31 July 2007

The Cinema of Ingmar Bergman

From Slate obituary today:

"... Films like The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries (or, from other directors, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Ikiru) were suddenly taking on a metaphysical cargo traditionally associated with literature, theater, or opera, daring to ask, like the suicidal protagonist of Bergman's Winter Light, 'Why must we live?' ...."

Ingmar Bergman, Requiescat in Pace.


27 July 2007

In Honor of the 53rd Anniversary Year of the Fender Stratocaster

(photo from: Wikipedia)

My first electric guitar was a 1974 Fender Telecaster -- second hand, tin-i-ness intact and the graphic equalizer and volume knob plate incomprehensibly reversed 180 degrees. My logic at the time was that it was the same model as the guitar Bruce Springsteen was holding on the cover of his break-out album Born to Run. Wrong. The ex-Local Hero's guitar is a Fender Esquire. The distinctions between the top-of-the-line Stratocaster, the often-preferred-anyway Telecaster and the sometimes-preferred Esquire are described the comprehensive Fender Frontline 2004 Special Edition marking the Strats 50th anniversary. As that publication is rarely available, except among hard core Stat players and fans, Wikipedia has all the information, and more, on the distinctions among the Esquire, the Telecaster and the Stat.

It should be clear to all informed readers that, with Strats made when Leo Fender owned the company, this writer would list Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Duane Allman during his Muscle Shoals session-man years, and Stevie Ray Vaughn took the instrument to places no one could have conceived.


Sidenote: Most Americans are unfamiliar with the work of Ben Watt of Everything but the Girl on a
British Issue Leo-era Stratocaster -- check out, for example, their Amplified Heart album. On both the Mini-Moog and British Strat, Mr. Watt -- in his spare time as he is the musical czar and director of the London Club Scene -- creates background harmony and melody guitar for chanteuse Tracey Thorn that is smoother than Smokey Robinson's voice.


Happy Anniversary "Leo's pride and joy", you got the job done for most of the living and passed-on greats since you were invented. Dig.

In part II, who played what.


24 July 2007

"Don't Forget This Fact ...

... You can't get it back
(-- J. J. Cale)

Cale got it right: we lost him.

In the life of my music, the greatest loss to cocaine powder and rock, was David Ruffin: the man who, among many great songs, sang lead on Ain't Too Proud to Beg for The Temptations.

David Ruffin, Rest in Peace.

21 July 2007

In the beginning, he started a list of the books ...

... that will still matter in fifty years from this writing. First out of the gates: Mark Twain's (Samuel Clemens) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in the collection at the preceding hyperlink, and the mercilessly funny Christian Science.

20 July 2007

As Blanche Dubois did not say, 'I've Always Depended on the Kindness of Non-Strangers.'

Photo Credit: Anonymous (Summer, 2005) ((from right to left): Father father (double entendre air-guitar), George Zimmerman (lead vocal -- pro-quality live mike to PA), Paco Malo (2nd vocal -- leaning in): Song: Born to Run)

Letter From The Publisher


Very soon, we expand in two ways. The Paullinator, my esteemed colleague currently residing in the Mid-Atlantic region, is completing his research on a Pixies post, that could include a little 411 on The Breeders (if a few comment/requests roll his way). Scorcese's The Departed is in the kettle. A post on Carl Hiaasen's Native Tongue is also in the works; and a 53rd anniversary of the Fender Stratocaster surprise!

As the Publisher here makes the coffee and every job in between, this chair may startin' to need cleanin' once a week. Irish need not apply.

"Peace, Love, and Revolution",


13 July 2007

Hot Burrito Number One -- Gram Parsons

Gram Parsons' Cosmic American Music is one of the genre labels here at the Gold Coast Bluenote. This musical blending of the highest quality Country & Western, folk, soul -- his Aretha covers are breathtaking -- and '68-to-'71 era progressive rock generated a metamorphosis spawning two of today's most important popular genres: Alternative Country and Country Rock. Are you down with that? Gram is the visionary that planted the seeds of the socially aware music that stand both beside and also with the work of Woody Guthrie and Robert Johnson.

Gram Parsons died of an overdose in 1973 at the age of 26. But never forget that Emmylou Harris wrote her first important song to tell Gram, now in a "Better Place", that the hardest part of her life -- going forward -- would be 'knowing she'd survive'.

Emmylou, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Dylan, James Taylor, Tom Rush, Keith Richards, John Fogerty, Steve Earle, and a host of others did survive to tend the garden Parsons staked out. Even Frank Black (post coming here soon) -- the man who made punk sound like elevator Muzak -- has now turned to making Cosmic American Music. John Phillips and Ronnie VanZant, to mention just two, are now six feet under.

Gram and company, we will never forget you.


For commentary on and music from Gram, see these YouTube links:

EmmyLou Harris on Gram Parsons

Flying Burrito Brothers -- Juanita

Flying Burrito Brothers -- Chistine's Tune

Also, a must-see film is Grand Theft Parsons (thanks, LR).


08 July 2007

'Hey Woody Guthrie I Wrote You A Song'

.... Hey Hey Woody Guthrie I wrote you a song
About a funny ole world that's comin' along

It's sick and it's hungry It's tired and it's torn
It looks like it's dyin' and it's hardly been born.

Hey Woody Guthrie
I know that you know
All the things I'm singin' and many times more

I'm singin' this song but I can't sing enough

There's not many men done the things that you done. ....

(-- Bob Dylan; from Martin Scorsese's No Direction Home)


The best book to learn of the things Woody "done" is Woody Guthrie: A Life.