15 March 2009

Only in Oz (11) Buzz Cason - Adam And Eve (1968)

Another in my series of posts about tracks that were more popular in Australia than in their countries of origin. See also: Only in Melbourne.

11. Buzz Cason - Adam And Eve
(James E. "Buzz" Cason)
USA 1968
Elf single (USA) #90015
Stateside single (Australia) #OSS-8456
Australian charts: #4 Melbourne #3 Brisbane #1 Adelaide (#21 Australia)

For onc
e, no doubts about this being a pure example of the Only in Oz phenomenon: no local USA chart appearances at (the inelegantly named) ARSA, no sneaking into the outer reaches of the Billboard Top 100. Nothing in the UK, nor in Europe. In the USA, this song didn't raise even a tiny blip on the radar, but in parts of Australia we loved it.

Adam And Eve
is a Bonnie & Clyde story of a couple from a Mississippi farm, their Garden of Eden, who drive into town to stick up a bank. [Listen] It goes badly wrong (the bank teller made a wrong move), and they end up doing time. The chorus goes:

We can never go back to the Garden of Eden.
Adam and Eve have sinned.
We can't go back again. Oh no no. [Lyrics]

There are echoes of Ode To Billy Joe, both in the music and the setting. As Andrew Bergey puts it, Bobby Gentry meets Harry Nilsson in a party hosted by Leo Sayer.

Buzz Cason has done a bit of everything in the music business: singer, songwriter, producer, publisher, label owner...

One of his notable writer credits is for Arthur Alexander's Soldier Of Love (1961), written with Tony Moon, later performed by The Beatles and by Pearl Jam.

Cason is better known, though, for having co-written (with Mac Gayden) the much-recorded hit Everlasting Love. It charted nationally in the US in versions by Robert Knight (1967, the original), Carl Carlton (1974) and Rex Smith & Rachel Sweet (1981).

I know of at least eight versions of Everlasting Love that have charted in various parts of Australia, including local hit versions by The Town Criers (1968) and Doug Parkinson (1974).

Buzz Cason was also the originator of these songs that were hits in Australian versions:
  • Saturday Morning Cartoon Show - Hayride (Buzz Cason - Mac Gayden, 1968) on Elf #90021, label co-owned by Cason; Australian version: The Flying Circus (1969) #3 Sydney #1 Brisbane #13 Perth [PopArchives page]

  • Saturday Morning Cartoon Show - La La (Buzz Cason - Mac Gayden, 1969) Elf #90028; Australian version: The Flying Circus (1969) #5 Sydney #4 Melbourne #1 Brisbane #1 Adelaide #9 Perth [PopArchives page]

  • The Four Fuller Brothers - Groupie (Buzz Cason, prod. Cason-Gayden, 1969) Decca #32450; Australian version: The New Dream (1969) #2 Melbourne #19 Adelaide [PopArchives page]

  • Gary Lewis & The Playboys - Sugar Coated Candy Love (Buzz Cason - Mac Gayden, 1969) Liberty album track; Australian version: The New Dream (1969, as Candy Love) #44 Melbourne #22 Adelaide #36 Perth [PopArchives page]
Buzz Cason started out with Nashville rock'n'roll band The Casuals who recorded for Dot in the late 50s and became Brenda Lee's touring band. Cason's one charting single as a solo singer, Look For A Star (1960, #16 USA), used the name Garry Miles (confusingly, this was a cover of a British record by Garry Mills that also charted in the US).

Cason went into producing with Liberty Records in LA, working with Snuff Garrett. He produced (They Call Her) La Bamba (1964) by the post-Holly Crickets, arranged by Leon Russell, and when the single charted in the UK, Cason fronted The Crickets on a 1964 British tour.

With Nashville singer-songwriter Bobby Russell and Monument executive Fred Foster, Buzz Cason formed Rising Sons, the label and publishing company that released Robert Knight's Everlasting Love.
In 1967 Buzz Cason and Bobby Russell started the independent Elf label and the publishing and production company Russell-Cason Music: they published Russell's compositions Honey (the Bobby Goldsboro hit) and Little Green Apples (O.C. Smith, Roger Miller).

Bobby Russell's
1432 Franklin Pike Circle Hero (1968, #36 USA) was on Elf, for example, as were the two records by Saturday Morning Cartoon Show covered in Australia by The Flying Circus.

Buzz Cason is still working in Nashville, and he recently published his autobiography. For an update on his career since the 60s, see his website at BuzzCason.com or his MySpace page.

Buzz Cason - Adam And Eve.mp3

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Thanks to Paul Rivette for asking about this song. I'd forgotten it!Chart positions from Gavin Ryan's Australian chart books.

References, further reading: 1. Bio page at BuzzCason.com 2. Buzz Cason bio at Rockabilly Hall of Fame. 3. The Us Four on Rising Sons label at Garage Hangover. 4. Soldier Of Love song review at AMG. 5. Recent interview with Buzz Cason at Music Business Radio. 6. Adam And Eve lyrics at HotLyrics.net. 7. Adam and Eve: brief review at Andrew Bergey's Bursts of Flavor page. 8. Elf label discography at Global Dog. 9. Rising Sons label discography at Global Dog.