A Bit Like You And Me Radio

August 09, 2013

Jay and the Americans - Come a Little Bit Closer (1964)

Born David Blatt November 2, 1938, the second man to be called “Jay” and sing lead for Jay and the Americans, had originally been in a doo-wop group called The Empires. In those early years, Blatt adopted the stage name “David Black” and used it when The Empires recorded their lone single, 1962’s “Time and a Place” / “Punch Your Nose.” In 1963, The Empires’ guitarist Marty Sanders was invited to join Jay and the Americans. At nearly the same time, Jay and the Americans’ original lead singer, Jay Traynor, decided to quit the band, having been disappointed with their recent failure to chart. The band’s new guitarist, Sanders, suggested David Black as a replacement. Black accepted the invitation, but had to be persuaded to adopt the name “Jay” to fit with the name of the band. David Blatt, who had chosen the stage name David Black, had now become Jay Black.

Together, Jay Black and his new band released over a dozen singles and a dozen albums in the coming decade. They charted numerous times throughout the 1960s and avoided splitting up until 1973. In ’73, Jay Black was the only member of the group wanting to continue the band, so when all other members went their separate ways, he recruited a rotating lineup of musicians to continue the “Jay and the Americans” name. Among the many temporary musicians to have backed Jay Black were Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, the future co-founders of Steely Dan. The original members of the band (featuring Jay Black and not Jay Traynor) didn’t reunite again until the 1990s. These days, Jay Black performs under “Jay Black and the Alley Cats,” having sold the “Jay and the Americans” name to his former bandmates in order to pay off a severe debt to the IRS, brought on by a gambling addiction.

This song, released as a single in 1964, was the band’s highest charting single. It reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100, number four on Cashbox, and number one on RPM’s singles chart. The song was written by iconic songwriting team of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, becoming the writing duo’s first top-ten hit of many. If you enjoy the lyrics of this song, listen to Buddy Holly’s “Smokey Joe’s Café.” The stories in the lyrics are somewhat similar, leading one to wonder if Boyce and Hart were inspired by the Buddy Holly song.

album art

Jay and the Americans - Come a Little Bit Closer (1964)

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Lyrics:

In a little café
Just the other side of the border
She was just sitting there giving me looks
That made my mouth water
So I started walking her way
She belonged to Bad Man Jose
And I knew, yes, I knew I should leave
When I heard her say, yeah

“Come a little bit closer”
“You’re my kind of man”
“So big and so strong”
“Come a little bit closer”
“I’m all alone”
“And the night is so long”

So we started to dance
In my arms, she felt so inviting
That I just couldn’t resist
Just one little kiss, so exciting
Then I heard the guitar player say
“Vamoose! Jose’s on his way”
Then I knew, yes, I knew I should run
But then I heard her say, yeah

“Come a little bit closer”
“You’re my kind of man”
“So big and so strong”
“Come a little bit closer”
“I’m all alone”
“And the night is so long”

Then the music stopped
When I looked, the café was empty
Then I heard Jose say
“Man, you know you’re in trouble plenty”
So I dropped my drink from my hand
And through the window I ran
And as I rode away
I could hear her say to Jose, yeah

“Come a little bit closer”
“You’re my kind of man”
“So big and so strong”
“Come a little bit closer”
“I’m all alone”
“And the night is so long”

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