Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday's Twosome # 15

Entry from Billboard, Nov. 02, 1963
(click to enlarge)

... will prove today, if anything, the very versatility of this cherished bloglet of mine (chuckling). Just yesterday I uncrated another 45 which I didn't remember to possess. It turned out to be a hit single released in September '63, by Dale & Grace (Dale Houston & Grace Broussard, both from Louisiana; well, Dale originally hailed from Mississippi). Famously, in an impromptu evening session, Sam Montel of Baton Rouge brought together his up-to- then unsuccessful songwriter Dale Houston with 19-year old Cajun singer Grace Broussard. They rehearsed some songs together until they hit upon »I'm Leaving It Up To You«. Montel was convinced that they had a hit and made them record the song the very next day. He then put it out on the Michelle label (MX-921), named for Montel's daughter (and consistently referred to in Billboard's issues of the period as »Michele«). A Houston radio pushed the song and it got airplay in the south. Eventually, it was re-released on Montel # 921 and was soon known nationally; it became a # 1 hit in late November 1963.

Michelle # 921 and Montel # 921 each featured a different B-side, »Foolin' Around« and »That's What I Like About You« respectively. »Foolin' Around« was first done by Buck Owens and Don Rich before Dale & Grace dealt it with grace. The outcome was a mildly fast version with a heavy Mexican flavor. Dig it here:

Dale & Grace: »Foolin' Around« on Michelle # MX-921 (1963):

Ummh, and yes, this B-side is kind of a rarity because it was neither included on their (first and only) Montel LP (#100: I'm Leaving It Up To You) rushed out in December '63 on the wave of their overnight hit nor was it included in modern CD re-issues of this album.

The standard comment regarding Michelle # 921's A-side is that it reached # 1 on the Hot 100 charts on the very day in November '63 when Kennedy was assassinated (in fact, the Billboard charts were published only the day after, on Nov. 23); it was then ousted by the Beatles. To keep to the spirit of this blog, and to put Dale & Grace's single into perspective, we might remember that the rise of their first Michelle 45 coin- cided first with the Vandellas's »Heat Wave«, Doris Troy's »Just One Look« and Inez Foxx's »Mockingbird«, later with Garnet Mimms's »Cry Baby« and Rufus Thomas's »Walking The Dog« (to name but them). Truly surprising that »I'm Leaving It Up To You« also made it, during the same time, into the Top Ten of the R&B charts.

For more info on Dale & Grace, have a look here:

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