Wednesday, January 25, 2012
It's a beautiful day in Southern California so I thought we could go for a drive. Let's put the top down, hit the coast highway, and see what this baby can do!
Bobby Please was from Los Angeles. He co-wrote this song with Joe Saraceno who got into surf music in 1962 and became a producer for The Ventures and The Mar-Kets. The voice of the cop on this record is rumored to be Eddie Cochran! Here's Your Driver's License Please by Bobby Please on Era 1044 from 1957:
This next record is actually a tenor sax player named Teddy McRae. He was born in Philadelphia in 1908 and played with some of the jazz greats, including Chick Webb, Red Allen, Ella Fitzgerald, Teddy Wilson, Cab Calloway, Jimmie Lunceford, Lionel Hampton, and Louis Armstrong. He and Eddie Wilcox formed their own record label, Raecox, in the 1950's, but that venture did not last long. By 1955 he was working with Champion Jack Dupree and recording a few sides for Groove Records. Here's Radar by Mr Bear And His Bearcats on Groove 0150 from 1955:
Arlen Sanders was a disc jockey on KRLA in Los Angeles from 1956 to 1963. He had moved on to KEZY in the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim by the time he made this record. (I once applied for the job of Program Director of that station!) From there he went to KIEV in 1967, then KFOX (1972-1977). He passed away in 1994 at the age of 64 after suffering a stroke. Here's Hopped-Up Mustang by Arlen Sanders And The Pacifics on Faro 616 from 1964:
Kenny Karen was born in Troy, New York in 1944. When he was just two years old his family moved to Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He joined the church choir and began writing his own songs when he was just 11 years old. He went to New York City in 1959 to persue a career in the music industry. He signed as an exclusive singer-songwriter with Al Nevins and Don Kirshner in 1961. As a demo singer, he actually recorded the first (demo) versions of songs like Alfie, This Guy's In Love With You Hello Dolly, and Promises Promises. He even recorded demos for some Elvis Presley movies. He became a jingle singer in 1966 and has sung on over 15,000 jingles since then, including ones for McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Budweiser, Pabst, Miller, Pepsi, Coke, and many many more. Here's Oh Susie Forgive Me by Kenny Karen on Columbia 42264 from 1962.
Vernon Green was born in 1937. He wrote a song called The Letter in 1954 that contained a bit of nonsense in the lyrics, "The puppetutes of love." This line was picked up by Steve Miller in The Joker and we heard it as "The pompatus of love." When asked about this line, Vernon said that "puppetutes" was a word he made up to describe a secret lover, a paper doll that would be his everything and bear his children! Vernon died the day before Christmas in 2000 in Los Angeles. Here's Speedin' by Vernon Green And The Medallions on DooTone 364 from 1955:
You've heard of Them with Van Morrison, right? Well, these guys are not them ;-) This Them is a garage rock group from Cincinnati, Ohio. Here's Don't Look Now by Them on King 5967 from 1964:
I'd like to continue our drive, but it appears we've got a flat tire! There were actually two different groups recording as the Del-Vikings at the same time. The original group was formed in 1955 by five members of the U.S. Air Force stationed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The original lineup was Clarence Quick, Kripp Johnson, Don Jackson, Samuel Paterson, and Bernard Robertson. They signed up with the tiny Fee Bee label and recorded the classic hit, Come Go With Me in 1957. Because they were all under 21 when they signed that contract, it was easy for them to get out of the deal. They moved to Mercury Records in 1957 under the direction of their manager, Alan Strauss. Kripp Johnson, however, was still bound to his contract with Fee Bee (which was later distributed by Dot Records), so he stayed with that label and formed another group, who also called themselves the Del Vikings! William Blakely, a friend of Clarence Quick, joined the group to take Kripp's place in the new lineup on Mercury. Meanwhile, Kripp formed a new group for Dot as the Dell Vikings. For some strange reason, they also changed his name to Krips Johnson at that same time. Confusing, right? Having two groups recording with the same name was causing confusion, so Mercury filed a lawsuit claiming ownership of any name that sounded like Del Vikings, regardless of the spelling. Kripp's group briefly became The Versatiles, but broke up shortly afterward. Chuck Jackson, who had been a member of the Dot group, went on to have a very successful solo career. After the Dell Vikings on Mercury broke up, Kripp pulled them together again, forming the Del Vikings on ABC-Paramount. The core of the original group was back, but they failed to produce any hit records and split up again in 1965. This particular record features the Mercury version of the group. Here's Flat Tire by the Dell Vikings on Mercury 71390 from 1958:
The confusing story of the Del Vikings, Dell Vikings, Del-Vikings, and Dell-Vikings is very well sorted out by Marv Goldberg. You can read all about it by clicking here.
Now that we've got too many points on our license to legally drive, let's all head for the ocean and catch some waves instead! If you like "Car Tunes" you will find over a thousand of them waiting for you on MusicMaster Oldies. Cruise on over sometime!
Posted by joeknapp at 11:32 AM