Saturday, February 01, 2020
The Fake Sixties, Part 2--Kind of a Drag, Dawn, See See Rider, Martian Hop, more!
When Hit Records decided to credit Kind of a Drag to the "Buchanans," I'm sure that there was no intent to deceive, despite the mild linguistic similarity between the Buckinghams and the "Buchanans." Of course, "Buckinghams" was meant to sound British (so listeners would think they were hearing an Invasion band), while the "Buchanans" naturally sound American, since our 15th president was James Buchanan. Further proof that there was no intention to fool anyone. And it's too early in the morning for me to think clearly. (That's always a good excuse.)
There are five "anon." credits in today's playlist, which means there was no credit on the record. Sometimes that's best, as there are a number of other credits which may as well have been blank--Grand Knights (Premier), Peter Pan Pop Band and Singers (Peter Pan Records), and all the fake names on the Update Records LP, 16 Top Hits of the Week, Vol. 2--The Jumpin (no apostrophe) Jacks, The Chavelles, The Indigos, The Elektras, the Marshmallows. Okay, which of those five names did I just make up? The other four were made up by Update Records, but I tossed one in. Of course, I don't think anyone can possibly top Stumpy Andersen and His Stompers, over at the Evon label. Stumpy Andersen and His Stompers??
Stumpy Andersen and His Stompers??? (Wait--I just typed that.)
Poor Stumpy gets one credit on Discogs--the LP I have (Let's All Do the Twist). A record devoted to the twist, and the band is called the Stompers. No logic to this stuff, I'm telling you.
We get two Be My Babys, though that's the only dupe title--this time, anyway. I almost added another Mrs. Brown, but one is enough in any playlist. It's hard to describe my feelings about Mrs. Brown. One part of me likes the tune and considers it well-conceived, whereas the other part despises the number, though not as much as everything by Salt-N-Pepa. I'm not making this up, but years back I was watching TV, and on comes an ad for Target (?), and a bunch of kids are dancing around to Push It, that Salt-N-Pepa hit with subtle sexual overtones. I mean, they're there, if you really listen. The song sort of beats around the bu.... Er, never mind. Anyway, these pre-teen kids are dancing around the store, and one of the girls says, "My boyfriend likes to push it." Seriously. I must have sat there with my mouth open for about five minutes, hoping that I'd hallucinated. Never saw the ad again. I have a feeling the station's phone lines were flooded for the next week or so.
I don't think I'm pushing it by calling this ad one of the most ill-conceived in TV history. And is it possible that somewhere, on some cheap CD or cassette tape, there's a fake version of Push It? We can only hope not.
Bet you never thought you'd hear a fake version of Spinning Wheel. Bet you never thought to think of such a thing. But here it is--by "Grand Knights." Surprisingly good playing on the track. A rushed session, obviously, but not the disaster I'd have expected. Our two surf numbers--Surf City and Do It Again--are awful (first title) and pointless (second). Normally, I wouldn't include an adult pop cover of a rock number, but Beach Boys covers are surprisingly hard to find, and to find such a cover of Do It Again--priceless. So here it is. The song is one of the slightest numbers to come from the BB, so nothing is ruined by the EZ treatment. In fact, it's kind of nice. Surf City is a Song Hits wipe-out, and if your session singers aren't even on the level of Jan and Dean... then, good Lord. Two singers who can't sing as well as two singers who couldn't sing. Now, that's fake. Whatever I just typed.
I forgot to mention that this Kind of a Drag fake is perfectly decent--an example of Hit Records hitting the mark. Some of the vocal harmonies from that outfit were passable, while others were on the level of the Song Hits Surf City. Ronnie is an example of the latter--dreadful singing, but the song (imo) is so good, it's likable, anyway. The Four Seasons were my very first favorite group as a kid, and Dawn (covered here by "The Chellows"--yeah, right) takes me right back to the day. Hit Records' Dawn has bad harmonizing, too--not quite as bad as Ronnie, though the singers lose the chords a number of times. Yet both fakes have a kind of Four Seasons patina--it's as if we're hearing the Four Seasons doing demos while doped or desperately in need of sleep. The fall-apart ending of Ronnie is a classic fake-hits moment--the singers merely have to go up half a step, but that takes them out of their range, which must reside within a quarter-tone.
I was listening to AM radio in 1963, but I absolutely do not remember Mr. Bass Man. A very Ray Stevens sound to the thing. The bass singer was obviously pushed past his count-keeping limit here, and I'm guessing the original was far more professionally done, but I have no desire to hear it. The Hit Records Batman Theme--no credit for this ripped-from-an-LP edition, though the single would carry one--is very, very good. Amazingly good. How is that possible? Maybe a fake Hit Records did it. Which would make this a fake fake hit.
One of these days, I'll find a fake Martian Hop. I may have to scour the solar system. Er, wait a minute--there's one in the playlist! My search is over. Yay! To the fakes....
DOWNLOAD: The Fake Sixties, Part 2
Kind of a Drag (Jim Holvay)--Buchanans (Hit Records 277; 45 4pm)
Israelites--Grand Knights (Premier 1008; LP)
Be My Baby--The Chavelles (Update Records 101; LP)
Stuck on You--Stumpy Andersen And His Stompers (Evon 351; LP)
Spinning Wheel--Grand Knight (Premier 1008; LP)
Martian Hop--The Elektras (Update Records 101; LP)
Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter--Peter Pan Pop Band and Singers (Peter Pan N 8054; LP)
Ronnie (Crewe-Guadio)--Anon. (Current Hits Volume No. 15; Hit Records 415)
Batman Theme--Anon. (Modern Sound 568; LP)
I'm Henry VIII, I Am--Anon. (Modern Sound 544; LP)
Never My Love--Anon. (Nashville Sound 1011; LP)
Wham--The Jumpin (sic) Jacks (Update Records 101; LP)
Dawn--The Chellows (Hit Records 106; 45 rpm)
The Kind of Boy You Can't Forget--The Indigos (Update Records 101; LP)
Mr. Bass Man--Anon. (Trans World Co. TT 670; LP)
If You Wanna Be Happy--Anon. (Trans World Co. TT 670; LP)
See See Rider (Raney)--Ed Hardin and the Cadets (Hit Records 268; 45 4pm)
Be My Baby (Spector-Greenwich-Barry--The Georgettes (Hit Records 83; 45 rpm)
Surf City (Berry-Wilson)--Anon. (Song Hits 24; 45 rpm)
Do It Again--Ronnie Aldrich (Pianos) w. the London Festival Orch. (Phase 4 90003; 45 rpm; 1968)