Saturday, September 28, 2013

Tar And Cement: Oh How Much I Love Verdelle Smith

I recently 'discovered' American 60's singer Verdelle Smith. Hadn't heard about her, but through my obsession with coverversions of Dio Come Ti Amo I stumbled upon her LP In My Room from 1966.
It includes her version of the Modugno/Cinquetti classic, titled Oh How Much I Love You.

After a bit of browsing I noticed she's qualified as a one hit wonder*, and the one hit is Tar And Cement.
Tar And Cement is a coverversion of Adriano Celentano's Il Ragazzo Della Via Gluck. The original song is from the 1966 Sanremo contest, and even though it didn't do very well there, it became one of Celentano's signature songs.
Where Verdelle Smith's version of Dio... is nice, Tar And Cement is a moving interpretation, and a wonderful piece of music history. I don't know if it's sacrilege to say, but she sometimes reminds me of Dusty Springfield.
Verdelle's Tar And Cement was a top 40 hit in the US, and even got to #1 in Australia.

The 2013 CD Tar And Cement: The Complete Recordings 1965-1967 (City Hall records, US) features both songs and Smith's take on some other classics like Catch A Falling Star (Perry Como, Francoise Hardy**), I Don't Need Anything (A minor hit for Sandie Shaw) and Autumn Leaves (Yves Montand).
Similar compilation CDs have been released earlier.

Both tracks and other Verdelle Smith songs are available through the Tunes and the likes, but you can already have a listen to the crackin' ol' records thanks to some tremendous Youtube people.

Oh How Much I Love You at Youtube
Tar And Cement at Youtube
Verdelle Smith is still around, but she hasn't been pursuing a career in pop since the 60's.

Tar And Cement was also recorded by Virginia Lee (South Africa), Joe Dolan (Ireland) and The Young Idea (ft Mott The Hooples Ian Hunter)

* Actually a two hit wonder. Her first hit (Alone) In My Room was a US #62 in 1966.
** Hardy also recorded a version of Il Ragazzo... titled La Maison Où J'ai Grandi.

1 comment:

punkinblue9 said...

Nice piece. Was curious and went "listening". She's actually pretty good! May have to invest! Thanks!