musicology #220

12AngryMen #15 (alternativesoundtrack #3)

(The Marquees – Wyatt Earp)

end of the 12 angry road. the not guilty count is now 11-1. last man standing is Lee J Cobb whose personal vendetta against juveniles is obviously related to how he feels about his own son which, is not enough of a reason to send a teengaer to the ‘chair’ when all the evidence has been shot down in flames.

this last piece of the musicology pie is another from the OKeh label featuring a young drummer by the name of Marvin Pentz Gay whose recording career begun on this piece. signed to the label by Bo Diddley the record was a commercial failure so Bo introduced them to Rhythm& Blues legend Harvey Fuqua who incorporated them into his New Moonglows in 1957.

around 1958/9 Fuqua moved to Detroit, married Gwen Gordy, set up a couple of his own labels and when Berry Gordy convinced him to be an influential part of Motown introduced Marvin to the fold. and the rest, as they say, is history.

musicology #219

12AngryMen #14 (alternativesoundtrack #3)

(The Soul Stirrers – Lord Remember Me)

penultimate cut of the 12 angry and I must say that I’m looking forward to the end. this soundtrack has been the hardest of all to complete. mainly because of my foolishness in deciding to only throw down music from 1957, (the year the film was released), but also there not being any music in the film has made it difficult to edit in. sounds like a case of ‘bad workman blaming his tools’ !! so I’ll move on….

the dialogue features the ‘old man’ whose 20/20 eagle eyes have spotted something that no-one else had noticed and the stoical cat whose conviction in the boy’s guilt has been, until now, unshakeable…

the music, (another of my personal favourites), is courtesy of gospel group supreme the Soul Stirrers featuring Sam Cooke and is taken from their final recording session together on Art Rupe’s Specialty label in, yep, 1957. the year that Mr Soul announced his arrival on the secular scene with ‘You Send Me’. this one, a traditional gospel tune, is given the full treatment by ‘the lion’ as he roars out a plea to not be forgotten.

Listen tune…

musicology #218

12AngryMen #13 (alternativesoundtrack #3)

(Donnie Elbert – What Can I Do)

so it’s almost over…not only for the 12angry but also for this chapter in the book of life. institutions are crashing and burning after almost a century of ‘rinsing’ it. no surprise that ‘man on the street’ is being asked to shoulder the’s all in the game.

the dialogue features two of the three remaining ‘guiltys’ (with Lee J Cobb in commanding form in the supporting role). the music, I must confess, is a personal favourite and any chance to throw it down is good enough reason. but in true musicologist style when the right time come, up steps a tune to ‘express the inexpressible’ and this one is no exception. a piece, (no need to tell you from what year !!), that signals a shift away from Rhythm & Blues into a new style. one where the lead singer steps out of the vocal group shadow and into the spotlight. pioneered by cats like Donnie Elbert, Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke this sound became known as Soul…

Listen Tune……

musicology #217

12AngryMen #12 (alternativesoundtrack #3)

(Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – Yellow Coat)

back in the 12 angry saddle after almost a month ‘lost’ to philosophical meanderings, holidays, heartbreak, earning a living and soul searching…what have I learnt?

That true friends are essential, that a life lived alone is almost not worth living, that money is valued far beyond it’s worth and has become too important in the scheme of things. I believe it was Ruskin that said

“the only wealth is health” (and he wasn’t only refering to the physical). mind fuck is almost unbearable. harder to overcome than an expanding ‘darby’, which if youre careful can be dealt with by exercise and nutrition. I don’t know about you but my ‘butterfly mind’ is in a constant whirl and no matter how much I try to tame it’s fluttering wings with discipline or ‘will’ it always eludes me. I’m not going to go any deeper right now because it’s got nothing to do with the soundtrack, (at least not consciously), I just wanted to offer a ‘reason’ for my abscence, not an excuse.

anyway…back to the soundtrack with this classic piece of dialogue. a painful piece of prejudiced bigotry the likes of which, unfortunately, can still be heard around the globe today. not sure whether you remember the scene but one by one the jurors turn their backs on him in a show of contempt. the musicology, from Rhythm & Blues legend Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, was released in, yep you’ve guessed it, 1957 on Chicago’s famed OKeh label.

