Monday, 26 September 2011

Lounge Music

If you have arrived at this blog by conscious choice then it is not unreasonable to assume you might already be familiar with the studio recording of Ernie K Doe's Te-Ta-Te-Ta-Ta. So I won't insult you by embedding a youtube clip for that recording below.

Instead, please to bear witness to " 'The Emperor of the Universe' Ernie K-Doe in action at his Mother-in-Law Lounge with The Egg Yolk Jubilee. April 27th 2001". according to the youtube putter-upper. I like this clip for several reasons - reasons which may well seem self-evident after a viewing, but this time I want to insult your intelligence by telling you anyway..

Still with me? Good, good - surprised, but good. First of all, although the studio recording is a piece of perfection and a recognised beach party classic, and does indeed form the template for this performance, it sounds so .... well, so clean compared to this. It sounds like Ernie K Doe is singing through the kind of microphone you'd probably return to a pound shop, but that's right, not wrong: it makes the vocal sound more savage, uncontrolled.

And I don't have the vocabulary to describe satisfactorily what the musicians are doing, except that the whole thing sounds a streamlined version of the studio original - no, that suggests smoothness: what I mean is stripped down to its basic components then somehow reassembled for extra bounce, or taken back to some more primitive state, as though this is how the song always sounded, underneath, or on some hitherto unknown rough demo. Or maybe it's just that over the years what was unnecessary became more obvious so what was left compelled the limbs to move - and you get the impression  that had Ernie K Doe not finally punched matters to a halt, they could have gone on all night.

Basically, it swings twice as hard but is half as decorous as the original - and even though a female voice is on hand to suggest the harmonies on Alan Touissant's production, what matters is that bank of brass.

Have I said enough? Yes, I have. Is it time to hear it? Yes, it is.

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