I’m old enough to remember Lawson’s convenience stores. As kids, my cousins and I walked to the Lawson’s at the corner of Madison and Elmwood for ice cream and candy on summer afternoons. Good memories.
But apparently I’m too young to recall the catchy radio and television jingle Lawson’s cooked up about their express orange juice delivery service.
The musicians in local punk band 2 Bobs haven’t forgotten the chain’s “Roll On, Big O!” song. In fact, they’ve just given it a punk makeover, committing their version of the quirky commercial to vinyl for posterity’s sake—and in the interest of good old fashioned fun.
Released last week for Record Store Day 2014, Smog Veil’s limited-edition 7” pressing of 2 Bobs’ “Papa Oom Mow Mow” finds four Cleveland stalwarts waxing nostalgic on a pair of covers whose original incarnations left indelible impressions in the minds of just about every North Coast resident who came of age in the ‘60s. Formed in the ‘80s by all-star players from other notable punk groups, the 2 Bobs played the club circuit and cut a full-length LP (I’m With Stupid) for Eldo Farms Records in 1991, but then called it a day.
The guys—Scott “Cheese” Borger (Pink Holes), Freddy Pants (Satan’s Satellites, Pink Holes), Bob Richey (Pagans), and Bob Sablack (The Plague, Defnics)—reconvened last year specifically to rehearse and record the TV tunes. The new 45 is available exclusively at My Mind’s Eye Records in Lakewood and Blue Arrow Records in North Colinwood.
There are only a couple hundred copies of “Papa” / “Roll On” out there, so get yours while you can. It’ll be a Cleveland collector’s item someday; there are no plans for re-pressings or digital downloads.
Where “Roll On, Big O!” touted Lawson’s rapid transport of citrusy goodness from the Sunshine State, “Papa Oom Mow Mow” received regular airplay on the Ghoulardi-hosted “Shock Cinema” on WJW-TV. The head-scratching novelty tune was originally recorded in ’62 by The Rivingtons (whose sole other claim to fame was the similarly weird dance track “The Bird’s the Word”) and has since been covered by The Beach Boys, The Freshmen, and even The Muppets. Here, the nonsense-syllable song is given the garage rock treatment by 2 Bobs, whose dirty, distorted guitars and snarky vocals give the now-quaint cut a sinister musical edge (a la vintage Misfits) and contemporary comedic punch. The guys even inject a bit of 21st Century slang for added bite:
“The funniest sound I ever heard, but I couldn’t understand a f@cking word!” they growl.
A verse in the Lawson’s song likewise receives a subtle shift, with the 2 Bobs referring to the Lawson’s truckers as “guys” instead of men. It just sounds less stuffy—and more blue collar—that way:
“One guy sleeps, the other guys drives,” reads the new lyric. “Roll on, Big-O! Get that juice up to Lawson’s in forty hours.”
The reinterpretation is bright and peppy, with Borger thumping his bass over Freddy Pants’ snappy kick-drum and snare—but the delivery timetable presented in the verse raises a few questions. See, we’ve driven from Cleveland to Florida’s southernmost points on at least two occasions (and will do so again in June), and it doesn’t take forty hours (round-trip, maybe). A one-way trip takes less than half that time, which means Lawson’s finest weren’t as expedient as “Roll On” might’ve suggested.
So what were drivers doing with the other 18-20 hours? Hmmm….maybe they were punks, too.
Snatch your copy of 2 Bobs now, assuming you can find any left at the two stores. Smog Veil will offer remaining copies via their website in May (link below).
My Mind’s Eye Records, 16010 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood OH 44107 (this new location is across the street from where the old Detroit Theatre used to be).
Blue Arrow Records. 16001 Waterloo Road, Cleveland OH 44110 (just east of Beachland Ballroom).http://bluearrowrecords.com/
Smog Veil Records