Friday, September 14, 2018

Listening to Prestige 343: Lonnie Johnson

I've skipped over one session, with guitarist Al Casey. I'll come back to it as soon as I find my notes.

Prestige plucked Lonnie Johnson from obscurity for this recording, and a few more that he'd make for their Bluesville line, but then he kind of fell back into it. As the blues craze of the 1960s developed, it was a rising tide that lifted two kinds of boats. The ethnic folkie crowd, energized by Columbia's release of Robert Johnson's 1936-37 recordings, started looking for and resurrecting the careers of Mississippi Delta bluesman like Son House, Furry Lewis and Mississippi Fred McDowell. The young British blues enthusiasts who came to dominate the American pop charts loved the high-octane, electrified Chicago blues. The Rolling Stones demanded that Howlin' Wolf be featured on the white teen-oriented TV show  Shindig when the made their American debut in 1965, and the careers of artists like Wolf, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker were in the ascendant.

Lonnie Johnson fit neither of these categories. He was from an earlier generation than the Chicago bluesmen, and he was from a different musical aesthetic than the Delta bluesmen, closer to jazz. He was, in fact, the first and most important innovator of the single-string guitar solo, the basis of nearly all jazz guitar improvisation.

Johnson made his first mark as a blues singer, winning a recording contract with Okeh at a 1925 blues competition.

But that was 1925, right in the middle of the decade of the first blues craze. After the unexpected commercial success of Mamie Smith's recording, "Crazy Blues," had shown that there was a black audience that would buy records, all the record companies wanted a piece of it, and they all figured that the way to get it was through the blues. At first that meant the urban, jazz-oriented blues of Mamie Smith, Alberta Hunter, and especially Bessie Smith. Then it meant the rural blues of street singers and rural juke joint performers like Blind Lemon Jefferson and Charley Patton.

And those guys weren't necessarily bluesmen. They were songsters. They were trying to make a buck, and that meant playing anything their audiences wanted to hear. Sometimes those audiences were black, and sometimes they were white. Sometimes they wanted to listen and sometimes they wanted to dance, so the songster had to be prepared. You can hear a vestige of this in Robert Johnson's "Hot Tamales and They're Red Hot."

Then an important audience became the record company, and the record companies wanted blues, so they became bluesmen, and the best bluesmen were successful. Lonnie Johnson, later in life, would come to resent the label a little, feeling it was too restrictive and did not show the scope of what he could do. But in 1925 he was desperate to get a recording contract, and the blues was his ticket of entry, though once inside the door, he was able to expand his scope, recording with both Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, among other jazzmen, including guitarist Eddie Lang, with whom he made some exciting recordings even though music was supposed to be made on a strictly segregated basis in those days.

But the blues was his meal ticket, and so it remained until that cafeteria dried up.The Depression was a time of shrinkage and retrenchment for the record companies, and the black artists were the first to be retrenched.

With the rise of independent rhythm and blues labels in the 1940s, he began to build a second career, but it ultimately dried up too, and he had settled back into obscurity for most of the 1950s.

His next comeback, and the contract with Prestige, coincided with another Prestige debut. Iceland-born Chris Albertson, who had begun making a career in radio in England, Iceland and Norway, latched onto American Armed Forces Radio as a disc jockey in Iceland, and followed his love of jazz to the United States, where found work as a disc jockey with a Philadelphia radio station. His special interest was in traditional jazz and blues, and one night he played some records by Lonnie Johnson, wondering over the air what had happened to the forgotten blues great.

He didn't have to wonder for long. A listener called the station. The hotel where he worked had a janitor named Lonnie Johnson, and though he never talked about music, he was always very careful of his hands. Could it be...?

It was. Albertson had him as a guest on his show, then brought him to Bob Weinstock's new Bluesville label, where Johnson was signed as an artist and Albertson as a producer.

Albertson put him together, for his first effort, with some first rate jazz musicians, all of them veterans with roots in traditional jazz, but nonetheless representing two different generations,

Pianist Claude Hopkins was Johnson's contemporary, born in 1903 to Johnson's 1899, and when Johnson was making his first blues recording in 1925, Hopkins was on his way to Paris as musical director of Josephine Baker's revue.

