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!
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.

5 comments:

bailey said...

www.baileyscircus.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I stumbled across your write up on Carrot Tree - Dum Dum It says you know nothing about the band. I must admit, I was in it. If you want some info contact pineknollvideo@yahoo.com

JL

lickthyshran said...

^Any update on the above comment?

jasper said...

Hi...actually Barry Oslander and I (Don Oriolo) got the song Dum Dum from Ernie Alshuler at RCA. I sang it and I'm pretty sure it was my band Ed Newkirk guitar, Denis Muller keyboards, me guitar and theremin, Pete Hopper drums and maybe Ed or I played bass...it was a long time ago...late sixties. I wrote Circus time and sang it as well...I'm not sure who JL is who said he was in the band...it was strictly a studio thing...although the record was a hit in parts of PA and we did perform a couple Radio hops as Carrot tree....Don Oriolo

Donna Nunes said...

I met Carrot Tree in 1970 at Bunrattys in Boston. Joe Prima played organ and sang Dum Dum. Brian Farina- lead singer, Bill Deramo-bassist, Bill Macek-drummer, Gabe Rossi- horns. Personnel changed around 1971 with Phil Doucette- singer, John Ferrara-bass, George Fortunato- guitar. Great guys, good friends. They were from Haverhill, MA.