Bobby Russell

Elf 90020, 1968
Billboard: #36

The late Bobby Russell was one of the few songwriters who could balance tenderness and treacle, though it took singers of similar equilibrium to make his songs work. (For a positive example, see Roger Miller's version of "Little Green Apples"; for one, um, somewhat less positive, there's Bobby Goldsboro's version of "Honey".) On the strength of these two songs, he wangled a contract with the tiny Elf label, which issued an album (their only LP ever, distributed by Bell) with too long a title: Words, Music, Laughter and Tears (and then I wrote). Sneaked into the middle of tracks you'd already heard sung by someone else was "1432", an ode to a suburban dad that has always struck me as the anti-"Pleasant Valley Sunday"; life on Russell's cul-de-sac is anything but a dead end, and it contains the wonderful (if, no thanks to the NFL, dated) line "Christmas, took the kids down to see the floats / When he wanted to stay home and watch the Baltimore Colts." Russell would rework this theme slightly three years later with "Saturday Morning Confusion", a bigger, but no better, hit. And where is Franklin Pike Circle? There's one in Brentwood, Tennessee, south of Nashville — just off Franklin Pike, in fact — though it's anything but a quiet suburban street.

Where can I get this on CD?
The only place I've seen it so far is an Australian release from Sony: The Lost 45's (60's) (480621-2).

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Copyright © 2004 by Charles G. Hill
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