Billy J. Kramer And The Dakotas – Little Children / Bad To Me
Vinyl 7” 45rpm, U.S., Reissue
In the Beatles empire in the early days of the British Invasion, Billy and his Dakotas were gifted with various songs by the Lennon/McCartney factory. Sort of an outlet that worked commercially, but also artful recordings by Billy & Co. including the talents of George Martin. But there is one non-Beatle song “Little Children” that I feel even went beyond the fab four. As I mentioned before I find a small percentage of Kramer's recordings to be haunted affairs. Of course I first heard them as a ten year old, but it has a lasting effect on me. And I still get goose-bumps listening to “Little Children.”
On one level I think of the great film “Night of the Hunter” when I hear this song now. The singer is basically trying to get the younger brother or sister to keep a secret that he's romancing the big sister. He will inncocently either give them money or take them to the cinema if they're good and won't tell on the couple. Or is even the big sister involved? There is a gothic darkness involved here, and reading the lyrics I think it's innocent, but Billy J. Kramer and the production convey something very un-nerving and unsettling. The thing is I was never put-off by the song, I was deeply attracted to its message, or what I thought was the message. The singer need to see his girlfriend without the prying eyes of the little children is almost fetish like desire. It is forbidden. Looking at it now it is a sister or little brother version of Elvis' great “Little Sister.” These two songs should be played one after the other.