Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Music: TOMMY ROE



TOMMY ROE…
SHEILA, HAZEL, HEATHER,
AND EVERYBODY


From “Sheila” to “Dizzy” Tommy Roe’s
Chart profile came in fits and starts.
Andrew Darlington investigates
a strange BubblePop career …


To F Scott Fitzgerald ‘there are no second acts in American lives.’ But then, he’d never heard Tommy Roe. Teen-Pop idols of the late-fifties, and early-sixties tended to have their signature sound. Roy Orbison had his operatic dramas. Gene Pitney his anguished dual-tracked heartbreakers. Bobby Vee his sweet melodic confections. They may have squirmed around within these definitions, but seldom ventured too far beyond. Periodic career reinvention was something that did not arrive until David Bowie. Well… maybe Bobby Darin went through a stylistic blur, but he had something to prove. Eddie Cochran and Johnny Burnette went from Rockabilly to Teen-idol status. Chris Montez returned some years after his “Let’s Dance” hit, as a cheesy supper-club revivalist. But in general, no, there were no second acts to American Rock ‘n’ Roll lives.

Except for Tommy Roe. “Sheila” – his breakthrough hit, was very much Buddy Holly. Not that he was unique in that. Bobby Vee started out using the Holly template, as did Jimmy Gilmer, Bobby Fuller, and a clutch of others. Although “Sheila” was pretty-much a “Peggy Sue” facsimile, it still sounds fresh and original. Later, after a career-pause, came “The Folk Singer” which was a sensitive acoustic narrative described by ‘New Musical Express’ writer Gordon Coxhill as ‘a sad broken little song with a happy ending.’ Then, “Everybody” – a kind of secular gospel anthem. All of which came before his biggest revival comeback with teenbeat bubblepop classic “Dizzy”. There’s no linear career-plan to this uniquely inconsistent chart profile, more a series of disconnected peaks in fits and starts, each happening independently of what had come before. But each identity revealed some vinyl of worth.

‘SHEILA’

Thomas David ‘Tommy’ Roe (born 9 May1942), was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia where he studied at Brown High School by day – showing promise in art class, while skipping homework to train on the running-track or goof around practicing guitar in his bedroom. Already a Buddy Holly fan, he witnessed the electrifying fan-pandemonium that ensued when Elvis took the stage during a show at the ‘Rialto’, and ‘began to dream of becoming an entertainer.’ Yet – hit the pause button, isn’t ‘entertainer’ a strange word to use? Presley was less showbiz at this time than he was an insurrectionary force of Rock ‘n’ Roll nature. Perhaps Tommy Roe’s dreams were never that extreme? Whatever, by sixteen he’d already formed his first group – the Satins, to play local dances and high-school hops. After graduating, he landed a steady job as a testing-technician, soldering wires at General Electric, but continued playing whenever the opportunity presented itself. Until his first break came when the Satins stood in for a date originally scheduled for Buddy Holly.

That same year, 1960, the group trooped into a small local studio owned by Judd Philllips, brother of ‘Sun’ records Sam. They cut a song Tommy had written – “Sheila”, a minimalist and catchy fast-paced soft-Rocker driven on an echoey whalloping drum-track. Sure, it replicates Holly’s “Peggy Sue” ‘E-A-D’ chords, its arrangement, and even Holly’s phrasing so when he sings ‘her name drives me insane’ it comes out ‘her noyme drives me insoyne’, but it rises above its borrowings to come out shiny and new. Issued as by Tommy Roe & The Satins the Judd-label single fizzled out due to limited distribution, but did attract the attention of local DJ Paul Drew.

Within eighteen months Tommy had quit the group and – nudged by Drew’s recommendation, come to the attention of ABC-Paramount Records. Matched with producer Felton Jarvis (who would later work with Elvis) he re-cut the track as ‘B’-side for intended single “Save Your Kisses”. Although the proposed ‘A’-side is an attractive song highlighted by a nagging piping organ hook, DJs flipped the resulting record, and the label was soon anxious to capitalise on its airplay momentum. As it looked as though “Sheila” was about to chart, they pressured Tommy to get out and fulfill promo-dates. In an echo of the early Elvis radio spot in which the sniffy interviewer seems dubiously critical about Elvis throwing away a promising career as a truck-driver for the vagaries of this crazy Rock ‘n’ Roll business, Tommy was reluctant to give up his secure day-job and career-prospects at GEC, until his manager Bill Lowery lured him with a $500 advance. ‘Man, what if I hadn’t needed five-hundred dollars right then?’ he speculates later, ‘I might have ended up as the best singer at General Electric!’

