Award Banner

The Part-Time Voyeur Picks His Favorite Alabama Music Clips

 

 

PART ONE, in which The Voyeur unveils his fave clips of Alabama musicians at play. Return to this space on January 1, 2011, if you dare, for PART TWO.

BONUS: No lip-synching allowed. All the footage below is live, dangerous, in the moment, and just for you, sweetie.

 

1. DINAH WASHINGTON (of Tuscaloosa, Alabama)

 

 

Ruth Lee Jones, aka Dinah Washington, in a convincingly bluesy mood.

NOTE: The hooded but expressive eyes.

 

2. GORDON TERRY (of Decatur, Alabama)


 

Very little vintage rockabilly was nabbed on film. But here's a beaut: Killer riff and singing. Killer beat. Killer hair. Killer everything.

NOTE: That's ol' Travis and Bob (see below) singing backup.

 

3. PERCY SLEDGE (of Leighton, Alabama)


 

A classic song, a classic singer, and a classic performance = this.

 

4. HANK WILLIAMS (of Georgiana, Alabama) & ANITA CARTER (of Maces Springs, Virginia)


 

Hiram King Williams was crushed-out on Anita. As you can probably tell from her gaze, the crush, at least for a while, was mutual.

NOTE: That's the future Mrs. Johnny Cash with the intro.

 

5. CLEVELAND EATON (of Birmingham, Alabama)


 

We're just beginning and yet: you ain't heard nothing yet. Here's the mesmerizing, extra-funky acoustic bass-playing of Cleveland Eaton with...Count Basie. Count Basie! For a few moments around the 40-second mark, the clip falls silent but this performance is simply too much sweetness to toss out because of a mere technical glitch.

NOTE: Enjoy how Mr. Eaton's bass is not buried or blurred in the mix. This is how the instrument should be recorded—at least when held by people like Cleveland Eaton-and rarely is.

 

6. THE TRENIERS (of Mobile, Alabama)


 

Full-throttle showmanship elevates an almost generic tune.

BONUS: Jerry (not Lee) Lewis at his best. There's genius in the kid's wild movements. Maybe he should've done more work on the dance-floor?

 

7. LOUVIN BROTHERS (both of Section, Alabama)


 

Their vocals are even more uncanny, if not unearthly, on other performances, but this one is still a prize—and the almost Technicolor crispness of the footage is irresistible.

 

8. ERSKINE HAWKINS (of Birmingham, Alabama)


 

After you breathe in this clip, The Voyeur double-dares you to say that big-band music is for squares. (If you think that, you're a square.)

 

9. JEANNE PRUETT (of Pell City, Alabama)


 

Sometimes you just gotta satisfy your craving for that big, sugary, lushy, mushy countrypolitan sound. Miss Jeanne Pruett cooks it up right.

 

10. GUS JENKINS (of Birmingham, Alabama)


 

The Voyeur's sole inclusion of a music video features Gus Jenkins's "Jealous You, Baby" (a sublime Southern Cal r&b greaser) playing over footage of Cyd Charisse from the 1955 Gene Kelly movie IT'S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER.

NOTE: This particular video was put together by the "contribuyentes", who meddle handsomely.

 

11. TRAVIS [Pritchett] & BOB [Weaver] (both of Jackson, Alabama)


 

This live performance of "Tell Him No" lacks the intense yearning of the boys' recorded version of 1959. But it's friggin' Travis & Bob L-I-V-E!!!! And The Part-Time Voyeur will not pass them by.

NOTE: "Tell Her No" was the first song ever written by Travis Pritchett.

 

12. MITTY COLLIER (of Birmingham, Alabama)


 

She possesses the kind of style that never goes out of style.

 

13. FREDDIE HART (of Lochapoka, Alabama)


 

When Freddie sings the phrase "so sexy-looking" before he's even introduced a single pronoun, you can't help but think he is referring to himself. After all, what's NOT sexy-looking about a sequin'd bowtie?

 

14. BIG MAMA THORNTON (of Montgomery, Alabama)


 

Click on the above if you are strong enough to handle slow chills.

 

15. NAT KING COLE (of Montgomery, Alabama)


 

There's lots of smooth Nat King Cole footage out there, but here's a jivin' version (from the early '50s?) of one of The King's best-known chestnuts, "ROUTE 66."

 

16. STEVE YOUNG (born in Newnan, Georgia)


 

Yes, Young was born in Georgia, but he also grew up in Alabama (and Texas) and he later moved back to Alabama (before moving on again). And even if he had never stepped one boot in the state, this one song, "Alabama Highway"—not to mention his classic "Seven Bridges Road," which is also about Alabama—would qualify him for The Part-time Voyeur's list—and honorary citizenship. An astonishing "extra" from the DVD release of HEARTWORN HIGHWAYS, a 1976 doc about folk and country singers.

NOTE: All of Steve Young's music is worth finding, including the one 1969 LP by his hippie rock-folk outfit, Stone Country.

 

17. ODETTA (of Birmingham, Alabama), PART ONE


 

Two songs, one a duet with maybe the only other human being who could match her in the presence dept.: Johnny Cash.

 

18. ODETTA (of Birmingham, Alabama), PART TWO


 

What The Voyeur can't resist: More Odetta. This time with slick-looking host Tennessee Ernie Ford who actually holds up his end very well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

blog comments powered by Disqus
Connect:
  • Find Us on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Flickr
  • YouTube
Somewhere in the South

Digital Editions

  • Zinio
  • Kindle
  • Nook

One year for only $19.98

Orders outside the US