I Love How You Love Me
The Paris Sisters I Love How You Love Me 45 (Gregmark, 1961)
When I am out digging for record often I am really digging. Not in dirt, but through boxes of records. Sure I flip through record bins, but the good stuff comes out of dusty boxes. When I am digging, in an hour's time thousands of records can pass through my hands and I look at each one of them. Like anyone who has spent a good portion of their life record hunting, I have developed a shorthand that makes it so that I can fly through records. What is that shorthand? Ha! Do you ask the opposing catcher to fill you in on his signs? While I won't give you the particulars, I will say that I look for certain labels, producers, songwriters, etc. Not only for the good, but the bad.
Take Motown. I will pick up very early Motown singles, ones with the flat, blue, map label or earlier. If you've seen enough Motown records you know what a pre-1966 label looks like. And of the pre-1966 there are just a few I am looking for, so plenty get tossed aside. When the labels get glossy, I know that I probably have the record or have heard it a zillion times and will hear it a zillion more times before I die. When the label changes from the classic map label to the yellow & brown, heard it or have it. The label art that followed is on records not worth sniffing at. So right there I just eliminated 99% of the Motown 45s I come upon. I came up with my Motown uhhh strategy by reading some books on Motown, Motown artists, Detroit soul, and R&B, as well as listening to and looking at a lot of Motown records.
Now take the template above and adapt it for different labels, genres, artists, producers, etc. and you come up with a whole bunch of filters that make plowing through records go much faster. Now, my filters aren't so restrictive that I toss records I know nothing about or have no tips on or nothing to go by. Nah, that is how I find some of the best records. It is also how I educate myself about different labels. I'll throw another bone to you, though if you are interested in this blog than it is a bone you probably chewed already. That bone is White Whale Records. White Whale was a good Southern California 60s pop label that started off putting out vocal surf stuff. They hit big with the Turtles and that pretty much set the label's style, well written tight pop songs with good but not slick production and not overly orchestrated. My favorite White Whale band is the Clique, who made some killer singles. When the label strayed from the formula, most of the time the product suffered. I was never a big Turtles fan so I didn't know about White Whale til I started picking up 45s and found that if I concentrated on a certain time period (told by the style of the label) the odds were good I'd find something listenable.
So what about The Paris Sisters. They were three ladies from Fresno, California who started off as Andrew Sisters clones and did non-rock pop in the mid to late 50s. There career is pretty much irrelevant until they met Phil Spector and he decided to pattern them on the Teddy Bears, his vocal trio which he skyrocketed to fame. Spector produced two singles for them on Gregmark, both of which were hits. Then Spector dropped them and they went to Reprise and their career slowly died.
I would know nothing about The Paris Sisters if I did not know that Phil Spector produced some records for Gregmark, which I know because I've read a lot on Spector and I know of Phil Spector because...well, he's Phil Spector! So when I am digging through the box of records I was digging through the day I found this record, I saw the Gregmark label, looked down at the bottom and say "Supervised & Arr. by Phil Spector", and I put it in the "To Buy" pile. If it was any other Paris Sisters record I would have passed it up.
My chances of finding this particular Paris Sisters record wasn't high, but it wasn't like I was looking at a rarity once I held it in my hands. "I Love How You Love Me" hit number five on the Billboard charts, so plenty were made. If I was a bit older I might have heard it before I found the record. If my parents were a bit younger, I might have got a listen when I ravaged their record collection. I am sure that at one point the record was quite common. Years pass, records get thrown away, songs get forgotten. Rediscovering this stuff is part of the pleasure of digging.
Seeing their "Dream Lover" in Kenneth Anger's Kustom Kar Kommandos film short probably had something to do with their effect on me, too.