Monday, 13 December 2010

Now We Are One

If the title of this post has already made you think of Dion and the Belmonts' Teen Angel ("Our love is young,/Now we are one") then congratulations: you've probably arrived at the right blog.

If, however, it doesn't, then it's statistically likely that you have been directed here by google images and are in search of non-existent David Bowie downloads and will leave after - eh? Wha - ? Ohhhh ...

Ee, they might have had the courtesy to allow me to finish my sentence, at least. Anyway, for those happy few who remain, in order to mark today's anniversary (One Glorious Year of Blogging), for one day only the title image for this blog will be the original photograph of the Cheapo Cheapo Records shop by Laura Appleyard (see her flickr photostream here) without my embellishments.

Though that wasn't the original title image: I used a detail from a Medallions publicity photograph - Vernon Green's eyes - as, I think, the first, or one of the first, pictures to indicate what that these posts would be about. After all, if anyone held the secret of pismotality, the mystery at the heart of doo wop, it had to be the man who coined the word.

As I've explained elsewhere, I took Pismotality as a username on the Steve's Kewl Doo Wop Shop website simply because my own name, Tony, had already been taken, but I've retained it as much of what I write is about doo wop - plus it makes my work easier to find via google.

I can't remember just when I made the change of title image, but it may have reflected the blog's expansion from doo wop, once all the available Kewl Steve material had been reposted, to all the music of my formative years - and at one time or another Cheapo Cheapo Records, late of Soho, held just about all the albums I had ever bought - or borrowed from my local library back home in Scotland - so it seemed ideal. And the fact the shop had closed down also made me want to commemorate it. I still miss it a great deal.

As there is now a year's worth of blog posts to ferret through, for the busy executive here is a - well, not a top ten, exactly, but a quick list of some entries which may be worth reading if you like anything you've already read here. Well, I enjoyed writing them, anyway, although I appreciate that that may not of itself be an infallible guarantee of quality.

Golden Teardrops - this is my original piece about the record from the ol' Doo Wop Shop board, but with a commentary added when it was reposted here in December 2009. I began to realise that blogs were about going wherever your inclination dictated, which in this case involved an artist who had used a cover from  Springboard International's Original Oldies  series as inspiration. The reason? I first heard the Flamingos' classic - guitar overdubs and all - on a compilation in that series. Also I accuse a (probably) innocent man over the theft of Lou Reed's doo wop collection. The post was just going that way.

You Have Two (I Have None) - an attempt to capture another great doo wop recording, but at least I have the humility to cite Robert Pruter. Warning: may contain unnecessary traces of Elizabethan poetry.

14 Karat Soul - a longish piece about the best young doo wop group I ever saw in live performance, including The Mysterious Case of the Gesture at the Neck. I still say I was singing in tune.

A Wreath for Cheapo - the most substantial piece about the importance to me of the vanished Cheapo Cheapo Records shop.
The TRUE Story of How I Fell Out of Love with Donovan - reassessing a former hero, but Gently, gently, with love.

On Again! On Again! or Strangers on a Train - Jake Thackray in my life, despite my immediate elder brother's objections. (But can you trust someone who mistook a Bolan fan for his wife?) Plus my time alone with the great man: now it can be told.

Stand By Me Part One - first of two posts exploring the origins of Ben E King's song, looking at the singer's early doo wop years and the signficance of Clyde McPhatter during this period. Part Two focuses more on the song's gospel roots and the beginnings of soul with Sam Cooke and others.

They Turned Me On - Part Three: Hubert Gregg - from a series celebrating the broadcasters who opened my ears to a world beyond pop. I'm happy to say that Hubert Gregg's widow, Carmel Gregg, has read this and seemed to like it.

Aurelian Chimes - not - various  doo wop records and their personal significance.

[Add title which punningly alludes to all songs mentioned] - a farewell of sorts to a friend via thoughts about the music he liked.

Billy J, don't be a - eeeeeuuurgh! - the title says it all, or as much as can be said without spoiling the piece.

Gnome Thoughts ... 3 (Three Hats for Lisa) - the best film ever - well, sort of.

Gnome Thoughts ... 8 (Waterloo Sunset) - what it means to me and why Wordsworth may be involved. Oh, and Stanley Spencer.

Gnome Thoughts ... 11 (Well At Least Its British) - a long piece about Alan Klein's neglected 1964 solo album in the context of other comic songwriters. Links at the end to other Klein-related posts.

What? Oh, go on, then. As you've been good.

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