Listen – The Candymen – The Memphis Blues Again – MP3
I hope everything’s groovy gravy in your part of the universe.
I’m in the midst of a major reworking of my record cave, which normally wouldn’t be such a big deal, but in addition to cleaning up/organizing the records (as task in and of itself) I’m putting together a proper DJ setup, as well as moving all the old, obsolete computer equipment out, and all the newer, blog and podcast related stuff back in. I spent most of Saturday working on it (filling a huge trash can with various flotsam and jetsam), and now there’s close to 200% more floorspace visible, so I must be getting somewhere.
In other news…oh, wait, there isn’t any other news. Almost no new vinyl in the last few weeks (there was no digging to be had on vacation), so in the midst of all the chaos, there has been a tiny islet of peace.
The tune I bring you today is by a group that has intrigued me for years. I saw my first Candymen album way more than 20 years ago, and was intrigued by it’s groovy cover. I actually purchased that album a few years later, and was decidedly underwhelmed when I discovered not groovy psychedelia, but southern-inflected pop rock. Many years later, my sensibilities suitably evolved I encountered the band’s second album in a box of cheap, used LPs, and picked it up.
Good thing too, since not only was the cover all the more groovy, but the album actually included a very cool cover tune (which you’ll be hearing today).
The Candymen got their start in Alabama as the Webs, with a singer who would go on to much success after leaving the band, Mr Bobby Goldsboro. After Goldsboro left the group he was replaced by a singer named Rodney Justo, and lucked into a gig as the backing band for none other than Roy Orbison (thus the name Candymen, after Orbison’s ‘Candy Man’).
After leaving Orbison’s employ they signed a deal with ABC Records and recorded their first album in 1967 and they had their first and biggest chart hit with the song ‘Georgia Pines’ in the fall of that year.
The recorded their second LP ‘The Candymen Bring You Candy Power’ in 1968. Despite a group name (and album title) that pretty much screamed ‘bubblegum’, the Candymen were excellent representatives of a long tradition of Southern musical osmosis, working in various strains of country, R&B, pop and blues into their sound. It helped that they had the songwriting talents of Buddy Buie (who also worked extensively with the Classics IV) behind them.
The tune I bring you today is a pretty able cover of Bob Dylan’s 1966 ‘(Stuck Inside of Mobile With) The Memphis Blues Again’ (yes, I know the title isn’t parenthetical on ‘Blonde on Blonde’ but the Candymen truncated it to the part after the parentheses, so I kind of split the difference). The Candymen’s version of the tune picks up the pace a tiny bit, adding rolling honky tonk piano, just a touch of fuzz guitar, and chopping the running time by almost two thirds of Dylan’s original. Though the vocal takes occasional detours into a tongue in cheek Dylan impression, the band acquit themselves nicely.
Interestingly enough, by virtue of the Buddy Buie connection, a couple of members of the Candymen (along with a couple of guys from the Classics IV) ended up in the Atlanta Rhythm Section.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back later in the week with something cool.