Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Tuesday's Twosome ... Comes Today with a Twist

Hi everybody! First of all I am happy to announce that this blog is no longer orphaned and utterly neglected by its owner. Thing is that I moved home last week, and then I spent several days in Italy. More than enough things to keep me busy for a while!

Date LP # TEM 3004 (mono, 1967)
Tuesdays is duet time on this blog, but today this comes with a twist: I had in mind to play something from Peaches & Herb's first LP Let's Fall In Love and, well, I'll do just that ... but! The »but« consists in the fact that I listened again to this LP this afternoon and eventually found that the songs which are most of interest on this album are the two solo bits (yes, the »Sweethearts of Soul« each have their solo spot). Of course, the first album by Peaches & Herb is basically a duo effort. It was rushed out in February 1967 after her first single (Date # 1523) finally charted in Dec. 1966 (curiously, the 45 was released in August 1966, but both the record company and the music press first pushed »We're In This Thing Together« which, however, didn't catch on ... several months later, the B-side »Let's Fall In Love« started to get airplay and finally made it to # 11 r&b and #21 pop). As it is, the success of their first single then prompted an album by the same name. The LP also contains their second (even bigger) smash, »Close Your Eyes« which was released only in around March, that is after the LP. It rocketed up the charts and in mid-May peaked at #04 r&b, topping Aretha's »Respect« at the time.

The duo »Peaches & Herb« was very much a creation of Dave Kapralik. »Peaches« was Francine Day (Hurd Parker), »Herb« Herb(ert) Fame (Feemster), both from Washington, D.C. The back cover of the Date LP contains a nice summary, written by Marty Wekser, of how this act came into existence:
Herb Fame (...) began singing in his church choir when he was seven, and he remembers sneaking out of the house as a child at night to meet friends on a street corner to practice singing. Then, after his graduation from high school, he took a job in a large record shop in Washington (...). His eagerness to make it as a singer paid off when album producer Dave Kapralik and song- writer and singer Van McCoy visited the record shop. The two auditioned Herb, liked his freshly unique approach and signed him to a contract. He had one record released as a solo performer before being paired with Peaches. The idea to team Peaches and Herb came from Kapralik. "On the way to a record hop," he recalls, "the two began singing together in the back seat of the car to pass the time." Their blending of voices so impressed Kapralik that he decided then and there to build a brand new act ...

Kapralik (who was A&R man at Columbia) used his own »Daedalus Productions« to produce the duo, for the Columbia subsidiary Date. In 1967, he went to Epic, again in charge of A&R. In any case, the success of Peaches & Herb's first single came somewhat as a surprise, but the following LP is way better than many an album rushed out after one smash hit. There are several nice songs here but as said, I think the two solo parts by Francine and Herb most merit attention. Not only because they're really beautifully done (see here for another appreciation), but also because their respec- tive voices stand out so much more than when singing together (and most duets by Peaches & Herb of the '66 and '67 are pretty »close-voiced«, i.e. their voices blend- ing into each other ... and although this creates a nice and harmonious effect the single voices are somewhat lost in the process). So now you have the opportunity to listen to both Francine's and Herb's voices shining forth in their individual splendor:

Peaches (Francine Day) solo: »Time After Time« / Herb Fame, solo: »When I Fall In Love« from the Date LP # TEM 3004 (1967):


  1. I played these songs a number of times, but do you think I could remember who did the original versions? Not a chance.

    In particular, I was very surprised by the quality of Herb's voice! Nice in mono, too.

  2. Hmm, the original versions? You are right, I didn't give it much of a thought because the tunes are so familiar. In any case, Wikipedia turns out the following: »Time After Time« (Sammy Cahn/Jule Styne) was written in 1947 and first performed by Frank Sinatra and Kathryn Grayson. »When I Fall In Love«, penned by Victor Young & Edward Heyman, was a hit for Doris Day (1952) and subsequently for Nat King Cole (1957).