These imprints were one of Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller’s multiple dabbles as record company moguls. They existed between 1962 and 1964 and encompassed just eleven singles, all of which are found here; in addition there are three alternate takes.
And just like their better known and more successful, follow-on operation, Red Bird, the material encompasses both their own work and those of a variety of other writer/production teams.
The first release was by Roosevelt “Tippie” Hubbard and three of the Clovers, called, of course, Tippie and the Clovers. 1962’s Bossa Nova, Baby was probably a little too ahead of the curve on the Bossa Nova fad: Joe Harnell’s hit came three months later, and a year later, pulled from his Fun In Acapulco movie, Elvis Presley took a version of this song to #8.
The flip, The Bossa Nova (My Heart Said), is interesting for being a joint composition of both the Leiber-Stoller and Mann-Weill teams, as well as being a more substantial creation.
The most successful single was Alvin Robinson’s Something You Got b/w Searchin’ (the first a Chris Kenner tune and the second a cover of the old Coasters hit done with a decidedly Big Easy tone) which just missed the Top Forty. While the most significant was Bessie Banks’ original reading of Go Now, which the Moody Blues would take Top Ten a year later.
The releases were an eclectic bunch, ranging from Barry-Greenwich protégé, Teen Idol wannabe Vic Donna (his flip, Dance Marie is a charming trifle), to the Instrumental Rock of the Temptations a.k.a Bob Moore & the Temps (who included semi-legendary guitarist Roy Buchanan), to a pick-up of a loose master from Vocal Group the Tams, to the Brill Building Pop of Cathy Dennis.
Those that most held me were the Lovejoys, Moody & the Deltas and Dee Warwick. The Lovejoys are the only act that got to do two singles. The first, He Ain’t No Angel b/w Wait ‘Round The Corner, is the significant one. (It’s Mighty Nice b/w Payin’ (For the Wrong I’ve Done) was the second one.)
The A, a Barry-Greenwich number, is a pumping, Girl Group tune topped by a big, wailin’, Soulful lead vocal, though it has a slightly disconcerting keyboard. The B, co-written by producer Clint Ballard, has that voice, but is a ballad with darker tones.
Moody & the Deltas’, who also hailed from New Orleans, also got an A-side from Barry-Greenwich, the swinging, Sam Cooke-inflected dance number complete with overlaid party sounds, Everybody Come Clap Your Hands.
The flip, Monkey Climb, co-written by their producer Joe Jones, is another dance number (by the way, going on 25 years now, I’m still looking for someone to demonstrate the Philly Dog, so if you know the steps please drop us a line), maybe more a shuffle, moodier in tone and featuring a more prominent use of the female Deltas who remind me here a bit of the Jaynetts. A primo single!
You might remember back in issue one, where I discussed a collection of Dee Dee’s work for the Blue Rock label. Well these cuts precede that period, and were the writing/production work of the multifaceted Van McCoy. Standing By is a big ballad.
The flip, Don’t Think My Baby’s Coming Back, is slightly more uptempo but still full of rue, is the finer track with it’s tight rhythm, crisper vocal and overall arrangement.
[Released by Sundazed 2003]