No tags :(

Share it

PEACOCK 1604; JULY 1952



Love is an uniquely exceptional thing in that while it sometimes seems to make no sense whatsoever it remains more powerful than any emotion you can experience.

Yet if you try and compute the number of people on the planet at a given time, narrowing them down by gender and age and, if you want to be even more selective, by looks and body type and shared interests as well, that’s when you come to realize just how random falling in love with the “right one for you” actually is.

But if you DO find someone who fits the bill you feel as if that person – and only that person – is perfect and once you have them you’ll do anything to protect that relationship… no matter what flaws exist under the surface, or in this case on the surface as well.


Won’t Do The Best He Can
Maybe we should hold off on the subject of flaws just a little longer, even though Marie Adams doesn’t bother to, jumping right into the minefield of her fella’s shortcomings right off the bat.

Still, we’ll grant him (and her) some leeway out of common courtesy so we can instead remind one and all about Marie Adams who we’ve met only briefly, way back in November, with I’m Gonna Play The Honky Tonks.

Normally you’d think that a label who delayed in releasing a follow-up for a new artist was doing so because they didn’t have much confidence the act was any good, but that wasn’t the case with Adams as that debut was a legitimate hit and so they let it ride the charts as long as possible (it was still on the charts well into the fall of ’52) before issuing He’s My Man.

Did they wait TOO long? Maybe, as this didn’t score anyplace, but then again there are some things wrong with it that are fairly obvious and which would cause rock fans to dismiss it.

The label itself credits the band as being that of Chuck Dillon, whereas the last time on her hit it was Bill Harvey’s band, someone we know a lot more about. On that record the trumpet was played by Joe Scott, who would go on to be a very good producer and arranger for Peacock Records, but his growth in those roles came when he realized that his own instrument wasn’t in rock ‘n’ roll’s wheelhouse.

So we don’t know if it’s him playing on this, as well as producing, or someone from Dillon’s outfit, but it doesn’t matter much because it’s not the playing that’s at issue here, but rather the prominence of the trumpet itself in the arrangement which causes a disconnect with the listener who doesn’t dig the instrument no matter how it’s played.

An equally large problem though is the disconnect with the subject itself as its presence adds a decidedly elegiac tone to a song that is about Adams’ purposefully overlooking all of the reasons why her guy isn’t as great as she’d like to believe. The fact that she knows this and doesn’t care would have much greater impact if the horns were hedonistic rather than sounding as if they were accompanying a eulogy at her funeral.

While that ensures it won’t fully work musically, it still can work conceptually as long as Adams is convincing enough in her belief that this guy is worth her putting up with everything he does – or doesn’t do – for you to buy in.

Love I Understand
The fact that Adams sounds so passive in the lead-in sorta tells you what kind of a woman she is… somebody who might not have had a lot of luck in finding a guy, and that’s without seeing that she was hardly a natural beauty who could probably fit three average sized women inside the waistband of her dress with room to spare.

Yet she never fails to sound anything less than sincere in her love, no matter the underlying reasons for it, as she brushes off the fact that he’s lazy, broke and a flirt with other women, things which usually spell doom for relationships in rock songs.

Whatever he gives her, whether it’s a sense of confidence and pride when they go out together, or a sense of comfort when they’re alone… or just good sex… the feelings are obviously genuine as Adams tender reading of the verses gives way to a more urgent joy in the chorus as she declares He’s My Man with absolutely no reservations.

She’s got a good voice, maybe not too distinctive but sweet and strong in equal measure and if anything you wish that she let herself go a bit more on those choruses to almost make them sound defiant, seeing how she was responding to catty put-downs by her friends and family about how she could do better in finding a mate.

Chances are though she knew that doing so would overwhelm the wimpy trumpet and throw the entire record off-kilter. So instead of unleashing the intensity of her devotion to her man with passionate force, she has to merely suggest it in a more coy manner. It works alright, even if it does deprive us of the soft and loud dynamics that always gives a song a bigger gut punch on the payoffs.

The thing is, by the midway point it’s almost as if the band seems to realize what’s not working and try and correct it by letting the other instruments breathe a little more. We get a decent sax solo, some spicier piano and good drumming to give this a fuller, more emphatic sound as Adams matches them by letting her voice swell in response.

Had they done that from the start, a competent miss might’ve become a suitable candidate for a follow-up hit which could’ve kept her momentum going strong. Instead she was on her way back to relative obscurity.

Be On Your Merry Way
In many ways, despite being around four years already, Peacock Records was still learning how the market worked and truth be told (with a few notable exceptions who had a huge audience eagerly waiting for each new release) they never really got the hang of it.

Marie Adams was somebody who could’ve been a really solid second tier star for them, someone with a good voice, an intuitive sense of how to deliver a song and even a unique way to be marketed if they wanted. But following her initial hit they could never figure out what to do with her.

We can credit them for not having He’s My Man seem like nothing more than a warmed-over sequel to her first hit, though I’m sure that when this failed to click there were thoughts that if it HAD tried to mimic her big seller they’d have been better off.

Let’s dispel that myth right now… they wouldn’t have been.

Unfortunately they were too tone deaf to understand that the trumpet in rock was not a lead instrument, and frankly was even questionable in a supporting role, and that on this song in particular it dominates the entire song and in the process contradicts the very thing Adams is trying to tell us. That she nearly succeeds at it in spite of the poor choices surrounding her tells you how good she is.

Even if this had swapped out the trumpet for a sax, pushed that contrast between verses and chorus to stand out more and let Marie Adams really go to town for her fella it still might not have matched that initial single in popularity or quality, but it didn’t have to in order for her career to remain firmly on track. All it needed was to show that the first record wasn’t a fluke.

After this however the jury was still out on that question, which might be why she stuck with the guy she was waxing poetic about, because at least he accepted her for what she was, hits or not, and as everyone says, a good man is hard to find.


(Visit the Artist page of Marie Adams for the complete archive of her records reviewed to date)