Monday, May 15, 2006:

The Roots Canal: 60 Minutes

The Dominoes -- Sixty Minute Man
The Du-Droppers -- Can't Do Sixty No More
Sixty Minute Man was the first big crossover hit, spending 14 weeks at #1 on the R&B charts and reaching #17 on the pop charts in 1951. It was one of the major reasons why rock music scandalized 1950s America -- imagine the shock when pure, innocent white teenagers started listening to that nasty rock'n'roll (a.k.a. rhythm and blues) with lyrics like these:
There'll be 15 minutes of kissing
Then you'll holler "please don't stop"
There'll be 15 minutes of teasing
And 15 minutes of squeezing
And 15 minutes of blowing my top
Billy Ward created the Dominoes and built it into one of the biggest vocal groups in the R&B era. He hired singers with great gospel voices like Clyde McPhatter, but ran the group so dictatorially that they kept leaving to start their own. When McPhatter quit to form the Drifters, he was replaced by Jackie Wilson who also became a big star with the Dominoes and, later, on his own.

The idea of the "sixty minute man" became iconic, entering the national lexicon in other songs (for a good laugh, listen to the rockabilly and country'n'western versions by Jerry Lee Lewis and Hardrock Gunter on emusic), in movies like Bull Durham (cut to Crash and Annie thrashing around in bed) and in cartoons like this (note the wall markings around the clock).

The Dominoes were quickly "answered" in 1952 with Can't Do Sixty No More, the very first record by another early vocal group, the Du-Droppers. But just when you're about to start feeling sorry for the Du-Droppers, the lyrics makes it clear that things aren't really that bad, after all:
I love you, baby, but I can't do sixty no more
A short thirty minutes is all that I can afford
The Du-Droppers had a few more hits in the early 1950s but soon disappeared. The Dominoes kept going into the 1960s (without either McPhatter or Wilson), and even recorded their own version of Can't Do Sixty No More in 1955 (a completely different song, actually a variant of their original Sixty Minute Man). Both groups were overshadowed by the wave of teenage-oriented doo-wop groups that sprang up in the mid-50s, several founded by graduates of the Dominoes.

[The R&B Years: 1951]
[The R&B Years: 1952]

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Department of Updates

It turns out there's a website in Lebanon, of all places, that's a great source of all stuff Springsteen-related. As I wrote, I was never a big Springsteen fan until I was overwhelmed at Jazzfest. But this site posted the complete lyrics to Bruce's version of When the Saints Go Marchin' In, which was one of the most emotion-charged performances I've ever witnessed. It's not clear where the extra verses came from, but they're definitely worth checking out.

The preeminent Jazzfest blog, Blogging New Orleans, also has a long post worth reading called Bruce and Tears in City of Ruin. In fact, the whole blog is worth reading.

By coincidence, Music for Your Eyes posted a couple of Fugs videos just two days before my Village Fugs post. These are Swedish TV clips from a European tour in 1968, when the Fugs were trying to make the transition from being anti-musical underground revolutionaries to a legit acid-rock band. Somewhat hypocritical, you might think. But hey, who's perfect? For easier access, PCL Link Dump posted one of the videos on Dailymotion and You Tube. To be perfectly honest, it's not very interesting.
These are both awesome.

... Missy Elliot has a track talking about how she doesn't want no one-minute man. The mashup of that and an Herbaliser track is one of the best mashups I've heard.

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