Mel’s on there somewhere…
Listen/Download – Mel Taylor and the Magics – Young Man Old Man
NOTE: It was just brought to my attention that I posted the wrong link when I put up this post. Here’s the right one!
I hope the new week finds you all well.
I’m coming down off a most excellent weekend, during which the wife and I headed down to Atlantic City for an early celebration of our 10th anniversary. We had both mindbendingly good Japanese food, and got to see one of our favorite comedians, so it was a lot of fun.
Of course we woke up the next morning, flipped on the news in the hotel and saw the weather-people howling about how even though it had been unbearably hot, it was going to get even hotter, so we hastened home to the air conditioning and sat as still as possible so as not to break a sweat.
The tune I bring you today is something that I came upon in the most roundabout way possible. Sometime, though, that makes for the more interesting story.
A while back – as referenced at Funky16Corners – I grabbed a bootleg video of the 1960s Detroit dance party show Swingin’ Time, hosted by legendary DJ Robin Seymour.
I picked up the DVD, first and foremost because it contained footage of the mighty Jerry-O, but ended up having my mind good and blown by performances by the Magnificent Men, Wayne Cochran, the Rationals, the Elgins and others.
The other thing that grabbed my ears was the show’s theme. It sounded awfully familiar, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, so I set to Googling.
I was surprised to discover that the song in question was ‘Young Man Old Man’ by Mel Taylor and the Magics.
This was surprising for a number of reasons.
First, Mel Taylor was the drummer for the Ventures, and I had no idea that he had recorded any solo material.
Second, and more importantly – at least to me – was the fact that ‘Old Man Young Man’ was first recorded by a group called the Stokes, featuring a certain Allen Toussaint (yes, THAT Allen Toussaint) on piano.
The Stokes were Toussaint’s band during his time in the Army, and recorded a number of 45s (including the original version of ‘Whipped Cream’, later famous as the theme to the Dating Game) for the ALON label during the mid-60s.
‘Old Man Young Man’ was a fave of mine in the original version (it was composed by Toussaint under the alias Naomi Neville) , and in that the track was re-used behind a Benny Spellman 45 (produced by Toussaint) called ‘The Word Game’, so I was gassed to find out that it had been covered, and in such a groovy version.
Taylor, a busy studio musician who joined the band in 1962, recorded a couple of solo albums, and ‘Young Man Old Man’ was recorded around the time of his 1966 ‘In Action’ album (but wasn’t paired with the LP until a 1996 CD reissue).
I only have the 45, but going by the flipside, and what I’ve found out, most of the material was fairly middle of the road. ‘Young Man Old Man’ is anything but, sounding like a not-too-distant cousin of Wynder K Frog’s ‘Dancing Frog’, with a pounding beat (naturally) and enough kick for the dancers, which makes its selection as the theme for a dance party show all the more logical.
How Taylor came across the song is a mystery. It wasn’t a hit, but I suppose it’s possible he picked it up on a publisher’s demo (as Toussaint had already hit as the composer of Al Hirt’s ‘Java’).
I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back later in the week.