Tuesday, December 15, 2009

All -Time Favorite Song(s)

For a change of mood, something quite light and fluffy.

Without question it would have to be for me an Elvis Presley creation, any which song recorded prior to the 60’s. For a man whose professional life spanned mere 20-some years, he was quite prolific recording about 700 songs. He also performed many songs live during his many concerts, which were subsequently recorded posthumously. Even his many out-takes and informal recordings found their way to commerce and sale success.

But what is being asked is the all-time favorite ONE song (of a male vocalist).

Okay, but I would qualify. For me, it would have to be an all-time favorite song for each of my all-time favorite singers. And I would have several, all coming from the 50’s and 60’s. Among them would be Marty Robbins, John Tillotson, Johnny Horton, Sonny James, Roy Hamilton, Ricky Nelson, Tommy Sands, Jimmy Clanton, and Gene Vincent. And a host of others.

Anyway for Elvis, it would be grudgingly the relatively unknown country song, Poor Boy, performed by Elvis in his first movie, Love Me Tender. I chose it not for its quality, lyrics, or any such musical measurement. I chose it only because as a kid I could not wrench myself away from listening to it every time it was played regardless of the place, time, or occasion. I listened to it maybe until ennui set it. Except it never came. And to this day, I continue to listen to it every time I get the chance. But to be fair, I listen to it with most of the old songs of Elvis, especially those recorded under the classic Sun Sessions.

For Marty Robbins I chose the very soulful song, Streets of Laredo. Marty’s poignant and plaintive voice fitted the song perfectly.

And for Johnny Tillotson, I chose Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On, for the same reason above. His very distinctive voice was just right for this song. And I would add, so would the Everly Bros’ haunting and perfectly blended duet combination.

For Sonny James, easily I chose A World of our Own.

And For Tommy Sands, hands down it is That’s All I Want From You. I searched far and wide for this song, for many years, until I found it at YouTube. In the meantime, in frustration consoled myself listening to the version of Jaye P. Morgan, who sang this song originally.

Same case with Ricky Nelson’s Half Breed. Found it after many tries. No wonder it was difficult to find, it had originally been included as one of a couple of selections in Ricky’s first movie with John Wayne, named Rio Bravo. But was cut from the final version, thus the song never got the promotion it needed. But when I heard it once, I was hooked.

Jimmy Clanton’s seeming hoarse voice was ideal for his rendition of Don’t You Know. He always sang sounding like he had a perpetual cold.

Roy Hamilton’s powerful voice delivered so effortlessly gave me lots of joy and inspiration listening to his You'll Never Walk Alone.

And of course, Gene Vincent with his BeBopALula, a classic on the slap-back echo method used in recording. Sam Phillips of Sun Records used it extensively during his sessions with early Elvis.