Back when I was a kid music was going through some serious growing pains. It was the early 1980’s, Disco was D.E.A.D., Top 40 music was horrendous and punk rock was being diluted by “New Wave”, and I mean no offense by that. With but a few exceptions, New Wave music has held up better over the decades than a lot of punk has, but I digress…
New Wave was a blanket term that covered a lot of sub-genres. You had the synthesizer pioneers like Depeche Mode and Eurythmics, the New Romantics like Adam and the Ants and ABC, the grittier guitar-based bands like R.E.M. and the Replacements and all sorts of combinations and mash-ups along the way. Rockabilly made a comeback in the EARLY 1980’s, due to the Stray Cats bursting onto the scene, and they somehow got embraced by the New Wave crowd as well. It seemed there was a band with “Cats” in their name popping up every 7 minutes, you couldn’t keep track of ’em all!
One of the smaller sub-genres of the day was sort of a rockabilly/New wave/southern rock & roll hybrid, called by some “Cow Punk”. Personally I never really cared for that moniker, it seemed derisive and frankly there wasn’t a whole lot of “punk” to their music, other than a high energy and a quick tempo. Nonetheless, for a good 5 years or so, these cow punks kept slippin’ out the barn and winding up on college radio, where I became enamored of the sound. Big shout out to KSJS, KFJC and KSCU, those crazy college kids opened my ears and my mind to SOOOOO much amazing music back in the day…
So without further adeue, I present some of my all-time favorite “cow punk” tunes, or as I refer to it – that Twang Sound! Slip on your boots, straighten up the Bolo Tie and Enjoy!
Thanks for reading! And listening…
2 thoughts on “Flashback Friday! The Twang edition”
Never could get into punk, past one band. For me, it was the Sex Pistols and they were never topped. I do miss all the New Wave ( I just called it early 80’s and wanted more synthesizers ). Am I weird for loving Devo and B-52’s, and wanting to hear 99 Red Balloons in its original German? Is that New Wave? Not a huge music nerd, just knew what I liked. No good music since then, don’t even bother with it all any more.
Never Mind the Bollocks was one of those “life changing” records for me. I’ll never forget the first time I heard it – the sound of the marching boots in “Holidays in the Sun” and then the heavy power chords coming in on top of them… I was both terrified and ecstatic simultaneously! I agree, nobody topped them at what they were doing. In all honesty, the Clash is my FAVORITE band of all time, and their early work was neck-and-neck with the Pistols. After their 2nd album it was much less “punk” sounding, but the attitude was still there going strong!
As for the synth bands, I LOVED the B-52s AND Devo and still bust them out every now and again. Nothing put a smile on my face like those crazy Georgian kooks-Private Idaho, 6060-842, Dance this Mess Around, Legal Tender…man, they had a bunch of great ones! And fwiw, German is the ONLY way to listen to Nena! Then again, I’m weird in that I find German and Dutch to be the “sexiest” languages on Earth!! Thanks for checking in good Sir!!