Sunday, March 30, 2008

'Davey Crackpot' (Spike Jones) with George Rock & Billy Barty - Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White b/w No Boom-Boom in Yucca Flats (1955)

Here's a curious little novelty record; It's Spike Jones and his band performing under a pseudonym.

The theory is that the 'Davey Crackpot' name (employed at the height of the mania for Disney's 'Davy Crockett' TV shows) was used for this release on the Starlite record label because Jones was still under contract to RCA records at the time.

The instrumental A-side of this 1955 single pokes fun at
Pérez Prado's cha-cha tune that was #1 on the U.S. pop charts that year.

(On a brief tangent, I'm compelled to confess that I smile whenever I hear Prado's name pronounced 'Per-ez Per-ado'. It's a little thing, but it always gets me.)

Band member George Rock would on occasion be called upon to sing in a distinctive high-pitched toddler's voice for numbers like 'All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth', but it was his skills with a trumpet that made him an invaluable asset.

Rock played trumpet with the Spike Jones band from 1944 - 1960. He was a virtuoso player who could hit the wrong notes just right and milk his horn for sounds that many others could never achieve.

One of his long-standing showcases in the Jones stage revues was on the tune 'Minka'. If you've never heard the 1949 recording of it, well - - you simply must.

George Rock (left) on stage with
Spike Jones in 1946 ▶

Listen to:
Davey Crackpot & The Mexican
Jumping Beans
George Rock -
Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White

Starlite Records 45, 1955
(click for audio)

Billy Barty was a recent inductee to Spike's gang when the B-side of this 45 was recorded.

As the Vaudevillesque Jones stage revue began to make the transition to television (and later back to stage), Barty was brought in to add to the comedic proceedings.

(click on images to ENLARGE in a new window)▶

In what would be eight years performing with Spike, Barty immediately became best known for his impression of a diminutive Liberace.

His latin-accented vocals on this track refer to
above-ground nuclear tests that were conducted during that era at the
Nevada Proving Ground.

The sight of the mushroom clouds had become a tourist attraction in Las Vegas, roughly 65 miles to the southwest.

Listen to:
Davey Crackpot & The Mexican Jumping Beans
Billy Barty -
No Boom-Boom in Yucca Flats

Starlite Records 45, 1955
(click for audio)


Ted Hering said...

Wonderful information and resources here! Where did you ever find the stage shot of George Rock and Spike Jones? The two black and white pictures of Billy Barty come from the 1954 Spike Jones TV show.

You might want to correct the date of "Minka." It's 1946. Frankie Carlson is the drummer. Do a search on YouTube and you'll find "Minka" from a TV broadcast, starring George Rock with Spike Jones on drums!

jacman said...

i had the 45 when i was a kid. been looking for it for years. i wish i could get a copy on 45, LP, cd.

nyrogrl said...

George Rock has a daughter named Georgy Rock. She is an angel voice. Has been performing for ages, and has one of the most beautiful voices I have had the pleasure to know and hear.

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