Tuesday, February 28, 2012

PAUL EVANS - I'M GONNA BUILD A GIRL

This is one weird record.

Paul Evans is best known for several hits he had in 1959-1960; "Midnight Special", "Happy-Go-Lucky Me" and the immortal "Seven Little Girls Sitting In The Back Seat" (all released on the Guaranteed label, a division of Carlton Records). However, his greatest success was as a songwriter. It was Paul Evans who wrote hits such as "I Gotta Know" and "The Next Step Is Love" by Elvis Presley, "When" by The Kalin Twins, "The New Breed" by Jackie Wilson, "The PTA" by The Coasters, and his biggest hit song, "Roses Are Red (My Love)" by Bobby Vinton. He also won a Clio award (the advertising industry's Oscar) for the song "Happiness Is", which for years was used as the jingle for Kent cigarettes (and was a hit for The Ray Conniff Singers). But, as this record will prove, Paul Evans was capable of some grade-A wackiness, along with grade-A hit songs!

He's also a great guy; I have interviewed him on my radio show in the past, and recently talked to him about this record, cut for the Kapp label in 1963!

PAUL EVANS: After my first round of 60s Guaranteed Records hits, I wound up cutting for the legendary Dave Kapp.  When he first signed me, he said, "You know what's stalled your career?  You haven't found your one niche." And then we proceeded to cut various odds and ends, including the very silly "I'm Gonna Build a Girl".  Oh well.  I had had several "novelty" hits in the past, so we went looking for another. Don't know much more about it, except that it was cut at Associated Studios (Then my home-away-from-home) and I originally tried to produce the record with someone else, but he couldn't cut it and so I stepped in to record it. Definitely not my finest hour!

ON THE RECORD: Was "I'm Gonna Build A Girl" meant to be a throwaway flip, or was it supposed to be the "A" side?

PE: I cut it as a "lark". The session was, as you can imagine, lots of laughs. But because of my prior successes with novelties, Dave was willing to take a chance with it.  Maybe not such a hot idea. It was my last Kapp release. I don't recall if it was released as an "A" or "B" side.

OTR: Where was Associated Studios?

PE: Associated Studios was primarily a demo studio - but at the time, many "demos" were turning into finals (like "Seven Little Girls Sitting in the Back Seat"). It was located at 730 7th Avenue in Manhattan and, as I wrote, was my home-away-from-home when I had time to spare in the city.

OTR: What inspired this song? And who was the artist that was originally supposed to record it?

PE: The original artist was actually my brother-in-law, a terrific actor and singer who unfortunately didn't have the "pop spirit".

OTR: What were the circumstances in signing to Kapp? Did Dave Kapp actively pursue you or were you just looking for another deal after the contract with Guaranteed/Carlton expired?

PE: Dave asked to see me when we bumped into each other at some event or another - after I'd left Guaranteed/Carlton.

This record certainly is, as Paul says, lots of laughs. Basically, it's about a mad scientist who has no luck with the ladies. So instead of going the Jerry Lewis-"Nutty Professor" route, changing himself into a studly Buddy Love, he decides to build the perfect woman. Unfortunately, the woman he builds is SO perfect that she gets snapped up by a Hollywood talent agent. Alas, now the only time our scientist friend gets to see her is when he goes to the movies - with his mother! On top of everything else, Paul Evans delivers the story in a completely OUTRAGEOUS German/Bavarian accent!!

I live for the days when I find weird 45s like this, and Paul Evans certainly delivers the goods here. Check out Paul's website here - it's LOADED with great info and even greater stories about life on the road and in the "teen-idol" star-making machinery!!

Also, if you've been looking for Paul Evans' music, you can buy it from Paul himself! Click here.

Thanks a lot, Paul, and keep rockin'!

Paul Evans - I'm Gonna Build A Girl (Kapp 567) - 1963

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