Listen/Download – Grace Markay – Sally Go Round the Roses
The record I bring you today is a cover of one of my all-time favorites, ‘Sally Go Round the Roses’.
Originally recorded in 1963 by the Jaynetts (a group with an ever changing lineup), it was a sizable hit, and one of the spookiest, grooviest records of the 60s.
While I would classify the original as a kind of fusion of girl group pop and soul, it really has a kind of a sui generis vibe to it.
It was covered a number of times by artists such as the Great Society (featuring a pre-Airplane Grace Slick), and the Remo Four, but no one came close to the feel of the original.
Until, that is, I happened upon the recording by Grace Markay.
I saw this record on a friend’s sale list and bought it precisely because I’d never heard it before. I was banking on an unknown version of ‘Sally…’ as likely being interesting and my instincts did not steer me wrong.
As far as I can tell, Markay (who now appears to work mainly as a contemporary Christian vocalist) had a modest career as a kind of a mainstream pop singer in the 60s. She recorded for Capitol and appears to have performed on the supper club circuit during the 60s singing a wide variety of pop material.
If you take a look at the album cover above, she looks more like a 60s TV mom than a co-conspirator in an edgy recreation of one of the decade’s most unique records.
Her version of ‘Sally Go Round the Roses’ was released in the Spring of 1968. It was arranged and produced by Perry Botkin, and it has a Wall of Sound feel that renders it almost psychedelic (though that probably has a lot to do with the song itself).
Given the nature of the song this may have been almost unavoidable, but I really dig this version. Markay has a sultry voice, and the arrangement, with layers of guitars, horns, vibes and voices, and an especially cool organ that snakes in and out of the record absolutely begs to be listened to repeatedly on headphones.
Botkin took the original 1963 recording as a jumping off point, added several layers of instrumentation to it and stopped just short of ‘too dense’, making for a truly remarkable lost bit of pop genius.
I hope you dig it as much as I do.
See you next week.