Friday, June 09, 2017

The Pillsbury Doughboy Cries with C&W Wannabe Teresa Brewer

It's one thing to have a tear in your voice. 
It's another to have an annoying voice that reduces others to tears. 

This may be why Gogi Grant and Patti Page are much better known than Teresa Brewer.  

If the casual music fan knows the name at all, it's probably because of Brewer's spunky singing of a song that goes, "Put another nickel in! In the NICKELODEON! All I want is having you, and MUSIC! MUSIC! MUSIC!!!!!!!"

Spunky. Or as Lou Grant said to Mary Richards, "I hate spunk."
And nobody like spunk when it's splattered right in the ear. 

Freakish-looking Gene Rayburn (now remembered as a leering quiz show host, but then a disc jockey) promoted Brewer's song in 1949 and it ended up a #1 hit around the country. In 1976, Brewer re-recorded a disco version on hubby Bob Thiele's record label. And in between, she recorded a whole lot of irritating stuff made worse by her ear-piercing soprano. 

Ballads are supposed to be soft and lilting, especially ones of heartbreak. There's only earache in the ones terribly tonsiled by Teresa. And no, they aren't of the "so bad they're good" variety. Even the happy "here and queer" crowd would have a hard time getting drunk on Brewer. 

Why then, post "I'm Drowning My Sorrows?" 

Because the co-author is Paul Frees. Frees, you probably know from previous blog posts, was a narrator, radio actor and voice-over genius.
His eccentric and comic voices included the befuddled Captain Peachfuzz, the ludicrous Ludwig von Drake, the raspy and evil Boris Badenov, and even the incredibly high pitched Pillsbury Doughboy. 

Come to think of it, Frees may have done better with his song by singing it himself as the Doughboy. Then it would've been completely baked. But the Doughboy's soprano is slightly masculine. So was Paul's "Daphne" voice. Long kept a secret, the female voice Tony Curtis used as Daphne in "Some Like it Hot" was actually dubbed by Paul Frees.   

 Aside from acting, Frees was an excellent painter (his work even turned up on record album covers) and wrote scripts and songs. Among cultists, the lone movie he directed, "The Beatniks" (1960) is well known. There's even a book that posthumously published his war-time love letters to the wife back home.  

Just how Frees chose his fake last-name I have no idea. His real last name was Hirsch. 

It's possible the cliche-filled love song "I'm Drowning My Sorrows" could've been a minor hit if sung by someone who sang with hurt instead of causing it. 

Check out the first alarming 20 seconds, and you'll have to agree. Teresa was no Kate Bush, and her searing high notes are as strange as her doll-like face. 

"Goodby my love, my sweet my own, farewell to all of the dreams we have known...and so my dear our love story ends. We started as lovers and parted as friends."

Well, right there. You STARTED as lovers? You met and began fucking? Maybe if you started as FRIENDS, you would've gotten to know each other well enough to know that the risk of a STD wasn't worth it.

"I'm drowning my sorrows in oceans of tears. Just crying my heart out but nobody hears." 

Really? NOBODY hears? With that cat on a hot tin roof voice?

Fans of Yoko Ono and Yma Sumac may want to add Brewer to their list of incredibly odd vocalists, but the download probably will be more appreciated by Paul Frees collectors. Not because it's good, but because it adds to the collection. And we all know that "collecting" is nine-tenths of what some pop culture fans are all about.

Teresa Brewer, lyrics by Paul Frees    Instant download or listen on line. No Zinfart egocentric passwords. No malware or spyware anywhere.

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