Was there a ‘Sheila’ in young Tommy’s life? Considerable academic research has gone into tracking down the real identity of ‘Peggy Sue’, but Tommy was eventually induced to divulge where his song came from. It began as a poem about his first infatuation, to Freda, who moved out of the neighborhood, never knew she was the object of his teenage crush, or that she’d inspired his first hit. As the 45rpm spins on the jukebox turntable, he sings about how you’ll know Sheila if you see her by her blue eyes and ponytail, but then – oddly, her ‘cheeks are rosy, she looks a little nosy’! A little ‘nosy’…? What kind of compliment is this! As lyrics go, it’s hardly George and Ira Gershwin. But that’s not the point. At its best, Rock is a kind of Folk music, spontaneously created not by professional genius-teams, but direct from its own demographic. In its own speak, with all its hesitant inarticulacy. When he sings ‘me and Sheila go for a ride, oh-oh-oh-oh I feel funny inside’, is that a reference to the circus going on in his underpants? An inept euphemism for unsettling sexual arousal? Chances are – no, it’s not clever enough for that. But Tommy Roe was fourteen when he wrote the poem. What were you writing when you were fourteen?

By midsummer 1962 “Sheila” debuted on the national ‘Billboard’ chart, and climbed irresistibly all the way to no.1. Issued in Britain on the pale-blue HMV POP label it first charted in ‘New Musical Express’ at no.24 (13 September) and peaked five weeks later at no.3, beneath the Tornado’s “Telstar” and Little Eva’s “The Locomotion”. Although its global sales easily topped the million – a big-seller in Australia as well, the sluggardly RIAA didn’t get around to presenting him with the gold disc until 1969! As a footnote to the hit, studio guitarist for the recording session was fellow Atlanta-native Joe South, providing the future “Games People Play” star with his own first break. As his career ascended, he would later produce sessions for Tommy. While Mike Clark, drummer with the Satins, was recruited into Lowery Music where he’d help promote Tommy’s later hits.

The first great age of Rock ‘n’ Roll iconoclasts – the Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Bo Diddley, had passed. Tommy Roe was never going to be in that league. But “Shelia” was perfect soda-pop jukebox jive for the ‘Dreamboats and Petticoats’ era. Yet despite his clean-cut unthreatening teen-idol appeal and blue-eyed brown-haired photogenic looks that smiled up out of the fan-mags, his follow-up, a revival of Robin Luke’s “Susie Darlin’” flopped. He had to look elsewhere for his ticket back into the Top 40. Although a later track, “The Folk Singer”, failed in America, it scored in England where it climbed as high as no.4. Written by Merle Kilgore in the form of a Nashville angst-movie or a TV mini-series, it relates the story of a country hick whose love-songs to Sara Jane made the mountains ring. Although probably more a kind of hillbilly singer than what we’d come to think of as the Bob Dylan Folkie archetype, as his fame grew, lavished in glory, fortune at his feet, he let his hair grow long and dressed in style, as poor plain Sara Jane got pushed aside. Until that pivotal fateful morning when he woke and could not speak. The Doctor told him his singing days were through. So he ends up wiser, back in the mountains, singing again to loyal Sara Jane. This tale of hubris and redemption is set against simple acoustic guitar backing, Tommy’s pure, clear voice rising in intensity as he interprets its drama with an innocent sincerity that says this is not irony or postmodern cynicism, he believes this lyric and its reassuring moral.

