a spirited mood. The jocks should get on this one in short order.”
AUDIO LINK for “Sneaky Sue” by Patty Lace and the Pettycoats
peaked at #104 on December 28, 1963 [Kapp]
#1 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for February 1, 1964.
Awarded four stars in the November 23, 1963 edition of Billboard, designating “new single with sufficient commercial potential in [its] respective category to merit being stocked by dealers, one-stops and rack jobbers handling that category.”
“A Feldman, Goldstein, Gottehrer Production” (i.e., The Strangeloves) — written by Robert Spencer.
AUDIO LINK for “The Cow” by Bill Robinson and the Quails
peaked at #103 on January 18, 1964 [American]
Cash Box‘s review in their December 7, 1963 issue: “There’s a new teen dance called the Cow, and it’s related to teen audiences with lots of bright blues-rock appeal by the songster and his support, tabbed the Quails. Atlantic Records is handling this hectic addition to the teen-step catalog.”
#38 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for February 8, 1964.
Not everyone is a fan of this 45 — as one 45Cat contributor punned, “Can’t take this seriously. The udder side is not a lot better.”
Written by Robinson, Wilson & Bowens
AUDIO LINK for “The La-Dee-Da Song” by The Village Stompers
peaked at #104 on February 1, 1964 [Epic]
A “Pop Spotlight” winner in Billboard‘s January 25, 1964 edition — “The Stompers have everything going but the kitchen sink on this hit follow-up. There are bossa touches, banjos, plinkin’, Dixie brass and the listener can practically hear the ole Riverboat’s paddle and hoot.”
#4 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for February 22, 1964.
Cash Box, which assigns letter grades in their 45s reviews (though no lower than a C), awarded “Beatle Mania Blues” a B (“good”) in their April 25, 1964 edition. Notes the trade journal at the top of its reviews section — “Only those records best suited for commercial use are reviewed by Cash Box.”
Note: April 11, 1964 Music Vendorannounces a complete overhaul of the weekly publication, including a new name, Record World.
AUDIO LINK for “Yo Me Pregunto (I Ask Myself)” by The Valrays
peaked at #121 on May 9, 1964 [Parkway]
“Latin doo wop” is how some might describe this tuneful “throw back” 45 — the second and final recording for The Valrays.
Despite the Spanish language lyrics, The Valrays were actually a “white” group from New York City, as noted in the White Doo-Wop Collector music blog — WMCA’s Top Twenty-Five for the week of April 15, 1964 (NYC metro area) shows “Yo Me Pregunto” holding down the #25 spot.
#2 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 9, 1964.
A “female soul group” from Memphis, Tennessee, according to Discogs, “who changed their name [from The Tonettes] when Nashville’s Sound Stage 7 wanted a black female group to record and go out for live performances to promote a studio masterminded hit ‘(Down At) Papa Joe’s‘ that had been originally released by the white vocal group Anita Kerr Singers.”
A “Smith-Justis Production” — i.e., produced by “Cornbread” (Bill Justis) and “Jerry” (Jerry Smith).
45Cat contributor “NaturalE” suspects something is not quite on the up and up: “Anyone know why this song was co-identified as ‘Church Key‘ (by The Revels) when it actually sounds closer to a version of Eddie Bertrand’s “Volcanic Action” (by The Belairs), a tune which was also covered as “Tidal Wave” (by The Challengers)?”
Although “Bad News” was not included on The Trashmen’s 1964 debut album, 45Cat contributor “porcupine” points out that the group “did a song on their Surfin’ Bird LP called ‘Bird Bath‘ that is essentially ‘Church Key/Bad News.'”
Amusing to note the scandalous “McCartney-Lennon” songwriting credits, especially given that the names are reversed for “All My Loving” (what is purported by 45Cat to be the A-side).
Record World‘s July 4, 1964 issue includes an item on page 35 entitled “Harmonica Happening” that begins thusly: “It looks as if 1964 will be the year of the harmonica. Pop, blues, country and folk musicians are all taking up the little instrument. In England its popularity with the phenomenal rock groups has the suppliers working overtime. The Beatles hit, ‘Love Me Do,’ opens with a powerful harmonica solo, and it has made spectacular headway on the charts. Mannfred Mann’s ‘5-4-3-2-1‘ relies on rhythmic harmonica work. Other English groups, such as the Dave Clark Five, The Rolling Stones, The Mersey Beats and The Batchelors use the harmonica as well. Sonny Terry plays his blues harmonica on his new release, ‘First Meetin’,’ on World Pacific.”
Note the “McCartney-Lennon” songwriting credits on “Love Me Do”
AUDIO LINK for “Shrimp Boats (Jamaican Ska)” by Jerry Jackson
“New Girl” was pegged by Cash Box as a “best bet” (i.e., “A”) in their record reviews from the June 20, 1964 edition — “The Accents could well jump into the national spotlight with this top-notch rhythmic multi-dance teen-angled bluesy affair about a new gal in town. Eye it closely.”
AUDIO LINK for “Ringo for President” by The Young World Singers
peaked at #132 on August 22, 1964 [Decca]
Co-written by noted synthesist, Mort Garson, who was celebrated by Zero to 180 in 2018 for his mesmerizing opening/closing themes for TV’s “Untamed World.”
Cash Box‘ informs us in their August 8, 1964 review of this “Newcomer Pick“: “‘Ringo for President,’ which started as a promo gimmick in Cleveland by a gang of Beatles fans, could stir up a national interest with exuberant and live-wire reading by The Young World Singers. A choice programming item for the coming campaign period.”
Billboard pegged this 45 as a “Hot Pop Spotlight” in its August 8, 1964 edition with a dash of humor — “Said non-citizen Starr in reply to [the military] draft, ‘I don’t believe I will have the time.’ (And it doesn’t pay enough). Teenage version of ‘Wintergreen For President.'”
AUDIO LINK for “I Could Conquer the World” by The Shevelles
peaked at #104 on September 5, 1964 [World Artists]
As Billboard enthused in its review of July 25, 1964: “Conquering sound from this British group. Great beat coupled with groovy lyrics.”
This group from Wales once backed Bo Diddley and Sonny Boy Williamson, reports Record World in their September 26, 1964 issue.
“If I Were to Conquer the World” was a “Breakout Hit” in Seattle, as reported by Billboard in its October 3, 1964 edition.
#6 on Cash Box‘s “Looking Ahead” chart for the week of October 10, 1964.
Kal Rudman, in his ‘Rhythm & Blues’ column for Billboard, identified “Too Poor to Die” approvingly as a “live down-home blues record” in the August 1, 1964 edition.
#15 on Cash Box‘s “Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending August 22, 1964.
45Cat’s mickey rat offers this 7-inch review: “Great blues with tremolo guitar, plenty of harmonica, and Red’s wry vocal. Flip is a really good R&B instro with squeaky Jimmy Reed style harp and spoken interjections. Underrated artist.”
Written by Charles Singleton, Sid Wyche, and Henry Glover
AUDIO LINK for (Say I Love You) Doo Bee Dum by The Four-Evers
peaked at #119 on September 12, 1964 [Smash]
The Four-Evers’ best-known hit, according to Discogs, 1964’s “Be My Girl,” fooled some into believing the group was actually The Four Seasons recording under an alias.
#25 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for September 26, 1964.
Written by Joe Di Benedetto & Steve Tudanger
AUDIO LINK for “The Dog” by Junior and the Classics
peaked at #134 on September 26, 1964 [Groove]
This faithful cover of the Rufus Thomas hit found its way – thanks to RCA’s distribution heft – into Germany and Greece.
“The Dog” was tagged by Billboard on October 10, 1964 as a “Breakout Single” in Milwaukee.
WASN’T THIS STOCK PHOTO ALREADY USED FOR THE ASTRONAUTS? Germany
AUDIO LINK for “The Invasion” by Buchanan and Greenfield
peaked at #120 on October 3, 1964 [Novel]
This break-in record by Buchanan (and new partner) Greenfield proved to be a “Breakout Hit” in Chicago, according to Billboard in its October 3, 1964 edition.
Billboard‘s October 10, 1964 issue reports in the ‘News of the World – Cincinnati’ column that “Ray Hill, veteran record promoter now working out of Cincy, has just concluded a 1,200-mile jaunt that took him to Louisville, Nashville, St. Louis and environs. He reports success with ‘Gale Winds’ by Egyptian Combo [et al].”
As reported in Billboard, “Find Another Love” was a “Record to Watch,” according to WJLB’s Ernie Durham (Detroit); WMOZ’s Ruben Hughes (Mobile); WSID’s Paul ‘Fat Daddy’ Johnson (Baltimore) & WUST’s Al Bell (Washington, DC).
“Find Another Love” was first issued on Philadelphia-based Arlen (1963) and then reissued by General American (1964) and King (1965).
In 1980, Gusto – who owns the King catalog – reissued “Find Another Love” (albeit as a B-side) with the specious claim that the recording was “originally produced by King Records” while misspelling “Cincinnatti” to boot!
Can you spot the two errors on this 45 label?
AUDIO LINK for “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by Nina Simone
AUDIO LINK for “Popping Popcorn” by Dave ‘Baby’ Cortez
peaked at #132 on January 2, 1965 [Okeh]
Says Billboard in their December 5, 1964 review — “Exciting driving beat combining rock and gospel. Should be able to pop real big commercially.”
Cash Box‘s review in their December 5, 1964 review — “The ‘Happy Organ’ man Dave ‘Baby’ Cortez joins the Okeh roster with this new outing and chances are he’ll make an impressive initial showing. Side to watch is the exciting hand-clapping thumper, ‘Popping Popcorn,’ that sports some vocal comments along the way. Great teen hop item.”
45Cat contributor On the Flip Side asks, “So what’s the story with the very rare [picture sleeve]? Obviously few of them printed. Only a segment of promos, or how the hell did they determine the number of sleeves run?”
#6 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for January 30, 1965.
Tollie (the VeeJay subsidiary label that issued The Beatles’ “Love Me Do” 45 in the US and credited the A & B sides as being written by “McCartney-Lennon“) apologizes for this release on the cover of the picture sleeve.
Written by Twinkle
AUDIO LINK for “Do-Do Do Bah-Ah” by Bert Keyes Orchestra & Chorus
“Do-Do Do Bah-Ah” was a “Regional Breakout Single” in the Baltimore & Washington DC markets, as reported in Billboard‘s January 16, 1965 edition.
Cash Box‘s review in the January 16,1965 issue: “Both the Clock label and Bert Keyes can be back in the Top 100 spotlight as a result of this sensational instrumental that’s already grabbing action on the territorial level — especially in the Balt.-D.C. area. Tabbed ‘Do-Do Do Bah-Ah,’ it’s an organ-led, steady driving beat swinger that features a chorus brightly chanting the tag along the way.”
#15 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for January 30, 1965.
Written by Maurice Shapiro
AUDIO LINK for “Don’t Answer the Door (Pts. 1 & 2)” by The Jimmy Johnson Band with Hank Alexander
peaked at #128 on February 13,1965 [Magnum]
“Don’t Answer the Door” – covered by B.B. King (1966) & Lonnie Brooks (1979) – was a #16 R&B hit for Jimmy Johnson, as well as a #2 R&B hit for B.B. King the following year.
#42 on Record World‘s “Single Coming Up” chart for March 6, 1965.
#13 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for January 30, 1965.
In Billboard‘s April 3, 1965 edition, the word out of Memphis was that “The Mark-Kays [sic], whose new single ‘Banana Juice’ is climbing, has a European tour a-working, says Ray Brown of National Artists Attractions.” Cash Box reported the same news in their “Record Ramblings” section of the April 24, 1964 edition.
#6 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 27, 1965.
#32 on Record World‘s “Single Coming Up” chart for March 27, 1965.
Jan & Dean-style surf track with the unexpected lyric, “We met a California hippy who said come along with me now.”
45Cat contributors note other pre-1967 uses of the word “hippy” in popular song meaning simply a “hip” person (e.g., 1963’s “South Street” by The Orlons or even Benny Golson in his spoken-word intro to 1959’s “Killer Joe” by The Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet).
“Bill Justis Productions” — 45 label.
Written by Cason & Wilkin
AUDIO LINK for “The Girl From Greenwich Village” by The Trade Winds
AUDIO LINK for “Last Exit to Brooklyn by The Scott Bedford Four
peaked at #129 on May 8, 1965 [Joy]
Cash Box likewise had high hopes for this 45 in their “Newcomer Picks” review — “The Scott Bedford Four can rapidly make national names for themselves with this ultra-commercial Joy item called ‘Last Exit To Brooklyn.’ The tune is a rollicking hand-clapper all about a subway-riding Lothario with an infectious repeating rhythmic riff.”
Record World allotted “Last Exit” three stars thusly in its March 27, 1965 issue: “Song takes title from best seller, but has nothing to do with same. Rhythmic session whacked across by talented lad group.”
B-side raises the heavy question — “Now I’m At The Top (How Do I Stay Here)”
Written by M. Deborah & G. Goehring
“It Hurts Me Too” by Elmore James
peaked at #106 on May 22, 1965 [Enjoy]
Wiki: “When released in 1965, two years after James’ death, “It Hurts Me Too” spent eight weeks in the R&B chart, where it reached No. 25. The song also appeared in the Billboard Pop chart at No. 106, which was James’ only single to do so.”
Notes 45Cat’s mickey rat: “This is Elmore’s second version of ‘It Hurts Me Too’ — recorded in Feb 1963 (three months before his death) for Bobby Robinson in New York.”
Written by Elmore James
AUDIO LINK for “Nau Ninny Nau” by Cannibal and the Headhunters
Pegged by Billboard on July 10, 1965 as a “New Action R&B Single,” i.e., “registering solid sales in certain markets and appearing to be a week away from meriting a listing on the national Top 40 R&B Singles chart.”
#96 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for July 17, 1965.
#30 on Record World‘s Top 40 R&B chart for the week of July 24, 1965.
AUDIO LINK for “Un-Wind the Twine” by Alvin Cash & the Crawlers
peaked at #134 on July 24, 1965 [Mar-V-Lus]
Alvin Cash (of “Twine Time” fame) and the Crawlers breathe new life into the Twine thing.
Cash Box‘s review in the June 26, 1965 issue: “Alvin Cash and the Crawlers are a cinch to continue their best-selling ways (they had “Barracuda” last time out) with this first-rate new entry labeled “Un-Wind The Twine.” The tune’s a medium-paced pop-r&b funky slow-rocker with a terpsichorean-oriented infectious beat.
KGFJ’s Al Scott in Los Angeles (one of the “Top R&B Jockeys”) pegged this song as a Pick-of-the-Week in Billboard‘s July 24, 1965 edition.
Written by Harold Burrage, James L. Jones & Otha Hayes
AUDIO LINK for “Whittier Boulevard” by Thee Midnighters
peaked at #127 on September 4, 1965 [Chattahoochee]
Is it possible that this 45 was released locally by Whittier and then picked up by Chattahoochie for broader distribution?
AUDIO LINK for “The Last Thing On My Mind” by The Vejtables
peaked at #117 on November 27, 1965 [Autumn]
Written by Tom Paxton and produced by Marty Cooper (of “Hamburger Patti” fame).
Says Cash Box in their review published in the November 13, 1965 edition — “The folk-rock field has been greatly enhanced by this fine group, which had a recent noise-maker, ‘I Still Love You.’ Top end here, ‘The Last Thing On My Mind,’ should put the team into deeper chart territory. It’s infectious with a catch-on-quickly manner.”
