‘Winter’s (Still) Here’

We had a nine-inch snowfall a couple of weeks ago. Last weekend, we had a couple of days of snow and freezing rain that turned the front sidewalk into an icy canal and the driveway into a bobsled run. We were hoping we might be done with snow and ice.

But it’s March in Minnesota, so we should have known better. The forecast for the next few days calls for more sleet and snow, so I’ll be shoveling some more, no doubt, as well as casting salt upon the glacier that’s forming along the east side of the driveway. And as the sleet rattles off the windows over the weekend, we’ll be cozy inside, with the Texas Gal no doubt thinking about planting, watering and harvesting from her garden next summer, and me likely looking forward to an summertime evening or two in a lawn chair, with the Texas Gal and a cold beer to keep me company.

In the meantime, here are a few tunes about the season that’s still hanging around.

Pianist Bill Pursell only got two records into the Billboard pop charts, so I didn’t recognize his name when I came across it this morning. But it took only about two bars of his “Our Winter Love” to recognize the record. I no doubt heard it on Minneapolis’ WCCO during February and March in 1963, when it went to No. 9 on the pop chart, No. 4 on the AC chart and No. 20 on the R&B chart. (Purcell’s album Our Winter Love went to No. 28 on the strength of the title tune.) I have idea how long it’s been since I heard the record, but as it played this morning, I knew it very well. But then, it’s the kind of thing the nine-year-old whiteray would have liked very much.

Tommy Roe’s name brings to my mind a number of silly hits including “Dizzy” and “Jam Up Jelly Tight.” That’s why I was a little startled a few years ago when I came across Roe’s 1967 album It’s Now Winters Day, a piece of work that I enjoyed very much. Released in late 1966 after the success of the slight Top Ten singles “Sweet Pea” and “Hooray For Hazel,” the reflective ballad “It’s Now Winters Day” went only to No. 23. Being a ballad guy (in at least one of my guises), I’d have preferred things to be the other way around. But that’s just me.

During the summer of 1963, Robin Ward’s girlish single “Wonderful Summer” went to No. 14 (No. 23 R&B). Early in 1964, Dot released her follow-up, “Winter’s Here.” Nicely done though it was, the single didn’t catch on and peaked at only No. 123. It was Ward’s last appearance on the charts, and it remains a sweet record.

Album and song title corrected since first posting.

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3 Responses to “‘Winter’s (Still) Here’”

  1. Larry Grogan says:

    It’s Now Winters Day is a remarkable “lost” album. Roe worked on it with Curt Boettcher (Sagittarius, the Millennium) who did all the vocal arrangements and produced (with Steve Clark).

  2. Yah Shure says:

    I didn’t care at all for “It’s Now Winters Day” (there’s no apostrophe in “Winters” on the 45’s label) back in early ’67; it stood out like a sore thumb in the top-40 radio environment. To be sure, it was an interesting song (double-negative “minus ten below” gaffe aside) but it wasn’t a strong single contender. Wee Gee charted the record for only five weeks, yanking it shortly after its #14 peak. “Winters” fared a bit better over in St. Paul, notching two weeks at number nine on KDWB. Nowadays, I like the record a lot, but still not as much as “Sweet Pea” and “Hazel.” Silly 2, Ballad 1.

    Thanks for posting the Robin Ward record, which I hadn’t heard before. Sounds like Perry Botkin, Jr. was on board once again.

  3. porky says:

    Can’t find it now but in the early days of the internet someone slowed down a recording of “Wonderful Summer”-the bridge actually (we strolled along the sand etc.) and pointed out how it sounded exactly like something off “Pet Sounds.” And it did.

    I love the Bill Pursell tune; he was a second-tier Nashville A-Team keyboardist.

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