Switching to Strictly Come Dancing I am assaulted by Lady Gaga, looking like Barbara Streisand crossed with Liza Minnelli, shouting jazz lyrics into Tony Bennett’s spookily unlined face. It seems a little cruel and I don’t know what Tony did to deserve this. Then they do a bloody second song! It’s worse than the first! It’s “Anything Goes”, and I much prefer T Bone Burnett’s updating of the Cole Porter standard (It’s in the music player on the right.) I remember, too, that T. Bone also did a great rewritten version of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” in which just before the last verse, he amusingly shouts “Let’s Rock!” Lady G does nothing so entertaining. It’s like Variety’s not dead… next they’ll bring back Sunday Night at the London Palladium. Oh. They have…
More T Bone
This week we caught up with True Detective, which was compelling despite the fact that, in the end, it was a rather typical Bayou-set story of tangled family histories, guns, drugs and creeps. If you’ve read any of James Lee Burke’s memorable detective series featuring Dave Robicheaux, you’ll know the territory. The relationship between the two cops across the timeline of twenty years is riveting, though, and wonderfully acted by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. The music, either recorded or sourced by Burnett, is excellent, and deliberately avoids slide guitars and accordions while still evoking swamps and hollers.
From London Jazz Collector, this is rather beautiful
The Potency of Cheap Music
Liked this para from Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking”, a book about the year her daughter was ill and her husband, John Gregory Dunne died. “…I realized that my impression of myself had been of someone who could look for, and find, the upside in any situation. I had believed in the logic of popular songs. I had looked for the silver lining. I had walked on through the storm. It occurs to me now that these were not even the songs of my generation. They were the songs and the logic, of the generation or two that preceded my own. The score for my generation was Les Paul and Mary Ford, “How High the Moon”, a different logic altogether. It also occurs to me, not an original thought but novel to me, that the logic of the earlier songs was based on self-pity. The singer of the song about looking for the silver lining believes that clouds have come her way. The singer of the song about walking on through the storm assumes that the storm could otherwise take her down.”
From Zoe Williams’ fabulous piece on Northern Soul, The Guardian
“Northern soul was happening everywhere except London,” Constantine says. “That’s because London had a new release culture. They were pushing psychedelia, but a lot of these kids, they didn’t want to wear makeup and dress like hippies. They were coming out of the mod movement, which also played a lot of soul. They had shit jobs where they were dirty in the day – when they went out, they wanted to look sharp.”
Andrew Marlin, 61, was wearing the Fred Perry shirt that he bought in 1970. Between 1971 and 1979, he never missed a Wigan weekend. “I was marked one of the best dancers there,” he says. “Not being big-headed, but I was.” He says his father died at 91 on a dancefloor, but I took this with a pinch of salt. His dancing was, however, unfakeable (I saw it with my own eyes): inimitable, sparse, solitary, beautiful. I don’t mean beautiful in a sentimental way – what a beautiful life, still to be lost in the music of your youth, on a Thursday night in 2014. I mean it literally: graceful and instinctive, like a deer. They say you’re meant to dance like there’s no one watching; no one said you couldn’t watch.
There’s talc in the corner of the dancefloor, though the purists don’t like it. “You don’t need talc,” says Marlin. “Just get some leather soles.” Debbie describes going to the famous Wigan Casino: “We used to put our vodka in a squeezy bag, so if they squeezed your handbag, they couldn’t feel it. One night, we just didn’t get time, and my friend went with a bottle, and they found it, and they confiscated it. They put it on the back shelf, and it was, like talc, talc, talc, talc, bottle of vodka, talc.”
Swoz and Les Beaton (who runs the night with his wife, Carol) DJ under a frilly standard lamp, their record collections worth tens of thousands of pounds. “The sad thing is,” says Swoz, handing me 7 inch after 7 inch records, for me to look at and give back, even though he’d whited over the labels (for confidentiality), so they all looked the same, “when I go, my kids aren’t going to be interested in any of this. They’ll find someone to buy it, but they won’t keep it for themselves.” He hands me a record in an anonymous homemade white cardboard cover, a note on it saying: “RIP Max, not to be sold, ever, never, until we meet.” No, crying? Of course not. Something in my eye.