There's always work for a good piano player and bandleader, and Hopkins stayed busy throughout the following decades, including the 1950s, as there was still a demand for a pianist in the traditional style, not everyone being on board with this modern stuff. In fact, 52nd Street, once the cathedral of bebop, was by the end of the 1950s represented only by two Dixieland clubs, Eddie Condon's and Jimmy Ryan's.

When Johnson made that first recording for Okeh, his other future bandmates were barely out of diapers. Tenor saxophonist-to-be Hal Singer was six, bassist Wendell Marshall five and drummer Bobby Donaldson three.

All three of them were seasoned veterans by 1960, and all four of Albertson's musicians could play the blues, especially Singer, whose instrumental "Corn Bread" had topped the rhythm and blues charts in 1948. Together, they add jazz depth to a session that is Johnson's. and very rightly so. His single-string guitar soloing may not have been revolutionary any more, but few did it as well as he.

The album came out on Bluesville as Blues by Lonnie Johnson. The 45 RPM single was "You Don't Move Me" / "Don't Ever Love."

Friday, July 27, 2018

Listening to Prestige 342: Roosevelt Sykes

I wrote this about blues singer Al Smith's debut album for Prestige Bluesville:
Al Smith is a remarkable singer. How remarkable? Well, take his cover of a Ray Charles tune.
Ray Charles was a wonderful songwriter, and his songs have been widely covered: "I Got a Woman," "This Little Girl of Mine," "What'd I Say?" But nobody else that I've been able to find has covered "Night Time is the Right Time," and with good reason: the distinctive raw, pleading response vocals of Margie Hendrix make it virtually uncoverable. 
But Smith makes it work. His gospel-tinged blues singing is sufficiently different from Charles's to make his approach unique--and while it's equally different, it has enough of Hendrix's fervor to power his singing of both parts.
And I stand behind it 100 percent--about my praise for Smith, and about the near-impossibility of covering what Ray and Margie Hendrix did with "Night Time is the Right Time." I stand behind it, except for the part that I got 100 percent wrong.

Ray Charles didn't write "Night Time is the Right Time."

Roosevelt Sykes did.

Sykes' version, with his boogie-woogie piano, and his classic blues shouter style, was of course dramatically rethought and retooled by the time it got to Ray, but it turns out there was yet another intermediate version. Sykes' song was revamped to the point that it was considered a new song, and copyright and writing credits were given to Herman Lubinsky, the head of Savoy Records (writing as Lew Herman), Nappy Brown, and Ozzie Cadena, then a producer for Savoy, later for Prestige. Nappy Brown recorded it on Savoy, and his version is terrific, and rhythmically similar to Ray's, but Ray and the Raeletts and Ray's great orchestra still own the song.

Sykes' version is terrific too, in its own very different way, both as originally recorded in the 1930s and as recorded here in this 1960 session for Bluesville.

Bluesville in a way was the most interesting of Bob Weinstock's three subsidiary labels, because it was the most amorphous. He knew exactly what he wanted for Swingville--the older musicians who still had a lot to say, the Basie alums and Coleman Hawkins and the rhythm and blues/swing guys like Buddy Tate. And Moodville--it was like Chris Albertson said, these weren't Jackie Gleason records, they were real Prestige jazz by some of the label's finest artists, playing mostly standards and setting a mood. 

But Bluesville was more of an experiment. He'd showcased little-known but deserving blues singers like Al Smith and Mildred Anderson. He'd presented blues veterans like Memphis Slim and Willie Dixon. Understandably, he leaned more toward a jazz-shaded blues format, and this was a good thing. It gave the Prestige blues releases a quality of their own. Smith and Anderson were backed by Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Shirley Scott. Dixon, one of the chief architects of the Chicago blues sound, had been the bass player for a lounge jazz trio modeled after the Nat "King" Cole Trio and Johnny Moore's Three Blazers.

Sykes was a veteran bluesman, whose recording career went back to the 1920s (he had first cut "Night Time is the Right Time" in the 1930s). A lot of his recording was piano blues and boogie-woogie in the tradition of Albert Ammons or Pete Johnson, with some of the jazz inflection of Leroy Carr. But he'd had success in the 1940s with a recording of Joe Liggins' "The Honeydripper," and adopted that title as his stage nickname. In 1944, he put together a band, and made some recordings as Roosevelt Sykes and the Honeydrippers. By the turn of the decade, his career had pretty much played out, and he had slipped into obscurity.

