Music News

Mel Smith: Yes Love (1961?) b/w Peter Roberts & The Cliff Dwellers: The Ho-Ho Laughing Monster (1962)

Came across the A-side of this fantastic reissue courtesy of stellar site TITTYSHAKERS (potentially NSFW depending on your job, the site features no nudity, though it's obviously on the risque side).

The site features the kind of sleazy cuts that would have been heard in the 50s and 60s, totally obscure plates like this one from Mel Smith and Peter Roberts & The Cliff Dwellers, who's tunes have been combined by Rock-A-Bye (you can get copies over at Piccadilly Records) for this reissue.

Very little can be ascertained about the Cliff Dwellers side, other than what you gain from listening to it. It's a wacky novelty tune featuring Roberts weezing and cracking up at the mic while the Cliff Dwellers push some hard sax behind him. I can't imagine an exotic dancer actually dancing to it, but it's demented fun.

Mel Smith has a little bit more flesh to his backstory, and his cut "Yes Love" is the real reason to hear this record. It's a pure organ grinder, with Smith's incredible vocal over the top. Seriously, this is some roaring stuff. Smith, not to be confused with the British comedian, lived in Atlanta, and recorded a number of sides for RCA before fronting the Nite Riders in Philadelphia, who did some great songs as well, including the burning "Little Plaid Skirt."

Details: Mel Smith, "Yes Love," believed to be recorded in 1961 for Cherry Records (Haven't uncovered the b-side "Honkers Dream," yet) and Peter Roberts & The Cliff Dwellers, "The Ho-Ho Laughing Monster" recorded for the Liza label in 1962.

Google Search Reveals: Black Cat Rockabilly has a great bio on Melvin Smith, and Wang Dang Dula has a pretty extensive discography on him. This YouTube video was most helpful in figuring out anything about The Cliff Dwellers.

Who Bought This: Hard to say. Original copies of either record are incredibly scarce.


Peter Roberts & Cliff Dwellers-The Ho-Ho Laughing Monster by OBSCURO

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.