Saturday Single No. 15

Originally posted June 9, 2007

Well, I had a little fun yesterday, trying to figure out just what the heck I had found.

After I wrote about Jerry Lee Lewis and his Southern Roots album, I went to the stacks and pulled out my copy of Petula Clark’s Memphis. It looks like it’s in pretty good shape, so I mentally made it a prime candidate for posting one of these days. And then – having gotten into the mood to hear some Petula – I went to the RealPlayer.

There wasn’t much there. I had her version of “Windmills of Your Mind” from Portrait of Petula and the song “Who Am I” from Colour My World/Who Am I. No “Downtown”. No “Don’t Sleep in the Subway”. None of the major hits. Hmmm.

Sometimes that happens. Sometimes I’ve entirely missed on the hit catalog of an artist I do enjoy but obviously think about rarely. And I do like “Downtown” and the other hits of hers. (“Downtown” actually reminds me of a New Year’s Eve spent at Rick’s house, probably as 1964 turned into 1965. We were playing a game, I would guess, and down the hall his older sister was entertaining some friends. Every twenty minutes or so, the sound came down the hallway of Petula trying to persuade the world to go downtown.)

Having found a gap in the collection, I went out into the wilds of the ’Net to find mp3s of Petula Clark’s work. (I have her greatest hits on vinyl, and I could have ripped that. It seemed like a lot of work at the moment.) And in short order, I found them: “Downtown,” “Don’t Sleep in the Subway,” “A Sign Of The Times,” and a few more. I also found what was tagged as Petula and Euro megastar Demis Roussos performing “Summer Wine” as a duet.

That took me a bit aback. It seemed an odd pairing. Roussos didn’t go solo until the early 1970s, after the demise of the group Aphrodite’s Child. And although she was still recording in the early 1970s, Clark would not have been – I thought – a hot choice for a duet single at that time. Still the recording was nice. The female vocal sounded like Petula, to my ears, and the production had touches of what seemed to me the sound of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

So, when was it recorded? And what were the label and the catalog number? I won’t say the research is as important as the music, but it is important to me to be able to document the source of a song. If it’s an album cut, then that’s easy: I check All-Music Guide or any of the various reference books I have here. I don’t worry about catalog numbers for albums. If it was released as a single, well, for the most part, it’s easy, too, as I have multiple reference books that list American singles that hit the Top 40. And for those albums and singles released elsewhere in the world, I’ve become pretty adept at sorting through the data on the ’Net, using Google and a few of the links I posted here yesterday.*

But there wasn’t much out there about a “Summer Wine” duet between Petula Clark and Demis Roussos. I found a few things on YouTube showing the two singers’ photographs as the music played underneath, edited into the much more recent live version of the song by the Corrs and Bono of U2.

Other than that, there was really nothing else out there, which seemed odd to me. So at mid-morning, I went to a forum where I post frequently and asked if anyone there had any information. One of the other forum members noted that “Summer Wine” was listed on Roussos’ 1998 CD called Greater Love. I took a look at AMG and clicked the link to hear a sample. It wasn’t the same production, and the running time was 4:24; the performance I was tracking was clocked at 3:46.

To my mind, that meant that Roussos had also recorded the song as a solo performance, most likely sometime after recording the duet. I dug for answers on and off the rest of the day, taking breaks to do essential tasks but always being drawn back into the hunt, nagged by the feeling that I was missing something obvious. But there was still very little information out there about a Clark-Roussos duet. So I gave up for a few hours and did other things.

Late last night, about thirteen hours after I began my research, another habitué of the forum posted some links she’d found. Included was a link to the same AMG list of Roussos’ performances of “Summer Wine” I’d already seen, the list that led me to the solo recording with the running time of 4:24. But what I’d missed in that list the first time were two recordings with running times of 3:44. I clicked on one of those listings, the one for the album The Singles+, and then clicked the icon for a sample. It was the duet!

And when I clicked the link to go to that album, it listed “Summer Wine” as having a vocal from one Nancy Boyd.

It wasn’t Petula after all. Now, I wasn’t surprised at the misidentification on the original mp3 I found. After all, there are plenty of errors out there on the ’Net, especially where music is concerned. I’ve seen the Cowsills credited with recording “Windy,” which is generally misspelled “Wendy.” And, of course, lots of sources for mp3s out there have Leon Redbone singing “Come and Get Your Love” and “The Witch Queen of New Orleans.” I could list many more, but the point is: Accuracy and attention to detail are often in short supply.

It didn’t take long after that to find some information (and a picture of the single’s sleeve, which showed both Roussos and Nancy Boyd; she does look vaguely like Petula Clark). The song was recorded in 1986, and a website that sells old singles identified it as BR Music single 56023, a Dutch release that was credited “Demis Roussos, featuring Nancy Boyd.” (It was no doubt released in numerous other countries as well.)

But wait! The page at, where I found a picture of the sleeve, says that the single has a running time of 4:25, equivalent to the running time of the recording that I classified as Roussos performing solo. I compared the two recordings again. They still sounded clearly like different productions. And the running time of the duet I had matched the running time of the duet on the album The Singles+.

So what do I have? As Friday ended and Saturday began, I sorted through the information I had. And I came to the conclusion that, when the duet was selected for inclusion on The Singles+ and the other two Roussos anthologies I found listed, it was edited from 4:25 down to 3:44. And that’s the version I found while wandering the nooks and crannies of the ’Net yesterday.

I still think the production sounds like something from the early 1970s, but it’s from 1986. And the mp3 I have, I have decided, is a 2003 edit of that 1986 Dutch single BR Music 56023, “Summer Wine” by Demis Roussos, featuring Nancy Boyd. And that’s today’s Saturday Single.

Demis Roussos, featuring Nancy Boyd – “Summer Wine” [1986 release, 2003 Edit]

*I did not repost the list of reference links here in the archive blog. That list is now outdated, with many of the links going dead – and new sources having been added – in the past four years. I may soon publish an updated list of links I use for research at the main Echoes In The Wind site. [Note added April 22, 2011.]



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