Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Debut: 45 after 45

I am so pumped about this post! I did a feasibility study for this blog in October, 2007. I pulled out all of my 45s, focused on the Survivors that I had owned since 1963 or so, and created a table in a Word document in which I slotted all of the old sides and newer material that resonated with me. And I knew last October that when I got to post number 69, this one, I would be very excited to be here.

Why? I own two 45s from my childhood that I never played. And one of the four sides gets its first spin for this post.

I said last time that I was going to do something I had never seen on a music blog. Correct me if I’m wrong, but has anyone else blogged about a song he or she has owned for 45 (or 30, or even 20) years without ever playing the song beforehand?

This sort of reminds me of Geraldo Rivera’s live-TV foray into Al Capone’s hidden vault. I will play this song file and react to it in real time. I recorded the four songs to a wav file on April 27, 2008, but I did not listen to them. I used the visuals of the recording program to make sure I was getting sound. Now, I will open that file, chop out the song I am after, and play it.

Ah, but first, I should admit that I may have listened to the song at some point. There was no particular reason for me never to listen to it. When Uncle Tom brought the record to me in 1963, I almost certainly did listen to it. And then something about it made me set it aside, and while I remember looking at it often when I was trying to find something else, I know I never listened to it past my fifth birthday.

I don’t know anything about the artist or the label yet. I am supposing that there’s not a lot of back story to go with the song. If I like the song, I’m going to be annoyed at myself. Here comes the first song in this odyssey, “Go Charley Go” by Davi (Stark 110).

Needle drops. Sounds like a Johnny Maestro clone. Late 1950s social references. Hand claps. Energetic but awkward drumming. Girls screaming. Sax solo. Unusual and weird story line. Dialogue overlay at end.

So. I do not remember the song at all. I suspect that three-year-old caithiseach listened to the very slow intro and yanked the needle off before the song got going. I also did not have any experience with “Runaround Sue”-type songs then, so this one would have involved a steep learning curve. Hence its relegation to the bottom of the box of 45s.

When you listen, you will hear some clicks. There is a scratch on the record from years of careless storage without a sleeve, but the groove is black and shiny. The overall sound quality shows that it got far less airplay than most caithiseach vinyl (or styrene).

Now, to do some digging on Davi. A search on “Stark 110 Davi” gives me two million hits. Darn. One hit is for “the biology of cleavage fragments.” A search for the title on the BMI site showed no songs named “Go Charley Go,” though the song, written by C. Liddell, was published by Liddell Publ. Co., B.M.I.

What about the songwriter? Aha! Charles Stark Liddell is listed with five published titles, though “Go Charley Go” is not among them. He wrote all five songs by himself, so I can’t cross-check his collaborators.

My guess is that Charley Liddell created a label and named it after himself. He wrote a song about something that happened to him, published it under his BMI auspices, got a kid named Davi to sing it, and sent the 45 to a hundred radio stations, most of which didn’t play it. But since my copy is not a DJ copy and is not an obvious cutout, it must have been for sale somewhere.

A search on Charles Stark Liddell shows via www.poparchives.com.au that Mr. Liddell wrote “I Thank You” for the Velveteens, released on Stark 105 in 1961 and Laurie 3126 in 1962. That gives a time reference for “Go Charley Go.” “I Thank You” is listed as one of his five BMI titles. The Laurie connection may have something to do with the song’s continuing documentation.

I finally teased out a bit more information on Davi, but it relates more to Saturday’s song, so I’ll talk about it then.

Here’s a scan of the label. The light color allows you to see the numbers I penciled onto the label when I took my record censuses; I considered the record part of my collection, but I really didn’t play it more than once.

Well, I made it this far in the post with the play-by-play of my “discovery” of “Go Charley Go,” but I have nothing more to add for now. Since Saturday’s post is likely to be rather short, I’ll add in details of something I acquired when I was in Indiana for my 30-year high school reunion. See you then!

Davi, Go Charley Go

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