Carson and Gaile
Today’s selection begins with a lesson (observation?) concerning fate and following the rabbit down the rabbit hole.
A while back I was surfing around the ARSA site, which archives radio charts and has proven to be a valuable research tool here and over at Funky16Corners.
This particular episode was spurred on by a discussion on a message board about the influence of more obscure British groups on American garage bands, so I was plugging in groups like the Pretty Things to see where their pockets of regional chart success were, and moved on to some American groups.
I input the Bobby Fuller Four and made my way to a WMCA (New York City) chart for May 5, 1966.
While perusing the chart, I discovered a number of acts I’d never heard of, and started Googling those, one of which was a band called The Greenwoods, with a song called ‘Please Don’t Sell My Daddy No More Wine’.
What I discovered was that among the Greenwoods, was one Carson Parks, brother of Van Dyke Parks.
Then, whilst chasing down Carson Parks, I found out – quite by accident – that he was the composer of ‘Something Stupid’, the song that Frank and Nancy Sinatra took to Number One in both the US and the UK in the Spring of 1967.
That, in and of itself was interesting, but soon topped by the discovery that the song had been recorded first by Parks in the duet Carson and Gaile (with Gaile Foote) in 1966.
Naturally, I set out in search of their version, and within about five minutes I found a copy for exactly $3.97 (don’t know how the seller arrived at that curious price tag), purchased it and then went out and sat by the mailbox for a few days until it arrived.
As it turns out, Carson Parks had quite a busy career before ‘Something Stupid’ started stuffing his mailbox with royalty checks.
Between 1959 and 1966 Parks recorded with several folk-pop groups, including The Steeltown Two (and later Three, which also included Van Dyke Parks), The Easy Riders, the Southcoasters, The Greenwood County Singers (which begat the Greenwoods) and eventually Carson and Gaile (both Parks and Foote had been in the Greenwoods, and were later married).
The Sinatra version hews pretty closely to the Carson and Gaile original (especially the guitar opening) but ends up pouring on the strings like so much pancake syrup.
I also find the original appealing since hearing the lyric delivered by a couple (as opposed to a father and daughter) makes the tiniest bit more sense. That, and the vaguely Countrypolitan glaze (do I hear a dobro in there?) make it a keeper.
Carson Parks left performing soon after the success of ‘Something Stupid’ to concentrate on songwriting, eventually settling into music publishing.
He died in 2005 at the age of 69.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll see you all next week.