Friday, 4 October 2013

Yes Jess

A shortish post today - I've got some other WWR-related work which I simply must get on with this weekend - but I couldn't let a Friday pass without giving you something to listen to.

Today we return to the career of serial audio-criminal Jess Conrad, the man who will be forever celebrated (in my house, anyway) for having once bitten the end of Heinz Burt's nose. Here, for your enjoyment, are both sides of his 1961 hit Mystery Girl/The Big White House.

He may have had matinee idol looks, but the actor-turned-vocalist couldn't sing for toffee. As with pretty much everything Jess recorded, it's abysmal. Goodness, people were gullible in the days before The Beatles.

The A-side, with its arrangement stolen lock, stock and barrel from the Elvis hit Teddy Bear, is a horror and, although not in the league of his perennial bad music favourites Cherry Pie, Why am I Living or This Pullover, the B-side is equally terrible, with flat, atonal vocals and a dull-as-ditchwater performance. The lyrics of The Big White House put me in mind of another awful 45, Dickey Lee's Patches: the major difference here, of course,  being that neither Jess nor his beloved committed suicide.

Conrad's third single also became his penultimate and biggest chart hit, reaching number 18 in February 1961. It also featured as the lead track on his first Decca EP. As an interesting aside, Mystery Girl was written by Trevor Peacock, who also penned hits for Herman's Hermits (Mrs Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter), Joe Brown, Adam Faith and others. Peacock would later switch to acting and find fame as Jim Trott in the hit BBC series the Vicar of Dibley.


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