musicology #386

Modernist #14

(The Valentinos – Darling Come Back Home)

Today it’s the turn of youth cult ‘observer’ and prolific writer on the subject Paolo Hewitt with what I think is a worthy insight into Mod/ernist that resonates throughout the whole spectrum from conception right up to today and beyond.

“Modernism has remained Britain’s most enduring youth cult because it’s originators created a blueprint that has proved timeproof. By doing so, they put up a safeguard against the transient nature of fashion. Mod has never withered against the ravages of time because it is so particular. About everything, Detail is all. Mod created, for the very first time, a twenty four hour lifestyle that totally revolved around clothes, music, drugs and attitude. They did not oppose society, they simply ignored it. They created their own simple sign language, devised fashion codes and style statements to develop their very own culture of cool. That they were initially hidden from view did not stop them contributing heavily towards the society that ignored. Their demands for clothes and music laid the foundations for the emergence of these industries in Britain and their style demanded a complete shift in attitude towards menswear. The true Modernist transformed London and made it the centre of ‘Hip’. Their clubs were the best in town, The Dj’s played the best and most exciting records and they danced the best dances.

All this because they had no problem mixing other cultures into their own. They were many things, arrogant, contemptuos, sometimes cruel and peacockis to a ‘man’ but they were also open minded and ambitious. One of their credos was simple; if it’s good, absorb it, wherever it’s from. Consequently Mod musical taste was immaculate an it’s development is entwined with the history of Soul music’s triumphant entry into Britain and when it was time to move on they did so. Which is so perfectly right, so perfectly Modernist”.

Today’s cut is one from themusicologist’s vaults recorded and released in 1962 for Sam Cooke and J.W Alexander’s trailblazing SAR label. Hold this quote from the book ‘Dream Boogie’ about the year in question..

“There was a new kind of pride in the air and a new kind of proclamation. Sam’s ‘natural’ hairstyle, (what became known as the Afro), was finally beginning to catch on and a few months later the Philadelphia Tribune defined ‘Soul’, a term confined for the most part at this point to the downhome instrumental sounds of Jazz musicians such as Bobby Timmons, Horace Silver and Cannonball Adderley as “the word of the hour…a spiritual return  to the sources, an emotional intensity and rhythmis crive that comes from childhood saturation in Negro Gopspel music”. “Oh we all heard it said onetime ‘Wonder Boy’ preacher Soloman Burke, a lifelong Soul Stirrers devotee who had positioned himself somewhere between Sam and Brother Joe May in his own persuasive style, of Sam’s new Soul sound. “Pop audiences heard that yodel…like it was some shiny new thing. But if you knew Sam from Gospel, it was him saying, ‘Hey, it’s me’.

This was in the early months of 1962 at the same time that young working class kids in London were beginning to galvanise a new movement of their own and were instinctively drawn to this fresh sound coming out of America’s big cities. The group in question had a name and sound change from The Womack Brothers to the Valentino’s and it was their preceeding cut ‘Looking For A Love’ that provided them with their first breakthrough but for me this one takes some beating.


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musicology #354

AlternativeSoundtrack4 #21

(Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers – A Little Busy)

Apologies for the eleventh hour post yesterday..out grafting and got back late but had to throw one down to try and stay on track for what’s turning out to be the Hustler marathon..best part of a month will be taken up by this theme from the sounds of it but as the French are known to say Ces’t la vie or, (for all us Anglo Saxon speakers), in the words of Lord Creator ‘Such Is Life’, (watch and listen out for this cut…soon come).

Anyway enough of the interlude and on with the marat … story.

The trio are at the party and the two men are enjoying themselves, especially Eddie who is being admired by the ladies. Bert is slinking around like a snake in the grass waiting to pounce on Sarah who is back on the bottle in response to his and Eddie’s behaviour. As previously mentioned for Sarah alcohol is for numbing the pain, sound and fury of reality so all she can do is abstain totally or get hammered..no middle ground. Sarah notices Eddie in conversation with a female and as she is already drunk goes off in search of more medicine. Bert sees this as his time to pounce and makes what must be a sexual proposition. Sarah is disgusted and gives him the least that he deserves, a drink in the face and collapses in tears stopping the party. Eddie rushes over and asks what’s happening and Bert, (the low dog), lies and palms it off on Sarah being drunk.

Eddie, (the fool), takes his word for it and escorts her upstairs to lie down and sleep it off. It’s a painful scene to watch and has almost no dialogue so you’ll have to watch the film to see what I mean…

Today’s slice of the Hustler dialogue follows on with Eddie, Bert and Findlay retiring to the Billiard table to begin ‘the dance’… we are in to the meat and bones of the underlying tensions and, for me, true meaning of the film now and there are some harsh words said here which strip the characters bare as it builds up to the final countdown..

The music is courtesy of one of the most important figures in Be-bop. Drum legend, band leader and inspirational figure Art Blakey, featuring the ground breaking collective known as the Jazz Messengers, (Bobby Timmons, Wayne Shorter, Lee Morgan and Jymie Merritt)..wicked slice of Modernist Jazz from 1960 recorded for Blue Note.