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Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Song I'm Thankful For

The song-poem industry, in which unwitting amateur poets paid to have their lyrics made into actual songs, which were then recorded and pressed onto vinyl in tiny quantities, produced great works of art almost by accident.

One of the top song-poem companies was Sterling, which operated out of Boston. Label owner Lew Tobin, a jazz pianist with a warbling wife named Shelley Stuart, always seemed to ensure that his products were decent musically--and given some of the amateur lyrics the musicians had to work with, this was no easy feat.

Exhibit #1 in my case is this 1974 Sterling recording, "Do You Know the Difference Between Big Wood and Brush," by Gary Roberts & the Satellites.

Louise I. Oliver's lyric tells, sort of, the story of a man who leaves his wife for another and returns, having realized that the "brushfire" of illicit pleasures is no match for the "big wood" of a lasting relationship.

The metaphor is great, but the lyric is so convoluted that poor Gary can barely get through one line before having to start the next. (The words even mention Thanksgiving, which is why I'm posting it today!) I'm thankful to be able to share music like this with all of you.


Anonymous Jonathan said...

Tis the season:

3:44 PM, December 03, 2008


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