“Last Thing on My Mind” was a “Breakout Single” in San Francisco, according to Billboard in their November 27, 1965 edition.
#28 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for December 18, 1965.
“Party People” is a 45-only track (that would later be issued on compact disc) on Stevens’ first single for Monument after leaving Mercury.
Says Billboard , who predicted the A-side to reach the Top 60, “Well-written lyric material from the pen of Joe South serves as a pop, driving production number that should spiral Stevens rapidly up the chart.”
Kal Rudman, in his “Money Music” column for Record World, noted in the December 18, 1965 issue — “‘Party People,’ Ray Stevens, Monument, is a fine record that is getting lost.”
#30 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for January 1, 1966.
AUDIO for “(YouGot) The Gamma Goochee” by The Kingsmen
According to Discogs, Steff is a “German singer, born on December 27, 1943 in China. Later he worked and lived in France, Germany and since the 60’s in Switzerland. He also runs his own studio and worked as an engineer and producer in between his singing career” — link to his website.
#11 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for February 12, 1966 (“‘You Bring Me Down,’ Royalettes, MGM, has been picked up by almost everyone and is the pick at KATZ, is Top Pick at CKLW, Detroit, plus other big stations.”)
#29 on Record World‘s Top 40 R&B chart for February 12, 1966.
AUDIO LINK for “Ever See A Diver Kiss His Wife While The Bubbles Bounce About Above the Water” by Shirley Ellis
peaked at #135 on February 5, 1966 [Congress]
Clearly, among the longest song titles in pop music — although 45Cat’s RecordDragon points to this Jimmy Boyd A-side as a contender for the longest bracketed title: “(I’ve Got Those ‘Wake Up, Seven-Thirty – Wash Your Ears, They’re Dirty – Eat Your Eggs And Oatmeal – Rush To School’) Blues.”
AUDIO LINK for “That’s Part of the Game” by The Daytrippers
peaked at #129 on February 26, 1966 [Karate/American Music Makers]
Cash Box‘s review in their February 12, 1966 edition is optimistic — “The A-side is a hard-driving rhythmic teen-angled ode which advises a Live-and-Let-Live attitude in romantic situations.”
Originally released on scrappy Pittsburgh indie label, American Music Makers, before being picked up by NYC-based Karate for broader distribution.
#47 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for March 5, 1966 — plus, this review from the same edition: “Contemporary rock number with all the right touches to make a hit. Good beat, good bet.”
Written by Eddie Rossi
AUDIO LINK for “Don’t Push Me” by Hedgehoppers Anonymous
peaked at #110 on March 19, 1966 [Parrot]
UK beat group who, according to Discogs, “formed in November 1963 as The Trendsetters, and became The Hedgehoppers the following year. Jonathan King took over their record production in 1965, and added “Anonymous” to their name when they said they were popular in Peterborough, and did not want to change their name completely.”
According to 45Cat’s kimbozw, “chart peaks for this included #15 in South Africa, #17 in Sweden, and #110 in the USA.”
#9 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for April 2, 1966.
#24 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 26, 1966.
According to 45Cat’s NC6freak: “‘I Lie Awake’ was originally the intended ‘B’ side of ‘At The River’s Edge,’ but a Chicago-area radio station held a listener contest to determine which side of this New Colony Six 45 should be the ‘A’ side, and strangely enough, ‘I Lie Awake’ won out. So radio jocks started playing this side as the hit side. Also, the 45 of ‘I Lie Awake’/’At The River’s Edge’ was originally issued on the ‘Centaur’ spelling label, but the spelling of the label name was soon changed to ‘Sentaur,’ due to a dispute concerning ownership of the label name with another record label in New York that was also claiming to own the Centaur name.”
Written by Jerry Kollenburg & Ray Graffia
AUDIO LINK for “It Ain’t Necessary” by Mamie Galore
peaked at #132 on April 23, 1966 [St. Lawrence]
#30 position on “Singles Coming Up” in Record World‘s May 7, 1966 edition.
According to Robert Pruter in Chicago Soul: “The singer was born Mamie Davis in Erwin, Mississippi, on September 24, 1940. She began singing in church and school, graduating from O’Bannon High in Greenville, Mississippi, in 1958. She joined a local band, Herman Scott and the Swinging Kings, and worked with them until 1961. Then for a year Davis worked with Ike and Tina Turner Review. From 1962 until 1965 she toured with the Little Milton Band and ended up in Chicago where Little Milton was making his home and recording.”
Written by Jerry Butler, Council Gay & Sylvester Potts
AUDIO LINK for “I’ve Got a Secret” by The Sharpees
peaked at #133 on May 7, 1966 [One-derful!]
Record World‘s review in their April 30, 1966 edition: “Ballad is in R&B groove, but a strong, strong bet for plenty of pop play. Very sharp.”
Cash Box‘s review in their April 30, 1966 edition: “The Sharpees let loose with a generous portion of R&B wailing on this lid. Spicing the side with a contagious jerk-tempo rhythm, the group could do well among teen buyers.”
Written by Eddie Silvers
AUDIO LINK for “Wigglin’ and Gigglin’” by Roy Head
peaked at #110 on May 21, 1966 [Back Beat]
“Wigglin’ and Gigglin'” made the Top 40 on Houston’s KYOK AM during the week of May 12, 1966.
This Billboard ad for Don Robey’s Duke and Backbeat Records playfully emphasizes the “freshness” of this latest Roy Head recording: “First fresh cut record since ‘Treat Her Right.’ All later releases on Roy Head were old ‘off the shelf.’ This is fresh from the studio. Acclaimed by many to become a ‘Top 10’ picked before it was released …”
Record World‘s review in the May 7, 1966 issue: “Roy Head looks like he’s back in the big money with this bouncy rock number, ‘Wigglin’ and Gigglin’. Has top beat and message to teen girls and boys.”
#26 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for May 28, 1966.
#15 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for July 2, 1966.
Cash Box‘s June 11, 1966 issue reports that “Roy Head whose latest for Backbeat is ‘Wigglin’ and Gigglin’’ is off on a personal appearance and TV promo tour of the Southwest and will then head East.”
WRITTEN BY BOBBY STEVENSON & JUNE CORDAE —
ARRANGED AND CONDUCTED BY GENE KURTZ
“A Street That Rhymes at Six A.M.” by Norma Tanega
Predicted to reach the Top 60, Billboard writes in its review — “Off-beat lyric ballad penned by Miss Tanega that swings in the same vein as ‘Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog.'”
#20 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 28, 1966.
#26 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for June 18, 1966.
Virgo issued “Walkin’ My Cat” b/w “Street That Rhymes” in 1972 (and rightly so).
Written by the two Normas: Tanega & Kutzer
AUDIO LINK for “What’s A Nice Kid Like You Doing In A Place Like This?”
by Scatman Crothers
peaked at #129 on May 21, 1966 [HBR]
Released on Hanna Barbera’s own record label, primary reason being that the recording comes from the Hanna-Barbera TV special “(The New) Alice in Wonderland, or, What’s a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This?”
45Cat notes that “the special originally aired Wednesday, March 30, 1966 at 7:00 pm Eastern time on ABC-TV and was sponsored by Rexall Pharmacies and the Coca-Cola Company.”
#31 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for May 14, 1966.
The Sheep are a songwriting and production team — Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, and Richard Gottehrer (i.e, soon to be Seymour Stein’s Sire partner) — who had previously musically incarnated as The Strangeloves (pretending to be Australian brothers), best known for “I Want Candy.”
Billboard, who predicted this song to reach the Top 60, offered this critique — “Pulsating dance beat rocker aimed at the teen market should equal their initial disk click [i.e., debut 45 ‘Hide and Seek‘].”
#36 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 28, 1966.
Written by L. Lee
“It’s You Alone” by The Wailers
peaked at #118 on June 11, 1966 [United Artists/Etiquette]
YouTube clip above includes historic images of the legendary “Galloping Gertie,” the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge that met a watery doom in the fall of 1940.
The “It’s You Alone” 45 appears to have initially released on Etiquette and then picked up by United Artists for national distribution.
A-side hits Top 5 in Seattle, as reported by Billboard in its May 7, 1966 edition — also a “Regional Breakout” hit in the San Francisco area.
Record World‘s review in the May 7, 1966 issue: “United Artists picked ‘It’s You Alone’ up in Seattle where it was making a lot of noise. Has a haunting folk quality geared to hypnotize teenagers.”
AUDIO LINK for “Look at Me Girl” by The Playboys of Edinburg
peaked at #108 on July 16, 1966 [Columbia/Pharaoh]
Single appears to have been released on McAllen, Texas-based label, Pharaoh, then picked up by Columbia for wider distribution.
“Regional Breakout Single” in Houston, so says Billboard, whose review in the July 2, 1966 edition enthuses — “Exciting debut for the American group with the British sound. High-pitched, well-blended vocal and teen dance combined for a chart-busting number.”
#67 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for August 6, 1966.
#11 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for August 6, 1966.
Written by James Lewis Williams
“El Pito” by Joe Cuba Sextet
peaked at #115 on August 6, 1966 [Tico]
“‘El Pito’ Makes the Chart — Thanks to R&B Stations,” reports Billboard in its August 13, 1966 edition: “The Latin American-flavored r&b record by Joe Cuba has received heavy airplay in New York on r&b and jazz radio stations. ‘We’ve sold 70,000 in New York alone, said Red Schwartz, national promotion chief of Roulette Records and its Tico subsidiary. George Wilson, program director of WHAT, in Philadelphia, heard it being played on a visit here. He telephoned me from Philadephia saying he’d make it a pick of the week if I’d send him some copies to play. I sent him a couple of copies and band, the record spread like wildfire.”
Tomas Fundora in his “El Mundo Del Disco” column for the May 14, 1966 issue of Record World writes — “‘El Pito’ por Joe Cuba y su Septeto está ‘acabando’ en el mercado.”
#4 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for August 20, 1966.
#33 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for July 30, 1966.
AUDIO LINK for “She Ain’t Lovin’ You” by The Distant Cousins
peaked at #102 on August 27, 1966 [Date]
Arranged & conducted by Herb Bernstein for Bob Crewe, the song’s co-composer, with The Distant Cousins — Larry Brown (from Milledgeville, Georgia) and Raymond Bloodworth (from Newark, NJ) — who met while serving with the US Army Signal Corps at training school where, Billboard informs us, they wereassignedalphabetically.
“The Distant Cousins are Raymond LaFayette Bloodworth and Lawrence Russell Brown. They met while both were stationed with the US Army in Paris, won a talent contest, and went on a tour of Army installations throughout Europe. After the Army hitch, they came to New York to launch a career of singing and song writing. The Distant Cousins’ current Date release of ‘She Ain’t Loving You’ is number 92 on this week’s Top 100.
Lawrence was born on June 29, 1945 in Newark, NJ and Ray was born May 18, 1944 in Milledgeville, GA. Both boys list Hank Williams among their favorite composers and Chet Atkins among their favorite instrumentalists. Lawrence and Ray are both staff writers for the Saturday Music company. The Distant Cousins consider Bob Crewe to have been the greatest influence on their career.”
Billboard reported on August 27, 1966 that The Distant Cousins are “on promotional tour in Pittsburgh and Cleveland where the disc is way out front!”
#90 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for September 17, 1966.
#37 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for September 10, 1966.
Written by Bob Crewe, Lawrence R. Brown & Raymond L. Bloodworth
This 45 appears to have been released by Hollywood indie Blue River (where it was the B-side) before getting a 2nd release in September on Pittsburgh-based Co & Ce (where it was the A-side) for East Coast distribution.
“Breakout Single” in Pittsburgh, as reported in Billboard‘s October 8, 1966 edition.
Reached the #95 position on Cash Box‘s Top 100 chart for November 19, 1966.
Record World‘s review in the September 24, 1966 issue: “Teens will be getting the willies in the best way possible when they hear this gay rock cut.”
Classic 45s declares, “Terrific bubblegum silliness on the A side.”
Originally released on Atlanta’s Shurfine (soul label founded by Wendell Parker) — single then got picked up by Josie (subsidiary of Jubilee) for national distribution.
Cash Box‘s October 15, 1966 review declared that “Mighty Hannibal should get a warm reception with this snail-paced, blues-oriented, shuffling, gospelesque, chant-like, wailer about a soldier in Vietnam.”
Light in the Attic points out that “this commentary on the effects of the Vietnam War on servicemen” was The Mighty Hannibal’s biggest hit, despite the fact that it was “bannedon radio.”
#84 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for November 5, 1966.
#26 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart for November 26, 1966.
#87 on Record World‘s 100 Top Pops chart for November 26, 1966.
#24 on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B chart for November 26, 1966.
#21 on Billboard‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for December 3, 1966.
According to Psychedelicized.com, “There isn’t very much known about the Fastest Group Alive. The band had a regional hit in the Northwest USA with ‘Bears’ in 1966. The Fastest Group Alive consisted of Jeff Thomas, Daniel Moore, Matthew Moore, and James Flemming Rasmussen. The band recorded two singles for the Valiant label.”
Original 45 released on Seattle-based Teem label, before the masters were purchased by Valiant, as reported in Billboard. Curious to note that the “Bears” 45 appears to be Teem’s entire recorded output.
Record World deemed this 45 four stars in its November 5, 1966 issue thusly: “Side is kind of nutty, but that’s just what’s taking teen fancies these days.”
#23 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 10, 1966.
AUDIO LINK for “I’m Your Bread Maker, Baby” by Slim Harpo
peaked at #116 on December 1, 1966 [Excello]
“Regional Breakout Single” in Milwaukee, as reported by Billboard., who predicted the song to go Top 10 R&B in their review — “This wild, wailing number is a topper for ‘Baby, Scratch My Back‘ and should meet with a fast sales impact. Much pop potential as well.”
#43 on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B chart for December 10, 1966.
#34 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for December 24, 1966.
Part of a three-way tie for last place (#100) on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for December 17, 1966.
AUDIO LINK for “Smashed! Blocked!” by John’s Children
peaked at #102 on December 1, 1966 [While Whale]
Written by John Hewlett and Simon Napier-Bell.
“Regional Breakout Single” in Los Angeles, as reported by Billboard.
Record World‘s review in the November 26, 1966 issue: “About a fellow going crazy and instruments do the same. Wild thing will wow. Strange changes.”
“LOS ANGELES — The Yardbirds’ producer and personal manager, Simon Napier-Bell, has signed his major discovery recording group, John’s Children, with White Whale Records, Inc. John’s Children’s first release in the U.S. will be ‘Smashed! Blocked! (The Love I Thought I’d Found).’ The startling single, just released in England and France, is meeting with tremendous acclaim, according to Ted Feigen and Lee Lassoff, heads of White Whale Records, Inc.
John’s Children have recently completed a SRO tour of England and France. Because of the response to the new group, Premier Talent Associates in New York has booked a major tour for them in the States with the Yardbirds in Dec.
‘John’s Children express best the new generation in England. ‘Their startling sound and their social significance should have the same impact on the States as in England and the continent,’ comments Simon Napier-Bell.”
#37 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for February 18, 1967.
Album review in the July 26, 1969 issue of Record World: “This is a successful pairing of The Tokens and The Kirby Stone Four, who together make up the United States Double Quartet. Beautiful vocal treatments are their forte, and they make the most of ‘Yellow Submarine,’ ‘Up Up and Away,’ ‘Mrs. Robinson,’ ‘Those Were the Days,’ and more tasties.”
