By Bob Davis firstname.lastname@example.org
You Know I Love the Ladies, 2020
More from the “You Know I Love the Ladies”
list, featuring singers I’ve met in person and songs with stories.
The Mooche by Duke Ellington and his
orchestra. One of our favorite TV shows is Miss Fisher’s Murder
Mysteries on PBS. It’s set in Melbourne, Australia in 1929, and the
street scenes seem to have most of the vintage vehicles in the State
of Victoria out and about. They haven’t had any scenes with
tramcars in the series, but one character arrived late in one
episode, reporting that the “tram had come unhooked”—this would have
been possible, because Melbourne used cable-hauled trams similar to
those still running in San Francisco up until 1940. One of the
attractions of the show is the hot jazz often used for background
music. Sometimes it’s transcribed from vintage recordings, other
times it’s performed by a present day orchestra. Such was the case
in the show which featured automobile racing, and used “The Mooche”
over the closing credits, as played by the Cairo Club Orchestra. I
looked it up on YouTube, and found a video of this band (with some
of the musicians wearing fezzes), with the addition of a belly
dancer shaking some serious shimmy.
Second Hand Rose by Fanny Brice. Not sure if
I’ve mentioned this before, but the name of this columun was
inspired by a radio program that I picked up one night back in the
1950s when I was tuning around the AM band looking for out of town
stations as far away from Monrovia as possible. Among radio
hobbyists, this is called DX BC, short for long distance broadcast
band reception. My radio brought in KFBK in Sacramento, and they
were airing a remote show from the original Shakey’s Pizza parlor in
Sacramento. One part of the show was called “Shakey’s Old Curiosity
Shop” which featured recordings from the 1920s (the parlor was
famous for its live Dixieland jazz presentations). The night I was
listening, they played “Second Hand Rose” by Fanny Brice, recorded
in 1922, back in the acoustic recording era. Just listening to it
makes me want to wind up the old Victrola and stick a new needle in
the pickup. The song reappeared on the charts in 1965, when Barbra
Streisand made the charts after performing it on Broadway in the
musical “Funny Girl. "
Oh What a Dream by Ruth Brown. Most of my
favorite Ruth Brown songs are up-tempo; this is a blues ballad that
I probably heard on the radio back in the 1950s, but didn’t have on
a record until I found a copy around 1980 in an oldies store,
probably Loco Oldies in Santa Ana. Nowadays, of course, it’s on a
Daddy Daddy by Ruth Brown: Oh What a Dream is
a bit of a downer; let’s liven things up with one of the numbers
that led me to comment: “ Hot stuff for teen-aged record collectors
(who tend to be shy, nerdy types). For many of us Ruth Brown was
our soulful dream girl, warming up our quiet lives with songs like
"Wild Wild Young Men" and "5-10-15 Hours" spinning forth from
yellow-label Atlantic 45s. I finally had a chance to meet her at
the Cinegrill in Hollywood about 25 years ago--she was still showing
how it's done and wowing the audience.
Free Man in Paris by Rachel Wolfe. This is
from Adam Marsland’s '70s CD. I think Evie Sands was originally
scheduled to take the lead vocal, but was not available, so Rachel,
who has been a delightful guest artist at Chaos Band shows, stepped
in, and as Adam said “knocked it out of the park. " It was written
and originally recorded by Joni Mitchell in 1974.
Here’s Rachel with the Chaos Band. That’s Ms
Sparklebass, Teresa Cowles on the Fender bass.
Detour by the Dime Box Band featuring Kristi
Callen. This is an oldie I remember hearing on the radio back in
the 1940s. Recorded originally by Jimmy Walker on the Coast label
(part of the C. P MacGregor empire) and covered by Spade Cooley, an
LA area Western Swing band leader.
The Dime Box Band at the basement “Speakeasy”
in Venice CA, Nov. 2018.
Five and Dime Waltz by the Dime Box
Band. Dime Box is a small town in Texas, about 70 miles east of
Austin. The band dates back to the 1990s, and has evolved into
family ensemble; they play various locations in the Los Angeles
area. Guitarist and lead singer Kristi Callan also sits in with
other bands, and one night took the Kiki Dee part of “Don’t Go
Breaking My Heart” in a Elton John Tribute night.
I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart by Alice
Wallace. Even older than “Detour," “Cowboy’s Sweetheart” was
written and recorded by Patsy Montana in 1935, and Alice does a
wonderful tribute to the first female country music artist to sell a
million copies of a record (very impressive, considering that the
1930s were not a good time to sell records.) Ms. Montana spent her
later years in San Jacinto CA, out at the end of the Santa Fe branch
that runs through Perris.
Our Cowboy’s Sweetheart, Alice Wallace, at
her last US show before leaving for a tour of England, Scotland and
Spain in Sept. 2019
Shine for Me by Evie Sands. The title cut
from Evie’s long awaited EP released in April 2017. If you read the
cover notes, you’ll find Pat and me listed there. By the time you
read this, Evie will be putting the finishing touches on her album
of all-new songs expected to be released in April.
