Monday, August 29, 2005

Alvin Cash & The Crawlers - Twine Time/The Bump

I spent this morning listening to my stash of Alvin Cash 45's on the Mar-V-Lus label. Between 1964 and 1967 Cash made eight singles and an album for the label, encompassing over 20 tracks in all. Most everything he recorded was designed to get people on the dance floor and the bulk of what he did falls into the good to great range. After Mar-V-Lus went belly up, Cash continued to make excellent records for a variety of other labels right on into the 1970's.

What's a real shame is that no Alvin Cash retrospective CD exists, at least not legally. I'm not sure what the hang up might be but I, for one, would love to see Cash properly reissued. It'd be a joy to have all of his best tunes in one tidy package. Despite owning several of his singles, I'd certainly fork over for such a disc.

Today, I could have picked any of Cash's records to write about, at least the ones in my collection. They're pretty much all worthy of attention and not likely to do much damage to your pocketbook in the process. I initially selected "The Bump" because it's a personal favorite, probably the toughest sounding record Cash made for Mar-V-Lus. "Twine Time" was his biggest hit, making the national top 10 in early 1965. But despite its hit status, most people have probably either never heard it or haven't heard it for nearly 40 years because of oldies radio's refusal to stray beyond their patented safe playlist.

"Twine Time" was Cash's first single for Mar-V-Lus. And after its success, he proceeded to release variations on the theme ("Do It One More Time (The Twine)" and "Un-Wind The Twine", both good records). It's a fine, mid-tempo r&b groover, with organ, subtle horns, a bit of guitar and a nice sax break. It's mostly instrumental, with Cash interjecting a few words here and there. Overall, it's one cool cat.

On the flipside is "The Bump", an up-tempo and tougher sounding affair. Here Cash and band pick up the intensity and give us a big beat. The vocals are shouted and the sax break wails. Cash winds things up by giving a shout out to various locales (e.g. Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans and so on). Everyone's doing "The Bump" or they should have been. Track this one down and you can do it too.

In addition to the "Twine Time" variants, Alvin Cash made a bunch of other dance records for Mar-V-Lus, from "The Barracuda" to "The Penguin" to "Doin' The Ali Shuffle". One or more are bound to be future blog material. Stay tuned.


Scott Soriano said...

Alvin Cash! Yes, the man needs a book on him - or at least a Roctober article. THEEEE Chicago dance tune man. And he had the best band names, too. Alvin Cash & the Registers is such a punk name!

Hunter said...

I just recently found this 45 but mine's got a much cooler label: still mar-V-lus, all details seem the same, but the background is a mushroom cloud

that way you see it, think "this is gonna be the bomb" and sure enough it is

Todd Lucas said...

Hunter, that mushroom cloud label is the one I see most often with "Twine Time". It seems that Mar-V-Lus only used it on their first couple of releases, before going to the blue label.