I have said in the past “I have commented on some of Vee’s later albums which I find quite endearing and much underrated”.
That statement goes someway to explaining why I keep listening to new Bobby Vee albums. They are both “endearing” and “underrated” and they make me happy.
Accordingly, it is slightly surprising that Vee (and others of his ilk) aren’t more revered today.
The singers of the late 1950s and early 1960s that are revered are the rockers like Link Wray, Lonnie Mack and Jack Scott. And well they should be, but, the teen idols have been unfairly dumped into the musical dustbin.
In many ways their music serves as a backdrop to all the mainstream, light, family oriented films made in the early 1960s whereas the rockers music serves as the background to contemporary films set in the early 1960s.
Which is a more accurate reflection of the time?
Both are, probably.
The music of the teen idols and the rockers existed side by side and in many ways both of these, seemingly opposing forces, tapped into the psyches of teenagers. Certainly, in musical terms, both styles would have a great influence on The Beatles and The Beach Boys.
The trouble however is that as everything got louder, harder, faster and pop became a dirty word the teen idols fell from favour and their music has ceased to be considered.
Their music however was the chart making music of 1959 – 1963. Elvis himself, on returning from the army, had begun to smooth off the rough edges (he had shown from the earliest days that he loved pop) and recorded “Elvis is Back” (1960), one of the best albums of the 1960s, as well as the underrated (and misunderstood) studio albums “Something for Everybody” (1961) and “Pot Luck with Elvis” (1962) and the even more maligned soundtracks “G.I. Blues” (1960) and “Blue Hawaii” (1961).
Buddy Holly likewise, in the late 50s, had also started to move to pop in a big way and Buddy was a big influence on Bobby Vee.
There is enough evidence to suggest that if Buddy hadn’t died he may have been putting out music like Bobby Vee. Bobby filled in for Buddy after Buddy died, recorded an album of songs with Buddy’s backing band the Crickets and even did an album of Buddy Holly covers. All of those ventures were successful.
OK, the strings on this album are a bit thick, Buddy (and Elvis) relied more on the traditional rock instrumentation for his pop, but producer Snuff Garrett doesn’t allow the strings to become to saccharine.
So if you need to have some validation to listen to Bobby Vee then tell yourself he is Buddy Holly’s heir.
For me, the mix of up tempo pop songs, ballads and the odd rocker provides a contemporary soundtrack to the 60s movies I watched as a kid in the 70s.
And life then was, as a child’s life always is, a lot simpler.
So this music to me is the aural equivalent of recently discovered comfort food.
Tracks (best in italics)
- What’s Your Name – (Claude Johnson)- originally a hit (#7) for Don & Juan in 1962. This is well done, string laden and perhaps from another era. (despite the fact the original was a hit in 1962).
- My Golden Chance – (Gerry Goffin / Carole King) – Goffin and King! A nice mid tempo teen lament.
- You Better Move On – (Arthur Alexander) – a #24 hit for soul singer Arthur Alexander in 1961. Vee does the song justice. The sex is turned down but the song is still persuasive. Both the The Hollies and The Rolling Stones recorded the song in 1964.
- Please Don’t Ask About Barbara– (Buchanan/Keller)- another teen lament and irresistible.
- Forget Me Not – (Van Dyke)- a hit for English hit (#7) for Englishman Eden Kane in 1962 who, I assume did it first, as the composer is English also. A little Buddy creeping in here.
- Sharing You – (Gerry Goffin / Carole King) – Goffin and King sure can write.
- In My Baby’s Eyes – (Carole King /Gerry Goffin) – another winner but with some nice quirky asides.
- Tenderly Yours – (Diane West Cobb)- a ballad.
- I Can’t Say Goodbye – (Carole King /Gerry Goffin) – Bobby Rydell recorded this in 1964 (#94). Nice controlled dread.
- Teardrops Fall Like Rain – (Jerry Allison / Glen D. Hardin / Tom Leslie) – written by The Crickets ( they released it as a single in 1963). It could be Buddy Holly !
- Guess Who (Belvin / Belvin) – a hit for Jesse Belvin in 1959 (#31 Top 100, #7 R&B). A little dramatic with heavenly spiritual backing.
- A Forever Kind of Love – (Gerry Goffin / Jack Keller) – a nice way to finish.
The strings distract on some tracks but Vee sings well and the Goffin & King songs are treats …. I’m keeping it.
1962 Sharing You The Billboard Hot 100 #15
1962 Please Don’t Ask About Barbara The Billboard Hot 100 #15
1962 I Can’t Say Goodbye The Billboard Hot 100 #92
1962 A Bobby Vee Recording Session The Billboard 200 #121
1962 Please Don’t Ask About Barbara #29
1962 Sharing You #10
1963 A Forever Kind of Love #13
1963 A Bobby Vee Recording Session #10
What’s Your Name
My Golden Chance
You Better Move On
Please Don’t Ask About Barbara
Forget Me Not
In My Baby’s Eyes
I Can’t Say Goodbye
A Forever Kind of Love