musicology #0751

Nubag #19 (a year in the life)

 Little Richard – ‘Im Just a Lonely Guy

back in the ‘nubag’ saddle. RASCAL of a year so far but ‘che sera‘. As we roll, HOLD this BOSS, BURIAL, Crescent City, piece of urbane musicology from the pioneering, majestic Little Richard. Recorded, of course, at (Father) Cosimo Mattassa’s studio. The ONE and only spot to record for Cats who knew what it will always be about.

The image is one of an (in)famous street in the heart of MY ‘town’ .. London. Where me and the ancestors have been roaming and rolling since, (at least) the 1700’s.



musicology #0607

Blues’N’Rhythm #2

Joe Turner & Pete Johnson – Roll ‘Em Pete

As important as Sam Cooke was to Soul, Big Joe took Jump, Boogie Woogie, Blues and Rhythm rolled them all up into a package and fathered Rock & Roll. Of course there were others who contributed, (Louis Jordan, Count Basie, Amos Milburn, Wynonnie Harris to name but 4), and as with all ‘Popular’ music no one person was responsible but as Doc Pomus is quoted to have said “Rock & Roll would never have happened without him…and as previously mentioned on themusicologist the dynamic duo’s late 40’s cut ‘Rocket 88 Boogie’ was the ‘inspiration’ behind Ike Turner’s seminal ‘Rocket 88’, a tune that has long been canonised into Rock and Roll history..

Today’s cut was recorded in the Big Apple on December 30th 1938…I’ll repeat that 1938 and released on a Columbia 78, which I was planning on laying down here but in truth it’s a piece scratchy !! so instead it’s the (top quality 24 bit), remastered version that certainly does the original justice….I can only imagine what it would have been like to witness these two in action back in Kansas City in the 1930’s a musical hotbed that kicked every bit as hard as Chicago, New Orleans and New York…Roll ‘Em Pete….

musicology #379

modernist #7

(Jackie Wilson – Lonely Teardrops)

Part of the method of inquiry adopted here on this theme is to get a better idea of, (as TonyBlue said in the comments), what, who, where, why and how the nameless thing evolved from the depths of the young Urbanite experience and as far as I am concerned, (and have already stated), the music is the key to unlocking the period. Not only the music of America but also from the island of Jamaica. One conclusion is that in each of the places of note there was a genuine sense of shaking off the chains of Imperial/colonialism and the Slave/Master mentality that had ruled around the world for longer than living memory. Not just in terms of skin colour but also the ‘Class’ system which in England at least was deeply entrenched like nowhere else in the world.

A Cat named Patrick Uden makes a great point on the nameless thing, (we’ll be hearing more from him later), and it’s this

“To be a Mod/ernist you had to come from a culture where Modernism didn’t exist and therefore that made you different and England at that time was ancient it…was falling to pieces. I mean it was awful. You have no idea how miserable and Grey Britain was. The first Habitat shop opened, I think in 1962 in Chelsea and was a complete revelation”

For me the point here is that all over Europe and America the ‘Modern’ had been part of the language since the early part of the century from music in America through to architecture and design in Europe so under those conditions there was nowhere else for a youth movement to be different other than England and especially London until a group of young-bloods emerged to drag Britain kicking and screaming into ‘today’ which according to a Philosopher who I rate highly is the stomping ‘ground’ of the proletariat, one of three ‘classes’ he defines. The other two being the Arisocrat, (who lives in and on the past) and the Bourgoise who looks to and lives in tomorrow. A great observation which for me is spot on.

