You can honk your own horn!

Guest post by “Green Strobe”

“Excuse Me” is the final track on Alison MacCallum’s album of the same name, which turned out to be her last. A powerfully-voiced Australian blues/rock/soul singer, she released a couple of well-regarded albums, but is best remembered nowadays as the vocalist of the successful “It’s Time” jingle which emotively helped Gough Whitlam to victory in the 1972 Australian federal election.

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“It’s Time” was one of the great jingles. The T-shirts, not so much. Image via SBS

The single was issued in 1974, and the album in 1975. The single and its B-side are a pair of opposites – one an expression of love, the other a diatribe about a failed relationship.

0622 b“Excuse Me” is a lush number arranged in the mid-1970s manner, telling us how much she misses her other half. It’s rather unfair to say so, as the song predates Sherbet’s, but during the orchestral build-ups you may half-expect her to start singing “how-ow-ow howzat!”.

The B-side, “Honk” was not included on the album, making the single that much more attractive. And it’s pretty racy! A song of scorn directed at an ex-lover, the double entendre is not exactly subtle (it is on the Albert label) – “you can honk your own horn!”.

Rather explicit for the time, it takes a swing at male sexual gratification, mixing metaphors along the way (moving to sweets and gluttony, instead of maintaining the theme of lust and automotive and/or musical horn-blowing). It’s more of an upbeat tune, and brings to mind the angry feminism of the time – until you realise it was written by men! Pop svengali Simon Napier-Bell arranged, produced and (with Antonio Morales) wrote both sides. Nothing is ever what it seems…

  • Artist: Alison MacCallum
  • A Side: Excuse Me
  • B Side: Honk Honk
  • Format: 7”, 45 rpm, vinyl, stereo
  • Label: Albert
  • Made in: Australia
  • Catalogue: AP-10476
  • Year: 1974

Many of the records featured on this blog, and hundreds of others, are for sale via Discogs

 

Twang!

Duane Eddy was one of the first rock ’n roll guitar heroes. He used the bass strings of his Grestch guitar (the one on the right on the album sleeve picture below) to play a melody line. This was recorded through an echo chamber to create a distinctive, almost grungy rock sound.

2977-coverEddy is best remembered for the theme to the detective show Peter Gunn, but he did a lot else, including movie and television soundtracks, and with his band The Rebels had a long string of huge hits, selling more than 12 million records between 1958 and 1963. Eddy’s ‘twang’ sound made him a rich man, and inspired legions of teenagers to learn guitar. Among his admirers were Jeff Lynne, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ry Cooder.

This track was his first release. It was only modestly successful, but it is a perfect jukebox number. The low-down guitar is complemented by a brassy, sleazy saxophone. It’s wild, and sexy. Imagine hearing this bursting out of the speakers in a small town diner in 1958. Twang!

  • Artist: ‎Duane Eddy,
  • LP Title: $1,000,000 Worth Of Twang
  • Track: B1 “Moovin’ ‘N Groovin’”
  • Format: 12”, 33⅓ rpm
  • Label: London Records
  • Manufactured in: Australia
  • Catalogue number: HAA 7621
  • Year: 1962 (this track first released 1958)

Cousin Ernest does the Twist

Fun fact. Chubby Checker’s real name was Ernest Evans. No relation, so far as I know. He was black and born in Philadelphia. I am white, and was born in Melbourne (Australia, not Florida). Mind you, I am infamous for loving dreadful puns, and “Chubby Checker” was a dreadful pun on the name of another early rocker, Fats Domino. And I have been called “chubby” on the odd occasion …

0298-a-tootMoving on. Chubby Checker was no one hit wonder: he had lots of hits, including a million-seller or two, over a period of about three years in the early 1960s. But he did extract maximum leverage from one key idea. His first big hit was “The Twist”. This was followed by the even bigger hit “Let’s Twist Again”. Then came a soulful, slower number. “Slow Twistin’”.

A certain theme emerging?

But nothing wrong with that. Checker’s bubbly, exuberant R&B dance tracks – all them twisters and also “The Limbo Rock” – are wonderful, life-enhancing popular music. They are still played, still popular. Consequently, you won’t hear them on Planet Vinyl. We are into Found Sound, not the stuff we already know. So, tune into this, the B-side of “The Twist”. It is a double entendre song about a young woman who rides a Vespa and has, well, attributes. 0298-a-side

A subtle feminist critique of patriarchal exploitation? Not so much. But just go with it: hop aboard the motor scooter and squeeze that horn.

 

  • Artist: ‎Chubby Checker
  • Single Title: The Twist
  • Track: Side B “Toot”
  • Format: 7”, 45 rpm
  • Label: His Master’s Voice, EA-4399
  • Manufactured in: Australia
  • Year: 1960

Many of the records featured on this blog, and hundreds of others, are for sale via Discogs