sam the sham

Content tagged as sam the sham.

Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs: Wooly Bully (1964)

Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs: Wooly Bully (1964)

When this out-of-the-blue single raced around the globe at the height of Beatlemania it sounded like a typically gimmicky hit of the period. The band name, Sam wearing a turban and the group dressed like Arabs didn't exactly deny it. You might have expected them to disappear immediately. But they didn't. They came back with a...

Dirty Red: Mother Fuyer (1947)

Dirty Red: Mother Fuyer (1947)

Blues and jazz artists often used coded language to get their lyrics past record companies and radio programmers, so you would get a song like When I'm In My Tea (by Jo-Jo Adams, 1946) about marijuana or Dope Head Blues by Victoria Spivey about cocaine. Coded sex was everywhere . . . although there is no mistaking the meaning of songs like...

Peter Sellers; The Trumpet Volunteer (1958)

Peter Sellers; The Trumpet Volunteer (1958)

There has been a long tradition of mocking the pretentions of rock and pop singers, which isn't that hard. Many of them take themselves very seriously. When National Lampoon for example got stuck into a Pink Floyd-like musician who wanted to create a massive rock opera (on their '75 album Goodbye Pop, helmed by Christopher Guest of Spinal...

Dean Martin: My Rifle, My Pony and Me (1959)

Dean Martin: My Rifle, My Pony and Me (1959)

As Nick Tosche revealed in his remarkable biography Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams, Dean Martin didn't have to try hard at anything: he was good looking, could sing whatever was put in front of him, was a natural straight man and comedian, and he'd just turn up on a movie set and do his lines with charm, ease and utter...

Lesley Gore: You Don't Own Me (1963)

Lesley Gore: You Don't Own Me (1963)

For someone who was only semi-professional, tiny Lesley Gore (5' 2") was astonishingly busy in the Sixties: Between '63 and '69 she released 29 singles (19 of them went Top 100) and eight albums - outside of greatest hits packages. And she had some great hits: her first was It's My Party ("and I'll cry if I want to") when she...

Gary Lewis and the Playboys: This Diamond Ring (1965)

Gary Lewis and the Playboys: This Diamond Ring (1965)

The offspring of Hollywood were just as swept up in Beatlemania as anyone. The two sons of comedian Soupy Sales -- Hunt and Tony, drums and bass respectively -- were in Tony and the Tigers who appeared on Hullabaloo and had a couple of records out . . . although went on to more interesting things later when they joined Todd Rundgren, Iggy...

Jackie De Shannon: She Don't Understand Him Like I Do (1964)

Jackie De Shannon: She Don't Understand Him Like I Do (1964)

Jackie De Shannon (born Sharon Lee Myers) had great hits and an even better life: As a teenager in Illinois she recorded and wrote a few songs; Eddie Cochran heard a couple of her country tunes and got her to California where she teamed up with Sharon Sheeley to write (notably Dum Dum for Brenda Lee and The Great Impostor for the Fleetwoods);...

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . HASIL ADKINS (2012): Howling at the night

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . HASIL ADKINS (2012): Howling at the night

Whatever his style was, fame had no interest in embracing it. The closest this rockabilly blues screamer -- who started in the mid Fifties -- came to wider recognition was when the Cramps covered his song She Said and some of his music appeared in the film White Lightin'. But for Hasil (pronounced "hassle"), he just had to make do...

Brenda Lee, I'm Sorry (1960)

Brenda Lee, I'm Sorry (1960)

Little Brenda Lee -- who stood 4'9" -- was never a threat. Not to girls in her audience. "My image wasn't one of a heartbreaker," she once said. "I was the little fat girl your mother didn't mind you playing with." When Lee went to number one with this powerful and aching performance she was one of the few women --...

Ian Dury: Razzle in My Pocket (1977)

Ian Dury: Razzle in My Pocket (1977)

With Will Birch's biography and the film of his life Sex and Drugs and Rock'n'Roll (Andy Serkis as Ian), there was something of a revival and re-appreciation of Ian Dury recently, a bit more than a decade after his death at age 57. Dury came to the punk era as someone more than a decade older than most performers, and he had considerable...

Hank Ballard: The Twist (1958)

Hank Ballard: The Twist (1958)

The Twist wasn't the first dance craze of the pop era but it was certainly the biggest -- and the last. When Chubby Checker demonstrated the dance on American television in mid 1960 -- "Just pretend you're wiping your bottom with a towel as you get out of the shower, and putting out a cigarette with both feet" -- the simple...