musicology #215

12AngryMen #11 (alternativesoundtrack #3)

(John Lee Hooker – Little Wheel)

not long to go now as the ‘guiltys’ fall like dominoes. each piece of evidence is being scutinized and eventually found to be unworthy.

the music is courtesy of  Bluesman supreme, the pioneering John Lee Hooker whose first recording, (Boogie Chillen’) was in 1948. This one, from 1957,  is one from his days spent at Vivian Carter and James Bracken’s Vee Jay Label.

musicology #214

12AngryMen #10 (alternativesoundtrack #3)

(Original Broadway Cast – Gee Officer Krupke)

second slice from the Original Broadway production of West Side Story and what else could it be other than this one. themusicologist only knows this song from watching the film as a youngblood growing up in the 70’s and 80’s but this cut is the only one that I can still see in my minds eye. an excellent piece of social commentary about what was a growing concern for America in the second half of the 50’s, Juvenile Delinquents.

The dilemma seems to have been a question of how to make money out of teenagers without too much cost to society. As first America, (and then the world), was manouvered away from a ‘needs’ and into into a ‘desires’ culture this proved impossible.

Emotions are a dangerous playground and a ‘got to have it at any cost’ mentality was never going to be conducive to a harmonious society. Some of the problems we now face are related to this move into desires in part because emotional responses are not rational so if one desires something they are more likely to be irrational in the pursuit of it. leading, in a ever increasing number of cases, to a ‘by any means necessary’ approach to the aquisition of such things.

musicology #213

12AngryMen #9 (alternativesoundtrack #3)

(Jimmy Smith & Lou Donaldson – Summertime)

so the count is now 9 to 3 in favour of the guilty’s. The evidence is being torn to shreds piece by piece and what started as an open and shut case is turning into a battle of subjectivite opinion vs objective facts.

the two performances that, for me, are outstanding are Henry Fonda and Lee J Cobb. The others are good but these two are special. both are featured on this piece of dialogue.

the song which comes courtesy of organist supreme Jimmy Smith and Blue Note stable mate, Saxophone legend Lou Donaldson is a haunting 1957 rendition of the George Gershwin classic Summertime, (penned for the Opera Porgy & Bess). A song that has been covered more times than I’ve had hot dinners, rumour has it that Gershwin adapted it from a Ukranian lullaby ‘Oy Khodyt Son Kolo Vikon’, (A Dream Passes By The Windows), which he heard in 1926.

musicology #212

12AngryMen #8 (alternativesoundtrack #3)

(Sherman Booker & The Blue Notes – Cool Daddy’s Blues)

back to round 8 of the ‘alternative’ and brother Henry is on a roll. The Guilty’s are falling like dominoes as the ‘Socratic method’ employed by our man continues to work it’s magic.

Philosophy is such an important part of our lives that it’s shocking how little is taught in our schools. Unless we count the almost complete domination of the Greek School of thought which is taught ideologically to young children in an effort to set them up as ‘citizens of the future’ rather than introduced as a tool to help them aquire ‘knowledge’. For me Philosophy is all about asking, (and answering), questions and coming to your own conclusions which obviously doesn’t fit in with current politrickal ideas of mass control. With that in mind and before I get too far into the saddle of my high horse I’ll get back to the music.

today’s cut of the ’57 pie is a piece of ‘blues’ from an almost unknown outfit, Sherman Booker & The Blue Notes, about whom I know absolutely nothing, other than they recorded this one in 1957 for L.A’s Combo Label.

musicology #210

12AngryMen #7 (alternativesoundtrack #3)

(Rosco Gordon – Cheese & Crackers)

So, the ‘battle’ is on…our man Henry has done enough to convince the ‘old man’ that there is a possibility of doubt and therefore further questions need to be asked and answered…

the music is a 1957 slice of the Sun Records catalogue performed by the legendary Rosco Gordon. member of the famed collective of hip cats known as ‘the Beale Streeters’ out of whose ranks rose Bobby Bland, Johnny Ace and B.B King.

musicology #209

12AngryMen #6 (alternativesoundtrack #3)

(Pete Seeger – John Henry)

day 6, the invisible votes have been cast…and here comes the verdict.

the music is a 1957 piece from an important and highly influential cat in the development of ‘popular’ music who is still performing at the ripe old age of 89. A man who walked it like he talked it, Seeger was, and still is, an Activist with a capital A, who shares themusicologist’s belief that music and song is a most powerful force for change.