‘EVERYBODY’

Then, strange days indeed. Bouyed by the single’s European success he flies into London in March 1963 to co-headline a full national twenty-one-date package-tour. Totally unaware of what is going on in that cold bleak British winter. ‘New Musical Express’ was soon carrying a story about how ‘America’s Fabulous Tommy Roe’ and ‘America’s Exciting’ Chris Montez were both being upstaged by their upstart newcomer support-act the Beatles. The one-nighters, which also featured the Viscounts and the Terry Young Six, compèred by Radio Luxembourg DJ Tony Marsh, opened at the East Ham ‘Granada’, appeared at Birmingham, Sheffield, Liverpool, Portsmouth and elsewhere through to close at the ‘De Montfort Hall’ in Leicester. But at each date, all the hysterical fan-action was directed not at the supposed stars, but at the four mop-tops from the small-print half-way down the bill!

Despite being seriously overshadowed by this ‘new thing’, Tommy fought back by writing a song, “Everybody”, during the tour. Perhaps motivated by the negative knock-backs he’d endured, alone in lonely hotel rooms after shows, it was a repetitive assertive uplifting power-of-positive-thinking anthem about not letting bad times get you down. ‘Everybody’s had the blues’ he urges, driven like a revivalist preacher by call-and-response chorus-voices ‘…but that’s no reason for you to break down and cry.’ Later that same year it became his third big hit, reaching a US number 3 and UK number 9. In a kind of vindication he returned to England to lip-synch the record on the 16th November screening of the ITV Pop show ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ – hosted by Brian Matthew, alongside other guests the Dave Clark Five, Johnny Burnette and Frank Ifield. Then he performed it on an early edition of the cult Mod-show ‘Ready Steady Go’ too. On the black-and-white screen, this was the first time I’d watched Tommy Roe perform, although I’d bought the singles. I bought “Everybody” too. By now he’d had three separate hits, each dissimilar from the other two. He’d never be that kind of star who enjoyed an unbroken run of hits. Instead, each of his successes was carried out from ground-zero up, on its own merits. That’s something else entirely.

As Beatlemania swept America Tommy found himself opening for them at the Washington Coliseum. But there were other factors out to disrupt his life. Conscription into two-year’s service in the Army Reserves set off a relatively barren period for Tommy Roe. Encouraged by the more successful UK tour-reception reported by his friend Roy Orbison, he returned, toured with Cilla Black and PJ Proby, and then moved to London when it was at its most trendiest, living here for a couple of years. He issued his regular three or four singles a years, which went largely unnoticed, including a novelty “Diane From Manchester Square”, written by Buzz Cason about a girl working upstairs in an EMI House office. Which is the building featured on the iconic sleeve-photo of the Beatles first LP. He even guested on children’s TV’s ‘Ollie And Fred’s Five O’Clock Club’ (26 February 1965), with puppets Ollie Beak (owl) and Fred Barker (dog)! Well, Blondie and Alice Cooper appeared on ‘The Muppet Show’, but did this really fulfill Tommy’s early dream of becoming an entertainer? Were his hit-making days really over this time, despite his proven come-back ability when all but his most loyal fans pronounced his career dead in the water? No, there was more to come, he was to have several more Top 40 hits. Meanwhile he bided his time by touring with Dick Clark’s nostalgia-revival ‘Caravan Of Stars’, before returning emphatically to celebrity in 1966.

‘HAZEL’

It’s as though he used this downtime to rethink and refocus his music. His quiff now combed forward into a fringe. His style retuned so that while critic Bill Dahl concedes he’d ‘cut some pretty decent rockers along the way, especially early in his career’ he would now be ‘widely perceived as one of the archetypal bubblegum artists of the late 1960s’ (in ‘Allmusic’). “Sweet Pea” elevated him to an American no.8 (no.1 Canada), almost impossibly cute, yet with a melody-line strong enough to be covered as an instrumental single by Manfred Mann. Then, all the way to no.6 with nursery-rhyme catchy “Hooray for Hazel” (no.2 Canada).

