Monday, April 28, 2014

Ten Wheel Drive and "Family Feud"

Although Genya Ravin only had one charting single with her group Ten Wheel Drive ("Morning Much Better," #74 in 1970), there's a lot more to her story than that, such as her '60s band Goldie and the Gingerbreads and her role in producing the Dead Boys' debut LP.

The thing about "Morning Much Better," though, is that I can't hear it without thinking of the game show Family Feud, which debuted in 1976 with Richard Dawson as its kiss-distributing host. Although the show's theme song (written by Walt Levinski) doesn't borrow any melodic ideas from the single (written by Ten Wheel Drive band members Michael Zager and Aram Schefrin), they both share a distinctive banjo + blaring horn DNA.

Ten Wheel Drive featuring Genya Ravin - "Morning Much Better" (Billboard #74, entered 7/25/70). Written by Michael Zager and Aram Schefrin. Produced by Guy Draper. 45: "Morning Much Better"/"Stay with Me" (Polydor 1970). LP: Brief Replies (Polydor 1970).

Side B is a cover of the Lorraine Ellison soul classic.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bobby Goldsboro and Jeane-Claude Borelly: Shared Intros

In early '76 the French trumpeting instrumentalist Jeane-Claude Borelly scored a minor #106 hit with a single called "Dolannes Melodie" (a theme for the 1974 film Un linceul n'a pas de poches). Had to wrack my brain a bit, but I can now report that the song's opening musical motif is taken directly from Bobby Goldsboro's "Summer (The First Time)," a #21 hit in '73.

What a fascinating record "Summer" is, by the way - at once uncomfortable and arresting, with its coming of sexual age lyrics and beguiling arrangement. (Millie Jackson did an equally compelling version of it the following year.) Bobby Goldsboro is a puzzle to me, with a catalog that alternates between deep pathos and shallow bathos, sometimes even within a single song. One day I'll take the time to express this more fully.

Bobby Goldsboro - "Summer (The First Time)" (Billboard #21, entered 8/25/73)Written by Bobby Goldsboro. Produced by Bob Montgomery and Bobby Goldsboro. 45: "Summer (The First Time)"/"Childhood - 1949" (United Artists 1973). LP: Summer (The First Time) (United Artists 1973).

The B-side of "Summer," incidentally, revisits the theme of childhood - a preoccupation for both Goldsboro and the entire early '70s zeitgeist.

Jeane-Claude Borelly and His Orchestra - "Dolannes Melodie" (Billboard #106, entered 1/24/76). Written by Paul de Senneville and Olivier Toussaint. Arranged by HervĂ© Roy. 45: "Dolannes Melodie"/"Dolannes Melodie (Pipes of Pan Version)" (London 1975). LP: (No US album release).

The B-side is the real charmer, for my money - pan pipes, acoustic guitar, and strings, with no stolen Goldsboro motifs.