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.
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.
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 load..it’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…
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.
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.
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.
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.