I recently decided to sell my audiocassettes to a local Half Price Books store in Rocky River. I sorted through what I had and decided that it was time to get rid of them. That is until I got to my Jo-El Sonnier cassettes. I checked iTunes and he is represented on the music service. I thought that I was in luck. I could buy his Come On Joe album and have it on my iPod. All that Cajun/zydeco goodness pouring into my ears and filling my skull would bring back the mid-90's when the cassette was almost permanently in the tape deck of my Sunbird. But the album wasn't listed. For some reason, RCA/Victor has taken this album out of circulation. That, to me, is a crime.
Come On Joe was probably one of the first albums that fell out of mainstream music for me. I can't recall what possessed me to purchase it in a time when Culture Club, Duran Duran and other artists of the second British music invasion were popular. I listened to what was popular, to what my friends were listening. The idea of going against the high school tastemakers was tough and I bowed to peer pressure. Once out of high school, I started expanding to what I listened.
It is a fun album, country tinged but still having a beat to that pop/rocker/pseudo-head banger could listen. The ballad that shared the album's title was easily relatable to me. I took it as a man trying to work up his courage to on. At the time I was listening to it, I was moving out of high school into college and trying to find my way in the world. It has a slow waltz like tempo that makes slow dancing perfect.
For me, the high light of the album is the last track, Tear Stained Letter. Accordions and electric guitars fill the music as a Jo-El sings about being on the receiving end of a bad beak up. The song has references to dance instructor Arthur Murray and punk band the Clash and offers sound advice: Cry cry if it makes you feel better/Set it all down in a tear-stained letter
Others have covered this song. I also have to Patty Loveless version, but it isn't the same. The music has the same infectious beat, but her delivery sounds bored. It sounds like Patti Loveless isn't happy to be singing the song.
In this day of digital downloads and sagging CD sales, I don't understand why all albums are not available for sales. With services like iTunes, Napster and Amazon's MP3 service, music that does not sell a physical CD could still be available in electronic format. This would allow artists to still get their music to fans and record companies make a profit. RCA/Victor, are you listening to my suggestion?