Weinstock wanted to develop that "Honeydrippers" aspect of his musical personality, and he put him with a five-piece combo. The musicians who worked with him on this two-day Prestige session are pretty much forgotten today, with the exception of Armand "Jump" Jackson, one of the best-known drummers on the Chicago blues scene of the 1940s, so probably these were all guys who had worked with Sykes in Chicago. But they can play, and Clarence Perry, Jr., has an arresting tone on the tenor sax.

Sykes sticks to the 12-bar blues format for the most part, with vocals that are powerful and sensitive, but each song allows plenty of room for instrumental improvisation. "Runnin' the Boogie" is a good example. It was a staple of Sykes' repertoire, and YouTube has an excellent video of him performing it as a solo piano number at a 1970 blues festival. But this recording has the piano giving way to some hot guitar licks, followed by an instrumental frenzy that features Perry worrying the blues riffs like a bulldog shaking a rat.

Sykes and company spent two days in the studio. The resulting album is called The Return of Roosevelt Sykes, and it was indeed a return. It was also a debut of sorts--the first time he had recorded a group of songs for an LP record. No 45 RPM singles were released from either session, which is interesting. Weinstock must have felt that there was no singles market for traditional blues, and he was probably right. Even with the modern sound of the group backing him, Sykes was essentially a traditional blues shouter, and the market was essentially that which had been cultivated by Moe Asch at Folkways.


Sunday, July 22, 2018

Listening to Prestige 341: Arnett Cobb

Two days in the studio with Arnett Cobb and a quintet, rhythm section augmented by congas, but with a different piano player and a different conguero each day, continuing the pattern he had established on his previous Party Time session for Prestige, with Ray Bryant and Ray Barretto.

The piano guys were two more of the best young players on the scene, 30-year-old Tommy Flanagan and 25-year-old Bobby Timmons. Flanagan had made his Prestige debut in 1956, newly arrived from Detroit, on an abbreviated Miles Davis session.
He would shortly thereafter be tabbed for one of the decade's most important albums, Sonny Rollins' Saxophone Colossus, and would make his debut as leader the following year with a trio: Overseas, recorded in Sweden. By the time of this recording, he was a solid regular with the label, with 15 recording dates as leader or sideman.

Flanagan's versatility could be amply illustrated right at this moment in time: just two weeks before he went to Englewood Cliffs to record with one of the veteran masters of good-time, mainstream jazz, he had seen the release of a session with young players who would be standing jazz on its year: John Coltrane's Giant Steps.

Bobby Timmons had recorded once previously for Prestige, with Clifford Jordan and John Jenkins, but he was best known for his work with Blue Note, particularly with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.

Danny Barrajanos took the conga chair for the first day. He was primarily known for his work with Harry Belafonte and Miriam Makeba. Buck Clarke, who came in for the second day, was more of a jazz figure, with credits that would include Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock and Les McCann.

Latin percussion was still a somewhat outside-the-box idea for a modern jazz album, and one might think of Cobb as an inside-the-box kinda guy, but boy, does he know how to make it swing! Listen to the work they do on "Blue Lou," composed by Edgar Sampson, one of the few composer/arranger/ musicians of his era to move back and forth between mainstream and Latin jazz. He played with Duke Ellington, Rex Stewart, Fletcher Henderson and Chick Webb (for whom he composed "Stompin' at the Savoy" and "Don't Be That Way"); and worked as an arranger for Marcelino Guerra, Tito
Rodgriguez and Tito Puente. And raised a musical family--his daughter Grace co-wrote "Mambo Inn" with Mario Bauzá. "Blue Lou" is a killer, with Barrajanos pushing the beat throughout, getting some wild and crazy sax playing of Cobb and smoking solos from Flanagan, Taylor and himself.

"Blue Lou" was followed on the session by a Cobb original called "Blue Me." One can't help but wonder if the original title had been a mite dirtier.

The second day found the musicians in a mellower mood, but Buck Clarke shows how much a conguero can contribute there, too. Listen to "The Nitty Gritty," a Cobb original. It's interesting that Cobb didn't use any Bobby Timmons originals, as hot a composer as he was then. But Timmons adds his soul jazz piano to Cobb's already soulful playing, and his Illinois Jacquet-style honking.

