King of Bubblegum: Joey Levine
Listen – I Enjoy Being a Boy (In Love With You) – MP3
Welcome to the second collaborative post (is it still a collaboration if I’m responsible for both halves???) between Funky16Corners and Iron Leg.
You can check out Funky16Corners for the explanation about how this particular dual post got started, but the Iron Leg half of things came to be thusly.
After spinning ‘Doin’ the Banana Split’ a few times, I let the record go (both 7” records are 4-song EPs) and listened to the other song on that side, ‘I Enjoy Being a Boy (In Love With You)’
I recall back in the heady garage revival days of the mid-80’s that a friend of mine used to sing this song with a Sky Saxon-ish inflection, which these 20 years hence (as I’m hearing the record for the first time) turns out to have been not too far from the mark.
As I mention in the Funky16Corners post, the Banana Splits musical catalog has several contributions from artists that one might reasonably assume would never have had anything to do with such a prefab enterprise (like Barry White, Gene Pitney and Al Kooper*).
On the flipside of that particular coin is ‘I Enjoy Being a Boy (In Love With You)’ which was composed by the man who might be considered to be one of the godfathers of the bubblegum pop era, Mr. Joey Levine.
You may not know his name, but you have surely heard his voice. In the mid-60’s Levine was a key member of the Kasenetz-Katz bubblegum pop factory, writing, producing and singing (that’s his voice on ‘Yummy Yummy Yummy’ by the Ohio Express and ‘Run Run Run’ by the Third Rail) a grip of chart hits. Levine would record lead vocals for a number of Kasenetz-Katz projects, and would go on to create and voice some of the most memorable advertising jingles of the 70’s, including “Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut” for Mounds/Almond Joy candy bars and “Just for the Taste of It” for Coca-Cola. If that wasn’t enough, Levine also gets a bit of rock credibility for writing ‘Try It’ which was recorded by the Standells in the US and the Attack in the UK.
The tune you are downloading today, ‘I Enjoy Being a Boy (in Love With You)’ is a great slice of vaguely fuzzy bubble-garage-psyche that’s just potent enough to stand up proudly next to much of what was on the charts when it came out. While it’s not going to win any gold medals at the garage punk Olympics, it’s evidence that even in the world of (almost literally) disposable pop, there were gems to be found.
As far as I know there has never been a legitimate reissue of the Banana Splits “catalog”. Initially there were three 45s and a full length LP on Decca, and the two EP’s issued by Kelloggs. There were also several songs that appeared only on the TV show, including alternate versions of some the tracks that were released on vinyl. There was a bootleg CD reissue in the 90’s that included all of the LP, 45 and EP tracks but I’ve heard that the tracks were mastered from vinyl, so the sound quality left something to be desired. The original vinyl is findable with varying degrees of difficulty, with the Kelloggs EPs being the easiest and the LP the most difficult (and expensive).
*Though Kooper got his start playing on the Royal Teens ‘Short Shorts’ so this may be a what goes around comes around moment…