Alone among the many witnesses after the 1950 conviction and imprisonment of the Hollywood Ten for contempt of court, Seeger refused to plead the Fifth Amendment (which asserted that his testimony might be self incriminating) and instead (as the Hollywood Ten had done) refused to name personal and political associations on the grounds that this would violate his First Ammendment rights:

“I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this.”

The man’s refusal to testify led to a 1957 indictment for contempt of Congress and for years he had to keep the federal government apprised of where he was going any time he left the Southern District of New York.

Finally sentenced, (by Jury Trial), to a 10 Stretch in 1961, for whatever they could hang on him, this was overturned a year later in ’62 for being ‘seriously flawed’

Not trying to style it that I’m a long time fan of the man and his fact that’s one of the things that themusicologist provides, an opportunity for me to explore genres and styles that I am unfamiliar with.

musicology #207

12AngryMen #4 (alternativesoundtrack #3)

(Chuck Berry – Too Much Monkey Business)

today’s dialogue hears some of the jurors laying out the reasoning behind arriving at their guilty verdict and begins to give us an insight into them as people. One thing’s for sure, with the amount of top quality dialogue in this film it could turn into a long musical journey..not sure I have enough 1957 cuts in the vaults to cope so might have to throw a few from previous years.

the slice of musicology is from, some say, the King of Rock & Roll…none other than Charles Edward Anderson Berry. About whom John Lennon was quoted to have said

“If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.”

Taken from his first LP ‘After School Sessions’, (a favourite down Circus Street), released in, yep you guessed it, 1957. The song has been covered by Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Yardbirds and The Kinks such was Chuck’s stature among musicians. If you listen to Bob Dylan’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ it’s almost the same song but with different lyrics.

musicology #206

12AngryMen #3 (alternativesoundtrack #3)

(Sun Ra & His Arkestra – El Viktor)

what strikes me is how much quality dialogue is in this film and thinking about it that’s probably what drew me in when I first saw it. I enjoy language and words very much and crave dialogue and communication. themusicologist provides and delivers a great opportunity for me to connect using the universal language that speaks to us all, (if we listen), and is a manifestation of this desire to communicate.

back to the ’12 Angry’ selection…the dialogue paints it’s own picture and introduces the Henry Fonda character in Socriatic style.

the music is courtesy of Maverick Pianist Sun Ra, (and Arkestra), a cosmic cat of the highest order whose life seems as rich a tapestry as could be woven. Born around 1914, he grew up with Jazz and played the piano/organ/keyboard consistently for his whole life, (recording over a thousand songs). His first recording in 1946 was as Pianist for Rhythm & Blues legend Wynonie Harris. I’m not going to lay out his life story as it’s well documented so I’ll just leave it to Ra and Arkestra to ‘speak’.

musicology #205

12AngryMen #2 (alternativesoundtrack #3)

(Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers – I’m Not A Juvenile Delinquent)

day two of the 12 Angry Men selection and the ‘action’ begins. 12 jurors, 1 Room, Hottest day of the year…No Air-Con. The jockying has already started as Lee J. Cobb, (Juror #3), lets his feelings known on what he thinks the verdict should be.

themusicologist wasn’t even born in 1957 but from what I have read and heard the ‘Teenager’ had most definately arrived. Music, (Rock and Roll), being an example of this. The way I have understood it, before World War II music was made predominantly by and for ‘grown ups’.  Swing had begun to change that but by the time Rock and Roll emerged the writing was well and truly on the wall for who to target…Teenagers.

the slice of, (1956), musicology, (released in early ’57), is courtesy of 13 year old !! Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers, (Herman Santiago, Joe Negroni, Jimmy Merchant, Sherman Garnes), who epitomised the change as well as anyone. Of note is that the majority of the group members were of Puerto Rican descent, as was the kid charged with murder in the film, and half of the subjects of the original 1957 Broadway production of West Side Story.