The homoerotic subtext of the songs of Guy Mitchell has not to my knowledge been the subject of a detailed analysis, but I think it should be.
If that doesn't attract the attention of some of you flicking through Hype Machine I don't know what will.
Before the Guy Mitchell Trust or any lawyers out there start getting excitable, I am not for a moment suggesting that Guy was anything other than the thrice married All-American pop crooner of Croatian origin that he appeared to be. Nor am I casting aspersions on his producer, the legendary Mitch Miller, who sadly passed away last month at the grand old age of 99 - although I was interested to note that early in his career he was an enthusiastic player of the oboe - or the different songwriters involved.
Nonetheless, when you hear two songs opening with the lines "I love the sea, I love the navy" ("Pretty Little Black Eyed Susie") and "As I cruised out one evening" ("The Roving Kind") you have to wonder whether there is some sort of agenda. To my normally innocent ears the latter song, which takes the form of an extended and rather tortuous maritime analogy, appears to describe an encounter with a transvestite. Guy meets what he believes to be "a proper girl" who turns out to be "rigged up in a disguise". At the end of the song this individual makes him "walk the plank" and then "pushed me under too". One can only imagine what depraved practices those terms are meant to imply.
[While on the subject, I was recently approached in a bar by an individual who asked if I would let them "lick the brown pelican". I have no idea what this means but it sounded revolting so I declined. If any of you can shed any light on this - without scandalising my more respectable readers - that would be greatly appreciated.]
Anyway, back to Guy Mitchell. As with all conspiracy theories, once you buy into them you start seeing evidence to support them everywhere. I believe "She Wears Red Feathers" may be another song about transvestitism - surely no "proper girl" in her right mind would be seen dead in red feathers and a hooly hooly skirt? The porn shop on the corner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is fairly self-explanatory. But Heaven only knows what putting another nickel in the nickelodeon entails.
Perhaps I am imagining all this. Judge for yourselves.
"The Roving Kind" - Guy Mitchell (1950)
"Pretty Little Black Eyed Susie" - Guy Mitchell (1953)
"She Wears Red Feathers" - Guy Mitchell (1953)
In all seriousness, I love these songs, and there's nothing funny about me. Unfortunately, there is nothing funny about Guy's attempt to carry out a comedy routine with Petula Clark either, but stick with it for the singing.