Thursday, October 6, 2016

SHG: Dee Dee Sharp: "Mashed Potato Time"

Dee Dee Sharp: “Mashed Potato Time”
Entered the chart on: 3/17/62
Peaked on: 5/5/62
Weeks at #2: 2
Song at #1: “Soldier Boy” by the Shirelles

Waiting for the other shoe to drop and someone to complain about my rating system; i.e.: how could I give a 5 to “Midnight in Moscow” and only 2 to an Elvis “classic.” Hey, it’s my blog, my rules! Deal with it!

Dee Dee Sharp is another Cameo-Parkway artist, something like the distaff version of Chubby Checker. Her main task was to get the kids jazzed about new dance crazes, like a large portion of the Cameo-Parkway artist roster.

All these dance crazes seem like arcane knowledge these days, but they were clearly big business at the time. In addition to the Mashed Potato and the Twist, there was the Watusi (wait for it...), the Monkey, the Swim, the Cinnamon Cinder (“It’s a ver-uh nahss day-uns!”) and, perhaps most notoriously of all, the Frug.

The Frug was frequently the subject of hack comedians back in the day, largely on the basis of “frug” being an Inherently Funny Word. Was there even a song to go along with it? But I digress...

Dee Dee is giving me Little Eva vibes. But the song is extremely familiar to me. It basically sounds like a re-write of “Please, Mr. Postman.” Which they actually have the nerve to name-drop two-thirds of the way through. Complete with reiterating the “Wait a minute, wait a minute” hook. Were they basically acknowledging how formulaic all this is? Give me a break!

That said, Dee Dee is sassy and good, and I like her backing vocalists (“It’s the latest, it’s the greatest...Mashed Potatooooooooo!”). And we get the requisite sax solo in the middle eight. So it does everything you want it to.

But I really can’t imagine having a burning need to hear this these days when “Please, Mr. Postman” is right there.

Rating: 3

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