Well here’s a first. An appearance on these pages by Tin Pan Alley’s master Irving Berlin. But I’ll bet he never in his wildest dreams thought How Deep Is The Ocean would be interpreted like this. But thanks to Bobby Valentino’s anguished vocal – just check out those howls and the hurt he brings out towards the ending rap – it becomes a tasty deep soul piece. They’ve changed the chords around a bit and of course the fact that Valentino sings all around the melody almost makes it unrecognisable from the torch song covered by Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and so on. Fortunately.
My copy came from a Cleveland distributor - did the 45 originate there as well?
UPDATE ~ Davie Gordon writes to say that Lita was a West Coast label. I'm grateful as always for Davie's knowledge and expertise.
FURTHER UPDATE ~ My great friend Greg Burgess writes that he might have solved the mystery of Valentino's identity. "He's actually Bob Relf who also recorded as Bobby Garrett on Mirwood and who was later one half of Bob and Earl." Greg may well be right - Relf certainly recorded as "Valentino & The Lovers". Can anybody confirm this brilliant piece of sleuthing?
NEW UPDATE ~ Mike Paikos kindly write to confirm Greg's views. "Bobby Valentino is Bobby Relf for sure. In 1962, J. J. Jones (former Ebb Records A&R man) introduced him to me in San Diego. J. J. Jones was pushing his new Lita label." I'm very grateful to Mike for getting in touch.
Special delivery / How deep is the ocean ~ LITA 1003 (1962)