Wednesday, May 09, 2018


    As soon as rock and roll became popular, exploitation movies were grinded out with every finger-snapper from Bill Haley to Jimmy Clanton singing their hits. To be current, even movie soundtracks exploded with the dangerous, delinquent sound of roaring saxes and pounding drums. 

    Just as the leather-clad creeps in “Blackboard Jungle” broke a teacher’s prize jazz 78’s, microphones were broken in sound studios as middle-of-the-road composers tried to hep up their scores. Soon, craven movie moguls were using rock songs as movie themes, to get publicity, airplay, and kids into the theaters. "Town Without Pity," for example, was almost a ridiculous parody of teen tragedy songs, but it worked thanks to Gene Pitney, and had people coming in to see a pretty depressing film about a teen gang rape.

     A few years earlier, the melodic Alex North offered the raunchy “Hey Eula” for the Tennessee Williams drama “The Long Hot Summer” in 1958. Perhaps "Town Without Pity" owes a slight debt to this early version of hormonal bop. The object of the attention in his film: Lee Remick, who was almost as much of a “baby doll” as another Tennessee Williams favorite, Carroll Baker.

    Rushing to get their platters to the disc jockeys and the juke boxes, Sil Austin and Marty Wilson (and the Strat-o-Lites) each offered bombastic versions of "Hey! Eula," loaded with bump and grind. You get both of those below, as well as the Alex North original soundtrack take. 

     Not too many people cared that there were words (by old-timer Sammy Cahn). One who did, was the legendary British writer-comedian Barry Cryer. It's on the flip-side of his notorious cover version of “Purple People Eater.” And guess what, Cryer’s a good wailer! Just why he didn’t end up recording more rave-ups, silly or straight, well, “I’m sorry, I haven’t a clue.” 

    There have not been too many songs immortalizing the name “Eula,” which seems to nestle between the extremes of “Beulah” and “Ulalume.” Beulah is a well known Southern name most often associated with black women, notably the big fat maid played by Louise Beavers on her own early sitcom. Yes, before Diahann Carroll’s “Julia,” here was a TV show starring a black woman. But the PC brigade doesn’t want anyone to remember it because she played a domestic. 

      On the other side, there’s “Ulalume,” which is best known as the name of dead woman immortalized in a grim poem by Edgar A. Poe. He also wrote "Eulalie," another variation on the cognomen. Ah, yes, I know, I digress. And so I end this "Eula" eulogy. So just dig the download, as the hepsters say. You know, “Dig!” “Enjoy! “DL!” “Cheers!” Only here, those dopey phrases are despised, and so is the phrase “and please donate via my Paypal Tip Jar, so I can get paid while the artists don't." Nah, that's really criminal and "without pity."

"Barry, you start. Give us EULA with Lyrics." BARRY CRYER

Alex North Soundtrack Version



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