A Bit Like You And Me Radio

October 26, 2016

The Denvermen - Surf City Stomp (1963)

This surf was stitched together in Sydney, Australia from the ex-members of two recently broken up groups: Digger Revell and the Lonely Ones and Paul Dever and the Denvermen. The Denvermen featured guitarist Les Green, who provided his old band’s name when the two groups merged together.

They began working on their first major single, “Surfside,” in December 1962, which went to number one in Sydney after its release in January 1963. The song also went to number six on the Melbourne charts, eventually charted in each state around the country, and thus because the first hit Australian surf song. The success of the song resulted in the group recording and releasing more material throughout 1963, as well as touring the neighboring New Zealand. To provide some perspective of their popularity, the band was paid a whopping £8,000 to tour New Zealand, which was exceptionally more than the £2,500 recently paid to The Beatles for their tour of the country.

The song below was released on the band’s 1963 album Let’s Go Surfside on the Australian branch of RCA Records. It was also re-released in 1964 on the four-track Stomp Fever. It’s assumed that the song was written by the ‘50s rock star Johnny Devlin, as most of their surf instrumentals during that period were.

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The Denvermen - Surf City Stomp (1963)

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Lyrics:

(instrumental)

October 19, 2016

Dave Van Ronk - Leave Her Johnny (1960)

Nicknamed the “Mayor of MacDougal Street,” Dave Van Ronk (June 30, 1936 – February 10, 2002) spent a large portion of his youth singing in a barbershop quartet and twice sailing with the Merchant Marine. In the mid-1950s, he desperately wanted to play with a traditional jazz band, and thus joined up with one in his native New York, playing the banjo and singing unamplified. Unfortunately, jazz had seen its day, and the outfit didn’t last very long. One day, while searching for jazz records in a music shop, Van Ronk stumbled upon blues artists like Mississippi John Hurt and Blind Lemon Jefferson. After finding this new style of music he could get into, he began to emulate the voices and styles which he heard during his own performances. And while doing so, Van Ronk continued to sing as if he was still unamplified and trying to be heard over the jazz arrangements. What resulted was a very loud, brash, and gritty style, which Van Ronk became known for, and which vastly contrasted with the other folk artists of the time who generally sang in a much more subdued style.

The song heard below was released in 1991 on the album The Folkway Years, 1959-1961. And although the specific year this song was recorded is not mentioned, the track listings for compilation albums such as these are usually listed in a sequential order. Assuming this to be true for this album, and noting that this song is smack-dab in the middle of the track listing, I'm taking the liberty of assuming it was recorded in 1960.

The song itself is a traditional sea shanty whose author or authors have been lost to time. Songs like this one were often sung by the crews of wooden ships to pass the time during the more menial tasks required to maintain a vessel. This song in particular was the song sung when a crew reached their final destination, after docking and being tied up in port, telling the everyman “Johnny” that it’s time to “leave her,” the ship.

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Dave Van Ronk - Leave Her Johnny (1960)

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Lyrics:

Oh, times were hard and the wages low
(Leave her, Johnny, leave her)
I guess it’s time for us to go
(It’s time for us to leave her)
Beware these packet ships, I say
(Leave her, Johnny, leave her)
They’ll steal your stores and your clothes away
(It’s time for us to leave her)
There’s Liverpool Pat with his tarpaulin hat
(Leave her, Johnny, leave her)
And Yankee John, the packet rat
(It’s time for us to leave her)
She would not wear and she would not stay
(Leave her, Johnny, leave her)
She shipped great seas both night and day
(It’s time for us to leave her)
It’s rotten beef and waverly bread
(Leave her, Johnny, leave her)
It was “pump or drown,” the old man said
(It’s time for us to leave her)
The sails all furled, our work is done
(Leave her, Johnny, leave her)
And now ashore, we’ll take our run
(It’s time for us to leave her)
Oh, what will us poor shellbacks do?
(Leave her, Johnny, leave her)
Our money’s gone; no work to do
(It’s time for us to leave her)

October 12, 2016

The Kingsmen - Louie Louie (1963)

Although there were quite a few bands to don the “Kingsmen” moniker in the early sixties, it was the stardom of this particular band which forced all of the others to change their name. Formed in Portland, Oregon in 1959 by Lynn Easton and Jack Ely, the group is most associated with their biggest hit, “Louie Louie,” heard below. And although the band failed to reach the same success they had had with that hit, they were not, as popularly thought, one hit wonders. They had a handful of songs on the Billboard Hot 100, albeit none of them as widely successful as their first monster of a hit.

The song itself was written by Richard Berry in 1955. Berry’s version was recorded as a B-Side and released in 1957. It became a local success on the West Coast, selling around 40,000 copies. But, after failing to find success with any follow-up records, Berry sold the rights to his song for $750 to Flip Records in 1959.

