Song Of The Day 4/30/2014: The Caravelles - "You Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry"

Pre-Fab Four: The Caravelles, ironically, were British. Lois Wilkinson and Andrea Simpson were a lithe, wispy duo who first started performing together as entertainment for friendly gatherings, including their office parties. Someone at one of these soirees suggested they record a demo because they were, you know, really good, and they bet if they made a record it would be a big hit. This is the only known, recorded instance in the history of office parties where the person who said this turned out to be right.

They first heard "You Don't Have to Be a Baby To Cry" (but it helps, heh) on the B-side of Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons." The Caravelles' version showcases every known perception of the prim, reserved ingenue, or rather two of them teaming up to fight crime. It's a vestige of a weird sort of subgenre, typically featuring two girls, mainly unscathed by the vagaries of romance and regret, doing a reserved, detached, very businesslike, pretty vocal performance about romantic longing that's detached from any sort of real experience with complicated, negotiable emotions. Patience and Prudence's "Tonight You Belong To Me" (made famous by Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters in The Jerk) is perhaps the gold standard of this subcategory, which I call "Tag Team Daydreaming," or "Two Girls One Spoon."

By the way, the All-Music Guide bio of the Caravelles contains an amusing error:
"On 'Lovin' Just My Style,' the Caravelles developed a tougher sound; it sounds like a tune from a D-rated movie, tough biker girls yelling over a noisy rhythm section with an exaggerated rock guitarist imploding all over the place. Then came 'Don't Blow Your Cool,' sung in their traditional breathy harmony style.
Oh, man, do I wish that were true. Unfortunately the Caravelles who sang "Lovin' Just My Style" were a completely different, all-dude band from Phoenix. The British Caravelles remained unsullied non-bikers well into the '90s.

Tomorrow I'm bringing some banjos again.

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