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Coming of Age- 1950s Style- An Encore,
This review is from: Oldies But Goodies 7 (Audio CD)
I have been doing a series of commentaries elsewhere on another site on my coming of political age in the early 1960s, but now when I am writing about musical influences I am just speaking of my coming of age, period, which was not necessarily the same thing. No question those of us who came of age biologically in the1950s are truly children of rock and roll. We were there, whether we appreciated it or not at the time, when the first, sputtering, moves away from ballady show tunes, rhymey Tin Pan Alley tunes and, most importantly, any and all music that your parents might have approved of, even liked, or at least left you alone to play in peace up in your room hit post World War II America like, well, like an atomic bomb.
Now, not all of the material was good, nor was all of it destined to be playable fifty or sixty years later on some "greatest hits" compilation but some of them had enough chordal energy, lyrical sense, and sheer danceability to make any Jack or Jill jump then, or now. And, here is the good part, especially for painfully shy guys like me, or those who had two left feet on the dance floor. You didn't need to dance toe to toe with that certain she (or he for shes). Ah, to be very young then was very heaven.
So what still sounds good on this CD compilation to a current AARPer and some of his fellows who comprise the demographic that such 1950s compilations "speak" to. Of course, the sordid tale of teenage treachery, "Wake Up Little Susie" by The Everly Brothers. Nobody can tell me, or you either, in the year 2010 that old Susie and the narrator just innocently fell asleep, right? And how about the died too young Ritchie Valens on "Donna". Or one of the very first songs that I memorized and sang around the house until I almost was thrown out by my mother, in her tender mercies, "Handy Man", by Jimmy Jones. But if you want to get a real sense of teen angst, teen alienation, teen romantic longing in the 1950s, then Mark Dinning's "Teen Angel" is the ticket. In ten thousand years when they unearth this CD and want to try and understand us primitives, and our coming of age traumas this will be the song that unlocks the key.