#Sinatra100 Countdown: The Curious Case Of ‘Bim Bam Baby’
The location: Hollywood C-A.
The place: Columbia Recording Studios
The date: 03 June 1952
The significance: Frank’s last full recording session for Columbia.
The songs recorded:
Luna Rossa (Blushing Moon)
The Birth Of The Blues
Bim Bam Baby
This song set tells you exactly why Sinatra’s days at Columbia were numbered. What we see here are novelty numbers. Frank’s Producer, Mitch Miller [boo, hiss], was under pressure to get a hot record for the once best-selling Crooner and he had been feeding him such dreck [Mama Will Bark?] to record for quite sometime in what turned out to be a rather pathetic and wasted effort.
Many think Miller and Columbia were giving Frank such material in a cowardly attempt to get him to walk-out on his contract. I don’t know, but I suspect that it was a bit of that, a bit of Miller becoming the schlock-meister he would become known as in the years to follow, and a bit of the gods sending a message to Francis Albert to get his act together and ascend to the next level [which he did eventually — thank The Good Lord].
What is interesting is that Frank, despite his anger at Miller and Columbia, and the downward spiral his career and personal life were both in, still managed to produce one classic, The Birth Of The Blues, and one performance that showed he could have conquered an alien genre of music — Rhythm And Blues — if he had felt like it. Just think, if he had pursued this kind of music, he could have eventually starred in B-movies with Alan Freed! I’m glad he didn’t, of course, but, with BBB, Mr. S. showed all those youngins, like Elvis, that he could have conquered their territory, if he had wanted to — and they should be very grateful he didn’t.
Bim Bam Baby has the same kind of vibe that you find in the best of Louis Jordon’s repertoire and, a few years later, in Bobby Darin’s Rock And Roll recordings.
Forget the pseudo-Jive lyrics [‘the rim-ram room’!?!*], this is hep platter in the tradition of Caldonia and Choo Choo Ch’boogie, with a touch of Guy Mitchell thrown in [although, Francis puts Albert George Cernik (Mitchell’s real name) to shame here].
There is a certain swagger and attitude in that number that transcends the genre.
Look: it’s not a time for serious here, it’s time to jump and jive…
Well friends, we’re gettin’ closer to the Big Day and I look forward each sunrise to see what Pundette, Ms. Evi, and Mark Steyn are doing to prepare for The Main Event [hint: it’s always a gas].
Come on back on the morrow and we’ll still be here setting-up for the Party.
Yeah…Mrs. B. picked-up on that one [I had missed
it…or, perhaps, didn’t want to hear it] and shook her
head. Just another case, I suppose, of some
square cat trying to write a ‘cool’ song — where have
you gone, Sammy Mysels? [actually, he did co-write
one of my favorite Sinatra-Dorsey recordings,
We Three (My Echo, My Shadow, and Me).