Saturday, July 20, 2019

Country's money men: Johnny Cash, Johnny Dollar, Johnny Paycheck, etc




Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart the week of June 4, 1966, included hits by Johnny Cash, Johnny Dollar, and Johnny Paycheck.
Billboard's Hot Country Singles – June 4, 1966

Johnny Cash's hit was "The One on the Right Is on the Left," Dollar's was "Stop the Start (Of Tears in My Heart)," and Paycheck's was "The Lovin' Machine."

This string of monetized names seems contrived, but in fact, Cash and Dollar were the singers' real surnames. 

Paycheck, on the other hand, was born Donald Eugene Lytle. He was only one of several artists over the years who adopted or capitalized on money-related names that echoed Cash's. Some of these artists parodied Cash's name while others merely used names that were in the same vein.


Johnny Cash parodies 

Mac Wiseman – "Johnny's Cash and Charley's Pride"


Cash's name was occasionally a source of humor, as in Mac Wiseman's novelty song "Johnny's Cash and Charley's Pride," which was a Top 40 country hit in 1969-70.





Johnny Credit – "Hello, I'm Johnny Credit"


An artist whose name parodied Johnny Cash's was Johnny Credit, who released one single, "Hello, I'm Johnny Credit." Credit's real name was Johnny McCollum, and the single was a noncharting novelty that appeared on Plantation Records in 1971. The song title is a reference to Cash's 1970 Columbia album Hello, I'm Johnny Cash.





The Great Pretender with the Tennessee Two and a Half – "All Over Again, Again"


Cash's distinctive vocal style; the minimalist guitar style of his guitarist, Luther Perkins; and his band's name, The Tennessee Three, were parodied too. Mitchell Torok recorded an early one, "All Over Again, Again," under the name The Great Pretender with the Tennessee Two and a Half for Columbia Records in 1959. The song title referred to Cash's 1958 single "All Over Again." (The B-side, "You Can't Get There From Here," was credited to only The Great Pretender and is not a Johnny Cash parody but does pertain to money.)





John C. Reilly – "Walk Hard"


The title song from the film Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007), performed by John C. Reilly, was conceived as a Johnny Cash parody as well. Reilly's character isn't based on Johnny Cash—it's a pastiche of Cash, Elvis, Brian Wilson, and other icons of popular music—but this song was meant to sound like Cash. As for the name Dewey Cox, it might be a riff on Dick Trickle, but who can say?





Phil Ochs – "How High's the Watergate, Mama"


Too many of Cash's songs have been parodied for me to list them all here, but here's Phil Ochs' topical "How High's the Watergate, Mama," a parody of Cash's "Three Feet High and Rising."

The lyrics even mention Cash:
In the Swiss bank the money's stashed
18 minutes of tapes were slashed 
They've even taken in Johnny Cash





Other money men

Norville Dollar


Another money man who was active in country music in the 1960s was Norville Dollar, who recorded for Starday and Nugget Records. As with Johnny Dollar, Dollar seems to be Norville's real name. His sound was more similar to Johnny Dollar than to Johnny Cash.




Eddie Money


You could add Eddie Money (real name Edward Mahoney) to the list. He didn't begin recording until the 1970s and isn't a country artist, although in 2008 it was widely reported that he was going to release a country album that apparently never came to pass.


Jonny Dollar


England's Jonny Dollar (real name: Jonathan Peter Sharp) was a latter-day trip-hop producer and songwriter who also adopted a money name.




Thursday, July 4, 2019

Easter songs of the 1940s and 1950s


In 2017, Bear Family Records released an odd compilation called Easter Bunny Hop. Known for its thoroughness and attention to detail, Bear Family usually has the last word on reissues of vintage American music, but this compilation mostly missed the mark by presenting miscellaneous non-holiday songs about chickens and rabbits instead of songs about Easter.

You might think that the compilation was padded out of necessity, because how many Easter songs are there, really? Unlike Christmas, Easter doesn't have many well-known songs. "Easter Parade" and "Peter Cottontail" are probably the best-known ones.

In reality, a lot of obscure Easter songs exist, many of which were recorded by major artists. Some of the most prolific purveyors of Easter songs were Gene Autry, Rosemary Clooney, and Jimmy Boyd.

Easter has passed, but I started thinking about Easter songs because of the previous Music Weird post about the flood of recordings by child performers in 1953. A number of those recordings were Easter novelties, many of which barely have been heard since their original release.

Today's Music Weird rounds up many—if not most—of the Easter songs and novelties that were recorded in the 1940s and 1950s. I didn't even try to catalog every recording of "Easter Parade" from that period, so for that song, at least, the list is very incomplete.