Today’s slice is courtesy of a member of the elite..Jackie Wilson who somehow managed to shine even under the conditions forced on him by his ‘Master’ Nat Tarnapol. It’s true Jackie was humiliated by recording some awful p(o)op between but as we all know cream rises to the very top of the bottle and in matters musical Jackie delivered some of the best Soul ever made. Hold this 1958 cut to hear what I mean…ignore the terrible backing on this cut and listen to Jackie soar whilst standing on the vanguard of the transition from Rock & Roll into Soul. Again I would just like to add that the cuts upto and including this one are not in any way ‘Rare’ but in the context of ‘Mod/ernist’ there’s no denying that when released they were as fresh as spring daisys.

musicology #342

AlternativeSoundtrack4 #9

(The Coasters – Snake and The Bookworm)

Not even half way through the film yet so looks like themusicologist is in for the long haul. I promised myself after the 12AngryMen alternativesoundtrack that I would relax the rule of only throwing down music from the year the film was released but on reflection feel that the harmonies involved are too compelling so as a compromise for The Hustler I’m restricting the music to the year the film was released, (1961), and the year preceeding it…1960.

Today’s piece of dialogue features Eddie and Sarah after having spent the last few days together. Not sure whether our man has been hustling during this time but if he has there’s no mention of it. Maybe they have found what they have both been looking for…someone to share a life with? that’s the way I’m reading it anyway.

The music is a piece of ‘Rock and Roll’ from one of the great vocal groups The Coasters, (this line up features Carl Gardner, Billy Guy, Cornell Gunter, Will “Dub” Jones and Albert “Sonny” Forriest), whose star, along with Rock and Roll’s was beginning to fade. Soul was stepping up to take it’s place because Rock and Roll was considered to have corrupted the nation’s youth !! but music is too powerful to control and what seemed at the time to be a more soothing sound was beginning to capture the attention of ‘the new breed’ who would take it on and use it to communicate a more powerful, (and popular), message of freedom and equality.

musicology #311

Live&Direct #7

(Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Blockheads)

Was intending on Slowing the tempo down for the next few cuts but then I came across this one from one of London’s favourite son’s Ian Dury featuring, of course, The Blockheads. So Influential were this group of Cats in themusicologist’s early life that I can’t overstate it. Not only that but in their earlier incarnation as Kilburn & the High Roads it was they, along with Doctor Feelgood and, for me, Steve Marriott that changed the trend, (at least on London’s scene) from listening to overhyped, overpaid and overrated so called supergroups of which I’ll mention no names to authentic, local, talent out of which sprung the attitude that became known as Punk. ‘The High Roads’ were vanguards and deserve recognition.

So without delay hold this, one of their classic cuts which brings memories flooding back..especially of my Uncle Phil who I can almost picture screaming the words…”BLOCK’EADS OI OI”…recorded live in 1990 showing that they had lost none of the energy and quality which saw them through from performing on the thriving ‘pub scene’, of the 70’s (which has now almost dissapeared), up to concert hall venues both here and ‘up and down a foreign’.

p.s after listening to this one at least four times ‘on the spin’ and rocking all round me ‘gates’ HAD to lay the lyrics down for yah…

“You must have seen parties of Blockheads,
With blotched and lagered skin,
Blockheads with food particles in their teeth,
What a horrible state they’re in,

They’ve got womanly breasts, pale mauve vests,
Shoes like dead pigs’ noses,
Cornflake packet jacket, catalogue trousers,
A mouth what never closes,

You must have seen Blockheads in raucous teams,
Dressed up after work,
Who screw their poor old Eileens,
Get sloshed and go berserk,

Rotary accessory watches,
Hire-purchase signet rings,
A beauty to the bully boys,
No lonely vestige clings,

Imagine one puffing and blowing in your ear’ole,
Thoughtful and kind with a well-stocked mind,
Blockheads can’t think very far,

Who wants tonight’s star prize?
Tonight’s star prize,
Is a solid gold Rolex watch,
It’s tonight’s star prize…..

