Tuesday, May 3, 2011
THE CRAZY GIRLS and THE JAVELINS - JOE, THE GUITAR MAN
However, I am a SUCKER for foreign rock and roll records released on American labels. You wanna sell me records? Pull out some obscure Brit beat group that got a US release on some weird label like Coral or Smash or Lawn or Interphon and the money will fly out of my hand.
Today's featured 45 is one of my all-time favorites - "Joe, The Guitar Man" by The Crazy Girls and The Javelins, recorded and originally released in Germany. But on September 30, 1963, Capitol Records in the US decided to release the record here.
Like a lot of foreign records released in the US, this one doesn't have the correct title. Capitol was a particularly frequent offender; earlier in 1963, a Japanese singer named Kyu Sakamoto started to get airplay on some US radio stations with his song "Ue O Muite Aruko" (roughly translated: "I Look Up When I Walk") from an imported copy on Toshiba Records. Capitol picked up the track (which was sung entirely in Japanese) but felt that "Ue O Muite Aruko" wasn't exactly a "hit" title. Meanwhile, before Capitol released the song in the US, British trad jazz group Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen covered the song in an instrumental version for the British market, and called it "Sukiyaki", because it was probably the most popular food to come out of Japan at the time, and perhaps the public could relate to "Sukiyaki" a lot better than "Ue O Muite Aruko". Capitol in the US decided to append the British title to the original Japanese recording for the American release. Well, they did it again with the Crazy Girls record! The song is actually a remake of Duane Eddy's hit, "Dance With The Guitar Man", but the girls on the record sang it as "Joe die guitarren mann", literally translating to "Joe The Guitar Man". No matter. This track absolutely COOKS, and whoever the guitarist is in the Javelins, he out-Duane Eddys Duane Eddy himself, with enough reverb to shake concrete walls loose and make Dick Dale run for cover! Unfortunately, by late 1963, hot guitar instrumentals had gone the way of the dinosaur (at least on the US singles charts) and the record - of course - flopped (have I ever featured a record that was a big chart hit? No? There's a lesson in there somewhere).
Listen to the record and enjoy. You may like it enough that you might want to track down an original German 45 (unfortunately, it would be tough to track down, because I suspect that the German name of the group had nothing to do with "Crazy Girls" or "Javelins"). Me? I'll stick with my US copy, thank you very much, and thank my lucky stars that it came out here at all.
The Crazy Girls and The Javelins - Joe, The Guitar Man (Capitol 5050) - 1963