This week I wanted to feature a selection by Kevin Kujawa who has turned me onto a lot of good music the past couple months at his blog, Ace Frehley for President. This record is one that I have been playing more than anything else since I downloaded it and the more people I can share it with the better. In addition to his blog, please check out Kevin’s band, Mannequin Men. They are on some highly recommended type shit.
First of all, this is one of my favorite records that I have ever heard and I didn’t even know it existed until about two or three years ago. Finding it was another task. My old boss at the record store, Tim, used to play me Darin’s first foray into the swampy sound, Born Robert Walden Cassotto, all the time. I couldn’t believe that it was really “Mack the Knife” singing it. Then I heard the story behind it.
Apparently, when the 60’s hit, Bobby got less involved in the pop music schmaltz and became much more politcally active. He attached himself to Bobby Kennedy during his run for president. They were dear friends and Darin was actually at the hotel the day Kennedy was shot. Bobby was devastated. He sold all his shit, moved into a trailer in Big Sur, and started his own record label, Direction, which released this gem sometime later. Playing nearly all of the instruments himself, writing, and producing doesn’t even seem to have phased the process. The song’s flaws seem intentional and the goal of the recording seems realized.
Commitment is a record that might seem odd at first, but one that has fit any situation I’ve tested it in. We listened to it every single day while recording the new Mannequin Men record, and our engineer Mike now swears by it. It represents everything I have come to appreciate about music. It’s stark but solid, funny but not goofy, smart but not coy. Best of all, it’s a man truly removing all the veneer. A truly great musician testing his mettle. . . . Whoa. Fanboy.
Bob Darin: Commitment (1969)
1. Me And Mr Hohner
3. Saulsalito (Governor’s Song)
4. Song For A Dollar
6. Distractions (Part 1)
7. Water Color Canvas
9. Hey Magic Man
10. Light Blue