Something in music: origin
One evening at a hot, trendy L.A. nightclub on a rare solo outing, yours truly found himself standing alone at the bar preparing to review the upcoming act. Before he had taken more than a few notes, however, he was bookended by a pair of vivacious vixens who insisted on engaging your rockin’ writer in cozy conversation. Strangely, the subject of “marriage” arose.
One of the young ladies noted that when a gal is about to get hitched she needs “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.” Your provocative penman was immediately inspired. After all, those very same terms could be applied to music too: “Something old” or classic, “something new” or recently released, “something borrowed”, a cover, and “something blue”, a blues song or a song with “blue” in the title. The rest is history.
‘Something’ in Music 126
Our “something old” this edition is the classic cut “La Grange” written and recorded by the American rock band ZZ Top. It first appeared on the group’s 1973 platter titled Tres Hombres. One of their most successful tracks, the single made it to number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Our “something new” this edition is the song titled “More Than a Day” by the lounge balladeers known as Cuba Las Vegas. It’s one of four previously unreleased tracks featured on the band’s remastered release of their self-released 1999 disc These Crappy Years now out on Funzalo Records.
Cuba Las Vegas’ original lineup included Steve Dietrich (vocals, acoustic guitar, and sax), Baron Norris (Bass), Warren Paine (guitar), Eric Young (piano, keys, and background Vocals), Katie Hecker Scheid (percussion), and Bob Roberts (Drums.) In a recent email the group’s signature sound was said to be “[e]qual parts Gallon Drunk, Gun Club, and Tindersticks.” The group’s specialty was described as “extreme & downtrodden lounge ballads of another era.”
Our “something borrowed” this time is the song “Little Know Ye Who’s Coming.” It’s a traditional dirge from the 1800s used as a campaign song for John Quincy Adams and recorded by Oscar Brand. This cover cut is by the Los Angeles-based alt-pop band The Jigsaw Seen. They stress the rhythmic qualities of this nigh militaristic number which appears on their 2003 album named Songs Mama Used to Sing.
Our “something blue” this time is the song “Smokestack Lightnin’.” The basic melody has been around since the 1930s. It is also sometimes titled “Smokestack Lightning” and “Smoke Stack Lightning.” It was recorded by Chicago blues singer, harmonica player, and guitarist Howlin’ Wolf back in March of 1956.
Did we mention your favorite “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”? If not, let us know. Don’t forget to send us your sexy or funny bride photos too!