Bad Songs: The Wailers, “It’s You Alone”

Steve’s Sonics posting brought back the other, not very good Wailers, who I guess were known as “The Fabulous Wailers” because I guess we were supposed to think they were terrific musicians or something.

Aside from the fact that these guys could not hold a candle to Marley et al (I doubt they could execute a decent cover of a Marley tune, either), neither of the bands hit’s–Tall Cool One and It’s You Alone–have stood much of a test of time, although I did not realize just how awful both songs were till Steve’s post tripped the wires and I went in search of YouTube.

To prove the point, here are the Wailers a few years back “performing” It’s You Alone and it only makes me think of one thing.

And, that thing is when I started gigging regularly in bands, I made my friends and loved ones promise me that if I ever looked or acted like any of these guys in these Wailers, to either shoot me in the head, or tell me to stop: whichever came first.

What’s with the barefoot sax player, and how about the guy standing stage right? Yeah, standing. Value added. And the “featured guy” makes Bill Murray’s lounge singer act really seem seriously good, and not just funny ironic.

How pathetic is that?

 

 

10 thoughts on “Bad Songs: The Wailers, “It’s You Alone”

  1. Boy, this is a testament to why bands of old, gray-haired fat guys suck 90 percent of the time. And a ponytail isn’t the answer.

  2. Ouch. It’s like they said “‘Color My World’ isn’t banal enough, let’s take it to the max.” I’m playing in a Fun/No Fun reunion in July, it won’t be like this I promise. I’d rather die.

  3. Yeah, you really nailed these guys… Nothing says a band sucks like people STILL paying to see you perform, nearly 60 years after you formed… Talk about a crappy band.

  4. I really hate re-unions and “legacy bands” but I think you’re being a bit unfair here. This is the old fat past-middle aged version of The Wailers, and the live footage is pretty awful. Listen to the song that was recorded in 1966. You may think it’s an “bad” song, but it was written by a 17 year old Ron Davies, one of the best (and most underrated) American songwriters of all-time. If you don’t know who Ron Davies (he also wrote ‘It Ain’t Easy’) then shame on you. BTW, no one paid to see this show. It was at an outdoor festival. I’m not going to defend old dudes trying to re-live their salad days, but the fact is that The Wailers were once one of the most exciting garage bands to come out of the northwest.
    It’s easy to take down old men beyond their prime who are on their way out the door. At the time of this performance singer Kent Morrill had already had two surgeries for brain cancer. Does that excuse anything? No. But when you’re in your late 60s I kind of have to wonder if you’d have the history and the energy to get onstage. They’re all dead now. The reason people were still drawn to them 60 years after they got together was not only their music It was their setting the template for DIY, their “discovering” The Sonics and a pretty illustrious career for bassist Buck Ormsby as producer. It didn’t hurt that their original lead guitarist was Rick Dangle. But I don’t expect you guys to even know who he is.

  5. Denny-we might know more than you think. Enter Sonics up at the search window atop the page to search the site. Two pieces on the Sonics.I have the 45 of It’s You Alone. It is cheesy.

  6. I know plenty about the Sonics. In fact I’m a musicologist and publisher by trade and I know a great deal about the Northwest Sound. But The Sonics have nothing to do with my comments. It is the glee you and your readers take in putting up a crappy performance with terrible sound by a bunch of old men. Of course it’s awful. You might think the song is cheesy. Others don’t. What we like and what we don’t like is subjective, and I recognize we should all be free of judgement by the ‘music police’ and snobs like I used to be. Slapping my buddies on the back for being better in our musical tastes, and more in-the-know than those proles below us is the kind of elitism I had to give up long ago.
    The fact you don’t mention here is that the song was written by a world-class writer, Ron Davies. This was the first song that came close to being a ‘hit’ for him, but he’d go on to write many brilliant songs-one of which has been covered by scores of successful artists. Davies is considered to be one of the most influential American songwriters and as someone interested in songwriting I choose to look beyond whomever is performing the song, what they look like or how poorly it is performed and recorded.

    I’ve followed your blog, but not as closely as I should. I can see you have a distinct POV and much of it seems informed. In fact I enjoy many of the entries, although I myself often write (fairly, I hope) about music I personally don’t care for. I try to take in the total contribution of an artists work and would never present something to my readers to scoff at….especially such low hanging fruit as this post. And one word I avoid like the plague is “best”. That’s probably because I write about the history of music and musicians without offering too many personal observations on what I’m writing about. I understand that’s not the point of what you do.

    Whether a person likes or dislikes a song is completely subjective. It’s your blog, so make fun of whomever you want-even those old guys who when they were much younger helped shape a sound we now think of as modern rock. Or the fact that they were early practitioners of the D.I.Y. movement. But don’t expect everyone to be snickering with you. You should already know-I’m sure you already know-that people get really offended or protective and sometimes obnoxious in their musical likes and dislikes. You’ve presented this as a “bad song”. I say it’s a terrible outdoor recording by a bunch of fat old men who are all near death. and are probably bored to death with having to play the song for 50 years. In my opinion performance has nothing to do with the songwriting. I often hear songs I don’t care for, then come across some other artists’ interpretation and suddenly it all makes sense. That’s what I’m defending…and we don’t have to agree on why I think ‘It’s You Alone’ is a well-crafted song by an important writer. But for god’s sake, why make a judgment on the song’s worth by showing this crappy video?
    Anyway if this message is too long, I can’t help it-it’s in my nature. And if you think I’m being hostile, that’s not my intent. It is simply to point out a few things that I believe your readers have not taken into account, instead of just laughing at a bunch of old guys. I can look in the mirror and do that!
    BTW, my name is not “Denny”, it’s Dennis. My screen name often causes people to make that mistake. My fault, I know.

  7. Well, kudos to Dennis for a civilized response, and for the Ron Davies info. I always liked “It Ain’t Easy,” no doubt the only song recorded by both David Bowie and Three Dog Night, not to mention Dave Edmunds and Long John Baldry.

    For myself, there isn’t enough time to listen to all the great songs; I try not to waste a minute listening to bad songs. As for snobbery, well, in this world these days we should all have plenty to be snobby ABOUT, but should, I believe, choose our targets wisely. Why pick on the little guys? It’s like knocking Caleb Joseph.

  8. I wrote the original post, and I liked the idea of the Bad Song category because it seemed funny. And it undercut the inevitable I Like This Song aspect of a blog like this.

    But in almost every case, in every post, and there haven’t been that many, someone who was personally affected by the judgement that their’s was a bad song stood up and said the joke wasn’t that funny. Which is why I stopped making the posts.

    This isn’t personal. Or maybe it is too personal to muck up with jokes better suited to late night TV.

    I personally admire every person who has ever strapped on a guitar, sat behind a drum kit, wrote a song, figured out how to play bass, and didn’t die young. And if they lived a little too long, good for them. That’s better than the other stupid idea.

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