10
Nov 04

FRANK IFIELD – “Lovesick Blues”

Popular8 comments • 1,393 views

#142, 10th November 1962

Has there ever been a “blues” jauntier than this? Ifield’s follow-up to the sweet “I Remember You” is a faintly desperate thumper, and its bullying pursuit of dancefloor fun quickly chafes. As you’d expect, the yodel is given free rein on this one – being fond of yodelling in general I’m not unhappy with the results, in fact I think they go some way to saving the song, but neutrals should approach with caution.

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Comments

  1. 1
    Billy Smart on 13 Sep 2008 #

    Do you know, I’ve only just realised today that this is a Hank Williams song, albeit a pretty minor one! In some ways I actually prefer the Ifield interpretation – his yodelling jollity suggests a manic phase of lovesickness, which both resonates and makes it a song that it is impossible to ignore.

  2. 2
    wichita lineman on 13 Sep 2008 #

    One of the many reasons why the Bobby Gillespie Guide To Rock Roots – ie it all came from Hank W and Robert Johnson – doesn’t wash with me. Come on, Guy Mitchell sounds tuffer than this!

    Then again, Scream acolyte Kris Needs always used to end his set with Frank Ifield’s She Taught Me How To Yodel, so maybe that informed Bob G’s logic.

  3. 3
    Billy Smart on 14 Sep 2008 #

    I have never heard a Hank Williams song that I didn’t like.

    I have never heard a Frank Ifield song that I didn’t like.

    However, I have heard quite a few Primal Scream songs to which I have taken exception.

    One of these three acts is desperate to radiate an image of cool and credibility – and its the one who has the least of it!

  4. 4
    DJ Punctum on 15 Sep 2008 #

    Frank Ifield, incredibly, was once hired for a Julian Cope recording session to do his yodelling. The track was never used but it was the initial recording of “5 O’Clock World” which subsequently appeared, yodel-free, on My Nation Underground.

  5. 5
    rosie on 23 Mar 2009 #

    Hank Williams’s version figures quite prominently in The Last Picture Show. It seems to recur whenever Sonny takes refuge in the pool hall after an emotional setback (so, not surprising really)

  6. 6
    Billy Smart on 31 Dec 2009 #

    After Dale Winton played it at the weekend, I’ve been writing about this song elsewhere;

    He’s barely even a footnote in pop history now, but Australian yodeling sensation Frank Ifield was the biggest pop star in Britain for about a year before the ascent of The Beatles turned him into yesterday’s man, a descent that seemed to happen overnight. Bad Beatles! He was great!

    Lovesick Blues is probably the most extreme example of his singing technique. An old Hank Williams tune, Ifield turbo-charges it, speeding it up until it becomes the jauntiest blues imaginable.

    It starts with an blast of brass (DANG! DA DANG! DA DANG! DANG!) which is so frenetic that it jolts the listener into noticing that this record is playing. Then Ifield himself comes in, either singing most of the words as fast as is humanly possible, or extracting maximum yodeling potential from them;

    I godda feelin’ called the BLUE-UUE!
    Oh lawd, sinzemybabysedgoodbye…
    And I don’know what I’ll DOUOOEHUOOEH!
    Allidoissitand CRI-EEE!
    OW-WOH lawd, thatlas’longdayshesaidgoodbye…
    Lawdy, wellithoughtigownna CRI-EEE-I-EEE-I!
    Shedome!
    Shedoyew!
    She’s got dat kinda lovin’ –
    Lawd, Iluvdahearah when she calls me sweet BAIY-AIY-EEE-BEE! –
    Such a bewdiful dream!

    This unhappy state of affairs has left Ifield so “Lowowownsome I got the lovesick blues”

    But that’s not all. A bridge then follows, a comparatively reflective section of the song – you can tell that it’s reflective because it’s underscored with a xylophone. Ifield interprets this bit in what Vic Reeves would call “the club style”;

    Wheni’minlove I’minlove with a preddy diddle gal!
    That’s what’s the matter with me…
    Wheni’minlove I’minlove with a preddy diddle gal!
    But she don’t care about me!

    This comparatively restrained moment is concluded by Ifield telling us that “now she is a leeaeeavin’ this is all I can say” returning us to (DANG! DA DANG! DA DANG! DANG!)a slight variation on the first verse and chorus; a description of the symptoms that form – and a subsequent self-diagnosis of – the lovesick blues that afflict him.

    At only two minutes long, its not a recording that outstays its welcome.

    As a man who knows lovesickness perhaps more intimately than any other emotion, I suppose that you could make a valid criticism that its not the feeling that this single primarily evokes: a brief, feverish, manic episode of lovesickness, perhaps… What this really inspires in this listener is a desire to jump up and down and try to sing along, like a toddler who has eaten to many jelly tots and is starting to make a nuisance of himself. Praise indeed!

  7. 7
    lonepilgrim on 31 Dec 2009 #

    I saw Frank Ifield in a pantomime in the mid-60s in Wimbledon IIRC and his yodelling caught my attention even at my then young age.
    I also seem to recall being bemused by the appearance of fan-dancers – although my dad seemed to perk up a bit at that stage

    A great hymn of praise to the man’s talent, by the way, Billy

  8. 8
    martin on 23 Nov 2013 #

    I’m more familiar with the Hank Williams version, mainly due to its appearance on the soundtrack to “The Last Picture House”.

    For me the song feels quite bleak, but then there is a wonderful moment in it- where they sing “Oh I’m in love, I’m in love with a beautiful girl”. I think the way that section comes in has a really dramatic pop quality to it, and I’m surprised they don’t make more of it in the song.

    I think this version is much less bleak, but then that section doesn’t have the same impact.

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