Sunday, July 17, 2005
Red Berry and The Bel Raves - What A Dolly/Hot Rod
I recently saw this record mentioned on a music discussion board that I frequent and thought it'd be a good time to write something about it. This is yet another record that I sort of lucked into at a flea market, not knowing what it was. Turns out, this 1959 release on the small Omaha label, Dreem was later picked up for national release by 20th Century Fox. Both issues are pretty hard to come by but apparently this one is an especially tough find.
As far as I can tell, Red Berry and The Bel Raves were a local, Omaha band and this was their sole record release, at least under this name. "What A Dolly" is a fine, uptempo slab of rockabilly. It kicks off with a rockin' guitar, then the singer starts,
"Well, I found me a baby, cute little baby
She's real gone and I don't mean maybe
What a dolly, what a honey
She got big blue eyes and the sweetest smile
I know this girl is in my style"
The song has a fantastic guitar break that's over all too quickly. In fact, the record clocks in at under two minutes. Too bad, I guess that's the price you pay for greatness.
Meanwhile, over on the flipside we have a cookin' little insrumental called "Hot Rod" that's actually credited to Lou Berry and The Bel Raves. It begins with the sound effect of a hot rod starting up and peeling out. In comes the rock and roll guitar, which gives way to some pounding piano and then back and forth again. All the while, those sound effects are barely audible in the background, drowned in the tremendous musical racket. In the end, the hot rod slams on its breaks and wipes out. Considering how this record steps on the gas and doesn't let up, I'm not surprised.