The Roots Canal: I Surrender! I Surrender!Calvin Boze -- Safronia B
One of the all-time great songs. The ultimate one-hit wonder of the early R&B era. Think Louie, Louie. Dirty Water. But with class. Lots and lots and lots of class.
Calvin Boze was a Louis Jordan wannabe of the late 40s/early 50s who somehow put it all together for one near-perfect song. Only near-perfect, because of the really, really silly falsetto refrain of "I surrender! I surrender!" that makes you laugh out loud with incredulity when you hear it for the first time. Then you listen over and over again, because you love the rest of the song so much and you almost convince yourself it's not actually stupid but really kind of cool and fits in the context of the times and you write it off to the esthetics of another era when people weren't as, well, sophisticated as they are now so they might have thought it was cool then, too. But no, you finally realize it must have sounded just as stupid then as it does now, and you're just going to have to overlook it because the rest of the song is perhaps the greatest single exemplar of that jumpin' moment when jazz met blues met boogie-woogie met gospel and they all had a bastard daughter who grew up to be rock'n'roll. Like that famous photo of the sailor kissing a girl in Times Square to celebrate the end of World War II. A fading snapshot of ephemera.
Calvin Boze was an unlikely conduit for such a magical moment. He was a journeyman trumpeter from Houston (his high school band included Illinois and Russell Jacquet and Arnett Cobb, and his college band included Charles Brown), who was part of the LA scene that produced so much great R&B. He recorded a few songs under his own name in 1945, but really flowered in a three-year period from 1949-1952. Safronia B was his only big hit, in 1950, although he had a few other memorable songs. He did a version of Lawdy Miss Clawdy a year before Lloyd Price, and also a great song called Looped in 1952 that immediately spawned several covers. And that was it. He was pretty much never heard from again. Safronia B was re-released a few years later but was already too "old-fashioned" for the teenagers who had taken over rock'n'roll.
[The Complete Recordings, 1945 - 1952]