Way Out Wednesday: The Best of Big Daddy

Written by Music, Way Out Wednesday

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Big Daddy is a musical group with a rather unusual back story. I’ll let the liner notes explain:

While on a USO tour of Southeast Asia in 1959, Big Daddy was captured by Communist forces and held captive until the mid 80’s at which time they were rescued by CIA forces and subsequently returned to the United States. While being held at Camp David for de-briefing, they were given sheet music of contemporary hit songs so that they could re-build their repertoire and get back to the only work they knew…making music. Of course, not having heard the evolution of Rock music during the quarter century they spent imprisoned in the jungles of Laos, they arranged and performed these songs the only way they knew how…in the classic styles of the 1950’s.

So basically you have a mashup of songs from the ’80s and ’90s done in ’50s style, and these guys pull it off pretty well. Sometimes the newer song is in the style of a specific older song, and sometimes it would just be in an older style (or I wouldn’t recognize a specific older song when I heard it). Here are some examples:

Here’s the classic Ryu Sakamoto song “Sukiyaki” done in the style of The Beach Boys’ “Don’t Worry Baby”:

Big Daddy – Sukiyaki

Next on the agenda is a live performance of Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” sounding rather reminiscent of The Playmates song “Beep Beep”:

Big Daddy – Little Red Corvette

One reason I included this next one is that there seem to be rather strong feelings among the Popdose staff regarding the movie Titanic and Celine Dion. Well, guys, maybe you’ll enjoy this version of “My Heart Will Go On” a little better! (You’re dead, Redman. Dead. –Ed.)

Big Daddy – My Heart Will Go On

These three songs were exclusive to this album, and the main reason I chose them (aside from them being good songs) is because of something that always used to bother the heck out of me. I always hated it when a recording artist or group would put out a Greatest Hits or Best Of album with new songs added in. Guys, we’re your fans. The reason you have hits at all (great or otherwise) is because we bought them when they came out. I always felt that making us buy an album that we already own most of just to get the new stuff was a pretty lousy way to treat the people that made them their money. Now I’m treating Big Daddy as a kind of scapegoat here, and I don’t mean to, especially since in their case their first two albums were never released on CD and only one of the others is still available at all. And admittedly this is a lot less of a problem now that you can usually buy songs individually through iTunes or elsewhere online. But it still drives me crazy when I see it. OK, I’ll get off my soapbox now…

I’m reluctantly including this fourth song because I think it deserved to be on the album, although it is available to purchase from their album Cutting Their Own Groove (which is highly recommended by me, of course). This takes the George Michael classic “I Want Your Sex” and turns it into a romantic stroll. I really like this one, not only because of the somewhat silly mashup of styles here, but of a really neat thing that (with my limited musical knowledge)  I’ve never heard done in a song. Around the 2:00 mark, right as the singer sings the line “A man’s got his patience, here’s where mine ends,” he pops the last note up an octave and holds it and it cross fades into the saxophone holding the same note as it starts the instrumental break. It’s just a really cool effect that gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.

Big Daddy – I Want Your Sex

If you want to hear more songs from The Best of Big Daddy, you can download the whole shebang here!

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