Written by S. Finz and R. Affoumado — produced by The Tokens.
AUDIO LINK for “Ballad of Walter Wart” by The Thorndike Pickledish Choir
peaked at #131 on February 4, 1967 [MTA]
“Thorndike Pickledish” is the alter ego of Seattle disk jockey, Robert O. Smith, who says “the record was responsible for me coming to the attention of the KJR (Seattle) management and was, in part, responsible for my moving from KMBY in Monterey.”
News item in the December 24, 1966 issue of Record World: “MTA Records has released ‘The Ballad of Walter Wart’ by the Thorndike Pickledish Choir with an exclusive leasing arrangement with Golden State Recorders in San Francisco. Plans are in the works for merchandising of Walter Wart sweat shirts and tee shirts and also for a feature cartoon serial of the ‘Adventures of Walter Wart.'”
“Regional Breakout Single” in Baltimore, as reported by Billboard, who predicted this song to reach the Top 60 in its review — “Right in the groove of his “Holy Cow” and “Coal Mine” hits is this pulsating rhythm rocker, which should bring Dorsey back onto the Hot 100 in a hurry.”
#28 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for February 11, 1967.
Jim & Jean were a folk duo composed of Jim Glover, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, born in 1942, and New Yorker, Jean Ray, who was born in 1941.
Glover, while attending Ohio State University, met Phil Ochs, who would write the liner notes for the duo’s debut album.
After their second album, Jim & Jean released what, at the time, was a non-album single titled “What’s That Got To Do With Me.”
“What’s That Got To Do With Me” peaked in the Top 30 in San Jose, San Francisco, San Bernardino and Seattle, while making the Top 20 in Santa Rosa (#16), San Diego (#15) and Vancouver (#11). Its best chart run was in Madison, Wisconsin, where the song reached #7.
Cash Box‘s review in their March 11, 1967 issue — “Top 40 radio gets the ‘comrade-ly’ treatment in this winning spoof. A highly commercial item, the lid should definitely be in for heavy airplay and top-notch sales.”
Written by Ed Labunski & Hal Deeben
AUDIO LINK for “California On My Mind” by The Coastliners
peaked at #115 on April 8, 1967 [D.E.A.R.]
Note the far-out phasing used for effect in the chorus.
Says Cash Box in its February 18, 1967 review — “Spirited, rhythmic melody-rocker could do good things for the Coastliners. Chart material.”
Notes Record World in its February 18, 1967 review — “California has been a meaningful chart name and this new cut could rock onto charts with the trend.”
Written, arranged & produced by Fred Carroll
AUDIO LINK for “Double Yellow Line” by The Music Machine
peaked at #111 on May 13, 1967 [Original Sound]
Writes Billboard in its April 22, 1967 review: “Smooth rocker with groovy organ work and wailing vocal workout will have no trouble spiraling the ‘Talk Talk‘ group back up the charts.”
Record World‘s April 22, 1967 review: “Nitty gritty side from the coast groove groovers. Will stir action.”
#32 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for May 6, 1967.
Last place (#100) on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for May 20, 1967.
Written by Sean Bonniwell — produced by Brian Ross
AUDIO for “Four Walls (Three Windows & Two Doors)” by J.J. Jackson
peaked at #123 on July 15, 1967 [Calla]
“Four Walls” peaked at #17 on Billboard‘s R&B chart.
#82 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles for the week ending July 29, 1967.
#14 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B Singles for the week ending July 29, 1967.
“Four Walls” produced by Lew Futterman & Windsor King — arranged and conducted by J.J. Jackson.
Written by King & Jackson
AUDIO LINK for “Sally Sayin’ Somethin’” by Billy Harner
peaked at #118 on August 19, 1967 [Kama Sutra]
Delaware Liberal awarded this track “Song of the Day” last September and provided some historical background: “If you didn’t live in the Philadelphia area, you might not know this Northern Soul classic, but it was all over WIBG in the summer of ’67. It also charted in New York and LA, but failed to break out nationally. It probably didn’t help that Harner was such a big draw at the Jersey Shore that he didn’t have to tour outside the region (he was the last headliner at Atlantic City’s Steel Pier).”
Needless to say, a “Regional Breakout Single” in Philadelphia, as reported in Billboard‘s July 22, 1967 edition.
#5 on Record World‘s “Singles Comes Up” chart for August 19, 1967.
Concluding images of this bizarrovideo for “As Long As You’re Here” (by the lead guitarist for The Lovin’ Spoonful) include historic footage of the legendary “Galloping Gertie,” the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge that met a watery doom in the fall of 1940.
Bet you won’t flinch when I inform you that the B-side is merely the A-side played backwards (a 7-inch phenomenon that has been addressed in prior posts).
Neil Bogart, Kama Sutra and Buddah General Manager, announced that the first single under the new agreement, ‘As Long As You’re Here,’ is due for immediate release. Bogart said an initial pressing of 100,000 copies is ready for shipment.
Artie Ripp said that Yanovsky will receive an all-out publicity and promotion campaign to kick off the first release. ‘Zally is a great talent,’ he said, ‘and we’re with him all the way. He’s going to be established as a major record artist.”
In charge of production of all Yanovsky releases will be Koppelman-Rubin executive producer Jack Nitzsche. Nitzsche revealed that a Yanovsky album is now in the process of being recorded and will feature several songs written by the guitarist-singer.
“As Long As You’re Here,” produced and arranged by Jack Nitzsche, is a 45-only release not found on Yanovsky’s lone solo album, Alive and Well in Argentina — except on the Japanese and UK reissues.
PARIS — Back from a seven-week trip to Hollywood, Jack Robinson, Criterion’s representative in France, is making plans to achieve comprehensive exploitation of the Lee Hazlewood catalog in the French-speaking territories.
While in Hollywood, Robinson signed with Hazlewood’s new ASCAP publishing firm to represent the catalog in France. Hazlewood’s company is working on adaptations of French songs, which Robinson took with him to Hollywood.
Robinson also signed a contract with Michael H. Goldsen to act as managing agent in Europe for Criterion.
Meanwhile, Polydor has released a Lee Hazlewood single “Sand” b/w “My Baby Cried All Night Long,” and Robinson reports that he has lined up eight or nine French recordings of Hazlewood songs. Marcel Amont has recorded ‘The Girls in Paris‘ for Polydor and Joe Dassin has recorded ‘Comma La Lune‘ (Four Kinds of Lonely) for CBS.
Robinson also reported that Nancy Sinatra would be recording her Hazlewood hits in French.
#61 on Record World‘s Top 100 Pops chart for December 2, 1967.
#15 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for November 25, 1967.
Both Sides Now Publications has the back story — “Dallas, Texas-based Abnak Records was part of Abnak Music Enterprises, Inc., founded by successful Fort Worth insurance man John H. Abdnor, Sr. His son, John Howard Abdnor, Jr., otherwise known as Jon Abnor, was a part of the duo Jon & Robin. The elder Abdnor apparently started the label as a vehicle for his son’s musical interests, but quickly also became involved on the business end when he signed the Five Americans and he became their personal manager.”
“Kites Are Fun” — a “Regional Breakout Single” in Buffalo — reached the #34 position on Billboard‘s “Easy Listening” Top 40 chart, as reported in the December 30, 1967 edition.
#22 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 2, 1967,
#19 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for December 16, 1967.
Written by Chris Dedrick — also, uncredited as producer on “Kites Are Fun” is Enoch Light, founder and president of Project 3 Records.
This past February, 45Cat contributor Ort. Carlton posted this related anecdote — “One night as I was waist deep in my radio show, a stock copy of this going around on the turntable, the phone rang. A woman was crying. “You MUST tell me who this is! This record has enchanted me since I first heard it when I was 9 years old on WPTR in Albany, New York!” So I told her, and informed her of the group’s website. She messaged them, and heard back; they were deeply touched. And so was she. And so am I. This record will always be very special to me because I got two widget cans of Guinness as a finder’s fee from the fine lady in question.”
peaked at #113 on January 13, 1968 [Verve Forecast]
Text of news item [“Singleton Issues Hombres Videotapes“] published in Billboard‘s December 30, 1967 edition: “Shelby Singleton Productions last week made available for bandstand TV shows two color videotapes of The Hombres performing ‘It’s a Gas’ and ‘Am I High’ — the two tunes on their latest Verve Forecast single. Both records were produced by Huey Meaux for Shelby Singleton Productions.”
Cash Box‘s review in the December 30, 1967 issue: “Keeping in the off-beat vein that gave them their top ten ‘Let It All Hang Out,’ the Hombres step up the action again with this touch of sarcastic sensibility punctuated by a cute break with “It’s A Gas.” Chalk up another biting side from the team, one that should top their first effort on the pop scene.”
Written by BB Cunningham, Gary McEwen, Jerry Masters & John Hunter
AUDIO LINK for “Captain of Your Ship” by Reparata and the Delrons
peaked at #127 on February 3, 1968 [Mala]
“Captain of Your Ship” was a much bigger success in Europe (#13 in the UK Singles chart), where the group toured and performed on German TV’s “Beat Club.”
International distribution of this single included Rhodesia and India.
Record World‘s review in the January 27, 1968 issue: “‘Captain of Your Ship’ is a cute novelty that Raparata and the Delrons should parlay into a big hit.”
News item in the August 9, 1969 issue of Record World points out that Steve and Bill Jerome, newly-appointed A&R executives for Avco Embassy, “are credited with having launched Bell Records in England with Raparata and the Delrons’ record of ‘Captain of Your Ship’.”
AUDIO LINK for “I Cannot Stop You” by The Cherry Slush
peaked at #119 on February 24, 1968 [U.S.A.]
Written, produced, and arranged by Dick Wagner, who later gained fame for his collaborations with Alice Cooper, Lou Reed & Kiss.
Billboard‘s January 6, 1968 edition included this 45 in a “Special Merit Highlight” (“new singles deserving special attention of programmers and dealers”) with this concise assessment — “The label that started the Buckinghams on the road to fame has another group with a hot rock item that could easily establish them in the same way.”
Program director/disk jockey Bobby Holland of Hazlehurst GA’s WVOH singled out “I Cannot Stop You” as the “Biggest Leftfield Happening” — as reported to Billboard in its March 30, 1968 edition.
#43 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart in their Feb. 17, 1968 issue.
Gary Johnson’s biographical profile of this Michigan Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame band notes that “Saginaw’s Cherry Slush was one of mid-Michigan’s most popular bands during the 60’s” who were “also one of the few garage bands from that era to place a single on the charts of the three major trade papers in the 60’s, Billboard, Record World, andCash Box.”
Ramsey Lewis Trio: Ramsey Lewis (piano), Cleveland Eaton (bass) and future Earth, Wind & Fire bandleader, Maurice White (drums).
Billboard‘s February 3, 1968 edition included this 45 in a “Special Merit Highlight” with these words of praise — “Discotheque and jukebox must in this infectious number played for all it’s worth by the piano wizard.”
Cash Box‘s review in the March 2, 1968 issue: “[BMI-Gordon & Bonner] Intriguing hard-beat bounce behind a smoothly polished vocal showing from the Fifth Estate could project the team back up the best seller path.”
#22 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 30, 1968.
#35 on Record World‘s R&B Top 50 chart for April 6, 1968.
#49 on Cash Box‘s R&B Top 50 chart for March 16, 1968.
“African Boo-Ga-Loo” would be issued in the UK four years later in 1972 — though it turns out that Britain had been enjoying the ‘import’ version “for years” (see UK single review below).
Review in the 19 Jan 1973 edition of UK’s Blues and Soul: “Everybody calls this the natural follow-up to ‘Harlem Shuffle’ and that is a fair comment on the record. Though I hate to have to say it, it will sell in vast quantities in the north and almost nothing in the south. The beat never lets up and it will make ideal meat for discos — many have been playing the import version for years, of course.”
Written by Earl Nelson
AUDIO LINK for “If You Didn’t Hear Me the First Time (I’ll Say It Again)”
by The Sandpebbles
peaked at #122 on April 6, 1968 [Calla]
The descending chords of the main riff – combined with the chiming church bell – sounds suspiciously close to what Elton John used six years later for his arrangement of “Lucy in the Sky” that hit the radio airwaves in 1974.
#42 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart for April 27, 1968.
Written & produced by Teddy Vann
AUDIO LINK for “Look at What I Almost Missed” by The Parliaments
peaked at #104 on April 13, 1968 [Revilot]
“Look At What I Almost Missed” reached no. 5 on CKLW, Windsor, according to 45Cat .
Cash Box‘s review in the March 6, 1968 edition — “Terrific pace of the newest outing from the Parliaments should set the team back on the winning road to pop action while maintaining solid blues area action. Lively mid-speed outing that is tailored for dancing from the ‘Testify‘ group. Should be well received.”
Record World‘s review in the March 9, 1969 issue: “A rocking and rolling beat here. The fans will like what they hear.”
AUDIO LINK for “What a Day” by The Contrasts Featuring Bob Morrison
peaked at #120 on April 13, 1968 [Monument]
According to Plankton, “What a Day” reached no. 20 on CHUM, Toronto.
Record World‘s March 9, 1968 review: “Irresistible ditty featuring Bob Morrison. Deserves to get big.”
Johnnie Charles, program director/disk jockey at Bluefield WV’s WKOY, declared “What a Day” to be “Best Pick,” of the week (April 13, 1968), while Dean Tyler at Philadelphia’s WIBG chose the same song as the week’s “Best Leftfield Pick” (April 5, 1968).
Global distribution network for the “What a Day” single included Turkey.
Written by Bob Morrison — Produced & arranged by Bill Justis
Billboard‘s March 2, 1968 review reveals that even the best-laid plans do not necessarily guarantee commercial success — “The writing team of Chip Taylor and Al Gorgoni has a hot sales item in this pulsating rocker with strong vocal workout that should bring Miss Sands back to the Hot 100 rapidly.”
RecordWorld‘s February 10, 1968 review: “Chip Taylor and Al Gorgoni have produced this moving, grooving song that Evie does right by.”
Program director/disk jockey Rick Scarry of Ventura, CA’s KUDU pegged “Billy Sunshine” as the week’s “Biggest Leftfield Happening,” as reported in Billboard‘s April 13, 1968 edition.
In a news item entitled, “Elektra to Pitch Product to UK’s College Cities,” Billboard‘s February 3, 1968 edition reports that “The new LP [Forever Changes] is getting the biggest ever Elektra UK promotion. Publicity includes advertisements on buses in key cities, including London, Manchester, and Birmingham. A single featuring two tracks from the LP “Alone Again Or” and “Bummer in the Summer” has just been issued. If the record enters the charts, the group has agreed to visit England for personal appearances, says [Elektra’s Clive] Selwood.”
Selected by Billboard as a Top 60 Pop Spotlight for the week of March 9, 1968 — “This pulsating folk-rocker should fast break the strong LP sellers onto the Hot 100 chart once again. Good material, strong performance with driving dance beat in support featuring a mariachi flavored arrangement.”
“Best Leftfield Pick” for the week of March 30, 1968 according to an unnamed program director/disk jockey at Flint, MI’s WTAC, as reported in Billboard.
