The Caped Crusaders
Lou Courtney, Leon Russell and Snuff Garrett
Listen/Download – The Spotlights – Batman and Robin Listen/Download – The Spotlights – Dayflower
Welcome back to the Iron Leg experience.
I hope you all had a chance to download and listen to last week’s edition of the Iron Leg Radio Show. If not, pull down the ones and zeros and give it a listen. I think you’ll dig it.
The tune I have for you today is not only very groovy on its own sonic merits, but carries with it the traces of a very interesting back story.
When I was digging at the Allentown all-45 show a while back, I pulled ‘Batman and Robin’ out ofa box of mixed genre 45s, and due to my own fascination with 1966-era, pop art Batman and any musical manifestation thereof, I grabbed it.
It was only when I got home and took a closer look at the label that I realized that the disc might have a more interesting pedigree than I figured.
The writing of the song is credited to Leon Russell and Snuff Garrett (who were working together frequently in the mid-60s, most prominently on Gary Lewis and the Playboys stuff), but also to a certain ‘L. Pegues’.
Now, to most people that name will mean little to nothing, but to dedicated soul collectors like myself, it rings an especially interesting bell.
That is on account of the fact that Louis Pegues was the given name of soul giant Lou Courtney, who in addition to making a grip of amazing records under his assumed name, also worked extensively as a songwriter and producer.
He wrote songs (first with his composing partner Dennis Lambert) for acts like Freddie and the Dreamers, Leslie Gore and the Nashville Teens, and later (with Bob Bateman) wrote for soul artists like Mary Wells, Lorraine Ellison, the Webs and Henry Lumpkin (among many others).
Though I don’t know the specific circumstances of his artistic intersection with Leon Russell, my first instinct is to attribute it to Leon’s ubiquity in the studios of Los Angeles in the 1960s.
The tune, ‘Batman and Robin’ (released in 1966) is a first rate slice of garagey novelty with pounding piano and organ, comic-book specific lyrics and Leon (I’m pretty sure) on lead vocals.
The flipside is a very cool and extremely unusual instrumental called ‘Dayflower’, in which the band performs a mash-up of the Beatles ‘Day Tripper’ and the old bluegrass standard ‘Wildwood Flower’.
There was also a full LP by the Spotlights (all comic-related titles) which I’ve never seen, and one other 45 with tracks from the LP (‘Dayflower’ was 45-only).
If any of you has any more specific info on the Spotlights, please add on in the comments.
I hop you dig it and I’ll see you next week.