Monday, January 14, 2013

This Ole House


We've set The Way-Back Machine all the way back to 1954 this morning for this great, #1 Hit. 

In that radio rarely plays ANYTHING from the '50's anymore, it's pretty unlikely that you'll hear this record anytime soon ... but my guess is that if you listen to it a couple of times this morning, you'll have it stuck in your head for the rest of the day. 

It's a tough one to categorize ... not quite rock and roll (which, at this point, hadn't "officially" been invented yet ... Bill Haley and the Comets wouldn't top the charts with "Rock Around The Clock" for nearly a year.) Ditto for rock-a-billy (although, to my ears, this record certainly exhibits many of the characteristics of this upcoming, brand new genre of music as well ... British Rocker Shakin' Stevens would resurrect this tune three decades later and cut a rock-a-billy version). Not exactly pop (although it DID top the pop charts) ... and maybe just a little bit country (although you don't hear it so much in this particular version, a competing version also went to #1 on Billboard's Country Chart.) And, that incredible bass vocal (handled by Thurl Ravenscroft, who would go on to provide the deep baritone sound of Tony The Tiger ... "They're Great!" ... for Frosted Flakes ... and handle the timeless bass-line vocals of "You're A Mean One, Mister Grinch") even helped to give it a bit of a doo-wop feel!  

What it WASN'T is what you would expect to hear from female crooner Rosemary Clooney (aka George Clooney's aunt!) 

And not only was it a chart-topper, but this was a Two-Sided #1 Hit to boot! After the A-Side completed its eight week run at the top of the charts, deejays flipped the record over and "This Ole House" took over the top spot for an additional week! ("Hey There", the A-Side, was much more inline with what we'd come to expect from Rosemary Clooney at this point. It was a show tune (from the Broadway Musical "The Pajama Game"), one of seven songs that Clooney covered that came from either Broadway shows or movies up to this point. 

I hadn't even turned a year old yet when this record came out (and my guess is, it predates a fair percentage of our reading audience as well) ... but my Mom had the 78 (as well as another Clooney favorite of mine, "Come On-A My House", a song written by Ross Bagdasarian who, a few years later, would reinvent himself as David Seville, score his OWN #1 Hit with "Witch Doctor" and then give life to The Chipmunks, a pop sensation that are still making music today, several generations later!) ... and I used to play the heck out of these tunes once I was old enough to learn how to use the ol' Victrola! I dug it out again yesterday and decided that I just HAD to share this one with our readers. 

Give a listen to "This Ole House" by Rosemary Clooney ... and see if you don't think that this tune would sound great coming out of your radio two or three times a year as one of those "Wow! Factor" songs! (kk)