Sunday, January 21, 2007

Now He's Gone

Song: Now He's Gone
Bobbie Smith & The Dreamgirls
Written: King/Mack/McKenzie
Album/Single: Big Top # 3129

Cobra's Version
Song: Now Your Gone
Jan 18, 2005
Album: Baby

Who were Bobbie Smith & The Dreamgirls ?
Damn fine question. No idea.
Can't find out squat about them.

Here's what we do know:
They released 4 singles for Big Top Records
# 3085 - Wanted / Mr. Fine - 1961
# 3100 - Dutchess Of Earl / Mine All Mine - 1962
# 3111 - Here Comes Baby / I Got A Feeling My Love - 1962
# 3129 - Your Lovely Dovely Ways / Now He's Gone - 1962

I have found 2 releases being credited to just the "Dreamgirls"
Twirl # 1002 - Oh This is Why / Break My Heart - 1959 (?)
Big Top # 3059 - Don't Break My Heart / I Could Write A Book - 1960.

I have come across another release credited to just "Bobbie Smith"
American Arts # 2 - "Walk On Into My Heart" - 1967.

I have to believe that Bobbie Smith and the Dream Girls were from Michigan, if
not Detroit. That is due to the songwriters for today's selection - Ira Mack, Tom King & Maron McKenzie.\

Maron McKenzie, who was a staff writer for Big Top, is listed as a co-writer of some of Del Shannon (who was also on Big Top) releases, including one of his biggest - "Little Town Flirt".

Ira Mack & Tom King are an even more interesting story. Mainly because that wasn't their real names. Their real names were Irving Micahnik & Harry Balk. They were white Detroit businessmen. Harry Balk owned movie theaters in black neighborhoods in Detroit. On slow nights he would hold amateur nights. After winning multiple times, Harry Balk had Little Willie John signed to a record deal. In 1958 he started EmBee Productions with Irving Micahnik (a former furier). After
finding the Orbits from Toledo and renaming them "Johnny & The Hurricanes" and not being able to find a record company to release their recording "Crossfire" they started their own label - Twirl. They would end up claiming songwriting credits for a lot of the Johnny & The Hurricane's releases. In 1961 Balk & Micahnik hit the jackpot - that's when they signed Del Shannon on the recommendation of Ann Arbor disc jockey Ollie McLaughlin. (A lot of this information came from "Grit, Noise and Revolution: The Birth of Detroit Rock 'N' Roll" by David A. Carson, a terrific book for anyone interested in the workings and dealings of the early days of rock n roll, not just the Detroit scene)

I think it's safe to say that Balk & Micahnik did not contribute a whole lot to writing today's selection. We'll make the assumption that Marom McKenzie is most responsible for the following lyrics:

Gone is your love
and all the times

when you were mine
to have and to hold
I was yours
You were mine
But now you're gone
(Now you're gone)
But now you're gone
(Now you're gone)

Gone is your arms
filled with tenderness
Your sweet caress
I'll never forget

I'd like to know
where did you go?

You brought me delight

when you held me so tight

But now you're gone
(Now you're gone)
But now you're gone

(Now you're gone)

Gone is the love
that seemed perfect
I remember we
sitting under the tree
You leaned over
and kissed me so sweetly
and then you vowed
you know you vowed
our would always be

Gone is your love
and all the times
when you were mine
to have and to hold
I was yours
You were mine
But now you're gone

(Now you're gone)
But now you're gone
(Now you're gone)

Rachel and the Cobras follow the above lyrics, with a few minor changes, to a tee. They did drop the chorus refrains (Now you're gone).
Again we have a discrepancy between the titles of the original release versus the name of the Cobra's release - "Now He's Gone" v. "Now Your Gone". In the Cobra's defense, however, the phrase "now you're gone" is very prominent in the lyrics whereas "now he's gone" is not. Still, it makes it hard to do any research when they don't match.

The Cobra's version is slightly faster than the original, nor do they have the xylophone the original had. You just can find good xylophone players these days.

Download it now:
Bobbie Smith & The Dreamgirls - Now He's Gone - 1962 - Big Top # 3129
Available on "Big Top Soul Cellar"
Buy "Baby" by the Detroit Cobras


Anonymous said...

This is a great idea for a blog. It might not be the most popular, but true music fans will appreciate it.

Cobras = Most Fun Live Show

mikael sweden said...

I have compiled 54 of the Cobras covers, ripped in high quality mono/stereo. This double disc with graphics can be found here:

It misses some track from the Lost and Found, but it's not out yet as far as I know. This should cover all relesead tunes, but not recorded.

mikael said...

..all relesead tunes, but not all recorded, that is.

joe.mares said...

Thanks Mikael !

I guess now the only purpose I am serving is the discussion of the songs, since no one has to wait each week for the actual songs!

BTW - the link to the two discs is :

And the forum posting

mikael said...

Feel free to use the songs on your site. Looking forward to it. Great info.