Sunday, April 11, 2010
Buddy Holly is one of my favorites. A unique voice for any time. His music is one of the most complex examples of the 1950's popular genre. He goes down in history as a short-lived, lovable rocker that did it his way, on his own terms....but we can not ignore the others who helped to shape that sound; his band The Crickets, especially drummer Jerry Allison, and his producer, Norman Petty. Holly's original material was fleshed out with experimental percussion, reverb trickery and double-tracked vocals that all went down in a tiny, independent studio in Clovis, New Mexico.
Peggy Sue is one of his best songs, and simplest. The structure is a modal frame, weaving in and around the route A chord with barely any lyrics: mainly consisting of "pretty, pretty Peggy Sue, I love you gal', I want you Peggy Sue." The original title of the song was actually Cindy Lou, but it was changed while recording in the studio at the drummer's request to Peggy Sue, the drummer's girlfriend. Besides the title change, the rhythm also underwent a major change in the studio. It originally had a cha-cha beat, with a Harry Belafonte feel to it. Producer Petty thought this wasn't rocking enough and had drummer Allison come up with the brilliant paradiddles that stays consistent throughout. With the different amounts of reverb added to each drum, the sound is breathtaking. And somehow you can hear the guitarist's pick lick the strings in addition to the usual mic'd amp sound. Very unusual and I'm not sure how they achieved this effect.
Finally, we can not forget Buddy's signature vocal treatment. He switches between, husky Elvis-style crooning, to Buddy's own chipmunk, hiccup method. The song is short, direct and driving. One of the best of the '50's!
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Nice hot April day.....beautiful bike riding weather.....sunny, gorgeous. I spent my afternoon riding around Brooklyn on my rusty red bicycle, looking at the sad, wonderful world around me.
First item of note is the leaning house of Greenpoint. I've noticed this house for years but have finally got around to photographing it. All houses settle with age. There are many examples of leaning buildings in the world. The most famous of course being the leaning tower of Pisa. We all stand in the dirt and sometimes the dirt is soft and we start to sink. This is more noticeable in tall buildings that have been around for a while and they keep sinking until they find their comfort zone (or until they fall over, which doesn't happen often I don't think). Most of the houses I notice lean forwards or backwards so it doesn't look as obvious from the street, but this one leans to one side which is rare. I think it's actually resting against the house to the right.
Here's the same pic with vertical lines drawn where the house should be.
I rode on and decided to grab a bite to eat. Then I ate the most delicious sandwich in the world. I've eaten hundreds of sandwiches in my lifetime and this one tops them all. No question. It's called the Scuttlebutt which can be found at Saltie on Metropolitan near Havemeyer in Williamsburg. It was opened by Caroline Fidanza, founding chef of Diner and Marlow and Sons. The ingredients are made up of beets, radishes, a hard-boiled egg, butternut squash, feta, black olives, capers, pickled onions, parsley and spicy aioli on focaccia. It's pricey for a sammie, at $8, but this isn't a typical lunch-hour sandwich break.....this is special, one step closer to heaven meal.
After this my mind wandered towards dessert. I remember hearing that Pies 'n Thighs just re-opened and I always loved their homemade donuts. I weaved around the streets until I found it, on the corner of S.4th and Driggs. They were out of donuts, but I spied a tasty looking lemon meringue and ordered that instead. Oooohhh....this was good, just tart enough and sticky on my plastic fork, bringing a smile to my lips with each bite.
Afterwards, two different Easter dinner parties to attend....my stomach is definitely receiving it's nourishment today.