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Sunday, September 25, 2011

"Lonesome Town"

Ricky Nelson - Lonesome Town (1958)

I knew this song before Pulp Fiction, but I'm too cool to want credit for it.

This is just a simple haunting melody, depressing lyrics, really subtle backing vocals and one acoustic guitar. Such simple production. Gives it a Western feel. The ballad is sung in a minor key, and the lyrics really bring the sad. The backing vocals are just wordless chords that sound like train whistles, or echoing of the end of verses down 2 octaves. Listening to the version of this song from The Ozzie and Harriet Show really shows you what the backing vocals add; it was performed by just Ricky and his guitar. He still sounds good, but it's a little thin, just a guy and a guitar, but you add those backing singers and suddenly it's a really powerful ballad that can evoke the late 50's, or just the feeling of hopelessness you get when the love you've built a dream on comes up short.

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