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.
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.
“who looks like he sold his soul to the devil and got lowballed in the deal”
Oh my. Very nicely inscribed, sir!