Saturday, September 24, 2005

Must Be the Wooden Shoes....

Today, I've uploaded (to the gmail site) the contents of a little acetate I found somewhere or other about 15 years ago, a violin performance of "Dutch Dance", recorded in 1952 by one Walter Feiss (well, that's actually a guess - I suppose there could have been two Walter Feisses trading off phrases, but I doubt it).

While I won't deny that this record is part of the "Difficult Listening Hour", I treasure anything like this record, whenever I'm lucky enough to come across one. I must have hundreds of home recorded records from the golden age of home record cutters (1940's and 1950's). Some of recordings of other records, many have recordings off of the radio, and many more (the ones I am really looking for) have some sort of home recording, either audio records or musical performances. For some reason, this one has always stood out as a favorite of mine. Let me know what you think.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Dear Prudence

I love the music of the late '50's. As much as I love the Beatles and the music of the late sixties, as well as the music of my early adulthood (late '70's and early '80's), the pop and rock from the 1954-63 era is more enjoyable to me than that of any other 10 year period of the last 60 years. And one reason for that preference has to be records such as those made by Patience and Prudence.

Patience and Prudence had just two hits, one of which, "Tonight You Belong to Me", would be high on my list of the best hit records ever. And yet, after years of finding other P & P records in used record stores, I discovered that a good percentage of their non-hits were almost as good as that lone top ten hit. An early favorite of mine, during that collecting binge, was "You Tattletale", which I discovered well over 20 years ago. More recently, with the release of a CD of virtually all of their recorded work, I've been enamored of "Over Here", as bizarre an attempt at 1950's hit making as you're likely to hear.

While these tracks can probably no longer be considered "obscure", what with the CD release I mentioned, they are both certainly wonderful. "You Tattletale" deserved to be nearly as big of a hit as "Tonight, You Belong to Me", what with it's peppy piano, swinging brushes on the drums, and the wholly wonderful harmonies by Patience and Prudence McIntyre. The song itself is a great little piece of writing, too.

"Over Here", on the other hand, defies explanation, except to say that it involved Ross Bagdasarian, which is perhaps all one has to know. The future David Seville co-wrote this beautiful train wreck of a song, and the only bad thing I can say about it is that the production values make the words hard to decipher. But there's a real treat waiting for those who listen closely: It's almost unreal to hear these 15 and 13 year old sisters singing sarcastic lyrics in which the "ridiculous" behaviors of a series of foreign cultures are played against the clearly more outlandish behaviors of Americans.

To paraphrase some of those verses:

Isn't it terrible how they torment the bull in Spain? Oh, and can I have some more
steak?

Isn't it odd how the Italians spend a whole evening working on, eating and enjoying
a meal? Boy, I gotta finish this drink and get outta here - I sure hate this ulcer.

All set to a rollicking arrangement, in which each verse's music reflects the culture they are supposedly dismissing. And this was supposed to be a hit? Couldn't be. But a killer track, nonetheless!

Both tunes have been sent to the gmail site referenced above, as usual!