revisionist doo-wop

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i have some of those ambient sound LPs, e.g. two by the jive five. there was a CD-era comp too, a reissue of the best stuff, but i imagine this too is OOP. these LPs get very warm reviews in one of the dave marsh-edited volumes of the rolling stones record guide. this inspired me to buy them. they are just OK, the highlight being the jive five's excellent and surprising version of steely dan's "hey nineteen."

but these albums are contrary to the spirit of "revisionist doo wop" as i tried to define it upthread. they are extremely sincere, straightforward, sensitive "updatings" of the classic sound. there is nothing distanced, impish, ironic, faintly over the top about them.

i don't know if i ever stated this pithily upthread, but what interests me most are the doo wop pastiches by '60s rock acts who are identified with the counterculture -- since as soon as these start cropping up, i think a line is drawn, across which there is no going back and forth. maybe this is obvious? it seems one interesting barometer of some larger changes, i guess.

i can hear the grizzly bear thing, but frankly it seems more just a beach boys-esque interest in vocal harmony. doo wop has a very limited and identifiable set of chord structures that they don't seem very interested in.

amateurist, Sunday, 9 August 2009 15:45 (4 years ago) Permalink

here's a great 1982 article by robert palmer about the ambient sound phenomenon:

http://www.nytimes.com/1982/05/23/arts/doing-all-right-by-doing-doo-wop.html

amateurist, Sunday, 9 August 2009 15:47 (4 years ago) Permalink

and here's the ambient sound CD, for about $5: http://www.amazon.com/YOURE-YOUNG-TWICE-Ambient-Doo-Wop/dp/B000NYXE4M

amateurist, Sunday, 9 August 2009 16:04 (4 years ago) Permalink

anyone else remember this nickelodeon spots with the voice of the jive five's eugene pitt?: http://vimeo.com/2703001

amateurist, Sunday, 9 August 2009 16:15 (4 years ago) Permalink

Ben Tausig posted on ILX??

jaymc, Sunday, 9 August 2009 16:32 (4 years ago) Permalink

ben tausig wrote a really awful and uninformed hatchet piece about alan lomax when the latter died. frankly tausig seems like a pretentious poseur.

what i want to know is who is mig?

amateurist, Sunday, 9 August 2009 16:45 (4 years ago) Permalink

A Russian pilot?

Didn't the Ramones write a song for one of those Ambient records, "Doreen Is Very Boring" or something like that?

Horace Silver Machine (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 9 August 2009 16:57 (4 years ago) Permalink

yes

amateurist, Sunday, 9 August 2009 17:03 (4 years ago) Permalink

ben tausig wrote a really awful and uninformed hatchet piece about alan lomax when the latter died. frankly tausig seems like a pretentious poseur.

Haha, okay. I've never read any of his music writing, but he's one of the main reasons I got into crossword construction, so.

jaymc, Sunday, 9 August 2009 17:18 (4 years ago) Permalink

Ah, "Doreen Is Never Boring."

There was also a thread about Songs That Use The Doo Wop Progression" but I can't find it.

Horace Silver Machine (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 9 August 2009 17:20 (4 years ago) Permalink

Sorry, that thread is gone, must have been sandbox or 17 days stuff.

Don't know who mig is. Maybe Michael (I?) McGonigal?

Horace Silver Machine (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 9 August 2009 17:28 (4 years ago) Permalink

On that thread I posted about the Love song "7 And 7 Is," which ends with a (nuclear) explosion and than a few seconds of ironic doo wop chords. As if in the post-apocalyptic wasteland, they would go back to basics and listen to doo wop.

Didn't Sha Na Na play at Woodstock? Before they become a joke. How does that figure into this?

Horace Silver Machine (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 9 August 2009 17:34 (4 years ago) Permalink

All I can find out about mig is that his real name is Mitch G., he's American, and he was born in 1973.

jaymc, Sunday, 9 August 2009 17:38 (4 years ago) Permalink

how did you find that out?

amateurist, Sunday, 9 August 2009 17:43 (4 years ago) Permalink

name's mitch g.

still looking for a good handle after being smacked by mitchlastname and i thought skinny jet name would be horrorshow.

