Monday, April 04, 2005

The Object of My Affection

Gentle readers; in my recent examination, extrapolation and review of lyrics, I have come across a mystery which, for a change, may only be solved by reverting to that mightiest of institutions, the Library. The subject which has exposed the internet for the fast but often superficial information fix that it is? Jimmie Greer.

Jimmie Greer wrote, or co-wrote, several songs in the 1930s depression era, including, Stay Sweet As You Are, What's the Reason (I'm Not Pleasin' You?) (Jimmie Greer / Coe H. Poe / Pinky Tomlin) and my personal favourite, The Object of My Affection. He may have written Here or There (Greer / Davis), but that might have been Sonny Greer, Duke Ellington's drummer. He is connected to Fats Waller's 1930s outfit, and Bing Crosby somehow. I've worked out that it definitely wasn't Jim Greer, Jim Greer or Jim Greer the A.I. computer scientist, whose smiling face is featured above. Thanks, Jim, for standing in at a moment's notice.

One problem with internet research is that it favours any modern Jim Greer over a pre-internet era Jimmie Greer, whatever the cultural value. Keyword searches are weighted so much by contemporary popularity, or in other words, by what every fool wants to ramble on about and commit to web for whatever reason these days, that they bring up a million results that have nothing to do with Jimmie (Songwriter of the 1930s) Greer and his life.

In my soon-to-be-well-known book "Top 811 Guiding Principles of Being Creative" (Pan Fried Publishing, 2005), number 3 is: personal connection. The mindbone must be personally connected to the handbone, and the handbone must be personally connected to the penbone (or keyboardbone), and the penbone must be personally connected to the subjectbone, and then and only then, anyone hear the word of Lord. Sadly though, although his songs connect with me and my life, I don't hear any word about Jimmie, from the Lord or otherwise, and so, for now, here at the Blog of Funk, this ignorance will remain lamented, even as his songs continue to be celebrated and sung.

Songs generally sell well in a depression. When the shit hits the fan, the share prices plummet, and the economy takes a dive without a breath and doesn't come back up, then songs are sometimes all we have to keep us from despair. Songwriters know all about this. There are a few individuals in the songwriters' fraternity who write smash hits and never need work again, but believe me, these are the exceptions, and for every one of those numinous beings, there are ten thousand grafting away at the songfactory. Even a huge hit doesn't avoid the financial ruination of the taxman, unwise choices of leisure activity, and that expensive marriage / divorce, and many is the time I have heard of, and known, surprisingly wealthy songwriters being on their uppers once again. The rollercoaster of the economy exactly matches the ups and downs of the creative life.

One such time, long, long ago, I was in a period of pretty much dire poverty and I could only afford to buy junk shop vinyl. I like to browse these places anyway, looking for lost gems, and paying 50 pence for a masterpiece, so it wasn't a bad experience for me. Just the lack of cash and zero opportunity for making any was grinding. In any case, I came across a Stereo Fidelity Record, manufactured by Miller International Co., Media, Penn., USA - Songs That Brought Sunshine Into The Depression by the Hollywood Sound Stage Chorus, including this chirpy and gorgeous number by Jimmie "Gimme" Greer.

Six months later I had sampled it and was sitting with Paul from Morcheeba in Capitol Records, London, playing our tune to an A&R man, but that's another story.

In that recession of '92, I had sampled the recording but not really heard it. Years later, richer times, as I picked throught the scattered shards of a too brittle scene that had fallen and shattered, I re-found that LP. It's sweet lilt and innocence finally seduced me now the bird had flown, and with it my hopes. The lyrics of this song echoed in my mind as loud as a bankrupt's larder.

I am a funky phoenix. I danced out of the flames moving my butt adroitly and with some enthusiasm, until the fire was embers, and ready for the cooking pot.

The Object of My Affection

The object of my affection
Can change my complexion
From white to rosy red
Anytime he holds my hand and tells me that he's mine

There are many boys who can thrill me
And some who can chill me
But I'll just hang around
And keep acting like a clown
Until he says he's mine

Now I'm not afraid that he'll leave me
He's not the kind who takes a dare
But instead I trust him implicitly
He can go where he wants to go
Do what he wants to do
I don't care

Repeat:
The object of my affection
Can change my complexion
From white to rosy red
Anytime he holds my hand and tells me that he's mine


Jimmie "Who IS He?" Greer

NB: If anyone can enlighten me as to Jimmie Greer and the particulars of his life, I'd be very grateful. If Blogger comments are not working as per usual, please send email to deek[dot]deekster[at]gmail[dot]com.

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2 Comments:

At 9:39 PM, Blogger Jim Martinez quoth...

I enjoyed your blog on Jimmy 'Greer'. However, the spelling is incorrect, which is why you can't find anything. The correct spelling is "Grier'. Here's a little something on him:
www.imdb.com/name/nm0340942

By the way, last night I relased a new Jazz CD at a concert...a woman that came says her dad actually wrote "The Object Of My Affection" with Pinky Tomlin. However, her dad sold the rights to Pinky and it was re-written to be sung as a fox trot at dances. Interesting, huh? Here dad's name was Chuck Roberts/Chuck Eichinger (before WWII). Take care! Jim
www.jimmartinez.com

 
At 7:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous quoth...

Coy Poe, my cousin, and dear old friend, told me he co-wrote the song "The Object of My Affection", with Jimmy, Coy, and Pinky Tomlin. They were good pals and shared in creating this song. Coy Poe continued in the entertainment field by producing pre-game baseball shows. He was a good friend and is missed very much.

 

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