Ain’t That Peculiar by Fanny. Originally
recorded by Marvin Gaye, Fanny does a kick-ass cover featuring June
on the slide guitar. This is from a rare 45 RPM record; the band
also did a live performance that is available on YouTube. Fanny
What a Way to Die by the Pleasure
Seekers. By the mysterious forces of YouTube, this number showed up
as something I might like— That algorithm saw me coming! It’s hard
to find on physical media; I now have it on a Sudazed LP. The
original band included Suzi Quatro and Patti Quatro, Nancy Ball
(drums), Mary Lou Ball (guitar), and Diane Baker (piano). Suzi was
15 years old when they recorded this song. Suzi is very much with
us to this day-- she had a part in the British police procedural
show "Midsomer Murders." She plays a band vocalist who gets zapped
by a microphone stand that the bad guy wired up to 240 Volts AC
(standard British house current). "What a way to die....."
Headin’ Home by Shirley Gunter and the
Flairs. One of the songs I remember hearing on the radio back in
1956, on the Modern label which released many R&B classics in that
Go Home by EZ Tiger. Moving into this
century, we have one of several bands featuring Teresa Cowles, whom
I met about 16 years ago when she started playing electric bass with
Adam Marsland’s Chaos Band. Before that, she was in Dragster
Barbie, which has Kristi Callan’s sister Kelly on the drums.
Everyday People by Joan Jett. Originally by
Sly and the Family Stone from the Bay Area, but I like the version
from 1983 by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Back around 1988, when
Pat and I were shopping for a new stereo system, I made a test tape
that started out with this number, dubbed from the album titled
Born to Be with You by the Chordettes. The
Chordettes were more mainstream than most of the artists in this
compilation. "Born to Be with You" is just a beautiful
recording. It made the Top Ten in 1956, and about two years later,
they released a song about that daring hero of Early California,
Born to Be Together by the Ronettes. One of
the later Ronettes numbers.
Please Mr. Postman by the
Marvelettes. Dedicated to all the letter carriers out there
delivering the US Mail.
Snatch and Grab It by Julia Lee. One Sunday
a few years ago I was working at the computer while my wife was
watching NFL action on TV. I heard the soundtrack for a commercial
and just about fell over; it was a record from 1947, Julia Lee
singing "Snatch and Grab It! " Back in the old days, you’d never
hear a song like this on the TV or the radio (well, maybe on an
after-midnight R&B program)
Lonesome Blues by Marie Corley (“Americas
Blues Girl”). Although the record label reads “Hollywood” the
company was reportedly based in Texas. This one came out in 1955,
and I discovered it in a bargain bin in 1959. Sounds like a one-off
recording made in a club one afternoon before opening time. It
straddles the line between R&B and Country.
Miss You So by Lillian Offitt. An Excello
release from 1957; I probably heard it on Hunter Hancock or Huggy
Boy’s radio show.
Ain’t Gonna Take It Anymore by Tracy
Dawn. Tracy is a singer, songwriter, model and actress. I met her
at a Jonny Whiteside Messaround show a few years ago. This is one
of her signature songs, telling off a no-good man in no uncertain
terms. I envisioned a segue to “Run Home To Your Mama” by Evie
Here’s Tracy in the May 2019 Messaround at
Joe’s in Burbank.
I’ve Got My Pride by the Tearjerkers: The
Tearjerkers were a trio of lovely ladies who performed in LA back in
the early 1990s. I discovered them through a link in YouTube when I
was looking up Anny Celsi. She, Danette Christine and Cythia Jones
made a smokin’ video back in 1991, but I haven’t located any
recordings. We’ve met Anny on our previous program, and she’ll be
back toward the end of this one.
I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor. Some
critics may say that disco sucks, but there was plenty of good music
recorded during that era. If I were a video producer, I’d take some
clips of preserved electric railway cars and vintage locomotives and
sync them with this song.
Funkytown by Lipps Inc. Funkytown is one of
those mythical places, like Surf City.
Don’t Deceive Me by Delaney & Bonnie. The
next two numbers were written by Chuck Willis, composer of many R&B
classics. This one is on a hard-to-find CD titled Motel Shot.
Let Me Explain by Wanda Jackson. Another
recording that took some hunting to find; I knew it as the flip side
of "Speedoo" by the Cadillacs, and only because I have the 78 RPM
original on the Josie label. Some of the reissues from the 1960s
and '70s have another song on the B side.
Mainliner by Little Esther. An early
composition by the prolific team of Lieber & Stoller, who were
working with Johnny Otis in 1952. The steam train sound effects
would still have been appropriate, although steam locomotive
production in the USA had just about ended by then.
Train from Kansas City by the
Shangri-Las. From the heart of the Girl Group era, a Jeff
Barry-Ellie Greenwich song with steam train sound effects that were
anachronistic by 1965. Added to the list in honor of the 2020 Super
Bowl winners, the Kansas City Chiefs.
Au Revoir, My Darling by Anny Celsi. From
her CD “January” (I have an autographed copy) with a video recorded
in New Orleans at Mardi Gras time.
From Feb 2012, Anny Celsi with Adam
Marsland’s Chaos Band, as Evie Sands takes the guitar break on an
Elton John song at Brennan’s Pub.
Good-bye by Linda Ronstadt. From her
collaboration with Nelson Riddle in 1983, we have a Gordon Jenkins
song from 1935 that was Benny Goodman’s closing theme. With this
haunting tune we will say “Good-bye” from the Old Curiosity Shop
until next month, when we may do some traveling, or maybe just poke
around the dusty corners.