musicology #384

Modernist #12

(The Drifters – Up On The Roof)

Modernist / Mod / Mods..for me the label is not the issue it’s the philosophy..the ideology that’s important and how it evolved to influence almost every ‘trend’ that followed. That’s what fascinates me. The narrative of the early sixties is well documented from almost every angle other than the ‘street’ perspective in part because the voice of the people is not one that is often heard. As Johnny Spencer said ‘by 1965 the essence and meaning was gutted from the original movement because it was a genuine threat to the staus quo’. For sure the consumer revolution had been managed as far back as the early part of the 20th Century but ‘Mod/ernist’ was never part of the equation because it came up from the street where the establishment had no control or initial interest other than in how to ‘capitalize’.

By the time I was born in 1968 the control was being fought for and for a moment the chance was there to bring down the system but by then the momentum was with the bourgouise intellectuals who when it came down to it didn’t realise that in the words of Martin Luther King there would be ‘No victory without sacrifice’. As the 70’s rolled on everything had been commoditized and the moment passed, (much to the relief of the establishment), who then went on, (in the 80’s), to destroy the working class by giving us ‘something’ to lose in the way of our own property which, of course, wasn’t ours anyway as it belonged to the banks that had sold us into debt slavery.

Interpret my musings how you will but I know how it was to live through these times with a narrative of Mod/ernist as the guiding principle which is after all an Attitude rather than merely a fashion trend. In my opinion part of why the lifestyle of Mod/ernist has been, (and continues to be), so enduring is the underlying principle at the heart of it which is to follow your own path and, (as much as you can), decide for yourself what to do, wear, listen to, watch, read, learn etc.

Today’s 1962 cut by the Drifters is so well known that it is easy to dismiss it as nothing more than pop but if you listen to the words it speaks the language of pure Mod/ernist, the cats who met, walked, talked and lived together metaphorically

“Up On The Roof..way up where the air was fresh and sweet and away from the hustling crowd and all the Rat Race noise down below…….right smack dab in the middle of town..”

Listen Tune…

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musicology #362

Ideology&Philosophy #3

(Bobby Bland – If You Don’t Share Your Love With Me)

Final slice of the Greek Philosophy pie features the other of the three most well known Ideas men of Greek antiquity..Aristotle. A name known on some parts of London’s mean streets for his contribution to Double back Rhyming Slang..Aristotle rhymes with Bottle which leads to ‘Bottle and Glass’ which rhymes/translates as Arse !! for example
“did you check the bottle on that Richard?!!”

Anyway back to the Greeks..Aristotle is quite possibly the prime mover in today’s Western Ideology in part for his clear definition of Politricks. Any major Politician today is schooled in Aristotelian Ideology, (it goes with the territory), why? because it’s much easier to maintain the system. That way the ‘blame’ can always be laid at someone elses door. It’s almost unthinkable that many, many years later the society that we live in has NOT evolved much beyond Aristotle’s (much mis-interpreted), Ideology..Our children, (and us), are steeped in the interpreted version of his thinking. Not that I’m imagining this will be clear based on 2 minutes of interperatation here but maybe it will be a doorway to dig deeper…

The musicology is another slice from one of the greatest Soul singers, (featured a few times already on themusicologist), none other than Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland with 2 minutes 43 seconds worth of pure poetry about what, for me, is the thing that makes life complete…Love.

“It’s an ill wind that blows no good,
And it’s a sad heart that won’t love like I know it should,
And oh how lonesome you must be yeah,
And it’s a shame if you don’t share your love with me,

And it’s a heartache when love is gone,
But it’s bad and even sad, woooohh later on,
Woohhh there’s no one blinder than he who wont see,
And it’s a shame if you don’t share your love with me,

And I can’t help it woohhh no if she is gone,
You must try to forget woohhhh you must live on,
And I swear it’s a good thing to love someone,
But it’s bad and even sad when it’s not returned,

And oh how lonesome yes you must be yeah,
And it’s a shame if you don’t share your love with me,
And I said it’s a shame woohhh if you don’t share your love with me
woooohhhh yeahhh”

musicology #360

Ideology&Philosophy #1

(The Silvertones – Smile)

So as one theme ends another begins…Didn’t have a clue what it might involve until last night when it came to me while soaking in some ‘spoken word’, (a daily occurence in the home of themusicologist). So to keep it fresh in my heart and mind I would like to share and combine two of my passsions with the crew, music…and the ‘love of wisdom’ or what’s better known as Philosophy.

My intention is to keep the dialogue going and start each slice of musicology with a bit of spoken word followed by what I believe is a piece of musical wisdom. Not sure how it will unfold but as with all the themes on themusicologist I feel compelled by something other than logic or reason so I’ll continue to let intuition be the guide.

Day one features an introduction to the Western Worlds first and still prevalent Ideology, Greek Philosophy. Borrowed from a ‘top ranking’ lecture on the subject by a lecturer called David Roochnik who, for me does a perfect job in explaining the meaning of ‘Dialectic’. A word that I have heard and read many times but until this Cat laid out this definition was never satisfied with my understanding of it. A very important concept that continues to have a major impact on all our lives

The musicology is a fine piece of wisdom from Jamaican vocal group, the Silvertones featuring the talents of Gilmore Grant, Keith Coley and Delroy Denton. Yet another piece of ‘Coxsone’ magic, (first press 45), from the back end of the sixties…

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.

musicology #319

SongsOf Protest&Freedom#5

(Billy Bragg – Ideology)

Day 5 of the freedom selection is a cut from  Singer, Songwriter and performer; Stephen William Bragg featured a couple of times already on the musicologist with his critique on two subjects close to my heart ‘Big Pharma‘ and National Identity.

This one, (another of the subjects close to my heart),  is taken from his 1986 set ‘Talking With The Taxman About Poetry’.

“When one voice rules the nation,
Just because they’re top of the pile,
Doesn’t mean their vision is the clearest,

The voices of the people
Are falling on deaf ears,
Our politicians all become delirious,
They must declare their interests,
But not their company cars,
Is there more to a seat in Parliament,
Than sitting on your arse?
And the best of all this bad bunch,
Is shouting to be heard,
Above the sound of Ideologies clashing,

Outside the patient millions,
Who put them into power,
Expect a little more back for their taxes,
Like schoolbooks, beds in hospitals,
And peace in our bloody time,
All they get is old men grinding axes,

Who’ve built their private fortunes on the things they can rely,
The courts, the secret handshake, the stock exchange and the old school tie,
For God and Queen and Country,
All things they just defy,
Above the sound of Ideologies clashing,

God bless the civil service,
The nation’s saving grace,
While we expect democracy,
They’re laughing in our face,
And although our cries get louder,
The laugh gets louder still,
Above the sound of Ideologies clashing,
Above the sound of Ideologies,
Above the sound of Ideologies,
Above the sound of Ideologies clashing…..”