The Drifters “Answer The Phone” (Atlantic 2268-B, 1965)
One of the difficulties of relating any song about the technology surrounding telephone calls is that most are remarkably dated. From “Beechwood 4-5-7-8-9” from 1962 or “Mr Telephone Man” in 1984, so many things have gone the way of the rotary dial.
But avoiding calls is timeless. At least in this instance The Drifters are trying to solve a very very lonely Saturday night in the big city. It uses so many of the elements that made the “Sixties” Drifters records so timeless, but dated by early 1965. The big Baion beat records of 1959 through 1962 had long passed out of favor after the march of Motown and the construction of the Wall of Sound.
However, it ranks as one of their best later performances and one of Johnny Moore’s most kick ass leads. Surprisingly, it did get lifted off their then current LP and saw yeomen service on a 1965 single. As a delightful, remarkably intimate throwback, it still brings the charms more than a half century later.
And take note of the moaning Call & Response waaaay in the background.