The second track on Soundsville! is “Soul City,” which we have already heard as performed by girl group the Foxes. For the album it is redone in a blue-eyed-soul stylee by “The Hi-Lifes.” Again it makes the destination sound pretty appealing, but I figure that once you got there you’d find a Potemkin village with tumbleweeds blowing through the rutted streets — not unlike modern-day Detroit.
It is followed by the song that is supposed to represent the West Coast in the collection. Credited to “the Hollywoods,” this is clearly Southern California–oriented; the San Francisco Sound was not yet a thing.
Sunny harmonies notwithstanding, “Teardrop in the Sand” is a heartbroken surfer’s lament. He’s standing on the shore watching his ex-girl frolic, too depressed to even pick up his board. “There’s no more fun in surfing,” he wails.
This seems like a pretty jaded, New York view of California. “You’d get your heart stomped on there too,” is the message, “and life would suck just as much. Bah humbug!”
“Teardrop” has a companion piece on the B side of the album written from the girl’s perspective. “Johnny won’t surf no more, and I’m the one to blame,” she says. It’s intimated that Johnny is dead, so maybe it’s not exactly the same story, but close enough.
“Johnny” is supposed to be the album’s “Surfing” song, which is splitting hairs if you ask me. But it’s got a nice groove and I like the way Jeannie Larimore bends the vowel at the end of every line. This is my favorite of the Soundsville! songs so far, and it’s not impossible to imagine Nico singing it. I’m going to go do that right now while enjoying a tasty beverage; we shall reconvene at a later date.
With you on “Johnny Won’t Surf No More.” I have to say your articles here are giving me a glimpse into the music business, aspects of which I’ve read about before (have you read “The Brill Building” by A.J. Leibling?) but you are really bringing them alive.
Thanks for ending this on a high note and a nod to our little community. Who would have thought that reading about Lou Reed would have such multi layered blue thoughts. Time to go stare at the Pacific.