Various Artists

Vinyl Vic's Rare & Obscure Answer Records, Vol. 3

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Vinyl Vic's Rare & Obscure Answer Records, Vol. 3 Review

by Mark Deming

Once upon a time, if an artist scored a major hit single, it was all but guaranteed they would be rewarded with an "answer record," in which another artist wrote and recorded a tune that imagined another side of the story described in the original's lyrics. While some answer songs became major successes -- Kitty Wells' first big hit, "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels," was a response to Hank Thompson's "Wild Side of Life" -- most had a short shelf-life that faded out once the originals dropped off the charts, and Vinyl Vic's Rare & Obscure Answer Records, Vol. 3 is a collection that features 30 hard to find sides most record collectors would scramble for, assuming they even know they exist. Some are obvious parodies, especially "Dee Dee Please Take Your Love to Town" by Loobie Doobee Doo & the Javelin Catchers (a take-off on the First Edition's "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town"), "Short Fat Outlaw" by the Hollywood Argyles (Kim Fowley's rewrite of "Long Tall Texan"), and "The Army Wrote Me a Letter" by Jerry Montgomery & the Monts (a draft dodger's reply to the Box Tops' "The Letter"), while "I Must Lose Him (Sturis in the Punim a la Nudge)" is clearly an inside joke, taking aim at bandleader Dave Pell (and featuring some humor not suitable for airplay). But plenty of tracks take their narratives reasonably seriously, and Jean Kiff's "Answer to Hey Baby" replicates the sound of Bruce Channel's "Hey Baby" with impressive accuracy. There are even a few big names on board; Debbie Reynolds tackles "Answer to You Better Move On," and the Falcons, whose membership included Wilson Pickett and Eddie Floyd, makes the lineup with "We Stopped and Thought It Over." Either way, hearing so many familiar tunes turned upside down is plenty of fun, despite occasional flaws in the audio (most of these were clearly sourced from vinyl), and for serious students of popular culture, this set is a treasure trove of bizarro-world pop and rock.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
The Adorables 02:18 Amazon
2
Los Apson 01:54 Amazon
3
Linda Balle 02:09 Amazon
4
The Bossmen 02:46 Amazon
5
02:00 Amazon
6
02:27 Amazon
7
Carole Coby 02:15 Amazon
8
Jan Daley 02:45 Amazon
9
The Falcons 02:30 Amazon
10
Phil Flowers 01:58 Amazon
11
Claire Francis 02:22 Amazon
12
The Hollywood Argyles 02:10 Amazon
13
Dian James 03:12 Amazon
14
Little Jonna Jaye 02:03 Amazon
15
Betty Jane & The Teenettes 02:25 Amazon
16
Jean Kiff 02:38 Amazon
17
Warren Lee 02:32 Amazon
18
Loobie Doobee Do & the Javelin Catchers 02:21 Amazon
19
Jerry Montgomery & the Monts 01:39 Amazon
20
Mrs. Brown's Lovely Daughter Carol (Crane) 02:40 Amazon
21
01:56 Amazon
22
Dave Pell Singers 02:30 Amazon
23
Denny Randell 02:02 Amazon
24
Debbie Reynolds 02:06 Amazon
25
Penny Richards 02:25 Amazon
26
Robbie and the Downbeats 02:07 Amazon
27
Ronnie Shaw 02:19 Amazon
28
Steptones 02:04 Amazon
29
Texas Matadors 02:23 Amazon
30
Tri Counts 01:59 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick