About a foot away from this computer sits a copy of a Pickwick International album called Swingin’ Teen Sounds of Ronnie Dove & Terry Phillips, vintage 1964. I couldn’t find it anywhere online so I looked it up on eBay and was able to score it for $10 plus shipping.
When it arrived, still shrinkwrapped, I discovered that — true to Pickwick’s bargain-basement ethos — there was no inner sleeve. So after 58 years the record is in less-than-perfect condition despite being technically “new.” But that matches the quality of the material, which is… let’s be generous and say fair to middling. And at less than 25 minutes of music total, it’s over with quickly. I get the sense that disappointment is a familiar sensation to Pickwick customers.
Terry Philips,1you may recall, is they guy who hired Lou Reed to work at Pickwick. Six of the album’s ten songs are sung by him and Lou is credited as co-writer on three of those. (Ronnie Dove, a journeyman singer who had a few pop and country hits, is of no relevance to us here.)
Lou’s name appears nowhere on the album’s packaging, which is pretty thin on information except to tell us that the music is in “Spectra Sonic Sound.” (That’s what it says on my copy, which carries a Design Records label. A different version I found on Discogs, which is labeled “Stereo Spectrum Records,” says it is “In Authentophonic Stereo Process.”)
The first of the three, track 3 on Side A, is called “This Rose.” I actually rather like this one. It’s romantically bombastic a la the Walker Brothers, if hardly what I’d call “swingin.’” And is that a premonition of “Venus in Furs” I hear in the pounding tom-toms and crack of the whip?
OK, maybe Philips’s voice isn’t quite up to the challenge. And the lyrics are pretty pedestrian. But “This Rose” is a painless way to pass two minutes. I can’t say the same of every song on the album — but that’s a topic for another day.