Friday, February 29, 2008

Battle of the Decades

I haven't done a Battle of the Decades in a while, but I have an excuse. I got a download of the Complete Buddy Holly, in ten volumes, boing back to a home tape recording he made when he was 12, and I've been cataloging it. A lot of it is great -- Holly, fooling around in the studio but more than just fooling around, did his version of a whole lot of rock 'n roll hits of the day, from Bo Diddley to Rip it Up to Smokey Joe's Cafe. One not-very-effective cover is Ferlin Husky's Gone -- Buddy's strength wasn't in country ballads. Which explains why, when he started out in the early 50s in Texas, as Buddy and Bob, Bob did most of the lead vocals. Buddy had a different muse. This follows the theory that so much innovation in art comes from artists who don't have the ability to imitate -- Dizzy Gillespie tried to sound like Roy Eldridge but couldn't, so he moved on to create his own unique style. Miles Davis tried to sound like Dizzy but...

THE 40s
Glenn Miller v/Ray Eberle
Moon Love

THE 50s
The Silhouettes
Get a Job

THE 60s
Paul Revere & the Raiders
Him or Me (What's It Gonna Be?) (67)

THE 70s
Donny Osmond
Puppy Love

THE 80s
High On You

THE 90s
All I Want To Do Is Make Love To You

I trust I don't have to explain to anyone why I'm eliminating Donny Osmond first.

Paul Revere and the Raiders were always mediocre, but they recorded some very catchy songs -- this isn't one of them. Survivor was just another disco group. Ray Eberle leading the Glenn Miller Orchestra isn't exactly breaking any new ground.

Speaking of Survivors, who would have expected Heart to craft one of the longest-lasting careers in rock? But they're still going, and they were particularly strong in the 90s, rocking as hard as they ever did, and adding those nice harmonies to a full-tilt rock sound.

But I have to go the fogey route again. Peter, Wendy, Jon and Tad as teenagers, cruising around Woodstock and surrounding areas, listening to George ("The Hound") Lorenz, sponsored by Mother Goldstein's Top of the Vine New York State Wine , and -- one suspects -- sampling the Mother's Malaga. I don't know how much Payola entered the picture, but when the Hound liked a song, he'd play it over and over -- the DJ in "The Buddy Holly Story" who locks himself in the studio and plays Buddy Holly until they break the door down -- that was The Hound. Here's a good web site for him (even though they do mention "Clyde McFatter).

On this night, when he broke "Get a Job," we knew what we had to do. WKBW Buffalo was clear channel, but it drifted in and out of clear reception in the valley of the Catskills. So we drove around for hours, looking for good reception areas, because we knew that if a new song was this good, The Hound would keep coming back to it all night. That was back when music was still magic.

No comments: