Monday, August 14, 2023

Twisters in the Night: "The Big Twist Hits"--The Charlie "Hoss" Singleton Combo (1962)


"Twisters in the Night" is not a reference to tornado activity: It's just terrible word play on my part.  For you see, Charlie (Don't Forbid Me) "Hoss" Singleton wrote the words to Frank Sinatra's best-selling single.  It's not every day that I get to present a twist LP by the lyricist of Strangers in the Night.  And I imagine this will be my one and only opportunity.

Be sure to check Discogs, Wikipedia, etc. for Singleton's many other accomplishments in the music biz, but for the purposes of this post, we simply need to know that between Charlie and RCA Camden's Living Stereo, we have one of the very best of the (approximately infinite number of) budget twist-ploitation LPs.  Fantastic sound, terrific performances--though only one Singleton-penned title: Ukie Dukie (The Twistin' Boy).  And, needless to say, Singleton's covers of The Twist, Peppermint Twist, and Let's Twist Again are exemplary.  And does Charlie sing on these tracks?  I wish I knew.  So far, no info on the vocalists.

The other "authentic" twist numbers are Dear Lady Twist (orig. Gary [U.S.] Bonds), Twist-Her (orig. Bill Black's Combo), and The Continental Twist (from the 1961 movie).  But my favorite track is the twist-ified Night Train.  The highlight of the set, in your blogger's opinion.

For this LP, at least, the twist can be defined as marcato 8-to-the-bar boogie, with an accent on each eighth note.  Otherwise, there was nothing new about the twist, which made things very convenient for the rack-jobber labels--they could market plenty of pre-twist material as the real thing.  And who would know?  Just grab a blues instrumental and tack on a new title.

Only ten tracks--RCA's policy for its budget line (and Columbia's, too, I believe)--but one of the finest twist-ploitation efforts of them all--again, with marvelous fidelity.  So, let's twist the night/day/afternoon/morning/late evening away!  Mid-a.m.; whatever.  Guys, get out your jackets and ties and join the young folks on the cover.

DOWNLOAD: The Big Twist Hits--Charlie "Hoss" Singleton (RCA Camden CAS-713; 1962)

Dear Lady Twist
The Continental Twist
The Twist
Peppermint Twist
The Big Twist
Little Brown Jug--Twist (Arr: Singleton)
Let's Twist Again
Night Train
Ukie Dukie (The Twistin' Boy)