Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Helping Out Our Readers

>>>I have had a song recorded off KOMA since 1960 that I have never been able to get a 45 copy of and am wondering if you have an MP3 to share of it.  The song is a pop teener by Jimmy Darrow (I think it was anyway) called "Johnny Blue".  It was not a GREAT song, but I have had it SO long on tape and still one I would like to locate in good quality.  Those were great days listening to KOMA as they "went border to border and Coast to coast" with their great "Yours, Truly KOMA" jingles!  (WLSClark)

Hi Clark!

I appreciate the fine words you had for me and the two specialized shows I did on KOMA. The song in question you are asking about is JOHNNY BLUE. It was recorded in 1960 on the UBC record label. It was recorded by Johnny Hughes who was 12 years old at the time. (said so on the label.) The song was produced by Bobby Boyd and written by (Crutchfield - Nelson). The flip was called PRETTY LITTLE GIRL written by (Joe B. West). The record label number was 1018 for JOHNNY BLUE and 1017 for PRETTY LITTLE GIRL. That is the only song I have that I know of with the title of JOHNNY BLUE. Sorry, I don't have access to MP3.
Larry Neal
If anybody else out there is able to track this one down, please let us know.  Clark Besch has certainly provided US with all kinds of great music over the years ... would love to be able to pay him back with this one!  (We're looking for "Johnny Blue" by Johnny Hughes)  kk

Big reader of Forgotten Hits.  I'm 52 and this song has escaped me finding out if it is available and what the name is.  It is from the documentary called Straight Shooter about the Mamas and Papas.
Here is the song that starts:  I am a rake and a rambling boy, many a city I have been. The Cumberland City is ??????  Well, the Cumberland City, yes, I married me a wife, loved her better than I did my life ... She threaten kind by night and day ...
Can you please send this out to the viewers for help ??  I've tried Shazam and Sound Hound to no luck.
My info is as follows
Bob Morrow
Vicmorrow@Aol. com
This is a tough one that I feel can be a tremendous challenge for the listeners and having the video clip to show - if we can show this of course ???
Thanks for any help you can give.
I know exactly what clip you're referring to ... have seen it numerous times ... and I know we've searched for this one in the past, too, but evidently without success.  (As I recall, there are no "end credits" on "Straight Shooter", which typically would show you the song, artist and songwriter for this tune.  If anybody out there can shed some additional light on this, we really would appreciate it.  This was done by one of John Phillips' early folk bands and my guess is it's some sort of traditional folk tune.  Let's see if anything comes back this time around.  (kk)

By the way, Bob emailed me a short clip of the song in question.  If you're interested in seeing it ... or think you might be able to help identify this tune and its origin ... let me know and I'll send you a copy via email.  Maybe between all of us we can finally narrow this one down!  Thanks, Gang!  (kk)

I wanted to ask you for some examples of what you think real Beat music is. I have looked it up and I see it seems to be a confused mishmash spanning a few generations.  
My personal first reference is to the background / instrumental sound of the somewhat comedy song  “Shopping for Clothes” Leiber and Stoller, the Coasters recording, released 1960.  
I wanted to find some more music like this to explore and researched online came to the Wikipedia article on the neo-beatnik group, the Washington Squares, http://www.washingtonsquares.com/ and they are in my experience a post beatnik sound, more like the Association in spirit and sound.  
This is where the cultural links seem to go, in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beat_Generation it mentions: 
The Beats had a pervasive influence on rock and roll and popular music, including the Beatles, Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison: the Beatles spelled their name with an "a" partly as a Beat Generation reference,[50] and Lennon was a fan of Jack Kerouac.[51] Ginsberg later met and became friends with members of the Beatles. Paul McCartney played guitar on Ginsberg's album Ballad of the Skeletons. 
Ginsberg was close friends with Bob Dylan[52] and toured with him on the Rolling Thunder Revue in 1975. Dylan cites Ginsberg and Kerouac as major influences. 
Jim Morrison cites Kerouac as one of his biggest influences, and fellow Doors member Ray Manzarek has said "We wanted to be beatniks".[53] In his book "Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors", Manzarek also writes "I suppose if Jack Kerouac had never written On the Road, The Doors would never have existed." Michael McClure was also friends with members of The Doors, at one point touring with keyboardist Ray Manzarek
Ginsberg was friends with Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters, a group of which Cassady was a member, which also included members of the Grateful Dead. In the 1970s, Burroughs was friends with Mick Jagger, Lou Reed, and Patti Smith.”  
ETC., fine and ultimately we have Steve Jobs (born ~2/24/55) listening to Bob Dylan songs all day and wearing turtleneck sweaters, so this just proves that it was a broad cultural influence that morphed as it went along, from beatniks, to hippies, perhaps to today’s “occupiers” as a connected line of counterculture influence. 
I would just like to know which records do you think belong in the original mold, and is my reference to the instrumental design of “Shopping for Clothes” in the original genre? Can you think of some other songs that may have been popular we can listen to get to know the original conception, as opposed to what it morphed into, which is nearly everything in the counterculture of the 1960s. And the arrangers and musicians of the Coasters song must have had a reference, and it was clearly something different from the original “Clothes Line” by Kent Harris, which is in an earlier genre.
Interesting topic, Leslie ... but not one I'm comfortable answering because I'm not familiar enough with the genre to speak intelligently (much less conclusively) on the subject.  So instead, I'm putting this out to the masses.  Perhaps some of our readers can narrow down the definition a little bit for you ... and even cite some musical examples that we can feature.  There are still "Beat Music" Charts going on to this very day ... in fact a couple of our readers have placed new music on these charts consistently over the past several years ... so let's wait and see what comes back.  Perhaps once we can more carefully narrow down the definition, we can all agree to disagree on just who belongs on this list.  (kk)
I came across this collection on Amazon, which seems to me to just attempts at exploiting the beat conception and are in fact variations on boogie, teeny-bop, jazz-boogie, early surf, over-produced popular personality dreck, big band bop.  
Just in my opinion, this is a pretty awful collection with the exception of the Miles Davis tune, which is at least authentic jazz and couple others that are jazz.  
So sorry to drag you into this, maybe “real” beat music is just a slight variation on “cool jazz” with a narrative and sparse instrumentation?  
But clearly the cultural image had some power, given all the attempts at morphing popular music into whatever they felt that “beat-music” and “beatniks” were.  
No biggie ... I just know that this is NOT within the area of my expertise ... so I'd rather open this up to our readers and get you a more thorough, detailed explanation.  Stay tuned!  (kk)

