Essential Records: Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps

Posted by Amoebite, August 8, 2016 03:58pm | Post a Comment

Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps - Amoeba Music

Call it a rough patch, call it a dry spell, call it whatever, but let's just say a while ago the relationship between my guitar and me got a little stale. Now of course I loved that thing dearly but, well, you know how it is: sometimes it just seems like the two of you are stuck in the same old routine. Now the electric guitar is a tricky instrument, there are so many variations, effects, and styles, and it's so overly saturated in the mainstream consciousness that while it can be the most primal and cathartic sounding of instruments, it can also be the most horrendous, self-involved sound known to modern man. At this particular juncture, I just wasn't hearing anything new that was compelling me towards the former sentiment. In an attempt to revive our relationship I pulled out this guitar magazine I had from high school that was all about rockabilly and the late '90s neo-swing revival. In it was a picture I always found striking but was never sure why: five young men all dressed in white, wearing dark, floppy caps. I thought to myself: it's finally time I really dug into Mr. Gene "Be-Bop-A-Lula" Vincent and His Blue Caps. I learned a couple of riffs out of the magazine, all attributed to Gene's original guitarist, Cliff Gallup, then I went to the record store and picked up their second album (thinking it was their first), Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps.

I put the needle on and right out of the gate the band is swaggering and in full swing. My toe's tappin', my hand's snappin' and my hair's getting greasier by the second. Gene finishes his first verse of "Red Bluejeans and a Ponytail" with the order to his band to "Rock!" and the next thing I know Cliff Gallup's guitar struts onto the scene and picks up the lead while someone lets out a banshee wail in the background. Gene comes back into the second verse, singing like he's crooning and panting at the same time, a cross between Dean Martin and that cartoon wolf from the droopy cartoons whose mouth drops to the floor at the sight of the cute redhead, and before I can finish that thought the second verse is ending and Gene calls out, "Rock again!" and Cliff's back with his plunky, shimmering, echo-y tone.

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Happy 88th Birthday Fats Domino!

Posted by Amoebite, February 26, 2016 01:33pm | Post a Comment

Fats Domino

Today marks the 88th birthday of Fats Domino, one of the great living legends of American music. To mark the occasion PBS will be airing a one-hour documentary entitled Fats Domino and the Birth of Rock and Roll. Check your local schedule here.

When we speak of the birth of rock and roll, the names most often cited in popular culture are probably Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley or Carl Perkins, but Fats Domino’s contributions to rock are no less important. Fats Domino was rockin’ on 88 keys before the term "rock" became synonymous with guitars. His name belongs among other great Louisiana piano men such as Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. Fats Domino’s early recordings with Dave Bartholomew and legendary drummer Earl Palmer at Cosimo Matassa’s studio are among the most influential in early rock and roll history and are worthy of all the recognition they receive. He pioneered the sound of early Rhythm and Blues by blending together the sounds of swinging Big Band jazz and Cuban rumba and mambo records.

So Happy Birthday to the great Fats Domino! May your music live on for generations to come and continue to bring joy to the many souls who hear it.

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The Art of the LP Cover- Little Richard (Happy 79th!)

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, December 5, 2011 01:52pm | Post a Comment

Happy Birthday, Little Richard

Posted by Billyjam, December 5, 2011 11:35am | Post a Comment
Little Richard and band perform "Lucille"

Today December 5th, 2011 rock n roll living legend Little Richard celebrates his 79th birthday. The justifiably self-proclaimed "architect of rock and roll," whose influences are wide and reaching up to this day, began his music career back in the 1940's while he was still in his teens but it wasn't until the mid 1950's, under the mentorship of Robert "Bumps" Blackwell, that the artist born Richard Wayne Penniman's career took off in a major way. That was when he unleashed his full on wild showman delivery of funk fused rock n roll unlike anyone else, and cranked a jaw-dropping series of hit singles (two and a half dozen hit singles in a three year period!).

These Little Richard hits included such time worn rock n roll classics as "Tutti Frutti," "Rip It Up", "Lucille" (above), "Jenny, Jenny", "Good Golly, Miss Molly" and "Keep A-Knockin'." You can find these plus many more Little Richard gems on various releases at Amoeba Music (his official discography lists approximately 50 album releases over the decades including many Christian/gospel ones) but personally I find his greatest hits packages such as 2006's Little Richard 20 Greatest Hits CD to always be good reliable purchases - and good holiday gift ideas too.

Multiple Maniacs

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, November 10, 2008 11:45pm | Post a Comment
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