Various Artists 

The Daisy/Tiger Records Story: Everybody Clap Your Hands!

In the '60s, legendary songwriter-producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller took several cracks at record-label ownership before finding success at Red Bird Records with the Dixie Cups and Shangri-Las. Their first attempt, Spark Records, found some success with the Robins, but it wasn't until the label folded in the mid-'50s and the Robins' "Smokey Joe's Cafe" was rereleased on Atlantic's Atco subsidiary that the single really took off.

The duo's subsequent writing and production success at Atlantic is impressive enough, but when one considers the sides they wrote and produced on Capitol, RCA (including hit singles for Elvis Presley), Scepter, Wand, and numerous other labels, their output is truly staggering. It should be no surprise, then, that their second foray into label ownership, Tiger Records (and later its sister label, Daisy), yielded a superb collection of singles and B-sides. Truly astounding is that the labels' combined output, collected here in its entirety, had virtually no success on the charts.

Starting with Tippie and the Clovers (comprising Roosevelt "Tippie" Hubbard and three members of the original Clovers), Tiger and Daisy turned out a tremendous string of soul, pop, and R&B singles from the pens of Leiber & Stoller, Barry & Greenwich, Van McCoy, and others. The debut single, "Bossa Nova Baby," would become a hit for Elvis Presley the following year, but the original version -- with a superb bass-and-drums bottom, jazzy vocal arrangement, and swinging sax solo -- failed to even touch the charts. The flip, "The Bossa Nova (My Heart Said)," features a similar arrangement, but with more of a Drifters feel. The label had similar bad luck with Bessie Banks' original recording of "Go Now." Though this superbly soulful original has become better known via retrospective anthologies, it was eclipsed on the charts by the Moody Blues remake.

Beyond these two tracks, Daisy and Tiger's compositions were relegated to nearly complete obscurity. Cathy Saint's "Big Bad World" had all the elements of a Brill Building success -- strong lead vocal, swinging drums, horn chart, and girl-group harmonies -- but failed in the aftermath of JFK's assassination. The B-side, "Mr. Heartbreak," is a lovely ballad in the Dusty Springfield vein. Alvin Robinson's superb New Orleans-influenced "Something You Got" (Tiger's only chart entry at No. 54) combines vocal elements of Otis Redding and Ray Charles, with a sublimely restrained horn chart. The flip, a remake of The Coasters' "Searchin'," adds a wonderful bit of Memphis soul.

The labels also produced a pair of fine rock 'n' roll instrumentals from Bob Moore and the Temps. Their "Trophy Run" combines the guitar swagger (courtesy of none other than Roy Buchanan) and romping rhythms of Lonnie Mack, Duane Eddy, and Link Wray. "Braggin'" adds a bit Sunset Strip styled harmonica and organ. Vic Donna's sides are straight boy-pop, with a vocal that sounds quite a bit like then session vocalist Tony Orlando.

Leola and the Lovejoys hold the distinction of being the only artists to release two singles on the Tiger label, and all four of their sides are fine slices of soul. The gospel-tinged "It's Mighty Nice" and "Wait 'Round the Corner" show off their strong vocals, and Barry & Greenwich's "He Ain't No Angel" is a girl group dance tune that foreshadows the songwriters' work at Red Bird. Dionne Warwick's younger sister, Dee Dee, though primarily employed as a backing singer, also had her first release on Tiger, featuring a pair of tunes written by Van McCoy.

But the song that truly set the table for Leiber & Stoller's success at Red Bird is Moody and the Deltas' "Everybody Come Clap Your Hands," written by Barry & Greenwich and produced by Joe Jones in 1964. This upbeat tune shakes off the R&B and doo-wop intonations of the '50s and stakes out a freer '60s soul sound. The dance beat brings to mind Wilson Pickett and Bobby Freeman's soul songs from the mid-'60s. The flip, "Monkey Climb," is indicative of the group's New Orleans roots -- roots that would pay off handsomely with the Dixie Cups.

In addition to 22 sides that should have been contenders for the tops of the charts, Sundazed has generously added three previously unreleased alternate takes, detailed liner notes, and period photos. If not for the quirks of record promotion, this would be a collection of chart-toppers, rather than unknown gems. Nearly everything here is as good as anything Leiber & Stoller got onto the charts, and after only a few spins you'll forget that you didn't hear these back in 1963 (or repeated ad nauseam on oldies radio stations).


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