Bigger brained Blockheads often acquire,
Black and orange cars,
Premature ejaculation drivers,
Soft-top’s got roll-bars,

‘Fill her up, they say the Blockheads,
Stick it where it fuckin’ well hurts,
Shapeless haircuts don’t enhance,
Their ghastly patterned shirts,

Why bother at all about Blockheads?
(Superior as you) are,
thoughtful and kind,
(with a), well stock, (mind),

Who want’s tonight’s star prize?
Imagine finding one in your laundrey basket,
banging nails in your big black dog,

Who wants tonight’s star prize?
Tonight’s, why bother at all about Blockheads?
Why should you care what they do
‘Cause after all is said and done,
You’re all blockheads too…ain’t cha,

Who wants tonight’s star prize?
A Rolex, original Rolex from Brixton market,
You can’t get any batteries,

Blockheads, who wants it?
Blockheads, who wants it?
Blockheads (oi oi)
Blockheads (oi oi)
Blockheads (oi oi)
Blockheads (oi oi)
Blockheads (oi oi)
Blockheads (oi oi)
(oi oi)

Taken from the Live! Warts ‘n’ Audience Set…What a performance…..

musicology #310

Live&Direct #6

(Jimi Hendrix Experience – Like A Rolling Stone Live)

Today’s cut features one of the best known and most talked about Cats in recorded musical history…Johnny Allen, (Jimi), Hendrix about whom much has been written and said. No need for themusicologist to bore you with facts and details about his life and times so I’m just going to lay his version of Bob Dylan’s famous song, (about Edie Sedgwick i do believe?), on you. Recorded live at Monterey in 1967. In a word…magic.

“Once upon a time you dressed so fine,
Threw the bums a dime in your prime, didnt you?,
People call, say, beware doll, youre bound to fall,
You thought they all were kiddin you,
You used to haha laugh about,
Everybody that was hangin out,
Look atcha, but now you dont talk so loud,
Now you dont seem so proud,
‘Bout having to be scrounging yeah your last meal,

How does it feel,
Oh how does it feel baby,
To be on your own,
Look atcha a complete unknown,
Like a rolling stone?,

Gone to the finest school all right, hahah miss lonely,
But you know you only used to get juiced in it,
Nobody here to taught you how to live out the streets,
And now you just gonna have to get used to it,
You say you never you never compromise,
With the mystery tramp, but now you got to realize,
He’s not selling any alibis,
As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes,
And he says hey baby would you like ta to make a deal?

How does it feel baby,
How does it feel,
To be on your own,
No direction home,
A complete unknown,
Look atcha like a rolling stone,

Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people,
They all laugh and drinkin, thinkin that they huh got it made yeah
Exchanging all precious gifts and things but ah,
But you’d better take your diamond ring, I think you’d better,
you better pawn it babe,
Yes I know I missed a verse, don’t worry,

You used to be so amused,
At napoleon in rags and the sweet talk that he used,
Go to him now, he calls you, you cant refuse,
When you aint got nothing, you got nothing to lose,
Youre invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal,

How does it feel,
Oh how does it feel baby,
To be on your own,
With no direction home,
A complete unknown,
Look at ya like a rolling stone”.

musicology #288

twolegendsclash #11

(Sidney Bechet & His New Orleans Feetwarmers – Preachin’ Blues)

“What  a weeping and a waling, when the two legends clash….”

Final cut from Sidney Bechet and what a treat…Recorded in New York during January or Febuary 1940. A precursor to the Rhythm & Blues that was to follow and in turn be reclassified as Rock & Roll. All the hallmarks are there, small line-up, Electric Guitar, Boogie Woogie Piano, honking Sax…

Before signing Bechet off, according to a piece of information on Wikipedia;

“In the 1940s, (Louis), Jordan released dozens of hit songs, including the swinging ‘Saturday Night Fish Fry’ (one of the earliest and most powerful contenders for the title of First rock and roll record),”

I’m a BIG fan of Louis Jordan and his music certainly deserves all the accolades and he was certainly at the forefront in the development of Rhythm & Blues but  the above mentioned cut was released in 1949. Whereas this one from Bechet is almost a decade earlier !!…which, as far as I can hear is as close to ‘Rock & Roll’ as it gets, Especially Brother Bechet’s playing.

As it’s the end of the Bechet road it just leaves me to thank the inspirational Cat for leaving us a recorded legacy of the HIGHEST quality…I’m sure he’s up there standing at the gate cutting the angel Gabriel to ribbons.

Blow Bechet…Blow.