Echoes of a Rock Era

Echoes of a Rock Era is an lp to cd transfer of two double lp collections of sweet do-whop pop from the 50’s & early 60’s by The Crows, The Harptones; The Heartbeats; and Shep and the Limelights; with Fans Zappa’s Ruben and The Jets added to round things out. I can remember buying these on east coast even though I wasn’t familiar with the groups. These echoes are from an era that I only heard in tribute or parody by bands like ShaNaNa, Flash Cadillac, Roy Wood: Eddy & The Falcons.

These are the originals – not remakes by more acceptable white popsters like the Lettermen. This street corner harmony. The groups in this collection ( expect The Jets) are related by label & members who moved from one to another. Some of the songs I knew from really crappy cassette completions I’d picked up at Radio Shack: Gee by the Crows; Daddy’s Home by Step & The Limelights. But this was music I never heard on the radio when I was going up.

Of the many tribute, re-creation bands Frank Zappa was one of the most persistent & authentic.
He wasn’t shy about his do-whop roots as he applied his ironic musical & lyric sense to the genre. Ruben & The Jets is an lp totally devoted to the sound & it is fun, funny & reverent. He never makes fun of the style he applies to the fun he makes.

Choking Hazard

Dave’s ski pole caught against something. He continued to move, pulled off-balance and skidded several feet before he could stop himself. A thick clump of snow loosened from a tree and feel directly on his face, into his open mouth. That stifled his call for help.

‘Sh … au …’ he spit the snow out. Snow and a twig. He hope it was just a twig. Black, green, pine needles. Ice crystals trapped between the needles. The taste of earth. It turned his stomach.

‘You okay?’ Jack called from above him.

‘Yeah. Fine.’ He wanted to warm his mouth. The freeze numbed his teeth, made his gums ache.

‘Do you need any help?’

‘No, no. I’m okay.’ Embarrassment heated his face. He pushed himself  to his feet. One pole within reach, he stepped up to the other sideways so as not to start a rapid slide. It was firmly embedded in something. He wiped the remaining snow off his face.

‘Nothing broken?’

‘No, nothing broken.’ He did a quick scan of his joints. Sore hip was all. Sore hip and bruised ego.

‘Okay then I’m off. See you down there.’

‘Right.’ Dave tugged at the stuck pole. It popped out with a small squeak. Not the sort of noise he’d expect to hear here. Should he investigate?

‘Come on. If you’re coming.’

‘Okay okay.’ He got himself pointed in the right direction and started off again. The only hazards in front him were the other skiers.

He braced himself, squatted into the right start position and let himself begin down. Not so hard really. He dipped to the right to pass someone, then to his left. A small rise excited his stomach as he went  into the air for a few moments of flight.

‘Looking good.’


‘No really. You are looking pretty good. After that spill I wasn’t sure you’d keep on.’

‘Only way to get to the bottom, right?’

Bottom. He hadn’t considered the bottom. Could he end the run with a little more dignity that he’d started? Right, he had to turn, level off and let himself come to a stop. No need to force it. To force it would cause another fall. One a day was enough.

He felt a pine needle under his tongue. The needle moved! It wriggled!


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