Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cat Mother and The All Night Newsboys - "Good Old Rock & Roll" (1968)

Cat Mother and The All Night Newsboys had one huge hit but at least they can go down in history saying that Jimi Hendrix produced it. As a matter of fact, Hendrix produced the whole album it came from, with the unlikely-title of The Street Giveth, The Street Taketh Away.

"Good Old Rock & Roll" was one of the last examples of a hit single medley -- a song comprised of other song excerpts. In this case, a seamless blend of 50's rock classic slices that worked so perfectly, it almost seemed like it was all one song -- "Sweet Little Sixteen," "Long Tall Sally," "Chantilly Lace," "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On," "Party Doll" and "Blue Suede Shoes." Bookending these songs was the original "Good Old Rock & Roll," which kind of summed up the simple intent of the song:

When I was just a little boy
You know my one and only joy
Was listening to that good old rock and roll
When I was, well, I just turned 23
and if you want to get a message to me
All you gotta do is listen to that good old rock and roll

The real beauty of this song is that it's completely unadorned, no special effects or edits, nothing deep or political, no guitar fireworks -- just five guys playing straight ahead rock and roll, taking vocal turns on the different verses, and just digging the highlights of these 50's classics.

When it was 1968, these guys were 23 years old and the Big Bopper and Jerry Lee Lewis were the artists they grew up on. So it's kind of cool that they would record this simple tribute at a time when their producer Hendrix and others were pushing the boundaries of rock music, and it would become their sole claim to fame.

The wonderful live performance clip below is from "The Rick Shaw Show," which was based in Miami, FL.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a blast. My first live concert was in Highland park on Jamacia Avenue in Brooklyn. I was about 12 and these guys were the headliners. Ha! It was one of those free park gigs NY had so many of. Actually it wasn't my first live concert but it was my first Rock and Roll Concert. My first live music experience was at Freedom Land and while I was very young I do remember my Father carrying me to the foot of the stage and hoisting me up on his shoulders. Louis Armstrong was Playing and a large and very dark woman in a very red dress was singing When The Saints Go Marching In. Ahhh, growing up in NYC

Vince DeLucia said...

I first saw this band (they were out of the East Village near Tompkins Square Park)...at the Woodstock Soundout of the Summer of '67 or '68 just one or two years before the Big Woodstock Event....and they were fantastic...at one time I owned both of their lps, "Street...." and "Albion Doo Wah". Larry Packer still performs and is a member of Albany's HAIR OF THE DOG...
I wish I could find their CDs....
peace
Vince DeLucia

Riccardo B. said...

I have their first two LP's, a bit scratchy, but still listenable. I converted them to play on the Ipod and was listening to both of them today. What became of those musicians? Anyone know?
Though I like the first LP, the second on is my favorite and is thoroughly imprinted on my brain and lives on in there. Thanks guys, where ever you may be these days. You made some fine music.
RiccardoB

AFGee said...

I picked up a copy of their first album as an 8 track in a sale bin. Remember cut outs and sales? I loved "Good Old Rock & Roll" and played the H out of it. It was just good old R & R. There was no pathos in the lyrics; just a good driving dancing beat. Those, for sure, were the days.
A. Genco