Thursday, December 30, 2010

Still MORE on Susie Darlin'!!!

I also heard Scott Shannon's shout-out and subsequent playing of Robin Luke's wonderful "Susie Darlin'". It used to get more airplay on older stations such as MAGIC 104 in the eighties, when they were more inclined to spin stuff from the mid-to-late-50s and early 60s (besides Dion, Ray Charles and the obvious No. 1 blockbusters). It is a truly a great song and deserves much more representation.
Mike Curb DID continue, on and off, to record, even though his FIRST priority was producing and penning. I will hazard a hypothetical guess (without having checked anywhere yet!!!) that Mike Libert, or Liebert, is his given name. One of his minor hits was "Burning Bridges" early in 1971 on MGM as "The Mike Curb Congregation", complete with full orchestra and a bunch of kids and adults -- a kind of gospel-pop if you will. I liked it but got quickly tired of it!!!
Tower Records, as far as I know, got going in 1964-65. One of their first smash hits was Ian Whitcomb's dance stomper "You Turn Me On" (Englishman, right?) and then they started signing American acts such as The Sunrays and Davie Allan -- and eventually "Max Frost and the Troopers", dissolving the label around '69.
Bob Rashkow

Thanks, Bob. "You Turn Me On" was ANOTHER one of our earliest Forgotten Hits features ... what a GREAT song! Maybe we can get a jock or two on the list to give THIS one a spin today! (kk)

And, while we're at it ... here's another ... how about somebody out there playing "It's All-Right" by Adam Faith today!!! For some reason, these two songs always seem to stick together in my mind ... I love 'em BOTH ... yet you rarely hear EITHER of them on the radio anymore! We're doing OUR best to try and rectify that today! lol (kk)

Hi Kent,
Well put me in the Susie Darlin' camp as well. I don't know when I first heard it but I was born in 1957 and just sort of always have it as a song memory so I heard it somewhere.
Well, without question folks are enjoying hearing it again. Looks like we scored a home run with this one!!! Thanks, Bill! (kk)

How cool that I was mentioned in the Susie Darlin' posts!
Here's to a "Fuzzy" holiday!
Davie Allan
See, Davie, the REAL fans out there know that you played on this record!!! Happy to point it out to everyone else (as part of our "Entertain And Educate" Policy here at Forgotten Hits! lol) kk

The Robin Luke interview and conversation is a fascinating one.
Robin may get a kick out of this. I still perform that song today. Many of my customers are ballroom dancers and they love the cha cha rhythm of that song. So Robin, it's a hit with ballroom dancers. I'm sure you never envisioned that 55 years ago.
BTW, I spent many an hour, in my bedroom, recording layers of harmony from a Sony reel to reel to an Ampeg reel to reel. You had to plan very carefully which part you wanted to lose the most of and record it first. The loss of fidelity was a real obstacle. My greatest multiple layering achievement was recording the harmonies of "Something Happens" the Dante and Friends recording. I was thrilled to have sung each part and get it recorded in my bedroom. Well it sounded good to me at the time, anyway. LOL.
Keep up the good work of resurrecting those great oldies. Wonderful memories and so wonderful to get updates on the artists like Robin Luke.
Bob Hughes

I had to chuckle when I saw all the versions of Susie Darlin' that you and your readers found ... like even one by Mike Curb. Do you think maybe Herb Alpert might have covered it, too???? Or possibly The Hollywood Strings??? ... har har... Put me on the list of your readers who always liked that song.

Kent, your in-depth investigation of it is really neato. Thanks for helping me explore all that crazy music and memory territory ... it's like "Sound Archaeology" ... a really interesting non-credit course at The University of Forgotten Hits.
Veeder Van Dorn

The Moonrakers

>>>We used a primitive Ampex portable tape recorded with “sound on sound” and one microphone. I would lay down a track and then put on earphones and sing over the original track(s) to put another one on. This went well until a mistake was made, and then we would HAVE TO START ALL OVER! It took about one month to get it right with seven tracks. That is why Susie Darlin' sounds so “mushy” ... because each time a track was laid down on top of the others it took a great deal of high fidelity away. (Robin Luke)
>>>This does sound fair / poor ... that's a shame!!! (John)
That's a pretty awful thing to say ... the quality of the recording adds to the charm of the song. Perhaps if it were done in a professional studio it might not have been a big hit.
I can think of other songs that sound similar that became big hits that just would not sound right if done in a major studio. Another one that comes to mind is There Goes My Baby by the Drifters, which was done in a tiny studio that was primarily used for cheap songwriter demos, because the good studio they usually recorded at was booked for the day. If it sounded high fidelity I don't think it would've been as big of a hit.
Tom Diehl
And, as we learned, Robin Luke was taken to one of the BEST studios in Hollywood to re-record "Susie Darlin'" with experienced, top-notch session musicians ... and the results were not even releasable! It's the "crude sound" of this recording that is it's greatest charm. (kk)
>>>Isn't it amazing with all the gadgets and gizmos at anyone's disposal today for recording purposes, how cool the song sounds with just the tapping of a pencil for percussion. I think that simplicity is part of what makes many of those 50s songs great.(Jack)

