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Friday, September 16, 2011

" I Only Have Eyes for You"

The Flamingos - I Only Have Eyes for You (1959)




Originally written for a 1934 movie called Dames, this recording by doo-wop artists The Flamingos really personifies the late 1950s sound.

I love that this song starts out with a guitar player sounding like he was goofing off getting into key. Vinyl space was limited, that was not an accident putting that on the track. I just wish I knew what the joke was. The piano is playing non stop triplet eighth notes giving the song a 12/8 feel. The drums are keeping time with very limited sound. The bass line seems to be a plucked upright bass and organ. During the "...I only have eyes" part of the song, the guitar comes back as a steel guitar sounding very Hawaiian.

The vocals are almost slavishly devoted. A real classic love song. The "sh-bop-sh-bop..." harmonies are what make the song doo-wop. I think I can hear a muted trumpet playing along with them most of the time. The harmonies are beautiful, and really fill out the song but it is the lead vocalists velvet tones that sell that devotion as real and not just words are really something.

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