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Category Archives: oldies

50 Years Ago Today…

Thanks to Cocodrie Pat for bringing this to my attention!

It’s the Golden Anniversary of the release of this 1959 classic.

 

I made reference to Sleepwalk in an earlier post about Shelby Lynne’s Where I’m From, but didn’t expand on the Johnny & Santo eclectic composition that has been an inspriation for many steel guitar riffs in popular music.  While steele guitar was a staple in Country Music, it was not a factor in “Pop” music until the Farina brothers’ 1959 chart topper.

While it might be a bit of a stretch, I’m thinking that Sleepwalk may have been a bit of an inspiration to Robert Randolph, no?

  The March, Robert Randolph

 

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R.I.P. Bob Bogle

bob bogle

 

 

Bob Bogle, lead guitarist for the legendary surf-rock band, The Ventures, lost a battle to leukemia at the age of 75. 

Considered pioneers of hard guitar laced, instrumental “surfer” rock of the very early 1960′s, The Ventures are the guys responsible for such surf-rock staples as:

  Wipeout

  Perfidia

walk-dont-run-the-very-best-of-the-ventures

Perhaps their most well known “hit” was courtesy of Steve McGarrett:

  Hawaii Five-O Theme

However, the genesis of surf-rock actually started with the Tacoma, Washington band’s release and hit of Walk, Don’t Run in 1960.

Typical of musical kun-NECK-shuns, Walk, Don’t Run was actually a cover for The Ventures.  The song was originally done by the one and only Chet Atkins. 

One of the bandmembers had been listening to the guitar impresario and it was decided to update Walk, Don’t Run to their signature sound.  The rest is history.  The Ventures (and Bob Bogle) were signficant influencers to many rock legends to come.  In 2008, they were indcuted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  Bob Bogle was too ill to attend.

  John Fogerty induction of The Venture  into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2008

So, a tip of the hat to one of the guitar legends of rock.  May he rest in peace.

 

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Happy Mother’s Day

This is my Mother.  Despite popular belief that I was hatched from some quasar during a particularly spectacular Libra Dragon season, I was actually conceived and delivered the normal way by two pretty great parents.

IMG_3365

At 77, my Mother is in seriously good shape for her age.  (And, if you need confirmation, just ask her.  ;) )  She’s been through polio at 2 years old, leaving her with a paralyzed left arm, her oldest child was found to be deaf at 9 months old, she had a major brain surgery in her early ’50s that would have killed a weaker person, and she watched her loving husband of 57 years suffer extreme pain for over ten years and die an agonizing death.  She’s been rich, poor and in between, but she never lost faith nor wavered in her love of life….and of her children.

At an early age, she instilled a love of music in me that I’m eternally grateful for.  My childhood was filled with wonderful harmonies and encouragement to sing and play musical instruments.  I never did have the patience to master piano and guitar, but I was definitely given the opportunity.  The house was always filled with tuneage growing up, either from the radio in my nursery (the ’60s version of white noise) or the actual “live” music with friends on Friday nights.

There are several songs that, for me, are forever linked to my mother.

  All I Have to do is Dream, The Everly Brothers

Many times, in the car, driving around, I’d beg my mother to sing “Dream” with me.  She taught me the harmonies and it is one of my favorite and most indelible memories of my mother.

  Prisoner of Love, Billy Eckstine

A family favorite, Prisoner of Love still holds a special place in my heart.   My Godmother, her daughter, my Mother and I all have sung this song 100 times — in four part harmony.  Those times are among my favorite memories.

C C Rider, Elvis Presley

Another memory from those Friday night “jam sessions”, C C Rider seemed to be my Mother’s “riscque” song.  Must say, she sang it with conviction.

  A Good Man is Hard to Find

My Mother and Godmother actually worked out the Cajun French version of this…Et Bon Homme et Deur a Trouvier.  I mastered both versions before my 13th birthday.  To this day, it is Mr. D’s favorite song.

  Whole Lotta Shakin’, Jerry Lee Lewis

My Mother adores piano and piano players.  Since “The Killah” is from Ferriday, Louisiana, he is/was like a local god for the Cajun folks in the 50s and 60s.

I am her baby, the youngest of three.  For years, I denied my obvious resemblance and now I’ve come to realize that it’s an honor.  While she is the most aggravating person I have ever come across, she is also the most loving and endearing.  She is passionate and caring, independent and sensitive.  And, I’m sooooooo glad that she’s still here.

