JIM STAFFORD: My Girl Bill (MGM M 14718).
I’m convinced . . . Jim Stafford really IS the most original, and possibly the most important, new star to emerge in recent years! For his third hit, he has made one of the funniest, most misleading, yet ultimately simplest singles ever. To a madly perky lightweight old-fashioned backing he spins a silly tale of such ambiguosity that everyone who hears it is bound to believe it’s really about what they think it’s about, a pederastic love affair. Worded with economically urbane wit, the first two verses are an incredible come-on, as Bill walks Jim home, then goes inside for a drink instead of standing by the door (“what would the neighbours think?”), then, as with shaking hand William takes his glass of wine, and his eyes meet Jim’s, they sit on the couch and face their love man to man. A cooing girlie group meanwhile has been doing a Temptations bit on “my girl, my girl” during the “my girl Bill” chorus, which is the key to the whole situation . . . for, with justa slight shift of emphasis, it suddenly changes from being a simple hymn to “my girl Bill” into a discussion about a third, and female, party. Yes, you see, “she’s MY girl, Bill, and you’re gonna have to find another, Bill”. Poor Bill has been passed over for Jim by the girl they both love! Collapse of salivating sensation seekers everywhere! And as I said, this is not just darned clever, it’s also impossibly catchy and bound to do well here. In America, it’s at 56 with a bullet in its second week on the Hot 100.
SKIP McHONEY & THE CASUALS: Your Funny Moods (DC International DCI 5003).
YA-HOOO! I know my tastes may have broadened disconcertingly for some time since the time in ’64 when Tony Secunda nicknamed me Doctor Soul, but – to paraphrase – you can indeed take the boy from Soul, yet you can’t take Soul from the boy, once it’s there. Which means that my biggest gut-reaction buzzes still come from hearing Soulful expressions in song, usually of a somewhat specialist nature. Bearing this in mind, believe me when I say that – goodness knows why – this far from perfect yawing and creaking slowie hits me as the spine-tinglingest slab of pure deep Soul I’ve heard and gotten off on so far this year. These guys HAD to get this record out of their systems, and they did just that at DB Sound Studios, Sliver Springs, Maryland . . . yeah, it’s the REAL thing. If you’re a solid Soul freak and want your mind messed up but good, want to slip and drift along in suspended animation amidst lapping waves of bitter-sweet emotion, want to forget everything and get LOST for an hour or two, then try to find this record (it hasn’t been a hit, yet) and play it over and over again like I’ve just had to do. (So that’s why your copy’s late again! – Production Ed.)
THE ELEVENTH HOUR: So Good (20th Century TC 2076).
Produced and co-penned by a re-activated Bob Crewe, arranged and conducted by Charlie Calello – so is it any wonder that these guys sound like the Four Seasons? I wonder who they are. With a squeaky lead voice, chanted back-up (which includes chix), and a sparsely arranged simple slow clomp beat, it’s straight out of the good old ‘60s and sounds like something the Newbeats might have done a decade or so ago. It’s not a hit so far, but should do well Up North if ever issued here. Continue reading “April 27, 1974: Jim Stafford, Skip McHoney & The Casuals, The Eleventh Hour, Tower Of Power, Charlie Rich”