Tags

No tags :(

Share it

ATLANTIC 914; AUGUST 1950

 
 

 

Whenever a new artist hits the scene with a resounding success – such as let’s say a Number One hit as was the case on the top side of this single – the immediate response that most fans probably have upon hearing it when new is to ask themselves if they thought it was a fluke or the start of something really big.

That’s an important distinction to make and while time will ultimately tell which is the case, we’re an impatient species by nature and we want to be in the right frame of mind going forward. If we think the artist simply caught lightning in a bottle we’ll temper our expectations for their ensuing work, thereby giving us a better chance of being pleasantly surprised if they exceed those expectations.

But if we believe they’re an artist with a staggering abundance of potential we’ll be anxiously anticipating what comes next and potentially setting ourselves up for a fall if we’re let down.

With Laurie Tate, the loud and shrill voiced vocalist now being featured in Joe Morris’s band, the likely outcome many probably thought upon first hearing her was that she had gotten fairly lucky. Not that she wasn’t the best individual component of the record (aside from the composition itself maybe), but rather that her method of over-embellishing the drama of that composition was hardly a sustainable course.

Yet here she is on the B-side of that same record, just as emphatic in her delivery and arguably just as good, if not even slightly better.
 

 

Let Me Tell You What’s On My Mind
Anyway you cut it, Laurie Tate is something of an acquired taste as a singer. Or at least “in the manner in which she’s singing here”.

Tate is by no means a shrinking violet on the microphone. She may not even require a microphone to be heard, even if you’re a thousand miles away from her at the time.

There’s no moderation in her delivery, no volume control and little chance for nuance or subtlety or emotional discretion. She’s at full-tilt from the moment the red light in the studio goes on and though that can be an effective approach in certain circumstances, it’s rarely one that lends itself to building an artistically diverse catalog.

But I’ll be damned if she doesn’t pull it off again, dialing it up on Come Back Daddy, Daddy a title that begs a listen, delivering the goods with an uncanny amount of self-assurance.

In many ways this is actually a better overall production from top to bottom, a song with a more appropriate theme and juicier lyrics for rock success, an arrangement designed to emphasize those aspects rather than try dress it up in some way and a vocal delivery where the intense enthusiasm Tate uses fits the perspective better.

So if there was any doubt remaining as to her long-term prospects, maybe we should ask ourselves why wouldn’t this work again?
 

Keep Thinking ‘Bout You All The Time
The premise to this song is a simple one, Tate’s stating her devotion to her boyfriend who sounds as if he’s got a penchant for wandering. Despite this failing she’s determined to keep him, never quite begging him to stay but certainly showing she’s open to readjusting the unspoken boundaries of normal relationships if it’ll get him to reconsider.

Helllllooooo threesomes!

Yet whatever we think of her lowering her own standards to get this guy to stick around, what we take away from it is how she still seems to have some semblance of power in the relationship by how firmly she maintains control during all this. She’s telling him to Come Back Daddy, Daddy but there’s no sign of utter desperation here. She’s emphatic without being hysterical, she’s raising her voice to draw his attention but then lowering it again to keep that attention and pull him back in, showing that she knows how to play him effectively to get the desired results.

The other way in which we sense she’s going to win out in the end is that if she’s forced to concede this much it must mean she had the upper hand all along and he merely grew tired of it.

Now that doesn’t excuse his gallivanting around on her but you wouldn’t be surprised to find his late night excursions involved little more than some casual flirting while staying out ’til all hours just to boost his image and drive up his own worth to her by encouraging rumors about his supposed liaisons rather than him being a run-of-the-mill philanderer and sleeping with every girl in town.

As such this comes across as a high-stakes game of emotional chicken and if Tate is being painted as the one who is in danger of losing, that’s only because she’s won in the past when she first roped him in the prequel.
 

All I Need, All I Want
Due to the more aggressive lyrical drive of this song the backing has no choice but to maintain a similar edge to it which immediately eliminates any inclinations Morris may have towards a jazzier bent.

The horn section is still reliant on equal parts brass and reeds – hardly surprising since Morris plays trumpet himself – but he’s not guilty of playing favorites when it comes to the arrangement, keeping the support tight and focused in their riffs early on, then handing the primary answering lines to the tenor sax with its smoky tone and a sleepy languid pace. It picks things up somewhat as solo goes along but is still less in your face in its playing than Tate is with her vocals which provides a good contrast and keeps the record properly balanced.

Elmo Pope takes over on piano midway through the instrumental break, skittering around the keys to throw another wrinkle into the sonic palette. His deliberate pace offset by some jittery playing is yet another example of how Morris designed Come Back Daddy, Daddy to play one extreme off another, making something that was seemingly at odds on paper sound perfectly aligned on the recording itself.

Melodically this has a nice flow to it, rising and falling gracefully and somewhat predictably, never tying itself in knots by trying to make it more complex than it needs to be. They let Tate take the lead – sometimes a long lead at that – but always keep her tethered to their sensibilities, pulling back whenever she’s at risk for getting too far ahead. It might not be anything too impressive on its own – no wild solos, deep grooves or quirky changes – but it’s confident and well-judged, knowing just what it needs to do to give Tate the proper support then getting out of the way to let her do her thing.
 


 

I’ll Do Anything I Have To
With both sides of this release the evolution of rock ‘n’ roll was practically being capsulized for research purposes.

In Joe Morris you had a former jazz artist who had headed into rock almost incidentally at first, finding quick acceptance in that field which led to more concerted efforts to expand on that success. But when it didn’t result in immediate stardom he pulled back, perhaps questioning his choices as he faced internal dissent and a new record label with different expectations.

But that’s part of growing, he needed to come to grips with what he was doing and settle on his direction with a sense of assurance and once he did he emerged from it with a stronger commitment to rock ‘n’ roll.

Laurie Tate proved in many ways to be the vehicle for this change, not only giving Morris a new component to center his records around and give them an injection of personality, but also because she herself was not connected to his past associations thereby providing a clean break from his earlier musical self. As shown on Come Back Daddy, Daddy the mindset Tate embodied was fully modern which only helped Morris adjust his own outlook if any uncertainty lingered.

Rock was here to stay and with this single Joe Morris announced to the world that he was here to stay as well.
 
 
SPONTANEOUS LUNACY VERDICT:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
(Visit the Artist page of Joe Morris as well as Laurie Tate for the complete archive of their respective records reviewed to date)