Friday, November 14, 2008

Debut 2B

Bill Erman made music careers possible for a number of people by venturing into the record-label business. In the case of Johnny Cooper, Bill was content to let Johnny’s compositions (“Rivalry,” “Bonnie Do”) serve as the A sides of the 45s. In both cases, however, Erman-penned songs filled the B side. Erman wrote both sides of “Little Bride”/“Dumb Dumb Bunny” for Johnny, as well as “While You’re Young”/“Diggity Doggity.” “Oreo” is a Cooper song, but its flip, “Flame of Love,” is credited on the label to Bill Erman, Johnny Cooper and Cal Starr (who registered just one other song). At the BMI site, Johnny is not given credit for that song.

So, despite having written only 44 songs, three more than Johnny Cooper, Bill Erman managed to represent himself well on Johnny’s singles. It could be that some of Johnny’s compositions came along after his Ermine years, of course.

Speaking of the label, photos of Ermine labels show lots of toying with the logo and design. The place to see them and all things Ermine is Terry Gordon's music site.

And now, “I Found Love with You” (Ermine 37), the other Johnny Cooper song I have owned for 45 years without playing it. I don’t have any reason why I ignored this one, either. We’ll see.

In retrospect, the sax intro would have pulled me in. It sounds a lot like Billy Vaughn, though, and three-year-old caithiseach would not have found this one as compelling as “Yakety Sax” or even the Billy Vaughn recording of “Old Cape Cod” I owned. Johnny’s voice is a bit better suited to “Rivalry,” as he has some trouble working with the slower 6/8 tempo of “I Found Love with You.”

Of the four sides I owned that have been sitting as a time capsule since 1963, I find this one the most disappointing, but really, can any song you’ve hidden away that long be a disappointment? I don’t think so. The mystery was fun while it lasted.

I do still own some songs I’ve not heard yet, including a 45 that seems to be of Finnish provenance. But these 45s are not from my Uncle Tom, or even from my childhood. If they turn out to be amazing when I finally play them, I will let you hear them.

For next time, I will bring you the first 45 I ever purchased. My Jan & Dean/Neal Hefti single was my second purchase; this one was my practice run. I did a good job for a new consumer. See you Wednesday!

Johnny Cooper, I Found Love with You

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