Dinah Lee: He Can't Do the Blue Beat (1965)

 |   |  1 min read

Dinah Lee: He Can't Do the Blue Beat (1965)

Answer songs or cash-ins were very common in the late Fifties and early Sixties (after success of The Twist it was time for Let's Twist Again etc) and the great and gutsy New Zealand singer Dinah Lee recorded this song -- penned and arranged by Mike Perjanick -- to keep the momentum going after her huge success with the single Do The Blue Beat in '64.

That song had followed her excellent Don't You Know Yockomo and Reet Petite (the flipside of that latter was a Beatlemania tie-in which you can hear here) but it was the one that took her high on the Australian charts. It was also released as a B-side to her single You Don't Talk About Love in the US but neither song did anything, depite her appearing on the television pop show Shindig.

He Can't Do the Blue Beat also appeared on her second album The Sound of Dinah Lee and the tracklisting showed not only what a versatile singer she could be (which was perhaps the point), but also the problem her record company and management had in finding the right material for her.

She covered familiar belters like Twist and Shout, and the Ray Charles song Shout which was in Lulu's repertoire, but then there was the gimmicky He Can't Do The Blue Beat alongside the jazz-blues of Long Way from St Louis, the Lennon-McCartney ballad It's For You which had been sung by Cilla Black and some ordinary pop material (What Kind of Love of This which didn't suit her upbeat style, better represented by the more rocking What Did He Say and Buddy Holly's Oh Boy).

This was an interesting period for pop because the British Invasion of '64 had suddenly changed the co-ordinates . . . but if the artists wanted to follow sometimes their management was more conservative.

Dinah Lee -- like Cilla, Lulu, Tom Jones and others in the UK, and Mr Lee Grant and others on home turf -- steered an uneven course between the pop-rock of their peers and the old-school "all round family entertainer" style of the earlier Sixties. 

For more one-off or unusual songs with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Victor Borge: Phonetic Punctuation (1955)

Victor Borge: Phonetic Punctuation (1955)

Denmark-born pianist Victor Borge was a child prodigy who could have had a distinguished career playing concert halls. Fortunately for us he chose another direction. Born to Jewish parents in... > Read more

Pete Townshend: Behind Blue Eyes (1983)

Pete Townshend: Behind Blue Eyes (1983)

In '83 Pete Townshend of the Who released the first of three double albums of demos, outtakes, working drawing for songs and unspecified instrumental tracks. Under the generic title Scoop --... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Katchafire: Say What You're Thinking (EMI)

Katchafire: Say What You're Thinking (EMI)

About six years ago I first encountered Hamilton reggae band Katchafire playing in a pretty ropey provincial bar. I'd met them backstage beforehand -- actually in a room full of beer barrels --... > Read more

Highway 101; West Coast USA: My way or the highway

Highway 101; West Coast USA: My way or the highway

Frankly, it doesn’t come much less glamorous than Crescent City in northern California. Fast food outlets encircle our motel and cooking oil hangs heavy in the night air, so I wander the... > Read more