10.02.2006

Crying Time




Dion (I was) Born to Cry 45 (Laurie, 1962)
Fabian Break Down and Cry 45 (Dot, 1963)

Here are two great songs about crying. I first heard Dion's Born to Cry at Tiki Men guitarist Micah Kennedy's apartment twelve or so years ago. Micah lived above Old Ironsides, a former old man bar turned into a nauseating rock club. I was there with some people to see a band and, as usual, the bar booked a couple shitty friends-of-the-daughter-of-the-owner's bands to fill the bill so a few of us went upstairs to visit Micah and drink some beers. I don't drink beer - just hard stuff - so I was shuffling around impatiently. When Micah threw Born to Cry on the turntable, I froze. Dion is great. There is no argument anyone can mount that will destroy that Truth. The guy has a fantastic voice and his songs always have a tough swing to them. Because the hip focus on rockabilly and the drips on Elvis, Dion (and Del Shannon) too often get overlooked and that just ain't right. If I ever needed to make a case for you to check out Dion, I'd slap Born to Cry on the record player. The former Fordham Baldie street gang member pulls off a sex-infused Bronx swagger while singing some of the great lines ever ("I can't remember even havin one day of fun," "I thought I had a friend once but he kicked out my teeth") and a cocky laugh. Makes being called a cry baby a badge of honor.

Let us now shuffle over to fellow Fifties/Sixties teen heartthrob, Fabian. I don't remember where I first heard the name Fabian (American Graffiti, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley?) but what I do know is that the name is almost iconic. Or at least it was. The name Fabian immediate brings to mind a young girl in Fifties garb, swooning and fainting. Fabian was a 14 year old Philly kid when he was discovered by Chancellor Records in 1959. During the next two years he had 8 Top 40 hits and then faded. I am guessing by the sound of this song that his talent couldn't carry him when his cutes faded. That voice was certainly no way to counter four Englishmen who were soon to make many a teen panty moist. So much for Fabian. Here Fabian sings his crying song, Break Down and Cry, a song turned on to me by my favorite record store owner. He was digging through a box and when he hit the Fabian, he said, "Here, this is really shitty. You'll love it." And right he was! Break Down... almost lurches forward with a garage beat, a promise trashed by Pat Boone production. But before you are let down, Fabian "sings." His voice is so flat, so devoid of expression that it makes Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire sound like a fucking party howl. Unlike Cash, Fabian can't sing worth a shit. Of course, that is fine by me. I am always game to hear a star stink.

Comments:
Hey Scott, great post as usual. The first time I heard "born to cry" I was haning out on the balcony of my old pad with my friend Glen. A few years later, he was dead (meningites) leaving his wife a widowed mother of two at the age of twenty -five. I never got the song out of my head. You're right about Dion, "The Bronx Bluesman" Long my he wave!-Pie
 
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