Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Hal David songs (1946-1961)
I was sure I had Guy Mitchell's (Otto Drives Me Crazy) Otto's Gotta Go on a 45, but it's nowhere to be found. However, I did locate ten other Hal-David-without-Burt numbers in my crazy collection, starting with 1946's I've Got a Walkie-Talkie and concluding with the minor Merv Griffin hit of 1961, The Charanga. These numbers on this playlist feature the kind of gentle and clever word play we expect from Hal, with 1955's A Girl Can't Say telling a Hal-style mini-story over a cellular, Bacharach-style tune by Leon Carr. (Have I always wanted to type "a Hal-style mini-story over a cellular, Bacharach-style tune by Leon Carr"? Come to think of it...) A lot of loving care went into these texts, save maybe for Art Carney's 1955 Va Va Va Voom, the flip side of Song of the Sewer, and can you imagine being assigned the flip side of Song of the Sewer? I wouldn't have pumped my best into it, either.
Call Me Careless (1955, again) has a very good tune and lyrics, but it's not one of Joan Weber's best days in the studio. Her affectations seem kind of odd, and she's painfully sharp throughout. Much smoother and on key is the Patti Page/Patti Page duet Little Crazy Quilt of (you'll never guess) 1955.
This Merv fan has been listening to The Charanga for decades (on and off, not auto-play) without looking at the label credits and, therefore, not knowing Hal did the words. It's not a bad Hal effort at all, even if it's the mildest kind of novelty--listen, please, to the remarkable matching of words to melody. Add Merv's smooth and relaxed vocal, and the imaginative Sid Bass arrangement, and the result is superior and satisfying fluff.
(And check out this excellent essay at the blog, Ill Folks: Hal David, the Conversational Lyricist)
From 78s and 45 in my collection. To the zip file: Hal David songs, 1946-1961
I've Got a Walkie Talkie (David-Rodney-Block)--George Olsen O. w. Judith Blair, 1949.
I Wish I Had a Record (Goodhart-Altman-David)--Perry Como w. Mitch Ayres, 1949.
Little Crazy Quilt (David-Carr)--Patti Page, 1955.
Goo-Goo Doll (Wolf-David-Carr)--Steve Allen w. Dick Jacobs, 1955.
I Came Back to Say I'm Sorry (David-Carr)--The Landers, 1956.
Mother, Mother, Mother Pin a Rose on Me (David-Altman)--Kitty Kallen w. Mitch Miller, 1950.
Va Va Va Voom (Carney-David-Carr)--Art Carney w. Sid Feller, 1955.
A Girl Can't Say (Carr-David)--Eydie Gorme, 1955.
I Wish I Had a Record--Guy Mitchell, 1949.
The Charanga (David-Rizo)--Merv Griffin w. Sid Bass, 1961
Call Me Careless (David-Carr)--Joan Weber w. Jimmy Carroll Orch., 1955.