Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tuesday's Twosome # 8-9

From Billboard, March 17, 1962
In mid-March 1962, Gene Chandler's »Duke Of Earl« topped the r&b charts and Etta James's »Something's Got A Hold On Me« was climbing upwards; »I Know« by Barbara George and »Letter Full Of Tears« by Gladys Knight & The Pips had just left the r&b Top Ten. In the midst of all this, Tarheel Slim and Little Ann had one of their last Fire 45s out. Fire/Fury hyped their single as »breaking and selling nationally« but they even mis-printed the number and anyhow the record didn't chart in the end.

Tarheel Slim (legally Alden »Allen« Bunn) and his wife Anna Lee Sanford (sometimes spelled, mistakenly, Sandford) performed (and recor- ded) together since 1957. In 1959, they inaugu- rated the Fire label with their second most successful release, »It's Too Late« w/ »Don't Ever Leave Me«. They stayed with Fire until 1962 and kept recording as a husband-and-wife duo until 1965. You can hear most of their '50 and early '60s recordings on the Collectables CD The Red Robin & Fire Years (Coll # 5159). You'll find a lot about their recording career on TheHoundBlog, including a nice photograph; you might also look over at The Devil's Music blogspot where you can listen to one of their Fire 45s (# 1009).

Allen Bunn changed his name to »Tarheel Slim« after he and Ann quit calling themselves »The Lovers«. Famously, »tarheel« is the nickname applied to the inhabitants of North Carolina (and that's where Bunn hailed from). I had no idea, however, what the term means and then discovered that nobody really knows. Wikipedia states that the »exact etymology of the nick- name is unknown, but most experts believe its roots come from the fact that tar, pitch and turpentine created from the vast pine forests were one of North Carolina's most important exports early in the state's history«. (Check out the Wiki article, it's very detailed and worthwhile to read!)

As for many discographies and the 45 itself, »Forever I'll Be Yours« is considered the A-side of Fire # 506. Billboard (see the March 10, 1962, issue, p. 32) and the Fire promo ads of the epoch seem to consider »Can't Stay Away From You« as the A-side (or at least as the potentially charting side), and that's what I'll do. »Can't Stay Away From You« is an infectious dance tune in which Little Ann appears not as a duet partner but only as chorus voice - and there seem to be other backing voices in there as well. »Forever I'll Be Yours« is a slow blues waltz ... and a real duet. I love these tunes! Be warned, though, my copy of Fire # 506 isn't completely mint, and there is even a noticeable needle jump in »Forever I'll Be Yours«(at around 00:45) which I wasn't able to remove or cover up; have to get me another copy some day. For now, I have to go with what I got:

Tarheel Slim & Little Ann: »Can't Stay Away From You« / »Forever I'll Be Yours« on Fire # 506 (1962):

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