Sunday, December 18, 2011

New Oldies - Ole Father Time by Selvin Johannes

Nobody seems to know much about this guy even though this song has become really popular. You'll find it on compilation CDs and YouTube, but never with any information about the artist. I've done a bit of tracking and here's what I found. None of this is confirmed, but it's as accurate as possible given what I've had to work with. Needless to say, if you know anything about Selvin Johannes, or you ARE Selvin Johannes, please contact me!

I think this is a recent photo of Selvin. He was probably born in 1945 in Brooklyn, New York, and may still be living there. This song was written by Winfield Scott in 1963, but it was covered in 1964 by two female singers, Millie Foster in New York City, and Helen Shapiro in London. It was the B-side of a cover of Fever that was a #38 UK chart hit for Helen Shapiro. This song was never a chart hit, which you will think is an amazing oversight when you hear it. Billboard Magazine reviewed this song on 8 June 1963, giving it the maximum rating of four stars. This makes it pretty clear that Selvin's version was the original.

That makes this record fall into many different categories on MusicMaster Oldies. It's considered valuable by collectors of Northern Soul, Teeners, and Belgian Popcorn. Not too many songs fall into ALL of those categories! It's also an Original Version, which simply means this was the first recording of a song that was covered by other singers. It has a bit of the "Wall Of Sound" production quality that was the signature sound of Phil Spector, even though probably he had nothing to do with this record.

So here we go with Ole Father Time by Selvin Johannes on Decca 31502 from 1963:

For the sake of being complete, here is the Helen Shapiro version on Columbia (UK) 7190 from late 1963, early 1964:

And finally, the Millie Foster version on TCF 4 from 1964:

And, for those of you who like to sing along, here are the lyrics!

When the clock begins to chime,
It is only Ole Father Time,
Warning us, it's getting late,
But Father Time is gonna have to wait.
For we can't rush a love like this,
With a single little goodnight kiss.
How can I let you say goodnight,
Until my arms have held you good and tight.

So let him wait (Father Time),
Oh let him wait a minute (Father Time),
So let him wait a second now (Father Time),
Oh what's his hurry?
Can't he see you're still, in my arms?
We don't care about him and his alarms.

He can tick, and he can tock,
Chasing seconds all around the clock.
Now he's gonna have to stand right still,
Until I kiss you and I get my fill.

So let him wait (Father Time),
Oh let him wait a minute (Father Time),
So let him wait a second now (Father Time),
Oh what's his hurry?
Let him wait!

(Repeat to the end)


  1. The later versions by Helen Shapiro and Millie Foster actually fall into a fourth category on MusicMaster Oldies. They're "Answer Songs" because they take the original song and change the lyrics to the girl's perspective. It's a subtle change, too. "Can't he see you're still in my arms," becomes, "Can't he see I'm still in your arms." Cool, eh?

  2. To whoever wrote this... you can contact me @ i know selvin personally and with his permission may be able to give you some information. i can tell you, however, that some of the information you provide here is not accurate. Please get back to me. I look forward to speaking with you.

  3. Selvin was born in Harlem, NY in 1945