In the mid-to-late seventies, it’d be a rare day when you didn’t turn on your local AM rock station (remember AM radio, kids?) and hear a song by Jerry Doucette. And although many, many songs just became annoying when played so often, I never tired of hearing Doucette’s tunes.
He burst out of the gates in 1977 with a great single called “Mama Let Him Play” – the debut album had the same title. I remember DJs talking over and over about how the lyrics told a true story – how his mama wanted him to play jazz, but his dad insisted that she should “let that boy play some rock and roll/Jazz is much too crazy – he can play it when he’s old.” Yeah, those were simpler times – sometimes, DJs actually talked about the music.
Over the next few years and his next few albums, Doucette put out some of the most purely delightful pop-rock singles you’d ever want to hear. And some of the “deeper” album tracks were very cool, too; I remember actually having an argument (if it could be called an argument) with a guy I worked digging ditches with about who was the better keyboard player, Jerry Doucette or Keith Emerson. (As much as I liked Doucette, I’m afraid I had to go with the obviously correct answer.) The singles included “Nobody” and “All I Wanna Do”; if you dug deeper, you could hear gems like “Run Buddy Run” and “Down the Road.”
Jerry As Guitarist
Doucette’s chops were never in question, either. Although I preferred the pop songs, there were lots of heavy-blues workouts; if you want proof of his skill, check out his live version of “Crossroads.” I still wonder why he didn’t retain his early popularity. However, he was touring as recently at 2012, though I can’t find any current dates; I do heartily recommend his greatest-hits album, too, which I bought a few years back from his website. Doucette’s songs are essential pieces of Canadian rock-and-roll history – and they still sound great.