Monday, September 15, 2008

Bill Dorsey - Suck A Sour Lemon b/w But Not Today (1966)

In lending me yet another 45 from his collection, my friend Joe Sixpack put forth his opinion that
Bill Dorsey's 'Suck A Sour Lemon' is a top contender for The Worst Song Ever. (Thanks Joe!)

Certainly I see his point, but my feeling is that surely whatever record does contain the worst song ever, it will exhibit considerably more ineptitude in its production and execution.

My sense is that for the most part those people responsible for this single knew what they were doing, but made unfortunate choices.

- - Or were they in fact brilliant choices? It can be such a fine line...

Listen to:
Bill Dorsey - Suck A Sour Lemon
(Sure-Shot Records 45, 1966)
(click for audio)

In my opinion, it's the B-side that clinches this old single's status as a true gem.

'But Not Today' is only slightly more conventional than the
A-side, but its mixture of sunshine pop sound and lackadaisical lyrics are truly wonderful.

Listen to:
Bill Dorsey - But Not Today
(Sure-Shot Records 45, 1966)
(click for audio)

The vibes and electric guitar (and the Hollywood in '66 setting)
put me in mind of some of
Frank Zappa's pop mockery on the early Mothers Of Invention
records, though I doubt that there's any conscious connection.

At the moment I don't know a darned thing about Bill Dorsey or the L.A. Sure-Shot record label, but I'm all ears if you have any knowledge to share - - and would like to do my research for me.

Please leave a comment or send an e-mail (unless today is the day you're walking your turtle)!

(UPDATE: Hurray! See comments on this post for some great Hollywood Pop connection clues about the Sure-Shot label and Bill Dorsey - - including several recordings listed by ASCAP!)


Jeff Gee said...

I really like "Suck a Sour Lemon." It sounds like something the faux-band in "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" might have stuck on a B-side (if they'd actually existed). 'Sssssuck a sour lemon / To quench your thirst / You're not the first / To love her...'

Devil Dick said...

looks like it sure shot was either a sub of double-shot or a goof on it....?

Both have the same adress...

Double-Shot was theh label that put out the great Count Five Psychotic Reaction 45...

crazy 45 ether way....

Timmy said...

Yes, I immediatley heard that M.O.I. similarity... Same era as "Freak Out", I think FZ & Co. intentionally spoofed "But Not Today" right down to the Zylophone & narrative at the end....

Preston said...

I agree but yikes to both songs.

Anonymous said...

Hey I think these songs are a hoot! Pretty sophisticated chord changes and melodies going on. Weird stuff for sure, but good weird! These two are going into rotation around here for a while. Thanks!

CGHill said...

It's definitely a Double Shot sibling. (Even has the same slogan: "every shot counts".) The phone number belongs to the Double Shot office at 6515 Sunset; "Irwin" is almost certainly Irwin Zucker from Promotion in Motion. (DS was apparently too small to have their own under-assistant West Coast promo man.)

If Sure Shot and Double Shot intermingled their numbers, as did London/Parrot in the middle 1960s, then the very next release was "Psychotic Reaction." Go figure.

Johnny said...

Totally random occurrence that I found this blog posting...

I have demo recordings of some Monkees tunes from 33 1/3 revolutions per monkee.


Some songs from that TV special are credited to Bill Dorsey. "Wind Up Man", "String For My Kite", and a few others.

ASCAP records show that this is the same Bill Dorsey that wrote Suck a Sour Lemon.

But when I looked online I found multiple sources and even wikipedia crediting these songs to a "Bill Atkins". The only other info I can find on Bill is that he may be the same guy that played keys on Dylan's Blonde on Blonde.

I will try and find out more info on this confusion.

You can check out my post on Bill Atkins here:

Johnny said...

Late night update..

After editing wikipedia and updating IMDb, I found some more interesting gems.

Turns out Bill Dorsey also wrote tunes for the Partridge family... so if anyone can find that stuff.. let me know!

Anonymous said...

Bill Dorsey wrote "The Other Side" which was recorded by Tiny Tim.

Anonymous said...

Bill Dorsey is alive and well in Desert Hot Springs, Ca. He is also known as William Dorsey, one of America's top "Plein-Air" style oil painters. His works command hefty prices these days. I actually found a copy of the lemon 45 and am gong to give it to him plus show him this site. I'll try to get him to post something here. Joey in SoCal

Wanetta Naki said...

Bill Dorsey, is my uncle. If you want more information on my uncle and who he was, just google William Ballantine Dorsey. My uncle passed away a couple years ago, I knew him as uncle Billy

Freshly-stirred links