Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Rented the Brit blues-rock doc in the Martin Scorsese blues series and watched a bunch of it. Interesting stuff. Tom Jones & Jeff Beck wail in the contemporary jam session sections. Lots of stuff about skiffle & the Brit “trad” jazz scene, including a bit on the tune that McCartney ripped the “Lady Madonna” riff from, a ’56 jazz instrumental that the composer hated because the producer mixed the bass of the piano and the drums so loud – the composer hated it until it became a hit! “Bad Penny Blues”. Anyway, the surviving Brit blues rock guys come across as decent chaps crazy about the music – now in their late 50s and 60s and some older.

Got the Blow-Up Soundtrack from the library – never saw the movie – and Herbie Hancock’s score is nothing special, but one trak by the Yardbirds that Antonioni commissioned for the film is spectack! Beck & Page are in the band, and the tune isn’t much, but the guitars – 1966 – are Sonic Youth-style NOIZY. Great great stuff. A couple years ago I got a cheap cheap import of a Yardbirds 2-disc comp – 10 bucks for the 2 discs, I think – and really dug it – most of the first disc is 5 Live Yardbirds, FAST blues rave-ups with hot leads from Eric & great offhand lead vocals a la Danny & the Juniors or Mike Love, energetic but somewhat aloof though not unfriendly; disc 2 those wild hits mostly with Beck. A friend borrowed the CDs several months ago & I’m missing them.

Got an early Elvis soundtrack from the library too – “Loving You” – with “Teddy Bear” the hit. Highlights – a perfect “Blueberry Hill” Domino tribute sans horns – Elvis so absorptive, getting into the ring with ANY singer he digs and covering him or her straight & not embarrassing himself – and a quartet-harmony take on Cole Porter’s “True Love” – very short, and gorgeous – the 32-bar form being either an arranger’s form or an improviser’s form, rock has not done so well with it, not having the variations-chops to extend it much. And so El is very smart to keep it short & perfect. (My complaint about Willie’s “Stardust” hits – they repeat too much, go on too long. Should have given more solos to Mickey Raphael or something.) And the bonus track – an unexpurgated unreleased-at-the-time “One Night of Sin” – great, dirty Elvis.
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