"Drop on By" Back Story
A Song's Circuitous Path to Finding a Home: A Tale of Two Bernadettes, One Bruce (times Three), Two Jims, One Peter, and My Dad
“Drop on By" was one of the first songs that I had a little success with, though it took, as I found out over time, the type of circuitous path a song often takes to get there. It was also one of the first songs we had signed to a major publisher, Peer Southern, back when yet another Bernadette (Bernadette O’Reilly) was at the helm. (Digression: Besides my wife, I know 3 other Bernadettes and there was actually a day I ran into ALL of them, so it was Bernadette Trifecta, plus one.). Anyway, two of these four Bernadettes got the news and were happy, and I really loved the fact that Peer had a lot of the Hoagy Carmichael catalogue as well as lots of quality current artists/hit songs. And the song was somewhat in the Hoagy tradition re a song that could work in a jazz/blues, even country.
When when we recorded what we thought was going to be demo, with Jimmy Norman, he sounded so perfect for it, I would have been happy to have it released under his name. (Jimmy worked with a lot of greats, including Hendrix, the Coasters and wrote songs recorded later by the Rolling Stones, However, this was years before his resurgance in NYC, and there was no album on tap).
The first day we were scheduled to record the vocal with Jimmy, I got a call that morning that my father had died suddenly. And thus we postponed it. I remember coming back to the city about a week later to record, still a bit shell-shocked, but the session did me good, and Peter, Jim and Jim were helped pick me my spirits up.
But anyway, a few weeks after Peer had the song, Bernadette O. got a call from Blue Note's Bruce Lundvall regarding Lou Rawl's next album, one that was going go back to more of his blues/standard roots. He told Bernadette they loved the song, and it was a “must” on the album. We waited with anticipation, they told us it was definitely "on" for about a month, then an eerie silence, then the label gave us the "sorry, changed directions" call. (As fate would have it, in the next ten years that happened twice involving full albums/different with Bruces' labels, but hell, even getting up in those offices was a boost of our spirits).
But back to accentuating the circuitous: Some years later, the song finally finds its first home in... you guessed it... Brazil. On a soundtrack. It did pretty well, though there's another story there I'll skip.
Regarding the lyric, I wish I could take “color tv” back just because I can’t imagine, even then back, anyone would still say "color tv" but I needed two syllables. Don't think "plasma" will cut it.
Co-written and produced by Peter Valentine & Jim Gately. It's Bobby Mallach on sax, Peter on piano, and not sure I recall who else!