quarta-feira, 12 de abril de 2017


Although his music isn't exactly weird, John D. Loudermilk was one of the weirdest figures of early rock & roll. Much more famous as a songwriter than a performer (although he made plenty of records), his material was incredibly erratic. He could range from the most mindless, sappy pop to a hard-bitten, bluesy tune that rang with as much authentic grit as a Mississippi Delta blues classic. That tune was "Tobacco Road," and if he'd written nothing else, Loudermilk would have been worth a footnote in any history of popular music. Loudermilk wrote plenty of other songs, though, in a lengthy career that saw him straddling the fields of rock, pop, and country. Originally striving to be a performer in a very mild pop/rockabilly style, he found his first success as a songwriter when George Hamilton IV took "A Rose and a Baby Ruth" into the Top Ten in 1956. Recording as Johnny Dee, Loudermilk made a few singles for the small Colonial label in North Carolina. The best and most successful of these was "Sittin' in the Balcony," which made the Top 40 in 1957. Eddie Cochran's cover, based closely on Loudermilk's version (though performed with more force and style), stole most of Johnny Dee's thunder when it outsold the original by a wide margin, making the Top 20. Johnny Dee changed his name back to John Loudermilk when he signed with Columbia in 1958, and also decided to concentrate on songwriting when he relocated to Nashville, eventually working for Chet Atkins at RCA. In the late '50s and early '60s, he supplied material for country stars, teen idols, and pop/rock singers, including "Waterloo" (Stonewall Jackson), "Angela Jones" (Johnny Ferguson), "Ebony Eyes" (the Everly Brothers), "Norman" (Sue Thompson), and "Abilene" (George Hamilton IV). In the mid-'60s, he was briefly in vogue in Britain: the Nashville Teens did both "Tobacco Road" and "Google Eyes" (the latter of which was a hit in the U.K., though a flop stateside), and Marianne Faithfull had a British hit with the moody "This Little Bird." Loudermilk continued to record on his own, though more as an afterthought than a specialty, reserving most of his focus for writing songs for other performers. Much of his material followed a faint-hearted, goofy pop/novelty thread, which made his somber efforts seem all the more incongruous. His last big songwriting success was another of his serious-minded tunes, "Indian Reservation," which topped the charts for Paul Revere & the Raiders in 1971 (it had previously been a hit for British singer Don Fardon). Loudermilk subsequently withdrew from professional activities to spend time studying ethnomusicology. He died at his home in Christiana, Tennessee in September 2016 at the age of 82. ( Richie Unterberger)

The eye-catching psychedelic art on the cover of 1969's "The Open Mind of J.D. Loudermilk" is more tongue-in-cheek than a reflection of the music within. Loudermilk, one of the greatest Nashville songwriters of the late '50s and early '60s, seemed to believe that this album would blow the lid off the music world, but it is not nearly as controversial as he suggests in the liner notes. A mixture of conservative and progressive political views, the songs blast the "new morality," the drug culture, and accuse peace protesters of killing policemen. "Goin' to Hell on a Sled" is the most overtly political cut on the album, but "The Jones" critiques Madison Avenue materialism and keeping up with "the Joneses," "Poor Little Pretty Girl" takes a swipe at the objectification of women, and "Brown Girl" looks at interracial romance. Other songs, such as "Nassau Town," are pretty folk-pop ditties of the sort more commonly associated with Loudermilk. (Greg Adams in AllMusic)

5 comentários:

Jacinto Morais disse...

Confesso a minha santa ignorância pelo facto de há algum tempo atrás ignorar por completo quem era este senhor. Graças aqui ao Rato passei a conhecer grandes temas por ele escritos, quer nas versões originais quer nas versões de outros intérpretes. Os 3 volumes destas últimas constituem algo de muito raro e valioso. Será que ainda vai saír um 4º volume?

Rato disse...

Pois parece que és bruxo, Jacinto!
Graças a um amigo do blog consegui reunir mais algumas versões que irão constituir o almejado 4º volume. Vai ficando atento, portanto.

Anonymous disse...

Rato: eu tbm estou atento as grandes postagens do John.D.Loudermilk e já estou baixando e aguardando ansioso
o quarto volume,só vc para nos brindar com essas maravilhas!

Anonymous disse...

Great music, many thanks !!


Gerard disse...

Another great one!

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