The sessions became a little mixed on record. "Down by the Riverside" is Timmons and Clarke, but it Arnett Cobb--More Party Time, which otherwise comprised tunes from the first day. The traditional spiritual joined Stephen Foster's "Swanee River" as tunes you wouldn't necessarily bring to a modern party. "Fast Ride" was slipped back to Movin' Right Along to complete the trade. Both albums were released before 1960 was out.
was included on

"Lover Come Back to Me," from the Flanagan/Barrajanos session, was a two-sided 45 RPM single release. The Sigmund Romberg melody is from New Moon, the last operetta to be produced on Broadway. One tends to think of operetta as a form more likely to produce cornball chestnuts like "Stout Hearted Men," which is also from New Moon, but "Lover Come Back to Me" has proved a most satisfying challenge to many a modern jazz musician. So has another aria from New Moon, "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise," which Cobb recorded on the second day.

"Ghost of a Chance" was the single from the second session to be released on 45 RPM, as the flip side of "Smooth Sailing," from Cobb's first Prestige album.

Esmond Edwards produced both sessions.


Friday, July 20, 2018

Listening to Prestige 340: Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis - Shirley Scott

Ballads, standards, moods for Moodsville, and a couple of novelties for a 45 RPM release and the Christmas trade.

This is mostly Eddie Davis's album. Shirley Scott plays a supporting role, and a lot of it,  session log to the contrary, is on piano. Her piano solos show that if she had chosen to stay on that instrument, she would have had a very fine jazz career.

"It Could Happen to You" was written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke. First recorded in 1943 by Jo Stafford, it moved into the jazz repertoire in 1951 when both Errol Garner and Bud Powell cut it, and since then, it has been beloved by jazz musicians. Burke also co-wrote "What's New" with Bob Haggard for a 1938 Bing Crosby recording, and it became a jazz standard in the early 1950s with recordings by Milt Jackson and Errol Garner before it really became a pop standard. Although both of these entered the jazz repertoire as piano pieces, Davis dominates here, and he is a fine ballad player, sensitive and atmospheric, Scott's solos are shorter, but she packs a lot into them, Jerome Kern's "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" has never wanted for performers, either vocal or instrumental, to take on its subtle loveliness. This track is Davis's throughout, with Scott providing support. The Gershwins are responsible for "The Man I Love," and it's even older, going back to the 1920s and Adele Astaire, and if anything even more popular, with over 300 recorded versions.

"The Very Thought of You" (Ray Noble), "Serenade in Blue" (Harry Warren) and "I Cover the Waterfront" (Johnny Green) can't quite match Kern and Gershwin, but they're also well-loved standards.

"Man With the Horn" was written by Bonnie Lake, one of the most successful woman songwriters of her era, and dedicated to her husband and co-composer, Jack Jenney, a trombone player who would die not long after. It became a staple for horn players, although Jenney may have been its only trombonist, and Davis recorded it more than once.

Scott goes back to the organ for the two Christmas songs. I think I prefer "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," which is sprightly and doesn't take itself too seriously, to Mel Tormé's "The Christmas Song," which has always thought of itself as a better song than it probably is. Scott does some very clever organ fills on it, though.

The Moodsville album is simply and eponymously title Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Shirley Scott, because at this point "Moodsville" was the prominent feature on the new label's covers. The Christmas songs were not included. They had their own niche as a seasonal 45.


Sunday, June 17, 2018

Listening to Prestige 339: Coleman Hawkins

This is a Moodsville session, and it can legitimately be described as mood music: Coleman Hawkins and a rhythm section, a selection of well-chosen ballads, all of them familiar, none of them over-familiar. Two of them ("While We're Young" and "Trouble is a Man") were composed by Alec Wilder, who, if he didn't coin the phrase "Great American Songbook," can certainly be accorded credit for popularizing the concept with his 1972 book American Popular Song: The Great Innovators 1900-1950.

The cover art for the Moodsville series makes it clear what they're selling: the mood. But the musicians don't go into the studio to make mood music, and with Coleman Hawkins, you know you're getting a lot more.

