Introducing Jack Larson


I discovered this 7″ single hidden inside an LP I bought this week. It has no sleeve and is covered in battle scars. A CD with this many abrasions would stutter and skip uselessly, and yet despite some pretty fierce crackle, this near-50 year old record still plays all the way through without a single jump on either side. They built vinyl discs like tanks in them days.

So what do we know about this record? Not much, other than it was released in 1961 by Top Rank International, manufactured by Electric And Musical Industries Ltd in Gt. Britain, wasn’t a hit, and at some point it was owned by a guy called Chris Bellingham.

What do we know about the artist? Again, not much. Searching for info on Jack Larson keeps referring me to the actor, but no mention of him having a singing career. Nor is there much info on Edward H. Labunski, who orchestrated and wrote one of the songs.

What about the music? Pretty cool actually. It’s from that period of light, punchy, orchestrated rock ‘n’ roll of the early ’60s, and Jack had a perfect voice for that style, similar to Adam Faith or Marty Wilde.  One side is called “The Hammer Bell Song”, which sounds suspiciously like a variation on “If I Had A Hammer” (a hit the following year for Peter, Paul & Mary, and the year after that for Trini Lopez), but the songwriting credit is simply listed as ‘Traditional’, rather than Pete Seeger and Lee Hays. Strange.

The flip is called “I Like The Way She Laughs”, which is cruelly hilarious as Jack sings “I don’t know what’s the matter with this heart of mine, I’m in love with a girl that looks like Frankenstein”. Why? Because he likes the way she laughs, of course!

But why go to all the trouble of trying to research and appreciate a battered, obscure record that only came into my possession by accident? I’m not sure I even understand the motivation myself. But this little 7″ seems to represent all the mystery and intrigue of vinyl collecting, which is why it’s becoming my new avatar.

Published in: on October 1, 2009 at 10:50 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Then photograph it on a white background mate!

    • you love your white backgrounds, don’t you…

  2. I quite like the fact you obviously just chucked it on a pile of gravel !!

  3. […] System – Popcorn 7. Sylvia – Pussycat 8. The Glitter Band – Angel Face 9. Jack Larson – I Love The Way She Laughs 10. Bedlam – The Beast 11. Abdul-Karim Al-Azawi – Tabl Improvisation 12. George […]

  4. He appeared in the Dick Van Dyke Show and several movies:
    Later changed name to Larrs Jackson….he’s the Geico Old Farmer MDonald who can’t spell.
    Excellent voice…to bad there isn’t more of his material out there

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