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Brian Goes RETRO!

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(SCOTT)-Well, Brian has come up with another intriguing post, I love the material and so will you, but of superior importance, allow me to say Vikings 7-2.......VIKINGS 7-2........VVVVVIKKKKIIINGGGGGS & 7-2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Scott's rockabilly post a week ago inspired me....that's what the blog could use: a good 'ol shot of 50's Badassery! It's a genre I've been immersing myself in the last few years, and it's all but disappeared from the airwaves, so some people might need a good primer of 50's youth music. I don't just say "rock and roll"...it's more than that.

 
First off, I'll give you the box set Scott mentioned, the fantastic Rockin' Bones. Put out by Rhino, this box is a hell of a collection. Full of names both known and unknown, it's four discs stuffed to the gills with two-minute burners. I won't dissect the whole set, just know that you need it and it's out of print. So crank it, comb your ducktail, and don't forget your switchblade!

 
In the middle of the whole Rockin'Bones set, you heard Link Wray's "Rumble". So, here's some more of him. For me, Link was the best guitarist in rock back then. While someone like Duane Eddy - who's no slouch - would have hits with that wide-open prairie feel, Link was steeped in hill music, honky tonk, and some damn filthy blues. And he was influential in that he would let the electricity of the guitar speak for itself. He'd let power chords just ring out. Dig the man.

 
Now, on the true lunatic fringe of rockabilly, we have Hasil Adkins. A pioneer in the DIY one-man-band aesthetic, he cut records on his own for years, and languished in (maybe deserved) obscurity until dying in a four-wheeler accident. There is nothing more hillbilly than that! Imagine Jandek doing Carl Perkins...and a lot of the songs are about chicken. This is the true origin of psychobilly, kids.

 
On the sweeter side of things, here's a great compilation of Roy Orbison's. With that voice, he's the king of rock and roll heartbreak for me. Many classics here: "Running Scared", "Leah", the stunning "In Dreams", and the whole set closes out with the snarl of "Oh, Pretty Woman". This one is a must.

OK, it's time to blacken things up a bit around here. Cuz remember, rock and roll wasn't just built by white boys....

 
Jumping back a little bit, we have a taste of doo wop. People forget that before the advent of rock and roll, doo wop was the predominant teen music of the early 50's. Anyway, this is Disc 1 of the Volume 2 box set put out by Rhino. The reason why I picked this one is that it has one of my favorites - a damned funky tune - "Smokey Joe's Cafe". I defy you to listen to that one and not clap your hands along! Lots of other greats too.
 

When people say how rock and roll came from the blues, this is the kind of blues they're talking about - the honking and shouting, dance-all-nite kind of jump blues that evolved out of the 40's. Some songs were famously covered by rock and rollers, like "Hound Dog" and "Shake, Rattle, and Roll". Check it out, stomp your feet, and shout along! There is an energy to this music that is truly eternal.

 

Ever since I was little, when I think of early rock and roll, I think of Little Richard. A pompadoured, mascara-wearing madman hollering from behind a piano. For me, he embodies that beautiful, rebellious caterwaul that scared parents way back then. A bunch of classics on here you already know. And if you listen in context, you can hear how Lil' Rich came out of the jump blues thing, but I can hear him saying "I'm so big, I don't need a big band!"
 
And now we get down in the muck - the Goo Goo Muck if you will - with the Dark Lord of true rhythm & blues, Screamin' Jay Hawkins. A madman who did far-out shit onstage decades before Alice or Rob Zombie, he was also an amazing singer, with a versatile baritone. This CD is from his period on Okeh in the late 50's. Contains unhinged classics like "I Put A Spell On You", "Frenzy", the stomping swamp blues of "Alligator Wine", and the schizophrenic "There's Something Wrong With You". He also does some quite moving tracks, like "I Love Paris" and "Orange Colored Sky". Really, you're welcome for this one.
Ok, that's it for now...a good slab of old school stuff. Sorry I don't have any comedy to go with it. Maybe listen to some of the Stan Freberg in context now. Hey, anybody remember that Jennifer Warnes CD I had up months ago? It was fairly popular. Well, I'm gonna repost it soon, along with an anthology I'm putting together that is the fruit of a recent obsession. So, stay tuned...









 

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