PATTI PAGE (“The Singing Rage”): (How Much Is) That Doggie In The Window; Tennessee Waltz (Mercury 6052197).
Advertised as the first record you ever heard, “Doggie” from 1952 may well be just that, unless, like me, you remember the Beverley Sisters’ version better. Maybe the passage of time has played tricks, but surely the Bevs had more oomph than this disappointingly lightweight treatment? Anyway, “Cocktails For Two” by Spike Jones, as I subsequently worked out, was the first record that I can remember hearing, while “The Happy Wanderer” as sung by charabanc trippers is the first song I actually knew. Also, for me the definitive version of “Doggie” was Baby Jane & The Rockabyes’ 1963 R&B chugger, with its great “My Boy John” flipside, to which I well remember working out energetic Twist variations in front of my mirror. Enough reminiscence! Of course, this in every way worthy re-issue is designed with nostalgia in mind, and should do extremely well as indeed the song is a timeless children’s favourite. The famous 1950 flip (with sociological associations these days) makes this a doubly good record, and will be the side to sell it in many cases. Buy now for Xmas.
THE O’JAYS: 992 Arguments; Listen To The Clock On The Wall (CBS 1014).
Sounding very much like the follow-up to “Back Stabbers” that it is, which may go against it, this edited Thom Bell-arranged album track is a tiny bit faster and more urgent than the hit, which may be in its favour. It is of course brilliant and the next best thing to chocolate mint chip ice cream, but its success or otherwise rests in the hands of you, the fans. Power! Bobby Martin’s arrangement of the tortuous slow flip adds beauty to the package, so make it a hit, y’all! And buy the (Detroit) Spinners’ “I’ll Be Around” while you’re at it.
JIMMY CASTOR: Bang Bang; Hey Willie (Mercury 6052185).
Five years ago Jimmy Castor’s “Hey Leroy” album was the most played in my collection, and this version of the Joe Cuba-originated Latin-Soul hit plus Jimmy’s own “Ham Hocks Espanol” were my favourite tracks. Thus I earnestly commend this incredibly happy, full of life, Latin scat chat, piano and congas bouncy clomper to your attention. The “Leroy”-following “Willie” is more frantic though excellent also, and between them — who knows? — the two sides of this single might just turn you onto a whole new type of music to explore. Then, like Carlos Santana, you too can get into Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Fania All Stars, Ray Barretto —even Cal Tjader and Antonia Carlos Jobim. Hey, ever dug Mexican Pop? Be adventurous and get a taste of today’s Latin hits by tuning to AFN on Sunday mornings at 02:00 hrs. Tell ’em I sentcha! Continue reading “December 9, 1972: Patti Page, The O’Jays, Jimmy Castor, Chakachas, Elvis Presley”