Sunday, October 21, 2012

Kapp Records: Mr. Dieingly Sad

I had a great deal of fun with my Second Week Special that I decided add another one during the fourth week that deals with releases from smaller record labels. Therefore, I dub it as the Fourth Week Label Feature. By moving away from the daily features, it will allow me to focus on some recordings that might never have appeared on this blog. For this week, I am going to deal with output from Kapp Records.

Started by record company veteran David Kapp in 1954, Jimmy Shelton’s “Limelight” backed with “I Don’t Want to be Alone” was the label’s first single. Thirteen years later, the label was sold to the Music Corporation of America who put Kapp and its Congress Records subsidiary under the management of MCA's Uni Records division.

In 1972, MCA consolidated all of their labels (Decca, Coral, Vocalion, Uni, Kapp, Congress, MCA Special Products, and others) into one label – MCA Records. Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock” was the first MCA Records’ single. To my knowledge, the last single released on the Kapp brand was Budgie’s “Whiskey River,” which was issued in September 1972.

Despite a couple of Budgie albums, Kapp was not a rock label. One of its primary artists was pianist Roger Williams who recorded with the label almost through its entire 18-year life. His success almost set the stage for Kapp Records to be a beautiful music label. In the 1960s, some country artists were added to their roster and Kapp's personality was schizophrenic. Not to mention, they also released the occasional pop, soul, and rock records. Kapp may have been the Sybil of the record industry.

Today’s featured cut is one of the pop recordings: The Critters’ 1967 vocal classic “Mr. Dieingly Sad.” Incorrectly assumed as being a one-hit wonder, The Critters had one other Top 40 hit. In addition to “Mr. Dieingly Sad” charting at #17, 1967's “Don't Let The Rain Fall Down On Me” squeaked in at #39. One other single, “Younger Girl” only charted at #52.

Don Ciccone (no known relation to Madonna) provided the lead vocals on this cut. If there is anything I love about this song, it is the vocal arrangement. The primary instrument on this recording is Ken Gorga's electric bass. There is also a very tasteful but sparse usage of a vibraphone throughout the song.

All that, great stereo separation, and a key change – “Mr. Dieingly Sad” is so smarmy that I love it. The last time I heard it on the radio, which was about two years ago, I wouldn’t let anyone leave the car until the last vibraphone note was chimed. I was so mystifyingly glad to hear it after many years.

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