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Deke Dickerson, Los Straitjackets bring words to famouse instrumental tracks

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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The masked men of Los Straitjackets are known for their instrumental rock performances, but they didn't bring rockabilly singer Deke Dickerson into the fold for its latest album just to play his guitar.

As the title of "Signs The Instrumental Hits" indicates, the two acts combined for lyrical versions of 15 instrumental favorites such as "Pipeline," "Miserlou," "Walk Don't Run" and "Popcorn," as well as Los Straitjackets' own "Fury" and "Kawanga." Dickerson says he and the band are "like-minded personalities," so the concept wasn't a hard sell for either.

"I just have always had this thing on my bucket list that I wanted to do an album of all the famous instrumental songs with words put to them," says the Missouri-raised Dickerson, 46. "I can't say why, other than there's just this impulse when you ear an instrumental to just sort of grab the microphone like a drunken Bill Murray and start singing, 'Star Wars, nothing but Star Wars...' That's the actual impulse."

Dickerson says he actually had to look no farther than his own record collection to find many versions of the tunes that had been recorded with lyrics. "Once we started digging into it, it was kind of amazing how there's literally no instrumental that somebody hasn't tried to put lyrics to," he notes. Sammy Davis, Jr., for instance, recorded a version of the Ventures' "Hawaii Five-O" theme rechristined "You Can Count on Me," while the versions of "Apache" and "Miserlou" mash up several versions that Dickerson discovered -- the former even incorporating a bit of Sugarhill Gang's "Jump On It."

And "Popcorn?" "We were kind of joking around about that song and said, 'Man, there's got to be a vocal version somewhere," Dickerson recalls. "Strangely enough, some weirdo has a 'Popcorn' web site that's dedicated to that song, and there's a page on there that has something like 200 cover versions of the song, and sure enough there was a vocal version on there. God knows how many copies that sold, but somebody put it out, and now we've got it."

Dickerson says a second volume of "Sings the Instrumental Hits" is a possibility, though he cautions that, "we'll see how this one sells, first. So far the response has been really good. Of course, being a weirdo, I think to myself, 'This is a great idea!' but you're never really sure how many people are gonna get it or like it. But so far everyone seems to dig it."

Los Straitjackets with Deke Dickerson and The B-sides

Tuesday, Oct. 21. Doors open at 8 p.m.

The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.

Tickets are $15

Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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