To my wonderful Mother and all the Mothers out there, I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing Mother’s Day with the peace that you are loved unconditionally by your children. 

And, Mamma, thanks for the music.

 

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Rat Pack Tuesday

 

 

ratpack

 

Martin.  Davis.  Sinatra.

In the early ’60s, every man wanted to be them and every woman wanted to be with them.  They epitomized the swingin’ sixties and reigned over the short, yet prolific time between 1959 and the Kennedy assasination when “The Summit” was the height of cool.

Tonight’s feature of Rat Pack songs on American Idol will likely fly way over the heads of the younger audiences and I’m thinking that even the performers will have a difficult time with the material.  Can’t help but wonder if Idol was influenced by John Mayer’s recent performance of Sinatra. 

In the spirit of the theme, here are some of Music Maven’s favorite Rat Pack performances…we’ll see if they make an appearance tonight.

  Memories Are Made of This, Dean Martin

  Summer Wind, Frank Sinatra

  What Kind of Fool Am I?, Sammy Davis, Jr.

  That’s Amore, Deano

  That’s Life, Ole Blue Eyes

  Mr. Bojangles, Sammy

  Everybody Loves Somebody Sometimes (with banter), Deano

  The Tender Trap, The Chairman

  Candy Man, Sammy

  Ain’t That a Kick in the Head, Deano

  Three Coins in the Fountain, Sinatra

  Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow (Baretta’s Theme), Sammy Davis, Jr.

….I could go on and on and on….

 
 

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I’m Your Puppet…

 

For two solid days, four plane rides, 13 hours in airports, through three client meetings, in my dreams at night and of course, while driving…I have had this tune incessantly playing in my head.

Yesterday, on the way to the airport, I was singing it out loud under my breath.  After we returned the rental car and were walking to the terminal, my boss began to sing it.  I think he now has the “Puppet Blues”, as well.  Somewhere in Omaha, a guy is walking down the street humming this…

  James & Bobby Purify

Originally released in 1966 by James & Bobby Purify, I’m Your Puppet was written by FAME studios legend, Spooner Oldham (with Dan Penn).  If Spooner’s name isn’t familiar to you, other songs that he has written will be….When A Man Loves a Woman, Mustang Sally, I Never Loved a Man….you get the picture.

I’m Your Puppet stayed on the charts for 14 weeks in 1966 and sold over a million records, getting as high as #6 on the Billboard charts.  Mr. D was a senior in high school and the song takes him right back to Prom.

Evidently, my subconcious is talking to me for some reason.  Cosmically, who knows?  All I know is that it goes on an on…

Pull the string and I’ll wink at you, I’m your puppet
I’ll do funny things if you want me to, I’m your puppet

I’ll be yours to have and to hold
Darling you’ve got full control of your puppet

Pull another string and I’ll kiss your lips, I’m your puppet
Snap your finger and I’ll turn you some flips, I’m your puppet

Your every wish is my command
All you gotta do is wiggle your little hand
I’m your puppet, I’m your puppet

I’m just a toy, just a funny boy
That makes you laugh when you’re blue
I’ll be wonderful, do just what I’m told
I’ll do anything for you
I’m your puppet, I’m your puppet

Pull them little strings and I’ll sing you a song, I’m your puppet
Make me do right or make me do wrong, I’m your puppet

Treat me good and I’ll do anything
I’m just a puppet an you hold my string, I’m your puppet
Yeah, I’m your puppet

Walking, talking, living, loving puppet
I’m hanging on a string girl, I’ll do anything now

I’m a walking, talking, living, loving puppet, and I love you

I’m a smiling happy face when you want me to
Even make you happy when you’re feeling blue

I had no idea about the eclectic group that have covered I’m Your Puppet.  Most recently, the song was featured on Bernie Mac’s last movie, Soul Men.  The background singers are a little rough, but John Legend saves it.

  Bernie Mac, Samuel L. Jackson, John Legend

A lovely rendition by Motown royalty:

  Marvin Gaye & Tammy Terrell

Now, this brings me back….1971.  Posters on the wall.  Heavy sighing.   Dear Donny….

  Donny Osmond

Sir Elton?  Who knew?

  Elton John & Paul Young

And a nice touch by the Drive-By Truckers with Kelly Morris….