But it all came together with the release of “Dizzy”. On the 4th June 1969 it soared to no.1 in the U.S. Billboard chart as well as no.1 in Canada. It entered the ‘New Musical Express’ chart at no.24 (30th April), nudging the Beatles “Get Back” from no.1 on the 4th June – in sweet backatcha for the 1963 tour, before itself being unseated by “The Ballad Of John And Yoko” a week later! A brief promotional visit took in radio dates and a triumphal ‘Top Of The Pops’ appearance. “Dizzy” was written by Tommy, on the tour-bus, with Freddy Weller, who became a Country star in his own right after briefly serving time with Paul Revere’s Raiders. It was produced by A&R-man Steve Barri, who’d written hits in his own right with PF Sloane. He used the cream of the LA ‘wrecking crew’ session-players – driven by Hal Blaine’s thumping drumbeat overlaid with Jimmy Haskell’s offbeat sawing violin arrangement. A brilliant piece of pure Pop it became massive. Selling two million copies by mid-April 1969, giving Tommy his third gold disc. As Rock was getting heavier, increasingly psychedelic and more album-sized all around him, and other fifties and early-sixties names were struggling to keep their careers afloat, his contagiously light Pop provided the perfect teen-beat counterweight. Slightly more knowing than before, a little more calculated, but irresistibly radio-friendly, he’d never been bigger. “Dizzy” became a soundtrack time-fix inclusion for movies such as ‘Love And Other Disaster’ (2006) and the Sci-Fi comedy ‘Alien Autopsy’ (2006). Then Comedian Vic Reeves – with the Wonder Stuff, took the song back to the British no.1 with a poor revival a couple of decades later (26 October 1991).

‘HEATHER’

Meanwhile “Heather Honey” neatly followed “Dizzy” into the chart, taking his lyrical preoccupations from ‘man, this little girl is fine’ (“Sheila”) to ‘now can’t you see, you’re blowing my mind’. With the sharp drum-break given a trial-run on “Sweet Pea” and most effectively deployed on “Dizzy”. Was there a ‘Heather’ in Tommy’s life? Or – like ‘Sheila’ or ‘Hazel’, was it another symptom of what the Beautiful South cleverly satirise on “Song For Whoever”, that any girl’s-name song-title guarantees niche sales? Although never a UK hit, it certainly worked with my friend Heather Kingdom. Her boyfriend bought her the single anyway, purely on the strength of the title.

In 1969, Tommy Roe could be seen guest-starring as ‘Tadpole Talbot’ in the “The Four of Spades” episode of sitcom ‘Green Acres’, as his final American Top 10 single peaked at no.8. The lubricious “Jam Up Jelly Tight”, another track co-written with Freddy Weller, earned him his fourth gold record. It’s nudge-nudge suggestive lyric, ‘you won’t say you will, but there’s a chance that you might’ had come a long way from the teenage innocence of “Sheila”. Through the summer of 1971 he toured with Joe South and Billy Joe Royal. As a regular on Dick Clark’s TV-show ‘Where The Action Is’ he relocated to Beverly Hills, where he enjoyed the golf and married French actress Josette Banzet, who won a Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe award for her performance in the TV mini-series ‘Rich Man, Poor Man’ (1976). But, dissatisfied with west coast living he wound up restlessly commuting back to just north of Atlanta where he’d bought a ranch overlooking Lake Lanier. Freed from his long-standing ABC contract he re-signed to MGM South with whom he made inroads into the Country market. Inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1986, as well as the ‘Rockabilly Hall Of Fame’, there were to be no more career-resurrections, although he tours comfortably, sometimes with sixties nostalgia Rockers Freddy Cannon or Bobby Vee. And still makes new music. To F Scott Fitzgerald ‘there are no second acts in American lives.’ But then, he’d never heard Tommy Roe. Tommy had second, third… and even fourth lives as a chart star.


TOMMY ROE:
THE SINGLES

1960 – “Sheila” c/w “Pretty Girl” (Judd Records) as by Tommy Roe & The Satins

1960 – “I Got A Girl” c/w “Caveman Late” (Judd Records) as by Tommy Roe & The Satins

6 September 1962 – “Sheila” (Tommy Roe) c/w “Save Your Kisses” (E Bruce and L Litherman (HMV POP 1060) UK ‘Record Mirror’ no.3, on chart 14-weeks (US no.1, 11 August 1962, ABC-Paramount 10329

 6 December 1962 – “Susie Darlin’” (Robin Luke) c/w “Piddle De Pat” (Tommy Roe) (HMV POP 1092) Producer: Felton Jarvis. UK no.37, on chart 5-weeks (US no.35, 3 November 1962, ABC-Paramount 10362)

