Five Things: Wednesday 2nd October

Lick The Stamp, Jack!

Cash-Charles

Seeing this just-released stamp of Ray, here paired with an earlier release of Johnny Cash, sent me back to a tape given to me by Bob Wray in Muscle Shoals. Bob (Member of the Third Great Rick Hall Rhythm Section, and a wonderful bassist) was playing on a Ray Charles album. Johnny Cash dropped by the studio and they started playing a Kris Kristofferson song that they both knew, “Why Me, Lord”. Bob described Ray getting so into it as he ripped out a solo on the old beige Wurlitzer that the piano started to jerk across the studio floor, almost crashing over. Just listen to Ray’s stubby intro, heightened by the bass drum, followed by the band dropping right in behind JC. Off the cuff and probably better than anything that made the album. [You can hear it on the music player at the right of the page]

There’s An Owl In The Background
Neil Brand interviewing Angelo Badalamenti about David Lynch in the wonderful Sound of Cinema: The Music that Made the Movies: One day in 1989 the pair sat down at Badalamenti’s piano and, in a single take, wrote the theme for a groundbreaking new television series. Badalamenti tells the story: David comes in and says, “Angelo!” – now we’re pals, you know – and he says, “We’re in a dark wood”, and I’m going like… [plays a pulsing two-chord pattern on the keyboard].

“No, Angelo, those are beautiful notes, but can you do ’em slower?”

“Oh, OK.” [It’s starting to feel closer to the theme we know].

“No, Angelo, slower”.

“David, if I play ’em any slower I’m gonna play in reverse”. (laughs) [He plays what is now recognisable as the opening to Twin Peaks].

“OK, Angelo, now there’s a girl named Laura Palmer, she’s a very troubled teenager and she’s in the dark woods, and she’s coming out from behind the trees. She’s very beautiful, too… give me something that’s her”. [The crepuscular sequence of climbing notes start].

“That’s it, Angelo, now let it build…”

“ ’Cause she’s coming closer, and she’s so troubled”. [Badalamenti plays a string pad behind the piano melody]

“And she’s got tears in her eyes, Angelo, it’s so sad, now reach a climax… that’s it, just keep it going, beautiful, beautiful. Now start coming down, but fall slowly, down, down, that’s it, that’s it, quietly. Now, Angelo, go back into the dark woods, and stay there. There’s an owl in the background…” [the strings disappear and fade].

“Angelo – you just wrote Twin Peaks…”

Later
Kanye West sings “Bound 2” with Charlie Wilson from The Gap Band. I remember when people protested at pop stars when they compared themselves to God or Christ, but I guess there’s so much stuff out there now that no-one bothers. Kanye’s crucified pose at the climax of this song was kind of stupid, but the song itself – fantastic. Built on the back of “Bound”, by the sensationally named Ponderosa Twins Plus One – taking just the intro – and samples of Brenda Lee’s “Sweet Nothin’s”, it’s a highlight track of Yeesus, and could, quite possibly, be your entry point to this great album. He seems a miserable bugger, though. Oh, and mention, too, of Lorde, New Zealand teen sensation! Precocious, or what? Mannered but mature, and a sure, sure sense of melody, pitching her sultry voice against a choir and a synth bass. Real Name: Ella Yelich-O’Connor. As of July 2013, a Year Twelve student at Takapuna Grammar School. God knows how good she could get to be.

Dig/Dead
The Artangel installation of Daniel Silver’s Dig at the old Odeon site on Grafton Way, just off Tottenham Court Road, is fantastic. This musical set of dancing figures, amidst the

DigDead“recovered’ statues of Freud and Darwin, caught my eye. As, later that day, did this bottle of Grateful Dead wine. Tasting notes will follow anon (apparently the Rolling Stones 40 Licks offering is not up to much, but the guy at Gerry’s told me this was a proper bottle of wine).

The Man With The Bullwhip Speaks, Finally
Sorry it’s more Bob stuff, but Rick emails me this fascinating story about Victor Maymudes, Dylan’s righthand man in the ’60s. This short film is part of a pitch, and his son is now working on a manuscript taken from hours of interviews done in 2000.

Comments

  1. I’ve read a chapter of the Maymudes book. It’s terrific.

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