A Pile of Hot (or maybe warm) Wax
Well, it isn't even noon and it is close to 100. Yesterday, it hit 105. Today it will top that. I spent the last two days digging for records at the annual public radio record sale, so today it is lock myself in doors and go through stacks of records. I figure I might as well do a rundown of them while I am at it.
Jimmie King L-O-V-E b/w Pretty Little Baby 45 (Ark)
Great old-style country tear-jerker with some nice slide guitar and fiddle playing. The A side is the ace here, with some great lyrics.
The Tingles Rain, Rain b/w Tell Me Now 45 (Era)
"Rain, Rain" is decent 60s folk pop. "Tell Me Now" is a folk rocker with some weird reverb effect going on in the background. Both songs marred by sappy group vocals.
Ray Allen & the Upbeats La Bamba b/w Peggy Sue 45 (Blast)
A 1962 tribute single to the rockers who found their end in a corn field. "La Bamba" is pretty true to the Richie Valens original. "Peggy Sue" is slowed down and mournful, creating a nice tension and showing how a great song can be molded any which way when it is truly a great song.
Cyd & Cheri Lonesome for You b/w I'm A-Lookin' for Blue Eyes 45 (Lute)
Girl group. Miserable slow one and an okay peppy number. Sounds like someone tried to mold the Andrews Sisters as a girl group, but wouldn't quite commit. So you lose the charm of both.
Johnny Cymbal Bachelor Man b/w Growing Up with You 45 (Kelden)
I guess Johnny Guitar was taken so we get Johnny Cymbal. A-side is early rock & roll with Pah-Pah-Mau-Mau style backing vox and a fresh faced lead who occasionally hiccups and squeals. Backing track is raw enough to be a keeper. Flip is a ballad typical of the time. Good single but not particularly notable.
Odell Brown & the Organ-zers Mellow Yellow b/w Quiet Village 45 (Cadet)
You wouldn't know it now, but start digging for records and you realize how damn influential Jimmy Smith was. Take him and King Curtis and you have hundreds of R&B instrumental singles by pretenders and better, all with some kinda Hammond organ and sax take on popular tunes of the day, as well as originals in a soul-jazz mode. Here Odell Brown does a same-same version of Donovan's "Mellow Yellow" and a funky version of Martin Denny's "Quiet Village." Of course, it is the Denny tune that stands out. The rendering is much more Latin jazz - think Cal Tjader as he was sliding into slickness - than lounge exotica. Good stuff.
Sound Experience You Don't Know What You're Doing b/w Don't Fight the Feeling 45 (Soulville)
I say yes to: 1. Delfonics-influenced sweet soul, 2. Lyrics of the "Girl, I am gonna tell you how it is" variety, and 3. Awkward talk-overs...and the A side has all three. The flip is Simtec & Wylie-style dance floor funk.
Carl Henderson Please Stop Laughing at Me b/w Sharing You 45 (Omen)
Sam Cooke/Jackie Wilson stamp on this single. "Please Stop Laughing" is uptempo, with a great odd intro and a better (and longer) than average guitar break. Excellent! "Sharing You" is a great R&B ballad with good vocals and more great guitar.
Jimmy Barnes No Regrets b/w Keep Your Love Handy 45 (Gibraltar)
"No Regrets" is an Otis Blackwell song that was a minor hit for Barnes (1959) and a bigger hit for the great Little Willie John (1960), and it is as good as a soul ballad got. "Keep Your Love" is a good early rock & roll tune, made about the time that the powers-that-be re-segregated the music market and once again started calling rock & roll by Black artists "race records."
Albatross Rock 'n Roll Boogie Man b/w Witchy Witchy Lady 45 (Mooncrest)
Great boogie-glam with jaunty piano and a cool fiddle. Just enough hick sound to give it flavor and a nice fuzz guitar. At times it reminds me of early ELO, which is always a good thing. I am pretty sure Robin Wills posted the A side on purepop. The B-side has that semi-Latin/semi-funk/semi-rock sound you get with some Santana, Ides of March, Doobie Brothers, etc. Not bad, not memorable.
Barry Mann Amy b/w Talk to Me Baby 45 (Red Bird)
Yup, Barry Mann of the famous Brill Building Mann/Weil writing team, the one that turned out great songs for the Red Bird label and the Shangra-La's and many many others. And that is the most interesting thing about this single. "Amy" is a pap. "Talk to Me Baby" sounds like the Goff/King classic "I'm into Something Good", also from 1964.
Four of a Kind Prance Around b/w Chippies Playground 45 (Laurie)
Somewhat faceless R&B from 1965. For some reason this single brought to mind Huey Smith's "Sea Cruise." Make of that what you will.
Tutti Frutti Don't You Just Know It b/w Honeysuckle Workout 45 (Reprise)
And by some stroke of magic here is a version of Huey Smith's "Don't You Just Know It" done a bit slick and funky. Surprise surprise, Richard Perry is behind this, which might account for the Tina Turner sounding lead lady in the A side, as he produced Turner in the 70s (and Capt Beefheart in the '60s). The B-side is a very good instrumental.
Bobby Sansom & the Maus Marks Don't Leave b/w Hows About It Baby 45 (Sublime)
Oh shit! This is what makes going through piles of records worth it. Fantastic sweet soul, the kind that you hear for the first time and melt. So many things great about "Don't Leave" you just have to listen to it. "Hows About It Baby" is a great Bo Diddley-style raver. Double A-side Paradise!
Five by Five Hang Up b/w Fire 45 (Paula)
Sixties psych punker of the Seeds/Love variety coupled with a swell organ-driven cover of Hendrix. Future Crud material, without a doubt.
Resolution 717 The Old Man b/w Pretty Girl Why 45 (GM)
Wheezy organ + wheezy lyrics ("Tears trickled down his wrinkled cheek") = wheezy song. Now if dude would have been singing about purple hot dogs or psychedelic ponies and not a dying old man, this would be a outsider classic. The flip is a Stephen Stills song. What saves this single is the wheezy organ. It sounds out of place and the organist throws in weird bits. It is those weird bits that keeps this thing around.
The Don Scarletta Trio York's Sauna Pt 1 & 2 45 (Capitol)
Good jazz jam of the Brubeck school with a very cool drum break on the B-side. Not much more to say about this one.
Shawn Gorden Stop! b/w The Time has Come 45 (Gigantic)
Curiously catchy country pop from the 60s. Musically it reminds me (fast and slow) of Roy Orbison, though a bit out of whack. Gorden's vocals are not anything like Orbison, instead he has a lounge singer goes country style. The more I spin this record, the odder it sounds.
The Victorians Lovin' b/w Move a Little Closer 45 (Arnold J.)
"Lovin" is a total Grassroots pop but without the dramatic builds. It is good but "Move In...." is great Pet Sounds pop via Gary Zekeley. Great 60s pop.
Bobby McDowell I'm Coming Home b/w Keep Her Out of Sight 45 (Amy)
Rick Hall of Muscle Shoals fame produced this but that matters not. What makes this is that it is a Vietnam War talkover. Bibles and bullets, the price we pay for ______ - no one says. This has a vaguely apolitical Support the Troops sentiment to it. Unfortunately, that also means that there is very little verve in McDowell's "statement." The flip is an average country jerker.