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

Eddie and the Hot Rods: Teenage Depression (1976)

Eddie and the Hot Rods: Teenage Depression (1976)

As their name suggests, Eddie and the Hot Rods were never really part of the UK punk scene although -- like fellow pub rockers Dr Feelgood -- they were often lumped in with it during the late... > Read more

Margo and the Marvettes: When Love Slips Away (1967)

Margo and the Marvettes: When Love Slips Away (1967)

This great soulful song was cowritten by Jerry Ross (with Scott English and Victor Milrose) and had been a modest chart success in the US for Dee Dee Warwick, Dionne's younger sister. It was... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

BLIND WILLIE JOHNSON CONSIDERED: From deep in the soul to deep space

BLIND WILLIE JOHNSON CONSIDERED: From deep in the soul to deep space

The old saying, “You gotta sin to get saved” perhaps accounts for the wayward careers and emotional U-turns of people like Little Richard and Roy Buchanan who would vacillate between... > Read more

Charles Lloyd: Sangam (ECM/Ode)

Charles Lloyd: Sangam (ECM/Ode)

The return of saxophonist Charles Lloyd to the frontline in the early 90s after almost two decades away has been one of the most enjoyable in jazz.  If you want to hear downright beautiful and... > Read more