When The Dollyrots were making Barefoot and Pregnant and had it up at Pledge Music, I pledged at the “Cover a song for me” level. I requested that they cover the song Cruel You by Shoes. I think I’ve made my love of Shoes quite clear on this blog. One of the first bands in heavy rotation on MTV, one of the best Power Pop bands ever etc etc.
I just got the music file this morning from Kelly. OH. MY. GOD. It is AMAZING. I put together a video for it, using Facebook pics and album art. Please have a listen. You won’t be disappointed.
As a girl who became a teenager in the 1980’s, I can remember when this amazing thing came onto cable television. It was called MTV and they played music videos. (I know – can you believe?)
It is through this new medium that I discovered the wonder that is Shoes, a band of four boys from Zion, IL, who put out the catchiest music. The four videos that were featured on MTV came from their album Present Tense. As I was about 11 when I first saw them, I had no way of going out and buying records so my love for them was only through the songs I’d seen.
At 16, as a working class stiff, licensed driver and car owner, I had the funds and ability to buy records. I discovered the Present Tense LP at a used record shop. I took it home and played it. I loved the whole thing. Even though I have hundreds of records, this was the one LP that saw continual record player play until the early 2000’s, when I discovered the band’s website – Blackvinylrecords.com. I ended up buying all the available music they had. I loved it all.
Fast forward to present day. The band is working on a new release – Ignition. A book is in the works as well, written by Mary E. Donnelly called Boys Don’t Lie, A History of Shoes. She appeared on the WHRW show The Signal with Chris Kocher to talk about it. If you have a couple of hours to hang out and listen, it’s a great, informative show.
Shoes – Present Tense – My song posts have been just that – a note about a certain song that is a much loved by me. In the case of the band Shoes, I can’t pick a favorite song, so I’ll pick a favorite album. Present Tense is a wonderful piece of pop music. Released in 1979, it was a treasure trove of catchy tunes & fun to sing along to lyrics. Its four videos were in heavy rotation during the very early days of MTV (I know, they used to actually show videos, like all the time.) The band consisted of Jeff and John Murphy, Gary Klebe & Skip Meyer. The first 3 shared lead vocal duties – like the Beatles, pretty much, if you wrote it, you sang it. Their voices worked really well together and they created lovely harmonies.
This album is the only LP of mine that saw continuous play from the early 80’s until about 2001, when I discovered the band had a website – (*links updated 2/20/14) ShoesWire.com. I sent a mail, verifying it was an active site and nearly had a heart attack when the e-mail I received in response was actually from Jeff Murphy. Over the course of a few weeks, I ordered every CD available and acquainted myself with the wonder that is Shoes. I even got to see them live when they performed at the International Pop Overthrow in Chicago in 2003. It took 22 years from the time I discovered them before seeing them in concert and it was very worth the wait.
Jeff has actually written a book about the making of Present Tense. It’s filled with great pictures and interesting things about how sounds were created and why things were recorded the way they were. You can also order anything from their entire catalog. Their music is available at iTunes as well.
Sit back and spend a few minutes in pop music nirvana –
In My Arms Again – sung by Jeff Murphy – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXh2yB8jizU
Too Late – sung by Gary Klebe – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Opz_drg1O8
Cruel You – sung by John Murphy – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxe-ZXrgRqY
Tomorrow Night – sung by Jeff Murphy – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9DfyEiw6yM