It’s Hard for a Girl in a World Full of Men

Finally we have arrived at the last song on Soundsville!, and it’s a bit of an outlier: a solo female vocal accompanied only by acoustic guitar. Though pretty folky in sound — it’s the album’s “campus” number — “It’s Hard for a Girl in a World Full of Men” is playful, not political, more Nancy Sinatra than Joan Baez.

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Connie Carson’s performance here is plucky and sounds sincere, but for me it conjures the image of a bunch of dudes sitting around the Pickwick studio snickering: “It’s hard for a girl, get it?” Just today, somewhat belatedly, I found this passage in Victor Bockris’s book Transformer, which paints a vivid picture of what it was like in that studio:

The grand, British-sounding Pickwick International consisted, in fact, of a squat cinder-block warehouse in Long Island City, across the river from Manhattan. The whole operation was run out of this warehouse full of cheap, slapdash records, with a small basement recording studio in a converted storeroom containing… “a shitty old spinet piano and a Roberts tape recorder.” Lou, who received $25 a week for his endeavors — and no rights to any of his material — made the twenty-five-minute commute from Freeport to Long Island City every day. Once there, he would find himself locked into the tiny studio with three collaborators: the pasty-faced [Terry] Phillips [sic], whose pencil mustache, slicked-back hair, and polyester suits evinced his weird distance from life, and two other songwriters, Jerry Vance (alias Jerry Pellegrino) and Jimmie Sims (Jim Smith).

A quick search turned up this striking image of Jerry Vance, who looks like he sold his soul to the devil and got lowballed in the deal:

As fate would have it, Vance — a workmanlike songsmith who had written for Lou Reed idol Dion, as well as Johnny Mathis and Chubby Checker — would help to inspire the song that brought John Cale into Lou’s orbit; but that is a story for another day.

1 Comment

  1. thecortday

    “who looks like he sold his soul to the devil and got lowballed in the deal”

    Oh my. Very nicely inscribed, sir!

    Reply

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October 28, 2022

1 Comment

  1. thecortday

    “who looks like he sold his soul to the devil and got lowballed in the deal”

    Oh my. Very nicely inscribed, sir!

    Reply

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