Live Music: Big Daddy 20 Years Later

As you might imagine, I’m spending a lot of time at the keyboard this days tapping out chapter after chapter of my Music and Audio book. My hope is to get is completed in time for the AXPONA show in mid April but after speaking with a printer yesterday, it seems like it will get delivered some weeks later. They need 6-8 weeks to set it up, provide a review copy, and then complete the printing process. So for those of you who supported the Kickstarter campaign, I’m making great progress on the content but things are slipping off of my initial scheduling commitment.

In spite of my very busy schedule, I managed to pry myself away from the computer and attend a performance by the group Big Daddy at Boulevard Music in Culver City last Saturday evening. I’ve been a fan for decades and two of the members are very close friends. Big Daddy’s albums and live performances deliver an unusual and very clever musical twist. They rearrange familiar hits in the style of the later 50s. Imagine hearing Rick James’ “Super Freak” in the style of the Everly Brothers or Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” as like Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons”. The arrangements are very polished and the band puts on a really entertaining show. But they haven’t performed as Big Daddy for over 20 years! Boy time flies. I can remember seeing them at clubs like “At My Place” back in the 90s.


When I was actively mastering CDs, I worked on a couple of Big Daddy projects including their remake of the entire Sgt. Peppers album. Every song on that classical record was lovingly recast in the style of Harry Belafonte, Johnny Cash, or another later 50s performer. I even remember adding the “hidden” bit of sound following the tune “A Day In The Life” 25 seconds after the final cadence. The Big Daddy version includes my voice very quietly saying, “why are you still listening?” backwards. More than a few listener took the time to figure out what we did at 3 am during the mastering of the CD.


The guys in the band contrived a story to explain why they perform everything in the 50s style. During a tour of Southeast Asia, they were captured and held capture for 10 years or so. So they missed the British Invasion, Surf Music, and mainstream rock ‘n roll. They only way they got to know the music of the 60s was through sheet music…thus their sound remained rooted in the past but the lyrics and melodies are current and familiar.


It makes for a very good time complete with costume changes, props, and vocal imitations. I especially liked Paul McCartney’s “Ebony and Ivory” as Little Richard would have done it. Thanks Donnie D and Bubba! You brought back a lot of great memories and made me laugh out loud. You can check out Big Daddy by clicking here.


Mark Waldrep, aka Dr. AIX, has been producing and engineering music for over 40 years. He learned electronics as a teenager from his HAM radio father while learning to play the guitar. Mark received the first doctorate in music composition from UCLA in 1986 for a "binaural" electronic music composition. Other advanced degrees include an MS in computer science, an MFA/MA in music, BM in music and a BA in art. As an engineer and producer, Mark has worked on projects for the Rolling Stones, 311, Tool, KISS, Blink 182, Blues Traveler, Britney Spears, the San Francisco Symphony, The Dover Quartet, Willie Nelson, Paul Williams, The Allman Brothers, Bad Company and many more. Dr. Waldrep has been an innovator when it comes to multimedia and music. He created the first enhanced CDs in the 90s, the first DVD-Videos released in the U.S., the first web-connected DVD, the first DVD-Audio title, the first music Blu-ray disc and the first 3D Music Album. Additionally, he launched the first High Definition Music Download site in 2007 called iTrax.com. A frequency speaker at audio events, author of numerous articles, Dr. Waldrep is currently writing a book on the production and reproduction of high-end music called, "High-End Audio: A Practical Guide to Production and Playback". The book should be completed in the fall of 2013.

One thought on “Live Music: Big Daddy 20 Years Later

  • I recall this band…never saw them live, but I have two or three of their CDs. Great stuff!


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