27. February 2022 By Walter Price 0

Crate Digger Confidential: AL BROWN and his TUNETOPPERS

Al Brown and his Tunetoppers Sweet Little Love (Amy 1960)

Al Brown and his Tunetoppers

by Marc Griffiths

This tune was part of the short-lived Madison Dance craze. Whenever I think of people doing the Madison I picture Don Draper from the hit TV show Mad Men (he was known as ‘Don’t Draper’ in our household after we put ourselves through the full 92hrs of the insipid advertising based dross one year) Cigarette clamped beneath elegant white teeth, an old fashioned in one hand and an elaborately coiffured housewife (not his) twirling in the other. I’m sure the reality was more prosaic.

However, this tune is super ultra-smooth. It’s like the advertising of the 1950s, all shiny chrome utopia where there was no working-class anymore and everyone lived in swanky New York high rises. Again the future was more prosaic

Al Brown (who only seemed to release Madison tunes in his predictably short career) croons delightfully over a backing of big band brass and super-tight percussion, the 1-2-1 1-2-1 rhythm of the Madison holding your attention throughout. Even in the pick-up, which serves as a chorus, the backing is nothing less luxurious than red velvet drapes and Marilyn Monroe lying leopard-like on a chaise longue. Just waiting.

Of course, the whole thrust of the lyrics is that he would give up all his accumulated riches if he only had the love of this woman. Stocks and bonds, diamonds, rubies, Cadillac cars would all be tossed to the gutter in a conspicuous shedding of wealth in the pursuit of love. Of course, he doesn’t mean it. He is actually dangling his wealth in front of her in a gigantic dick swinging mating dance of sorts and he assumes the last thing on her mind is a slide into abject, but happy, poverty with him.

Alas for Al the fifties were over and 1960 was the start of many, many things. The Fab Four were on the horizon. Hippies and the darkness that Manson brought would be arriving hard on their heels. Vietnam was about to escalate into the horror story that it was. Kennedy was about to ascend to the throne and enter the last 3 years of his life. The world of the future was going to look very different to the shiny car nuclear family we had all been promised. Al Brown and The Madison were already an anachronism. Bye, Bye Al.

AL BROWN and his TUNETOPPERS Sweet Little Love

Article cover photo via Lindyland // Album photo via Discogs

Song produced by Buddy Smith



“Crate Digger Confidential…A Lifelong obsession with plastic discs laid bare. Don’t expect just reviews of records, it’s much more important to me than that.

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