Thursday, August 2, 2007

Roots (the Sun grows Apples)

MOG Post: 08/02/2007
Artist: Carl Perkins
Album: The Complete Sun Singles (Vol. 2)
Track: Blue Suede Shoes
1995 Bear Family Records

Did you catch some of the STAX Records history on PBS? Wow - good stuff! Memphis must have been one Happenin' Place in the 1950s. Gracious! Music on every corner; speakers blaring from storefront record houses and radio stations, or groups of fellas hovering falsetto everywhere. Incredible.
MOG is obviously about 'new' groups and new sounds (a very cool, global real-time, interactive forum). It's fascinating to contrast the exposure of "the new music" with times like 1950s Memphis, Tennessee. Try pitting today's musicians with those challenges of being heard. Better yet, imagine what that generation would have been able to do with today's technology. Nevermind ... stupid fantasy. Point is ... music is always "new" - it depends on when you hear it and the context that you are currently in (and both those factors change ... consistently).
There was a time when kids from Liverpool, England (IE, The Beatles - Apple) just soaked-up these Memphis recordings coming over on the ships. I can tell you, if John Lennon wanted to be Chuck Berry and Paul McCartney wanted to be Elvis, then George Harrison wanted to be Carl Perkins. The Beatles covered many of Carl's tunes in their early days. Years later Carl performed on Paul's album Tug of War. "George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Ringo Starr appeared with him on a television special taped in London, England, called "Carl Perkins and Friends: A Rockabilly Session". Perkins and his friends ended the session by singing his signature song, 30 years after its writing, which brought Perkins to tears."

This is his signature recording, Blue Suede Shoes, from 1955. All those Brit legends learned some guitar with this one folks. It's from that other Memphis label, Sun Records. You know ... Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley ... yeah, you know.
I love that the tune was written on a brown paper bag in a haste, after Carl saw a guy make his beautiful girl avoid his shoes at a dance. I love too that it's everywhere in rock 'n' roll - it's truly legendary.
Good music is always fresh. Remember - It really is all about the sound and how good it feels - not the money, the video, or the idol. Take off your brown suede boots! Let's Dance!

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