No tags :(

Share it

OKEH 6904; AUGUST 1952



Because the calendar has seen fit to give us the same seven days in an endless loop, some of which have very distinctive unchanging characteristics, songs referring to these days by name tend to take advantage of those well-known characteristics as sort of a narrative short-cut.

Why then is this the exception?

Is it an ingenious way of flipping the script and doing something subversive by tweaking our long-held preconceptions about the days of the week… or is it a sign the record and those who made it are in the dark about how people tend to live their lives in relation to that calendar?


Blow Your Top
It’s Monday morning as this review goes up (though you’re free to read it any day you choose at no extra charge) which begs the question… “What did all of YOU do last night to mark the end of your weekend?”

Well, I suppose that depends. If you’re one of the unfortunate members of society who has to work 40 hours a week, which tend to run from Monday morning through Friday afternoon, then chances are you took it easy, maybe even went to bed early.

It’s summer however, August when this is written and posted and August 1952 when the record came out, which means school tends not to be in session, so if you’re not yet of working age then maybe you spent last night living it up, tying one on and passing out in due time, activities which unfortunately may come to a stop when school starts up in a few weeks.

But chances are if you were take a poll on a cross-section of the populace at any point since its release, you’d probably find that comparatively few were actually Rocking On A Sunday Night, which leads us to wonder just why The Treniers would buck that trend and sing about it, risking alienating those who cursed the impending return to responsibility that comes with the new week in the process.

Then again, these guys were known as jokesters, their stage act consisted of wild shenanigans interspersed with rambunctious rock, so in their hands a song of this nature seemed ripe for playing up that side of their image.

So then why the hell aren’t they doing that here?


Make You Feel So Right
The longstanding issue with The Treniers has been their dual personas as an exciting live act where their flamboyant athleticism and complete lack of decorum in adhering to typical social norms made them stand out, especially in the classier settings they played, all of which contrasted with their somewhat subdued and certainly musically compromised records that hinted at but rarely delivered on that reputation.

Their excuse was the visual aspect which they relied on didn’t translate to a purely audio medium, but they seem to forget that other rock acts, both now and in the future, would have no such problem stirring up excitement on record.

Certainly that reason doesn’t fly for Rocking On A Sunday Night which purposefully tries to exploit the first word of that title by showcasing it throughout the song, yet promptly soft-peddles the musical definition from start to finish.

The song as written, outside of the premise itself, has virtually no means with which to create a ruckus because of the deliberate pace of the vocal stanzas and the rather uneventful lyrics. Those opportunities to get a little wilder that do exist, such as the instrumental breaks, are similarly downplayed. Both of them start off alright, the first with a good tone and curly-cue riffs and the second hints more mayhem with Don Hill’s flutter technique to kick it off but quickly reverses course and like the initial one becomes lethargic and uninspired.

About the only attempts at building towards something explosive comes when The Treniers start counting off the days of the week leading up to Sunday (with a nice ticking time bomb technique on the cymbals) as the concept is that the party doesn’t take place ON a Sunday night, but rather the week-long party is only finally wrapping up on a Sunday night.

See, I guess even rockers have to sleep sometime!

The problem is they’re sleeping during the record, or putting us to sleep anyway which is a greater sin. The plodding tempo for most of this makes sense only if you are working towards a cachophonous release in the chorus and breaks, but that’s clearly not the case here. That means their job is to work us into a frenzy during the bulk of the song before toning it back down as the weekend ends and we all collapse from drunken exhaustion.

There’s absolutely no chance of that happening here, for the only reason we’re crashing into unconsciousness is out of sheer boredom.

Yeah, their voices retain some charm, and the music, while largely unexciting outside the opening drum roll, is well played as usual, but this comes across as an outsider’s interpretation of rock with a composition that betrays that lack of awareness with a roll call of tired generic tropes in place of any actual vivid scenes that would show they’ve actually BEEN to one of these parties as something other than a narc whose cover was quickly blown.


Say Man, Don’t Stop Now!
We just got done with two reviews on the consistently under-performing Jimmy “Baby Face” Lewis, a talent of rare qualities who continually frustrates us because he never lives up to that promise thanks to a succession of records with dual aims in terms of which audience he wants to reach.

Now The Treniers give us more of the same, albeit with a different flawed game plan.

Unlike Lewis, who had his sights (or more likely the sights of the labels) on the broader mainstream record market, The Treniers were thinking less in terms of recording success and more about how their material would translate on stage playing to adult audiences who wanted the shock value of rock ‘n’ roll without having to actually sit through the real thing for very long.

As a result they give us stuff like Rocking On A Sunday Night which plays up the stereotypes in shallow ways, pretending it’s genuine thanks to the brothers engaging enthusiasm which to their credit is never faked, but making sure to pull up short on the qualities that would make this far more authentic and send those prim and proper patrons scurrying for the exits in terror.

Their stage show reputation and success didn’t suffer any – not when they were on the road for the better part of sixty years – but their image as legitimate rock artists took a blow because each time they get our hopes up with appealing titles and storylines like this, they inevitably let us down by appeasing a different master.

We still like them personally, admire their inexhaustible energy and distinct talents as singers and musicians, and are even grateful for their efforts to smooth the road that rock ‘n’ roll had to take in order to penetrate – and ultimately overthrow – mainstream musical tastes.

But we take issue with The Treniers because they rarely seem interested in rewarding our patience for welcoming them into the fraternity by giving us a string of records suitable for more tranquil Sunday evenings without ever taking us out on the town to get crazy on a Friday and Saturday night.


(Visit the Artist page of The Treniers for the complete archive of their records reviewed to date)