Why did I buy this record? Sometimes it comes down to lyrics making a record entertaining. This is one of those records. Listen to the lyrics the fine singer is performing for us. Why, she lets him in with a big smile. Tells him to stay a while. She is locking him in. Turns on the radio (so no one can hear him scream?) And she has been plotting this for a while. There is no turning back. He is not coming back from all this. That first kiss was all… ooooh, wonderful. This is going to be a special night.
I have no idea what she is singing about. (Nor do I have any idea what Wile E. Coyote has to do with a 1960s girl group. But I digress.)
As doowop transitioned to soul, the music was filled with songs that had, for lack of a better term, banal lyrics. This song bucks that trend. The lyrics are humorous. And it is dance-able. A wonderful little number of not-so-innocence before soul music grew up and became serious. The harmonies are a bit more sophisticated than the typical song of era. The singers can sing and they are being directed/produced by someone who knows what s/he is doing.
B-sides are usually throwaway numbers. Not this B-side. The sophistication kicks it up a lot of notches. And not just the vocal arrangements, which are a lot more complex than the A-side. Boy, can that singer hit some high notes. Instead of the usual baritone sax, we have a… trumpet solo in the bridge? The quick breaks between the verses and chorus have a nifty little piano riff replacing the usual guitar or bass riff. The beat and tempo to the song has a bit of a calypso groove going on.
Singer with excellent range and technique who can go from tenor to soprano in an instant? Classic American music mixing in a world music influence? Imaginative arrangements? Who is responsible for this spot of creativity on the B-side of a record intended for teen-agers?
None other than Jerry Landis, of course. Better known to you and most everyone else as Paul Simon. Yes, THAT Paul Simon. That explains why I purchased a record on Amy, a label otherwise associated with generic, watered-down soul music. Producing, performing, and arranging for Amy was Simon’s part-time college job before he became part of the best-selling folk act of the 1960s. Watered-down soul music this is not.
As far as can be told, this record made absolutely no noise anywhere. And while one can spend eons reading up on Paul Simon, the internet is mum on this record. It is not even clear who The Fashions are. These could The Fashions that hailed from Philadelphia. Or The Fashions from New Jersey, a doowop group descended from the Clickettes led by Barbara Jean English. Some even attribute it to The Fashions fronted by Jackie Lavant, a Philly soul group that had a minor hit in the 1970s. But not even Paul Simon completists seem to know about this record. Or maybe they do, and they have all available copies locked up away in the attics of upper middle class homes across America.
Nah, this one came and went like a snowflake on a 60 degree day. Except I trapped this one before it melted.