As a piece of material, ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’ by John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkens is pretty much indestructible. When I first stumbled upon this clip from a 1969 ‘Hollywood Palace’, featuring a Barrie Chase dance set to the song, I had high hopes. Alas, they seem to have forced Ms. Chase to sing as well as dance–I guess I was expecting something a little more creatively out-there, perhaps a choral group rocking the lyric as Barrie did her thing…which apparently wasn’t singing. A lot of the dance works (you have to get past the vocal section) though she’s hampered by a chorus line of male dancers who appear under-rehearsed, at least when viewed against the poised and always point-perfect Barrie.
Yesterday I posted Barrie and Dick Shawn doing their wack dance from ‘It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World.’ I’m skirting around the fact that she was best known for being A) Fred Astaire’s dance partner on his television specials of the 50s and 60s and B) the woman who Robert Mitchum beats up in ‘Cape Fear’–her performance in that film is quite haunting. Her career was more varied than just those two things (which are all most people know about her). Perhaps we’ll get to those. Meanwhile, this clip is a definite curio and worth a look. If nothing else it will likely provoke you to a listen of Dusty Springfield’s recording, which will happily alter your mood no matter what news you’ve most recently heard about the world we live in.