This 45 helped usher in improved sound, as reported in Cash Box — “Almost all of Elektra Records’ singles will be released in compatible stereo, beginning with the new Love single, ‘Alone Again Or, it was announced last week by Jac Holzman, president of Elektra. Singles will be released in the compatible stereo format. Holzman said that this move was in keeping with the change-over in the U.S. to an all-stereo record industry. He maintains that the continued release of mono singles was inconsistent with the superior sound of today’s stereo LP’s and might be one reason for the rapid drop in singles sales in the past year.”
In the 23 August 1969 edition of Record Mirror, pioneering BBC Radio One & Capital Radio disk jockey, Dave Symonds, was asked to select a dozen tracks that represent the best of the old and new for the trade’s “DJ 12” weekly feature. Symonds leads off with this Love track: “I’ve picked [‘Alone Again Or’] because I think it’s a very pretty number,” he said. “Possibly it was a bit ahead of its time and I think there is going to be a return to pretty melodic records — I forecast this. I think the very hairy, freaky, feedback, fuzz-box sort of thing is going to go and acoustic guitars and woodwinds will come back.”
“Alone Again Or” is also the lone Love track (!) on this 4-song Doors EP issued in Iran — does Jac Holzman know about this?
AUDIO LINK for “Backwards and Forwards” by December’s Children
peaked at #123 on May 18, 1968 [World Pacific]
Time for everyone to sing along, even if you think you don’t want to —
Note: In teeny-tiny print at the end of the lyric sheet above, it reads “I wrote this song. I can’t figure it out, maybe you can … Ray Whitley” (i.e., the other person, besides Jimi Hendrix, who wrote a song in 1968 entitled “1983“!)
#12 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for May 11, 1968 — same issue says the song is getting good radio action in Miami, according to Kal Rudman’s “Money Music” column.
#16 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for June 22, 1968.
AUDIO LINK for “When Do We Go” by Billy Vera & Judy Clay
peaked at #107 on June 8, 1968 [Atlantic]
“When Do We Go” was selected by Billboard as a Top 60 Pop Spotlight for the week of May 25, 1968: “The strong duo hit it big with ‘Storybook Children‘ and [“Country Girl-City Man‘] and this blues ballad, well performed, will put them even higher on the charts with stronger sales. Soulful and meaningful material.”
Record World‘s review in the May 25, 1968 edition: “Billy Vera and Judy Clay have another love duet here tagged ‘When Do We Go’ that will go to chart top.”
Cash Box‘s review in the May 25, 1969 issue: “The ‘Storybook Children’ team softens its style, retaining the emotional power and dropping the tempo of “City Boy-Country Girl” [sic] for an exciting effort here that should bring home some solid sales showings on the pop and blues fronts. Look for a building excitement to follow this side as a result of its re-play appeal. Could become a monster.
Billy Vera’s recording career includes a #1 pop hit — “At This Moment” (by Billy Vera and the Beaters) that initially charted at #79 when released in 1981 before going all the way to the top when reissued in 1987 — as well as two other songs that “bubbled under” the Hot 100: “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” (which peaked at #121 on September 28, 1968 and “The Bible Salesman” (which peaked at #112 on May 17, 1969). Judy Clay would also enjoy a Hot 100 hit in 1968 with William Bell on “Private Number” [which hit #75 Pop, #17 R&B, and #8 on the UK Singles chart], as well as two other recordings that “bubbled under”: “My Baby Specializes” (with William Bell – #104 on Dec. 28, 1968) and “Greatest Love” (#122 on April 18, 1970).
AUDIO LINK for “Soul Clappin’” by The Buena Vistas
peaked at #126 on September 7, 1968
45Cat contributor Mr. Lobbers notes — “Although the labels state that the two sides are from the LP Here Comes Da Judge, the album does not appear to have been released.”
Picked by Billboard as a Top 60 Pop Spotlight for the week of August 10, 1968 — “Their version of ‘Here Come Da Judge‘ took them into the Hot 100 and now this funky beat blues rocker has all the sales potential to take them high on both pop and r&b charts. Powerful dance item.”
#49 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for August 24, 1968 — same issue reports good radio response in Detroit.
#16 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for August 31, 1968.
Somehow the single made its way over to France.
Written by Tom Shannon, Carl Cisco & Nickolas Ameno.
Cash Box‘s August 3, 1968 review: “Knockout coupling of the television theme and Beatles Rubber Soul cut comes on with the immediate punch of a belting instrumental and a more subtle impact with the expert adaptation of the lyric over Lalo Schifrin’s ‘Grammy’ rhythmic. Sensational track that has all the makings of a pop blockbuster and much middle-of-the-road potential.”
Alan Copeland would repeat the formula for his next single — an amalgamation of “Classical Gas” and “Scarborough Fair” released December 1968.
Similar concept tried with 1970’s “Strawberry Fields/Something” by Pozo Seco, a 45 that likewise “bubbled under” (peaked at #115 on October 28, 1970).
45Cat’s davie gordon has the story behind the 45 — “An independent production from Philadelphia bought up by Atlantic. The instrumental B-side started picking up airplay in St. Louis in September making the local top 20 on station KATZ. This was enough for Billboard to register it on their bubbling under chart in late October peaking after two weeks at no. 128. The Sweet Delights never recorded again but the Delights Orchestra did have a follow-up single.
AUDIO LINK for “Fifty Two Per Cent” by Max Frost and the Troopers
peaked at #123 on December 14, 1968 [Tower]
Max Frost & the Troopers, as it turns out, is a fictional band created for the (Mike Curb-produced) exploitation flick Wild in the Streets.
52% of the population in 1968 was under 25, you know.
Predicted (November 30, 1968) to reach the top 60 of Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart: “His ‘Shape of Things to Come‘ proved a big chart item and this raucous rock follow-up with lyric line along similar lines has much of that sales potency as well.”
#13 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 28, 1968.
From the same artist whose previous year’s “Hold Me Tight” got major radio play [#1 Canada and #5 in US & UK Singles chart], another rare moment of Jamaican rocksteady on US radio — backing band almost certainly Lyn Taitt & the Jets.
Cash Box‘s November 9, 1968 album review of Nash’s Hold Me Tight LP: “Currently riding the biggest hit of his career, vet songster Johnny Nash follows with a well-thought-out album which should easily solidify and enlarge his following. Leaning heavily on the West Indian sound which is strongly responsible for his current resurgence, Nash turns in a tasty collection of oldies and newies. Known songs include ‘Don’t Look Back,’ ‘Groovin’,’ Cupid,’ and ‘Lovey Dovey.’ Good new sides are ‘Love’ and ‘You Got to Change Your Ways.’ Should do very well.”
Billboard‘s November 9, 1968 album review, meanwhile, amusingly misidentifies the “new” Jamaican sound to which the Texas singer has now attached himself: “Johnny Nash’s Hold Me Tight, a calypso-tinged soul gem, caught fire and burned up both the r&b and pop charts, and the LP, a potent package of sweet, swingin’ soul sounds, should stir up the album charts. ‘You Got Soul,’ the Rascals’ ‘Groovin’,’ Sam Cooke’s ‘Cupid’ and ‘Lovey Dovey’ make this LP a sleeper with smash potential.”
AUDIO LINK for “Is There Anything Better Than Making Love”
by The Fantastic Johnny C
peaked at #130 on March 22, 1969 [Phil-L.A. of Soul]
Record World designated this a “Sleeper Hit of the Week” in their Feb. 22, 1969 edition with this ringing endorsement: “The Fantastic Johnny C wonders ‘Is There Anything Better Than Making Love?’ and the answer is listening to this cut.”
#29 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 8, 1969.
Billboard‘s review in the April 19, 1969 edition— “Following up ‘Long Line Rider,’ Darin comes up with another stronger message lyric set to an infectious beat. Top arrangement and vocal workout offers much for play and sales.”
#22 on Record Worlds “Singles Coming Up” chart for June 7, 1969.
#28 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 24, 1969.
AUDIO LINK for “If I Had a Reason” by Bubble Puppy
peaked at #128 on May 31, 1969 [International Artists]
Album review in the June 7, 1969 issue of Cash Box — ” NRBQ, the subject of a massive publicity campaign, has the sound to capitalize on the exposure they’re getting and should do quite well with their debut album. The group mixes styles, playing straight rock (midwest originated). blues (midwest also) and hillbilly rock. ‘C’Mon Everybody‘ and ‘Hey Baby‘ fall into the first category, ‘C’Mon If You’re Comin’‘ into the second and ‘Kentucky Slop Song‘ into third. ‘Rocket Number 9,’ a Sun Ra tune, is unclassifiable. Their current single ‘Stomp’ is also included.”
#31 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for July 19, 1969.
Vancouver Signature Sounds‘ Ray McGinnis wrote a short essay about Jim Ford in which “Harlan County” served as the focus — “While the song got enough traction in Vancouver to climb to #10 on the charts, it missed the Billboard Hot 100. DJ’s in Vancouver may have decided to play list the song, as it was rising to #15 on KHJ in Los Angeles, the week before it became Hitbound on CKLG. However, LA was one of just a couple of radio markets that gave the song a try. “Harlan County” also happened to climb into the Top 20 across the Georgia Strait in Victoria.”
McGinnis also notes — “His friends included Sly Stone of Sly and the Family Stone who referred to Jim Ford on a 1971 Dick Cavett Show as his ‘honky-tonk man.’”
Deemed an “Album Pick of the Week” by Record World in their August 16, 1969 issue: “Jim Ford is known as the writer of ‘Niki Hoeky‘ and Harlan County is his most worthy debut LP.”
#15 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for September 6, 1969 — same edition reports strong radio reaction in Louisville.
#86 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for September 20, 1969 — the previous week, “Harlan County” was #1 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart.
Written by James Ford
AUDIO LINK for “Mommy and Daddy” [B-side] by The Monkees
According to 45Cat contributors, “Mommy and Daddy” was a Top Ten hit in Albany, NY as well as Kansas City.
Adds 45Cat’s porcupine — “[lyrical reference] ‘the “Kings of EMI’ was a two-fer for Mickey who also used [this phrase] in ‘Randy Scouse Git,’ a document of the Monkees’ visit to England. The ‘four Kings of EMI (are) sitting stately on the floor’ referred to The Beatles, whom they met at a party.”
Selected by Record World as a “Single Pick of the Week” for September 6, 1969: “The Monkees best record is now on the market. It’s called ‘Mommy and Daddy’ and Monkee Dolenz wrote it.”
Billboard predicted this single would reach the top 60 of the Hot 100 chart: “Monkees turn in one of their bounciest performances in some time with this item, penned and produced by Micky Dolenz. Should bring them back to a high spot on the charts in short order.” [September 6, 1969]
#9 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for October 25, 1969.
Record World designated this a “Sleeper Pick of the Week” in their Aug. 30, 1969 edition — “Candi Staton souls out ‘Never in Public’ and it’s another winner from funky Muscle Shoals.” Following issue’s “R&B Beat” column: “Strong new Candi Staton is ‘Never in Public.’ Rick Hall is wild.”
Billboard reported in its September 13, 1969 edition that WDIA’s Bill Thomas (Memphis) singled out “Never in Public” as that week’s “Biggest Happening” in Rhythm & Blues.
AUDIO LINK for “Comment (If All Men Are Truly Brothers)” [B-side]
by Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band
peaked at #109 on October 11, 1969 [Warner Bros.]
#17 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for Oct. 11, 1969.
Written by Charles Wright and Yusuf Rahman.
B-side when released in the US, but an A-side when issued in France.
AUDIO LINK for “We Got Latin Soul” by Mongo Santamaria
peaked at #132 on October 18, 1969 [Columbia]
“We Got Latin Soul” was written by bassist/songwriter, R. Lester [Arlester] Christian who, as “Dyke,” was a member of The O’Jays backing band until he formed Dyke & the Blazers in 1965, according to Discogs. Nod of gratitude to WayBackAttack for pointing out that “Latin Soul” is “a guaracha variation on the Dyke & the Blazers hit “We Got More Soul.”
“Latin Soul” – which also peaked at #40 on Billboard‘s Soul chart – was Mongo’s final 45 for Columbia. Billboard‘s November 22, 1969 edition reported that “Atlantic’s signing of Mongo Santamaria is one of the most important of the year.”
“Latin Soul” also reached #33 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart, as well as #31 on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B “tear-out guide.”
AUDIO for “Baby You Come Rollin’ Cross My Mind” by John Beland
Cash Box‘s review in the August 16, 1969 issue: “A medium-sized hit for the Peppermint Trolley about a year back, ‘Baby You Come Rollin’ comes on once more as a slightly slower, somewhat more lyrical/less rock side in this new performance. Side adds further MOR impact to the teen flavor of the track giving it a broadened hit momentum.”
Kal Rudman, in his “Money Music” column for Record World, deemed this 45 a “Super Pick” for the week of September 27, 1969.
AUDIO LINK for “Ballad of Paul” by The Mystery Tour
peaked at #104 on November 29, 1969
Concise and helpful tutorial on the “Paul is dead” conspiracy rumor/hoax that mirrored (and helped fuel) public paranoia at that time.
Notes 45Cat: “The Ballad of Paul describes the accident to Paul and some of the clues supporting the ‘Paul is dead’ rumour. This was amongst the most successful of the Paul McCartney death rumour singles.”
NEW YORK — Paul McCartney is not dead, yet very much alive is label interest in the aftermath of the rumors that the Beatles member was gone.
MGM Records has purchased a master, “The Ballad of Paul” by the Mystery Tour, for which Lenny Sheer, director of sales and distribution, is directing an “all-out” campaign to include the packaging of the disk in a special sleeve, full page ads in the trades, saturation distribution of 5000 disks to radio stations and a direct mailing campaign of sample disks and title strips to one-stops and juke box operators. Also, reviewers on national mags, newspapers and wire services are being covered.
In another release. Silver Fox Records, thru Shelby Singleton’s organization, is offering “Brother Paul” by Billy Shears & All Americans. The name “Billy Shears” appears in the Beatles’ “Sergeant Pepper’s “Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Furthermore, Capitol Records has marketed a re-release, “St. Paul” an eight-month old tribute to McCartney written, produced and performed by Terry Knight. The lyrics take on added meaning in light of recent talk, but Knight has refused to comment on the disk.
Capitol has officially re-released the deck, following activity in Philadelphia, but Knight has refused to participate in promotional plans.
“Ballad of Paul” was also pegged by Cash Box in its November 8, 1969 edition as one of the “newcomer picks“: “With the Paul McCartney rumors at their peak, and sales of Beatle product resurgent to track detectives, the singles product joins the furor. Two new mysterious rumor sides are the “Brother Paul” lid by Billy Shears (named for the look-alike figure who supposedly had replaced McCartney) and the All Americans (Silver Fox). Side is gaining radio exposure through the south and could score ahead of ‘The Ballad of Paul’ from the Mystery Tour (MGM). Also in the competition is Capitol’s reissue of the several month old noise-maker ‘Saint Paul’ by Terry Knight. All are long-shot sides, based as much on fad lyrics as musical value.” Elsewhere in that November 8, 1969 Cash Box issue is a promotional ad from MGM about The Mystery Tour’s “provocative” new single.
Record World‘s November 15, 1969 review: “This one lives up to the name of the group as it evokes mystery and uncertainty about guess who.”
The Masked Marauders were not an actual band but an elaborate hoax orchestrated by Rolling Stone to fool folks into thinking a “super session” with leading rock artists (Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon) had taken place in great secrecy but then “leaked” to the public.
