The Boat That I Roe
I'd never even heard of Tom-
my Roe until I saw 1999's Je-
sus' Son, which gives pride of
place to "Sweet Pea." I was
vaguely familiar with "Dizzy,"
but his name didn't ring any
bells. It was just one of those
tunes that turned up on the ra-
dio from time to time. And al-
ways sounded good. For some reason, it got stuck in my head
this weekend, so I dropped by YouTube to see if I could find
any videos, and discovered this duo (there are several others).
Those Dr. Suess-like balloon clusters make this clip complete.
The men don't know, but the little girls understand.
Roe had a few hits in his day, but he's lost the name recognition of
the Archies, 1910 Fruitgum Co., and most of the usual bubblegum
suspects. I couldn't say why. He added funk beats to his sweet mel-
odies that made them as perfect for the dance floor as the transis-
tor. "Sweet Pea," for instance, sounds like the Troggs' "Any Way
That You Want Me" combined with James Brown's "Funky
Drummer." It is, in other words, the perfect pop song.
Endnote: Check out that cheesy cover. Such poor marketing
is doing Roe's rep no favors. As for the post header, it referen-
ces another '60s song, Neil Diamond's "The Boat That I Row."
Love his version and Lulu's lively cover. Image from Jango.