Each week, Howie Pyro tells us a little about a 45 from his collection of 30,000 records. Let Howie trip you out live and in person at Intoxica Radio Live Fridays in the Amigo Room at Ace Palm Springs.
The Phantom: Love Me/Whisper Your Love — Dot Records
Possibly the craziest rockabilly record. Coming in at one minute and thirty seconds, this piece of insanity — another weirdo obscurity brought to light in the punk days by The Cramps — takes it all the way & further. Marty Lott recorded this at the Gulf Coast Studios in Mobile, Alabama in 1958. It was a quick try at rock n’ roll & he needed a flip side to the side already recorded. “I’d worked three months on the other side of the record,” he told Derek Glenister. “Somebody said, ‘What you gonna put on the flip-side?’ I hadn’t even thought about it. Someone suggested I wrote something like Elvis ‘cause he was just a little on the wane and everybody was beginning to turn against rock n’ roll. They said, ‘See if you spark rock n’ roll a little bit’… So that’s when I put all the fire and fury I could utter into it. I was satisfied with the first take but everybody said, ‘Let’s try it one more time.’ I didn’t yell on the first take, but I yelled on the second, and blew one of the controls off the wall.”
It gets weirder…Lott took the master to Hollywood. On a Satanic impulse, he followed Pat Boone to church and persuaded him to listen to the tape. The devil was surely working overtime that Sunday. It was Boone’s idea to call Lott “The Phantom” and he even agreed to issue the record on his own label, Cooga Mooga (a euphemism for God, as in Great Cooga Mooga). In the event, Lott signed a contract with Boone’s management and never met anyone at Dot, who finally released Love Me in 1960.
The full story of The Phantom can be found in the long-out-of-print Kicks Magazine #3 (1983) from our friends Billy Miller & Miriam Linna of Norton Records.