And Now, Some Harmonica Pyrotechnics (He Really Blows)
:: Alan Black, Karen Stewart & Al Caiola - I Wanna Go Skating With Willie ::
I picked this single up out of a dollar bin simply because I’ll pick up any record with the name Al Caiola on it. Caiola was a prolific studio session musician, whose talents were utilized by a lot of the big names during the ‘50s and ‘60s – Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Percy Faith are a few. He’s released quite a few easy listening guitar albums on his own, which are increasingly becoming my antidote to a brain-frying day at the office. Anyway, Caiola can also be found credited as bandleader on many recordings, as he is here on this novelty single put out by Epic in 1959. “Novelty” because it’s a conversation between the singer, Karen Stewart, and Willie, who is voiced by a harmonica, played by Alan Black. Half the writing credits go to Luigi Creatore, who went on to co-write a much better song, Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” “I Wanna Go Skating with Willie” was originally recorded by Patti “The Doggie in the Window” Page a few years earlier in 1954. A final note – this song’s producing credits go to Sol Rabinowitz, who formed the short-lived independent R&B label, Baton Records, in the early ‘50s. He tells the story of Baton here.