Tune du Jour: “Sea Cruise” – Frankie Ford with Huey “Piano” Smith & His Clowns
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: Rico vs. Yo La Tengo
Peruse, Comment and Vote (I Beseech, Implore and Urge Thee, respectively)
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You Broke My Will, Oh What A Thrill, Goodness Gracious Great Balls Of Broccoli!

You Broke My Will, Oh What A Thrill, Goodness Gracious Great Balls Of Broccoli!

A real confusing history to this song. Sea Cruise was composed by Huey “Piano” Smith. It was first recorded by Huey “Piano” Smith & His Clowns at Johnny Vincent’s Ace Records in 1959. The lead singer on the original recording was Bobby Marchan. Vincent loved the music but, for reasons that are not entirely clear, decided to ax Marchan from the recording. It may have been that Vincent felt the vocals could be improved upon. It may have been for racial reasons (Marchan was black). Or it may have simply been that Vincent disliked Marchan on a personal level, which is the reason most in the industry seem to believe. Whatever the reason, enter 19 year-old, up-and-coming vocalist Frankie Ford. Vincent cut Marchan’s singing from the recording, added some nautical sounds and over dubbed Frankie Ford on vocals. Sea Cruise, with Frankie Ford on vocals, quickly became a huge success, reaching No. 14 on the US Charts.

Frankie Ford had changed some of the lyrics slightly so he could get songwriter credit. Ultimately, Huey Smith received little-to-no royalties on the song he wrote and composed. In 1971, twelve years after Frankie Ford’s version, the original version of Sea Cruise with Bobby Marchan on vocals was finally released.

The Original Recording

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Huey “Piano” Smith & His Clowns featuring Bobby Marchan on Vocals:

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The First Released Recording

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Frankie Ford with Huey “Piano” Smith & His Clowns:

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THE CLASH of Cover Tunes

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Rico vs. Yo La Tengo

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Rico:

Yo La Tengo:

Yo La Tengo is a recipient of CMI’s universally coveted title of Uni Victor Melodious Maximus in Adversarial Replication. Among the title’s myriad of rewards and benefits, perhaps most desirous is that it bestows upon the recipient the eminently yearned for privilege of having one’s name appear in print media in bold yellow!

Yo La Tengo’s triumph in CMI’s THE CLASH of Cover Tunes competition is detailed below:

10/1/2013 – “Somebody’s Baby” (Jackson Browne) – Yo La Tengo (90%) annihilate The Gamits (10%)

Beginning in 1996, Yo La Tengo supported the fundraising efforts of New York’s world-renowned independent radio outlet, WFMU, with annual studio visits. All listeners who pledged money during the band’s appearances were offered the chance to request a favorite song that Yo La Tengo would then attempt to perform; no rehearsals, no advance word of what the requests might be, just plug it in and kick it out. The spontaneous element is impressive and, at times, hysterical.

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Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. Only one cover tune will live to play another day and it is your solemn responsibility to decide which one prevails. So tell me … Which Side Are You On?!!?

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Votes can be cast up to three months from the day and time of the original post.

Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.

Comments
  1. Lucky H says:

    YO YO YO YO YO YO YO YO … is a distant NO NO NO NO NO NO on this number, not to disrespect past Maximus performances, but ya gotta give it to Senor Rico on this fine little toe-tapping turn if only by default …. Jerry Jeff’s Lost Gonzo’s would blow both away with their raucous beer-soaked live version off of A Man Must Carry On … at least in my own humble- beer-soaked almost-live opinion

  2. Arnie Plotnick says:

    This is a rocking, rockabilly type song, and Yo La Tengo gives it the Buddy Holly treatment. That gets my vote. Interestingly, I had this 45 rpm as a kid, done by Herman’s Hermits.

  3. Kerry Black says:

    The version by Rico was pleasant but not compelling; I voted Yo La Tengo. The Frankie Ford vocals stand out above Marchand’s, so it looks like a good decision to re-do the vocals whatever the motivation. I still have Herman’s Hermits’ version on vinyl.

  4. RDubbs says:

    I like both versions. Never was all too crazy about this song so I cannot get too worked up over either. A comparison of the two versions here is particularly difficult in that they’re productions could not be more diametrically opposed. Rico seemingly put a good amount of time into arranging and perfecting his version. Conversely, due to the context in which it was produced, Yo La Tengo was given no time to refine anything. Just one, two, three, go! I’m going to throw lukewarm support to YLT; they’re spontaneous effort was pretty darn good and captures some of the rawness that rock ‘n roll should embody.

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