Big Walter and the Thunderbirds: Watusie Freeze Part 1 (1959)

 |   |  1 min read

Big Walter and the Thunderbirds: Watusie Freeze Part 1 (1959)

As with most sensible people, Elsewhere has long enjoyed music which isn't. The comedic noise of Spike Jones, the Goons, Spinal Tap, the exotica of Martin Denny, Esquivel, the outer space sounds of weird electronica and so on . . . all get airplay around our way.

As do early Captain Beefheart, spoken word albums, soundtracks from disturbing movies (A Scanner Darkly most recently, always Lost Weekend) and so much more.

Pop music seems too safe and commodified alongside these musicians who often didn't care whether they made the charts or even any money, but just followed their own wayward path.

How else to explain  this track by Big Walter and the Thunderbirds?

Apparently Big Walter Price was something of a local legend around Louisiana when he recorded this for the Myrl label and acknowledged both the popular dance the Watusi and his guitarist Albert Collins' hit Freeze. Quite why it sounds so exotic is another issue.

Pieces of music like this would be lost if it were not for archivists like the late Vicki Fox who was putting the bizarre complitation Sounds of the Unexpected (her third in a series of strangeness for Ace).

CDTOP_1505_410_410Among the household names here (joke!) are Jan Davis (with Watusi Zombie), Felix and his Fabulous Cats (Savage Girl),  The Forbidden Five (RFD Rangoon) and . . .

Okay, some better known names then: Bo Diddley (Aztec), Gabor Szabo (his distinctly odd take on Ellington's Caravan), and Leonard Nimoy with Music to Watch Space Girls By.

Actually Nimoy/Spock isn't on the instrumental which is a weird treatment of the piece by Charles Green originally written as a Pepsi commercial and became an MOR hit for the Bob Crewe Generation.

This is an excellent collection of the unusual and most definitely unexpected: Ray Cathode is here too, as is Lee Scratch Perry's Upsetters, the mad funk of Travis Wammack and of course Martin Denny with his idiosyncratic take on Miserlou.

Sounds of the Unexpected: Weird and Wacky Instrumentals from Pop's Final Frontiers on Ace is out through Border in New Zealand.

Sensible people will know what to do.

(And we will doubless be back into this compilation soon for another posting From the Vaults)

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

The Roadrunners: LSD (1967)

The Roadrunners: LSD (1967)

With British r'n'b rock legends the Pretty Things scheduled for a New Zealand concert (see interview with Dick Taylor here), it seems timely to ressurect this obscurity from the vaults, a band from... > Read more

Joel Grey: White Room (1969)

Joel Grey: White Room (1969)

Actor Joel Grey won a best supporting actor Academy Award in '72 for his role as the MC in the Liza Minnelli vehicle Cabaret, following his hugely successful portrayal of the character in the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

FILM IT AND THEY WILL COME (2014): Movie and television tourism

FILM IT AND THEY WILL COME (2014): Movie and television tourism

Hamad suddenly pulls us aside in the canyon between towering rock faces and says, “See” as he points to a gap in the path ahead. “This is 'Wow', right? Indiana Jones,... > Read more

HERBS, NEW ZEALAND'S POLITICISED REGGAE REVOLUTION INTO THE HALL OF FAME (2012): Hard tings an' times

HERBS, NEW ZEALAND'S POLITICISED REGGAE REVOLUTION INTO THE HALL OF FAME (2012): Hard tings an' times

When Herbs emerged at the start of the 1980s they were a very different band from the avuncular, mainstream entertainers they became. The original five-piece was managed by the former president... > Read more