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"We want more!" begged the Swiss at the Boogie Woogie and Ragtime Piano Contest of November 27, 1977. And indeed, they got more – a veritable bargain of interpretive dexterity as James Carroll Booker III, the self-dubbed "Piano Prince of New Orleans," let what seemed like 88 fingers fly across the 88's.
.... not to mention
Abba believes in ancient visions of American teenagehood; they romanticize infatuation and stolen kisses... and, like their Spector-born predecessors, they possess the big voices and the big production know-how required to promote their fantasies and win audiences. Abba’s innocence, in fact, was never more conspicuous than during their appearance on Saturday Night and Wonderama. The artificiality of Frieda and Anna’s go-go boots and miniskirts looked bonkers compared to the cast’s usual routines.
In contrast, Abba’s Sunday morning stint on Wonderama (New York’s Kiddie Club) was a sugar coated delight of pre-pube choreography (gyrating forth the gummy bubble fans of the Wombles and Hudson Brothers with host Bob McAllister oohing and aahing at the female Abbas’ leggies). The difference here being that Abba survives only as alien rock ‘n’ roll force, contained in a time warp, rippling through the seventies.
"The fireside, the lamplight intimate and low, reverie with finger at the brow, and eyes that lose themselves in answering looks..."
– Paul Verlaine, ‘La Bonne Chanson’
BORN ON FEBRUARY 19, 1940, William "Smokey" Robinson was blessed at birth with an extraordinary poetic vision: God stepped down from His lofty perch and kissed the newborn's brow. Since then, Smokey – with a voice that can melt M&M's – has made us swoon, massaging our hearts with a romantic lyricism that justly earned him the title of World's Greatest Living Poet (awarded by Bob Dylan and Patti Smith, prior to their recent demise).
From the Miracles' inception in the late '50s, Smokey swore that his music was inspired by the 12-year-old Frankie Lymon; presently, because of his meticulous phrasing and air of self-confidence, he seems to be inspired by a more ancient deity, Frank Sinatra. During his waning years, Sinatra's voice has mellowed, like a fine whiskey, into an authoritative perfection; similarly, Smokey's voice now sails through a melody as if guided by the wisdom of a navigator so sure of his course that not even an approaching fog could dim his visibility.
"One of these days somebody's gonna have enough guts to take a machine gun and fire into all the sicko creeps we got running loose in this fine nation of ours. You bet, ratatat kapowee, and that'll be the end of 'em, buster."
– Sgt. Carter
ZOUNDS!! HERE'S a new group that'll blow ya right into the stratosphere with their kooky costumes and really weird psychedelic music. Imagine a band that plays with babies like they were handling silly putty and designing an album in the shape of a wallet. Isn't that too much, groovers?!
Like, deejays and flashy rock critics and promo men across the country are getting hip to the pulsating vibrations of this rather kinky new group. Not to mention the flood of press raves which usually tend to read something like this:
Clear the air – Alice Cooper has arrived!! With just two hit singles under their belts – ‘School's Out’ and ‘I'm Eighteen’ – they're already sweeping teens off their feet in every major country. And with the immediate release of their latest elpee, they're bound to eventually conquer the Universe!
DOWNHOME MUSIC is where it's at. Clarence Carter. J.J. Cale. Tom T. Hall. They all sound laid back to me, and they are artists who can be extremely addictive.
Like immersion baptisms. See, someone ducks your head underwater and the water gets up your nozzle and you try to get out of it but the preacher won't let you so you give in and eventually you are drowning for your sins. But you come back for more. You steal an automobile and you're right back there next Sunday afternoon standing with the rest of the congregation on the banks of Honey's Pond. You are there because it has become a home for you – you feel secure in the hands of the Lord.
Tony Joe White would know what I'm talking about. All his songs sound the same. But when you hear that gruff voice of his pouring out of the radio talking 'bout the gator gettin' your granny you kind of slide back and scratch your stomach and your eyelids go ping! Tony Joe White has that much power.
The Runaways: The Runaways
Don't let the teevee tube or the records being released fool you! Teenage America's spirit is not sagging (empty helium balloons surrounded by Paul McCartney records). CB radios, disco, the Fonz, the cast of Welcome Back, Kotter: THAT'S SHELLAC, JACK!!
Punk nouveau is hot as blazes, reading fast, groping even into, and very, very soon (maybe tomorrow) punk rock is going to start hips shaking on every street corner, wiping out the boredom set deep in every teenager's eyes (put to snooze by Elton John and assorted wimps). That's the Punk Rock Revival II, meaning no more clean-cut pop and lotsa dirty, badass rock 'n' roll. Kim Fowley knows it's coming. Patti Smith and the Ramones are perpetrating it. And damn, the Runaways have grasped IT!
Calling themselves "Queens of Noise" in their anthem ‘American Nights’ (as teenage a call-to-arms as you'll ever hear), the Runaways have earned the right to scream "I'm sixteen and proud," play sloppy, and strut like they were the Rolling Stones. The Runaways don't try to hide the fact that their band was obviously spawned in a garage, educated on the shakin' streets, and measured in terms of its own sexuality.