Thursday, May 31, 2012

Just You Wait: Ashton, Gardner and Dyke: "The Resurrection Shuffle"

As the 60s turned into the 70s, there were a lot of musicians who had been working as sidemen that decided to take their own shot at fame, however transient that would be.  Some were more successful than others; at this point there’s more than a few who are gearing up, waiting in the wings, or are cult figures, yet to break out into the mainstream.  In a way the 70s are open country as the dominant band of the previous decade – The Beatles – have gone their separate ways, have broken into their constituent parts.  Something new is forming, but has yet to really jell, and in the free-for-all atmosphere one-hit wonders are bound to happen, even more than usual. 

Ashton, Gardner and Dyke were all experienced musicians – two of them worked with George Harrison on Wonderwall – and after a flop first single, they came up with this song (an NME #2), which itself sounds like a grab bag of hip signifiers of the time, V-signs, blown kisses and backbones slipping.  I’m not sure what ‘heavy leather’ has to do with anything, but this is a warm-up, in its way, for what is to come.  It’s loud, fast, defiant, masculine – horns and piano lead the way here.  It’s a rave-up reveille for the new troops of bands to come, all hey-now jiving and dancing.  (Tom Jones covered it, of course.) 

After the psychedelic haze of the late 60s, rock is going back to its early 50s basics – get up, have fun, the lyrics say, and come alive again*.  So it is a pity that these guys never got another hit, though they kept going for another year or so.  Something this upbeat and salutary can’t really be repeated, though, but I can’t help but think of this as a kind of blueprint for a lot of what is about to come.  There comes a point, I should add, when rock dramatically dies and then comes back to life; and this is a prediction of that, more than anything else.  It’s a portent, and in this time when no one really knows what is happening, a good one.

Next up:  did someone say pre-rock? 

*I doubt if resurrection is being used here in its Christian sense.  Though rock music was starting to get hip to Christianity (or is that the other way around?) at this time, a far cry from Jerry Lee Lewis having to be talked into doing “Great Balls of Fire.” 

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