Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Rivingtons - Papa Oom Mow Mow! (The Liberty Years)

I started the music education of my 8-months old son from the very first days of his life.
I know-I know I'm totally stupid, but there's something inside my head telling me that if I played him the things I like, in his subconscious might stuck something and in the future this little monster work on daddy’s record collection...
Anyway, one thing's for sure. He reacts positive by laughing and shaking every time I played him the Rivingtons and especially when comes the turn of “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow”! I tried it with the Trashmen's ‘'Surfin' Bird" or the Ramones version and the results were the same!
The Rivingtons are for sure along with the Coasters the most played R&B/doo-wop act on my home stereo! Their rockin’ n’ rollin’ R&B has no other makeweight when it comes for pure, stupid and raw fun! 
For decades many “purists” of the genre gave shit to the band as a silly & wacky novelty act. Pfff! If anyone cares I’ll try to correct some things.
The Rivingtons had a long story in business. Sententiously I must mention some details which I’m sure gonna raise lots of eyebrows. Al Frazier (the baritone vocalist) in high school had a group (the Mello-Moods) with Paul Robi, a future member of the well known (even to my mother), the Platters. Unfortunately never recorded anything. Frazier interrupted for a while due to a military service in Korea. When came back, tried his luck forming a group under the Emanons name which attracted enough interest for a local TV appearance but nothing more.
And that’s where the Rivingstons story had started. I’m sure many of you know who the Lamplighters of the Federal fame are. Well, how many of you know that the Rivingtons are in fact the same group under a new name? How many of you also know that for sometime were Duane Eddy’s “Rebels”? How many of you people know that they cut sides for Warner Bros with Roy Milton and for and end how many know that they did records with the monster, Kim Fowley?
The Rivingtons are true legends. They even helped in a way for starting punk! Yes, the Trashmen got big with the “Surfin’ Bird”, a combination of their songs “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” and “Bird’s the Word”. After the Ramones picked it up and place it on “Rocket from Russia” became a standard cover tune for many bands. Even the Cramps tried it!
They had more songs to dance to like crazy than the two you’re familiar (give a shot on “Have Mercy, Mercy Baby” or Little Richard’s remakes!) and excellent soul ballads (“I’m Losing My Grip”, “Deep Water” etc.) that makes them one of the few quartets from this period who became the bridge through the early and frenetic R&B/ doo-wop stylings to the later Soul stomps!



Bird's the Word!