MP3 of the Day: "Claudette," Still a Better Song Than a Storm

It's been so quiet in the tropics lately that even Ike-scarred Houstonians were able to forget that it's hurricane season - until this weekend, that is, when not one but three disturbances showed up "down there." (Better than some other things showing up "down there," Rocks Off can tell you that much.) None of them are likely to present any danger to our little corner of the Gulf Coast, but at least the one that showed up last and washed ashore first shares a name with one of Roy Orbison's coolest, if not especially well-known, songs.

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As our own Lonesome Onry and Mean pointed out last year while recalling his West Texas Orbison experiences, Mr. "Ooby Dooby" wrote toe-tapping rockabilly bouncer "Claudette" about his first wife, Odessa's Claudette Frady, who was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident at age 25 and was also reportedly the subject of Orbison's biggest hit, 1964's "Oh, Pretty Woman." Perhaps because of its painful origins, Orbison originally gave the song to the Everly Brothers, who released it as the B-side of "All I Have to Do Is Dream"; their version hit No. 15 on Billboard's country chart and No. 30 on the pop chart in 1958.

Orbison eventually must have come to terms with "Claudette," because in later years (as in the A Black and White Night PBS special above), he performed it regularly in concert and his version - which never charted, but remains vastly superior to the Everlys', in Rocks Off's opinion - became a regular inclusion on the many, many posthumous Orbison anthologies such as 2006's 2-CD The Essential Roy Orbison and 2008's primo 4-CD box set Roy Orbison: The Soul of Rock & Roll.


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