Friday, July 1, 2011

Odds and Ends and Evens

Alright ... by now ya know the Relic's HQ'd in the foothills of Appalachians, right? And ya know I've toldja about my li'l band of mouse-samplin' whiskerlickers underfoot, right? ) Okay, then: to yer left, meet the real "Hillbilly Cat"!

Hey ... have ya ever wondered where that old moniker came from? Y'see, for years, jazz pianists would use it
to describe their fellow musicians -- and, eventually, it began to be the slang for every cool dude on the block!

According to an old ivory-tickler from Nawlins that I had a chance to meet a few years back, the expression actually came about by way of the old tomcat, who'd be on the prowl for a purty thang out in the alley. Natch, the feline always played it cool and easy to get 'er interested.
Well, as music began to have a bit of sexual undertone, the word "cool cat" became synonymous with an easy-going musician. As pop (and, a bit later, rock) began to climb the charts, the name was applied to musicians in their acts as well. (Of course, there are other explanations, but Mr. Potter was certain about his ... 'sides, it makes sense, right?)

Now, awhile back, I toldja about a Sixties British band that, while not makin' the journey to the US as part of the Invasion, still had a strong following at home. When I said that they were very close to the Everly Brothers in their harmony, the RockMail started showin' a few fangs (ie, mail from rabid EB fans who thought I was just makin' it up)! No one could sound like Don and Phil, they said... and I agree! I said they were close!!. Anyway, since the Relic doesn't "make anything up", here's proof; A pic of the Del Renas in performance! They did excellent covers of EB tunes like Sigh, Cry, Almost Die and When Will I Be Loved? (So there, nay-sayers!!)

Also mentioned in an earlier post about Jimi Hendrix's draft of Purple Haze. I said he'd originally planned to call it Jesus Saves ... and, almost automatically, readers wanted proof!

Sooooo, without further adieux, here's a shot of Jimi's original draft (although, quite frankly -- and considering we were having a squabble of some kind in 'Nam at the time--, I don't think the words "Jimi Hendrix" and "draft" should be used in the same sentence. Yes, he was in the Army in '61, but only to avoid goin' to prison for riding in a stolen car. He was discharged a year later, btw).

MAYBE IT'S IN THE GENES

When an Australian group called The Easybeats started makin' wild, guitar-based rock (with an Eastern influence) in the mid-Sixties, not many teens gave notice. Sure, Friday On My Mind was fun (though the "B" side, Made My Bed [Now I Gotta Lie In It] was totally fab, in both writing and performance!), it just didn't turn a lotta kids on; instead, it was relegated to compilation LPs. Still, rockers Harry Vanda and George Young built an amazingly-talented band!! (Btw, The Easybeats' drummer, "Snowy" Fleet, was originally with the Liverpool group, The Mojos, in their heyday)

About a dozen years later, the new generation dug the romantic Love Is In The Air by John Paul Young -- and, a decade later, an even newer generation was goin' wild over a hard-rock band called AC/DC and its stompin' guitarist, Angus Young.
Three generations ... different sounds ... but all related to each other (Angus and George were brothers, and John Paul was a cousin.) !
And now there's word of a new batch of Youngs gettin' together to work the rock circuit for the coming generation!
Natch, there are other acts that can boast the same thing (like Nat "King"/Natalie Cole, Paul and James McCartney, Ringo and Zak Starkey and others), but the most prolific and visible proof of it could be found in those five lads from Australia!

Remember our Rock history lessons, when I talked about early BritBand guitarists having to play on strings that were so fitfully set (so hard to play that sometimes their fingers would bleed)?
One of the 'Pool's top bands was Faron's Flamingos. Check out the bass guitar that Faron (Bill) Ruffley played, and you'll see what I'm talkin' about.

Incidentally, of the group (btw, one of the most histrionic of the Brit bands, with Faron doing jumps & knee-dives and drummer Trevor Morais doing back-flips off his drumstool), original lead Nicky Crouch went on to perform with The Mojos along with "Snowy" of The Easybeats!(ahhh ... again it all comes together!)

BUT WHERE'S ZELDA?? Hey ... stateside boomers: Remember Dobie Gillis? He and his beatnik partner, Maynard G. Krebs (the late Bob Denver, played by "Willy" Gilligan), ruled the airwaves in the late Fifties.
Well (hold onto your Geritol® bottles, folks!) Dobie (Dwayne Hickman) turned (gulp!) 77 in May!! Yep ... he was playin' the crewcut teen at 25!
By the way (and, yes, I've been asked): The "G." in "Maynard G. Krebs" stood for ... Walter (his aunt's name)! No, I am not making that up, either!

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