Monday, October 7, 2013

Song #379 of 9999 - She May Call You Up Tonight by The Left Banke

I don't usually start the week with a guest blogger but I'm tired and it's just so easy. TONIGHT, and for one night only, 9999 Songs is proud to present Spokane's very own Glenn Case, discussing one of his favorite songs from 1967. Glenn is an accomplished singer/songwriter who recently released his long-awaited LP Throw Money, which you can hear here. (You can probably buy it too, but that information seems surprisingly difficult to find. We'll get the marketing team on that right away.)

Song #379 of 9999

Song: She May Call You Up Tonight
Artist: The Left Banke
Year: 1967
Album: Walk Away Renée/Pretty Ballerina

I have found that the story behind a song can often help me to appreciate that composition in a new light.

The excellent liner notes of many Rhino records compilations are usually a perfect companion to the music they accompany. I mistakenly thought that "There's Gonna Be A Storm" was released by Rhino, but it's actually a collection of the Left Banke's complete recordings from 1966-1969 that was put out by Mercury. I believe the fact that my memory mistook it for a Rhino release speaks to the quality of the information contained in the booklet.

Don't get me wrong, This 26 song collection is not packed with keepers, but there are some tremendous songs and, as it turns out, three of the very best songs (including the band's biggest hit) were all written about the same woman.

According to the liner notes, "(Bass player, Tom Finn) introduced his girlfriend Renée Fladen to the rest of the group in late 1965. As it turned out, Finn was not the only member attracted to her and almost instantly (Keyboardist, Michael Brown) composed three of The Left Banke's biggest songs about Fladen: 'She May Call You Up Tonight,' 'Pretty Ballerina,' and of course 'Walk Away Renée.'"

"Walk Away Renée" is easily the band's biggest hit. It was successfully covered by the Four Tops, and the Left Banke's version ranked #220 on Rolling Stone's "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time." The band's sound was referred to as Baroque Pop or "Bach-Rock," likely because of the harpsichords and strings that can be found in a number of their songs.

My song choice, "She May Call You Up Tonight" is more of a straight ahead Pop/Rock song, clocking in at a swift 2 minutes and 18 seconds. Gone are the harpsichords and strings, which might have had something to do with why the single didn't chart as high as the other two Renée Fladen inspired songs: The band had a signature sound, and that sound is mostly abandoned here.

What the song DOES have is piano, bass, drums, guitars, vocal harmonies and a wonderful chord structure. Sounds like I'm describing a Beatles song, right? Well, it goes without saying that the fab four were an influence. In fact, "Good Day Sunshine" was one of the songs this band "cut their teeth on" according to the booklet of "There's Gonna Be A Storm."

I believe this song is worth your time if you have two and a half minutes to spare, and you enjoy the sound of 60's pop inspired by the British Invasion acts of the era.

If you love what you hear, it might be worthwhile to check out the entire "There's Gonna Be A Storm" album, and/or the Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs cover version of "She May Call You Up Tonight."

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