I was having trouble with my iPod the other day, and while trying to troubleshoot it (it’s fixed now) I came across an entry in my iTunes library that was part of a reel-to-reel tape I had originally made in the early 1960s and recently duplicated for a friend. It featured some ancient tape recordings of phonograph records and from the radio—mostly the latter, because (like many teenagers back then) I’d owned very few records.
One recording was of a duo called Joe and Eddie, whom I had completely forgotten. Going to YouTube, looking at them and listening to them now, I still think they were fabulous. The sort of non-ironic and non-sexual (except that they’re very attractive, charismatic and accomplished guys) performance they specialized in wouldn’t wash anymore in the mainstream music business, although they might find a niche in the subset known as Christian music.
Joe and Eddie failed to achieve huge fame in part because Joe died tragically young in a car accident. Their glorious harmonies are of the Everly Brothers genre, but different (and they weren’t brothers). The tradition is gospel, with a smoky depth and richness to both their voices.
Here’s a video of their big 1962 hit. The audience (the show was reportedly “Hootenanny”) is a hoot. But Joe and Eddie are superlative: