(Jack McDuff – Brother Jack)
Still a week to go for this theme such is the amount of quality dialogue..so wasting no time today’s section features our man ‘back in the saddle’ after having the casts removed. Not sure how long this period would have been…month or two? anyway, during this time there would have been no pool, no hustling, no sharks..just Eddie and Sarah. Back into the frame steps Bert who notices Eddie’s new ‘bridge’ but doesn’t make too much fuss about it…
Eddie, (after having time to think), accepts Bert’s previous offer to become his manager and the ‘action’ is about to begin again.
The music is another slice of Hammond organ but this time it’s courtesy of ‘Brother’ Jack McDuff with a cut from his 1960 album ‘Brother Jack’ released on the Prestige label.
(Howlin’ Wolf – Down In The Bottom)
Today’s dialogue is from the scene where ‘the kid’ hustles in the ‘wrong kind of place’ disregarding Bert’s ominous warning. If you’ve seen the film you may remember it as the bit where he comes unstuck. For me this is where the film really begins to deal with the human condition in post modern society.
The music is courtesy of one of the greatest Rhythm & Blues practitioners to have ever graced the Earth, stage and studio the inimitable Chester Burnett otherwise known as ‘Howlin’ Wolf’ with a 1961 cut released on the Chess Label. Also featuring Hubert Sumlin on guitar, Willie Dixon, (Producer and Songwriter), on bass, Memphis Slim?, piano and Sam ‘Shuffle Master’ Lay on drums…Rhythm and Blues at it’s finest.
(Tito Puente – Dance Of The Headhunters)
On today’s piece of dialogue we hear the return of George C Scott, (Bert the Headhunter). Having stormed out of Sarah’s apartment Eddie finds and sits down at a poker table where he loses 20 bucks, he leaves and happens apoun ‘Bert’ in a local bar. The ‘Headhunter’ buys him a drink and proceeds to tell him in no uncertain terms where he went wrong the other night and offers Eddie a chance to take another shot at Minnesota Fats…. But this time with him as the backer. Eddie refuses due to Bert’s percentage demand and gets an ominous warning to be careful where he tries the Hustle…
The music is courtesy of Ernesto Antonio, ‘Tito’ Puente, Jr aka ‘El Ray’, (The King), prolific Latin Jazz/Mambo percussionist and extraordinary Timbales player who is credited with bringing the music of South America into the ‘mainstream’. This one is taken from his 1960 album Tamba and also features, (among others), Ray Barretto.
(John Coltrane – Spiritual)
Today’s dialogue features Eddie and Sarah almost at each other’s throats. As mentioned yesterday the way Eddie spat Charlie out has left it’s mark on Sarah who has hit the bottle again to try and numb the pain. Alcohol is a problem for Eddie too but not in the same way. For him it’s ‘fuel’ but for Sarah it’s ‘medicine’. I don’t get the impression that he thinks of his consumption as a problem, (the film portrays their reliance on alcohol completely differently), but is all too quick to conclude that for her it is. Anyway in this scene Sarah’s drunk, (it was he who got her back on the bottle at the end of the previous scene), Eddie isn’t and words are spoken, culminating in Eddie giving her a hard slap. Sarah comes back with a scathing response, (one of the best lines of dialogue in the film for me), and Fast Eddie leaves.
Todays’ cut is from a Cat, (with a capital C), whose musical prescence and command of the language is as good as it gets. Must admit that ‘Jazz’ from this period is not generally one of my musical passions but on more than one occasion the ‘Trane has blown my mind with his melodic originality and ability to communicate the message…..The piece also features Eric Dolphy, Reggie Workman, McCoy Tyner, and Elvin Jones.
Garvin Bushell, Ahmed Abdul-Malik and Jimmy Garrison were on the session which was recorded in 1961, (live), at New York’s famed ‘Vanguard Village’ but I don’t know enough about the players or the instruments to discern whether they were involved on this particular Jam. (Engineered by Rudy Van Gelder for Impulse).
(Otis Spann – The Hard Way)
On today’s slice of dialogue we hear the return of Eddie’s former partner Charlie who has tracked him down and wants to go back on the road hustling. Eddie doesn’t want to know and the truth comes out that he is planning on taking Minnesota Fats on again. Sarah is silent throughout the dialogue between them but sees a new, (to her at least), ruthless side to Eddie that hits her hard and during the conversation Eddie spits Charlie out showing a heart as cold as Ice which leads her to the painful conclusion that the ‘good times’ are over…
The musicology is courtesy of legendary Blues pianist and long time Muddy Waters cohort Otis Spann with a cut taken from a 1960 session featuring Robert Lockwood Jr on guitar and St Louis Jimmy on vocal duties.
(Shirelles – Will You Love Me Tomorrow)
The G20 ‘conference’ has disrupted my plans making it impossible to go out to work today so I’m directing my energies in other directions.
Today’s slice of the Alternative Hustler pie finds Eddie and Sarah together after their first night of passion. Not, I hasten to add, following on from yesterday’s piece of the action where she knocks him back for being ‘too hungry’. That night didn’t end up the way Eddie planned it so the next day he trys to hustle and finds his reputation has already spread around town making it difficult. He manages to find a dive where no-one knows him and makes a few bucks, returns to the bus station, (without knowing exactly why), and after a while Sarah arrives. She looks at him and without speaking they head off, arms entwined to her apartment…
The cut is another Town Hall/Dancehall early mod classic but this time from original girl group The Shirelles. (Shirley Owens, Alston Reeves, Doris Coley Kenner Jackson, Addie Harris McPherson, and Beverly Lee). The song was written by Carol King and Gerry Goffin with Luther ‘Strings’ Dixon producing. Recorded and released on Florence Greenberg’s Scepter label in 1960 it was the first song by an all girl group that hit #1 ushering in a new musical era that came to be known as ‘Soul’.
(Barrett Strong – Money)
Not sure how fresh in your memory the film is? but this next scene is the one where Eddie, who has been drinking JTS Brown, (Bourbon), straight out of the bottle for hours is beginning to look tired as the alcohol takes it’s toll. Minnesotta Fats on the other hand steps into the washroom, combs his hair, washes his hands, puts on his suit jacket and looking as fresh as a daisy, (he’s been drinking Whiskey too), delivers a killer line of dialogue and proceeds to ‘wet’ the kid up.
The accompanying slice of musicology is a famous 1960 cut on the Tamla, (Motown), label from Barrett Strong the rip roaring cut that catapulted Motown into the spotlight, (where it stayed for more than 20 years). Strong went on to become one of Motown, (and Soul’s), premier songwriters who, in collaboration with partner Norman Whitfield, wrote many a classic for Cats such as Marvin Gaye ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’, Edwin Starr ‘War’ and The Temptations ‘Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone’.