“Cow Pie” — fabricated to sound like a “Bob Dylan” song — was the A-side of a single that also saw release in Germany and France.
Cash Box selected “Cow Pie” as one of the week’s “newcomer picks” for its November 8, 1969 issue: “Surrounded by rumors of personnel including virtually all the heavyweight teen stars of the day, a group called the Masked Marauders has become wishfully legendary in underground circles. Following the publicity lead, this single has already become a request item. The instrumental side has thus been picked up for national distribution through Reprise. Flip: ‘I Can’t Get No Nookie’.”
Stan Cornyn, the legendary promo man for Warner Brothers Records, later documented his role in bringing the Masked Marauders to life in Exploding, Cornyn’s indispensable history of the label, which The Christian Science Monitor reviewed for their March 28, 2002 edition: “Cornyn forged the image of Warner Brothers Records as the hip place to work and the hip label to buy. As head of WBR Creative Services, he crafted indelible copy, even conspiring in an elaborate hoax: The Masked Marauders, a 1969 album released on the one-off label, Deity. Its creation followed a bogus review in Rolling Stone by then-staffer Greil Marcus under the name T.M. Christian. The album allegedly featured several Beatles, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, and ‘a drummer as yet unnamed.’ It sold 40,000 copies and is now available from Rhino Handmade, a limited-edition, Internet-only arm of Rhino Records, a subsidiary of Warner Music Group. Which proves that rock ‘n’ roll even fake rock ‘n’ roll never dies.”
Harmonica work possibly by Bob Dylan
AUDIO LINK for “Hello Sunshine” by Rev. Maceo Woods & The Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir
peaked at #121 on December 20, 1969 [Volt]
“Oh Happy Day” by The Edwin Hawkins Singers was a #4 Pop hit that same year.
45Cat’s davie gordon notes — “The song [co-written by King Curtis & Ron Miller] had been recorded the previous year by Aretha Franklin on her Aretha Now album and a few months later by Wilson Pickett for his I’m In Love album.”
Irene W. Johnson, in her “Gospel Time” column for Record World, began her report for the March 7, 1970 issue thusly: “Bro. Esmond Patterson of WAOK in Atlanta, Georgia celebrated his 14th Radio Anniversary at the Municipal Auditorium there Sunday, February 8. It was a highly spiritual program in its entirety. Rev. Maceo Woods and five members of the Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir of Chicago, The Pilgrim Jubilees of Chicago and Bill Moss and the Celestials of Detroit, Michigan were headlining the program.” Elsewhere in her column, Johnson reports that (as expected) is a “top tune” in Chicago.
#13 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for December 20, 1969.
Record World’s April 11, 1970 review: “As the title indicates, this is a country rocker in the early Jerry Lee Lewis/Elvis mode. It sure sounds good to hear this kind of music again. Thanks.”
Blue Thumb’s full-page ad in the May 2, 1970 edition of Billboard consisted of the headline “Call your local DJ today and give him the word,” followed by Greil Marcus’s review of the 45 for Rolling Stone: “This snazzy performance sounds like the B-side of an old Jerry Lee Lewis single, which it might have been—who knows. Rumble rumble—Southwind has that boogie woogie riffing right down in their pockets, and you can almost hear the band getting ready to charge as the lyrics fade and their chance to play hard and fast comes up. There aren’t any stars in Southwind; it’s a solid, unassuming rock and roll band, like the Crickets, or the Blue Caps, but totally contemporary, and not at all interested in smothering the listener with nostalgia. This number, which certainly ought to be the hit the band has missed up until now, has the same excitement and drive as, say, ‘I Don’t Want to Discuss It’ from the new Delaney and Bonnie LP. ‘Boogie Woogie Country Girl’ was co-authored by Doc Pomus, a middle-aged man who wrote ‘This Magic Moment’ and ‘I Count the Tears,’ among others. He was one of those men who had a perfect sense of teenage, despite his years, but he’s been on the shorts, pretty much out of work, since the Beatles retrieved the idea that musicians could and should write their own material. Southwind, though, obviously know good stuff when they hear it (as with their fine version of Johnny Cash’s ‘Rock and Roll Ruby‘ on their Ready to Ride album). Well, let it ride. Call your local DJ today and give him the word.”
#7 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 23, 1970.
#31 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 30, 1970.
AUDIO LINK for “Maybe Baby-Daddy’s Maybe” by Swamp Dogg
peaked at #113 on May 30, 1970 [Canyon]
You might be surprised to learn that the lyrics include the phrase “PTA meeting.”
Billboard‘s review of Swamp Dogg’s Total Destruction to Your Mind: “Swamp Dogg is a hip soul man who not only can bring ‘Total Destruction to Your Mind’ with some potent funk, but some creative social commentary as well in the ballads of a new breed blues artist. His no-jive soul makes a star out of producer-arranger-songwriter Jerry Williams Jr., who through Swamp Dogg, comunicates a new cool in soul music. ‘Synthetic World,’ ‘Mama’s Baby-Daddy’s Maybe’ set the pace.”
Record World’s review of Swamp Dogg’s Total Destruction to Your Mind: “Swamp Dogg has his own idea of what the blues are and should be on total Destruction to Your Mind. All self-penned tunes.”
#12 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart for May 16, 1970.
Written by Jerry Williams, Jr. & Gary Bonds
AUDIO LINK for “Birds of All Nations” by George McCannon III
peaked at #111 on June 3, 1970 [Amos]
Produced by Jimmy Bowen and includes the Jimmy Bowen Orchestra & Chorus.
Record World‘s review in the May 16, 1970 issue: “Country-flavored message tune with a ‘you never had it so good’ theme.”
#37 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 2, 1970.
#99 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for May 9, 1970.
AUDIO LINK for “Wash Mama Wash” by Dr. John The Night Tripper
peaked at #108 on June 20, 1970 [Atco]
45-only track when initially released — included on 1972 “non-US” compilation LP The Age of Atlantic and later Dr. John anthologies.
“Wash Mama Wash” awarded a “Special Merit Spotlight” by Billboard with these words of praise — “Strong vocal workout on funky beat blues material that could easily come from left field and prove an out and out smash – pop and soul.”
Identified by Record World as a “Sleeper Pick of the Week” in the May 30, 1970 issue: “Dr. John the Night Tripper will have his first single hit with ‘Wash Mama Wash.’ Far out.”
One of the week’s “top record releases for coin phonographs,” as reported in the June 6, 1970 issue of Cash Box.
Earned a “Special Merit Spotlight” from Billboard, who informed the world — “Following up his ‘Viva Tirado’ hit, El Chicano comes up with a Latin rhythm treatment of the Beatles winner that should keep him active on the charts.”
Record World‘s June 27, 1970 review: “The ‘El Chicano’ gang gives this Lennon & McCartney standard quite a Latinized workout. Will be the second of two in a row.”
AUDIO LINK for “Simple Song of Freedom” by Spirit of Us
peaked at #106 on August 15, 1970 [Viva]
Written by “Bob” Darin, arranged by Tommy Oliver & produced by Snuff Garrett.
Recorded at TTG Studios in Hollywood.
Record World‘s “Singles Review” in their July 11, 1970 edition: “The Bob Darin-Tim Hardin song lives again with a Salvation Army/folk/Dixieland sound.”
Two weeks later (!) Record World would deem this 45 worthy of a 2nd review: “Unique treatment of the Bob Darin/Tim Hardin song features a huge chorus and a Dixie background.”
Cash Box news items from the year before in the September 20, 1969 issue: “The Robert Fitzpatrick Corp. has signed Gary LeMel to produce and Tommy Oliver to arrange an album for Spirit of US. Spirit is a 19-member vocal-dancing group formed last summer by the Theodore Hamm Brewing Co. for their admission-free, patriotic musical road show, ‘America Sings.’”
AUDIO LINK for “Had Any Lately” by Sylvia Robinson
peaked at #102 on August 22, 1970 [Stang]
Deceptively powerful peace lyric embedded in a seductive pop soul groove — says Billboard in its August 1, 1970 edition: “A lyric message about today’s world situation is set to an infectious rhythm setting and blockbuster vocal workout by Sylvia … formerly of Micky and Sylvia. Watch this one, it could prove a left-field smash.”
Record World‘s August 1, 1970 review: “Very effective anti-war song is directed right to the seat of power. Sylvia wrote and produced.”
45Cat’s borninthe50s provides the history — “This was the only single released by Trella Hart, who was known as ” The Queen Of The Jingles.” She forged a very successful career in the music business by working prolifically as a “jingle” singer, recording advertising and promotion “jingles” for, in particular, P.A.M.S. (Production Advertising Merchandising Service), one of the most famous “jingle” production companies in American broadcasting, based in Dallas, Texas. When “Two Little Rooms” was released in 1970, it was played on many radio stations, and in the event it reached the Top 30 in several regions including Dallas and Chicago.”
Record World‘s review in the August 8, 1970 issue: “Starting to click for Janet Lawson, Trella has a short with her version. Country-pop click.”
Grin’s debut LP – produced by David Briggs – was dedicated to Roy Buchanan.
If I’m not mistaken, the October 24, 1970 issue of Cash Box begins with this ad for Grin: “You’ve been listening to Nils Lofgren longer than you know. Up until now, you’ve been listening to his music. Not his name. Possibly you know that Nils Lofgren is the founder of the new group, Grin. And that their new single, “We All Sung Together,” is getting airplay around the country. But this isn’t the first song he’s composed and arranged. In fact, among musicians he’s become a recognized talent. Even Neil Young used him. On his new Gold Rush album, Nils played and sang. Of course, you might have missed that fact. But now, with his new group and new single, his name will be hard to forget. Grin. All Sung Together.”
According to Billboard‘s August 15, 1970 edition, Columbia recently wrapped up two new labels deals, one of them being Thunder, formed by David Briggs and Art Linson. “Thunder’s initial product will be an album and single from the much sought-after band, Grin, discovered in Maryland by Neil Young and Steve Stills. Grin features composer Nils Lofgren and is the first group to be signed by the label. Their first single, ‘We All Sung Together,’ was presented at the recent Columbia Convention and will be released shortly. Grin’s debut album, with a guest appearance from Neil Young and Crazy Horse, will be released in early fall.”
#14 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for November 14, 1970.
#139 on Record Mirror‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for November 21, 1970.
Funky 16 Corners suggests that “If you give ‘Poquito Soul’ a couple of listens, another languid groover might start to come to mind, that being El Chicano’s version of Gerald Wilson’s ‘Viva Tirado’, which was a substantial hit in the Spring of 1970, all over the country, but especially in SoCal.” One G Plus Three — RandyThomas (the ‘Gringo’) on organ, Rudy Salas on guitar, Max Garduno on percussion and Manny Mosqueda on drums — “recorded only this one 45, released first on Eddie Davis’sGordo label, then picked up for national distribution by Paramount.”
Check out Paramount’s full-page ad for this 45 in the October 31, 1970 edition of Billboard.
“Poquito Soul” reached the #39 position on Billboard‘s “Easy Listening” Top 40 chart, as reported in the November 7, 1970 edition.
#53 on Cash Box‘s Top 60 R&B chart for October 17, 1970.
Adaptation of George Gershwin’s classic composition.
AUDIO LINK for “Back to the River” by The Damnation of Adam Blessing
peaked at #102 on November 21, 1970 [United Artists]
Would you be surprised to learn that “Back to the River” was a “Regional Breakout Single” in Cleveland?
Record World‘s review notes that the group — Bill Schwark, Bob Kalamasz, Jim Quinn & Ray Benich — are, “as folks already know, into very hard rock.” Further, the new album “should turn into a potent item to stir up underground trade.”
#25 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 5, 1970.
#89 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for December 26, 1970.
Billboard, who predicted this 45 to reach the Top 60, wrote in its review — “The driving rock ballad penned by Neil Young is a strong singles debut for the group, culled from their current LP. Should prove a big Hot 100 item.”
Cash Box offered up this review — “Fine pick of material from the Neil Young songbook makes the most of Yellow Hand’s premiere single. Could blossom.”
45Cat’s Gary E informs — “This band includes Jerry Tawney on lead voc, formerly with The Portraits (Sidewalk), early solo 45 on Liberty & later solo on Bell.”
45Cat’s Problem Child theorizes — “I think after the mighty ‘Venus’, this may have been a very good album track, but the early longer than usual instrumental break and the lack of more engaging lyrics may have worked against it being a commercial success, just sayin’? Shame.”
AUDIO LINK for “Love Vibrations” by David T. Walker
peaked at #117 on January 9, 1971 [Zea]
Billboard‘s Ed Ochs designated “Love Vibrations” as a “Soul Sauce” ‘pick and play‘ for the week of December 12, 1970.
News item in Record World‘s January 16, 1971 issue – “Action at Roulette” – reports that “David T. Walker’s ‘Love Vibrations’ single on the Zea label, distributed by Roulette, is expanding to the pop market and serving to focus attention on Walker’s album.”
#35 on Billboard‘s Soul Singles chart for December 19, 1970.
#36 on Record World‘s R&B Singles chart for January 16, 1971.
#39 on Cash Box‘s Top 60 R&B for January 23, 1971.
From the Plum Happy album — distributed by Roulette Records.
Written by Curtis Colbert & William “Mickey” Stevenson
“Crying baby” intro sounds like something out of Lee ‘Scratch‘ Perry‘s audio lab.
A Record World‘s “Pick of the Week” for December 19, 1970: “Ingenious intro features a baby’s cry followed by the main theme: “Too many lovers and not enough men.” A very real problem provides a dynamic topic for this contender. Frank stuff.”
#23 on Billboard‘s Soul Singles chart for February 20, 1971.
#25 on Record World‘s R&B Singles chart for March 13, 1971.
#40 on Cash Box‘s Top 60 R&B Singles chart for February 27, 1971.
#81 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for March 13, 1971.
Written and produced by Homer Banks & Raymond Jackson
AUDIO LINK for “Nothing Rhymed” by Gilbert O’Sullivan
peaked at #114 on March 6, 1971 [MAM]
A Top 10 hit in the UK., as reported in Billboard‘s January 16, 1971 edition.
Top of the chart in Holland/Belgium, as reported in the March 6, 1971 issue of Record World.
#9 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 6, 1971.
Last place (#150) on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for the week ending March 6, 1971.
Jack Kegg, columnist for Western Maryland’s Cumberland Times-News, remembers well the song’s personal impact in a 2007 Sunday paper piece entitled “Remember Gilbert O’Sullivan“:
“In early 1971, the late WTBO radio personality Chad Riley gave my father some promotional 45s to give to me. Chad would do this once in a while, and there always seemed to be gems among the vinyl.
Dad mumbled, ‘That’s all he needs; more damn records,’ and said, ‘These are from Chad. Now be sure to thank him.’ Of course, I always showed my gratitude.
One of those records was called ‘Nothing Rhymed‘ on the Mam label by an artist called Gilbert O’Sullivan. I was impressed by the plaintive lyrics and the production by Gordon Mills, who also handled Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck, and Johnnie Spence’s musical arrangement.
I don’t think any of the local stations played ‘Nothing Rhymed,’ but I loved the record. It eventually “bubbled under” Billboard’s Hot 100.
I became an ardent fan of Gilbert O’Sullivan, collecting all of his 45s, the million sellers and the ‘duds.’ His real name is Raymond O’Sullivan, and he was born in Waterford, Southern Ireland on Dec. 1, 1946. The family moved to Swindon, England, in 1960, and Raymond enrolled at a local art college.