In 1962, The Kingsmen would often hear a rendition of the song by Rockin’ Robin Roberts, who was signed to Flip Records, from the jukebox at the Pypo Club in Seaside, Oregon. And since the song always seemed to get the crowd on its feet, The Kingsmen began to incorporate it into their live performances. What they didn’t realize was that they had misheard the song a bit and, thus, made it unique in their own future recording.

Speaking of their recording of the song, The Kingsmen’s version was recorded on April 6, 1963 during a one-hour recording session at the Northwestern Inc. studios. Because they had practiced the song for 90 minutes prior to going into the studio, the band was somewhat tired, lazy, and irritated. Making matters worse, everyone was crammed into a single room with only three microphones to record simultaneously, causing the lead singer, Jack Ely, to have to uncomfortably “lean backward and scream” rather than sing, in order to be heard over the instruments being played around him.

All in all, it was these complications which wound up giving the song its character. The combination of Ely’s tired voice (and him having braces) resulted in his infamously slurred lyrics- slurred lyrics which caused suspicious parents and radio station managers to accuse the song’s lyrics of being potentially “obscene.” And although the song’s lyrics were entirely innocuous, there were enough public outcries that the FBI began an investigation. Luckily for the members of the group, no charges were filed once the harmless nature was revealed. Perhaps the most ironic bit, however, is that if you listen carefully (specifically at 0:54), you can hear the band’s drummer, Lynn Easton, yell the F-word after fumbling his drumsticks, which he admitted to much later in life.

Ultimately, the song reached number two on the charts; it has been covered well over 1,600 times; and it is known as one of, if not the, most iconic garage rock songs in the history of recorded music.

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The Kingsmen - Louie Louie (1963)

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Lyrics:

Louie Louie
Oh no, me gotta go
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I said
Louie Louie, oh baby
Me gotta go

A fine little girl waits for me
Catch a ship across the sea
Sail that ship about, all alone
Never know I make it home

Louie Louie, no, no, no, no
Me gotta go, oh no
I said, Louie Louie
Oh baby, I said we gotta go

Three nights and days I sailed the sea
I think of that girl, oh, constantly
On that ship, I dream she's there
I smell the rose in her hair

Louie Louie, woah no
Sayin’ me gotta go
I said Louie Louie, oh baby
I said me gotta go

Okay, let's give it to 'em, right now!

See-

See Jamaica, the moon above
It won't be long, me see me love
Take her in my arms again
I tell her I'll never leave again

Louie Louie, oh no
Sayin’ we gotta go
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
I said Louie Louie, oh baby
Sayin’ we gotta go

I said we gotta go now

Let’s go on out of here

Let's go!

October 05, 2016

The Mascots - This Proud Crowd (1966)

Previously featured on this site, this group was virtually unknown to the English-speaking world in the 1960s. Hailing from Sweden, The Mascots predominately sang in English, but never quite managed to break into the English-speaking market. They released numerous singles in Sweden (with some to large, local success) and even a couple full length albums.

The song below was never released as a single, but was instead featured as the second track on the group’s second album, cleverly titled Ellpee and released in 1966. The song was written by Stefan Ringbom, the group’s lead vocalist and guitarist. The song also featured the rest of the band’s core members: Karl Gunnar Idering on guitar, Anders Forsslund on bass, Rolf “Boffe” Adolfsson on drums, and all of the members performing backing vocals.

Editor's Note: The lyrics are difficult to decipher, especially considering that they could be in broken English. If you have any suggestions as to what's being said, please leave a comment below.

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The Mascots - This Proud Crowd (1966)

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Lyrics:

Moving down the city way
Taking seats there every day
Buying clothes because they’re “in”
Having “out” ones is a sin
Digging new songs every week
And then you are a real
Member of this proud crowd

Old originality
Was once started, it I see
Someone said I shall break out
And then everyone broke out
Forming troops of self-sane people
And becoming all
Members of this proud crowd

You gotta like these things that’s new
That’s what you can do
Maybe they’re too much of things
Oh, forget it, cut my strings
But some things happen, though
It’s not the old way you will know
Maybe that too much at all
I think I’ll do an outlaw

No more thinking for oneself
‘cause one never is oneself
Doing things the others do
Joining parties, getting blue
Having lots of fun, I know
Because I am somehow
A member of this proud crowd

You gotta like these things that’s new
That’s what you can do
Maybe they’re too much of things
Oh, forget it, cut my strings
But some things happen, though
It’s not the old way you will know
Maybe that too much at all
I think I’ll do an outlaw

No more thinking for oneself
‘cause one never is oneself
Doing things the others do
Having parties, getting blue
Having lots of fun, I know
Because I am somehow
A member of this proud crowd

A member of this proud crowd