It’s no secret that I have been known to get a little over-excited when introducing new music that is firmly rooted in the past, especially tunes that respect the old traditional sounds and style of the country music variety. (Editor’s note: can 100% confirm this is true.) But it’s not always just the expected Marty Robbins and Johnny Cash brand of country that gets me fired up – the same rules apply to other modern takes on the throwback sounds of popular music from the late 50s into the early 60s.
Thanks to the influence of my two much older brothers, I developed a passion for classic American automobiles at a young age (a rarity in the UK) – which exposed me to movie delights such as “American Graffiti” and the lesser known ‘made-for-television’ 1979 movie, “Hot Rod.” Of course, it was not only the visual kicks of larger-than-life vehicles cruising along small-town American ‘strips’ that sucked me in, but also the subliminal impact of the era-appropriate music that blasted from the television speakers.
Albums bearing the names Buddy Holly and Del Shannon were staple pieces in the family record collection in the late 70s onwards, but just who were some of the artists discovered from these movie scores? The Del-Vikings, The Flamingos, Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, and the Bobby Fuller Four – just to name a few – had that timeless rock & roll core, but demonstrated some slower, subtle rhythm & blues nuances that emphasized vocal harmonies and romanticism. My introduction to doo-wop music was made before I even hit my teens.
Here at GDW, we’ve encountered our share of artists that have dabbled with a little doo-wop on occasion, from Wolf Willow to Johnny Payne, and of course, David Myles. But nothing prepared me for the ‘stop dead in my tracks’ sensation and subsequent journey to my own imaginary 50s high school dance when discovering this new single from The Hypochondriacs in my email. Released today, “Waitin’” is also the title track from the band’s upcoming studio album, and is quite possibly the finest throwback tune that I’ve heard in a long time.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and state that if you fell head-over-heels in love (as many of us did) with the cover version of “The Shoop Shoop Song” by Cher (taken from the 1990 “Mermaids” movie), then you’ll completely understand what “Waitin’” is all about, and know to expect similar sensations when listening to it. However, for the small minority out there who possess a cold, lifeless swinging brick for a heart, go ahead now and move along – it is unlikely that The Hypochondriacs will be your cup of tea.
Creating their unique brand of music from their Fredericton, NB home, the press release accompanying this toe-tapper states that while The Hypochondriacs are “profoundly influenced by the likes of George Jones and Hank Williams, through further inspection you’ll hear early Memphis rockabilly, a taste of New Orleans, 60s doo-wop, 70s folk-rock, and even a little 80s cow-punk.” And from the opening old-school ‘count in’ from Josh Bravener (vocals/guitar) to kick off the song, this 6-piece ensemble very quickly paint a positively vintage portrait from such sounds that date back many decades in the past.
Go ahead and marvel at the bluesy, surf-style guitar licks courtesy of Connor Fox, along with the tight percussion from bassist Jamie Guitar and drummer Andrew DeMerchant – and then fall in love instantly with the horns and vocal harmonies from Kelly Waterhouse (vocals/sax) and Jeannine Gallant (vocals/trombone) – which not only fill the airwaves from center stage, but add their stamp of authenticity to the genre. Rock n roll dance halls can rejoice – the music that popularized your eternal appeal lives on. Whether you prefer beehives over bangs, or skinny ties over drainpipe pants, it doesn’t matter – go ahead and dust off your blue suede shoes, because “Waitin’” is a time-traveling delight, and a very tasty appetizer of much more to follow.
Photo Credit: Artist Website