Mel-o-dy RecordsMel-o-dy 109 (B), October 1963

B-side of The Big Wheel

(Written by Gene Autry and Jimmy Long)

Scan kindly provided by '144man'.  All label scans come from visitor contributions - if you'd like to send me a scan I don't have, please e-mail it to me at fosse8@gmail.com!Aw, bollocks. Oh well, my hopes weren’t high.

Howard Crockett had turned in a remarkably listenable Johnny Cash pastiche on the A-side, the likeable The Big Wheel, but this is just appalling.

A cover of a 1931 (!) Gene Autry number, That Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine is exactly the sort of Country & Western record I just can’t bear: sappy, cloying, ultra-conservative MOR glurge, Howard Crockett actually trying to sing (and he’s got a nice enough voice, but the song’s inherent wetness infects him too quickly, pushing him to try some high notes well outside his comfort zone which frankly aren’t much cop)… there are very few redeeming values here at all.

To make matters worse, both the song and Crockett try to overcompensate for the weedy lack of punch and verve by going for the heartstrings. Neither earns the right to pull that kind of cheap trick. The lyrics end up trowelling layers of meaningless “have you called your parents today?” platitudes one on top of the other, reducing the central figure (the narrator’s father) to a blank space at the middle of the song, described only through his physical features and the narrator’s guilt; meanwhile, Crockett affects an attack of emotion leaving him overcome, his voice wavering theatrically as he talks about someone who might as well be an elderly homeless man he’s seen in the street. It’s pathetic.

This is exactly what I’d been afraid of all those times I ended up skipping on past The Big Wheel. Garbage.



(I’ve had MY say, now it’s your turn. Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment, or click the thumbs at the bottom there. Dissent is encouraged!)

You’re reading Motown Junkies, an attempt to review every Motown A- and B-side ever released. Click on the “previous” and “next” buttons below to go back and forth through the catalogue, or visit the Master Index for a full list of reviews so far.

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Howard Crockett
“The Big Wheel”
Carolyn Crawford
“Forget About Me”


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