The young boy showed an interest in music, so his mother bought him a piano, but his thumping style resulted in Gilbert and the piano being relegated to the garden shed.
But he developed a unique style, and while at college, played in semi-professional bands the Doodles and the Perfects. He began to write songs, citing his influences as diverse as Rodgers and Hart, Bob Dylan, and the Beatles.
He sent out tapes of his songs, and CBS in Britain was interested, although ‘I Wish I Could Cry‘ (1967) failed to hit; and ‘Mr. Moody’s Garden‘ on the Major Minor label met with cold response.
One of Gilbert’s tapes, however, made its way to Gordon Mills, who was fascinated by the catchy tunes and style. Gordon contacted Gilbert, and the two began a strong partnership as Gordon became Gilbert’s ‘father’ after his dad died.
In 1970, ‘Nothing Rhymed’ was recorded, and became a huge European hit. But to the shock of everyone, including Gordon Mills, Gilbert chose a strange dress code of flat cap, flannel suit way too small, and short cropped hair. People laughed, but they listened. He had three more hits in Britain: ‘Underneath The Blanket Go,’ ‘We Will,’ and ‘No Matter How I Try.’ None of those made an impact in the U.S., although the latter was played on WUOK and WKLP, locally; and WTBO played ‘We Will.’”
Billboard had high hopes for this release, as indicated by its selection as a “Top 20 Pop Spotlight” in the April 3, 1971 edition — “The legendary Jimmie Rodgers classic is updated and serves as dynamite material for this powerful new group, their debut for the label. Will hit hard and fast.”
A “Pick of the Week” in Record World‘s April 3, 1971 edition: “Newcomers should do Creedence-type action for the label with this update of the original Jimmie Rodgers. Very tight rock and roll.”
University of Houson’s KUHF gave this 45 strong radio play, as reported in Billboard‘s May 29, 1971 edition.
#88 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for April 24, 1971.
#118 on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for April 24, 1971.
AUDIO LINK for “Singing in Viet Nam Talking Blues” by Johnny Cash
peaked at #124 on June 19, 1971 [Columbia]
Selected by Billboard for its “Top 60 Pop Spotlight” the week of June 5, 1971 — “Cash entertained in Vietnam and wrote about it. This moving story and performance will prove a strong entry … pop and country” [such “cross-over” disks would provoke a “title strip display debate” for jukebox programmers, as discussed in the September 4, 1971 edition of Billboard].
In a July 17, 1971 Billboard news item entitled “Release Jam Hurts Artists ” — “Perhaps a more dramatic example is Johnny Cash’s ‘Singing in Vietnam Talking Blues.’ [Acme One Stop’s Larry] Rugemer said: “I believe Cash is an example of an artist in danger of being burned out by too many releases. The jukebox programmers are just passing this one up.”
#18 on Billboard‘s Country Singles chart for July 31, 1971.
#20 on Cash Box‘s Country Top 65 chart for July 10, 1971.
Tip of the hat to DC’s Karl Eiholzer for translation services:
“A new Johnny Cash song is always an event because his songs always make a strong statement [or possibly: always have a special message]. Johnny Cash’s newest song – by the way written and produced by himself – deals with one of our time’s focal points: Vietnam. Rhythmically and musically an impressive [or perhaps smashing, if you’re reading this in the UK] production.”
AUDIO LINK for “Ten and Two (Take This Woman Off the Corner)”
by Gene and Jerry
peaked at #126 on July 3, 1971 [Mercury]
Selected by Billboard‘s Ed Ochs as a “Soul Sauce” ‘pick and play‘ for the week of March 6, 1970.
Designated by Billboard as one of the Special Merit singles “deserving special attention of programmers and dealers” in the May 8, 1971 edition: “Gene Chandler and Jerry Butler team up once again with a powerful rock item that should carry them straight to both the Hot 100 and Soul charts. First rate performances.”
#126 on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for June 12, 1971.
#32 on Record World‘s R&B Singles chart for week of July 3, 1971.
#44 on Billboard‘s Soul Singles chart for the week of June 26, 1971.
#42 on Cash Box‘s Top 60 R&B chart for the week ending July 3, 1971.
Written by James Spencer
AUDIO for “Funky L.A.” by Paul Humphrey & His Cool-Aid Chemists
peaked at #109 on August 14, 1971 [Lizard]
A Billboard “Top 60 Pop Spotlight” designee for the week of June 26, 1971: “Humphrey’s ‘Cool Aid‘ took him high on the Hot 100 and into the teens on the soul chart. This driving discotheque winner offers that same sales potency.”
Peaked at the #45 spot on Billboard‘s Soul chart on August 28, 1971.
#7 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Up” chart for July 10, 1971.
#97 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles for the week ending July 31, 1971.
#136 on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for August 28, 1971.
AUDIO LINK for “Gotta Get Over the Hump” by Simtec & Wylie
peaked at #101 on September 11, 1971 [Mister Chand]
Walter “Simtec” Simmons + Wylie Dixon from Chicago.
Says one 45Cat contributor, “According to the data we have, this was the most popular release from Gene Chandler’s Mister Chand label. It did not do particularly well. The A-side went to #4 in Jackson, MS.; #5 in Dayton, OH.; and #10 in Chicago (WGRT) and XEPRS [AM] in Rosario, Baja California, Mexico. It hung out a lot on [NYC’s] WWRL’s charts, but ultimately only rose to #14.”
“Gotta Get Over That Hump” also peaked at #29 on Billboard‘s Soul chart for the week ending August 28, 1971.
#36 on Cash Box‘s R&B Top 60 for the week of August 14, 1971.
#20 on Record World‘s R&B Singles chart for the week of September 4, 1971.
Written by Bobby Pointer, Ronald Simmons, Walter ‘Simtec’ Simmons & Wylie Dixon
AUDIO for “Hey Ruby (Shut Your Mouth)” by Ruby and the Party Gang
peaked at #105 on December 25, 1971 [Law-Ton]
Record World‘s November 13, 1971 edition informs us that “Clarence Lawton, President of Law-Ton Records, dropped by Record World last week to discuss his label’s two latest hits, ‘Let One Hurt Do‘ by L.J. Reynolds & Chocolate Syrup and ‘Hey Ruby (Shut Your Mouth)’ by Ruby & the Party Gang. Lawton, who started his Avco-distributed company in August, is also working closely with the label’s Stylistics, whose current hit is ‘You Are Everything.'”
#24 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 25, 1971.
Written by Bessie Martin, Bobby Martin & John Mobley
AUDIO LINK for “That’s Alright (I Don’t Mind It)” by Alzo
peaked at #116 on February 12, 1972 [Ampex]
Supporting musicians include Bob Dorough (keyboards) & Eric Weissberg (banjo).
Part of Billboard‘s “Top 60 Pop Spotlight” for the week ending December 11, 1971 — “A cut from his debut LP, this folk rock newcomer has it to hit with impact first time out via top 40.”
Album review in the December 25, 1971 issue of Cash Box: “Title [Looking for You] tells of a search which should come to a happy end once the sounds therein get out into the open to freshen the air for all of us. Bob Dorough who is a cult in the jazz world of piano-vocalists has produced the artist in a bright and varied manner, so that each cut can take the now ragged picture of a contemporary singer/songwriter and restore it to its original brilliance. Single of ‘That’s Alright (I Don’t Mind It)’ is the best introduction we can suggest. Afterwards, the audience should be on a first-name only basis with him for some time to come.”
#118 on Record World‘s “Singles 101-150” chart for March 18, 1972.
Album initially released on Ampex, then reissued the following year on Bell.
Written by Alzo Fronte
AUDIO LINK for “Love the Life You Live (Pt. 1)” by Kool and the Gang
peaked at #107 on February 26, 1972 [De-Lite]
Review from the December 17, 1971 issue of UK’s Blues and Soul: “Acknowledged as one of the leading exponents of psychesoul, this often brilliant jazz-tinged band come up with something different here. The basic funk is certainly in evidence but the horns seem more mellow than on their most recent outings. The whole thing is totally devoid of any definite pattern and that’s half the beauty of it all. The subtle use of the wah-wahs is good, and the occasional vocal chorus tucked in behind the music is appealing.”
#40 on Billboard‘s Soul Singles chart for the week of February 26, 1972.
#60 on Cash Box‘s R&B Top 60 chart for the week of March 11, 1972.
#126 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 18, 1972.
#124 position on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart (March 25, 1972).
Written by Gene Redd, Jr. and Kool & the Gang
AUDIO LINK for “Free Your Mind” by The Politicians
Funk My Soul provides the history lesson in his album review for The Polticians Featuring McKinley Jackson: “Jackson was a long standing member of Motown’s sessions band, playing trombone on dozens (if not hundreds) of Holland-Dozier-Holland recording sessions for the label. That would certainly explain how Jackson and company ended up releasing one of the first album’s on the trio’s post-Motown Hot Wax imprint. Musically the album featured a collection of ten largely-original instrumentals ranging from hardcore funk (‘Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic‘ and ‘Funky Toes‘) to a radio friendly ballad (‘A Song for You’). Technically these guys were pretty amazing, easily measuring up top Motown’s Funk brothers, Hi Records’ Hodges Brothers, or The Memphis Horns … The best track (and the sole hit for the group), ‘Free Your Mind’ stands out for its indescribably catchy guitar leit motif, a wah-wah’d lick that may well be the funkiest ever waxed. Labelmates 8th Day used the backing track for their B-side ‘Freedom Is Instrumental.’”
#115 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 13, 1972.
AUDIO LINK for “It’s Too Late” by Bill Deal and the Rhondels
peaked at #108 on August 19, 1972 [Buddah]
Portsmouth, Virginia’s Bill Deal and the Rhondels helped fuse blue-eyed soul and “beach music” on such classic tracks as (the somewhat ska-like) “May I.”
Single “recommended” by Billboard in the August 5, 1972 edition.
#81 on Record World‘s Top Singles chart for August 26, 1972.
Last place (#100) on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for August 19, 1972, while the previous week, the single had just been beyond the reach (#102).
“Regional Breakout” single in New Orleans, as reported in the August 19, 1972 issue of Billboard.
“Too Late” made the Top 15 in Brazil, as reported in the December 9, 1972 issue of Billboard.
AUDIO LINK for “I Ain’t Never Seen a White Man” by Wolfman Jack
peaked at #106 on September 23, 1972 [Wooden Nickel]
45Cat’s greekgrove tells us — “Dick Monda who wrote ‘I Ain’t Never Seen A White Man’, wanted to release this as a ‘Daddy Dewdrop’ single, but head honcho of MGM/Sunflower (Mike Curb) was against it, so the song was passed to Wolfman Jack. Meanwhile Dick Monda did finally release his original version of the song in 1973 as ‘Monda’ for Buddah Records where the song was re-titled ‘Everyman‘.”
Record World‘s review of Wolfman Jack’s Wooden Nickel album (liner notes by Isaac Hayes, Leon Russell & Todd Rundgren): “Legendary L.A. dj has been increasingly in the public eye lately, helped along by a recorded kudo from Todd Rundgren. Now he’s done an album, from which ‘I Ain’t Never Seen a White Man’ already shapes up as a hit single. Many other distinctive cuts from that distinctive voice.”
#102 position on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for the week of October 14, 1972.
#106 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for October 7, 1972.
Another sing-along = c’mon, it’s good for you
“Supersonic Rocket Ship” by The Kinks
peaked at #111 on October 14, 1972 [RCA Victor]
45-only track (featuring steelpan drums) when originally released.
Record Worldreview of The Kinks’ Everybody’s in Show-Biz long-player in the September 9, 1972 issue: “Two-record gift from Ray Davies & company consists of a live album and a studio set. Many of the new cuts are outstanding Kinks material, with ‘Supersonic Rocket Ship’ sounding especially hitbound. ‘Celluloid Heroes‘ is an instant classic.”
Musical trio featuring [Booker T & the MGs guitarist] Steve Cropper, along with David Mayo and Ron Capone, who released one album in 1973 that was recorded at Trans Maximus Sound Studios in Memphis.
Kal Rudman, in his “Money Music” column for Record World, writes excitedly in the September 2, 1972 issue: “Hot advance tip from Memphis: ‘Bang’ Washrag on TMI. This instrumental is a piece of pure funk. It has solid top sales in Memphis and is rapidly spreading to r&b stations and secondary pop stations. The sound is so strong and so commercial that we can predict it will be a top 10 record nationally. There is no way to keep still while this record is playing. It is truly a magic record.”
Cash Box enjoyed a playful poke in their August 5, 1972 review: “Group is out to ‘clean up’ with this chuggin’ little instrumental with a rockabilly flair.”
Written by Steve Cropper, David Mayo, and Ron Capone.
Billboard‘s July 29, 1972 edition includes a news item “From the Music Capitals of the World – Toronto“: “Thundermug now breaking nationally with both ‘Thundermug’ and ‘Africa’ from the Thundermug Strikes album. Group is on London-distributed Axe label.”
Billboard‘s December 9, 1972 edition, in its “From the Music Capitals of the World – Toronto” column, reports that “CKLW Windsor/Detroit has charted two new Canadian singles, ‘Daytime, Night-time’ by Keith Hampshire and Thundermug’s ‘Africa,’ both of which are now available in the US on A&M and Bell, respectively. Both singles have done exceedingly well on Canadian charts and look set for wide action in the US market.”
“Africa” was a “Regional Breakout Single” in Detroit, according to Billboard.
AUDIO LINK for “Trying to Live My Life Without You” by Otis Clay
peaked at #102 on January 6, 1973 [Hi]
Produced by Willie Mitchell — recorded in Memphis at Royal Studios (“one of the oldest perpetually operated recording studios in the world”).
Record World‘s review from their October 7, 1972 edition: “A powerful and sensitive singer in the Otis Redding manner, Clay is a natural for Willie Mitchell’s Memphis magic. One of the better r&b records in a good year for r&b records, it will pop top forty.”
“Well Make Love,” which came extremely close to making the Hot 100 chart, is from Al Anderson’s debut album (on which Al is joined by Tom Staley and Terry and Donn Adams, among others) — released prior to Anderson joining NRBQ.
Review from Record World‘s February 3, 1973 issue: “New singer writer debuts with this selection from his first LP. Cut shuffles right along in the same vein as Van Morrison, complete with horns. Potent entry for starters.”
Composed by Lou Reed, produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson, and arranged by the three of the them.
Record World selected “Satellite of Love” as one of its “Hits of the Week” in the May 26, 1973 edition: “Former Velvet Undergrounder shocked the world by having a Top 15 single with ‘Walk on the Wild Side‘ [with Herbie Flowers on bass]. From Transformer comes this more cosmic composition. David Bowie’s genius is there in the production. Should soar to the top.”
Billboard did not designate “Satellite of Love” as one of its “Top Single Picks” for the week of May 26, 1973 — but they did tag the song as “also recommended.”
#118 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart two consecutive weeks for June 23 & 30, 1973.
As with “Satellite of Love,” this song was not picked by Billboard as a Top Single, but rather as one of the “also recommended” for the week ending April 7, 1973.
“Bra” went from #113 (May 26, 1973) to #93 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart (June 9, 1973).
