Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Willie Joe and His Unitar: Unitar Rock/Bob Lenarde with Willie Joe: Cherokee Dance (Specialty SP-576-45)



If you've ever heard Rene Hall's "Twitchy" (see "July's Hot Hits") and wondered what that weird lowdown twang is, that's the work of one Willie Joe with his one-stringed instrument he called the Unitar. Thus it is with "Unitar Rock" that he lets that string fly for the course of 2:20 minutes. So, what does it sound like? Think "Twitchy" jacked up a couple notches on the speedometer. Think full throttle and full tilt. Think wild instro. Get it? Good. Willie's back on the flip, but this time it's a vocal number by Bob Lenarde. As Willie and the band twang and thump away, Mr. Lenarde growls in a low voice something about a new dance you can do with your squaw ("Grab your chick and spin her 'round/Take six steps back and then squat down) while a vocal group sings out something that sounds like "Hey wop chick chick, chick-a-boom" or a reasonable fascimilie thereof. Then, it's time for that Unitar solo and the whole thing goes out into the stratosphere for a bit before Bob brings it back down to earth for some more of this Cherokee Dance craze. The sad fact that records this wild and this crazy aren't made anymore ought to be enough to make you pick up the nearest available weapon and fight political correctness wherever you may see it. As for myself, I'll just turn this one up and bask in the coolness it permeates.

9 comments:

Todd Lucas said...

Brian, got a chance to hear "Unitar Rock" on the net last night. Grat and indeed like "Twitchy", only faster. Thanks for the info on the unitar.

Brian Marshall said...

Cool, Todd. Now, it is your mission to hear "Cherokee Dance" as well.

Todd Lucas said...

Just heard a clip of "Cherokee Dance". Love Lenarde's croaking voice and the unitar in the background. Interesting, the sites around the net list this guy as Bob Landers. Apparently, that's how it's listed on some reissue CD.

Brian Marshall said...

Hmm, well the 45 label clearly spells it as Bob Lenarde, so someone at the reissue department must've got it wrong.

Brian Marshall said...

However, the songwriting credit for "Cherokee Dance" does say R. Landers, so maybe they're half-right. Confusion, confusion..........

BC Thunderthud said...

I have this single on Specialty, but mine says Bob Landers. The label is slightly different, 45 rpm on the left, catalog # on the bottom. Anyway great, great song.

Anonymous said...

UNITAR ROCK is on a CD called "TEEN BEAT VOLUME 4". It's on ACE records#CDCHD 655.

Anonymous said...

jesus it's Bob landers - what an almighty cock up. He recorded one more 45 "river rock" on ensign 1n1958 then nothing - couldn't sing for toffees but God almighty what a voice. peace

Marie Marshall said...

I had "Cherokee Dance" on a 1970s Speciality compilation album called "Doo-Wop". Great track.