Who wants to dance to that new fangled music? You know, that hard-driving black soul with a harmonious chorus? That poor person country swing with a whiskey bottle beat?
The Youngsters begin to turn our tried and true doo wop into rhythm and blues. In 1955 they put out ‘Don’t Fall in Love Too Soon’ and ‘Shattered Dreams.’ By 1956 they have reususcitated 1929’s “Christmas in Jail.” If it walks like a rock and quacks like a roll…
Long Island white guys tried on that old doo wop sound as The Echoes in ’55. With the help of Gee Records, as The Debonairs, they released the single “Christmas Time/Crazy Santa Claus.” It’s measured and slick and trying too hard. But it’s a gas.
I’m not partial to covers of standards regardless of the funk that gets brung, but “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” by The Cadillacs crafts something R&B without slick bells and whistles. This is the raw power of cool, the soul of rock ‘n’ roll.
Country music this decade keeps toying with a hard backbeat. Unable to break into Sun Records, Cordell Jackson starts her own label to sing and produce her own music including “Rock and Roll Christmas” and “Beboppers’ Christmas.” Do you feel the power of Elvis compel you? Well, honky tonk you too.
Brenda Lee is 10 years old in 1956. The shorty poor Atlantan sang for candy at the neighborhood store, and worked up to radio shows. She will use her country rhythm later to rule pop/rock in the ’60s. Here she sings from her second single of all time: “Christy Christmas” backed by my favorite poverty-aggressive Christmas song “I’m Gonna Lasso Santa Claus.”