B-side Myself

September 27, 2012 § 7 Comments

Sometime around 1990 my neighbor Eric Lefcowitz– author of The Monkees Tale and Tomorrow Never Knows: The Beatles’ Last Concert– lent me a cassette mix-tape of various 60’s Freakbeat and Psych odds and ends cryptically entitled “daddy rollin’ on 45”- at least I thought that was the title, and a random one at that since there was no song called that on the tape. Plenty of Koobas, Action, Creation, but nothing called “Daddy Rollin’”. Students of one Dion Dimucci will have already gleaned that the pencilled label referred to the b-side of his 1968 smash Abraham Martin and John, but I wouldn’t put that together for a few years when I finally found a cheap-o Laurie Records “oldies” LP featuring a few gems and a lot of dross and an absolute killer track called “Daddy Rollin’ (In My Arms)” by Dion. I pulled my copy of the eponymous LP that contained “A,M andJ” (and a brilliant version of “Purple Haze”) feeling like I must have missed this somehow, only to be alerted to its absence thereon. “Ah! Daddy Rollin’ ON 45”! – as in not on 33 1/3!  Handwritten label decoded.

Other writers have since exposed this track for its greatness and I can only say ‘thank you’ to them- the internet has allowed us to widen the margins of popular interests, highlight the marginalia, and put it into the center of the page. Not to sound all “way-back-when”-ey, but it used to require a bit more bin-diving and dumb luck to find these things out. When a slow-cooked morsel like my “Daddy Rollin’” finally came off the back burner of the mind, it felt personalized and valuable. Serendipity might have let me wait another five years or longer, or I might have stopped wondering altogether without the clues that have since become predictive text in the Google query. I’m happy for all the access, of course, as any music fan (or any fan of anything except ignorance) should be. I just miss the feeling of discovery that happened on its own.

I named this blog after a handwritten cassette label that kept me wondering for a few years, just long enough to prime me for a heart-leap when its mystery was solved. I hope that by staying alert to the clues life leaves us I will make more “discoveries” to share here. I hope that readers will be intrigued and pleased with the odd entry. And I hope there will always be some unsolved mysteries, of course.