And that's not to put down mood music. Music as background is sometimes unfairly derided. It's part of our lives when we don't necessarily want it to be, in elevators or supermarkets or when we're on hold. But it's the background to our lives when we choose it, to read, to work out or make love, to paint or sculpt or clean out the garage. But that background has to be foregroundable. It has to be music that you can stop sculpting for a few minutes, wipe your brow, take a breath, and shift your attention to what you're listening to. It needs to be something good, something that's every bit as challenging and absorbing as it is relaxing and soothing.

Hawkins fits all of those requirements. So does Tommy Flanagan, who is a very good match for Hawkins.

The album is called At Ease With Coleman Hawkins. Esmond Edwards produced.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Listening to Prestige 338: Jack McDuff

Two weeks after Bill Jennings, Jack McDuff, Wendell Marshall and Alvin Johnson had gone to Englewood Cliffs to record as the Bill Jennings Quartet, they were back again, this time under McDuff's name. He was the third of the trio that had been signed on to Prestige as Willis "Gator Tail" Jackson's group to record as leader, though he probably ended up as the most commercially successful of the three.

McDuff and Jennings make a great combination. It turns out that if the organ-tenor sax quartet is a great new idea, and the organ-tenor sax-guitar quintet is another great idea, the organ-guitar quartet is an equally great idea, if you have two players like these.

So, about the music. The set begins with "Organ Grinder's Swing," written by Will Hudson (best known for "Moonglow"), a swing era tune from the 1930s that originally celebrated that figure of Depression-era mythology, the organ grinder and his trained monkey. In the soul jazz era, it got picked up by virtually everyone who played that more sophisticated type of organ, the Hammond B3. Shirley Scott was the first to take it on, on an album with Joe Newman, and Jimmy Smith would record it a few years later with Kenny Burrell. But McDuff and Jennings were the first to give it the guitar-organ treatment, and if there's ever a number that demonstrates how perfectly these two long-time partners work together, it's this. There are also lyrics written by Irving Mills and Mitchell Parish, probably best forgotten these days, because they include the verse "Eeny meeny miney mo, Catch a monkey by the toe."

"Drowsy" is the first Brother Jack composition on the album, and it is something different, starting with with notes sustained as only an electric organ can, to the point of eeriness,  and if you're looking for eerie, how about the next sound you here, which is Bill Jennings bending one blue note at a time, with some fairly impressive sustaining himself, and that's basically what happens throughout. If a slow tempo is enough to make something a ballad, then this is a ballad. Except it's not. Is it jazz? Well, sure it is. It's on a jazz album, and it's being played by two jazz masters, so what else do you want?

"Noon Train" is another original, uptempo, riff-based, blues-drenched, with some serious work by Wendell Marshall and especially Alvin Johnson, some flights of creativity from McDuff and a guitar solo that -- not for the first or last time -- makes you stop and ask yourself why Jennings isn't on everyone's list of greatest jazz guitarists. And he's not. Not even on Ranker's list, which has 131 guitarists on it (well, he is now). Which shows you that people can be wrong. Or perhaps that I'm wrong--but that's not possible. This is one hell of a guitarist. Am I right, Larry (the Fluff) Audette?

"Mack 'N' Duff" and "Brother Jack" are two that he named after himself, and all of these together lead one to the inescapable conclusion that if McDuff wasn't one of the great jazz composers, he surely was the greatest composer of original music for Jack McDuff, and it is every bit of that: original, and designed to show his considerable range, and with great parts for his pal Bill Jennings. Jennings is co-composer on the final original, "Light Blues," and it's a nice showcase for him, a lazy swinging blues.

"Mr. Wonderful" certainly had its heyday as a jazz piece in the late 1950s, especially with organists (Shirley Scott and Johnny "Hammond" Smith took it on too), and not much after that, which shows the clout that Sammy Davis, Jr., had in those days, but it's also not a bad tune, and it's hard to fault this version. "You're Driving Me Crazy" is a certifiable standard. Written by the prolific Walter Donaldson, it's never gone very long without provoking a new rendition, either jazz or pop (most recently Van Morrison and Joey DiFrancesco). McDuff and Jennings take it at a relaxed tempo, and do some cool things with it.

