February 1, 2015 – YIKES! How did that happen? I don’t know about you, but time has taken flight for me.
I have a lot to say today, so we better get on with it. I’ve really enjoyed BATTLE OF THE BANDS. I’m not a music guru, like some people, who shall remain nameless, at least for now. I can read music, play the piano, and have even been known to sign a note or two, but when it comes to fancy technique, or instrumentation what I know is; WHAT I LIKE. Through some of your posts and in the comment sections I have learned a lot about music, instrumentation, technique, and some personal history of the artists. Today, my BATTLE was a learning experience for me; one that started at a point and came around full circle.
Let me tell ya ‘bout it:
Awhile back I was talking music with STMcC, well, he was talking and I was listening. He mentioned a band with an odd name; ‘Dicky Doo and the Don’ts’. About all he said at the time was something about their comical name. I decided to look them up and see if they ever had a hit and if it was something that either they might have covered, or if someone (gasp!) had covered one of their tunes.
Turns out I found this at Allmusic.com
Artist Biography by Bruce Eder
Dickey Doo & the Dont's started out as a joke with a purpose. Gerry Granahan, a producer, songwriter, and performer needed an alias under which he could release his newest record without getting into legal trouble with another record label to which he was already under contract and the alias turned into a successful recording act. Granahan, born in Pittston, PA, was a musician and singer who'd handled demos for Hill & Range aimed at Elvis Presley. Signed to Sunbeam Records in 1957, he had a hit in mid-1958 with "No Chemise Please," a novelty song that got to number 23 on the Billboard chart. His next four singles stiffed, but then he found himself with a song that seemed like a certain hit, "Click Clack," and a label -- Swan Records of Philadelphia -- that wanted to release it; moreover, with Swan behind it, the label's silent partner, Dick Clark, would give it a boost on the local version of his daily music showcase, American Bandstand, thus ensuring it had every chance to become a hit. Granahan's different contractual relationships, with Sunbeam and an earlier contract with Atlantic, however, made it risky for him to release anything with Swan, at least under his own name. Thus were born Dickey Doo & the Dont's, a mythical act whose name would be attached to the song "Click Clack." Swan partner Tony Mammarella suggested the name Dickey Doo & the Dont's as an "in" joke that obliquely referred to Clark's secret involvement with Swan. The song broke out gradually and rose to number 28 during a three-and-a-half-month run. With a hit behind him, Granahan now faced another problem: coming up with a group to appear as Dickey Doo & the Dont's. He recruited a quartet -- Harvey Davis (bass), Al Ways (sax), Ray Gangi (guitar), and Dave Alldred (drums) -- to back him as Dickey Doo & the Dont's; Granahan was referred to on their recordings as Richard A. Doo. The quintet proved extremely popular in concert and charted more singles, including "Nee Nee Na Na Na Na Nu Nu," "Leave Me Alone," and "Teardrops Will Fall," over the next year and a half. By the 1960s, the group had left Swan and moved to the United Artists label, where they cut two albums and remained under contract until 1965. Granahan continued his extensive activities as a producer during this period, working with the music of the Angels and Patty Duke, among others. Dickey Doo & the Dont's have never been compiled on one CD, but their music is spread among several compilations devoted to Swan Records and early '60s oldies.
I had not heard of any of these songs, but a Youtube search proved that ‘Teardrops Will Fall’ was covered by various other artists. Including John Mellencamp and Linda Ronstadt. I listened to both of those versions and although the lyrics are the same, they didn’t sound anything like the original. A little more searching led me to a fellow named Ry Cooder. Now ya’ll probably know all about Mr. Cooder (especially you music gurus) but I had no idea. This guy really gets around. Here’s what Wacky Watchee has to say about him;
Ryland Peter "Ry" Cooder (born March 15, 1947) is an American musician. He is known for his slide guitar work, his interest in roots music from the United States, and, more recently, his collaborations with traditional musicians from many countries.
His solo work has been eclectic, encompassing folk, blues, Tex-Mex, soul, gospel, rock, and much more. He has collaborated with many musicians, notably including Captain Beefheart, Ali Farka Touré, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Randy Newman, David Lindley, The Chieftains, and The Doobie Brothers. He briefly formed a band named Little Village.
He was ranked eighth on Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". A 2010 ranking by Gibson placed him at number 32.
Personally, I found it interesting that Ry has worked with many of my favorite artists. I was shocked that I had never heard of him before, but then you know me.
Anyway, turns out it’s Ry Cooder who took that old song by Dickie Doo and the Don’ts, ‘Teardrops Will Fall’, and wrote a different arrangement. He then recorded it and so did John Mellencamp and Linda Ronstadt.
Now remember back at the beginning of this post, I said that my research started at a point and took me full circle. Well…here’s the skinny on that part of the story.
A week or two ago I was at the home of Chris Fries The Creative Outlet of a StratPlayer. You all remember Chris. He used to participate in BOTB, but dropped out this year to pursue his personal creative projects. (BTW, you should stop by his space on Mondays, where he is posting some of his creativity, and boy oh boy, can this guy create!) Anyway…while eavesdropping in the comment box Chris and STMcC are yakking away about music, way over my head, until Mr. McCarthy mentions ‘The Buena Vista Social Club’, which was an album produced by Ry Cooder (he’s also one of the musicians). It’s Cuban music played by older Cuban musicians. Mr. Cooder, if you will remember, has an interest in “roots’ or ‘traditional music’ from many countries. The album was also produced as a film documentary. Here’s what Wacky Watchee says about it.
Ry Cooder produced the Buena Vista Social Club album (1997), which became a worldwide hit. Wim Wenders directed the documentary film of the same name (1999), which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2000.
So, what started out as a somewhat frivolous conversation turned into a learning experience, at least for me. Also, I listened to most of ‘Buena Vista Social Club’, and really enjoyed it. It is definitely music of the Caribbean.
OK, enough of that brief history of me, and my search for this BOTB.
I’m seriously trying to avoid a shut out here, so I’ve decided – DUM, DUM, DA, DUM – to go with a three-way. Once you listen, I think you’ll understand why.
First up, the original – Dicky Doo and the Don’ts
Next, Mr. Ry Cooder
And finally, Miss Linda Ronstadt
OK, you guys know what to do and how to do it. Leave me a comment with your vote and tell me why. Next go on over to the home of Mr. BOTB - Mr. Stephen T. McCarthy. I’m sure he has a marvelous BATTLE posted for your pleasure and he will also provide links to the other participants.
As always, I appreciate your continued support of this fun little endeavor. If you would like to join us and post your own BATTLE, please let me know in the comment box, so I can be sure to visits your site. Also, leave a note at Mr. McCarthy’s site so he can add you to the list.
I really hope you will try to visit all of the BATTLE OF THE BANDS participants.
I’ll be back on the 7th, with the final tally and my vote. Until then – ‘Happy Trails to You!’