Sunday, March 18, 2012
When the Beatles took off in America in 1964 it sent a shock wave through the music business. Teenage girls weren't the only ones screaming and crying. Tears were also being shed by American musicians who saw the British Invasion groups sucking up all the record sales, at least for a while. Sales of all genres of pop music were affected, but Motown seemed to be the first to come back. After a while, American artists found themselves selling even more records than before. Maybe the Beatles made the public more interested in music. Or, maybe the Beatles were a wake up call for musicians everywhere that they needed to work even harder to produce better material in order to compete.
In the wake of Beatle-Mania, a bunch of very strange things started to happen. Some groups made records that attacked the Beatles, which in hindsight was probably not a smart move. Other groups started to mimic the style of the Beatles, inserting "Yeah Yeah Yeah" or Little Richard-like "Wooo's" into their lyrics. Many of them also dropped their saxophones and keyboards in favor of a simplistic mix of one lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass guitar, backed by a drummer who knew how to pound out the British Beat. But one thing that really stands out in the American music from 1964 was the incredible number of records that acknowledged Beatle-Mania by mentioning the Fab Four in their lyrics. This is one of those records, which I like to call Beatle-Mania Records.
Here's There's Gonna Be A Party by Bobby Gray on Jody 101 from 1964:
Bobby Gray is still a mystery to me. I believe he came from Texas. This Jody label was pressed by Southern Plastics and has nothing in common with the other Jody Records out of New York. Bobby's real name was probably Robert J. Gray. I believe he only made three singles, all of which were produced, arranged, and published by a guy named J. A. "Bobe Wes" Balthrop out of Mesquite, Texas.
Bobe Wes was the son of a traveling fundamentalist preacher who spent his formative years around gospel music. Bobby Gray wrote most of his own songs, but not this one. This one was written by Bobe Wes, who also wrote Blue Memories by Dean Martin, Railroad Bum and You're Slipping Away From Me by Jim Reeves, and It Won't Seem Like Christmas (Without You) by Elvis Presley. He also traveled around playing his guitar at clubs in New York and Nashville, trying to sell his material. He also worked with Willie Nelson and Lefty Frizzell. Bobe Wes passed away on 26 September 2002 at Baylor University Medical Center after suffering a stroke.
Bobby Gray's songs were recorded at Boyd Recording Service in Dallas, which operated out of the KCPA Radio studios. It was a side project for the station's engineer, a cat known only as 'Juicy' Boyd.
If you happen to find a copy of this record, it's worth about $150 today. Bobby's first record, Devil Eyes b/w Chinese Angel on Jody 100, is even harder to find and worth at least $400. I've got a recording of Devil Eyes, but I'd really love to hear Chinese Angel. If you have one to share, please do!
I'll post many more Beatle-Mania Records here soon. So far, I've found over 1,500 of them! Since I won't live long enough to post that many songs, I guess you'll just have to listen to MusicMaster Oldies if you want to hear them all!
Posted by joeknapp at 1:13 PM