Friday, November 18, 2005

Ron Holden with The Thunderbirds - My Babe

I thought that I'd feature a good, rocking pounder for a Friday, Ron Holden's "My Babe". The record was released in 1960 on Bob Keane's Donna label, named for the big Ritchie Valens hit. Keane also owned the Del-Fi label, for which Valens recorded and later the Mustang label, whose biggest act was The Bobby Fuller Four. The a-side of today's record, a slow, r&b ballad called "Love You So" was a top ten hit and one of the biggest records ever on one of Keane's imprints. But in true It's Great Shakes fashion, the real action was over on the flipside.

"My Babe" isn't the Willie Dixon classic but rather an original tune penned by Holden, himself. It begins innocently enough, with a bit of slow guitar picking. Then, all hell breaks loose. Pounding drums create a big beat and there's a rollicking piano. Holden's shouted vocals come in, "My babe, my babe, my babe, my babe, she's comin' back home to me, my babe" and so on. He goes on to tell us about her big blue eyes and long black hair, saying she has Short Fat Fannie and Miss Annie beat. Yeah, the lyrics are simple yet effective, typical of many b-sides of the day. My favorite part though is the great, rockin' guitar break after the first verse. Unfortunately, the record fades at the end of the second verse and it's over in two minutes flat. But sheesh, what a trerrific song!!

The record itself is common enough that a copy ought to be available for a couple of bucks. It was the first disc for Holden, who went on to make a few more, including one for L.A.'s Rampart label, somewhat well-known for its East L.A. sounds.

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