Saturday, April 05, 2008

Music That Matters To Zim

This site hasn’t written about Bob Dylan for awhile. Here goes. He has a new mix out, 2008. His fave raves. Artists Choice: Bob Dylan – Music That Matters To Him.

Came into some Starbucks, which is another story, but I said why buy a lot of coffee? So I go in there and buy a CD off the rack. From the Artists Choice series. Bob Dylan – Music That Matters To Zim.

And unlike Theme Time Radio show, this has no theme. ‘Stuff I am listening to when you asked what I was listening to’ he explains as the selection criteria. Pee Wee Crayton, The Stanley Brothers, Sol Hoopi and others. Numbers, really. Good discs. Slick records. Unevenly: Life Like. ‘There are a lot of different ways a record can get under your skin,’ he tells Starbucks Entertainment.

Anyway it was the best thing I ever got at a Starbucks. There is Pee Wee Clayton guitar intro the spitting image of Revolution by John Lennon and the Beatles. The sad café of Gus Visier French gypsy accordionist doing Flambee Montalbanaise (Valse). The jazzy figure of Frank Loesser’s I Hear Music as done by lost angel and angel band Billie Holiday and Her Orchestra. And more.

Among the blues numbers ..

Pretty Baby by Junior Parker. This I know from Kim Wilson’s version on the Ron Levy Wild Kingdom record. But hadn’t heard Junior’s. Perfect marching harp and drums Gut gone guitar. Sun sound. Slashing guitarist Pat Hare plays on this and Dylan pays tribute to Hare’s style an, in his notes, which are key to this set, touches on Hare’s tragic trajectory. This guy Pat Hare is not known too widely. A lot of guys can count many Muddy Waters band guitarists and miss Pat. But he was there. I heard about him before I sought to find if I heard him Sunnyland Slim talked about him...why he disappeared .. was life for murder. Behind any of his songs now is that story.

Little by Little by Junior Wells on the Profile Label. I first heard this minor key number on Sam Charters’ produced Vanguard Wells’ record which included Buddy Guy. [Nope: Second Thought: The Rolling Stones did ‘this’ on their first U.S. LP I heard that first.] This is the A No. 1 original version, and it includes (according to Blues Records) Earl Hooker and Lafayette Leake. Menace, trailing her all night, in a car, scared of what, you are looking for. Politically incorrect school of blues but something we know. Junior was really great, but flawed. Ultimately he was an intrinsic member of a fantastic group of Blues masons. As Dylan writes: “[Junior Wells] scaled the heights when he was full out himself, but slid down hill when he tried to become James Brown … it’s the kind of Chicago blues that is the result of a bunch of guys in a small hot room playing together at the same time.” My opinion too. Junior set about to be the precursor of James Brown after the fact to some disadvantage. But with a band of brothers, incredible.

Charley Jordan’s Keep it Clean I know from R.Crumb’s update version. As Dylan points out, as John Hurt did in a way in his day, the songster is part of the tradition. Outside the realm of blues really. Hurt saw himself as a songster, and thought himself a cut below the bluesman, who, I don’t know, had maybe more of the shaman magic. Charley Jordan’s thing has enough double entendre to be the blues!

The notes are great. Dylan like all music buffs remembers the events around a record. He found it at a Salvation Army. He had a scratchy copy of The Fields Have Turned Brown by the Stanley Brothers, and he misses the scratchy copy now cause of lost of ghost-like whine. He loved going up to John Hammond’s office because he’d give him all these Billie Holiday records. More.

A long time ago we knew Dylan took in everything. His radio show and disk samplers [just discovered there is a two-disk set of Radio Theme Time favorites] display this. I don’t want to start a controversy on the order of the Yazuka thing – but I think this may be a Team Dylan effort. By that I mean: Eddie Gorodetsky was the producer of the radio show, and I think I see his mark here.

Eddie had the one of the greatest radio shows of all time in Boston in the 70s. A college radio blues show on WERS the Emerson College station. Boy I used to love to hear him play Little Walter, Jimmy Rogers and so on late on a Friday afternoon. But he had a real penchant for a type of novel jump blues that shows up in Dylan’s artist’s choices. I can imagine coming in with a bunch of disks for Dylan to select through – he is also probably a font of anecdotes on the artists – I imagine him and Dylan riffing in order to come up with Dylan’s actual commentary between numbers on the radio or in the liner notes on the CDs. Eddie could be terrifically funny. He went on to write for Saturday Night Live and now produces the TV show Two-And-A-Half Men. [Way back Eddie also worked at the cooker at the old Rainbow Rib Room on far Newbury St. – the late night place to go after the bars closed.]

I got my stories on these records too. In the last couple of years we’ve seen both Ray Price and Wanda Jackson. Both times with the thought; This stuff is disappearing. {Now getting the notion that I am disappearing too.} Jim Haas turned me on to the Ethiopiques like Getachew Kassa who does a fast Tezeta which I transliterate as Melancholy Sadness – I purused his collection while he and the family went to watch Bobby Bonds break Mark McQuires single-season home run record a couple of miles away. Junior Wells: Well that was our first date, me and Cecelia at Jonathan Swifts in Harvard Square.

Out There

Jeff Hull Titanic Transmissions - Hall Space, April 19 - May 24, 0pening reception Saturday, April 19 3-6pm

Ray Davies at Orpheum Theatre - Boston Herald American Record Traveller

1 comment:

Jeff said...

I've got to get that record, Jack. It sounds great for your notes.

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