Typically, I leave the wacky, zany 50s/60s-style rock 'n' roll nostalgia to my colleagues on and off the air, but this LP, which originally belonged to my Mom, has had a substantial impact on my life and the lives of those I've shared it with. Terry Folger in particular was obsessed with several songs from Big Daddy's Twist Party, most memorably "The Persians Twist"—probably my favorite of the collection, too, as it's über-catchy and mentions "Paramus, NJ" in the chorus.
Anyone who's done some garage-sale/record fair-type vinyl digging is familiar with the early-60s trend in Twist albums, many of them made by faceless artists, studio musicians and labels attempting to capitalize on the dance craze made world famous by Chubby Checker. This is one such LP, but unlike many of the other Twist records I own or have heard, this one is truly exceptional. The simple but effective sleeve layout is designed such that the word "TWIST" vibrates in front of your eyes as you listen to these songs, rendered by the hot, punchy band and Big Daddy's booming voice.
Who was Big Daddy? I have never seen this record anywhere else, nor was I able to dig up any information about it online. I've read a review of a 2006 retro/revivalist album also called Twist Party by one Big Daddy, which is not to be at all confused with this one. This album also has no connection to the Rhino Records band Big Daddy, who were a big hit on WFMU in the 1980s, mostly for doing doo-wop covers of contemporary pop numbers (as well as being responsible for the obscure, tape-only piece "What're You Tryin' to Do? Blackmail Me?".)
The LP liner notes are unusually well composed, and only serve to add to this odd record's charm and mystique. From the back cover: "Here he is, in person, zealous, zestful, zany BIG DADDY, the most torrid torso twister in town. ... BIG DADDY sings em and swings em, his gravel gutted voice gives vent to the driving enthusiasm he projects and you are soon under the spell of the excitement he generates. ... So, if you're planning a party and you want it to be gay and exciting, just put BIG DADDY on your record player and be assured of success. Invite Mom & Dad, the neighbors next door – all the kids. ... REGENT RECORDS, Inc., Newark, New Jersey."
Yes Sir Thats My Baby | The Persians Twist | Twistin Bonnie | Twistery | Red White and Blue Twist | Twistin Rickshaw Boy | Twistin Cat From Kansas City | Twistix | The Twisters Ball | Happy Twistin Birthday | Twistin at the Pit | The Whistlers Twist
My favorites: "The Persians Twist," "Twistin Rickshaw Boy," "The Twisters Ball" and "Twistin at the Pit." (No punctuation per the liner notes and LP label.)
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