Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April 8, 1962: Telstar by The Tornados


April 8, 1962

I went to my local record store, Mono Records, to get the new Tornadoes album called "The Original Telstar."  I have heard the song "Telstar" on the radio and I was intrigued with the sound of outer space that somehow landed on KRLA airwaves. Most of my friends go out and buy 45rpm singles, but I have always preferred the 12" or 10" album format.  A lot of times, the songs are not as good as the more familiar hit song by the artist - but I feel I'm getting a full picture of that band or singer's work.  Also at this point I don't have that many albums in my collection.   Maybe 8 or 10 albums at the most.  I would get more, but the cost of albums, which are usually anywhere from $1.99 to $2.99 is expensive for me.   I had a job, but I didn't like it.  I was pumping gas at a Shell gas station on the corner of Fletcher and Riverside, but I found the customers rude - and my feelings get hurt really easily. 

I still live at home, and luckly my mom didn't kick me out when I reached 21.  I'm 22 at the moment, and I still feel like a new breeze on a hot day.  One day I'll move on, perhaps to a better world, but alas, my mom is a great cook.  She works during the day, so my responsibility is to do the house work, such as making the beds, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, and organize the bills that come in by the date that they are due.  I'm sort of like her secretary.  On my free time, I listen to my small collection of recordings.

The Tornadoes are from the U.K. and they're an instrumental band.  Clem Cattini (24) on drums, George Bellamy (22) on rhythm guitar, Heinz Burt (20) on bass guitar, Roger La Vern (24), on piano and some sort of organ, and Alan Caddy (22) on lead guitar.   Together they're The Tornadoes.  Of the twelve songs that are on this album, their lead guitarist Caddy wrote two songs, and their producer Joe Meek wrote four - so I have to imagine that they are both the leaders of the band.  

One of my favorite songs on this album is "Popeye Twist," which uses the melody or theme song from the Popeye cartoon TV series.  Like the title says, they give the beat a twist, and it's a rocking number.  It's the last song on the album (side two) and it's a good way to say goodbye to the listener.  The album starts off with "Telstar" which is the hit off this record.  I imagine if they were making music in outer space, this tune would sound like it came above the clouds.  There is a sense of hope for the future. Yet to me the recording sounds a tad sad.  One thinks that there is nothing but hope in outer space yet, the way we treat people on planet Earth, would we even change our ways once in space?  So maybe that is why the recording is both sad and hopeful for a better world or happiness elsewhere.  

I'm also quite fond of "Love and Fury," written by Duke, which sounds like to me the introduction music to a great adventure story.  When I go to the movies, I try to see an action film, and if possible, in technicolor.  If I pay money for something, I want to be taken away from my everyday life into a world of beauty.  I especially like films that take place in a foreign country or culture.  "Love and Fury" sounds like the soundtrack to that type of movie.  It's bigger than life, and when I listen to it, I feel like I'm being sucked into a very special world.  Due that I share this small house with my mom, I listen a lot to my music on headphones, and this particular recording sounds incredible to my private ears.  

Which comes to mind this is not music one wants to share with others, but more of a private or reflective listening experience.  I sense bold emotions but told in a miniature manner, where a small gesture can lead to a bigger truth of some sort.   A lot of the songs here express a desire such as "Chasing Moonbeams," "Dreamin' On A Cloud," Ridin' The Wind," and "Jungle Fever."  These recordings were made in London, and what I have read is that since the war ended, they are still having difficulties with buildings still abandoned or blown up - and the economy is struggling.  So I have to imagine that these songs appeal to the citizen of London (and elsewhere) where they feel the disaster of the 20th century upon them.  I live in Southern California, where things are not that bad, but at least we got good weather.  So hearing this music in that situation or position, it makes me feel happy that I'm here - but on the other hand I have never heard such strange music like this Tornadoes album.

I know I should be looking for a job, or at the very least, think of my future.  On the other hand, when I hear "The Original Telstar," I feel that the future maybe here already, but I'm just not aware of it at this time.  I dream, and I know this album will be its soundtrack. 



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