Five Things: Wednesday 2nd October

Lick The Stamp, Jack!


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…”

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.

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.

Five Things I Saw & Heard This Week: Wednesday 29th August

Let Me Take You By The Hand, And…
Simon left a CD on my desk, sent in by a publicist, of a Ralph McTell sampler, featuring—of course—Streets Of London, with a post-it note on, saying “You’ll probably like this.” I had to disabuse him of that, and then we had a great fifteen minutes watching the fantastic Streets Of London sketch from Big Train, where Kevin Eldon plays a singer-songwriter whose audience won’t allow him to play anything other than the eponymous tune. It not only painfully highlights the one song career but brilliantly skewers the tyranny of a change-resistant audience.

Mark Goes To Memphis, R2
In this compelling documentary [in the interest of full disclosure, it was made by my brother-in-law] where Mark Kermode and his Rockabilly/Skiffle band, The Dodge Brothers head to Memphis to record at the legendary Sun Studios, a really lovely interview with Matt Ross-Spang, the in-house engineer at Sun. “This room is like your garage—white tile, you’re five feet away from the other person, there’s no booths and you gotta play quiet so’s you can hear the singer, and I don’t let you use headphones and you just put a good tape echo on it and call it done. Sam Philips, to me… was on a mission… so touched by music. Took me a long time to figure out but I started limiting myself to what he had in the 50s, a few extra mikes or somethin’ and once I figured out how we can get that feeling, that 50s vibe… [The Dodge Brothers] came in and the first song they did was No. 9 by Tarheel Slim, which is an old Sun song. Nobody knows that record… and they start playing it and I’s like “Oh that’s Tarheel Slim, No. 9,” they’re goin’—“No-one has ever known who sang that!” Of course I’m a rockabilly freak, so I know, but it’s nice to be able to have that conversation with somebody. Cause you don’t get to talk about Tarheel Slim to your girlfriend or anything… or anybody, you know?”

Weird iPod Synchronicity Pt3: August 23rd, Victoria Station, London
Just got to Irvine Welsh’s pick of Five Films in the Metro newspaper where he chooses Double Indemnity and then Eraserhead when David Lynch’s Pinky’s Dream explodes into my headphones. The song is a noir-sounding updating of Jan & Dean’s Deadman’s Curve with Karen O sobbing/pleading… “Pinky, what do you see? Flying down the road… Pinky, tell me, are you laughing, or are you crying? Watch the road, please Pinky, watch the road…” as guitars judder and lurch like an out-of-control Dodge careering down Mulholland Drive. “People go on about David Lynch’s visuals but one of the things he does better than anybody is his work with sound…” says Welsh, spot on.
No. of Tracks on iPod: 1,057.
No. of tracks by D. Lynch: 1

And Now A Message From Our Sponsors
Every advert on tv is poptastic at the moment. Every one. If it isn’t Lily Allen’s appropriation of Professor Longhair’s Big Chief in her song Knock ’Em Out (used by… Kinder Chocolate Eggs, of course) it’s The Trailer Trash Tracys’ Wish You Were Red soundtracking Renault’s new spot. It sounds “like an unholy mix of Best Coast’s Boyfriend, Sweet Jane and Baba O’Reilly,” as correspondents on the excellent website TV Ad Music point out. They also point out that The Trailer Trash Tracys are “hotly-tipped and rubbish-named.”

Sarah’s Record Collection
Rescued from a flooded room, featuring a great Jaques Brel cover photo, and a set of albums I’d forgotten about, which involved a slightly-less-than-stellar-star recreating Hollywood Gold, so that you could put it on the turntable, read from the enclosed script and play costar. I definitely had this Arlene Dahl one, and also, I’m pretty sure, Cesar Romero (but I’m not sure what film you could re-enact with him…)

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