These words don’t make no sense. – Heeby Jeebies Larry Williams
But why should they? We’re talking about love. Or, something. Even if it isn’t about love, whatever it is is (is is?) certainly ineffable, elusive, and excited.
Dum Dum Brenda Lee
Brenda Lee, Little Miss Dynamite, is just 4’ 9” tall and in possession of a huge voice. In 1961, when she was 17, she recorded Dum Dum, which might be related to the sweet nothings she had sung about earlier, but it doesn’t matter. She can rock, break your heart, and, in those days, in the early sixties, had the Beatles open for her in England. The great sax break is by Boots Randolph.
Georgie Fame was born cool. His first hit, Yeh Yeh, though more comprehensible than the rest of the tunes on this page, let the American suburbs know what was hip. And it wasn’t just the words. The chords and tune and rhythm were way cool, too. Still are. Georgie continues to this day, having worked for a long time with Van Morrison and on all kinds of projects of his own and others. He may now be a geezer, like so many of us, but he will always be cool.
The Chips’, Rubber Biscuit, kind of says it all. The words, though not from our planet, remain a challenge to translators everywhere. What’s undeniable and in no need of explanation is the depth of feeling behind them and the unstoppable drive of this tune.
On Um Bow Wow, The Bobettes are not dog whisperers. These girls have soul coming out of their ears. Their big hit, Mr. Lee, while easily understood, may never be surpassed in its incredible bass sound, intense harmonies, and devotion to the mysterious Mr. Lee.