August 11, 2010

As would-be Masters champion Roberto di Vicenzo was want to mutter, “What a stupid I am!”

There I was, at 4 AM last night, “tossing and turning”, when it occurred to me I left a damned good number of all-time (and I do mean all-time) favorite songs off my list. Of course, I was posting on a baker’s dozen, and you can’t have a list that people would start getting bored with, so maybe it’s better I have this follow-up list of great sings from the doo-wop/pop era of the late ’50s and early ’60s.

I mean, how on earth could I have forgotten….

..The Chantels, the forerunners of The Shirelles and The Ronettes, and their incredible “Look In My Eyes”. As with most of the great songs of this era, nothing is done “dry” – they’re pretty much drenched with echo. Considering that Phil Spector honed his producing skills in New York City and New York was the music publishing/recording center of that day, it’s not hard to see the influences on his “Wall of Sound” trademark.

..Marty Robbins, and his “White Sport Coat And A Pink Carnation”. A great tune no matter how you slice it. Love the ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-boom bass guy in the background.

…Elvis singing “One Night” and “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You” – The King at his best.

…The Paris Sisters singing “I Love How You Love Me”. This is early Phil, actually not much more than a remake of “To Know Him Is To Love Him” (the first Phil Spector production, the title taken from the inscription on his father’s gravestone, BTW)

…Skeeter Davis” “The End Of The World”. Incredible, depressingly sad. But I’ve always loved it – music you feel in the marrow of your bones.

…The Casinos and their classic “Then You Can Tell Me”. OK, this actually came out in (gasp! 1967) but it still recalls those doo-wop days not that long past then. Fabulous.

…The Rays “Silhouettes” – yep, another good one!

…The Danleers’ “One Summer Night” always sounded to me like the greatest make-out song ever.

…Just like Phil Phillips’ oh-so-cool “Sea Of Love”.

[Ed. note: Oh God, now I’m really starting to feel like a dinosaur. Folks, believe me, I’m not that old – this stuff was out when I was still in diapers. (Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that, of course, as I’ll likely be in diapers in less than a month.)

…Pat Boone’s “Love Letters In the Sand”. I dunno, no one knows The Great White Shank’s taste in music, but I’ve always loved this tune. Go figure…

And finally… put your music ears on, class:

…Fats Domino’s “Blueberry Hill” and “Blue Monday”. OK, ’nuff said there.

But pay close attention to the alto and tenor saxes laying down the background behind the guitar and piano on “Blueberry Hill”. Why? Because no less than Spector and Brian Wilson would make lots o’ hay using that same technique in the next two decades. Don’t believe me? Check out Phil’s “Be My Baby” (you’ll hear the saxes come in later on the first verse, but they’re especially prominent in the second) and Brian’s “Salt Lake City” (from 1965, listen how they come in on the second verse), and his unreleased “Back Home” (from 1976) with the Beach Boys. There’s no re-inventing the wheel in pop music, genius lasts forever.

OK, I guess music appreciation class is over. 🙂 Thanks for indulging me.

One final note: I’m thinking about the very best, defining moment that to me defines why I love this kind of music so much, and it has to be the ending of The Capris’ “There’s A Moon Out Tonight”. I mean, it’s just classic – it’s the human voice, singing in harmony, with passion and a simple joy you can hear through your speakers. It makes me cry. Do yourself a favor and turn this one up. Thank God we still have those sounds and, for those who really remember this stuff, the memories.

Pool temp: 92 degrees

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:00 | Comments (2)
  1. I am old enough to have listened to all these songs as they came out…me and my little portable radio or sitting at the top of my friend’s basement stairs while her big sister and friends played their 45’s and did the Stroll. I am so happy to have grown up at the beginning of really great rock music and transitioned to the late 60’s and 70’s fabulous rock music and even some pretty cool 80’s sounds.
    By the way, did you read my comment on the post below? Still waiting for a response.

    Comment by Jana — August 11, 2010 @ 4:49 am

  2. OK…I will accept the statement below even with it’s editorial comment. So, I will start working on the doo wop cd’s for you and let you know when I will be sending them.

    Comment by Jana — August 11, 2010 @ 11:17 am

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