1963 – “Gonna Take A Chance” c/w “Don’t Cry Donna” (ABC-Paramount 10389/ HMV 45-POP-1117) Producer: Felton Jarvis

21 March 1963 – “The Folk Singer” (Merle Kilgore) c/w “Count On Me” (HMV POP 1138) Producer: Felton Jarvis. UK no.4, on chart 13-weeks (US ABC 10423, no.84)

1963 – “Town Crier” c/w “Rainbow” (revival of Russ Hamilton’s 1957 hit) (ABC-Paramount 10379)

1963 – “Kiss And Run” c/w “What Makes The Blues (Want To Pick On Me)” (HMV POP 1174) Producer: Felton Jarvis

26 September 1963 – “Everybody” (Tommy Roe) c/w “Sorry I’m Late, Lisa” (HMV POP 1207) Producer: Felton Jarvis. Running time: 1:56mins. UK no.9, on chart 11-weeks, then returns for three more weeks, hitting no.49 from 19th December (US no.3, 26 October 1963, ABC-Paramount 10478)

US 8 February 1964 – “Come On” (Ernie Hall and Dan Penn) c/w “There Will Be Better Years” (ABC-Paramount 10515) ‘Billboard’ no.36 (HMV POP 1259)

April 1964 – “Carol” (Chuck Berry) c/w “Be A Good Little Girl” (ABC-Paramount 10543) US no.61

1964 – “Diane From Manchester Square” c/w “Love Me, Love Me” (ABC-Paramount)

1964 – “A Wild Water Skiing Weekend” (B Kalb/ Ray Whitley) c/w “Dance With Henry” (Tommy Roe) (ABC Paramount 45-10555) Producer: Felton Jarvis

December 1964 – “Party Girl” (Perry ‘Buddy’ C Buie) c/w “Oh, How Could I Love You” (ABC-Paramount 10604) US no.85

December 1964 – “Little Miss Heartbreak” (HMV POP 1364) with the Roemans

1965 – “Fourteen Pairs Of Shoes” c/w “Combo Music” (ABC-Paramount 10665)

1965 – “I Keep Remembering (Things I Forgot)” (B Buie/ JR Adkins) c/w “Wish You Didn’t Have To Go” (ABC-Paramount 45-10706) Producer: Felton Jarvis)

1965 – “Doesn’t Anybody Know My Name (Two-Ten, Six-Eighteen)” c/w “Everytime A Bluebird Cries” (ABC-Paramount 10738)

US 2 July 1966 – “Sweet Pea” (Tommy Roe) c/w “Much More Love” (ABC-Paramount 10762/ HMV POP 1539) ‘Billboard’ no.8

US 1 October 1966 – “Hooray For Hazel” (Tommy Roe) c/w “Need Your Love” (ABC 10852) Produced by ‘OUR Productions’ (which is Steve Clark and Curt Boettcher). Running time 2:28mins. ‘Billboard’ no.6

US 28 January 1967 – “It’s Now Winters Day” (Tommy Roe) c/w “Kick Me Charlie” (ABC 10888) ‘Billboard’ no.23

April 1967 – “Sing Along With Me” (Tommy Roe) c/w “Nightime” (ABC 10908) US no.91

June 1967 – “Little Miss Sunshine” (Tommy Roe) c/w “The You I Need” (ABC 10945) a beach-surf single, US no.99

October 1967 – “Melancholy Mood” c/w “Paisley Dreams” (HMV POP 1611)

February 1968 – “Dottie I Like It” (Tommy Roe) c/w “Soft Words” (ABC 11039)

16 April 1969 – “Dizzy” (Tommy Roe and Freddy Weller) c/w “The You I Need” (Stateside SS 2143), UK no.1, on charts 19-weeks (US no.1, 15 February 1969, ABC 11164)

23 July 1969 – “Heather Honey” (Tommy Roe) c/w “Money Is My Pay” (Stateside SS 2152) Producer: Steve Barri. String Arrangement: Jimmie Haskell. UK no.24, on charts 9-weeks (US no.29, 17 May 1969, ABC 11211)

