Sunday, July 26, 2009

Eddie Cochran

Eddie Cochran died in April, 160, at the age of 22. Gene Vincent was in the same car at the same time, but he lived to tell. They were in England at the time.

In his short career he’d had 7 hit records in North America; in the UK his history was a bit different, where he had 6 slightly different records in the top 20. I got this album called Legendary Masters Series from the Centennial Library, buried deep in the old stacks. It was a double album, part of the same series that featured Fats Domino and Ricky Nelson. And apparently 2 records didn’t provide enough space to include all 7 hits. I managed to pick up a few others from a random collection I found at Red River Books, but I still don’t have Drive-In Show or Teenage Heaven, which are undoubtedly about the same thing.

Eddie Cochran:

Eddie’s Blues – A bluesy but meandering instrumental.
Linda Lou – A song about a farm girl. Well, she gets up with the roosters and the hens, she must be sleeping in the barn.
Pink Pegged Slacks – A variation on the blue suede shoes theme.
Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie – Not to be confused with Jenny Jenny by Little Richard. From the winter of 1958.
Something Else – Don’t bother lookin’ man, she’s something else. Sometimes that’s the only way you can describe someone. A hit in the winter of 1959 and his last US hit. I think there’s a version of Led Zeppelin doing this somewhere.
Skinny Jim – The anti-hero.
Let’s Get Together – An alternate take of C’mon Everybody. Not the Chet Powers song (aka Get Together)
Long Tall Sally – A respectable rockabilly rendition of Little Richard’s song. Competes nicely with Elvis and The Beatles. And he sings the real words.
Bo Weevil – This is Brook Benton’s song, not Fats Domino’s.
Completely Sweet
Three Steps To Heaven - Reminiscent of Chuck Berry’s 13 Question Method, but Eddie is a lot more straight-forward. Step 1: find a girl to love. Ok. Cochrane died in April, 1960, and this hit the UK top 20 in May. A bit morbid.
Cherished Memories – A love song with a military rhythm.
Pretty Little Devil
Who Can I Count On – Patsy Cline did this, but this is the rock and roll version.
Thinkin’ About You
Opportunity – To love you, of course.
Latch On – A weird expression, but I guess you have to keep coming up with new stuff.
I’m Ready – Not the Muddy Waters song. But he’s ready for the same thing.
Three Stars – Not to be confused with Three Stars Will Shine Tonight by Richard Chamberlain (aka Dr. Kildare). A song for Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Havens. Not too maudlin, overall. Cochran himself was history when this was released, and I don’t know that anyone ever released a tribute to him. This was a hit for Tommy Dee.
Cotton Picker – Apparently it was the lowest of the low, in terms of occupations. He will do anything else, but he will not be a cotton picker, no jumping down, no spinning around…
Summertime Blues – One could write a thesis on this song. Here we are at the dawn of the rock and roll era, and summer time was to achieve mythical status as a time of endless sunshine, surfing, cruising, hamburger eating, and unmentionable activities, and here is old Eddie, cursing and swearing about the summer, how it doesn’t work for him, how he is doomed, how there is no hope. It is surprising to me that The Beach Boys covered this, but they did, and on their first LP, but it was Blue Cheer that psychedelicized it and put it back on the charts in 1968, and The Who revived it yet again in 1970, after performing it at Woodstock, which performance is featured prominently in the movie, though not on the LP. From the fall of 1958.
Cut Across Shorty – A race for Miss Lucy’s hand, in which she encourages her beloved to cheat. All fair’s in love, right? Rod Steward covered this.
Milk Cow Blues – Elvis did this on one of his Sun singles; Ricky Nelson did it. Cochrane restores the original feel. Almost.
My Way – Not the Frank Sinatra song. Still, more swaggering, but the same idea.
• Blue Suede Shoes – A more or less by-the-book cover of Carl Perkins’ hit. Elvis did it too. So did Jimi Hendrix.
Nervous Breakdown – The spector of mental illness used as a metaphor for romantic excess.
C’mon Everybody – One of the all-time great party records. From late 1958.
Sittin’ In The Balcony – Eddie sits with his favourite girl, in the last row, and he doesn’t even know where he is (a movie? A symphony?). Written by John Loudermilk, and a hit late in 1958.
Twenty-Flight Rock – Poor guy has to run up 20 stories, and he ends up “too tired to rock.” The Stones covered this one of their live albums.
Teenage Cutie – I bet. Cochrane wasn’t that old, so this wasn’t all that sick.
Hallelujah, I Love Her So – The Ray Charles song, done up with strings and smarm…
Fourth Man Theme – I think this is supposed to be Third Man Theme really, from the movie, which was from the Graham Greene novel. Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass put it into the top 50 in 1965.
Weekend – Kind of same idea as Summertime Blues, though not as dire. On the other hand the expectations seem to be kind of higher here. The Move covered this to great effect.

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