'Better Call Saul' Songbook, Episode 2: 'Boulevard Of Broken Dreams'

Tuesday, 10 February 2015 06:25 AM Written by 

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you haven't seen Episode 2 of Better Call Saul.

Well, the show began to take even greater form last night, as Jimmy McGill proved himself able to head toward the Saul Goodman of Breaking Bad fame by talking down a less-crazed Tuco Salamanca, seen in the first season of Bad. McGill, using a fast gift for gab appropriate to any competent attorney, dissuades Tuco from killing the two skateboard hustlers the attorney befriended, though each got a broken leg (the bone snapped with sickeningly clear audio) for their trouble.

Then there's Jimmy's attempt to put the make on a woman in a fairly classy restaurant, a gambit that ends badly as he hears some disturbing sounds (the snapping of breadsticks) that remind him of the cracks he heard earlier in the day).  It plays out to this number. When I heard it, its melody, arrangement, "zoom" vocals and and the steel guitar gave it away.

The song, of course, is a pop standard, one that helped build Tony Bennett's career in the early 50's.

Juan Garcia Esquivel: "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" (1958)

Anyone familiar with "Lounge" or "Bachelor Pad" vocal/instrumental music, which began a revival over 20 years ago, knows Mexican composer-arranger-bandleader Juan Garcia Esquivel (1918-2002). A largely self-taught visionary, he created a distinctive form of modern orchestral music often jarringly audacious in its use of dynamics and use of unorthodox techniques like "zoom" vocals and use of Hawaiian steel guitar in decidedly non-Hawaiian ways. When he performed live, he often used light shows, long before they became a part of rock music (or Garth Brooks concerts).

The video clip shows a 45 rpm EP. "Boulevard" was also featured on Esquivel's 1959 album Exploring New Sounds In Hi-Fi, released in mono and stereo. The advent of stereo gave him a new tool as he bounced parts around, as he does on "Broken Dreams" is a good example. This is the stereo album cover with Esquivel himself at the telescope.

esquivel LP cover

 

 

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