>>>I have multiple copies of the 45 in my collection because I love this version so dang much. (Tom)
>>>I absolutely LOVE that version of Susie Darlin' by Mike Curb --- any idea how I can get a copy? (Dean)
>>>Well, it sounds like Tom Diehl's got four copies ... maybe HE'LL sell one to you! (lol) kk
>>>I do not remember this (of many) covers. A nice upbeat version though! I’d love to have a copy. (Robin Luke, Ph.D.)
I have multiple copies of the 45, I'll gladly send Robin one for free if I can get his mailing address. Anyone else interested in one will have to send me money (LOL).
Tom Diehl
I passed your offer on to Robin Luke, Tom ... let's see if he takes you up on it!!! (kk)

Kent ...
I know that you and Robin told me that the story about this song, "Susie Darlin'", that's been going around since it was recorded, wasn't true. I've decided to reject your version of the story, even though it's true.
I'd rather think that Robin Luke wrote "Susie Darlin'" as a tribute to his sick and dying sister than to think he put her name on it at the last minute to avoid having problems with his High School girlfriends.
That's how I feel about it.
Do we always have to search for the truth? I say , not in this case.
Frank B.
LOL, well, as they always say, when given the choice of printing the facts or the legend, go with the legend every time. But we're all about "The Most Accurate Truth" here in Forgotten Hits ... so I was happy to help to set the record straight regarding "Susie Darlin'"'s TRUE origins.
Sure, the legend SOUNDS better (unless, of course, you happen to be poor little Susie Luke!!!) but we're all about setting the record straight ... which is why this OTHER point is such a stickler with me! (kk)

Sounds like Mike Curb may have been dipping into the royalty pool when he released his version of "Susie Darlin'" -- leave it to Forgotten Hits to uncover this mystery -- or, at the very least, start a whole new controversy!
Mike Curb built an INCREDIBLE career for himself, first in the music business and then in the political arena ... his credentials are really quite impeccable. However, that being said, I would think that, speaking strictly as someone who at one time earned their living as a singer, a recording artist, a songwriter, a producer and a record label executive, there isn't ANYONE out there who could possibly better understand the personal connection an artist would have to a piece of work that they themselves have created.
Let me make it clear that we're not accusing ANYBODY of doing ANYTHING. However, if something "unsavory" happened in connection with Curb's release of Robin Luke's song, I just feel that THIS would be the proper time to make things right. SOMEBODY along the way added the name "M. Libert" to the songwriting credits ... and with Mike Curb and Davie Allan BOTH involved with the recording of this tune for Tower Records, we'd just like to find out the "inside track" and make things right ... so my hope is that SOMEBODY involved with this release would come forward and allow us to help in doing so.
Davie Allan has been a FH List Member for several years now and has been a GREAT supporter of our efforts here. Likewise, we have done everything within our power to help spread the word about his latest releases.
Mike Curb and I have both been involved in a project together for the past couple of years that, as of yet, still hasn't come to fruition ... and, as such, I'm unable to talk about it within the context of this forum ... but I would hope that ALL parties concerned would see our intentions only as being right and honorable and help us put this matter to bed once and for all. I can only ask them to support me in my efforts to do so.
A whole lotta years have passed by since this record was first released. Robin Luke may be considered a "One Hit Wonder" by all of our musical standards ... but it was a pretty big hit ... and Robin spent the next 35+ years carving out an incredible academic career for himself, becoming a Professor at Missouri State University. Mike Curb spent a great part of his career setting standard after standard in the music industry before reinventing himself with equal and/or greater success in the political arena. BOTH men should be proud of their lifetime accomplishments ... they have BOTH enjoyed extemporary careers in their chosen fields.
All WE'RE trying to do here is make things right. I have no other agenda ... political or otherwise ... just the basic knowledge that right is right. (kk)
I apologize for having very little to add to this "Susie Darlin'" conversation except to say that the alias line would not surprise me! Being in the studio everyday for about five years and playing on countless recordings makes much of the facts a little "fuzzy"! I'm fairly good at remembering names but M. Libert does not ring a bell.
I doubt it you'll hear from Mike Curb (he won't even get back to me about the proposed deal with Sundazed to re-release the old soundtracks on CD (a deal that has been in negotiations for a year and a half!!!


But incredibly we DID hear back from Mike Curb!!! Thanks to our repeated requests (and Joel Whitburn's help ... a TRUE combination of persistence and assistance!!!), we FINALLY heard back from Mike, who shared some of HIS recollections surrounding "Shape Of Things To Come", the Max Frost and the Troopers Hit from 1968 that holds the distinction of being the VERY FIRST Forgotten Hit we EVER featured here back in 1999.

And you can read ALL about it right here tomorrow ... in Forgotten Hits!

(What a GREAT way to end the year!!!) kk