The Easybeats: Sorry (1966)

The Easybeats: Sorry (1966)

In 1980 EMI released an excellent double vinyl on the Joker imprint entitled The Easybeats: Absolute Anthology 1965-69. It might well have been titled The Rise and Fall of a Pop Group because across 43 tracks in chronological order it traced Australia's Easybeats from their first tentative attempts at being the antipodean Beatles, through...

Kyu Sakamoto: Sukiyaki (1963)

Kyu Sakamoto: Sukiyaki (1963)

It wasn't really the name of the song that Sakamoto recorded, but that hardly mattered. When this catchy piece of MOR pop from Japan made it to the West it enjoyed enormous success. Sakamoto, who was 22, was the first and last Japanese artist to top the Billboard charts. It was also his first and last international success. Back home of...

The Ivy League: Four and Twenty Hours (1966)

The Ivy League: Four and Twenty Hours (1966)

Britain's Ivy League were one of those bands which appeared in the wake of the Beat Boom and the Beatles and scored a couple of quick hits -- Funny How Love Can Be, then Tossing and Turning -- in '65. And that would seem to be it because a couple of key members left and . . . But there is more to their story that that. The band were...

Frank Zappa: I'm the Slime (1973)

Frank Zappa: I'm the Slime (1973)

The life, times, opinions and music of Frank Zappa are too huge and diverse to come to terms with easily. What is beyond question (and some of his music and opinions were questionable) is that the man had a rare and impressive musical reach -- from doo-wop to orchestral music and all points between and beyond -- and when he was in satirical mode...

Nick Curran and the Lowlifes: Reform School Girl (Eclecto Grooves/Southbound)

Nick Curran and the Lowlifes: Reform School Girl (Eclecto Grooves/Southbound)

I'm sure the heavily tattooed Curran from Austin, Texas wouldn't make any claims of great originality (although he does pen more than half this album, his song titles include Reel Rock Party, Psycho, Lusty L'il Lucy, Filthy and so on). But he simply slices off large and rowdily enjoyable slabs of Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Little Richard, Gene...

Henry Phillips: The Bitch Song (1995)

Henry Phillips: The Bitch Song (1995)

Not everything in life is serious and Henry Phillips takes a skewed view of the world. The title track of his album On the Shoulders of Freaks notes that all those great Greek philosophers "had a thing for little boys", that Katherine the Great enjoyed large animals, Hemingway put a bullet through his head, Salvador Dali's paintings...

Hotlegs: Neanderthal Man (1970)

Hotlegs: Neanderthal Man (1970)

It's not unusual for studio experiments to end up on records, less common that they become the record itself -- as was the case with this single. To backtrack a bit. The successful British songwriter Graham Gouldman who had penned hits for Herman's Hermits (No Milk Today), the Yardbirds (For Your Love, Heart Full of Soul, Evil Hearted You)...

Superturtle: About the Sun (Ode)

Superturtle: About the Sun (Ode)

Mainman behind Superturtle Darren McShane certainly has prior form, among other things he formed Chainsaw Masochist (on Flying Nun, for those old enough to remember) and more recently he was in Figure 60 as well as having been a sound engineer -- which is how he met some of the fellow travelers here (bassist Ben Furniss from the Broken...

Alfred E Neuman: It's a Gas (1963)

Alfred E Neuman: It's a Gas (1963)

There's the widely held if rather snooty view that fart noises and belching are only amusing to adolescent boys. This rather ignores the obvious: that there will always be adolescent boys, and even more people who have been adolescent boys. Which perhaps explains the enduring if low appeal of this outing by Mad magazine's Alfred E Neuman....

Brave Combo: My Girl Lollipop (1982)

Brave Combo: My Girl Lollipop (1982)

It was a brave combo indeed that took piano accordion polka-rock to the good people of Denton, Texas -- but in the early Eighties this four-piece pulled together ska, Tex-Mex, rock, waltzes, rumba, zydeco and tango (with polka) and delivered their own versions of Hendrix's Purple Haze, Iron Butterfly's Inna Gadda Da Vida and The Twist, Perfidia...

Johnny Guitar Watson: Funk Beyond the Call of Duty (1977)

Johnny Guitar Watson: Funk Beyond the Call of Duty (1977)

By the time Johnny Guitar Watson made the album of which this was the title track, he was 42, had been on about 15 different labels and had really paid his dues: he'd started recording at 17, been something of an r'n'b star in the Fifties and by the Seventies had edged his way to streetcorner funk. He pioneered feedback on Space Guitar in...

Various artists: The Cramps' Jukebox (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

Various artists: The Cramps' Jukebox (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

The Cramps' passion for old rock'n'roll is well known: they are archivists for music styles, bands and old singles which might have otherwise been forgotten or lost. This double disc (with a useful backgrounder booklet) pulls together 30 obscure songs on one disc and on the other Lux Interior and Poison Ivy speak about their passions through...

