Monday, July 6, 2009

Lonesome Tears in My Eyes

I don't know about you kids, but the beginning of a work week after a long weekend-- for me, it was two long weekends in a row-- tends to put a tear in my eye. How about a sweet rockabilly cover that sounds happy but is really sad? Or perhaps vice versa?

John's introductory speech here mixes up the Burnette brothers-- the band that first recorded "Lonesome Tears in My Eyes" was Johnny Burnette and His Rock and Roll Trio, a band that included Johnny's brother Dorsey. This is a band I truly know nothing about, except that by 1957, which I think was the year this record was released, they'd already broken up. I believe the individual members went on to play rockabilly in various other groups or on their own or something, but that's really all I know. If you know more, please do fill us in on the elusive history of this apparently cool, albeit blandly named, group.

I don't have much time today (as usual) so just some quick thoughts. Or really, at least one quick thought: George is a god. Right? What a beautiful guitar line that is. I mean, it's just totally gorgeous, the way it kind of ripples down those instrumental breaks. LOVE. Ringo is also doing something on drums that I don't entirely understand-- he's definitely on the kit, but he's playing as hollowly and tom-tommish as can be, which sounds really cool. I also really like that John sings the sad words of this song in a way that could hardly be called sad at all-- he's actually singing with almost more of a smile than usual, to my ear, maybe hamming it up a tad, or else just having a particularly good time playing this song on this particular day in July of 1963. (I mean, the sound of the guitars makes me smile too, so I can hardly blame him if that's all it is.) But isn't that typical of the Live at the BBC tracks? That audible fun they're having playing, I mean? Yes. Totally.

Anyway, sorry so brief, but that's just the sad sad truth today. Don't cry too much. We're back tomorrow for more.

"Lonesome Tears in My Eyes," released in the U.K. and the U.S. disc 2 track 12 of Live at the BBC, November 30, 1994.


  1. Is there a bad cut on the Live at the BBC discs? Not in my mind. Meg, do you know how these tracks were recorded? LIke, did they go in to the studio, set up, practice the number a couple times, and then go live with it? I would think from an engineering and recording perspective, there would have to be some set up for tech, you know, setting levels and such. These LATBBC songs are all killers. What a tight band they were ...

  2. I bet there are a few reasons for the evident joy. They're playing songs they think are cool, at a time when their concert set lists would be leaning on their hits and more originals than not. I can attest that you get ampted as a band to play something different. Not to make this about me, but one of my bands had a song where, instead of going from the first part into the second part, we could go seamlessly from the first part into the second half of Jane's Addiction's Three Days, which we did for a couple of gigs. I can't even tell you how our adrenaline jumped; we were more excited to be playing our song, and then the minute we actually broke into Three Days was like a drug. And they probably were excited to play something kind of obscure, too; I remember that they took pride in that, and would comb Brian Epstein's store for new records.

  3. That makes sense, to me, Troy. Good observation. Plus it shows they had a true love for these songs, and that it was not just about writing and making their own music. In any art or creative field, i like it when people have a respect and love for what preceded them and inspired them.

  4. Just a quick note - no time to double check all the fact here . .
    1 He did "Train Kept A-Rollin'", "Honey Hush", and "You're Sixteen" early on, among others.
    2 A friend of mine once pointed out that this was the blueprint for "The Ballad Of John and Yoko" (listen to the guitar riff)
    3 I think he's the one with a son named "Rocky" ("Tired of Toein' the Line") and nephew named "Billy" (Fleetwood Mac)(Rock-a-billy- get it ?)

  5. Now that you point it out, i hear the similarities to Ballad of J and Y.

  6. Thanks, Yer Blogger, for the notes on the original band. They did "You're 16"? Man, I have this totally dorky love for that song. And good call on the Ballad of John & Yoko connection.

    I don't know much about how the LATBBC recordings were made, Frank, but they were basically playing live. I imagine there were soundchecks and so forth, but not much beyond that.

  7. I am almost positive that John played the lead on this particular track. In fact, I'd bet anything on it.