Record World‘s review of Cymande’s second album Second Time Around in the June 9, 1973 edition begins with this observation — “Rarely can a group appear on jazz, r&b, and pop charts at the same time, but these dynamic musicians made all three with their very first album.”
Somewhat related news item (“Schwaid Signs Independents”) in the July 7, 1973 edition of Cash Box: “Bob Schwaid today announced that he has just signed one of the hottest new groups, the Independents, to his Thruppence Ltd. management firm. Schwaid, who has managed such top artists as Van Morrison and Miriam Makeba, is presently personal manager for superstar vocalist Al Green, Cymande, a West Indian rock band, and comic Lonnie Shorr. The Independents are Chuck Johnson, Maurice Jackson, Eric Thomas and Helen Curry.”
“Bra” written by Patrick Patterson and Steve Scipio.
That same issue of Cash Box includes this ad from Chess/Janus:
Nyah-Rock, is the music of Cymande A wicked blend of calypso, Afro rock and love Through it they speak their ideals, heritage and themselves.
Their first album was such a success it’s only natural they follow it with a Second Time Round
AUDIO LINK for “Old Betsy Goes Boing, Boing, Boing” by The Hummers
peaked at #104 on August 25, 1973 [Capitol]
One of Record World‘s “Single Picks” for the week of June 23, 1970 — “The ditty that’s used for the rotary engine Mazda commercials gets new lyrics for top 40 radio and should see lotsa spins everywhere. Cutesy production will rev up plenty of action.”
Love Marie Ratliff’s enthusiasm in her “County Hot Line” column in Record World‘s July 14, 1973 edition — “‘Open Up Your Heart‘ is an open-and-shut case for Roger Miller! The verdict is — it’s a hit. So says KBUY, WCMS, WIRE, WXCL (they picked it); as well as WMC, KCKN, and WEET! Ditto for The Hummers’ first happening, ‘Old Betsy Goes Boing, Boing, Boing.’ Popular opinion sentencing it to a long chart run!”
Tip of the hat to 45Cat’s RichardSibello, who informs us that “the stereo version has a spoken ending that the mono version doesn’t.”
Written by Dan Dalton and L. Rood.
Listen in stereo – if you dare
AUDIO for “Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell and Dean by The Creep
peaked at #116 on September 1, 1973 [Mr. G]
Released in the US and Canada — same recording on both sides of the 45.
Tagged by Record World not as “Single Picks” but rather “Spins and Sales” in the August 11, 1973 edition.
The Blue Ridge Rangers turns out to be Creedence Clearwater’s John Fogerty playing all instruments on a handful of 45s and one full-length album released between 1972 and 1973 — “Back in the Hills” is a non-LP B-side that easily sells for two figures at auction.
During the recording of the Mardi Gras album, John was already at work on his first solo release. Since he only contributed three new songs to [Mardi Gras] LP (and, some say, refused to play on the songs contributed by Stu and Doug), John had free time on his hands and devoted that time to recording what would become The Blue Ridge Rangers album. By the time of that album’s release in early 1973, [Creedance Clearwater Revival] was pretty well represented on the record shelves: solo albums by John Fogerty, the second solo disk from his brother Tom, and Doug Clifford’s first solo LP were all now available. Only John’s album sold well enough to make the charts … The Blue Ridge Rangers peaked at #47 early that summer [June 9, 1973 edition of Billboard].
Released with virtually no reference to John Fogerty’s involvement (other than the producer’s credit on the back cover), it simply featured five silhouettes of Fogerty against a sunset on the front cover, each pictured playing a different instrument. It was, for all purposes, an anonymous release. The first single release, “Blue Ridge Mountain Blues,” failed to make the charts at all. The follow-up, a great re-working of the Hank Williams classic “Jambalaya,” made Cash Box Magazine‘s Top Ten. (It stopped at #16 in Billboard but was a #5 smash here in Chicago.) The next release, “Hearts Of Stone,” went to #33. Even John wasn’t guaranteed chart success by virtue of his previous resume … his next two releases “Back In The Hills” b/w “You Don’t Owe Me” and “Comin’ Down The Road” b/w “Ricochet,” both failed to chart. (Both were non-LP singles and are now quite collectible.) They would also be his last releases for Fantasy Records.”
AUDIO LINK for “Take Life a Little Easier” by Rodney Allen Rippy
peaked at #112 on October 20, 1973 [Bell]
Included in Billboard‘s “First Time Around Picks” (new artists deserving airplay and sales consideration) in their October 6, 1973 edition: “Everyone by now has heard this charming child singing the Jack-in-the-Box commercial. Here’s the commercial music version of the melody by this five-year old on the way to commercial exploitation.”
Burbank’s Kendum Recorders cut the masters for this Rodney Allen Rippy recording that somehow involved Thomas “Snuff” Garrett (though not as producer) — check out this cheeky ad from the December 15, 1973 edition of Billboard. (“Who Is Snuff Garrett And Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About…”)
“Take Life a Little Easier” went from #103 (week ending October 6, 1973) to #76 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart (week ending October 27, 1973).
Written by Sid Woloshin and John Annarino — Arranged and produced by (the recently-departed) Al Capps.
AUDIO LINK for “Your Funny Moods” by Skip McHoney and the Casuals
peaked at #113 on March 13, 1974 [DC International]
“Skip Mahoney, together with fellow Francis Cardozo hall-dwellers George Norris, James Morse, Franklin Radcliff, and Morris Moore, the Casuals, Washington D.C, were formed in 1965. Upon graduation in 1968, Skip had a draft scare, but received a reprieve when, after a few agonizing months in basic, he was deemed flatfooted and sent back to the capital. In 1969, the group solidified around its best-known lineup: Roger Chapman, Billy Jones, and original member George Norris. Most importantly, the quartet joined forces with schoolmate James Purdie, a partially blind multi-instrumentalist who had made a name for himself at Cardozo. Purdie could play, arrange, and write songs, and proved essential to the group’s unique and professional sound; equally important, he would be the driving factor in connecting the Casuals with Robert José Williams.
The Casuals played frequently at The Room and the Mark IV in Northwest D.C. and The Carousel in Baltimore, with guitarist Otis Brown and bassist Ira Watson joining James Purdie, who handled drums and keyboards as needed. Over the course of two years, the group cut seven tunes with Williams at DB Sound: “Your Funny Moods,” “(Seems Like) The Love We Had Is Dead And Gone,” “We Share Love,” “I Need Your Love,” “Town Called Nowhere,” “I’m Looking Away From My Past,” and “Strugglin’ Man.” When their first single for DC International Records, Inc. came back from the pressing plant, the group was dismayed to find itself billed as Skip Mahoaney & the Casuals, after being a vocal group for nearly a decade. Chapman, Jones, and Norris quit in disgust, but their complete R.G.B. recordings were collected on 1974’s Your Funny Moods LP. Unfazed, Skip rallied Tracy Reid, Jerome Rodgers, and Allen Morgan to join him in support of the album, taking the group to realms outside of DC International Records, Inc.’s limited regional scope.
Released in 1976 on Nashboro’s Abet imprint, Land Of Love took full advantage of the increased recording budget a national label could provide. Now upgraded to producer, Purdie arrived at Track Recorders [Silver Spring] with a handful of guitarists, backing vocalists, a harpist, two trombonists, two trumpeters, two bassists, an oboe player, a trio of saxophonists, and a full string quartet arranged by Eddie Drennon. The album’s first single, “Running Away From Love,” got widespread radio play on R&B stations, but couldn’t get over the hump and onto the pop charts. After a management deal went south with mob-connected Joe Fontana in New York City and discos sprung up in place of live venues, the group finally petered out in 1978. Harrison Hoaney died March 2020.”
Written by Skip Mahoney and James Purdie
AUDIO LINK for “The Credit Card Song” by Dick Feller
peaked at #105 on October 23, 1974 [United Artists]
Top Ten hit on Billboard‘s County chart, peaking at #10 on November 23, 1974.
#30 on Cash Box‘s Country Top 75 chart for October 26, 1974.
#116 on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart on October 26, 1974.
Dave Thompson explains in his Funk essential listening companion: “Atlantic opted not to pull a second single from [1974’s Average WhiteBand album], insisting instead that the band cut something else in the spirit of the hit. They emerged with another James Brown-type jam, “Cut the Cake,” which effortlessly returned AWB to the Top Ten in April 1975. Utterly unflattered by such tributes, Brown himself responded by remixing and overdubbing a 1971 JB’s rhythm track, “Hot Pants Road,” and releasing it (on the specially formed Identify label as “Pick Up the Pieces One by One,” under the name AABB (the Above Average Black Band).”
Thanks to 45Cat’s jukebox george who reports that “BMI.com credits Track A to James Brown, St. Clair Tony Pinckney Jr., and Fred A Wesley Jr. Track B to James Brown & Leon Austin.”
“Right From The Shark’s Jaws (The Jaws Interview)”
by Byron McNaughton & His All News Orchestra
In a brief news item with accompanying photo — “Playboy Adds Timi Yuro” — the September 6, 1975 edition of Record World [pg. 11] reported that “Timi Yuro has been signed to an exclusive recording contract with Playboy Records, announced Tom Takayoshi, executive VP for the label. Playboy plans to release the first single resulting from the agreement on or around September 12.”
“Southern Lady” was a “Pick of the Week,” as reported in the October 11, 1975 edition of Cash Box: “This country ballad shows strong evidence of crossing over to MOR [i.e., “Middle-of-the-Road”] stations. Fine arrangement, influenced with strings, horns, and great backup vocal tracks. Timi really performs on this down-home tune produced by Andi Di Martino. Go with it, MOR’s!”
Discogs tells us that Playboy Records was “originally distributed independently, [though] near the end of its existence it used CBS Records Distribution.”
AUDIO for “Born to Get Down (Born to Mess Around)” by Muscle Shoals Horns
peaked at #105 on March 20, 1976 [Bang]
“Born to Get Down” spent a total of 16 weeks on Billboard‘s R&B chart, peaking at the #8 position.
#19 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 R&B singles for the week ending June 12, 1976.
#98 on Record World‘s Top 100 Singles chart for the week May 29, 1976.
AUDIO LINK for “Theme From One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”
by The Jack Nitzsche Orchestra
peaked at #109 on May 15, 1976 [Fantasy]
Album review from Cash Box‘s January 3, 1976 edition: “With a movie such as One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest it takes a highly creative soundtrack to fully capture the compendium of emotions involved. This Jack Nitzsche does as his music seems to fit into every furrow and wrinkle of the movie’s theme. Top listens include ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,’ ‘Aloha Los Pescadores,’ ‘Bus Ride To Paradise’ and ‘Play The Game.’ One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is movie music that can stand on its own.”
In 1976, the soundtrack album was nominated for “Album of Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a TV Special” (though Car Wash would win).
Denny Bruce — John Fahey’s one-time producer who later formed Takoma Productions with Fahey — offered Spectrop this amusing and offbeat tribute:
Roosevelt “Rosey” Grier was a giant of a man, big, heavy, and fast who played defense and was feared for his power. Jack said he had the worst sense of timing for a singer he had ever worked with. They were doing “I Who Have Nothing” which, of course, was a hit for Ben E King. Everyone knew the song. Maybe in the showers after a game he would sing and his teammates would say, “Hey man, you’re a hell of a singer.” Jack did the track, and Rosey shows up with four of his teammates, who all wanted a show-biz career, whatever would be, would be. Standing in the studio wearing headphones (probably for the first time in his life) the track would play and Rosey was maybe hypnotized by hearing the music but didn’t sing.
Jack said, “Rosey, you know when to come in, don’t you?” In listening to the Ben E King song, the arrangement is not just a standard arrangement, and the first word “I” followed by “who have nothing” sold the song. Well, they tried to just record “I” and once they got that Jack thought the battle was over. Wrong!! He then brought Rosey into the control room, and let him listen to the playback over the studio speakers. Jack said, “Once you hear the intro if you count to yourself, (I forget the number) 1,2,3,4,5 it’s time to sing “I”. Well, that did not work. So Jack stood up, and would lift his fingers: 1,2,3,4,5 and ‘cue’ Rosey. This only rattled him more. Jack would try and capture the rhythm of the track, with body language, and try his damnedest to make him feel where “I” came in. The guy had no sense of rhythm, and one and a two and now I point and you sing “I” backfired. Rosey’s eyes were like a deer trapped in the headlights – he focused on Jack, but when he brought down his arm to point at Rosey, he would just blurt out “I.”
This is the bull[dung] not a lot of people know about how tough it is to make records with celebs. Soupy Sales was equally bad, but hilarious to work with, because he’s a comedian.
Rosey went on to national fame, as he was with Bobby Kennedy the night Sirhan Sirhan shot him at the Ambassador Hotel, LA in 1968. Rosey actually grabbed him, and threw him to the ground [LA Times notes that Grier “reportedly sat on the gunman until police arrived”]. Jack and I were roommates at the time, and saw it live on TV.
Recommended by Billboard in its December 4, 1976 edition.
“Psychoticbumpschool” was one of Record World‘s “Single Picks” in their December 4, 1976 edition: “The Parliamentfunkadelicrubberband strikes again with their left field approach to funk. ‘Casper‘ and company offer a complete education in three minutes.”
When this 45 was released in the UK, according to 45Cat’s My Friend Jack — “Five weeks on the Breakers list from 30 Jul 1977, peaking in 1st place.” By way of clarification, UK publication Record Mirror began publishing their own “Bubbling Under” list in 1966 to augment their Top 50 chart that soon became known as “The Breakers” (i.e., 10 to 15 records for the singles chart which had not made the Top 50 that week, but were poised to reach the big chart the next week ranked in sales order i.e., as if they occupied positions 51 to 64).
Once upon a time, kids – this might be hard to believe – the world’s second most valuable brand had the following naive-and-somewhat-puerile corporate ethos: “Don’t be evil.” Honest. This private firm then went public and promptly went back on its word in the course of doing business with more repressive regimes around the world and responding to shareholder pressure to maximize return on investment. Tax Justice Blog reveals all:
“In 2012 alone, Googledodged an estimated $2 billion in income taxes by shifting an estimated $9.5 billion to offshore tax havens.”
Google, no doubt, has better uses for this money and is in no way planning to keep all the money for itself. Most fascinatingly, when you Google (ironic?) the phrase “don’t be evil,” the search results show the Wikipedia summary blurb for “Don’t be evil” in the present tense (i.e., “…is the corporate motto”), but when you click on the Wikipedia entry itself, the statement suddenly becomes past tense: was.
Too Late! already evil
Fortunately, Anton Newcombe and TheBrian Jonestown Massacre have never felt pressured by any do-gooder mandate — if anything, quite the opposite. The guiding principle from the band’s inception has been clear and unfaltering: “Keep music evil.” Would you be surprised to learn that the Brian Jonestown Massacre has its own Super PAC – The Committee to Keep Music Evil?
Evil, yes. Shoegazers, too?
Despite the overt Stones and Beatles references, Brian Jonestown Massacre represents a generational shift in modern rock where Velvet Underground-style drone – not blues – is the lingua franca for many of the up-and-coming beat groups here in the new century. Anton and the band would make explicit this musical approach in the title of their first long-player Methodrone, issued by the very visionary Greg Shaw (who left us much too early at the age of 55) on his Bomp! label. Newcombe wrote and engineered “That Girl Suicide” along with the fourteen other tracks on this album – although the comments below would strongly seem to suggest some inter-band grumbling:
“I picked out a matching guitar and bass for an ex-girlfriend Diana… matching because she wanted to learn. We were sitting in her bedroom, and I said play this “the bass riff” and I did the rest, then tricked the group bit by bit at the next practice. Everyone still thinks they wrote it. Whatever. Go listen to all their records of all the great songs they wrote and get back to me. I could actually care less. I’m too busy writing new songs.”
