The Street People
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1970)
- Ron Dante -- vocals
- Rupert Holmes -- vocals
- Lee Pockriss (RIP 2011) --
- Paul Vance (aka Joseph Paul Florio) --
- Ron Dante (solo efforts)
- Rupert Holmes (solo efforts)
Genre: bubblegum pop
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Jennifer Tomkins
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: --
So seriously, here's one you can blame on the songwriting and production team of Paul Vance and the late Lee Pockriss. Starting back in the late 1950s, singularly and as a team, they've been responsible for penning hundreds of songs, including some of the most irritating tunes known to mankind. Doubt that statement? Why don't you stroll down their "greatest hits" lane? Anyone want to check out Brian Hyland's 'Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini', or The Detergent's 'Leader of the Laundromat'? A personal favorite in the cloying department - Rupert Holmes' 'Playground of My Mind'.
Vance and Pockriss were quick to take advantage of late-'60s and early-'70s interest in bubblegum pop. They enjoyed substantial commercial success with studio entities like The Cuff Links, who scored a top 10 hit with the single 'Tracy'. Given that success it was only natural the pair would look to replicate the formula. One of those attempts was the short-lived The Street People.
Singers/songwriters Ron Dante and Rupert Holmes had been mainstays in The Cuff Links. Charged by Vance and Pockriss to come up with another hit, Dante had to drop out of the project to complete a solo project and make good on various Archies related commitments. The Street People subsequently became a Holmes solo project. Ironically the decision was made to debut the group with a remake of a Cuff Links tune:
- 1970's 'Jennifer Tompkins' b/w 'All Night Long' (Musicor catalog number MU 1365) # 36 pop charts
When the single proved an unexpected hit, Vance and Pockriss recruited Holmes to help pull together a "quickie" supporting album. In an effort to maximize profits, rather than pay for additional recording sessions, many of the ten songs that ended up on 1968's "Jennifer Tompkins" were previously recorded tunes shelved for various reasons. Holmes admitted going into the studio and simply putting new vocals on songs originally intended for other Musicor projects. Elsewhere the label simply reused existing songs. By my count the title track, 'She Let's Her Hair Down (Early In the Morning)' and 'I Remember were all Cuff Links retreads. While the album did not include writing credits, it appeared the emphasis was on including tunes with a Vance-Pockriss link. Most of the ten songs shared a Paul Vance - Rupert Holmes - Gerard Florio songwriting credit. Vance was born with the name Joseph Paul Florio so the latter name might have been a Vance alias. Given the album's rushed release the results could have been a complete disaster. I'll call it a mixed effort. The short title track was a first-rate slice of bubblegum. Almost as good were the follow-on singles 'Thank You Girl' (sounding like an Archies outtake) and 'I Wonder What Happened To Sally'. Another standout was the bouncy 'Gingersnap.' The set wasn't perfect. She Let's Her Hair Down (Early In the Morning and 'I Remember' were forgettable ballads, while 'All the Young Woman' came off as a boneheaded stab at social relevance.
Tompkins" track listing:
1.) Jennifer Tomkins (Paul Vance - Rupert Holmes - Gerard Florio) - 1:48 rating: *** stars
'Jennifer Tompkins' was originally recorded for The Cuff Links second studio album. The song original sported a Ron Dante vocal, but a legal threat claiming Dante was barred from recording any non-Archies related material forced Musicor to bring in Joey Cord to re-record the lead vocals. Featuring Rupert Holmes on vocals the remake upped the tempo a touch, but stayed fairly true to the original's bubbly melody. The result may be one of the best bubblegum pop tunes ever recorded. For goodness sakes you get a soap opera condensed down to under two minutes ...
2.) She Let's Her Hair Down (Early In the Morning) (Paul Vance - Carr) - 2:25 rating: ** stars
The Cuff Links, Gene Pitney and The Tokens had all recorded the flaccid ballad 'She Let's Her Hair Down (Early In the Morning).' Can't say I'm fond of any version of the song.
3.) Gingersnap - 2:08 rating: *** stars
Complete with strumming acoustic guitars and cute and high infectious lyrics, 'Gingersnap' offered up another classic slice of bubblegum pop. Another Archies-styled tune.
4.) All the Young Woman - 3:35 rating: *** stars
The ballad 'All the Young Woman' was clearly intended as an anti-war statement ... It wasn't the most subtle statement I've every heard, but the melody was pretty; I've always liked the martial drums and the slight discordant ending was nifty..
5.) I Remember (Paul Vance - Rupert Holmes - Gerard Florio) - 2:56 rating: *** stars
'I Remember' was yet another Cuff Links remake. The Cuff Links version with Ron Dante on lead vocals had been a fragile, almost Baroque pop tune. With Holmes handling The Street People remake the sound was given a wider, pop sound.
1.) Thank You Girl (Paul Vance - Rupert Holmes - Gerard Florio) - 2:25 rating: *** stars
Opening up with a nice drum solo 'Thank You Girl ' was easily one of the album's most attractive and radio friendly numbers. With some wonderful blended vocals the bubbly arrangement sounded like a classic Archies tune. Nah, there was nothing thought provoking about this one - aural empty calories, but it sounded so good !!! The song was tapped as the album's second single:
- 1970's 'Thank You Girl' b/w 'The World Doesn't Matter Any More' (Musicor catalog number MU 1401) # 96 US pop charts
2.) I Wonder What Happened To Sally (Paul Vance - Rupert Holmes - Gerard Florio) - 2:53
The song served as the album's third and final single
- 1970's 'I Wonder What Happened To Sally' b/w 'I Remember' (Musicor catalog number MU 1412)
3.) Rainy Night In Georgia (Tony Joe White) - 3:17 rating: ** stars
I'm guessing this one was included to flush out the album's running length. Stick with the Brooks Benton hit, or track down the Tony Joe White original.
4.) All Night Long (Paul Vance - Rupert Holmes - Gerard Florio) - 2:23 rating: *** stars
Musically this wasn't a great tune; the sleepy arrangement and multi-tracked vocals reminding me of something you might have heard on an Associations LP. That said the song had a couple of nice things going for it. The multi-tracked voices were lovely. The lyrical nods to bubblegum acts made me smile. The cheesy synthesizer washes also made me smile. The song served as the flip side to the 'Jennifer Tomkins' single.
5.) The World Doesn't Matter Any More (Paul Vance - Rupert Holmes - Gerard Florio) - 2:05
Some discographies show a second Street People album on the budget Pickwick label - 1972's "Put Your Hand In the Hand" (Pickwick catalog number SPC-3287). Always wondered how the cover made it through the marketing folks - not the hand on the left. I've never come across a copy so I can't be sure if it is the same entity.
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