Monday, January 12, 2009

Battle of the Decades

Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson and “Body and Soul” the clear winner last time, with 8 votes – one for LL Cool J and one for Edison Lighthouse.

This time, a higher level of mediocrity at the very least, and for some of us one or another will rise from the pack. One does for me, certainly.

40S ON 4

Larry Clinton v/Peggy Mann

Because Of You

50S ON 5

Gary "U.S." Bonds

Quarter to Three

60S ON 6

Jessie Hill

Ooh Poo Pah Doo ('60)

70S ON 7

Van McCoy & The Soul City Symphony

The Hustle ('75)

80S ON 8

Daryl Hall & John Oates

Out of Touch

90S ON 9

Gin Blossoms

Alison Road

I don’t remember Larry Clinton or Peggy Mann – Larry apparently a Tommy Dorsey alum who had a moderately successful band of his own, and Peggy had a nice smile and could sing standing still. Or so I gather from this video – not of “Because of You.” because I couldn’t find that one, but a song that’ll give you sense of the Clinton/Mann sound. “Because of You” is s good song, no “Body and Soul,” but it did lend itself to a tour de force performance by Sammy Davis Jr. --

Then what? I never loved Hall and Oates, but they were professional, as was Gary US Bonds – I remember liking this song better than I liked it playing it back/ Of this mid-level grouping, I almost like “The Hustle” best – at least it has that appalling but curiously appealing dancing-by-the-numbers video.

The Gin Blossoms had a good beat; you could dance to them. I’ll give them an 84.

New Orleans went through some doldrums years in the 60s and 70s, when jazz had left, and great rock and roll on Specialty and Imperial had passed its prime. Bumps Blackwell, Specialty’s chief producer-talent scout, left the label to go with Sam Cooke, and he had been replaced by Sonny Bono, which should tell you all you need to know. Imperial had shifted its focus from New Orleans and Fats Domino to Hollywood and Ricky Nelson. A lot of great musicians left New Orleans for LA, basically not to return until Jazzfest revived its great musical tradition. But some awfully good records still got made in Cosimo Matassa’s recording studio, often with Allen Toussaint producing, and “Ooh Poo Pa Doo” was one of them. My pick for this round.

No comments: