Saturday, August 10, 2019

freakboy muses music: GO, JOHNNY GO! (soundtrack)

I spent most of July house & dog sitting for Sister No. 3 in Omaha, Nebraska.  It's a city I am familiar with because I used to live there, specifically in the downtown area.  So, of course I had to hop on a bus to visit my ol' stomping grounds of The Old Market.  One business I wanted to visit was Homer's, a new/used music store! 

daytime freakboy on bus

Thankfully, in this age of downloading and streaming, Homer's is still in operation!  The location may have moved up a block and the CD selection might be a smidge smaller, but it's still the same atmosphere.  I felt like I slipped backwards 15 years and landed at home. 

I spent quite a bit of time flipping through the compact discs at Homer's, with special attention on soundtracks.  Some of my favorite albums are soundtracks, probably because I love movies so much.  I'll even listen to a soundtrack to a film I've never seen, which this downtown excursion proved. 

While rummaging through the soundtracks, with my Mad Scientist Glasses on, one album kept drawing my attention.  I picked up the yellow CD a few times, but put it back.  I even wandered away to other sections, trying to avoid temptation.  The CD was new and I wasn't sure if I wanted to splurge on an album I knew very little about. 

The yellow may have caught my half-blind eyes, but I wasn't exactly sure what kind of soundtrack I was looking at.  I could only initially decipher GO, Johnny  Go! and IT'S WAY OUT!  I didn't know if this was a soundtrack to an old movie or a new movie with a retro vibe.  I even considered the possibility it was a soundtrack to a stage musical.  After slow and painstakingly intense study, I was relatively certain it read MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK.  All the other words were lost to me, even with my MSG on and focused.

In the end, I purchased the CD because I desired to know what the hell it was.  Plus, I wanted a memento  from my solo bus ride adventure to The Old Market.  I didn't listen to the mystery album until the next day because I was hot and tired after my downtown visit, which involved more walking than you might think.  

I popped in the disc during breakfast the next morning and was still unsure what I was listening to.  The first few tracks sounded like music from the late 1950's/early 1960's, but I couldn't decide if these unfamiliar songs were authentic or new songs meant to sound like that time period.  Then "Johnny B. Goode" started playing and I said to the dog, "That's Chuck Berry!" 

As the disc continued spinning, my curiosity continued growing.  I was immersed in a fun, danceable world and I investigated the origin of this soundtrack as soon as the last song ended.  I discovered that GO, Johnny GO! is a 1959 film made to showcase the Million-Record recording stars.  The flimsy plot about a record company's search for a new singer to make the bobbysoxers swoon was just a terrific excuse for Chuck Berry, Ritchie Valens, The Cadillacs and many others to perform.  (There is a weirdly edited version of the film on You Tube which is worth watching for the great music.)

I enjoyed the whole album, but there are two songs that stand out for me.  "Playmates" by Sandy Stewart is a swinging little number that I think is full of bizarre sexual euphemisms.  "Please, Mr. Johnson" by The Cadillacs is a fun song about kids trying to get a little credit at the candy store.  

In conclusion, I have no regrets purchasing the soundtrack to GO, Johnny GO!  It's a cool collection celebrating the early days of rock 'n roll, with a few bonus tracks from a different but similar film.  The best way I can describe this CD is that it's a rockin' soundtrack John Waters wishes he had for one of his films! 

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.

Freak Out, 

P.S. The weirdly edited version of the film...

The Collective Eye for August is wide open...


  1. Sounds like a great discovery. They don't make movies or soundtracks like that anymore. Thanks for sharing, John!

    1. Thanks, Barry!
      It's a shame someone hasn't revived this fun genre of films!