July 1969 – “Jack And Jill” (Tommy Roe and Freddy Weller) c/w “Tip Toe Tina” (ABC 11229) US no.53

US 6 December 1969 – “Jam Up Jelly Tight” (Tommy Roe and Freddy Weller) c/w “Moontalk” (Tommy Roe) (ABC 11247) ‘Billboard’ no.8 In Canada it hit no.5. UK Stateside SS2156

June 1970 – “Pearl” (Tommy Roe and Freddy Weller) c/w “Dollars Worth Of Pennies” (ABC 11266). Producer: Steve Barri. US no.50

1970 – “Stir It Up And Serve It” (Tommy Roe and Freddy Weller) c/w “Firefly” (ABC 11258) Producer: Steve Barri. US no.50. UK Stateside

October 1970 – “We Can Make Music” (Lou T Josie) c/w “Gotta Keep Rolling Along” (Tommy Roe) (ABC 11273) Producer: Steve Barri. US no.49. UK Probe PRO 506

November 1970 – “Brush A Little Sunshine” (Stanley J Geiber) (ABC 11281)

US 25 September 1971 – “Stagger Lee” (Harold Logan and Lloyd Price) c/w “Back Streets And Alleys” (ABC 11307) ‘Billboard’ no.25

February 1971 – “Little Miss Goody Two-Shoes” (Allen McCollum and Ronnie Laws) c/w “Traffic Jam” (Tommy Roe and M Davis) (ABC 11287) Producer: Steve Barri. UK Probe, double-tracked teeny-Pop

April 1971 – “Pistol Legged Mama” (Tommy Roe) c/w “King Of Fools” (ABC 11293)

September 1972 – “Mean Little Woman, Rosalie” (Richard Laws) (MGM South 7001) US no.92

May 1973 – “Working Class Hero” (Tommy Roe) (MGM South 7013) US no.97 and Country no.73

1976 – “Glitter And Gleam

1979 – “Massachusetts” (Warner 8800) US Country chart no.77

1979 – “You Better Move On” (Warner 49085) US Country chart no.70

1980 – “Charlie I Love Your Wife” US Country chart no.87

1985 – “Some Such Foolishness” (RA Wade) c/w “Barbara Lou” (MCA 52711) US Country chart no.57

1986 – “Radio Romance” (MCA 52778) US Country chart no.51

1987 – “Back When It Really Mattered” (Polygram/Mercury 888497) US Country chart no.67

1987 – “Let’s Be Fools Like That Again” US Country chart no.38

2012 – “Devil’s Soul Pile” followed by “It’s For You I’m Me” singles featuring Melissa Hooker

2013 – “Memphis Me

TOMMY ROE:
THE ALBUMS

1963 – ‘SHEILA’ (ABC-432, HMV CLP 1614) with ‘Sheila’, ‘Piddle De Pat’, ‘Little Hollywood Girl’, ‘Heart Beat’, ‘There Will Be Better Years’, ‘There’s A Great Day A-Coming’, ‘Susie Darlin’, ‘Think About The Good Things’, ‘Look At Me’, “I Found A Love’, ‘Blue Ghost’, ‘Maybellene’. US LP chart no.110

1963 – ‘SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY’ (ABC-467) with ‘Come On And Dance’, ‘Be My Baby’, ‘Taste Of Honey’, ‘That’ll Be The Day’, ‘Standing Watch’, ‘Why Do You Make Me Cry?’, ‘Nitty Gritty’, ‘You’re My Happiness’, ‘Dominique’, ‘Sensations’, ‘Switchie, Witchie, Titchie’, ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’

1964 – ‘EVERYBODY LIKES TOMMY ROE’ with ‘Janie’, ‘Kiss And Run’, ‘I Got A Girl’, ‘Little Tomboy’, ‘Almost Grown’. Issued as a 2-for-1 CD with ‘Sheila’ by BGO Records

1965 – ‘BALLADS AND BEAT’ (HMV CLP1860) UK only reshuffle of earlier tracks, ‘A Taste Of Honey’, ‘Be My Baby’

