24 October 2020

Only in Oz (14): Diana Trask - Oh Boy

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

14. Diana Trask - Oh Boy
(Tony Romeo)
USA 1974

ABC Dot single (USA) # DOA-17536
Dot single (Australia 1975) K-5808

Australian charts: #2 Melbourne, #4 Sydney, #2 Adelaide, #7 Perth (#10 Australia)

Back at the website I have written about Going SteadyDiana Trask's first single, released in Australia in 1958. 

Oh Boy is an American record by an Australian singer. It was produced in Nashville by Jim Foglesong, the distinguished country music producer, A&R man, and recording industry executive. 

By the time Oh Boy was released, Diana Trask was living and working in Nashville, where she was following a successful career as a country singer. The single didn't chart on the American pop charts, but it did better on country music charts. On Cash Box's Country Top 75, for example, it reached #16 in March 1975.

Trask (b.1940) began her career in the late 50s in Melbourne, her birthplace, but she soon moved to the US, in 1959. Before too long she was a regular on the high-rating network TV show Sing Along With Mitch. YouTube

There are parallels with Helen Reddy, another young single woman from Melbourne who successfully tried her luck in the US. She was born in nearby Warburton only a year after Trask, and moved to the US in 1966.  

Diana Trask supported Frank Sinatra on an Australian tour in 1959. He encouraged her move to the US, and later that year he took an entourage of dinner guests to her New York opening at the Blue Angel.

Oh Boy is an original song written by Tony Romeo. (The 1957 Crickets hit is a different song.) To my non-musicologist's ear, it seems to be an inventive composition with multiple melodic ideas, unusual in a popular song.

It was later recorded in Britain by Brotherhood Of Man as Oh Boy (The Mood I'm In), with an arrangement by Tony Heller (1977, #8 UK). YouTube

Tony Romeo (1938-1995) was a prolific songwriter. Wikipedia lists around 130 compositions, mainly from the mid-60s to the late-70s, and 45cat has numerous entries for Tony Romeo - composer. He was also an arranger, producer, and performer.

You might be familiar with these Tony Romeo compositions:

Other notable artists who recorded his songs include David Cassidy, Wayne Newton, The Everly Brothers, Paul Anka, and Richard Harris. As a producer he worked, for example, with Richard Harris (Slides, 1972) and with Lou Christie (Lou Christie, 1974).  

As a performer, he recorded a couple of solo singles. (I've seen a self-titled album mentioned but I can't verify it.) With Cassandra Morgan and Frank Romeo - his brother - he recorded as The Trout for a well-received 1968 album, The Trout, produced and written by Tony. YouTube


Update (thanks to Triman, via the Comments): In the mid-70s Tony Romeo worked for the Three Brothers label, set up by jazz producer Creed Taylor. The label's discography consists pretty much of some singles by Lou Christie, and a self-titled Lou Christie album (1974, the only LP on the label until two outliers, in 1983 and 1994). Romeo was heavily involved, as writer, arranger, producer and musician. Also contributing were Cass Morgan and Frank Romeo who had been in The Trout with Tony in the late 60s. Mark Cathcart tells the full story in detail at his fan website Creed Taylor Produced.