musicology #359


AlternativeSoundtrack4 #26

(Irma Thomas – It’s Too Soon To Know)

Final slice of the Alternative Hustler Soundtrack and it’s come down to the faceoff between Eddie and Bert. Yesterday’s slice heard Fats declare that Eddie was the new king of pool and Bert showed his true colours. Not that he has done much to conceal them but he hints that maybe it was his boys that broke Eddie’s thumbs and if he, (Bert), commands it his heavies will do more than that this time. But our man has learnt some character and is prepared to make whatever sacrifice is necessary to ensure that Sarah’s brings about a Victory over Bert, (who in my opinion represents the establishment).

Bert on the other hand is only really interested in ownership and money, he has said it throughout the film but what he hasn’t said is how much he envies those capable of showing true feelings and who are not chained by the evils of power and money. Classic Capitalist mentality trying to show that it’s wealth, greed and power that makes the world go round and not happiness, love and integrity, (character). I make no bones about it money and power don’t motivate themusicologist and never will. I have bills to pay and, more importantly, mouths to feed and there are some who may, (and do), call that irresponsible and obviously they are entitled to their opinion but integrity/character don’t come cheap and as with most things there is always a price to pay, (for everyone concerned). Fantastic interchange of dialogue and ideology between the antagonist, (Bert), and protaganist, (Eddie), in this scene that deserves mention. How none of the main actors received oscars for their performances is beyond reason and therefore must have been in some sense political.

The director Robert Rosen had integrity/character but ultimately it was shipwrecked on the rocks of so called ‘Democracy’ and he lost it. Which is not a judgement or criticism, (of Robert Rosen), more of an observation. For more insight into the facts of life it’s worth taking another listen to a slice featured earlier on this theme; Memphis Slim’s ‘Mother Earth’ (musicology #352)

Tough call the final cut..couple of options but going with my gut feeling it has to be this one from Irma Thomas with a slice of pure unaldultarated heart wrenching Soul, (with a capital S), A cover of the song made popular first by the Orioles and then by the irrepressible Dinah Washington a singer who set the standards for every female singer that followed. Rare to find a Dinah song covered that even comes close to her version but for themusicologist this one does. Also as far as I’m concerned it’s fitting that the final call belongs to a female in tribute to the character played by Piper Laurie and the answer, (posthumously), is a resounding Yes. Recorded and released in 1961 for and on the Minit label. Produced, (I imagine), by Allen Toussaint.

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8 thoughts on “musicology #359

  1. I’ve enjoyed the alternative enormously, it prompted me to watch the film…which was excellent, and of course the music has been wonderful…there is something else in Eddie’s voice now, its strong, I like to think he has been redeemed by love and thats a powerful force.The song is devine (one of my favorites). fanx

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  2. one of those songs that has my guts tied up in knots …….goes beyond the heart melting ….nice one musicologist.
    on the film I relate to it as a personal journey; Eddie makes choices which he only realises too late that he cant go back and fix ie he went with his personal ambition to the detrement of his ‘soul’.
    like your interpretation as well…

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  3. “It’s Too Soon To Know”…. It sure is!!!

    Been out all day and just got round to a listen… perfect!!!

    The best Alternative yet…. more later (on Track List. Okay?)

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  4. “How none of the main actors received oscars for their performances is beyond reason and therefore must have been in some sense political.”

    Actually, I don’t think it was anything so sinister. Remember, it was 1961. The Western World i.e All those left standing in the European theatre after WWII (players, theatres… I always rub my eyes reading those words; simple “artistic” words, kidnapped and then bandied about to denote – quantify perhaps – the horror, slaughter, grief and loss of WAR… and as for WWII, well, it even sounds Hollywood, don’t you think?).

    Anyway, as I was saying before getting lost in another of my rants, in 1960/61 The Western World, having gorged on it’s own flesh and blood, was on the cusp…. And historically, cusps are strange places to be at. Thay are times when things could go one way or the other (and as we all know, only winners write history). They are times when I suppose….. It’s Too Soon To Know.

    Figuratively speaking, cusps are quite places too. They are the whispering wells of history. And sitting right on top of the 1960/61 cusp (and not forgetting McCarthy of course) doggedly beavering away at the traditional social/cultural norms were films like The Hustler…

    Personally, I think of the time in question more as a vacuum i.e. a space/time devoid of matter/substance. And vacuums are unnatural places. They get filled. And they get filled quick!!
    In 1962 the vacuum began filling up with The Youth Movement….. Let Me Hear Ya Say Yeh, Yeh, Yeh.

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