1966 – ‘SWEET PEA’ (ABC S-575) compilation LP with ‘Hooray For Hazel’, ‘Under My Thumb’, ‘Pretty Famingo’, ‘Where Were You When I Needed You’, ‘Wild Thing’, ‘Sweet Pea’, ‘Party Girl’, ‘Everybody’, ‘The Folk Singer’ ‘Pleasing You Pleases Me’, ‘Kick Me Charlie’, ‘Sheila’. US LP chart no.94

1967 – ‘IT’S NOW WINTER’S DAY’ (ABC S-594) Produced by ‘Our Productions’, Curt Boettcher, former Phil Sector handclap-guy and future Association member, who died 14 June 1987. Cover shows Tommy photo-merged going in two directions, with ‘Leave Her’, ‘Moon Talk’, ‘Aggravation’, ‘Golden Girl’, ‘Misty Eyes’, ‘Have Pity On Me’, ‘Sing Along With Me’, ‘Long Live Love’, ‘Nightime’, ‘Cry On Crying Eyes’, ‘Sweet Sounds’, ‘It’s Now Winter’s Day’. US LP chart no.159. ‘ZigZag no.48’ writes that ‘it was a collection of songs Tommy had been working on through the years that were more serious than his usual fare. And they were certainly worth the effort, especially the title track… most noteworthy is ‘Sweet Sounds’ – one of those perfect tracks, and any deviation from the arrangement would only mar its perfection. There was such a variety of songs on the album, from blue-eyed soul with ‘Have Pity On me’, a little freaky track ‘Moontalk’ with its sound effects, to the Bo Diddley styled ‘Misty Eyes’

1967 – ‘PHANTASY’ (ABC S-610) includes single ‘Little Miss Sunshine’, ‘Paisley Dreams’, ‘Plastic World’, ‘Melancholy Mood’, ‘Visions’, ‘Mystic Magic’, ‘These Are The Children’, ‘Goodbye Yesterday’, ‘The Executive’, ‘The You I Need’, ‘It’s Gonna Hurt Me’, a shot at psychedelia which –according to ‘ZigZag’ ‘pleased him artistically’ although ‘saleswise it was a write-off’. Musicians – as on ‘Winters Day’, include guitarists Mike Deasy and Ben Benay, Butch Parker (piano), Jim Bell (oboe), Jerry Scheff (bass), Jim Troxell (drums), Curt Boettcher (percussion), Toxie French (vibes), Mike Henderson (organ) plus back-up vocals by Sandy Salisbury (who wrote ‘These Are The Children’ and ‘Goodbye Yesterday’), Jim Bell, Michelle O’Malley, Dottie Holmberg, Sharon Olsen and Lee Mallory Vocal arrangements by Curt Boettcher

1969 – ‘DIZZY’ (ABC S-683/ Stateside SSL 10282) with ‘Heather Honey’, ‘Raining In My Heart’, ‘Cinnamon’, ‘A Dollar’s Worth Of Pennies’, ‘Stormy’, ‘Makin Music’, ‘Money Is My Pay’, ‘Proud Mary’, ‘Gotta Keep Rolling Along’, ‘Look Out Girl’, ‘Dizzy’. US LP chart no.25. The ‘NME’ review commends its ‘good, beaty ballads, best of which are his double-tracked ‘Money Is My Pay’, his belting ‘Proud Mary’ and ‘Cinnamon’ (a girl, not the flavouring), and two slow numbers – ‘Raining In my Heart’ and ‘Gotta Keep Rolling Along’. He gets plenty of rocking instrumental and vocal support, which gets his singing really going. Six composing credits for Tommy, too’. (There’s a compilation also called ‘Dizzy’ issued by Pickwick SPC-3361, with ‘Dizzy’, ‘Jack And Jill’, ‘Hooray For Hazel’, ‘Jam Up Jelly Tight’, ‘Carol’, ‘Sheila’, ‘Party Girl’, ‘Wild Thing’, ‘Heather Honey’)

