Saturday, November 08, 2014

Joey Dee & the Starliters, "Peppermint Twist - Part I" (1961)

Dec. 4, 1961, #1 (3 wks.)

When I say that "Peppermint Twist" by Joey Dee & the Starliters (both parts, or either) is my favorite Twist song, it doesn't mean I necessarily endorse music muscled up the charts by organized crime, nor music that today may be heard streaming at 9 a.m. on a weekday at an Albertson's, where I happened to hear this while trying to figure out how to write it up. Serendipity, man. Yet if being in the oldies mix at a grocery store by definition ought to tell me it has been vastly overexposed by now, it doesn't mean I like it any less. Oh no. I love the way it enters at full steam, taped live, mid-workup, already in full possession of its soft, irresistible groove. It's music that can play for hours—maybe did play for hours, if anyone possibly remembers the scene at the Peppermint Lounge in those halcyon times. "Bop shoo-op, a bop bop shoo-op," go the backup singers. "Well meet me baby down at 45th Street," says the singer (that's the Peppermint Lounge!). "Bop shoo-op, a bop bop shoo-op," go the backup singers. So much to love here: a nice mellow sax, an impossibly spry and nimble guitar break, with clapping along, and the way the frontmen jump in unison on the video I'm pointing to. (I'm less comfortable with the proportionality of Joey Dee's head size in that video, however.) How long does it go? Looks like 2:03 for the hit, another 1:50 for the b-side flip "Part II." Impressively economical. But you'll want to let it go 20 minutes at least, so figure on playing, oh say, at least eight times.

No comments:

Post a Comment