A chugga-chugga motion like a railroad train, now!
There’s an element in early ’60s pop songs – not only non-ironic optimism, but also something in the drive of the music itself – maybe the same drive that would enable an entire nation to pursue crazy goals like putting a man on the moon… and a quality in the vocals – just enough youth, just enough street – I’d swear, you can almost hear Little Eva popping her chewing gum, and I love her for that. Combine all this with the BIG SOUND they got from recording real people on analog equipment with very limited track counts, and you have something that was “of its time,” and will never come again.
When I say drive, it’s not just about tempo, it’s the feel, the attitude, the sound itself.… Continue reading
Possibly my favorite musical period is the early sixties, just before The Beatles, say, 1960-63. The Golden Age of AM Radio. Because I hold my favorite songs from that time in such high esteem, I rarely like latter-day covers (most lose all the magic that was there; others are just putrid, like Grand Funk Railroad’s sledgehammer pummeling of “The Loco-Motion”). But for the first time in a while I heard the 1969 version of “Baby It’s You” by Smith – and damn, it’s good! They’ve turned it into a totally different song, but it’s almost as compelling as The Shirelles’ 1962 original. Shirley Owens’ plaintive vocal is a diary entry, set to throbbing reverb and echoplexed guitar (arranged by Burt Bachrach!); Gayle McCormick’s aching but self-assured delivery is face-to-face, over a punchy rhythm section and tough B-3 (produced by Del Shannon!).… Continue reading