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Sunday, 10 April 2011

~Nippy Sweeties~#8: Just Like Eddie's Girls

Just yesterday the three of us who comprise the ~Streetlamp~ were partaking in one of our non-musical pursuits, and spent one of the warmest, most pleasant days of the year so far hill-walking, geo-caching and cultivating melanomas due to lack of sun-screen. And for this reason we awake this morning with faces like skelped erses!
During the walk, Griff made a joke that, unless you had extensive knowledge of Eddie Cochran b-sides, would have fallen on deaf ears. I won't bore you with the joke as it could well be completely meaningless, but just the mention of the song in question('Cut Across Shorty') caused a a ripple effect within me that led to recollections of Eddie Cochran and songs that used to mean a lot to us, for very different reasons. It was one of those afternoons where we reminisced hugely on old friends and on music in general, so it seems only right that I should choose a couple of Eddie's less well known, but utterly wonderful songs as the basis for today's Blog.
When I was a tiny child, the only music I had access to was my parents record collection. They didn't have a huge collection but what they did have(mostly my Dad's records) pretty much shaped my listening mode for the rest of my years. There were albums by Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, Bobby Vee, Ray Charles as well as a couple of Beatles albums and the first Rolling Stones album, plus a clump of singles featuring John Leyton, Ricky Nelson, Gene Pitney and Del Shannon. A lot of these records struck me then, as now, as very dramatic and very emotional, something which has stuck with me ever since.
There was also an album called 'The Eddie Cochran Memorial Album'; an album of hits and lesser well known songs issued immediately after Eddie's unfortunate death. This was an album that, even in pre-school days, I used to insist be played with alarming regularity.
One song from the album that really stood out for me was a track called 'Jeannie Jeannie Jeannie' that must go down, surely, as one of the most exciting songs EVER to emerge from the first Rock'n'Roll period. Just listen to it below! It rattles along with a fair old clout, the pounding piano pummeling all in before it. And just listen to the ecstatic quivers and yelps in Eddie's voice as he delivers a vocal teetering on the brink of full-on sexual lust. This, my friends, is what the Wasp-ish Christian Right parents dreaded in Rock'n'Roll.
I assume the track was recorded in one take as it sounds completely like nothing that could be replicated twice without a cold shower and few hours kip.
Back around 1983 when our little schoolboy Punk band was on the brink of collapsing in on itself, our musical tastes began to drift away from the generic Punk twaddle we had tolerated so long and I recall that Griff began to put obscure Rock'n'Roll tracks on the ghetto blaster that used to accompany us everywhere. 'Jeannie Jeannie Jeannie' was one such track and I remember us arguing with the rest of the band that this song had more drive, energy and excitement than all the Punk songs in the world. They may have sneered, but then they all laughed at Christopher Columbus....

The second track to feature tonight is from the same album and again contains just a girls name in the title. 'Teresa' is an absolutely beautiful, compelling and otherworldly song that, if you are hearing it for the first time tonight, then of all the songs I have written about in these Blogs, then this is the one I feel most proud of to bring to your attention. I may have resolved to stop mentioning certain French writers in these Blogs, but seriously folks, if ever a song transplants me right back into my childhood it is this one.
With a production so cavernously echoey that you'd expect Joe Meek's name to be on the credits, a melody so heart-stopping, female backing vocals so poignant and angelic they melt your heart right there in it's chest cavity. This song is MAGICAL. Again with a vocal performance of sultry longing and hidden sexual desire.
Within this song I can hear everything I would eventually come to love about music; from Morrissey's tremulous quiver to Sarah Records painful adolescence, from Tindersticks' grandiose dramatics to Joe Meek's other-worldliness. The very bedrock of my musical taste lies within this song.

Listening to these songs again I can see why many people have argued Eddie Cochran's corner in the great Rock'n'Roll wars. Had he lived, would he have overtaken Elvis or Buddy in the popularity stakes? He was worshipped by John Peel, adored by McCartney and even Sid Vicious proclaimed him his favourite singer.
Whod've thunk we'd find ourselves agreeing with old Sid eh?
Good times my Friends!


(And just for posterior:)

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