Sunday, September 13, 2015

Lazy Sunday # 393: Greasers

I admit it. I was once a Greaser.

Halfa handful of Brylcreem every morning. Comb jutting from the back pocket of my pegged jeans. Tight T-shirt and polished to a sheen pointy shoes that would come in handy if you had to put the boots to a guy. Grade Eight in Regina could get rough.

A year later, the Beatles arrived and I evolved. But a lot of guys around me didn’t. They’d made a commitment.

It mighta been to hot rods or hogs.  Could be they felt the need to emulate Brando or the King, the guys who’d given them their image in the first place.

Some just didn’t want to move on from Do-Wop and the Rock ‘n Roll that had been their soundtrack in the 50’s. And who could blame them. That stuff still cooks today.

But we still made fun and by the 70’s the Greaser had become a reliable comedy stock character in the culture. Like “The Fonz” and the cast of “Grease”, eternally believing they were still cool while the rest of us knew otherwise.

A lot of cover bands came along to replicate the Rock of the 50’s while making fun of it as well. Perhaps the most famous being “Sha-Na-Na”.

I don’t know if they were a record company manufactured boy band or somebody’s concept for re-inventing nostalgia, but I hated “Sha-Na-Na”.

To me, they almost sneered their way through every classic oldie they performed. Intimating that they weren’t really serious about what they were doing and also found it fun to ridicule the musicians from whose work they made a living parodying.

That didn’t stop them from being enormously successful, of course. They had Gold records and a hit TV variety series that ran for 5 years.

Then –- sometime in the 80’s while touring a play in England, somebody turned me on to a British version of Sha-Na-Na also named after a Do-Wop nonsense lyric. A sweet glam rock octet called “Showaddywaddy”.

“Showaddywaddy” was a revelation. An accomplished group of English rockers who not only performed the Oldies with the passion and respect they deserved, but wrote new music in the same genre.

Unfortunately, “Showaddywaddy” never really made it across the pond. And more’s the pity. They were probably better than most of the American groups that had inspired them.

I offer two of their UK hits for your consideration. A Classic Do-Wop tune and one of their originals. If this is your first exposure to the band, there’s a large selection of their hits on Youtube.

And if you’re just an old Greaser like me, I know what follows will help you –- Enjoy Your Sunday…

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