Volume II, Issue IV Winter 2003


Pop music is dead.

Such is the wisdom of the day, anyway. That the golden heyday of Sinatra and Basie is gone and will never come back.

Or that even the sweet innocence of The Beatles' early years is lost forever, that we'll never see their kind again, nor that of similar groups like Herman's Hermits, Simon and Garfunkle or The Turtles (who were actually mocking pop music, but never you mind that ...).

In this issue:

The Turbula Interview:

W.C. Clark still feeding off Vaughan's passion
By Buddy Seigal

As cool as it gets
Johnny Mathis on singing, living and loving
By Buddy Seigal

Doc Watson: One proud hillbilly
By Buddy Seigal

Papa blues
'Papa' John Creach on playing for Al Capone and Jefferson Airplane
By Papa John Creach
as told to Jim Trageser

Outsight music column
By Tom Shulte
February edition: Hopscotch Records, TKO Records, Friendly Rich, 3 vinyl reviews, 3 DVD reviews, 13 CD reviews
January edition: Mindy Smith, Bob Marley documentary re-issued on DVD, 17 CD reviews


That punk, grunge and rap now rule the day. That melody is dead, harmony too, and that future generations will look back upon our current offerings with horror and pity.

But that's all nonsense. There will always be a place for the purely intoxicating pop song. For the cleverly written melody, the sugar-laden hook that pulls you right into a song.

The form may change – that's true enough. Ella Fitzgerald's "A Tisket A Tasket" may not be making a comeback anytime soon.

But the popular song remains, and we're not talking bubble gum here. Lightweight fluff like Cristina Aguilera or the Back Street Boys isn't real pop, or at least not adult pop.

We're interested in, nay, enthralled by, mature, adult popular music – music with some depth and heft.

And it's out there. Lots of it.

Don't believe me, though – check out Frankie Perez's "Poor Man's Son," released last May. Or Josh Kelley's "For the Ride Home," out this fall.

Both are full of the kind of delicious melodies and velvety vocals that have enthralled listeners since Bing Crosby created the modern pop song seven decades back.

Of course, Perez and Kelley are both cut more from the mold of the singer-songwriter. Crosby and his protege, Frank Sinatra (and even Frank's protege, Elvis Presley), were interpretors of others' songs. Kelley and Perez are more akin to Paul McCartney and John Lennon – writing and performing their own songs.

And such songs they write. Lush, gorgeous melodies. Rich harmonies. The kind of delicious music the Righteous Brothers could have caressed. The sort of tunes that Linda Ronstandt used to specialize in remaking in her own luxurious voice.

Tailored to modern sensibilities, of course. Young people of any generation don't ever want it suggested that they are susceptible to the same sort of luxurious sounds as their parents' generation, after all.

But the pop song dead?

Not as long as young people need beautiful music as a soundtrack while they fall in love with each other.

– Jim Trageser
Music Editor

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