The front cover and the Village Thing logo are by Rodney Matthews--in a very different style than his later album covers for Magnum, Nazareth, Tiger Moth, and others.
Throughout the album, David Creech and Andy Leggett are usually panned left, while Barry Back and Bill Cole are usually panned right, although Back's guitar occasionally creeps to the right.
The liner notes give credits for the album as a whole. The song-by-song credits here are based on my own listening. Comments and corrections are welcome.
Written by Gilbert Wells and Johnny Dunn. The second verse of the PHLO's version is Hilaire Belloc's poem "Henry King: Who chewed bits of string, and was early cut off in Dreadful agonies" (from Cautionary Tales For Children, 1907), with the name and defect changed.
Ms. Green was the subject of two different songs. "Sadie Green, The Vamp Of New Orleans" was recorded by the Five Harmaniacs (1926), Jay C. Flippen (1926), the Goofus Five (1926), Jim Kweskin (1965), and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1968), among others. "Everybody's Talking About Sadie Green" (written after she moved from New Orleans to Memphis) was recorded by the Memphis Jug Band (1930) and the Even Dozen Jug Band (1964).
Ms. Green also appeared in "How'm I Doin', Hey Hey" as recorded by Don Redman (1932) and by the Mills Brothers (1932), although other recordings of the song had the name as Tillie Green (Clara Smith, 1926), Betty Boop (Don Redman in the cartoon "I Heard", 1933), or Sadie Doreen (Aaron Sisters, 1932; Mountain Man, 2010).
Written by one C. Brown. The PHLO recorded a reggae version on their third LP.
Written by Armand Piron and Clarence Williams. Piron (1888-1943) was a violinist and bandleader. He is also credited as the composer of "I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate".
Clarence Williams (1893-1965) was a pianist and bandleader. As publisher, he put his name on many songs, some of which he didn't actually write but simply bought from the composer. He recorded "High Society" four times between 1929 and 1933--each time with different songwriting credits! Actor Clarence Williams III is his grandson.
The PHLO arrangement of "High Society" is probably based on the first Clarence Williams recording (Okeh 8706, credited to Clarence Williams' Washboard Band), which features an introductory verse not heard on his later recordings of the song.
Clarence Williams was central to the PHLO's early repertoire. His "Cushion Foot Stomp", "Sweet Emmalina", "Shim Sham Shimmy Dance", and "Royal Garden Blues" all appear on their Village Thing LPs. And they released another version of "High Society" on their third LP. (And Piggies Andy Leggett and Henry Davies recorded it with Henry's Bootblacks.)
The Wiltshire Plumbers Saga
Written by Andy Leggett. He can be seen holding a ballcockaphone on the back cover of the LP.
Sweet Miss Emmaline
"Sweet Emmalina" was written by Andy Razaf, Jack Palmer, and Clarence Williams. It was recorded twice (vocal and instrumental) by Clarence Williams in 1928.
Andriamanantena Razafinkarefo (1895-1973) was the son of a Malagasy prince and the grandson of the American consul to Madagascar. He also collaborated with Fats Waller, Eubie Blake, Don Redman, and Chu Berry. His compositions include "Ain't Misbehavin'", "Honeysuckle Rose", "In The Mood", "Christopher Columbus", "Dinah", "That's What I Like About The South", "Stompin' At The Savoy", and "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good To You?"
Let Your Linen Hang Low
Written by Kansas Joe McCoy. Recorded by Rosetta Howard with Hamfoot Ham (Papa Charlie McCoy, Kansas Joe's younger brother) and the Harlem Hamfats in 1937.
Basin Street Blues
Written by Spencer Williams. Recorded by Louis Armstrong (1928, 1938), the Charleston Chasers with Jack Teagarden (1931), Bing Crosby and Connee Boswell (1934), and Miles Davis (1963), among others.
Spencer Williams (1889-1965) grew up on Basin Street in Storyville, the red light district of New Orleans, where his aunt Lulu White was the madam of the Mahogany Hall brothel. Williams also wrote "I Ain't Got Nobody", "I Found A New Baby", and "Everybody Loves My Baby". He was not related to Clarence Williams, although they collaborated on "Royal Garden Blues".
Charleston Chasers trombonists Glenn Miller and Jack Teagarden wrote lyrics for the originally-instrumental piece, as well as the music for the new verse ("Won't you come along with me...") that replaced Williams' original verse.
Meet Me Where They Play The Blues
Written by Steve Allen and Sammy Gallop. Recorded by Jack Teagarden (1950), Andy Williams (1956), Mary Coughlan (1985), and Maria Muldaur (1999), but not, as far as I can tell, by Johnny Cash.
Steve Allen (1921-2000) hosted television talk shows (including The Tonight Show) and game shows (including I've Got A Secret), wrote over ten thousand songs (including the Grammy-winning "Gravy Waltz"), and wrote over fifty books. Sammy Gallop (1915-1971) was a lyricist who collaborated with a variety of songwriters.
Written by Andy Leggett. Desperate Dan (created by Dudley Watkins) is a character who appeared in the British comic book The Dandy, which published 3,610 issues from 1937 through 2012 and continues on line. It turns out that the cow pies he eats are not dung, but in fact meat pies complete with horns.
Desperate Dan is also mentioned in "Village Green Preservation Society" by The Kinks, "Joke Shop Man" by the Bonzo Dog Band, and "Desperate Dan" by Hotlegs, the last of which also mentions cow pie.
The Silly Organ Story
Written by Andy Leggett.
Shim Sham Shimmy
"Shim Sham Shimmy Dance" was written by Andy Razaf (see "Sweet Miss Emmaline") and Clarence Williams (see "High Society"). Recorded in 1933 by Williams' Jug Band, with vocal by his wife, Eva Taylor.
Royal Garden Blues
Written by Spencer Williams (see "Basin Street Blues") and Clarence Williams (see "High Society"). Recorded by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band (1921), Bix Beiderbecke (1927), Benny Goodman (1940), and Duke Ellington (1946), among others.
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