John D. Loudermilk

Language of Love

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When Frank Zappa parodies doo wop, or when Lee Hazlewood makes odd amalgams of country and pop, it's funny because there are indications that these guys are aware that they're deconstructing established idioms. Loudermilk is like Zappa and Hazlewood, except he's not funny, just banal, and it's not clear whether these lightweight country-pop/rock ditties are tongue in cheek or simply the work of a hack who can't do any better. The songs are clich├ęs, except that Loudermilk will throw in things to arouse suspicion that he's cranking these out as sort of an in joke. What to make of a line like "since Dad's been laid off work, Mary's no longer mine," in a song ("Mary's No Longer Mine") bemoaning the narrator's lack of access to his Dad's car to take Mary out, delivered with all the emotion of a demo singer (which Loudermilk was)? Hardly the usual stuff of 1960s country and pop, and hardly likely to be covered by someone to bring in royalties, so what was the point? The high point of the record is "Two Strangers in Love," very much in the style of the Everly Brothers (who covered Loudermilk's "Ebony Eyes" for a hit); one wouldn't be surprised if it turned out it was submitted to the duo for consideration.

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