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12 September 2021

Race Marbles - Like A Dribbling Fram/ Someday




Novelty word salad Dylan parody

Label: Capitol
Year of Release: 1965

When Radio DJs try to parody or mock the dominant musical trends of the day, we tend to get a flavour of how invested they really are. A lot of radio DJs, after all, view themselves as being part of a strange branch of light entertainment which involves being a charismatic chatterer between bits of music being played. They often didn't forge their careers out of a love of music but a desire for more people to hear their voices. To mock a singer, band or movement, you really have to get under the skin of it first and listen; a tough task for that tribe. 

Occasionally radio DJs have chanced their arm and put out their own parody tunes on 45, and it's seldom above the level of mediocre. There have been moments in the UK where someone has hit the nail on the head unbelievably well  - Steve Wright's crew managed to invent Scooter with their Terminator inspired 45, for example, and Chris Morris' parody of Pixies is so spot on it hurts - but in general, it's not an area filled with rich pickings.

So let's take a look at this exhibit. Over in Toronto in 1965, DJ Gary Ferrier was obviously troubled by Bob Dylan's top three hit "Like A Rolling Stone" and felt that it was a bloody strange racket at best. He responded with this, a parody of the record which mocks the "nonsense" lyrics (which, certainly by Dylan's standards, are anything but) and the threadbare roughness of the sound. Word salad lyrics ("Are you cleaving your scram? / Is your clam in a jam? / Like a dribbling fram") meet amateur musicianship and a tuneless squawking harmonica hits notes randomly while the lyrics whack into berserk, child-like imagery.

What's interesting about the 45 is that we're hearing Dylan through Ferrier's ears, and/or the ears of some of the era's "squares" as well. Listening back to it now in 2021, "Like A Rolling Stone" is a coherent piece of classic rock, overloaded with bitterness, passion, triumphalism and despair, a sweet and sour concoction which is always placed near the top of Dylan's achievements for many good reasons - very few 45s manage to overload so many emotions into such a brief performance. However, certainly for a number of listeners in 1965, this noise sounded unusual, incoherent and unacceptable, an overload of bad singing, strange imagery and amateurism. This is the gallery Ferrier is unquestionably playing to, and it worked. "Dribbling Fram" was a minor Top 40 hit in his home country and even picked up attention in the USA (where it was also released). 

What's even more intriguing is the fact the flip side is relatively straight, like Johnny Cash singing a beatnik peace song. Its naive as hell, of course, but straight enough to make you suspect that beneath his mockery, Ferrier's heart might have been in the right place. Maybe.

In short - an intriguing 45 from a time when Dylan felt radical and possibly dangerous, but not one you'd choose to play more than a couple of times. 

If the previews below aren't working properly, please go right to the source. 

8 comments:

albert1946 said...



Thank you David

Very rare

Greetings Albert

rntcj said...

Hi!

WOW! Thanx so much for this one. 1050 CHUM-AM was the radio station listened to while growing up in Toronto in 60's & 70's. Plenty of info. & pics. on Internet about the radio station (no longer exists @ its 1331 Yonge St. location). Garry Ferrier was a writer @ CHUM & had done some other songs too. A couple fun YT tracks (LUV "Ringo Deer") @ Discogs:

https://www.discogs.com/artist/4078562-Garry-Ferrier

Cheers!
Ciao! For now.
rntcj

Eva Wilson said...

These are gorgeous - thank you for sharing how you made them.
Regards,
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Mark G said...

You must be the first person to describe “Like a rolling stone” as a “brief performance” !

Cheers..

23 Daves said...

Well, it has enough emotive content to fill half a side of an album - but point taken!

Arthur Nibble said...

According to the Canadian RPM Weekly charts (as loaded by someone on 45cat), this entered the Canadian chart at number 39 and peaked four weeks later at number 6!

rntcj said...

Hi!

@ Arthur Nibble = thanx for this info. Didn't know 45cat would have this listing = a "new" source to research Canadian music. Appreciated.

Cheers!
Ciao! For now.
rntcj

Arthur Nibble said...

rntcj, the six-week Canadian listing for this track was a one-off from what I've seen so far on the 45cat website, though a lot of Canadian records have their RPM peak positions shown in the comments just below the scanned labels for the release in question on the site.