Old Curiosity Shop
By Bob Davis dnry122@yahoo.com

1907—OCS for July 2019 “You know I love the ladies…”

 You Know I Love the Ladies

A couple of years ago, I went to a show featuring the Carnival of Soul band, led by Skip Heller.  He acknowledged my presence in the house, by saying, “We have that noted connoisseur of female vocalists, Bob Davis with us tonight” and introduced me to his new singer Ms Birdie Jones.  My interest in “ladies of song” goes all the way back to the 1950s, inspiring me to assemble this program:

Joy to the World—3 Dog Night.  This Hoyt Axton song is one I’ve posted in the '70s Music group on Facebook.  Whether the subject is feel-good songs or recordings that mention wine it’s one of my favorites.  But we’re not discussing Jeremiah and his “mighty fine wine” or even passing around the “WPLJ” with our bros in the alley; the text for today’s discussion is “You know I love the ladies, love to have my fun….”

This Little Girl’s Gone Rockin’—Ruth Brown.  One of Miss Rhythm’s later releases, this one made the charts while I was at Cow Poly.  I had forgotten about it until Emy Bruzzo and the Rockabelles covered it as an extra in an Elvis Birthday Bash a few years ago.  Emy was so pleased to find a Ruth Brown fan who remembered the song.  Just recently I learned that the song was written by Bobby Darin.

He’s a Rebel—The Crystals [the Blossoms].  The song title was also used at the title of the book about Phil Spector by Mark Ribowsky (which I have in my library). Although the record is attributed to The Crystals, the actual group was Darlene Love and the Blossoms, who provided vocals on many records made in the Los Angeles area, such as Dick Dale’s King of the Surf Guitar.

Cowboy’s Sweetheart—Alice Wallace.  I first heard Alice sing this country classic (first recorded over 80 years ago by Patsy Montana) at a Terry Okey Second Sunday Session at Adams Pack Station in the hills above Arcadia, CA.  In the years since then, she has released two CDs and performed all over the US, yodeling her way into the hearts of numerous music fans. 

Alice Wallace up in them thar hills, where one of the pack mules may chime in at any moment.


Rodeo—Evie Sands.  The artist whom Jonny Whiteside dubbed “The Inimitable Empress of  Soul/Pop" has a place of honor in the Old Curiosity Shop; indeed, had I not met Evie back over 18 years ago, I might never have gone into writing this monthly meandering.  I thought Rodeo was a good segue from Cowboy’s Sweetheart—it’s the lead track in her latest 6-song EP CD, Shine for Me.  Like many of Evie’s newer songs, it has a can-do spirit that can give us a lift when we need it.  If you look it up on YouTube, there’s a video of Evie performing Rodeo at the pressing plant where the vinyl copies of Shine for Me were produced.

Here’s Evie with my favorite bass player south of the Tehachapis, Teresa Cowles, and Kurt Medlin on the tubs.

My Guy and The One Who Really Loves You —Mary Wells.  She was one of the first hit-makers for Motown Records, and both of these numbers made the Top 10 in the 1960s.  I saw her sing them at the Music Machine in West LA back around 1984.  She was jet-lagged from a road trip, but still captivated the audience with these songs.  Some of us even sang along with The One Who Really Loves You.

All I Really Want to Do—Cher.  Bob Dylan wrote it, but to many of us Cher’s version is the “gold star” take.  It was produced by future member of the US House of Representatives Sonny Bono, who probably applied what he learned while working for Phil Spector to the process.

The Happening—The Supremes. This was the tenth #1 hit recording for the group that had long since demolished their early reputation as the “No-hit Supremes.”  It’s hard to choose just one of their songs, but this one seems to be a fitting number for the mid-1960s.

I Can Hear Music—The Ronettes.  Probably best known for the Beach Boys’ cover, this Jeff Barry-Ellie Greenwich composition was the last number recorded by the Ronettes on the Philles label, and for years it was very hard to find either on a 45 or a CD.  It was produced by Jeff Barry, rather than Phil Spector, which may account for it being left out of the Back to Mono boxed set.

Dream a Little Dream of Me—Mama Cass.  Another memory from the Second Sunday Sessions, with Lisa of the Wild Mountain Mystics doing a fine tribute to Mama Cass and accompanying herself on an acoustic guitar.

Ain’t That Peculiar---Fanny.  A 1966 hit for Marvin Gaye, Fanny covered this one in 1972, with June Millington playing a sizzling slide guitar and her sister Jean laying down a solid bass line.  Jean now lives in Davis, where my daughter Vicky knows her.  I had to order an original 45 of this number because the CD is very hard to find.

Charity Ball---Fanny  (Live version!)  This one I do have on a recent CD—it’s a real “rock yer sox off” number.

Free Man in Paris—Rachel Wolfe.  Written and recorded by Joni Mitchell in 1974, Free Man showed up in one of Adam Marsland’s '70s Sessions.  He included it in a 2-disc CD set, and had originally planned to have Evie Sands take the vocal, but Evie wasn’t available for the session, so local favorite Rachel Wolfe sang the lead, and as Adam said, “Hit it out of the park.”  

Here’s Rachel, sitting in with the Chaos Band, with Evie on the left-handed guitar.

 To Know Him Is to Love Him—Trio.  Back in 1979, I bought a paperback biography of Linda Ronstadt (her life up to that year.) It mentioned that she had wanted to team up with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris to make an album of old-timey songs.  It wasn’t until 1987 that they finally got the logistics (and probably a lot of paperwork) settled and made their Trio CD.  I was on my way home from the railway museum in Perris one night and stopped at the Tower Records in West Covina to see if it was available.  The clerk said “No, but we have this...” and pointed to the New Releases 45 RPM record display.  There was the picture sleeve 45 of To Know Him Is to Love Him backed with the traditional song, Farther Along.  Since the album was billed as “old timey'” I had to check and be sure the A-side was the Phil Spector song from 1958, and it was.

Those Memories of You—Trio.  Another song that I was reminded of when a tribute version was part of a Second Sundays show.

Sally Go Round the Roses—Anny Celsi.  The Jaynetts’ original went to #2 on the charts in 1963.  Anny’s remake is special because her backing singers for this Girl Group classic are Evie Sands (whose earlier records have been included in Girl Group compilations) and Teresa Cowles, who has been quite busy in the last dozen years playing electric bass in at least ten different groups.

Tangle Free World—Anny Celsi.  One of Anny’s signature songs, the title track from her 2009 CD.

Here’s Anny with Adam Marsland’s Chaos Band at Brennan’s Pub

Only You Know and I Know---FunkyJenn.  I first met Jennifer Gibbons at a Chaos Band gig at the Cinema Bar in Culver City.  A year or two later, I went to the CD release party for her Rock and Roll Voodoo Queen CD.  She and her band did all the songs from the CD, and covered this Dave Mason number that is best known for the Delaney and Bonnie version.  Sometime later, I took my wife to see Jenn and her band at the Olde Town Pub in Pasadena.  Before her set, I asked Jenn if Only You Know and I Know was on the play list.  She said, “You got it!”, and partway through the show she said “This one’s for Pat and Bob!” and played it for us.

Shoulda Been My Lover—FunkyJenn.  The first track on the Voodoo Queen CD, this is a kickass song that would be great on a car CD for long night drives when you need something to stay jacked up.  Back in July 2015, Jenn was part of another Second Sundays show and dedicated it to me (sorry Jenn, my heart belongs to Pat).   

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