Tuesday, April 22, 2008


This here is one of my favorite records.

I've spun this bastard so many times that the flip is startin to bleed through. Perhaps it is the hypnotic influence of the elliptical label, but this R & B ditty appeals to my adoration of over-emotional non-sequiters and unrequited love.

Most people who are familiar w/ Don & Dewey dig their Specialty records input (Jungle Hop, Koko Joe, Big Boy Pete, Justine...and the list goes on),and while I whole heatedly second that emotion, I'm gonna cast my lot w/ this 1960 late comer. It's got a loose feel to it, and like the management here @ Blues for the RedBoy, It doesn't take itself too seriously amidst all the yelling and ivory pounding. But enough gushing. What of the legends themselves?

In 1954, Dewey Terry was a founding member of a group called The Squires while still in high school. He was later joined by a friend, Don Bowman (who would later change his name to Harris). In 1955 the Squires released a record on the minor Los Angeles-based label Dig This Record. In 1957 the group broke up, but Don and Dewey remained together.

Later that year they were signed by Art Rupe's Specialty Records label and for the next two years produced rock and roll, Both Don and Dewey played guitar, with Dewey often doubling on keyboards. When not playing guitar or bass, Don occasionally played the electric violin, a skill for which he subsequently became well known under the name of "Sugarcane" Harris. Legendary drummer Earl Palmer played frequently on their sessions.

Although Don and Dewey did not have any hits of their own, several of the songs that they wrote and/or recorded would appear on the charts later, performed by other artists. "I'm Leaving It Up to You" became a #1 hit for Dale & Grace in 1963. "Farmer John" was a hit by The Premiers, reaching #19 in 1964 after having been covered The Searchers a year earlier. "Koko Joe" (written by the then Specialty Records producer Sonny Bono), "Justine" and "Big Boy Pete" were a staple for The Righteous Brothers for many years. (Indeed, it has frequently been noted that the early Righteous Brothers act was quite closely based on Don and Dewey's.) Finally, "Big Boy Pete" became a minor hit in 1960 for The Olympics, reaching #50.

In 1959 Don and Dewey and producer Bono left Specialty Records for Rush Records, where they recorded a few songs but split up shortly afterwards.

Sooooo, short of Sonny Bono's considerable influence (!?!?), Don & Dewey managed to mash up some great R & B hash during their all to brief tenure together. The proof is in the 'Fidelity' puddin', so eat it up!

Kill Me - Don & Dewey


Devil Dick said...

your on a roll kid!
keep 'em cumming!

Brainy said...

Didn't grab the tracks but that is some nice design on that label. The off-center circles, the repeating name...it's doing a lot with a little and I'm digging that.

Anonymous said...

I listened 1st-track name caught my eye. Just Plain Great
thanks the little edumacation