Robbie Fulks is a songwriter I had heard about a lot more than I’d heard until a few years ago he made an album with the Mekons. A good album.
Fulks is a good songwriter and player, the opposite of a star, but a lifer with a lot to offer if you dig in. I haven’t yet dug in far enough, but this unbelievably long and detailed analysis of Gordon Lightfoot’s life and performance and songwriting is a marvel of storytelling, aesthetic analysis and covering the whole of a subject.
For instance, Fulks listened to every Gordon Lightfoot song at least once. Except maybe not all of that last 2004 album, but many others more than once.
He relates the story of Cathy Smith, a groupie with amazing breadth who went to jail for administering John Belushi’s final fatal dose, with aplomb, because it is Lightfoot’s story too at a few points.
My point is this is well worth a read even though it is way long, and if you start to lose interest skim ahead a few grafs and you’ll be onto another Lightfootian topic that will amuse and astound, ending with an in depth analysis of Lightfoot’s writing, which is exacting and sharp and a lesson in poetry and lyrics.
I didn’t know Erik, I think I emailed him once, but maybe it was someone else in Hans Condor. They were a Nashville band that gloriously went on a Japan tour, and leave behind a great album and at least one terrific video.
So this isn’t a personal reminiscence.
But a lot of Nashville loved Erik. Reading the remarks would be emotional (a young person dies) but his generosity is legend.
This clip is another example of Mike Douglas’s magic. John Lennon meets Chuck Berry for the first time and they do a kind of weak Memphis Tennessee because Lennon seems to be insisting on sharing vocals.
On Johnny B. Goode balance is restored.
I’m a fan of Yoko’s, but her mike seems to be cut in the Johnny B. Goode mix. It’s just weird during Memphis Tennessee.
From “half way to Memphis” to rocking Cleveland and everything in-between, Ian Hunter has now brought us five generations of songwriting wit and musical prowess. This ode to a dear friend, David Bowie, reminds us of better days. Days when we smiled, we laughed, and we enjoyed the camaraderie and friendship shared between two amazing human beings.
“Dandy – the world was black ‘n’ white You showed us what it’s like To live inside a rainbow Dandy – you thrilled us to the core You left us wanting more And then we took the last bus home”
Some of us are living in a city that relies on mass transit, the subway and the bus (and for some of the Dolls, the Ferry). But those things are gone for those of us who don’t have to go riding, riding, riding.
So much is lost because of the pandemic and the way we respond to it.
I wonder if we’d be better off if we didn’t shut down, or we did as we did. I know my mother, in an assisted living facility is alive. For those in Sweden, which didn’t shut down, many more are dead.
So, do your best. Right?
Wesley Morris wrote about this version in the Times today, while making a bigger point.
I’ve always thought the Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes version was great, but even if you agree with that you’ll want to watch Patti LaBelle sing it.
For me, Little Richard, was a guy on late nite commercials. Great songs, like those of the Big Bopper. But familiarity meant we cared less, partly because all we got was the big songs.
But as I grew up, I found other stuff. I wrote about one of those here. Listen to this!
Not a rocker, exactly, but as great as a transitional blues-rock-soul cut as you can imagine. When Little Richard died today I went back to his first album, which finally was released after something like six big hit singles (it was a different world then, or come to think of it maybe it was the same world then with the different one sandwiched in between).
I won’t argue this was the best, but listening to it I’ll say rock hasn’t moved an inch.