Monday, October 18, 2010

And the beat goes on and on and on

Saturday I happened to rip three covers of Sonny & Cher's "And the Beat Goes On" and then, THE VERY NEXT DAY, Mad Men closes out a season with their "I Got You Babe".

This is too much of a coincidence to let pass. This is exactly the sort of deeply irrelevant coincidence this blog exists to document.

I think I first heard both songs in the 1980s while watching a syndicated episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in which the two made cameos. Back then, even before Bono was a Republican congressman representing Orange County and well before Cher was patient zero of the auto-tune epidemic, I knew that Sonny & Cher were deeply uncool. Still, I couldn't resist "And the Beat Goes On" for its loping, jazzy bassline and wildly casual scatted chorus.

Los Yorsy's: "El Ballet Hippie"(Musart, 196?)

I'm not sure what I like more about this version, the Spanish title or that the lyrics remain in English but are still mostly incomprehensible. This version sounds uncannily like Willis Jackson's version of "Jive Samba", which is not easily linkable but which also sounds uncannily like Jackson's "Nuther'n Like Thuther'n", which is.

Rocky Roberts & the Airedales: "The Beat Goes On" (Durium, 1967)

Rocky Roberts & the Airedales was a group of African-Americans who recorded in Italy, mostly as Wess & the Airedales. This is taken from their Sabato Sera, which features a mix of originals and covers in Italian and English. Among the other covers are good versions of "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" and "Hey Joe" (not that there is a bad version of the latter).

Kenny Smith: "And the Beat Goes On" (Music Minus One, 196?)

Kenny Smith was a bassist who recorded with Horace Silver among others. He cut two two-record instructional sets for the Music Minus One label, The Beat Goes On and For Bassists Only. Both feature Smith leading small groups through solid versions of current jazz and rock fare like Silver's "Song for My Father" and "Psychedelic Sally", Mongo Santamaria's "Para Ti" and Mel Tormé's "Comin' Home Baby" (not that there is a bad version of the latter). Smith's take on "And the Beat Goes On" features vocals from a very young Dee Dee Bridgewater.

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Blogger Holly said...

Love that Kenny Smith version!

October 21, 2010 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger dm said...

such a great post! hope you're well my dude.

October 30, 2010 at 1:24 PM  
Blogger rick_hough said...

Many thanks for all this great detective work!

Rick /

January 30, 2011 at 3:02 AM  

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