Thursday, May 18, 2006

Gary (U.S.) Bonds - "King Kong's Monkey"/"My Sweet Ruby Rose"

Here's one by Gary (U.S.) Bonds that I didn't know about until finding it at the recent record show. It's listed on various discographies and "My Sweet Ruby Rose" even shows up on the net becuase of its inclusion on one U.S. Bonds CD compilation. But "King Kong's Monkey" doesn't appear on disc at all and online mentions barely exist. Sort of sad considering Bonds' status as a hitmaker in the early 1960's. It's also a shame becuase both sides are absolutely terrific. In fact, it's hard to pick a favorite. Just when I think that I've found one, I flip the record over and change my mind again.

"King Kong's Monkey" kicks off with some beating drums and a few monkey sound effects. Bonds sings about King Kong escaping the zoo and heading for New York City. While there, he shows everyone his dance, the monkey. He's dancing on 42nd street, at Times Square and generally all over the place. The song's an up-tempo banger, with the big drumbeat continuing throughout the song and there's a cool sax break. It's quite the fine dance number.

Meanwhile "My Sweet Ruby Rose" keeps pace nicely as an upbeat, bangin' rocker. It also sports some sax time and Bonds' vocal is almost shouted. It's another one for boppin' around the house.

The record is a 1963 pressing, a couple of years down the line from Bonds' biggest hits. But, not to worry, you still get the patented, lo-fi U.S. Bonds sound that you've come to know and love. I mean, why mess with a good thing? Thankfully, they didn't and the result is one of the best two-siders in Bonds' catalogue.

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