Ah, the ’70s…
Digby Richards is an artist who was featured in a previous Song of the day doin’ the Spunky Monkey. “Do The Spunky Monkey” was groovy (think Swinging Sixties), but Digby’s song in this particular musical coincidence is also groovy, but in a different way (think hippies).
Digby had begun his career as a 50’s rocker and then became a 60’s rocker. By the 70’s, Digby had reinvented himself as a countrified singer-songwriter type of guy (think Glen Campbell). It was during this easygoing, man-of-the-land phase that he wrote, recorded, and released “New York City (Send My Baby Home)” (1973). About a year before that, though, Albert Hammond wrote (with Mike Hazlewood), recorded, and released “It Never Rains In Southern California” (1972). They both have verrrrry similar verses.
Compare and contrast:
Digby Richards – “New York City (Send My Baby Home)” (1973)
After yesterday’s mope-a-thon I thought we might get funky and “Do The Spunky Monkey” with Digby Richards (1974):
When I found out that “Do The Funky Monkey” was recorded in 1974, I simply didn’t believe it. It’s so groovy that the song sounds tailor-made for the Swingin’ 60’s. It’s that groovy.
Incidentally, Digby Richards had a rather varied career in the entertainment industry. He was born in 1941 and started singing in the late 50’s as a rock’n’roller (“Dig Richards” – love that name), then moved on to the 60’s as a crooner before disappearing for a while in the mid-60’s. He reappeared in the early 70’s as a peace-love-and-understanding artist (complete with extremely flaired collars) and, when that didn’t catch on (maybe it was the collars) he turned himself into a country artist. And Digby accomplished all of that before dying of pancreatic cancer at the age of 42 in 1983. He seems to be all but forgotten now (there’s not even a Wikipedia entry on him), but there are at least a few web pages dedicated to keeping his memory alive. He features on a Whatever happened to…? page, there’s a page dedicated to him on HowlSpace, but best of all is an entire Dig Richards website. And there’s a Facebook page for him now, too (“Dig Richards – Australia’s First Hep Cat“).
If you can’t get enough of Digby Richards (I’m glad there seems to be plenty of people out there who can’t), he also pops up on YouTube:
Digby Richards as 60’s crooner 1: “I’m Not The Marrying Kind”
Digby Richards as 60’s crooner 2: “Ecstasy”
Digby Richards as early 70’s artist 1: “A Little Piece Of Peace”
Digby Richards as early 70’s artist 2: “Just Lovin’ You”
Incidentally – and coincidentally – whilst looking for an image to accompanying this post, I stumbled upon the fabulous Tom Mix Music blog. It’s choc full o’ wonderful rare vinyl tracks including, believe it or not, a post on “Do The Spunky Monkey”.