Pop Archives

Maria Dallas - Ambush (1967)

(Bobbie Jo Brown - Elizabeth Ann Brown [aka Dude Brown])
NZ artist, recorded in USANZ artist, recorded in USA NZ artist, recorded in USA
Original version
#19 Sydney #12 Melbourne #4 Brisbane

Single on RCA Victor [USA] and Viking [New Zealand & Australia] by popular New Zealand singer from Morrinsville (b. Marina Devcich, 1946).

Ambush was not among her five charting singles in New Zealand 1966-1970, the biggest of which was Pinocchio (1970, #1  NZ).

Maria Dallas was also quite popular in Australia where she worked for a while before going to the USA. In addition to Ambush, which charted in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, her first single Tumblin’ Down (1966, #11 NZ) was a minor hit in Sydney, and she had two other charting singles in Brisbane. As a bonus, You Don’t Treat Me Right (1968, #21 NZ, #11 Brisbane) co-charted in Brisbane with its B-side It’s Such A Pretty World Today, a cover of the Wynn Stewart US country hit.

Ambush was recorded in Nashville with Felton Jarvis (1934-1981), a notable producer known for his work with many big names including Elvis Presley. It was also on the 1967 album Maria Dallas In Nashville.

So, Where Did They Get That Song?  That is the premise of this website, after all.

The brief answer is that the song was probably a fresh one, given to Maria Dallas at RCA in Nashville. I haven’t found any earlier versions, so for now this seems to be the original release of Ambush. (The song was copyrighted in May 1967 and Maria’s version came out in August.)

Beyond that… I’ve searched widely and creatively for any hints about who the writers may have been. I have only their names, Bobbie Jo Brown and Elizabeth Ann Brown, and two meagre repertoires at BMI where they have four songs each. Two of those are collaborations – Ambush and Since You’ve Gone – so that’s six songs between them, but at least three of those appear to be misattributions(see box).

King Of Stage, attributed at BMI to Bobbie Jo Brown, is a ring-in. It is clearly the work of the R&B-soul-pop singer Bobby Brown (b. 1969). This sort of error isn’t unknown at BMI: see my summary of how BMI mixed up multiple Bob Wilsons.

Bundles For Britain is listed under Elizabeth Ann Brown as a collaboration with Joseph Pepe. This song is from 1941 (Bundles For Britain was a US aid charity), and BMI has confused her with Pepe’s songwriting partner Elizabeth Thorne Brown.

Just For A While, listed at BMI as a collaboration between Elizabeth Ann Brown and Oskar Geiger, is an English version of Nur eine Nacht, Geiger’s Opus 52, published in Germany in 1920, full title Nur eine Nacht sollst du mir gehören [tr. ‘Only one night should you own me’]. Elizabeth Brown’s title Just For A While had appeared soon after on a 1921 version on Parlophone by Marek Weber & His Famous Orchestra, recorded in Berlin and released on British Parlophone. So yes, two different Elizabeth Browns again, but if I’m wrong, apologies to Elizabeth Ann for doubting her versatility and longevity.

Another of Bobbie Jo’s BMI songs, He’s All We Need, could be on a 1972 album by Sons Of Truth, a Detroit-formed gospel-funk band. A band member called Bobbie Brown is credited with writing the track He’s All We Need. Same Bobbie? Or another BMI misattribution?

Teresa Brewer recorded Ambush (see below) but Since You’ve Gone on her album Heart-Touching Love Songs (1985) is not the other Bobbie JoElizabeth Ann collaboration. It’s the Smokey Rogers song Gone, a country hit for Ferlin Husky (1956).

There is one odd detail: Elizabeth Ann Brown also used the name Dude Brown (or was it vice versa?). If you search at BMI for Brown, Dude and Brown, Elizabeth Ann, you’ll reach the same four songs. Good luck searching with Google, though, and the same goes for newspaper archives and music databases.

My guess is that the Browns were talented amateurs who got slightly lucky with one song. Amateurs or pros, the names could be pseudonyms, a common enough phenomenon in music publishing.

Whoever these two were, they created a catchy song that was familiar on Australian radio in the late 60s. That brisk, rhythmic line that ends verse and chorus always stood out for its inventiveness. Your kissin’ leavin’ good-time days are dead. Nice work!

Reference: 1. Catalog of Copyright Entries: Third series (1968 edition: see screenshot above). The publisher, Acclaim Music in Nashville, was a part of Jim Reeves Enterprises. 2. For further references and information on the Browns’ BMI song lists email me.

Further reading: 1. Maria Dallas story at Bruce Sergent’s NZ Music site. 2. Maria Dallas profile at NZ music site Audio Culture.

Thanks to Terry Stacey for starting this off.

Teresa Brewer - Ambush (1975)

(Bobbie Jo Brown - Elizabeth Ann Brown [aka Dude Brown])
Later version

On Signature album Unliberated Woman by versatile pop-country-jazz-novelty singer (Theresa Breuer, 1931-2007) who was often on the US charts 1950-1960. Her biggest hits were Till I Waltz Again with You (1952, #1 USA), and the song she is most identified with, Music, Music, Music (1950, #1) with its familiar refrain Put another nickel in, in the nickelodeon.