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Archive for the ‘Early ’70s Radio’ Category

Song ID: Jerry Wallace’s Night Gallery hit

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

screen-shot-2013-09-02-at-92411-pmI’ve been watching reruns of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery on MeTV. This was an early ’70s series that ran for three seasons and had a format similar to the Twilight Zone, with Serling as the host introducing creepy tales with twist endings. Each episode featured a corresponding painting in keeping with the “gallery” theme and fright factors that were more heavy-handed than in the Twilight Zone.

I finally got to see an episode called “The Tune in Dan’s Cafe” (painting on left), which I had known spawned the Jerry Wallace 1972 country #1 hit “If You Leave Me Tonight I’ll Cry.”  The episode told the story of a jukebox that played the same record over and over again due to its being haunted by the ghost of a jilted lover. After the episode ran in January of ’72, apparently, radio stations received enough requests for the nonexistent record to prompt an official release by studio vocalist Wallace, who’d had moderate pop chart success until the mid-sixties, when he’d shifted gears to country.

I’ve never much liked this Wallace record, being the kind of overwrought schmaltz country radio had more than its share of in the early ’70s.  When I saw the episode, though, I realized that the TV version is better, having a harder country sound.  Would listener demand for the song have been so strong if the TV version had been as goopy as the official release? Well, probably. Try as I might to decipher why songs become popular, sometimes melodies just get stuck in people’s heads.

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Jerry Wallace – “If You Leave Me Tonight I’ll Cry” (Night Gallery TV excerpt) (1972)

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Jerry Wallace – “If You Leave Me Tonight I’ll Cry” (hit record excerpt) (1972)

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Song ID: The Globetrotters – “Gravy” (1970)

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

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Cartoon characters usually had corresponding music business obligations in the early ’70s. The animated Globetrotters, who scrapped the “Harlem” from their name during this peak era of theirs in pop cultural prominence, were no exception.  You can experience “Gravy,” their attempt to crack the pop charts, in cartoon context at 4:53 in this clip. Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon actually did participate in background vocals, apparently, while journeyman vocalist and songwriter J.R. Bailey sang lead. No Globetrotter singles cracked the Billboard Hot 100.

Four Tops numerology: The number 7

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

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Number of years after signing with Chess that the Four Tops finally signed with Motown: 7 (1956-1963).

Number of Four Tops songs to crack the Billboard Top Ten: 7 (“I Can’t Help Myself,” “Same Old Song,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” “Standing in the Shadows of Love,” “Bernadette,” “Keeper of the Castle,” and “Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got)”).

Number of Four Tops charting hits to feature a number: 3. The number featured in all three of those: 7 (“7 Rooms of Gloom,” “Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life),” “Seven Lonely Nights”).

Numbers featured in the titles of two albums recorded by the Four Tops/Supremes supergroup: 7 (The Magnificent 7, The Return of the Magnificent Seven).

Robin Gibb’s 1970 Yugoslav chart invasion

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Billboard‘s “Hits of the World(2/28/70, p. 65) shows Robin Gibb’s “Saved By the Bell” as the only non-Yugoslav Top Ten entry. It’s J.J. Light’s “Heya,” appearing at #9 in Switzerland, though, that really has me swooning.

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Aja and Gaucho song sequences

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

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The cassette version of Aja I used to listen to in my teens had a totally different song sequence from the LP version. Still don’t know what the reasoning was behind such drastic reshuffling. I maintain that not only should the cassette sequencing for Pretzel Logic become the standard version, but also that the cassette sequencing for both Aja and Can’t Buy a Thrill are much stronger and more sensible than the LPs.

All the Steely Dan albums through Gaucho, incidentally, had weird cassette vs. LP sequence discrepancies. Gaucho is actually the one Steely Dan album that I feel strongly about as having a better LP lineup. But again, why the difference in the first place?

Aja (LP):  Side 1 – Black Cow; Aja; Deacon Blues. Side 2 – Peg; Home at Last; I Got the News; Josie.

Aja (Cassette): Side 1 – Aja; Deacon Blues; Josie. Side 2 – Black Cow; I Got the News; Peg; Home at Last.

Gaucho (LP): Side 1 – Babylon Sisters; Hey Nineteen; Glamour Profession. Side 2 – Gaucho; Time Out of Mind; My Rival; Third World Man.

Gaucho (8-Track): 1 – Babylon Sisters; Time Out of Mind. 2 – Gaucho; My Rival. 3 – Hey Nineteen; Third World Man. 4 – Glamour Profession.

Song ID: Incredible Bongo Band – “Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley, Your Tie’s Stuck in Your Zipper” (1974)

Monday, November 28th, 2011

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The Kingston Trio’s “Tom Dooley” hit #1 over the Thanksgiving weekend in 1958.  I had a mini-Dooley fest on Folkways today, where I played the hit version, the Smothers Brothers version, Grayson and Whittier’s original 1929 version (Grayson was actually related to the Grayson in the song), and “Tom Dula” by the late Bill Morrissey with Greg Brown from 1993. I did not, however, play this 1974 Incredible Bongo Band version of the song, called “Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley, Your Tie’s Stuck in Your Zipper.”