― mig, Thursday, May 1, 2003 4:00 PM (6 years ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

xmas eve eve, '96, 23 yrs old, that year i had been finally getting into the fall, they seemed more and more to be the rome towards which all my musical roads were heading [classic postpunk, 90s lofi and noise & shoegaze, 80s brit synth, 60s garage rock, and krautrock were my interests]. i lived in iowa and had a hard time finding their stuff, especially the good things - back then everything 77-79 was oop. anyway i met up with my family in sacramento for the holidays and spent a very long day on bus pilgrimage visiting record shops in sf. i ended up buying about $120 worth of fall cds, including perverted by language - and i played this first, cos it had the best title, cover art, and date [1983 being the link, supposedly, between their really gonzo stuff none of which i'd heard yet, and the more accessible late 80s stuff].

it was about 8 pm, i was supine up in a loft type area in my uncle's giant cedar cabin-mansion surrounded by govt. land, looking out the windows on 3 sides and ceiling to an endless maw of firs and the stars like bite marks. the first song [eat y'self fitter] was like an andy kaufman joke, alternately funny then not then funny again because it keeps going. its minimalist structure seemed like a narrow chute which i fell down into the harrowing see-the-bruise-colors-whirl-inside-your-retina crash of the next song, the neighborhood of infinity, which became, and still is i think, my favorite song of all time.

i don't really know why that song does it for me, but it just seems to be the most menacing, cryptic, razor-vined inca object at the heart of a borges story left in a jungle, too heavy to lift maybe, or explicative of the future death of someone i have never heard of. i had that feeling then, and still get it, of little chills; we all get this on songs we like a lot, and i get it stronger and more pleasurably with this than with anything else. i also get a sort of rush of dream-associations, like when you remember a face you saw in a dream you had the night before, and that makes connections for you.

― mig (mig), Thursday, July 22, 2004 6:00 PM (5 years ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

jaymc, Sunday, 9 August 2009 19:01 (4 years ago) Permalink

Too bad he didn't choose an anagram of his name as his screen handle.

Horace Silver Machine (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 9 August 2009 20:17 (4 years ago) Permalink

I just started listening to Dawn of Doo Wop. Fantastic stuff. My favourite song is probably I Sold My Heart To The Junkman.

Nathalie (stevienixed), Sunday, 9 August 2009 20:32 (4 years ago) Permalink

Speaking of revisionism, isn't there a story about that, that The Bluebelles released a version that was actually recorded by somebody else?

Horace Silver Machine (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 9 August 2009 23:09 (4 years ago) Permalink

I am sooooo confused as to why jaymc reposted all that. Nice read, though.

Kevin John Bozelka, Sunday, 9 August 2009 23:20 (4 years ago) Permalink

If you have to ask...

Horace Silver Machine (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 10 August 2009 15:34 (4 years ago) Permalink

Sha Na Na's woodstock performance is some crazy bullshit.

dat conehead beldar (Whiney G. Weingarten), Thursday, 13 August 2009 02:28 (4 years ago) Permalink

counterrevolutionary rocksteady

BIG HOOS's wacky crack variety hour (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Thursday, 13 August 2009 04:03 (4 years ago) Permalink

2 years pass...

we've discussed it, and it's less "revisionist" than "earnest homage," but let's face it this song is beautiful:

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Monday, 7 May 2012 19:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

though are those really backup singers on the record or is that billy joel multitracked to infinity?

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Monday, 7 May 2012 19:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

now that distance between that video and the present day is greater (!) than the distance between the video and the music it is paying homage to, the video and song has revealed itself to be just as authentically moving and beautifully crafted as many of the doo-wop records to which it was no doubt compared unfavorably in 1984.

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Monday, 7 May 2012 19:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

also sudden unexpected nostalgia for those 80s music videos that actually had nice-looking, well-choreographed tracking shots and an editing rhythm that actually lets you see stuff, etc. see also

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Monday, 7 May 2012 19:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

also christie (sp?) brinkley is stunning.

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Monday, 7 May 2012 19:44 (2 years ago) Permalink

i dunno why but for some reason i'm expecting joe piscopo in jerry lewis getup to pop out at any moment in these videos.

Philip Nunez, Monday, 7 May 2012 20:15 (2 years ago) Permalink

it's a reasonable expectation.

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Monday, 7 May 2012 20:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

1 year passes...

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Tuesday, 11 June 2013 01:21 (1 year ago) Permalink

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 11 June 2013 01:42 (1 year ago) Permalink

i guess i'd just rather listen to canned heat? (ian), Tuesday, 11 June 2013 01:52 (1 year ago) Permalink

thanking amateurist for reposting the Nickelodeon doo-wop interstitials... I missed the link upthread and they are great. I'm not sure if, as a kid, I really grokked that they were meant to be an homage to anything, as opposed to just, like, weird wacky music that fit the strange visuals. Maybe I did, though.

Doctor Casino, Tuesday, 11 June 2013 03:04 (1 year ago) Permalink

That Neil Young song is also great, wow.

