Monday, January 10, 2005

Whiskey, Gin, and Wailing

Ranting and raving. Been thinking about the recent Rolling Stone 500 list of greatest songs. Wondering how a list like that can really be accurate without the inclusion of Mudhoney's "Touch Me I'm Sick" and Bad Brain's "Pay To Cum". Personal taste and all, but I guess that's what you get when half the voters are A&R guys. Everyone knows those folks have no interest in the actual music. Blah blah blah. Someone should start a Bloggers top 500. That'd be pretty interesting.

Speaking of fellas left off the list, does anyone remember Johnnie Ray? I'd say he was the proper link between Frank Sinatra and Jerry Lee Lewis. Really. His most famous tune was "Cry", which sent future bobbysoxers mad with glee, apparently, and his slightly deranged live performances and pre-rock rock'n'roll lifestyle caused quite a stir amongst the not yet named Moral Majority (whatever that is). I'm gonna quote the liner notes from his compilation, conveniently titled Cry, to give some idea of his...ouevre, as it were:
"In essence his style drew inspiration from the black singers and white crooners, whilst the country influence that was the other contributing element towards rock'n'roll came in abundance from his rural childhood. In many ways Johnnie Ray was the prototype of the blue-eyed soul singers who appeared in the 60's, albeit his stage act was totally revolutionary and presaged the advent of rock'n'roll. He was the first white performer to rip the microphone from its stand, and use it as a performing prop. He caressed the mike, he attacked it, he gave a stage performance, the likes of which had never been seen before by white audiences. He laid the blueprints for Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard with his pyrotechnics whilst playing the piano. Nobody had seen a standing piano player before, let alone one who kicked it whilst playing. He was married in his 20's, by which time he had already been convicted of soliciting in the men's toilets. He had a torrid affair with a 16-year old girl, he was AC/DC before anyone had ever heard of the term. He wore a hearing aid from the age of 14 due to a boyhood accident, and his deafness played a major role in the evolving of his career."


So, continuing the sordid tales of vice chronicled last week, here's a couple of Johnnie Ray tunes to warm yr days with the fires of hell.

Johnnie Ray: Whiskey and Gin (mp3)

Johnnie Ray: Coffee and Cigarettes (mp3)

(yousendit on from site)

Note to those requesting reposts: They're on their way! Stay tuned, and sorry for the delay.


Reverend Frost said...

Damn, all my life summed up in two songs...

Anonymous said...

Great tunes! I definitely remember Johnnie Ray. I loved Cry when I was a kid and he's pretty good in the film There's No Business Like Showbusiness as the son who becomes a priest.
Most recently I've been reading about the torrid public affair he had with very married, much older columnist Dorothy Killgallen (a regular on What's My Line - they met when he was the celebrity mystery guest).
Thanks -- MindyB