I have a number of CDs full of MP3 music, much of which, as I've mentioned before, I haven't really listened to. One of these was playing in my car a couple of weekends ago when I was on my way home from hearing a guitarist named Michael Chapdelaine, of whom more in a moment. I mention the circumstance because it was dark, and the fact that it was dark probably affected my reaction to what I heard.
One of the albums on this CD was Delphonic Sounds Today! It's a sort of tribute album to the Del-Fi label, which put out some classic Top-40 stuff in the late '50s and early '60s. If you're a serious pop music buff, you knew that, but I guess I'm not, because I didn't. It consists of Del-Fi releases--not necessarily hits--performed by contemporary artists; well, contemporary as of almost 20 years ago, anyway. And I was mostly enjoying it--there were hits like "I Fought the Law" and downright weird stuff like "Luci Baines," by The American Four. I can't imagine why someone thought it was a good idea to write and record a less than respectful rock-and-roll tribute to then-President Johnson's daughter.
Then suddenly we were in Twin Peaks, with a track that sounded like it could have been recorded for the show. It was someone named Nan Vernon, singing a Bobby Fuller song called "A New Shade of Blue." I had never heard the song, but when I got home I found it on YouTube, and it's a pretty straightforward "slow song" of the time (1965 or so).
Now imagine it sung by Julee Cruise or Chrysta Bell in a Lynchian arrangement. Like I said, the effect was probably enhanced by the fact that I was driving down a country road in the dark, but suffice to say that this track belongs in The Roadhouse. Unfortunately it's not on YouTube, or as far as I can tell on any of the streaming services, and I think the CD is out of print, but cheap used copies are available on Amazon. If you're a fan of Twin Peaks-ish music (and maybe no one who reads this blog except Rob G is), this track alone is worth four or five dollars.
Of course as soon as I got home I looked up Nan Vernon. According to Wikipedia, she is a Canadian singer who seems to have only one solo album to her credit, Manta Ray, released in 1995. It also seems to be out of print, but I think I'm going to buy it. There are several tracks from it on YouTube.
You can get something of an idea of what her "New Shade of Blue" is like from her cover of one of the greatest pop songs ever written, "Love Hurts":
Oh, and about that guitarist, Michael Chapdelaine--he's really good. Also an engaging performer, so I recommend that you go hear him if he comes your way.
And in case you're wondering about "Luci Baines" (but don't say I didn't warn you):
Does that voice sound vaguely familiar? It's Arthur Lee, who, with a new band called Love, a few years later would produce the classic Forever Changes. (The link is to my 52 Albums piece about that album.)