Monday, August 08, 2005
Carrot Tree: Circus Time/Dum Dum (RCA 47-9877)
This is one of those records that seems to come out of nowhere. I could find zero information on this group, so I'm up the creek in that department. But I will tell you that on this 45, you get two musical flavors for the price of one. "Dum Dum" is the plug side and it sounds like RCA's effort to cash in on the bubblegum machines of Kasenetz-Katz and Don Kirshner. It's a simple story about a misfit kid who gets bullied in school, but who learns to play the guitar and, well, we'll let the chorus tell the rest:
Now, who gets the girls? DUM DUM!
Who gets to love them? DUM DUM!
Who's gonna make it? DUM DUM!
In short, the underdog wins big in bubblegum land! Hooray! As far as the tune goes, it's above average, as it is played with energy. But the B-side, "Circus Time" is far more intriguing. Now, we've got some bizarre psychedelic pop in which we're told about a circus where "carny people with lifespans of one week/will try to make you laugh," and you're implored to keep your seat. The song opens with a bit of circus organ, then kicks into a weird, loopy organ melody with a propulsive drumbeat. Then, when it's time for the chorus, loud blasts of fuzz guitar and electronic sound effects kick in and disappear again.
"Circus Time" is definitely one of those hard-to-describe tunes that help make record collecting a delight. The record fades out as the singer announces, "Hurry up, ladies and gentlemen, take your seats! The show is about to begin!" You almost wish you could've stuck around. Those of you who like songs with a weird psychedlic bent might just like this one. I know I do.
I'm going to assume this record came out circa 1969. As of now, the origins of Carrot Tree (were they a real band or a studio concoction?) seem to be lost in time, unless someone knows something I don't. Oh well, at least they left behind one really cool artifact.