and now for the songs — August 20, 2021

55) Joe Bataan, “Uptown”

Richard Pierson in All Music Guide says that “[n]o recording artist has more impeccable street credentials” than Bataan, who “grew up in Spanish Harlem, where he ran with Puerto Rican gangs and absorbed R&B, Afro-Cuban, and Afro-Rican musical influences.”

“Well it all started long ago when I was a young boy and didn’t know that life could be very tough on a young boy who grew up to be rough. . . . Is it any wonder that a kid like me has so much trouble trying to stay free?”

56) It’s a Beautiful Day, “White Bird”

This San Francisco psychedelic folk-rock band was led by violinist David LaFlamme (who had earlier been a member of the Utah Symphony). “White Bird” did well on FM radio and hit #58 in the UK in May ’70.

“White bird must fly or she will die. . . . But the white bird just sits in her cage growing old.” Was this a response to Paul McCartney’s civil rights song “Blackbird,” who Paul urged to take its broken wings and learn to fly?

57) The Mike Curb Congregation, “Sweet Gingerbread Man”

Jason Ankeny in All Music Guide says that the Congregation was a “harmony pop chorale” formed in 1969 “around the time Curb became president of MGM Records . . . .” Apparently, his “tenure with the label included a controversial roster shake-up that favored family singing acts like the Osmonds and the Cowsills over bands like the Velvet Underground . . . and what he had termed ‘hard drug groups’ . . . .” Well, say what you will, but the Congregation turned this horrible Bobby Sherman song into a wonderful confection.

“Feel like I’m made out of gingerbread, uh huh, uh huh. Crumb pickin’ lip lickin’ gingerbread, uh huh, uh huh . . . . Fresh out of the pan sweet gingerbread man. I’m twirlin’ a cane made of peppermint, uh huh, uh huh. Nice sticky hands, sticky peppermint, uh huh, uh huh.” Maybe the Stones got their inspiration for Sticky Fingers here?

Bobby Sherman’s version:

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