I don’t doubt people who know more about music could offer an educated opinion about Rey and explain why he’s not as well-known today as Les Paul. I only ended up reading the little I did about Rey because I stumbled upon the following video, which features Rey performing “St. Louis Blues” alongside Stringy, a nightmarish guitar puppet whose face is stretched into a permasmile but who mournfully intones, “I am the spirit of the St. Louis blues. I am so blue. All the day long I am blue.” Also, it’s a creepy robot voice. I kind of think you should just watch it.
Granted, I’d be hopelessly blue too if I looked like the result of Charlie McCarthy getting drunk and knocking up a ukulele, but the important takeaway here is that not even a misbegotten freak like Stringy can resist the sound of Alvino Rey’s orchestra, which prompts him to twitch his arms and wiggle his feet like he’s suffering a moderate electric shock. Which he may have been.
No, wait — the takeaway here is how standards for creepiness have apparently shifted since this clip was recorded in 1944. No, wait — the takeaway here should be the novelty in Stringy’s voice being supplied by Rey’s wife, the singer Luise King via technology that Rey himself invented. No! The takeaway is Win Butler marrying his own collaborator, fellow Arcade Fire member Regine Chassagne, opening up the possibility for them to revive Stringy at Coachella next year.
Yep, that’s it. Come on, Win and Regine. You can make this happen.