The Blog of Less Renown, celebrating under-appreciated unusual, unique, sick or strange Singers, Songwriters and Songs
What turned one of the Little Rascals into a grown up sexy Lounge lizard? It probably had something to do with her marriage. Darla Hood divorced her insurance salesman hubby in 1957, and the ex-child star and most famous female of the "Our Gang" comedies, married record company exec Jose Granson the same year. Which was 1957, the year she recorded her first demi-hit, "I Just Wanna Be Free."
"My Quiet Village" arrived in 1959. Yes, the song was intended to cash in the rage for what we now call "exotica," the music that backpack-wearers now clamber over themselves to acquire, breaking their horn rims and breaking wind, as they hunker over musty cardboard boxes of albums in thrift shops or at nerd-events like the WFMU record fair.
Over at the Illfolks blog, a single track of the Martin Denny and Les Baxter stuff generally is enough for any given month, but if the music strays into the weirder territory of Yma Sumac's self-parody, or darling Darla, then maybe it's worth a second spin. But a third would be pushing it until another full moon has passed.
Darla's birthday is coming up soon (November 8, 1931 - June 13, 1979) which is another reason to post this oddity. So is the sad fact that up until this posting, Darla could not be found via a CaptainCrawl.com search:
"My Quiet Village" was originally released on the indie Ray Note label, and credited to Baxter-Leven (the sheet music gives the full names, Leslie Baxter and Mel Leven). Darla would follow "My Quiet Village" with "Silent Island," for which she supplied the lyrics. Billboard enthused, "ballad, chanted warmly by the chick to a lush backing featuring strings." But we'll leave that for another time, and somebody else's blog.