I love this song, which was featured this year on the Nat King Cole show. The Mills brothers were at one time the “Four Kings of Harmony” a barbershop quartet formed by their father who, of course, owned a barber shop.
Here is another wonderful song of theirs, “Paper Doll”
This next number is not from this year, but from 1941. I would have been an innocent unmarried gal in 1941. I have always loved this song and it most certainly show up on the radio in 1957. It has the same group tonal sensibilities of many current 1957 ‘groups’.
Though many associate the “Banana Boat Song” with Harry Belafonte’s wonderful rendition, it was actually written and performed by the Tarriers in 1957.
In Dale Hawkins Suzie Q from this year, you can almost hear the sounds of the upcoming 1960’s. The electric guitar riffs and the increased percussion and repetitive guitar riff, this has a very dissonant modern sound that will culminate in the late 60’s and then into the various branches of rock in the 1970s.
I also love when I find videos such as this with a record being played on an actual record player.
Consider, if you will, 10 years hence: 1967. This how vastly great the divide between music shall be. Those electric guitar sounds softly foreboding in Hawkins song have evolved into the likes of Jimmy Hendrix.
Now, for me, this music is too dissonant and loud. Its almost painful to listen to. This, I am sure, is not a view shared by my modern day contemporaries. Perhaps it was because I, myself, was raised by older parents. My parents did not have Rock n Roll as teenagers. So, I grew up listening to their old records of Ella, Billy Holiday, Nat King Cole, Doris Day, Teresa Brewer, Andrew Sisters and so on. My first introduction to Rock n Roll was occasionally listening to the bubblegum rock 45’s of my sisters (born in the 50’s teens in the late 60’s). Therefore the petulant sounds of the 90’s and grunge were often hard for me to associate with. And the hair bands and heavy metal of the 1980’s were never my thing. That is perhaps why I tended to like the New Wave music of the 1980’s particularly as many such bands had a very 50’s sound and often sported vintage clothes of petticoats, spiked heels and so on.
It is amazing to me the great divide between two decades as the late 50’s and late 60’s. Music, like art, is both a mirror of society and a blueprint of its notions. The changes and unrest coming in the 1960’s certainly show in its music and social morays.
I think I will close with the smooth, structured and calming tones of the Dinning Sisters. I think their perfect hair, lovely dresses are as much stage art as Lady Gaga, though I am sure that opinion will also not be shared. Enjoy: