Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Keith's Record Collection™

[I originally posted this back in early 2011, when this blog and the world were young. I'm putting it up again, for reasons that will become obvious, and -- also -- because I love you all more than food. Enjoy.]

So I'm reading Keith Richards' Life at the moment; so far, it's absolutely fascinating, and I haven't even gotten to the part where he and Mick start to get the Stones together.

More to the point, toward the end of Chapter Two, Keith talks about records he actually owned in his formative years, rock and rockabilly LPs and singles that shaped his musical tastes circa 1959, and he mentions a couple of "forgotten jewels." In particular a 45 I will confess to having never heard or heard of -- Johnny Restivo's "The Shape I'm In."

Which turns out to have a rather, er, interesting pedigree.

Johnny (John Charles) Restivo was born in the North Bronx, New York September 13, 1943. He enrolled in Cliffside Park Junior High School, New Jersey and was graduated in June of 1958. In 1959 Johnny was discovered by Joe Mulhall and Paul Neff and in June 9, 1959 he recorded "The Shape I'm In" and "Ya, Ya" at RCA Victor in New York City with Paul Simon (aka Jerry Landis) playing guitar on both tracks.

Not a bad little record, I'd say (and it's certainly still startling to hear early rock stuff like that in such excellent stereo). But on balance it strikes me as a tad (shall we say) inauthentic, at least compared to the Elvis and Buddy Holly records Keith was grooving on in 1959.

And for some reason, I neglected to include the song itself back in the aughts, an oversight I am now correcting.

On the other hand, compared to most of the homegrown Brit rock that was around at the time it probably sounded like a work of genius. But that's a subject for another post.

I should also add that you can download a high quality version of the original Restivo album that song's from, for free, at the invaluable Old Melodies blog over HERE. Just scroll down when you get there to find a teeny-weeny CD link.

You're welcome.

3 comments:

Billy B said...

Not bad, Steverino. Dude sounds a bit like if Elvis was from the Bronx. Seems as if Keef was a bit influenced by the guitar (mainly the early Stones stuff).

Alzo said...

Nice Bronxabilly tune. You're right about its sonic quality. As for 'the homegrown Brit rock that was around at the time,' all I can say is that I've always found the adulation of Joe Meek baffling. To me, his trademark sound is gimmicky and tinny. Maybe it's because it was meant for the transistor radio...

Unknown said...

Creative rewrite of "Don't Be Cruel"