Because I am a little slow on the uptake, I did not notice at first that the song “Maybe Tomorrow” — which is credited to “Ronnie Dickerson” on the Pickwick compilation LP — is the same one that had been released on a 45 under Robertha Williams’ name. That would seem to clinch it that they were one and the same. Why the subterfuge? Who knows — the ways of the Long Plastic Hallway are arcane and impenetrable. You can be sure that, one way or another, it made or saved the company some money.

That leaves one Dickerson song we haven’t covered, “Love Can Make You Cry.” I should take a moment here to thank “Clare Onions,” whose YouTube channel has helpfully posted many of these songs, absolving me of the responsibility of tracking down the LP.1I think she likes this music more than I do. I mean, it’s fine; this song is atmospheric, the lead vocal performance is solid, and the brassy backup singer tries again to mount a coup, coming on like Frankie Valli (or is it Frankie Lymon?) in the choruses.


But I must admit I’m antsy to get on to the real stuff. And I bet Lou was too. Getting a regular paycheck is nice — precious few people in the music business ever do — but he knew there was more to life than cranking out quickie pop songs for second-tier artists. “While I was doing that, I was doing my own stuff and trying to get by,” he said later, “but the material I was doing, people wouldn’t go near me with it at the time.”

Even so, as time went on, Terry Philips (Lou’s boss) started to get a smidgen of leeway from his boss (Cy Leslie) to experiment a little bit as long as the bottom line remained solid. That’s where we’ll pick up next time.