One of my favorite audio blogs, Derek’s Daily 45, asked me to drop by a few weeks back. In fact, we ended up swapping posts. You can read (and listen) to Derek’s post HERE. Below is my quick contribution to his site. Thanks D!
“Dr. Strangelove” by Arthur Ponder
I first heard this on a mixtape years ago. “You know, that song where he says ‘Doctor Strangelove’ over and over in the chorus,” I’d ask people I knew. No one had info besides the occasional, “Does it have anything to do with the film?” “No,” I’d say.
This year I finally got it. I wish I could say I found it digging in Georgia somewhere, but it was Ebay. So here we are:
Arthur Ponder began his career singing with Johnny Jenkins, a left-handed guitarist and known influence on Jimi Hendrix who also played on Otis Redding’s early work. Not much info exists on Arthur himself, who recorded for Capricorn Records, a Georgian label founded in the late ‘60s known for spearheading Southern Rock led by their biggest signee, The Allman Brothers Band.
Arthur’s credited for additional vocals on other projects and also cut singles for Trey Records, another local Georgian label. He continually, albeit very quietly, put out material well into the ‘80s as far as I know.
I’ve since heard Arthur’s other work, but “Dr. Strangelove” is his defining opus: a song where he teeters on the verge of a nervous breakdown in the chorus, and where steady drums and a beautiful bassline propel the arrangement for roughly 3-minutes. The singing is so pained but the music’s so sunny. It was both written and produced by Eugene Davis. It’s killer Georgian soul, overtly filled with so many warm elements that can grab you. Hope you dig it.