Saturday, May 18, 2013

Double Shot (of My Baby's Love), Swingin' Medallions (1966)

Even today, when I hear the Swingin' Medallions sing “Double Shot (of My Baby's Love)," it makes me want to stand outside in the hot sun with a milkshake cup full of beer in one hand and a slightly-drenched nineteen-year-old coed in the other. - The late humorist Lewis Grizzard, 1993

I was checking out an old compilation mentioned in a recent Shindig! magazine called Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968, and among the scores of songs to be found on the 1998 reissue was Double Shot (of My Baby's Love) by the nicely named Swingin' Medallions.

Now this crowd pleaser is a song that gets you up and at 'em whether you feel like it or not. Never mind that it juxtaposes what passes for "love" with having a monster hangover. I was never one to fixate too much on lyrics if the music was great, which it usually is if it has a 4-or-more-piece horn section.

Who were all these clean-cut white boys you see pictured above? I never knew. Natives of South Carolina, they got their start playing the college circuit and their reputation for fun, fun, fun spread like wildfire. Amazingly, a younger version of them is still out there, with their website pronouncing them "the party band of the South."

If you happen to be in the area of the Flip Flop Beach Music Festival in Greensboro, N.C., in September, you'll be able to see them, in fact. In 2012 they sponsored a 5-day cruise to Nassau! The only original member, John McElrath, founded the band in 1962 with drummer Joe Morris, who later invented the plastic tennis ball container. (I saw this in an old interview, and it's confirmed on his LinkedIn page.) Influenced by James Brown and Ray Charles, the inclusion of brass instruments in the band was never in doubt.

As performed by the Medallions, it was a cover of a much slower rendition several years earlier by a Louisiana band called Dick Holler and the Holidays. Fun fact: Holler was the composer of the Dion hit Abraham, Martin and John. His son David recently commented on YouTube that Double Shot was written by Don Smith and Cyril Vetter in a bowling alley. (All of them had been previously in a band called the Rockets, which at one time included such personnel as Dr. John.) In any case, the song was a local hit, but the label went belly up. When the Medallions came upon it, they tried out any number of arrangements before settling upon the one that soared to the Top 20.

Double Shot has long been a favorite tune of Bruce Springsteen. I'll close this stroll down memory lane with a 2009 performance by The Boss and the Medallions together onstage. Party on, Garth. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This song always makes me want to get up and dance (and I usually do - around the living room!)

Happy to see that one of my favourite bloggers is back!