Oh, and one more thing:
“Let me add – the actual session is live at the compound with the group – one take… that’s why the vocals are not so hot… we were all in the main room… and everyone did a good job. Including Brian Glaze. Travis Thrillkel was good in these days with me on the psycho bits and Jeff was great at rhythm, we both had this country old school Chet Atkins thing in our blood that would pop up sometimes … with all the other junk.”
“An early track from their debut, Spacegirl and other Favorites, that revolves around a repetitive guitar riff and off-kilter vocals. ‘That Girl Suicide’ showcases some of the band’s early shoegazing influences. Featured in the movie DiG! and a long-time fan favourite.”
A huge tip of the hat to Joel Gion for demonstrating through deed that being “just” the tambourine player need not be the musical equivalent of being relegated to right field. I remember coming away from a particularly inspired 9:30 Club performance convinced that Gion had just about stolen the show. In 2014, Gion would tap into his own creative spirit by putting out his first solo effort, Apple Bonkers, with instrumental support from BJM members past and present – Matt Hollywood, Jeffrey Davies, Daniel Allaire, and Miranda Lee Richards – along with Pete Holmstrom of The Dandy Warhols, Ryan Van Kriedt (The Asteroid #4/Dead Skeletons) & Jason “Plucky” Anchondo (The Warlocks/Spindrift).
Of course, that was then – Anton’s music has evolved considerably, as one would expect. The Guardian checked in with Newcombe, who relocated to Europe in 2007 and now lives in Berlin – link to this 2014 interview. Wait – The Guardian checked back in a year later.
Wake up, DC! The Brian Jonestown Massacre return to the 9:30 Club May 5th this year!
Debt of gratitude to Bill Hanke, who is blessed with an uncanny set of musical antennae and who first insisted that I check out Brian Jonestown Massacre when they played DC’s Black Cat in the late 1990s (Backstage, of course) with The Greenhornes as warm-up act.
This week we said goodbye to Buddy Emmons, one of the world’s great musicians and subject ofthree prior Zero to 180 pieces. Here is but a*45-second livedemonstration (beginning to end) of Buddy Emmons’ singular genius with the pedal steel guitar:
Billboard‘sApril 4, 1960 editionawarded three stars (i.e., “good sales potential”) to the original Decca 45 release and praised “Four Wheel Drive,” an original composition,for itsuniquenessof sound:
“Four Wheel Drive” — A swinging instrumental, has a country and jazz quality. Ununsual item for jocks.
“Blue Wind” — This one with a Hawaiian flavor plus a touch of blues orientation.
Only image of this 45 I can find online — scary
It is disappointing that (as of 2021)Discogsand45Catare both bereft of entries for Emmons’ outstanding sole Decca single [link toPragueFrank‘s session info]. This gaping historical hole is in stark contrast to the high regard in which Emmons is widely held:
Three years later in 1955, Emmons made a big splash with the addition of his Bigsby to the trademark twin lead guitar sound of Jimmy Dickens as a member of his backing band, The Country Boys, points out Kienzle, who got the opportunity to display their considerable musicality at Nashville’s Music City Recording Studio in January, 1956 on such blazing instrumentals as “Country Boy Bounce,” “Raisin’ the Dickens,” and “Red Wing.”
A partnership with Shot Jackson led to the founding in 1957 (possibly 1955) of Sho-Bud Guitars, a top name in pedal steel, especially after Bigsby stopped their steel production. Emmons left the running of the company to Jackson in the late 1950s so that he could join one of country’s finest backing bands, The Texas Troubadours, an experience that led to the oddly ambiguous recording session with Owen Bradley on October 5, 1959 that produced the extraordinary “Four Wheel Drive” and “Blue Wind” 45 for Decca (plus two unissued tracks).
Emmons stayed with [Ernest] Tubb until 1962, when he made two major changes: leaving the Troubadours and, after disagreements with Shot Jackson, leaving Sho-Bud. He and North Carolina inventor Ron Lashley formed the Emmons Guitar Company shortly after that, creating a steel that included many of Emmons’ design ideas that Shot had rejected. Early that year, when Jimmy Day left Ray Price’s Cherokee Cowboys, Emmons replaced him in the band. Again, Buddy was working with one of the premier country road bands.
Off the road, he often played jazz with other musicians around Nashville. When Ernest Tubb’s son Justin, a successful singer in his own right, heard Buddy at one of these jam sessions in 1963, he suggested that Emmons try an all-jazz steel guitar album and soon interested Mercury Records in the concept. Jazz arranger, Quincy Jones, working as head of pop A&R at Mercury, suggested some tunes, and was originally set to produce the session. Jones couldn’t do it, but Buddy, who’d wanted to record in Nashville, was set to record in New York on July 22, 1963 with a jazz rhythm section.
That same year – in a fascinating historical side note, courtesy of a news item published in theMay 30, 1964 issueof Music Business – we learn that Emmons’ wife was also part of the music industry:
A. Halsey Cowan, international attorney for Nashville’sPamper Music, conducted a seminar on copyrights for publishing firms at theLibrary of CongressMay 15  attended by pubbery reps from a wide area. Other speakers included … Mrs. Buddie Emmons and Walter Haynes,Moss Rosepubbery …
Emmons’ tenure with Ray Price’s backing band, The Cherokee Cowboys, was an artistically fertile time – with frequent jam sessions on the tour bus, says Kienzle – that peaked with the recording of the Western Strings LP for Columbia in 1965. Price would subsequently make a conscious effort to de-emphasize the country elements in his live band, however, a move that impelled Emmons to join Roger Miller (himself an ex-Cherokee Cowboy) in relocating to the West Coast, where he began playing steel as a session player.
How cool that my all-time favorite steel guitarist played with one of my top groups (NRBQ) and guitarists (Duane Eddy). Steel Guitar Forum, no surprise, already has a thread devoted to Buddy’s memory, while Edd Hurt penned a nice tribute to Emmons inThe Nashville Scenethat talks about some of Buddy’s pedal steel technical innovations, such as extra strings and pedals that raise the fretboard.
Steel Guitar Great Buddy Emmons Dies Pedal steel player backed up artists from Ernest Tubb to Linda Rondstat By Stephen L. Betts –Rolling Stone– July 30, 2015
Musician Buddy Emmons, widely regarded as the world’s foremost steel guitarist, hailed for his unique playing style and innovations with regard to tuning, has died at age 78.
Born Buddie Gene Emmons in Mishawaka, Indiana, and nicknamed “the Big E,” his guitar work was heard on countless recordings by acts ranging from Ray Price and Ernest Tubb, to Linda Ronstadt and the Carpenters.
At 11 years old, Emmons studied on lap steel guitar at the Hawaiian Conservatory of Music in South Bend, Indiana, learning to play country music by listening to the radio. As a teenager, he joined his first bands, relocating to Illinois then to Detroit, before moving to Nashville in 1955 to join Grand Ole Opry star Little Jimmy Dickens’ band at 18 years old. Christened the Country Boys, Dickens’ band recorded several instrumentals, including three of Emmons’ original compositions. After Dickens dissolved his band in 1956, Emmons and fellow guitarist Shot Jackson formed the Sho-Bud Company, which designed and built steel guitars. Emmons also began extensive Nashville studio work, and joined Ernest Tubb’sTexas Troubadoursthe following year, remaining with Tubb until 1958.
Four years later, Emmons became a member of Ray Price’s band the Cherokee Cowboys. By 1967, he was living in California, and after joining Roger Miller’s band, landed more high-profile studio work in Los Angeles, appearing on records by Nancy Sinatra, Gram Parsons, John Sebastian and others.
A 1974 return to Nashville continued his studio work, on LPs by George Strait, Mel Tillis, Gene Watson, June Carter Cash, Ricky Skaggs and many more. Emmons was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1981. He toured with the Everly Brothers in the Nineties and would later be heard occasionally on radio’s A Prairie Home Companion.
Emmons retired in 2007 after the sudden death of his wife Peggy. In 2013, a tribute LP was released. The Big E: A Salute to Steel Guitarist Buddy Emmons, featured Willie Nelson, Little Jimmy Dickens, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, and several steel players including Randle Currie, from Brad Paisley’s band. A rare bit of Emmons songwriting, “Are You Sure,” also appears on Kacey Musgraves’Pageant Materialas ahidden trackduet with Willie Nelson. As the story goes, he and Nelson penned the 1965 song together after a confrontation with a bar patron.
Fellow steel player Steve Fishell, who cites “The Big E” as a chief inspiration and is currently on the road with Emmylou Harris, summed up Emmons’ death to Rolling Stone Country as nothing short of a tragedy: “It’s a towering loss in the pedal steel community and to music lovers everywhere.”
Sweden’s Slam Creepers, judging solely by their name, sounds like a band of relatively recent vintage (e.g., 1980s hardcore?) — and yet, their first release, fascinatingly enough, was a split single in 1965: a 7-inch flexi-disc in which shared Slam Creepers shared space with The Hollies and fellow Swedish band, Lucas!
Vinyl debut: Slam Creepers on … flexi-disc!
Four years and a handful of singles later, Slam Creepers would find themselves in another “shared” arrangement — a 12-inch “Shelby Singleton product” wherein the band would be rubbing shoulders on the same LP with Jeannie C. Riley, The Hep Stars, and Mister “Cincinnati Kid” himself, Prince Buster!
The Hep Stars would include future ABBA founder, Benny Anderson
The Great Youth Festival includes “Hold It Baby,” a driving rock ‘n’ soul number that was only issued as a B-side in Sweden and cannot be found on either of their two albums:
“Hold It Baby” Slam Creepers 1968
Worth considering how “radical” it was in 1969 to release a sampler album that co-mingled late 60s country (Riley), Jamaican rocksteady (Buster) & Swedish pop (Slam Creepers & The Hep Stars) — albeit one that was issued for the Spanish market.
From a typography standpoint, I am intrigued that Slam Creepers utilized — as did their American musical colleagues, The Afro-Blues Quintet Plus One — the “Future Shock” typeface for the cover of their 1967 debut album:
Are there any earlier LPs with this same “Future Shock” typeface than these from 1967?
CONTEST OPEN TO ALL:
Who can find the earliest musical use of this 1960s typeface?
In 1968, Slam Creepers would issue two singles, and – in the noblest Beatles fashion – these four songs would not find release on the band’s sophomore ’68 LP Sweet Ruth.
Slam Creepers’ 1968 B-side “Hold It Baby” reveals a refreshing American soul influence:
Michael Stipe and his REM bandmates, it would appear, are bat fans, as evidenced by their non-LP B-side, “Winged Mammal Theme.” This abstract (near) instrumental take on “The Batman Theme” – flip side to their 1992 hit, “Drive” – would be rejected, interestingly enough, for the soundtrack to Batman Returns. Thankfully, this song, as Tom Hawker observes, would prove useful as tinkly background music for The Weather Channel:
Finally, “Release the Bats” by Nick Cave’s Birthday Party – I feel strangely compelled to confess – once caused a heated argument between myself and Tom Newbold, a close friend who, sadly, is no longer with us. Tom once played “Release the Bats” at considerable volume in close quarters, at which I took great offense. At the time, I accused Tom of “musical assault,” while he insisted that he was simply motivated by great art that required sufficient amplification to be fully appreciated.
The dear, departed “Newbs,” in fact, directly stoked my fascination with music history as a result of my having failed colossally to help Tom settle a musical debate that should have been a slam dunk. The issue of contention: rock and roll’s place of origin, geographically speaking. “Uh, England?” this hopeless Beatlemaniac meekly offered from the back seat.
Thanks to Lester Bangs for pointing me to one of the more unusual storylines in pop music – B.J. Thomas‘ 1966 single, “Plain Jane“:
A dramatic narrative about a serious issue, “Plain Jane” might strike today’s ears as being a bit hokey or kitschy, even though this sort of thing still happens and will continue as long as our popular culture puts a premium on looks and surface appearance. Quoth Bangs:
But dig the denouement: the kids pull a fake phone call from a football hero, ‘inviting’ her to the prom, and when he fails to materialize on the big night, she commits suicide! Take a lesson from that, kids. Your brothers and sisters certainly did, at least until the next day at school where class lines were the lessons that mattered, where pariahs were pariahs, and the sentimental compassion mushed up from the pop songs was just that: sentiment.
“Plain Jane” – released December 17, 1966 – “bubbled under” Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart, peaking at the #129 position the week of its release. The single appears to have originally been released on a small independent label, Pacemaker, before being picked up by Scepter for national distribution.
“Plain Janes” was composed by Mark Charron, who wrote quite a number of single sides for Thomas, as well as The Vogues, fellow Scepter artist, Chuck Jackson, Hanna-Barbera legends, Pebbles & Bamm Bamm, and many others.
Seven years prior in 1959, Bobby Darin, had also voiced something called “Plain Jane” written by Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman, a song that manages to charm the listener, despite the lyric’s male chauvinism, nice trick that. Eddie Hickey, Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians, and Sammy Hagar, among others, have written original compositions entitled, “Plain Jane.”
On December 16-17, 1966 Mill Evans recorded three songs in Chicago for King Records. For some unfathomable reason, one of those tracks – “Ain’t You Glad” – stayed in the can for 35 years and would have remained unissued, had it not been for the fine (and far-sighted) folks at Ace Records:
“Ain’t You Glad” Mill Evans 1966
“Ain’t You Glad” is the kick-off track on Ace’s 2001 anthology, King Northern Soul Vol. 2, and is as good as – if not better than – “Why Why Why,” Mill Evan’s sole King Records 45.
Phil Manzanera squeezes off soulful guitar lines, particularly during the instrumental coda, on “Always Unknowing” – the flip side of Roxy Music’s Top-20 hit from 1982, “Avalon“:
This languid and forlorn Bryan Ferry composition remained a B-side for 20 years or so until included in a remastered CD mix of Avalon. “Always Unknowing” was also included on 1983 Warner Brothers B-sides and rarities compilation album, Attack of the Killer B’s.
In 1978 Robert Palmer traveled to Lee Perry‘s recording compound in Kingston, Jamaica to get a little piece of that magic Black Ark sound. “Love Can Run Faster” (B-side of Robert Palmer’s big 1978 hit, “Bad Case of Lovin’ You“) is the only song Palmer released from that recording session and bears the unmistakable imprint of Perry during a particularly fertile period of sonic exploration at Black Ark:
“Love Can Run Faster” Robert Palmer 1978
“Love Can Run Faster,” which shows Palmer very much under the spell of Stevie Wonder, is a song I did not encounter until much later in life when it came mistakenly bundled on a CD – or rather, included as a mis-identified bonus track on Lee Perry’s groundbreaking collaboration with two stranded and destitute musicians from Zaire, Kalo Kawongolo and Seke Molenga. That is, on the 1993 CD reissue of From the Heart of the Congo, the track listing indicates the final track to be “River Stone” – a dub reggae instrumental by Jamaican band, Zap Pow – but for some unfathomable reason, “Love Can Run Faster,” Robert Palmer’s soulful Lee Perry-produced flip side is, in fact, the actual track included on the disc!