Thursday, July 17, 2008
Patty Cake, Double Dutch!
The Debonaires - Eenie Meenie Gypsaleenie
Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces - The Hamburger Song
Any time I try to complain about how meaningless the lyrics to some modern R&B and rap songs are, my wife points out songs like today's selections to shut me up. Quite a few soul dance records of the '60s used nursery rhymes for lyrics. Quite a bit of "patty cake" was dropped by Rufus Thomas, King Coleman and Shirley Ellis with songs like "Walking the Dog," "Little Sally Walker," "The Boo Boo Song" and "The Clapping Song (Clap Pat Clap Slap)," just to name a few examples. Today's selections continue to patty cake or double dutch quite soulfully.
The Debonaires were unable to break out of Detroit with their fine soul sides for Golden World (it's criminal that the sublime "How Is Your New Love Treating You" failed to make any waves upon its 1966 release), but members Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson would go on to find fame in the '70s with Tony Orlando, and Hopkins has made a name for herself as a fine comic actress. The 1965 single "Eenie Meenie Gypsaleenie" takes the nursery rhyme of the same name and makes a surging soul dancer out of it. The girls really work the rhythm of that rhyme and the others, and the band puts down such a great groove that a listener can't just sit still while it's playing.
The Alabama act Bobby Moore & The Rhythm Aces were featured on the blog some time ago. "The Hamburger Song" came from their sole Checker LP Searching for My Love, and it finds the group also using "eenie meenie gypsaleenie" and other rhymes. The band cribs a riff from "Hot Potato" (aka "Soultrain") for the groove, and the twin vocalists (not sure who's singing with Chico Jenkins on this) challenge the listener to do the rhymes - they even up the ante in one verse, choosing to do it double-time over a drumbeat later in the tune.