When I was first committing myself to the happy tasks of music fandom in my teen-aged years, I never quite understood why there wasn’t more excitement over local and area bands. This was well before the internet put practically every song a few swipes or keystrokes away, so the main conduit for hearing new music was still the radio. And this was also the era when radio stations were largely under local control, rather than answering to some corporate behemoth that based all programming choices on bloodless focus group determinations and heavy-handed record company persuasion. If the local commercial rock ‘n’ roll station wanted to play a record, all they needed to do was slip it over the spindle and drop the needle. No exterior clearance required.
So when those handful of songs did make the rounds, I took a heightened interest. If a natural reluctance was overcome, the song must have been a beaut.
“Hey Cecelie,” by E-I-E-I-O, is a beaut.
The Milwaukee rockers signaled their romping, county-tinged sound with the Old MacDonald evocation of their band name. Across a pair of albums (and a later reunion effort) they were largely unsung contributors to the cowpunk movement, the meager traction they had undoubtedly hurting a bit because they were from a state that was, of course, lousy with actual cows.
“Hey Cecelie” deserved to be their breakthrough hit, or at least a celebrated standard locally. Built around a iron-clad hook and deliciously yearning lyrics, the song roars forward. It’s a grabber from the thunder-rumbling first moments. And it just gets better as it goes on, wrapping up in a tidy three-and-a-half minutes. It bears repeating yet again: it’s a beaut.
Listen or download –> E-I-E-I-O, “Hey Cecelie”
(Disclaimer: I admittedly haven’t dug too deep, but I believe the bulk of the E-I-E-I-O discography to be out of print, at least as physical objects that can be easily procured from your favorite local, independently-owned record store in a manner that compensates both the proprietor of said store and the original artist. If not, let this act of music sharing be an enticement to buy the band’s music rather than a substitute for such an act of commerce. Even so, I will gladly and promptly remove this file from my litlte corner of the digital world if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request. Also, go support a local band. It’s good for the soul.)