Friday, December 14, 2007

John Fred - Can't I Get (A Word In)


It's December, it's cold and we're supposed to get the first snow of the season, tomorrow. So, Season's Greetings from this future winter wonderland. I seem to be apologizing all of the time for letting this blog sit idle, so I've decided to make today's apology one big blanket for all future transgressions. Bookmark this post and refer back to it, as necessary. I'm sorry for not posting here for too long.

Today, a record that I found at one of the St. Louis record shows, a few months back, "Can't I Get (A Word In)" by John Fred. Everyone knows Fred for his gigantic chart topping hit, "Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)" from 1967. In fact, there are so many copies of that record floating around today that, if you spot a disc on the Paula label while out digging, more often than not "Judy" will be staring up at you. The fact is that John Fred and His Playboy Band had released a full half-dozen singles for the imprint prior to their mega hit, including "Can't I Get (A Word In) from early 1966.

John Fred (Gourrier) was born in 1941 in Baton Rouge, LA. He died in 2005, following complications from a kidney transplant. His recorded history goes all the way back to 1958 on the local Montel label, while he was still in high school. In fact, he was juggling school, music and sports all at the same time. Later, he attended Southeastern Louisiana University on an athletic scholarship. Afterwards, he concentrated on his musical career, getting picked up by Shreveport's Jewel label. Somewhere along the line, he was switched over to Paula, their sister label.

"Can't I Get (A Word In)" was John Fred's second single for Paula. My copy only credits him, with no mention of the Playboy Band. I'm not sure if they're credited on some copies of the record. The song is excellent jangle, garage pop, with an infectious hook, tuneful guitar, lots of good snare drumming and high hat cymbal clashes. If you love the high end sound, I can't imagine you won't dig this record. Me, it's one of my favorite finds of the entire year.

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