31 December 2009

Doo Wop Dialog[ue]: 26

(42/M/London, England)

Ah yes: "Dan got happy and he started raving - jerked out his razor but he wasn't shaving." I go way back with Carl Perkins, loving those economic guitar solos (possibly because I could hear George Harrison in them - Beatles were of course Numero Uno in my early years, listening to the records my elder brothers bought, our father's disapproval bonding us further). Can anything be simpler, neater than the solo in Movie Magg? And (maybe unlike doowop) a sense of writing more directly from experience. There's also a very strange Perkins track, Her Love Rubbed off on Me, done when he was drunk (according to biog Go Cat Go) that is confusing but conveys the sense of real, unedited experience - and a lot of songs were originally improvised in the tonks, book says. I think it was Ringo who said that when Carl sings you believe him.

And those Sun sides, like Elvis Scotty and Bill, are so basic, seeming to bubble up out of the joy of being young, feeling that strength and power for the first time: Elvis' whoop on Mystery Train. So sad it didn't last in either case: CP's Columbia sides seem like imitations of himself, like MGM mishandling Laurel and Hardy, and nothing - nothing - in the Presley cannon is the equal of that spontaneous outpouring. (Not that there isn't some cornball stuff on those early sides: I don't care if the sun don't shine ...)

With Carl Perkins (as I also feel about the voice of Louis Armstrong - incidentally he started off singing in a vocal group as a kid) it's a voice that's known to me: like Ringo, I trust it. Like a friend or family member. And the fact that Blue Suede Shoes is still infectious when other records have dulled ... What I've avoided saying is I'm not omnivorous when it comes to rockabilly. Too much else seems like a pale echo (though others in England lap it up). But Elvis and CarI - well, it's not a bad choice, is it? And linking it to doowop, there is a kind of purity of heart about some of Carl's stuff, as well as the raunchier, hellraising Dixie fried ... analogous to the uptempo doowop with the leering bass voice: Sixty Minute Man or Gerald Gregory's invitation on the Spaniels' Housecleaning. Devil or Angel? We've got both in us...

Tony (Ok Steve, click on PRINT...)

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