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Everyone in life has met somebody at a party who told a joke or a story, or did some kind of impression or trick and got a good response to it but really didn’t seem to be very comfortable before or after that brief moment where they were the center of attention.

The next time you see them out, especially if you’re with someone new, and you offer a friendly greeting they almost immediately find a reason to reprise whatever it was that got them a positive response last time, only now instead of being amused by it, you’re looking for the exit.

In these situations the person in question is obviously massively insecure and desperate to make a good impression, sure that their personality alone won’t cut it, so they fall back on the one thing that seemed to have worked in the past.

But in music that’s not necessarily the case when an artist revisits a song they succeeded with before. It’s just as likely that it’s the record label who is seeking to duplicate the response, especially – as in this case – that first time out came on a different label altogether.

Either way though, it’s never something any of us look forward to and when we see them coming, we want to turn and run.


Old And Lost Your Sting
There’s no need to waste much time analyzing this one, considering we just more or less heard it – albeit a different rendition cut at a different time for a different label – just a few months back.

But the real mystery here isn’t why Imperial wanted to try and capitalize on the song which brought Dave Bartholomew the artist – as opposed to producer/songwriter – the most buzz recently, but rather it’s whether that was their intent from the beginning with this release.

The reason for this question is because the ad Imperial placed in the trades, as well as the disc sent to Cash Box and Billboard for review, contained a different song as the B-side… The Rest Of My Life… which was not a song that Bartholomew ever recorded… well, not exactly.

The song in question is indeed him but it was cut back in 1950 during his first go-round with Imperial and released then under the title Ain’t Gonna Do It. He did not re-cut it, at least no evidence shows that he did. But Imperial re-titled it by using one of the key lyrics found within, perhaps in an effort to pull the wool over the eyes of the public… assuming anyone remembers that far back.

But whether or not they thought better of it, or if it were simply a mistake made in grabbing the wrong tape, maybe with a different title scrawled on it that had already been changed for the release back in 1950, which then got sent out to the trade papers before they realized their error and pulled it back, we’re not really sure. If you find a copy of Imperial 5210 with this on it however you may be the first.

Which brings us to the song they DID use, which is almost as bad a concept as hauling an old recording out of mothballs. Little Girl Sing Ding A Ling is in fact a new recording, but it’s merely an older song re-cut by Bartholomew for shallow reasons having nothing to do with trying to improve upon the original he did for King Records last winter, but rather just to ensure that Imperial Records didn’t lose out for those who want to ummm diddle around with this song


Likes To Play With… Your Musical Affections
For a song that remains pretty familiar seven decades later, albeit largely for a Chuck Berry live version that topped the charts in the early 1970’s, there’s a lot of backlash for the composition because it’s meant to be both funny and childish, two things that a lot of male rock fans, afraid of not appearing tough and masculine enough in their song choices, reject out of hand.

Don’t worry fellas, hating the song still won’t be enough to convince anybody that you’re a “real man”, whatever you think that means, but have fun pretending otherwise.

The original My Ding A Ling works well enough for what it is however… a harmless, fairly amusing and pretty catchy tune that certainly can get old fast if you listen too often, but in moderation is a lighthearted cut that helps to balance out the wild rockers, the tearjerking ballads and the songs of romantic despair.

But going back to the well just a few months later with no noteworthy changes for a different record company is really only permissible when you, the artist, is trying to get more money out of the composition yourself because it’s the only way you’ll ever see a dime from it.

That’s likely not the case with Little Girl Sing Ding A Ling however, not that King Records OR Imperial Records were honest by nature, but rather Bartholomew was smart enough to have registered this himself as both songwriter and publisher, so the only thing he’d get screwed out of was if… or rather when… the labels underreported the sales.

So not only is there no reason for a remake, but the remake isn’t nearly as good when the original succeeded largely due to his precise reading of it. Here though the flow is off, the nuance in his voice changes, the backing music is more subdued which oddly enough puts more focus on the lyrics.

We do get a much different sax solo which is weirdly out of place, as this is more low-key and classier, which of course doesn’t reflect the nature of the song itself. It doesn’t completely eliminate the flashes of wit and whimsy, but it hardly enhances them either. About the best thing we can say about the changes is the manner in which he injects an off-the-cuff “Hey!” into the song as a rejoinder between lines, something that isn’t exactly worth re-doing the entire song and charging us for it again.

Thus with no reason to make it, no reason to sell it and if not for the best side that Bartholomew has released to date residing on the top half of the single, there’d be no reason to buy it either.


You Don’t Even Need The Doggone Thing!
No matter whose bright idea it was, there’s no legitimate defense that can be made for this one.

Whatever flurry of sales King Records had gotten for the original version had already dissipated and those who liked it wouldn’t be inclined to buy another rendition. If they instead thought it was a different, albeit related, song, and quickly learned it wasn’t, listeners would be plenty pissed off at Imperial Records for duping them simply by adding a few more words in the title – Little Girl Sing Ding A Ling. The fact it could’ve been a sequel of sorts, or perhaps an racier version had Dave come up with new lines, maybe have the girl’s father walk in and catch them playing with themselves and throw him out of the house, makes just rehashing what we’ve already heard done better all the more egregious.

As for Dave Bartholomew himself, he can’t get off scot-free for his part in this, because without coming up with new plot twists there can be no excuse for re-doing it now. The first version was done as well as it could be done and this wasn’t going to shore up any deficiencies that one may have had.

It’s possible that he just didn’t have enough new material his first time back in the studio for Imperial and so he recycled one he liked, but his job is to come up with new material and he doesn’t seem to ever be at a shortage for it otherwise, even going to Specialty recently to cut sides under his band’s name.

Because of all this, while the record itself might be slightly better than the score we’ll give it, we also take into account everything that goes with it, and when you’re trying to rip off or mislead consumers that gets you docked, as does wasting a side of a release that could’ve otherwise been used to actually advance an artist’s career or offer up a different side of them the public might not have otherwise gotten to see.

But we’ve seen this already and don’t need, or want, to see it again. Keep your ding-a-ling in your pants next time, boys.


(Visit the Artist page of Dave Bartholomew for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)

Spontaneous Lunacy has reviewed other versions of this song you may be interested in:
Dave Bartholomew (June, 1952)