One thing you don’t do is beg an old man to position or replace him.
It makes you look like a begrudger, like you might envy his stately pleasure dome with the hammered copper roof in Malibu. And she does not like those lazy eyes; she’s more after the kind of protective heart that fully knows what it doesn’t know at first. Such heartache the old cod could take. And you are not a master thief, you are not going to rob them – whoever they are.
No, you just want to sit back in that chair right there and let Z. show you how it’s done.
The first thing you want to understand is that all titles are ironic. There is no “philosophy” here; most of these songs are better known as mid-century modern songs. It’s just a cliché with a piled up old comedian in a black pearl snap cowboy shirt and sombrero cordobes, like the one worn by Zorro, with the little hanging tassels.
He has a pencil-thin mustache (Boston Blackie type) and his left fist is artfully closed around a toy butt, like the one with which William Zantzinger hit poor Hattie Carroll for serving her too slowly.
He also has a contract to fulfill, and a closet full of curiosities that he must deploy, the stroke to hire (or be hired on behalf of) a major art director, and the ability to purge archival footage with a single connection.
This is a book you can judge by its cover. There’s Little Richard Penniman, he with the surprisingly large head. A little later, he gets three paragraphs and another picture, and the Brylcreem-ed author gives him credit for bringing “speaking in tongues right out of the sweaty canvas [revival] tent” and putting it “on mainstream radio” by smuggling the codes of the Black homosexual (mixture struck by Jesus) into the suburban bedrooms of the white teenage demographic.
Later, there is another paragraph, apparently about Little Richard’s version of “Long Tall Sally.” Here it is:
Long Tall Sally was 12 feet tall. She was part of the ancient biblical times of Samaria from the tribe known as the Nephilim. They were giants who lived back before the cataclysm of the flood. You can see pictures of the skulls of these giants and the like. There were people as tall as one-story buildings. They have found the bones of these giants in Egypt and Iraq. And built for speed, she could run like a deer. And Uncle John was her other giant. Little Richard is a different kind of giant, but in order not to disturb anyone he mentions himself so little, so as not to scare anyone.
And then, on the right, looking his best, Eddie Cochran, not yet 20 years old, fresh from his performance of “Twenty Flight Rock” in “The Girl Can’ t Help It”, a film for which we are still waiting for the definitive edition approved by the Director of Criterion Collection. They are about to embark on a tour of Australia, having boarded a plane at Sydney airport on September 28, 1957.
Eddie is smiling coyly, focusing on photographer Bruce Perry of the Sydney Morning Herald, while Richard’s attention wanders to his right – he’s studying something; perhaps a troublesome ghost. This was the time where he suddenly felt the spirit and spent the music of the devil (not for the last time).
That upset Eddie and Gene Vincent, who were also on the bill, along with Australian Johnny O’Keefe, who became the first Australian rock act to tour the United States.
But whose game is in the centre? Turns out that she was Alis Lesley (born either Alice Lesley or Alice Leslie), who was three days younger than Cochran. Alis, who is 84 years old, was a rockabilly singer from Phoenix who was called “the female Elvis Presley”. Continuing the theme of near glory, it was discovered by Kathryn Godfrey, the lesser-known sister of Arthur Godfrey, who was famous locally in Phoenix. She recently had her only national hit, a two-sided affair with “He Will Come Back to Me” on the A-side and “Heartbreak Harry” on the flip, which she took on tour with Richard.
Neither Eddie nor Alis has a song rated by the author, which is not surprising since there are only 66 entries and the entertainer’s reserved list here, which only has four famous women and certainly not that witchy, real Joni. Mitchell.
That’s not wrong, despite the essays in the New Statesman and stuff; these days no one should mistake Bob Dylan for a progressive social justice warrior, much less. His spirit animal – another piece of culture that is no longer cool and relevant – is Frank Sinatra. All we get here is a map of his taste and a cool photo book, which is enough to ask for the price if you do your comparison shopping.
It’s an interesting book in the same way that looking at someone else’s bookshelves can be interesting. We assume that this music is important to him, and when there is a point of contact – say, Sonny Burgess”https://news.google.com/__i/rss/rd/articles/”Feel So Good, ” which gets a full neck essay – there is a slight frisson of “proof.” And sometimes the Big Man chooses a clunker, like Jackson Browne’s “The Pretender,” an almost good song marred by an unusual lack of craftsmanship.
I love JB but almost nothing of his is better than this particular track, which is both sterile and weird in all the wrong ways. People use “pretentious” as an all-purpose term of elimination these days, but the revolver I reach for when I hear Jackson rhyme “pretender” with “ice cream vendor.” What makes it so much worse is the image of making love with sunglasses on, which is so strongly ’70 SoCal. “The Pretender” is a screenplay that needed at least one or two more passes.
Want to critique the latest work of a trusted Pulitzer Prize winner? Well, he didn’t work too hard and he had a joke, which is what you’re supposed to do when you’re 81 years old and rich like David Geffen. Old Man Midas done touched this book; the least we can do is buy it, I think.
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“The Philosophy of Modern Song” by Bob Dylan (Simon & Shuster, $45)