Song title
Artist
Label/catalog number
Gisele MacKenzie
Capitol F1997
Benny, the Magic Bunny
Kenny Roberts
Coral 60660
McGuire Sisters
Coral CRL 57097
Bunny Bunny Bunny
Betty Clooney
Golden R80
Rosemary Clooney
Columbia 90145
Bunny Round-Up Time
Gene Autry
Mervin Shiner
Columbia CL 2568
Decca 27482
E-A-S-T-E-R
Milton Estes
Rita Faye
MGM 10646
MGM 12203
Easter Bunny Day
Leslie Uggams
Rita Faye
MGM 11437
MGM 12203
Easter Bunny Song
Baby Pamela Rich
Mercury 71024
Jimmy Wakely
Capitol CAS-3090
Haleloke
Columbia GL 521
Easter Lillies
Bill Brown’s Chorus
Hi-Fi’s
Kem 2712
Liberty 55011
Gene Autry
Columbia CL 2568
Easter Parade
Eydie Gormé
Red Nichols
M. Whiting & J. Wakely
Andy Russell
Roy Elridge
Jimmy Lunceford
Eddy Duchin
Sammy Kaye
Liberace
Harry James
Ken Griffin
Ray Noble
Rosemary Clooney
André Kostelanetz
Johnny Long
Tommy Sosebee
Guy Lombardo
Bing Crosby
Ethel Smith
Fred Waring
Freddie Mitchell
Durning String Band
R.A.O.C. Blue Rockets Ork.
George Wright
Malcolm Lockyer
S. Vaughan & B. Eckstine
Ray Charles Singers
Eddie “Piano” Long
Del Wood
Roy Rogers & Dale Evans
Perry Como
Frankie Carle
Cesar Concepcion
Joe Cain
Kern & Sloop
Del Wood
Neil Lewis
New York Percussion Trio
George Feyer
Malcolm Lockyer
ABC-Para. 273
Audiophile AP 7
Capitol 1382
Capitol 15034
Cleff 8975
Columbia 35484
Columbia 35705
Columbia 39186
Columbia 48007
Columbia 50054
Columbia 50092
Columbia CL-6053
Columbia J-234
Columbia ML 4241
Coral 60957
Coral 64080
Decca 23817
Decca 23819
Decca 24321
Decca 29063
Derby 733
Guy 1313
HMV 5790
King 395-504
Mercury 20205
Mercury 20316
MGM 12202
Rainbow 140
Republic 815
RCA Victor 21-0423
RCA Victor 47-3226
RCA Victor EPA-784
Seeco 4164
Seeco 6020
Tempo 904
Tennessee 815
Tico 245
Vox VX.25.740
Vox VX-800
Wing 12202
Nat “King” Cole
Capitol F1994
Kenny Baker
Decca 18591
The Easter Time
Jimmie Dodd
Disneyland DBR-86
Mitchell Torok
Abbott 156
Eggbert, the Easter Egg AKA Egbert the Easter Egg
Gisele MacKenzie
Rosemary Clooney
Mervin Shiner
Betty Clooney
Ray Heatherton
Roy Rogers
Capitol F1997
Columbia 90145
Decca 27977
Golden R80
Playtime 383-PVD
RCA Victor 45-5336
Eldo the Easter Bunny
Rita Faye
MGM 12203
Art Carney
Columbia J 4-241
Gene Autry
Columbia CL 2568
Gene Autry
Columbia CL 2568
I Want a Bunny for Easter
Guy Lombardo
Decca 18645
Little Cindy
Columbia 4-41346
Vaughn Monroe
HMV 9894
Jimmy Boyd
Columbia J4-199
Just About Easter Time
Jimmy Bell’s Trio
Aristocrat 1901
Let’s Go to Church
M. Whiting & J. Wakely
Red Foley & J. Martin
Capitol 1382
Decca 46235
Jimmy Boyd
Columbia J 4-199
Mister Easter Bunny
Sammy Kaye
Honey Dreamers
Lawrence Welk
Guy Lombardo
Mervin Shiner
Derry Falligant
Columbia 39186
Columbia 40668
Coral 57066
Decca 24951
Decca 46221
MGM 10675
Jimmy Boyd
Columbia 39955
Rosemary Clooney
Columbia MJV 4-95-2
Peter Cottontail
Jimmy Wakely
Gene Autry
Rosemary Clooney
Sammy Kaye
Mervin Shiner
Ray Heatherton
Roy Rogers
Del Wood
Capitol CAS-3090
Columbia CL 2568
Columbia J-234
Columbia 39186
Decca 46221
Playtime 383-PVD
RCA Victor 21-0423
Tennessee 815
Peter Rabbit
Rusty Draper
Mercury 70300
The Rabbit with the Two Buck Teeth
Mervin Shiner
Decca 27977
Dick Todd
Rainbow 90088
Fred Waring
Decca 41046
Gene Autry
Columbia CL 2568
Gayla Peevey
Columbia J 4-198
Two Easter Sunday Sweethearts
Jimmy Boyd
Vera Lynn
Columbia 39955
London 1434
Gayla Peevey
Columbia J 4-198