Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Blast From The Past – Gene Vincent

Vincent Eugene Craddock (February 11, 1935–October 12, 1971), better known as Gene Vincent, was an American musician who pioneered the styles of rock and roll and rockabilly. His 1956 top ten hit with his Blue Caps, “Be-Bop-A-Lula“, is considered a significant early example of rockabilly.

Gene Vincent’s 1970 self-titled album (shown above), later released in the UK the following year under the title “If Only You Could See Me Today” was the first of a pair of records released by Kama Sutra Records in 1970. Recorded at the legendary Sound Factory recording studio in Hollywood, CA just a year before his untimely death in 1971.

The album was undoubtably an attempt to cash in on the roots-rock surge of the late 60s and early 70s. Just as Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Link Wray, and the Everly Brothers were busy updating their images and fashioning new sounds for the changing times, so was Gene Vincent.

Fortunately, Gene and his band, which featured L.A session ace and Kaleidoscope co-founder Chris Darrow as well as not one, but three members of the infamous Sir Douglas Quintet (Harvey Kagan, Johnny Perez, and Tex-Mex Farfisa fanatic Augie Meyer), were able to deliver an excellent record that expands upon Gene’s classic sound while simultaneously creating a melting pot of numerous roots-rock styles; with touches of Cajun, Tex-Mex, Swamp Rock, Soul, R&B, Country, and Folk.

The first track, a cover of Mickey Newbury’s (also see earlier post on Mickey by clicking HERE) “Sunshine”, is quite possibly the finest version of the song that’s been recorded to date.

When Gene sings “Sunshine, you may find my window/But you won’t find me…Sunshine, as far as I’m concerned don’t be concerned with me,” his lazy laid-back delivery truly embodies the voice of the character in the song–a man who’s tired of struggling to keep out the darkness and has resigned himself to a life of depression and isolation. Almost entirely gone is the rollicking rockabilly style of his younger years, in its place is a laid back yet emotionally expressive vocal style.

“Sunshine” – Gene Vincent

Unjustly dismissed upon its initial release, mostly ignored by long-time fans and deemed a failed attempt at a comeback by much of the rock press of the era, perhaps the time is right for him to receive the credit due for what is not only an excellent time capsule of funky early 70s roots-rock sounds, but actually a really great album with an interesting and varied sound that could’ve and should’ve taken Gene’s career in a new direction had years of  hard livin’ not taken him away from us too soon.

While not extremely pricey, original vinyl copies of Gene Vincent can be a tad tricky to come by, however, Rev-Ola has issued a cd compilation entitled “A Million Shades of Blue” that consists of Gene Vincent as well as the Kama Sutra follow up Day the World Turned Blue.

Original source is from the great blog The Rising Storm

 

To buy the music of Gene Vincent click HERE

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June 23, 2011 - Posted by | Blast from The Past, Old Music, Rock and Roll |

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