Sunday, October 16, 2016
SHG: The Jaynetts: "Sally Go Round the Roses"
The Jaynetts: “Sally Go Round the Roses”
Entered the chart on: 9/7/63
Peaked on: 9/28/63
Weeks at #2: 2
Song at #1: “Blue Velvet” by Bobby Vinton
So...we’ve had folk revival. We haven’t had “girl group” yet, but that’s about to change, and how! Here we have girl group in the guise of folk revival. Or is it the other way round? In any case, this was not an adaptation of an old folk song, but it was made to sound like one, done in the then-popular “girl group” style. They must have had some measure of success in that regard, as folk artists such as Pentangle, Judy Collins, Joan Baez and Tim Buckley adopted the song as their own.
The more I read up on this, the more I am fascinated by it. The Wikipedia article on the song makes producer Artie Butler out to be a sort of Brian Wilson-esque pop genius, with “Sally...” as his personal “Good Vibrations.” Reportedly, $60,000 was lavished onto the production, and no less than twenty singers performed on the disc. Staggering if true.
This is what I like about this feature. It gets me not only to listen to songs I never would have listened to before (hello, “A Blossom Fell”) but also to sit down and really listen to songs I’d heretofore neglected. Is it shameful that I am actually more familiar with Fanny’s 1975 remake than the original tune? Well, only one way to find out.
This one starts with a piano-led instrumental track, with the voices emanating out of what sounds like a long tunnel. Listening to this, I can believe twenty girls sang on it! This probably has the most striking use of dynamics I’ve heard in any song on Second Hand Goods thus far. No idea who it is singing lead but she sure does a good job of belting out at just the right point (“No, the roses won’t tell your secrets!”)
The backing track is almost hypnotic, raga-like. Is that a harmonium I hear adding accents? Some kind of crude electronic organ? In any case, that $60,000 shows in the striking production on this one. This is a lot more enigmatic and atmospheric than I am used to from records of this era, especially those aimed at the audience this is aiming for (i.e.: twist-crazed teenagers).
Really a gem of 60s pop. I am flabbergasted.