For those who haven’t heard it yet… Eden Ahbez penned a rollicking’ piece of rock-exotica titled “Wild Boy” (Sierra Records) in 1959 for Rocky Holman/Mort Wise and the Wisemen.
Have a listen here:
A little background on Wise:
During the 1950s, clarinetist Mort Weiss recorded under the moniker “Mort Wise,” which, says Weiss, “I went by for about six or seven years.” Out with his Wisemen band, Weiss played rattling jazz/rockabilly tunes like Ahbez‘s “Wild Boy” in clubs and dance halls around Hollywood, as well as casinos in Las Vegas and Reno. (Can you imagine? Ahhhh!!!!)
Of the Ahbez collaboration, Weiss recalls, “Rocky Holman was my Elvis lookalike lead singer, and guitarist. Oh, on ‘Wild Boy,’ that’s me on tenor sax and making all of the jungle sounds.”
In the comments section under this YouTube clip, Weiss is less approving of the tune, saying, “I put this piece of shit together back in the day–when I was Mort Wise.”
In an interview with All About Jazz, from 2012, Weiss notes, “I also recorded (on clarinet) part of a serious album of Eden’s, called Eden’s Island (Del-Fi Records, 1960).” He also gives more detail on who this Rocky Holman character was.
“My singer Holman,” Weiss recalls, “who gets top billing on the record, as the agency that I was working for—WAM World Artist Management—was footing the bills for all the above… put Holman and me together, and he became one of the Wisemen.”
“Rocky was a sex maniac,” he continues. “Wherever we were working—no matter the type of venue—during our breaks/intermissions he’d be prowling around, scoring chicks for later that evening. The problem was that by the end of the gig he’d have three or four lined up at various key points of the building—front door, mezzanine, parking lot and other places.”
“Many nights,” concludes Weiss, “he would make his escape (with one or two or three of the ladies) in his high powered car—sometimes with irate boyfriends and/or husbands in pursuit—ultimately leading them to our hotel or where ever we were staying at the time, but we were all so freakin’ high and stoned on whatever, that it used to turn into a great party, usually with the police breaking things up at about daybreak. Yet, let’s back up a few hours and picture about 10 to 15 stoned out people in a hotel room. Rocky was in his element under those conditions.”
Anyhoo… it’s not uncommon to find older artists that worked on pop-novelty tunes with Ahbez, in the aftermath of “Nature Boy,” to put said works down. Alas, “Wild Boy” is, at Weiss noted, not serious music. But it IS pretty WILD rock ‘n’ roll by any standard!!!
Have a listen. You might just agree!