Doctor Casino, Tuesday, 11 June 2013 03:04 (1 year ago) Permalink

There's a great section of the Ian Svenonius book about the line from street gangs through doo wop groups to rock groups

i don't even have an internet (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 11 June 2013 03:13 (1 year ago) Permalink

whoops

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 11 June 2013 03:27 (1 year ago) Permalink

& toop briefly traced the line thru to hip hop

A brother group to The Jesters, and "equally fine" (Warner: 269) were The Paragons—"real hoodlums, real zip-gun, street-warring hoodlums", Paul Winley recalled to David Toop in 1984, "but at the time I was young and crazy myself, so it didn't make any difference". (Toop: 98) The Paragons Meet The Jesters (1959), with its street gang cover and vocal duels inspired by doo-wop's street corner singing battles and live show group competitions, was "one of the first rock and roll compilation LPs" (Warner: 231) ... Relic Records have collected Winley doo-wop on The Best of Winley Records (RELIC 5019) with liner notes by Donn Fileti detailing their lo-fidelity, almost ad hoc independent approach creating a valuable and unique New York sound. Quoting Fileti, David Toop makes the point that these are comments that can equally apply to Winley's hip hop output. (Toop: 99)

Winley Records resurfaced in the 1970s with a series of releases which—like the street corner practices of doo-wop foreshadowing those of hip hop (see Toop: Ch. 2)—would in their different ways presage the advent of commercially recorded hip hop even as that movement blossomed in the Bronx and spread to the streets of Harlem. Winley released a series of speeches by Malcolm X, tied into a tradition of black oratory and to be sampled a decade later by Public Enemy and others.

from the wikipedia page for winley records of "zulu nation throwdow" fame

time considered as a helix of semi-precious owns (zvookster), Tuesday, 11 June 2013 03:27 (1 year ago) Permalink

yeah he mentions the continuation to hip-hop as well. it's probably all based on what guys like toop write - he's not a sociologist or anything

i don't even have an internet (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 11 June 2013 03:28 (1 year ago) Permalink

don't the beatles do this again on "revolution 1"

time considered as a helix of semi-precious owns (zvookster), Tuesday, 11 June 2013 03:30 (1 year ago) Permalink

Discussion about Beefheart's "I'm Glad" upthread has me thinking that, you know, they were contemporaries of a group like Thee Midniters.

I've also got these compilation albums from the mid-'60s called "Godfrey Presents: 18 R&B Flashbacks" and I guess they were kind of oldies compilations (like the Laboe, Oldies But Goodies comps) but there are records on these (possibly even some of the doo wop) that were pretty contemporary.

timellison, Tuesday, 11 June 2013 04:03 (1 year ago) Permalink

those nickleodeon bumpers (esp the one w/ the pineapple singing falsetto) never fail to make me smile

also jonathan richman in the era when he was touring/recording w/ the rockin robins is very akin to that nickelodeon stuff in the childlike sense of fun with which he appropriates doo wop stylings

surely the neil young song is as much or more an homage to rockabilly and the poppier side of country than it is to doo wop

finally sometimes that fleetwood mac song up above is my favorite fleetwood mac song ever--but again, to be precise the harmonies and melody sound more like lou christie or gene pitney than doo wop to me. similar to some stuff on bruce springsteen's tunnel of love LP in that way

maybe i'm splitting hairs

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Tuesday, 11 June 2013 04:12 (1 year ago) Permalink

this is more ink spots/orioles-type R&B stuff (which predates doo wop) but ian's post inspired me

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Tuesday, 11 June 2013 04:14 (1 year ago) Permalink

IIRC that's the robins (of smokey joe's cafe, etc.) under an assumed name.

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Tuesday, 11 June 2013 04:15 (1 year ago) Permalink

so maybe not orioles but clovers/early coasters/clyde mcphatter-type stuff

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Tuesday, 11 June 2013 04:16 (1 year ago) Permalink

I suppose it's a little off topic for this thread, but the characterization of "I'm Glad" was this:

"basically doo-wop taken straight, without any overt indications of ironic distance"

I guess I'm just thinking that there was no reason that someone like Beefheart would have even considered the question of irony with that song, especially given what one seems to read about '60s L.A. (perhaps specifically East L.A.) culture.

timellison, Tuesday, 11 June 2013 04:30 (1 year ago) Permalink

And thinking back, "I'm Glad" never seemed to me to be something that stuck out stylistically on that album.

timellison, Tuesday, 11 June 2013 04:40 (1 year ago) Permalink

i guess i'd just rather listen to canned heat? (ian), Tuesday, 11 June 2013 21:11 (1 year ago) Permalink

so was kenny cool enough to come up with this intro? i want the facts.

scott seward, Tuesday, 11 June 2013 21:19 (1 year ago) Permalink

anybody got his home number? he'd probably just take credit for it even if he didn't come up with it. that bastard.

scott seward, Tuesday, 11 June 2013 21:20 (1 year ago) Permalink


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