  Drive-By Truckers

I guess there’s worse songs to have philandering around in your head than I’m Your Puppet.  It could be Soft Cell’s Tainted Love.

Have a great day.  :)

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 22, 2009 in cover songs, motown, Music History, oldies

 

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Have Mercy, Percy!!

sledge

Spotlight on Percy Sledge, y’all.

While most well-known for When A Man Loves A Woman, Southern soul legend Percy Sledge is a master of delivering smoldering, aching love songs that young lovers have been rubbing bellies to for generations.  I grew up on Percy music and he’s one of my all-time favorite artists.  The Alabama native was honored by being inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. 

Enjoy.

  Warm & Tender Love

  My Special Prayer

  Set Me Free

  Bring it on Home to Me

  Take Time to Know Her

  A Sweet Woman Like You

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 18, 2009 in music legends, oldies, Soul

 

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Bigger Winner of the Night

The Grammys took a baby step to redemption in recognizing Robert Plant & Alison Krauss’s awesome CD, Raising Sand, as Album of the Year, and Please Read the Letter as Record of the Year.  But perhaps my favorite on the CD is a cover of the Everly Brothers’ Gone, Gone, Gone

Contrast and compare.

 

  Gone, Gone, Gone — The Everly Brothers

 

  Gone, Gone, Gone  — Alison Krauss & Robert Plant

 
5 Comments

Posted by on February 8, 2009 in grammys, Music History, music legends, oldies

 

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The Day the Music Died: Finale – Buddy Holly

buddyholly

1936 - 1959

By now, you know the details of the crash fifty years ago that shocked the music world.  Graham Nash explains it best:

  Graham Nash talks about “The Day the Music Died”

 At 22, the lanky kid from Lubbock, TX  had been re-writing music rules.  At the tender age of 18, Holly had taken the sagging Rock & Roll scene by storm with stark rhythms and the strains of non-traditional instruments.  No hearthrob, Holly’s attraction was purely “the music”.

While Holly was quite a personality, it’s his music that has had the most lasting affect.  Many artists of the 60s and 70s, point to Buddy Holly as a major influence.  A young Robert Zimmerman’s life changed the night he watched Buddy Holly perform on the Winter Dance Party tour in Diluth, MN.  As Bob Dylan, he would also influence generations of music.

More after the jump

 

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The Day the Music Died: Part 3 – Ritchie Valens

valens2a

Seventeen years old.  Let that sink in a minute. 

My son is 17.  I cannot more imagine him dropping out of school to become a recording star at this age, than me becoming Secretary of State.  Yet, Richard Stephen Valenzueala did exactly that — dropped out of school at 16, as a matter of fact, and rode the whirlwind of fame in a stellar eight month career.

In May 1958, Ritchie landed a recording contract with the Del-Fi recording label out of Hollywood, CA.   In July, Valens recorded his first record, Come On, Let’ s Go, which became his first hit.  He was one for one.

  Come On, Let’s Go

Shortly after, he recorded his second, and most prolific hit, Donna:

  Donna

As is widely known, Donna was written by Valens for his girlfriend, Donna Ludwig.  In the late 1950s, inter-racial couples were not readily accepted nor encouraged.  Even though Valens was now a hero in the Latino community, he likely had a tougher time in society, as a whole.  His relationship with Donna was full of angst and longing, that resonated across racial lines and brought Ritchie into the mainstream when it went to #2 on the Billboard charts.

The flipside of Donna was a Mexican folk song that Valens’ mother convinced him to record.  La Bamba would become a mega-hit, but not until 1987, when Lou Diamond Phillips starred as Valens in the movie, La Bamba. 

 

Despite his Chicano roots, Valens had to learn the Spanish words to La Bamba phonetically, as he had only spoken only English since birth.  La Bamba is listed as the #345 on Rolling Stone‘s Top 500 Songs of All Time.  It is the only spanish language song in the Top 500.

The dual A-side recording of Donna/LaBamba would pay for a new house for Valens’ mother, but would be the last release of his life.  Several recordings were released after his untimely death, including Cry, Cry, Cry and my favorite, We Belong Together:

A talented, self taught guitar player, Ritchie was well-liked and had a notable energy on-stage.  He went on tour in Hawaii with Buddy Holly and Paul Anka and when Holly was looking for acts to join him for the ’59 Winter Dance Party, he immediately invited Ritchie Valens.  Valens agreed, and despite being a minor, went off on his own to follow his dream.

