Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ritchie Valens

I've got my Ritchie Valens CD spinning right now. This guy was still a teenager when he got famous and died. So who knows what he might have accomplished had he gone on? But maybe it would have turned out to be like George Costanza's Aunt Baby, he never would have made it.

The songs on the CD have a very innocent, slightly haphazard feel to them, like they're about a step above demos. And maybe they were. But they're still good, in a live, rock 'n' roll right-this-second kind of way. There doesn't seem to be a lot of post-production polish, which can also detract.

I like people's albums however they make them, for the most part. They're different from live albums, where you usually have a lot rougher presentation. I used to think I needed to have every bootleg and live album in order to have the whole collection. It can be a drag, though, to think you're trying to keep up with an artist, then there's all this other stuff out there, in print unofficially. But these days I don't care anything about that.

Elvis was one for recording his stuff live. I used to have some interesting mp3's of the rare stuff that is available, such at Follow That Dream. Which I'm not going to be buying much of.

Anyway, back to Ritchie Valens. I like this "Bluebirds Over The Mountain" song. It definitely has that live, innocent, first draft feeling. Written by Ersel Hickey, who had the opening picture in the old Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock 'n' Roll. Cool looking cat.

The best songs on the Valens CD, "Rockin' All Night," The Best of Ritchie Valens have to be: "Ooh! My Head," "Come On Let's Go," "Donna," and "La Bamba." If you had those four songs, you've got it. Probably the most dated sounding song is "Hi-Tone," but I still like it. No one ever says that anymore, "You're acting hi-tone." "Paddi-Wack Song" is a rocked up version of "This Old Man Came Rolling Home." Kind of weird. My brother and I used to laugh at that song, since we took everything literally, rolling home. The most atmospheric song is "In A Turkish Town." With the ringing sounding like something from "Harum Scarum." Elvis could have had this song among the songs on that soundtrack!

OK, I'm about done. I'm going to listen to "Donna," then put the CD away. This is a beautiful song.

One last bit. I've never seen the movie about Ritchie Valens. Maybe two minutes of it, or that might have been the one about Jerry Lee. I don't care for these types of movies. I'd rather have my imagination. I did see the Buddy Holly Story, and thought it more or less stunk, some good bits of course. And I saw the Johnny Cash movie, which I thought stunk too, much much worse.

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