Curt Boettcher (l) and The Association (r)
I just happened to be doing a little bit of inter-crate digging (in which I go through the massive pile of records in the Funky16Corners Record Vault and Blogcasting Nerve Center to see what I overlooked) and what should I pull out of a box but the Association’s 1966 ‘Cherish’ 45.
Now ‘Cherish’ is a lovely song, but I don’t need to record it/place it on the iPod to know what it sounds like. Fifty years of repeated listens have worn it into my brain.
That said, I flipped it over and realized that I didn’t recognize the B-side, ‘Don’t Blame It On Me’, so I gave it a spin.
As soon as I did, I knew it was a keeper and that I needed to post it, for you see, it is a shining example of the kind of sonic fingerprints Curt Boettcher was likely to leave behind when he was working on a record.
The ‘production’ for which he is credited is just fine, but – the devil being in the details – it is in the backing vocals where Boettcher pops up, like the smartest kid in class, yearning to be called on, his hand in the air, going ‘Ooh! Ooh!’.
If you listen closely enough to the records that he worked on in his prime, whether his own projects, like the Millennium, or any of the countless production/arranging jobs he did, especially stuff like Tommy Roe’s ‘It’s Now Winter’s Day’, the vocals, styled by Boettcher are one of the first thing you notice.
‘Don’t Blame It On Me’, written by the Addrisi brothers, who would also pen ‘That’s When Happiness Began’ (recorded by the Montanas and the Grains of Sand) and ‘Never My Love’ (a huge hit for the Association the following year), is a pleasant pop tune, and the lead vocals are fine, but when the backing vocals pop in, it is instantly elevated to another level entirely.
Those clear, high, immaculate Boettcher harmonies jump out of the mix like an exotic and spicy artisanal mustard applied to a run of the mill hot dog.
So, what you get is a nice Association 45, with a spectacular garnish.
Not bad for a nickel (or probably less).
I hope you dig it, and I’ll see you next week.