The Buckinghams: Foreign Policy (1969)

The Buckinghams: Foreign Policy (1969)

Very few today would even remember the MOR group the Buckinghams from the late Sixties. Their big hit was Kind of Drag ("when your baby don't love you") -- although Hey Baby ("they're playing our song") got a little radio mileage. The Chicago-based Buckinghams (and think about that location in the late Sixties) were a...

Lou and Simon: Converted Maori Car (1965?)

Lou and Simon: Converted Maori Car (1965?)

Lou and Simon (Lou Clauson and Simon Meihana) were one of the most popular and entertaining groups of the early Sixties. Like the Flight of the Conchords they were a kind of folk-comedy duo and very adept at parodies. The other side of this single is a medley which pokes fun at Les Andrews' then-current song Click Go the Tollgates (itself a...

? and the Mysterians: Can't Get Enough of You Baby (1967)

? and the Mysterians: Can't Get Enough of You Baby (1967)

It's a common enough sentiment, but in the fast-changing world of pop "If it ain't broke, why try to fix it?" just doesn't work. That idea would have kept the Beatles singing variants of She Loves You and I Want To Hold Your Hand for a few years and in all likelihood they would have become one of those rapidly redundant pop...

Tiny Tim: We Love It/When I Walk With You (1968)

Tiny Tim: We Love It/When I Walk With You (1968)

If you were there at the time, Tiny Tim was novelty act: the long-haired eccentric with a ukulele singing Tiptoe Through the Tulips in an impossibly high falsetto. But that was the late Sixties for you, a time when the retro sound of Winchester Cathedral by the New Vaudeville Band and I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman by Whistling Jack Smith could...

Roy Loney and the Phantom Movers: Born to be Your Fool (1979)

Roy Loney and the Phantom Movers: Born to be Your Fool (1979)

Some songs hook you in with a great opening line or couplet, something which just makes you want to hear more. There are plenty of them about and it's a fine rock'n'roll parlour game after a few drinks to start ticking them off. Feel free to add to these. "When you get out of the hospital, let me back into your life . . ." (Modern...

Atlanta Rhythm Section: Imaginary Lover (1979)

Atlanta Rhythm Section: Imaginary Lover (1979)

There's no real reason for this particular installment of From the Vaults other than the sheer silliness of it. The trick here is to look at the video clip first before you play the sample track: what you get is singer Ronnie Hammond up front of the Atlanta Rhythm Section who were a band of seasoned session musicians pulled together...

The Hombres: Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out) (1967)

The Hombres: Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out) (1967)

The great thing about disposable pop is that the minute it gets stuck to the bottom of your shoe you just can't shake it. Like this from the one-hit-wonders the Hombres out of Memphis whose members had knocked about on the road as the Daytonas then the Bandits. Written by two of the band's members, Let it Out (Let It All Hang Out)...

Steve and Eydie: Black Hole Sun (1997)

Steve and Eydie: Black Hole Sun (1997)

The fad for lounge music in the late Nineties was amusing enough, but inevitably most of what emerged was forgettable. (Although who could expunge this from the memory.) Still, groups like Pizzicato Five were kind of amusing, and it was good to hear the great Esquivel and Martin Denny's names being mentioned in hip'n'fashionable...

Stan Freberg: Rock Island Line (1956)

Stan Freberg: Rock Island Line (1956)

Because a parody only works if you know the original it might be useful to check out the video clip here (kinda cute in its own way) before playing American comedian Freberg's poke at it. The original of Rock Island Line was by Leadbelly in the Thirties but Donegan's version of 1955 was emblematic of the skiffle era in Britain where young...

Joe Jones: You Talk Too Much (1960)

Joe Jones: You Talk Too Much (1960)

Sometimes there is an eloquence and directness in simplicity: "Wild thing, you make my heart sing . . ." Hard to improve on that. Or this blunt sentiment by Joe Jones, a rhythm and blues singer from New Orleans who once had the gall to claim he wrote the classic Iko Iko for the Dixie Cups whom he managed. Wasn't the first time...

Green Jelly: Three Little Pigs (1993)

Green Jelly: Three Little Pigs (1993)

There just aren't enough fairy tales at From the Vaults. Only the clip of Sam the Sham and the Pharoah's Little Red Riding Hood as far as I can recall. Time then to resurrect this from the grunge era, the delightful Green Jelly (an umlat over the Y meant it was pronounced "Green Jello") with their update of the old story of the...

Tags related to sam the sham