Friday, 24 June 2016

Dilly Dilly

Another ridiculously obscure record I know next to nothing about, but felt compared to share with you.

I Won’t Say I Love You, recorded by Don and John Lampien, is a pretty standard, pretty dull country tune, but what pushes it well in to the realm of the absurd is the outrageously out of time and out of tune drumming. It’s Helen ‘Shaggs’ Wiggin terrible: whoever is playing drums on this (and I have my theory) is almost as bad a drummer as Paul McCartney!

The record does not credit an author, but I’d hedge my bets that Don wrote it himself. But what on earthy is going on with the B-side? A ‘medley’ of the standard Sheik of Araby and the uncredited (on the label, anyway) 1910 show tune , the song is sung as a duet between Don Lampien and Quacker, the cute duckling who appears in several Tom and Jerry cartoons.

Lavender Records, of Seaside, Oregon, had previously issued 45s by The Impacts (Don't You Dare b/w Green Green Field, around 1968) and local beat band The Fugitives. There were at least two dozen singles released on Lavender, with one of the first being Jerry Merett and the Crowns’ Kansas City Twist (1960). Owned by Pat Mason, an agent and promoter who for two years managed Gene Vincent (the story has it that Gene spent a year living in Pat Mason’s basement!), Mason also owned the Cascade Club and booked both national acts and local bands to perform there. Groups played the Cascade (which was at 3202 Jasper Road) at weekends: during the week the premises served as a recording studio, and it was here that Pat would cut his Lavender 45s.  

‘I had a nice club here in town in the 1960's,’ Mason told Blue Suede News magazine. ‘This is a resort town, so we had some national acts in the summer time. My club is where bands like the Kingsmen, Don and the Goodtimes, and Paul Revere and the Raiders cut their teeth musically. This is the part of the country where these future national bands started.

‘I had a small record label called Lavender, and we would press a few hundred copies of a song to promote a band. Sometimes we gave the records out at teen dances or sold a few copies. We never dreamed the records would be collector items like they are today. I asked Jack Ely and the Kingsmen to cut "Louie, Louie" for Lavender Records for promotion reasons. It turned out so good that it was a local hit on another label and finally hit nationally a full year later on the Wand label out of New York.’

It seems like the Lampiens were from Seaside itself, and that their record was more a vanity project than a tool for a band to book gigs. Although definitive information is non-existent, from what I can make out Don and John were a father and son act, rather than brothers, with Don on vocals and the very young John trying his best on percussion. Donald Max Lampien was born on June 13, 1928 and died, aged 74, on September 11, 2002; John Lampien, as far as I know, is still alive, somewhere in his late 50s and living in Toledo, Washington. If my theory is correct, John L would have been born around 1956 and probably hadn’t reached his teens by the time this 45 was recorded. Pat Mason died in 2001 at the age of 93.



  1. He had a nice voice and the lyrics would have fit the time period, The drummer wasn't bad had he been playing for the Troggs but he was playing for a Faron Young sound-alike on a country track. I have to wonder if the son resented the father and sabotaged the song on purpose. ("You want drumming? I'll give you drumming!")

    The song made me laugh out loud. I needed that! Thanks.

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