The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

21 December 2002

Doo-wop eternal

Low grumbles, oo-wah, high weazlings and dwaedy-doop:

All the guys in the band hope that you are sick & tired of all this crazy far out music some of the bands of today are playing. They hope you are so sick & tired of it that you are ready for their real sharp style of music. They are good socially acceptable young men who only want to sing about their girl friends. They want everybody to start dancing back close together again like 1955 because they know that people need to love & also want to hold on to each other.

Thus spake Frank Zappa in the fictional (I think) story of Ruben & the Jets, a persona assumed by Zappa's Mothers of Invention "in a last ditch attempt to get their cruddy music on the radio," as the Verve LP jacket proclaims. Perhaps uncharacteristically for FZ, he was not being sarcastic: he really loved this stuff. One of Zappa's earliest compositions, in fact, was "Memories of El Monte", a 1963 tribute to the doo-wop shows in the San Gabriel Valley, recorded by the Penguins, whom you may (and should) remember for their recording of "Earth Angel" nine years before.

At various times in the Rock Era, or whatever it's called, it has been fashionable, even de rigueur, to disrespect doo-wop, its ability to grant temporary plausibility to sub-Harlequin-level romantic fantasies, its affinity for nonsense syllables, as though we're supposed to grow out of this or something. If that's the case, count me out. It may be possible to conduct one's daily existence without so much as a hint of misty-eyed yearning — it would certainly make mine less complicated — but what kind of life would that be?

As is often the case, a reminder was delivered by unexpected means: in this case, an MP3 of a song surely I would have forgotten if I had ever known it in the first place. "For Eternity" by Vickie Diaz and an anonymous backing group never got close to the Top 40; I'm not even sure when it was released, though the orchestral backing, reminiscent of a couple of Crests hits, suggests 1960. As a singer, Diaz doesn't have an enormous amount of range, and what range she has is pitched too close to Ray Peterson for comfort. But it doesn't matter; what makes this song work is its absolute conviction that True Love is not only imminent but inescapable. (See "Angel Baby", Rosie and the Originals, which is sung asthmatically and played ineptly and which packs a wallop just the same.)

None of this is meant to suggest that you should immediately shelve Verklärte Nacht or Kind of Blue and immerse yourself in street-corner harmony. But once in a while, you ought to make the trip, if only to see where you wind up when your heart leads the way.

Posted at 12:12 PM to Tongue and Groove


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That's New York Daily News columnist Dawn Eden, parked in the actual Big Chair at my palatial estate at Surlywood. On the occasion of her presence, I sought to dazzle her with a collection of astonishing eclecticism and impeccable taste, and I am happy......[read more]

Pop/rock historian Steve Propes, asked about the Diaz record on Usenet, replies as follows:

"Strange 45, I agree. Vickie Diaz recorded 'For Eternity,' a super L.A.-styled ballad b/w 'Your Mamma Said No,' a Ritchie Valens-styled rocker on Del-fi (#4149) in 1960 - good guess. Though he denies it, Del-fi's Bob Keane was constantly trying to replace Valens, this being one example."

Guess I'll have to track down the 45 — or one of the various Del-Fi compilations that have emerged in recent years.

Posted by: CGHill at 5:58 PM on 22 December 2002

Vickie Diaz was Colpix's Matadors Lead singer.
Same type songs-Ace of Hearts(Colpix-698)flip side Jan Berry prod
next is "So Mean to Me"-DONNA-1351)VIC DIAZ
for eternity & next 2record is so fantastic.

Posted by: Tat Sakaguchi at 10:25 AM on 12 January 2004

That was no Vickie. Vickie was Vic who was with the Matadors. Scroll down to the picture of Vic and the Matadors. Three on a stool.

http://www.jananddean-janberry.com/58-66/63-64/index2.html

Posted by: fortherecord at 5:56 PM on 19 January 2004

Well, that would certainly explain how the, um, young lady came off as a baritone, though I can't imagine why she, or perhaps Bob Keane at Del-Fi, would want to perpetuate an illusion of this sort.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:26 PM on 19 January 2004

Does the picture of VICKIE have anyone?
It doesn't seem to me by all means to be the man whom they are different from.
I can hear it in the completely same voice, and DONNA is sister company.
I hopes that vickie is a boy.
because,It isn't great if it is a woman because it is great because a boy sings.like a #golden Record-Judy Thomas.

Posted by: Tat Sakaguchi at 8:21 AM on 20 January 2004

Are we absolutely, positively certain that the chap who sang with the Matadors is also the same person who cut "For Eternity"? There's a marked similarity in voices, but no more so than, say, Bonnie Tyler (circa "It's a Heartache") and Rod Stewart. When I asked Steve Propes about Vickie earlier, he seemed fairly sure that these were two different people with "eerily similar" names.

(And thanks for the janberry.com reference: it was most interesting.)

Posted by: CGHill at 9:27 AM on 20 January 2004

It didn't seem to me that the singer that "So mean to me" was different from "For Eternity"
of the voice which is the same as the same melody by all means was singing.
So,I had it do the judgment of the voice of both 45 records vic and vickie.
The result which it was said that it is still the same man about came out in these two tunes.

Did it change VICKIE and a name, and sell any reasons with VIC, because it could sell it on
DEL-FI Label?

Posted by: Tat Sakaguchi at 6:24 AM on 23 January 2004

Well, I wrote to Del-Fi, and they said that Vic and Vickie are indeed one and the same, though no explanation was offered as to why the name change.

Maybe Vic thought early on that this was just an ordinary diminutive, like "Johnnie" from John, and in the circles in which he moves, "Vickie" isn't a girl's name at all.

Okay, it sounds a bit implausible for a kid from L.A. But for now, this explanation will have to do.

Posted by: CGHill at 6:11 PM on 27 January 2004

I don't expect a response but would dig one. Vic Diaz is mentioned on this Dustbury site. If I'm in the wrong dept. maybe someone could direct me elsewhere? Looking for Vic for 30 years. Vitor kept the tapes when we recorded at his place in 67. and it was good stuff. Vic was in the SIRS with Jan Berry's brother. He was also in the Sinners. Any clue to wherabouts much appreciated!

Posted by: Vince Flaherty at 5:36 PM on 20 April 2004

He did indeed do some good stuff, what little I've heard of it; I'd love to hear from the guy myself. With Jan Berry gone I don't really know whom to hit up for questions; Del-Fi, for whom he recorded as a solo in the early Sixties, acknowledges his existence but hasn't ever hinted that they know where to find him. (info at del-fi.com if you want to try; they do answer their mail, albeit slowly.)

That leaves one possible source: Brian Chidester, publisher of the Dumb Angel Gazette, a 'zine devoted to L.A. Sixties tunage. (http://www.dumbangelgazette.net)

Posted by: CGHill at 5:40 PM on 20 April 2004