(Now It's) Back to School
Cal Hayes (Now It's) Back to School 45 (D'Oro, 196?)
Please, please take me to Cal Hayes's school...but only if I have a clear path to the exit! Prepare yourself to hear the strangest, creepiest, and, perhaps, best end of summer/back to school song you will ever hear. I know those are strong words but trust me.
Hayes has a distant haunted voice, one that reminds me in tone of a strung out Charles Lloyd and in temper of Jandek. I assume he also plays organ and dubbed the backing vocals. The percussion track is one of those stock jobs that used to come with old Hammond organs and which Timmy Thomas used on his excellent Why Can't We Live Together LP. However, a few beats into Back to School and you know this is no where near the eccentric yet smooth soul of Timmy T. The record sounds like it was recorded in a crawlspace.
Because there is little info on the record label, I know nothing about Cal Hayes and D'Oro Records. There is no date on the record but the Hammond, the type style on the label, and the flip side (a very good raver called Lies! Lies!, which I will post some other day) lead me to believe that this was made in the late 60s. Unfortunately D'Oro was a common name for record companies. Cal Hayes could be a master rose grower, a video game voice actor, a baseball player, Mickie Most's son, or a Canadian. Or he could be some guy who made a record and disappeared. My seaches have been fruitless. There is no information in the deadwax that would give me pressing plant information. Neither the songs nor Cal Hayes is registered with the major publishing companies, BMI & ASCAP. This is a complete mystery.
I didn't find this one myself unless you count walking into my favorite record store after a month's absence and the owner calling out, "I am glad you came today! I have the worst record ever for you!" He dropped the needle on this thing and the percussion track told me I was in for a treat. As the song grew it became more and more strange. My record shop pal looked at the speakers in disgust, as the skin on my face was stretched to its limit by the big fucking grin spreading accross it. He took the record off, handed it to me, and pointed at a few boxes that just came in. "There's more stuff like that over there. Whatever you want, it's a buck each." After an hour I had a nice healthy stack and was sent out the door wit, "I can count on you to buy what no one else wants!"
The mind boggles - I had no idea there WAS more stuff like that.
Perhaps just as well.
PLEASE put up the other side!
Back about 10 years ago I read Dave Marsh's "Heart Of Rhythm & Soul" which has short essays about each item on his list of 1001 greatest singles. I had probably heard about 995 or so and one I hadn't was "The Wind," which he describes very eloquently.
A couple years ago - figure maybe *8 YEARS* after I read the book, I was listening to the radio in the car and changed stations into the middle of "The Wind." By about ten seconds in, I had a strong feeling that this was the elusive unheard Diablos cut finally - Marcus' evocation of its weird wonderfulness had been so indelible. It was.
And then - once I was reminded to look - I was able to Limewire it in a couple of minutes.
Still don't have a vinyl copy, but I did find a nice NS & The D's CD collection which also features the !monstrous! rocker "Mind Over Matter," which I would love to hear the Rolling Stones crank up one day.
He died in a high school massacre.
And then he made this record.