June 1969 - ‘TOMMY ROE: GREATEST HITS’ (Stateside SSL 10296) with ‘Sheila’, ‘Susie Darlin’, ‘Everybody’, ‘The Folk Singer’, ‘Party Girl’, ‘Carol’, ‘Sweet Pea’, ‘Hooray For Hazel’, ‘It’s Now Winter’s Day’, ‘Melancholy Mood’, ‘Dizzy’, ‘Heather Honey’, ‘Jack And Jill’, ‘Jam Up Jelly Tight’ (there are various other hits compilations including ‘Tommy Roe’s 16 Greatest Hits’ in 1972, ABCX-762)

1970 – ‘TWELVE IN A ROE: A COLLECTION OF TOMMY ROE’S GREATEST HITS’ (ABCS-700/ Stateside SSL 10296) with ‘Sheila’, ‘Everybody’, ‘The Folk Singer’, ‘Party Girl’, ‘Carol’, ‘Sweet Pea’, ‘Hooray For Hazel’, ‘It’s Now Winter’s Day’, ‘Dizzy’, ‘Heather Honey’, ‘Jack And Jill’, ‘Jam Up Jelly Tight’. US LP chart no.21

1970 – ‘WE CAN MAKE MUSIC’ (ABC S-714/ Probe SPB 1021) with ‘We Can Make Music’, ‘The Greatest Love’, ‘Firefly’, ‘Evergreen’, ‘Traffic Jam’, ‘Pearl’, ‘Brush A Little Sunshine And Love’, ‘King Of Fools’, ‘No Sad Songs’, ‘(They Long To Be) Close To You’, ‘Stir It Up And Serve It’, ‘Reprise: We Can Make Music’. US LP chart no.134. The ‘Record Mirror’ review says ‘Tommy Roe doesn’t change much – makes few concessions to musical trends. He goes for straightforward songs and dresses them up with a smile and a light-hearted approach. The only thing that keeps him out of the charts is sometimes faulty song selection. However, with ‘King Of Fools’ is very good indeed won’t disappoint his fans’

1971 – ‘BEGINNINGS’ (ABC S-732) with ‘Beginnings’, ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’, ‘Why Can’t It Be Me’, ‘The Way Things Are’, ‘Brown Eyed Handsome Man’, ‘Snowman’, ‘Indulge In Love’, ‘Back Streets And Alleys’, ‘Hide Daddy’s Whiskey’, ‘Your Touch Is The Best Thing In Life’, ‘Beginnings’, ‘Stagger Lee’

1976 – ‘ENERGY’ (Monument PZ34182) Producer: Felton Jarvis. Engineer: Chip Young. With ‘Drop A Little Rock’, ‘You Don’t Need Me’, ‘Slow Dancing’, ‘Great Expectations’, ‘Snowing Me Under’, ‘Energy’, ‘Burn On Love Light’, ‘Bad News (Don’t Follow Me)’, ‘Glitter And Gleam’, ‘Everybody’

1977 – ‘FULL BLOOM’ (Monument MG 7614) Producer: Chips Moman on ‘But I Do’ and ‘You Babe’, Fred Foster on ‘Slippin’ On The Love We Make’, ‘Sha Na Na Na’, ‘Back To The Roots’, ‘Love Has A Way Of Breaking Your Heart’, ‘Up To My Heart In Love’, ‘Baby Blue Eyes’, ‘Working Class Hero’, ‘Your Love Will See Me Through’

1990 – ‘YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW’ (Curb) a weak mix of ten tracks, ‘Early In The Morning’, ‘Sheila’, ‘(Stop Complaining) We’re Only Here For A While’, ‘Dizzy’, ‘Barbara Lou’, ‘Sweet Pea’, ‘Who I Used To Be’, ‘Some Such Foolishness’, ‘Who’s That Lady’, ‘Everybody’

2013 – ‘MEMPHIS ME’ (Tommy Roe/ Airebelle, available through his own website) with ‘Memphis Me’, ‘It’s For You I’m Me’ (duet with Melissa Hooker), ‘Water Underneath My Burning Bridge’, ‘What If’s And Should Have’s’, ‘Remember’, ‘Without Her’, ‘That’s When She Ran Out Of Time’, ‘Love For My Woman’, ‘Devil’s Soul Pile’. An album of pleasant easy Country-flavoured Tommy Roe originals

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