Thursday, June 20, 2013

#3 - That Was Then (Ten at Fifty)

 I wake up in the morning and I wonder,
Why everything's the same as it was.

- Skeeter Davis, "The End of the World"

Mary Frances Penick, ten years older than John Lennon, native of Kentucky, was the real thing, small town girl made good. A tragic car accident killed her singing partner, and probably changed the trajectory of her career. Before she was done, she made a hit that influenced the next generation of country stars like Dolly Parton, and managed to chart in the top ten not just in country, but also, for the first time for a woman, pop and R&B as well, a feat almost only seen in the domain of Ray Charles by that point.

She made various forays into sixties music, including a fairly wooden version of an iconic Joni Mitchell song:

Skeeter Davis died in her early seventies, having raised a ruckus at the Grand Old Opry, and having seen substantial success as a songwriter as well as making the charts repeatedly.

("Got My Mind Set on You", a number three hit for George Harrison 25 years later, established that he could, after all, do a dance tune.)

"Should have gave you all my hours when I had the chance"

- Bruno Mars, "When I Was Your Man"

Yes, Bruno scored twice, count 'em, on the top ten. Is he a machine or what? With "When I Was Your Man", he establishes what must be for his fans a reliable blues/pop groove, covering the same "how could it be so over" theme of Skeeter's superhit, but as the lover who couldn't properly appreciate his girl in more foolish days. The vocals and playing are smooth and high, inspiring, among numerous covers at various levels, this a cappella reading:

- for this reason if no other, I look forward to intermittent exposure to Bruno's output.

No comments:

Post a Comment