The Incredible Bongo Band – “Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley, Your Tie’s Stuck in Your Zipper” (1974)

The Vertigo Show: Pastoral Version

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

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And here’s a playlist of some of my favorite pastoral tracks from the Vertigo label that I aired on my KOOP Radio International Folk Bazaar show this week. Above: Magna Carta.

Playlist:
Dr. Strangely Strange – “When Adam Delved
Magna Carta – “The Bridge at Knaresborough Town
Juicy Lucy – “That Woman’s Got Something
Thomas F. Browne – “Poor Man’s Smile”
Fairfield Parlour – “Monkey
Tudor Lodge – “It All Comes Back to Me
Rod Stewart – “Only a Hobo
Magna Carta – “Sponge
Jade Warrior – “Yellow Eyes
Black Sabbath – “Fluff
Ian Matthews – “Little Known
Jimmy Campbell – “In My Room
Hokus Poke – “Big World Small Girl

The Vertigo Show: Heavy Version

Monday, June 6th, 2011

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Here’s a playlist of some of my favorite heavy Vertigo tracks that I aired as a guest host on KOOP Radio’s Rock N Roll Pest Control this week.  Above: Hokus Poke.

Playlist:
Colosseum – “The Kettle” (1969)
Flied Egg – “Burning Fever” (1972)
Black Sabbath – “NIB” (1970)
Sensational Alex Harvey Band – “Midnight Moses” (1972)
Freedom – “Through The Years” (1971)
May Blitz – “For Madmen Only” (1971)
Uriah Heep – “Real Turned On” (1970)
Black Sabbath – “St Vitus Dance” (1972)
Status Quo – “Drifting Away” (1974)
Jade Warrior – “The Demon Trucker” (1972)
Gravy Train – “Can Anybody Hear Me” (1971)
Ronno – “Powers of Darkness” (1971)
Warhorse – “Standing Right Behind You” (1972)
Hokus Poke – “Hag Rag” (1972)
Clear Blue Sky – “I’m Comin’ Home” (1971)
Lucifer’s Friend – “Ride In The Sky” (1970)
Status Quo – “Big Fat Mama” (1972)
Black Sabbath – “Lord Of This World” (1971)

Sunday Service: The Cowsills – “Where Is Love” and “II x II” (1970)

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

The opening number of this clip features Cowsills mom Barbara, who passed away 24 years ago today, along with daughter Susan and son Bob. (PS: The blonde woman is Nanci Roberts, Bob’s wife at the time.) The Cowsills, in case you don’t know, were a family group with a handful of big late sixties hits and even more handfuls of Tiger Beat features. They were actually supposed to be the TV family we now know as the Partridges, but when they objected to the intended replacement of real mom Barbara with fake mom Shirley Jones, the whole thing fell through.

This entire clip comes from a Cowsills appearance on the CBS Playboy After Dark TV variety show, which ran from 1969 to 1970, and it really sticks in my mind for a few other reasons:

– This family group with considerable preteen market appeal – labelmates with the Osmonds during “wholesome entertainment” advocate Mike Curb’s tenure at MGM – happen to be performing on Playboy After Dark. (Then again, they’d already sung the opening theme for the first season of Love, American Style, the kind of saucy prime time show parents didn’t let their kids watch.)

– Little Susan is uber adorable, and brother Barry (RIP), taking lead vocals on “II x II,” is uber cool and has rock star written all over him.

– “II x II” is the gospel-tinged title track of their gospel-tinged 1970 album (which is also their best). So not only is the family band playing the Playboy Mansion, but they’re also gracing it with gospel music. When the Playboy Mansion crowd is shown clapping along and occasionally holding up two fingers, then, they’re flashing the familiar hippie peace sign that, in this case, also doubles up as a token of gospel solidarity. Take us up Lord, two by two, to Thy Playboy Mansion in the sky, sayeth they. Must be the early 1970s, sayeth we.

Song ID: The Archies – “Sugar, Sugar” (1969)

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

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I was having a conversation with Kendell, who’d just seen my earlier post about the Klowns, and then he started talking about a session he once played for legendary Klowns producer Jeff Barry (who was a friends with Rig’s first drummer, Tom Cerone). The session was for “Sugar, Sugar,” the 1969 #1 hit you know by heart. So here I am in a position to reveal to the world that the faceless “studio musicians” mentioned often by those pop historians who want to make it clear that cartoon characters didn’t really play on those records, were – in the case of the Archies’ quintessential hit – the guys from Rig. Kendell, sitting at the Wurlitzer electric piano, remembers this comment from Mr. Barry clearest: “Throw in some more of that Jamaican horse sh*t!”  Kendell also says the following: “Maybe we should have let Jeff Barry produce the Rig album. But we were too stuck up for that.”

That’s a generational thing. My generation, weaned on a more aggressive level of pop culture commercialism, revels in the prefab aspects of the Archies, Monkees, and their ilk, while they make the previous generation’s hair stand on end. Let’s not even talk about today’s youth generation, who’s probably never thought negatively about songs appearing in commercials and who will be writing doctoral dissertations about ringtones.

The Archies – “Sugar Sugar” (1969)