After extended freezing tempatures, grueling routes from point to point, and the isolation of being a teenager in a man’s world, Valens was homesick and miserable.  Traveling in the unfamiliar snow and cold of the Midwest was more than he had bargained for.  When he heard that Buddy Holly had chartered a plane to transport his band from Clear Lake, IA to Fargo, ND, Ritchie begged Cricket’s guitarist, Tommy Allsup to give up his seat to Valens.  Here is Allsup’s account:

Seventeen.

 

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The Day the Music Died: Part 2 – The Big Bopper

J.P. Richardson

J.P. Richardson

“Hellllllooooo, Baaaabbbeeee!………………….”

Consider J.P. Richardson, the DJ/Singer/Songwriter from Beaumont, TX the man who brought you such songs as Luckenbach, TX,  Amanda, Mamma Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys and Suspicious Minds.  You can thank The Big Bopper for the legendary Outlaws album. 

On a frigid night in February, J.P. Richardson — The Big Bopper — simply couldn’t face another night on the cold, drafty bus that served as transportation for the 1959 Winter Dance Party Tour.  Suffering with the flu, Richardson was desperate to avoid another long ride in freezing tempatures, sleeping upright on hard seats.  When he learned that Buddy Holly was chartering a small plane to get to the next stop for him and his band, The Crickets, he approached the bass player and asked if he would mind giving up his seat so that The Bopper could get some rest and try to recover.  The young, affable 22 year old Waylon Jennings agreed.

Buddy Holly ribbed his bandmate about giving up the seat.  “I hope your ole’ bus freezes up again”.  Jennings sarcastically snapped back, “Well, I hope your damn plane crashes.”  Jenning was riddled with guilt for trading places with The Big Bopper and was very reluctant to ever discuss his role in “the day the music died”.

1958, The Big Bopper, traveled extensively on tour, promoting his music.  His new single, Chantilly Lace, had recently caught on when fate coupled him with new sensation, Ritchie Valens; rock and roll stalwart, Buddy Holly; and mega-popular, Dion & The Belmonts for the Winter Dance Party tour in early 1959.

  Chantilly Lace, The Big Bopper

The Big Bopper was big and bold.  After an army stint, J.P. Richardson returned to his hometown of Beaumont, TX and eventually ended up as a DJ at KRTM.  In 1957, he broke the record for continuous on-air broadcasting — 5 days, 2 hours, and 8 minutes.  Shortly thereafter, he adopted the name The Big Bopper, originated from watching college students in Beaumont doing the dance, The Bop.  His first foray into performing and recording was the old-time Country Beggar to a King, but it struggled to gain any traction on the charts:

  Beggar to a King, The Big Bopper

He quickly recovered with Chantilly Lace and took the show on the road to capitalize.  His goal was to make as much money as he could to build a recording studio in Beaumont where he could make music and produce other acts.  He was also working on a new concept that he called a “music video”.  His live shows were part skit, part song and he was wildly popular.

Back at home in Texas, his wife was pregnant with their second child, a son who would be born two months after his death.  J.P. Richardson, Jr. now performs as his father and oddly, “met” his father for the first time in 2007 when he had The Big Bopper’s body exhumed to rule out foul play.  (It was.)

Perhaps The Big Bopper’s most lasting legacy is the three songs he wrote that were #1 hits for other artists.  White Lightnin’ was recorded by George Jones in 1959 and ended up at the top of the Country charts. 

  White Lightnin’, George Jones

Richardson not only wrote Running Bear, but provided back up vocals on the Johnny Preston hit that was released in September 1959.  It hit #1 on the Country charts shortly thereafter.

  Running Bear, Johnny Preston

Finally, Jerry Lee Lewis re-leased Chantilly Lace, scoring a #1 Country hit in 1972.

  Chantilly Lace, “The Killah”

Much like Buddy Holly, J.P. Richardson was an “evoluntionary”.  He was perfecting a successful songwriting formula, experimenting with new facets of music via film performances, and was aspiring to produce other acts.  At 28, The Big Bopper was pushing the “norms” of the music business and had nowhere to go but up.  

The plane crash threw his body 40 ft. from the wreckage and he suffered severe trauma, dying on impact.

 
 
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