Ready To Burn You With Love 'Til You're Sore

:: I'm A Love Volcano ::

What can you say about R&B music produced during this particular era? It was all about drum machines and synths and midi, and blatant sex. Walt Tucker and Gary Johnson were a couple of aspiring superstars from Compton, CA who booked some time in a Hawthorne recording studio owned and operated by a guy named Emitt Rhodes. The year was 1983 and Prince was hot, as was Michael Jackson and Rick James. Tucker and Johnson had a formula and a song, co-written by the two of them along with Tucker's mom, novelist Martha Hinton-Tucker.

Wha-wha-what? "I'm A Love Volcano" was written by a couple of dudes and one of the dudes' mom? Yep. Turns out Walter Tucker III is no mere kid from the ghetto. His dad, Walter Tucker Jr. was a prominent dentist, and civic leader, who by the time this record was made had been elected Mayor of Compton. Also by this time Walt III had already graduated from Princeton, then USC with a law degree, then Georgetown with a juris doctor. He passed the bar the year after Love Volcano came out.

So the record stiffed, but it wasn't like Walt Tucker had nothing to fall back on. He was a successful prosecutor working for the DA's office in LA when the elder Mayor Tucker passed away after about 9 years in office. Walt III was elected to succeed the old man the following year. The year after that, Walt ran for congress and won, leaving his brother Kenneth to unsuccessfully run for Mayor.

By all accounts, Tucker made a fine congressman. On top of everything else (including writing sexy songs with his mom), Tucker was an ordained minister, who would often give Sunday morning sermons at his family church in Compton. The fairy tale came to an abrupt end though, when he was convicted of bribery and extortion as the result of a sting operation while he was Mayor of Compton. He served 27 months in prison and is now a church pastor in Illinois.

I couldn't find any information on Gary Johnson, so who knows? Oh, and that recording engineer in Hawthorne, Emitt Rhodes? You gotta wonder what he thought of I'm A Love Volcano...

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Friday, May 18, 2007 5:50:00 AM

I wonder if that's the same Emitt Rhodes who was in the Merry-Go-Round in the 1960s and is best-known, at least to me, as the guy who penned "Time Will Show The Wiser", as recorded by Fairport Convention on their first album in 1967.

He also had a few solo albums that i haven't heard. Here are a few cover images. and an appreciation.

But back to this single, those lyrics are pretty, um, evocative.


Friday, June 15, 2007 3:46:00 PM

So strange...he appeared with my mom on The Joker's Wild back in 1983, and the only reason why I know this record exists is because he mentions it on the show. Jack Berry made a horrible joke about the title of the record, saying he was familiar with it and the B-side was called "Lava Come Back To Me." Walt was visibly pained by this but was polite nonetheless. Even my mom winced.

He ended up beating my mom in that game. Someday I'm going to have to transfer that old VHS tape to DVD. Walt was pretty funny.    

Thursday, August 16, 2007 4:49:00 AM

...I would appreciate a re-up for this. Unfortunately the link is dead.    

Thursday, August 16, 2007 7:22:00 AM

You know, we don't really have the space to put up stuff again, usually, but this song is so good we'll acquiesce. Enjoy.    

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