re:  WIPE OUT:

Hi Kent,
Perhaps I got this all wrong, but I thought I had heard - many years ago - that the Impacts' "Wipeout" (which never charted) is a completely different song from the one done by the Surfaris. I thought Fankhauser had tried to sue at one point but there was really no basis for a case (?).
Gary E. Myers / MusicGem
It IS a completely different song ... it just happened to come first and was in much the same vein as The Surfaris' hit single.  A proposed Forgotten Hits series tracing the history of BOTH versions of "Wipe Out" never materialized a couple of years ago because of too many inconsistencies in the stories.  Nevertheless, there are still some VERY interesting stories to be told ... maybe someday we can convince Joe Klein and Merrell Fankhauser to do some "editing" and run this piece after all!  Meanwhile, Merrell's been making quite a name for himself lately ... between his cable tv show "The Tiki Lounge" and his inclusion on the recent "Where The Action Is" compilation CD, he's been more popular than ever! 

By the way, "The Tiki Lounge" is now available on home DVD!  Watch for it February 28th!
To purchase Merrell Fankhauser 'Best Of Tiki Lounge' DVDs www.gonzomultimedia.co.uk/product_details/15360
Visit the official Merrell Fankhauser website at www.merrellfankhauser.com

Hey Kent,
I just heard Frank and Nancy Sinatra's hit, "Somethin' Stupid", on the oldies station. I have heard two versions on how this recording came about. One is that Frank had an album, containing the song, recorded by a folk singer and his wife. He took it to his daughter, Nancy's producer and collaborator, Lee Hazelwood, to see if Nancy and Lee would be interested in recording the duet. Lee told him that he would produce it, only if Frank didn't want to record it with his daughter. Then, Frank changed his mind and told him that he wanted to sing it. The other version is that it was Lee, who came up with the idea of recording the duet, but he had Frank Sinatra Jr. in mind, to sing the song with his sister. When Frank Sr. got wind of it, he raised the roof until he got "his way", replacing his son in the studio.The rest is history. Do you know anything about this? -
John LaPuzza,
Omaha, NE
How TOTALLY weird to get this email today!  I had JUST played "Somethin' Stupid" by Nancy and Frank Sinatra right before heading off to work this morning!  Even after all these years, it STILL strikes me as a weird song for a father and daughter to sing together ... the lyrics play as a love song ... and it's always seemed a little bit creepy to me for this reason.
But there's no denying the hit power of this track ... it went all the way to #1 back in 1967.
According to Fred Bronson's book "The Billboard Book Of Number One Hits" ... which, coincidentally quotes Forgotten Hits' very own Gary Theroux's book "The Top Ten":
"'Somethin' Stupid' was a collaborative effort by Frank Sinatra's producer Jimmy Bowen and Nancy Sinatra's producer Lee Hazlewood, who found the song, written in 1966, by C. Carson Parks.  Hazlewood gave the song to Nancy.
"She showed it to her dad.  Frank thought it was perfect for the two of them -- a sure fire hit -- and they wanted to cut it right away."
Bowen says, "Since I was producing Frank at the time ... and Lee was working with Nancy ... Lee and I became co-producers on this particular track."
He goes on to describe the process:
"The session itself was hilarious.  It was on the first eight-track equipment any of us had used -- a brand new board at Western Records in Hollywood.  Eddie Bracken was our engineer, the greatest there was, especially back in the days of three-track and four-track.  He arranged the studio so that Frank and Nancy would be looking in the control room at us, side by side, the entire time.
"He also set up a producer's desk with two talk-back mikes and a couple of name plates, you know, making kind of a light thing of it.  That was because everyone was worried there'd be a lot of tension between Hazlewood and me.  But we got the session done.  I think it took about four takes.  It was one of those that went real smooth."
Bowen told Theroux (and his writing partner Bob Gilbert) that some of the people at Reprise Records (Frank's record company, for which Nancy also recorded) thought it was a mistake to have a father and daughter sing a love song together.  One bold label executive even told Frank what he thought about it ... to which Frank responded, "Don't worry ... the record's a hit."  And it was ... it went straight to #1. 
Shortly after the success of this record, Nancy Sinatra started recording duets with her producer Lee Hazlewood ... "Jackson" (#13, 1967); "Lady Bird" (#20, 1967); "Some Velvet Morning" (#26, 1968) and one of your All-Time Favorite, Forgotten B-Sides, "Summer Wine" (#49, 1967) kept the duo on the charts.  After the success of "Somethin' Stupid", Papa Frank never hit The Top 20 again ... although he continued to perform for sold-out audiences until his death in 1998.  (kk)

And how much weirder is it to get THIS clip from FH Reader Frank B at the exact same time?!?!?
Kent ...
Here's an interesting version of this 1966, #1 Hit.
A never-released version by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood.
Frank B.