Woody Carr & the Entertainers
Listen – Woody Carr & the Entertainers – Hey Little One – MP3
Listen – Dillons – Simple Way of Living- MP3
I hope all is well on your end, and that your weekend preparations have you prepared for some garage jangle (and dirge).
Today’s post is yet another example of the record room heaving up an unexpected helping of synchronicitous good fortune.
Knowing that the wife was taking the little one down for a nap, and that my older son wanted to chill with Spongebob Squarepants, I dashed into my office and grabbed a handful of recent acquisitions, as well as some stuff I’d put aside for digimatization.
The Dillons ‘Simple Way of Living’ comes from the new pile, an almost blind purchase from the crates of my old pal Haim. Woody Carr & the Entertainers ‘Hey, Little One’ is a somewhat older buy, which I grabbed after picking up one of Carr’s later (and much funkier) efforts (see today’s Funky16Corners post).
On the surface, aside from a vague temporal similarity (I’m guessing both records hail from a 1965/1966 window), what these two records have in common is authorship. Something I had no clue about until I sat down with the laptop and the turntable and took a look at the labels.
The interesting thing (for me anyway) is that the author of both songs is no anonymous schlub, but rather a very interesting cat from the early days of rock’n’roll. He was a charter member (as bassist) of the Rock’n’Roll Trio with his brother Johnny Burnette and Paul Burlison, with whom he recorded the monumental, distorted (and hugley influential) version of ‘Train Kept a Rollin’. ‘
Though the Burnettes were from Tennessee, they relocated to California in the late 50s, where they would record together, and as solo artists.
Dorsey Burnette even recorded for the early Motown subsidiary Mel-O-Dy records in 1964 (the year his brother Johnny drowned while on a fishing trip).
Though he didn’t have any hits, he continued to record singles for a variety of labels, as well as writing for (and playing on sessions) for a wide variety of country, rock and pop artists.
The Dillons recorded the very first 45 for the LA Impressions label in 1965. Other than that, and the fact that the tune was written by (and the recording produced by) Dorsey Burnette, I can’t tell you anything about them.* Their record on the other hand is absolute, garage-folk perfection. The opening guitar jangle, the pounding, reverbed snare drum and the harmony vocals all add up to a proper dose of moptop teen angst. Even the mellow little breakdown after the verse is very cool, especially since it opens up into a scream and a wild guitar solo. I live for shit like this (I only wish I had more of it).
Woody Carr and the Entertainers were a Pacific Northwest combo that recorded a 45 for the storied Jerden label (Carr recorded two other 45s under his own name, one for Jerden – see Funky16Corners – and one for the Jerden subsidiary Picadilly). Aside from the coolness of their records, they are noteworthy for the fact that they had a black singer (Carr).
‘Hey Little One’ was initially recorded by Dorsey Burnett on a 1960 45, and was later covered by both Glen Campbell and the Grateful Dead (YES, the Grateful Dead…). Though I can’t say I like the other side of this 45 too much (‘Just Another Fool’), ‘Hey, Little One’ is really very interesting. There are traces of 1966 (combo organ, a touch of fuzz) but the whole thing is taken at a dirge-like pace. Not everyone can pull it off, but Carr and the Entertainers manage to find the groove and settle in. Though the tune isn’t remotely psychedelic – in the conventional, unconventional sense – there’s no mistaking that the roots of that sound are present, and I suspect that if this band was still performing this song a year or two later, that’s the direction they’d take.
That said, I hope you dig the tunes, and make sure you head over to Funky16Corners to check out the funkier side of Woody Carr.