"Organ Grinder Swing" was the single, b/w "Brother Jack." Brother Jack was also the name of the album, although it would be a while before the brother would add "Brother" to his name full time. I had a tough time choosing a "Listen to One" for this session. So many different sounds competed for my attention. Listening to all would not be a bad idea at all.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Listening to Prestige 337: Mildred Anderson

Bob Weinstock continues his streak here: finding wonderful blues singers, putting them together with first rate musicians, and not really achieving the kind of success one would hope for.

Mildred Anderson had recorded a couple of sides in the 1940s and a couple more in the 1950s. This session, and a followup for Prestige, are generally considered to be her best work, but they didn't bring her much fame. She faded into obscurity--in fact, into oblivion. There appears not even to be a record of her death. Or her birth, for that matter.

Anderson had worked with first rate musicians before. She'd had a minor hit with Albert Ammons ("Doin' the Boogie Woogie"), and had recorded with Hot Lips Page and Bill Doggett. But "Doin' the Boogie Woogie" really wasn't a very good song, although it had a nice solo by Ammons. And on the Prestige session, she gets the label's stars, plus Esmond Edwards' producing talents, and, of course, Rudy Van Gelder engineering the session.

She has a full day of studio time. And she has an interesting collection of songs.

Here again, we've moved into a new era. Edwards and Anderson, or whoever picked out the songs for this session, are not looking back at the composers who compiled the Great American Songbook, now closed, gift-wrapped, and sent to Ella Fitzgerald. Those songs aren't necessarily appropriate for a contemporary blues singer, anyway. This is a different and a motley bunch, but professionals with some interesting hits to their resumes.

"I'm Gettin' 'Long Alright" and "Connections" were written by Charles Singleton (who also wrote "I'm Free" and Bobby Sharp. Sharp, who grew up in a two-room Harlem flat where his parents entertained the likes of Roy Wilkins, Thurgood Marshall, Langston Hughes and Duke Ellington, wrote "Unchain My Heart." Singleton wrote "Strangers in the Night."

Rhythm and blues great Chuck Willis wrote "Don't Deceive Me (Please Don't Go)." Anderson herself wrote the two blues numbers, "Hello Little Boy" and "Cool Kind of Poppa," and they're both solid songs, well suited to her style. Another blues legend, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, wrote "Kidney Stew Blues," along with Leona Blackman, who wrote a number of R&B tunes for artists like Big Maybelle, but "Kidney Stew," as originally performed by Vinson, was her biggest hit.

"Person to Person," which became the title song of the album, was written by Wally Gold, who had a bunch of hits, including  "It's Now or Never" and "Good Luck Charm" for Elvis Presley, and a song he was called in on to finish up for a part time songwriter, who had been inspired by a tantrum thrown by his teenage daughter, when informed she had to invite her grandparents to her Sweet Sixteen. When he tried to calm her down, she retorted "It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to."

Mildred Anderson is a terrific singer who deserved more recognition than she got. The musicians backing her up, Scott and Davis and their regular rhythm section, George Duvivier and Arthur Edgehill, are amazing. I commented before, regarding their session with Al Smith, that "Shirley Scott's understated but impassioned organ work, on every cut, really pulls the album together. It makes you wish she'd done a lot more work with singers." That's as true, and more, on this session, but if I singled out Scott that time, I might not be able to do it this time. She and Davis are equally impressive. They do wonderful work backing up the singer, accenting her and bringing out the best in her, and they move from that into solos that take on their own importance, yet never stop being part of the song. I can't say more than that, because every time I try to single out one of them, and one cut off the album, so many others jump out and demand equal time.

Maybe Davis and Scott were born out of their time. In the 1930s, the bandleaders were the stars, and the singers were just part of the show. By the 1950s, that only worked for Johnny Otis. But if Davis and Scott could have added a vocalist and put together a package like Tommy Dorsey or Glenn Miller...

"Person to Person," b/w "Connections," is the 45 RPM single. "Connections" was not included on the album. Nor was "Ebb Tide," and neither of them are listed on the CD reissue, either, although you can find "Connections" on YouTube, which is all to the good. It's a nice raunchy song. Unfortunately, the single didn't make much of a dent. Maybe if they could have gotten a different Wally Gold song, like It's My Party." Well, maybe not.