The Chaparral Brothers
I am always a sucker for a cover version of a favorite song.
Though I have never been able to ascertain who recorded the first version of ‘Hello LA Bye Bye Birmingham’, the song, written by Delaney Bramlett and Mac Davis, was recorded a bunch of times by folks like Kin Vassy (my fave), The First Edition (a smoking live version), Artie Christopher, Smokestack Lightnin’, John Randolph Marr, Blue Cheer, the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Juicy Lucy, and even Nancy Sinatra.
Someone (and I can’t remember who, so forgive me) informed me about the version by the Chaparral Brothers, so I went out and found me one on the cheap.
I wasn’t originally able to find out much about the duo, other than that their names were John and Paul, and that they recorded two LPs and a bunch of singles for Capitol between 1968 and 1972.
Then, completely by chance I was perusing the very cool Gazzari Dancers website, devoted to the aforementioned troupe, as well as detailed listings of their work on the great mid-60s Hollywood A Go Go dance party show.
There, appearing on the 4/3/65 episode (scroll down to episode 15, and make sure to click on the Youtube link) of the show was a duo calling themselves the Jon Paul Twins, with the credits below naming them as Jon and Paul Vorhaben (the writing credits on the Chaparral Brothers original material.
How they transitioned from the Jon Paul Twins to the Chaparral Brothers I do not know, but the evolution in sounds wasn’t that drastic.
Their version of ‘Hello LA’ was included on their 1970 LP ‘Just For the Record’.
Their sound is pure Bakersfield, which makes sense since they were produced by Earl Ball who also spun the dials for Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and Wynn Stewart.
The brothers deliver tight harmonies and it’s kind of a shock that their version – which has a lot of crossover appeal – wasn’t a hit.
It could be chocked up to the fact that the market was already flooded with versions of the song, but as far as I can tell this is the only straight country take on the tune.
That said, I will certainly be on the lookout for more by the duo.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll see you all next week.