“Step On Up” Billy Joe Shaver (Sirius XM Outlaw Country). If Muddy Waters was the most masculine of the electric blues singers — and you know, really, he sang “I’m a Man,” and felt compelled to spell it out, in case his point wasn’t indelible enough — swamp blues master Slim Harpo was the most sensual.
Don’t move your hands/ Don’t move your lips/ Just shake your hips/ And do the hip shake thang
And if author/rock & roll historian Robert Gordon, an inveterate Memphian, came as close to a legit definition of that genre as anybody, when he declared “Rock and roll is white rednecks trying to play black music,” then a sure enough classic example blew through the box in my car the other day.
On the Outlaw Country channel no less. It’s all mixed together now, folks.
Corsicana, Texas’s Billy Joe Shaver was singin’ — no “g” at the end of that verb — “Step On Up.”
The lead is a boogie shuffle — thanks John Lee Hooker — with its back strokes on the guitar. Then a little six string vibrato tag that oozes from the swamp primordial. All Slim. All bayou slinky.
Redneck white boy playing black music. Bingo, RG. Rock & roll.
As an exclamation point, the lyrics assure the listener Billy Joe knows Muddy too.
Step on up here baby/ I’ll show you what’s it about/ You know I’m packin’ something/ Something you can’t live without
“Thunder Road” (2016 Sundance Festival Short Film Tour). The finale of this fascinating eight film potpourri, the pick of the litter of thousands submitted this year for Robert Redford’s annual fete in Utah, was written, directed and stars a guy named Jim Cummings.
This documentary about the mayoral campaign of Anthony Weiner is fascinating.
Weiner, if you recall, was once a U.S. Congressman from NY, who reluctantly resigned his position, after it was revealed that he’d sent text messages of his underpants covered erect penis to women who weren’t his wife.
His run for mayor was an attempt at rehabilitation and to stay in the public’s eye. And he was ahead in that race, until it was revealed that his peculiar character trait had not abated after his initial fall from grace.
During that mayoral quest, Weiner allowed intimate, close and personal access to the filmmakers.
Twenty years after high school, on the eve of their reunion, The Rock, then a milquetoast and the butt of all jokes but now a buff CIA agent, lures Hart, in HS the bestest and mostest but now a boring accountant, into international intrigue.
This is what’s known these days as a bromance action comedy adventure.
There is humor.
The movie is better than I thought it would be, and somewhat familiar, at least its general plot outline, to my favorite comedy of all-time. So, as is my wont, I spend as much time chattering about an old beloved flick as I do the one under observation here.
Now that I’ve confused you with a couple run on sentences, I strongly urge you to listen to the podcast linked below. After listening to which, you shall be more acutely advised.
Fox News Interview with Dalai Lama. Listen I deplore Fox News as much as the next Leftie, but when they get it right, you gotta give ’em credit.
Bret Baier recently interviewed the Lama, the flowing robes, grace, bald, and asked him the single most burning, and theretofore unanswered pop culture question of import.
He asked the Twelfth Son of the Lama if he’d ever seen “Caddyshack?”
Turns out the Lama’s not quite the big hitter Carl Spackler (Bill Murray) claimed to have caddied for. He advised Baier, he plays badminton, not golf.
Gunga galunga…gunga — gunga galunga.
Marshall Chapman (Facebook 6/14). Vandy grad Chapman’s always been pretty damn hip. No less an authority than Waylon Jennings said in the 70s, “Marshall’s a good ole boy. She can come on the bus.” She showed up and played Tim Krekel’s wake at Vernon Lanes. And did a great cameo as lounge singer in “Mississippi Grind.”
Then she recently passed on this great suggestion on Facebook,
“This just in – don’t know who wrote it:
“How about we treat every young man who wants to buy a gun like every woman who wants to get an abortion — mandatory 48-hour waiting period, parental permission, a note from his doctor proving he understands what he’s about to do, a video he has to watch about the effects of gun violence, and an ultrasound wand up the ass (for good measure). Let’s close down all but one gun shop in every state and make him travel hundreds of miles, take time off from work, and stay overnight in a strange town to get a gun. Make him walk through a gauntlet of people holding photos of loved ones who were shot to death, people who call him murderer and beg him not to buy a gun.”
“Junko Partner” Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and Anders Osborne. (Sirius XM, The Loft) Big Chief of the Golden Eagles Mardi Gras Indians Monk Boudreaux was sitting in a tent at JazzFest a few years back, carefully stitching beads to his costume for the next year’s parade. I had a question I needed to ask he who would know, about lyrics from the classic tune “Iko Iko.” Read the rest of this entry »
The trial of football star come actor OJ Simpson, for the murder of his estranged wife Nicole and Ron Goldman, a waiter who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, riveted America for months.
Those of age at the time watched it daily in full on live TV.
As fascinating as all that was, the entire story is even more fascinating. And revelatory.
Much credit goes to producer/director Ezra Edelman, for this exhaustive and incisive examination of the whole affair, its reflection of American culture and how it changed the dissemination of information thereafter.
“OJ Made In America” is documentary film making of the highest order, well worth watching in the entirety of its five episodes.
For further reasons why to check it out, listen up:
“Wristband” Paul Simon. Simon, 74, is a dinosaur. Not so long ago, he wondered aloud whether the record album (a collection of songs presented on vinyl or CD) was a thing of the past in the digital download age? He grew up with 45s, an age of doo wop singles. Would he resign himself to a return there, after fashioning some of The Great Albums, especially “Rhythm of the Saints?”
No is the answer. He’s back with a quite resonant, “Stranger to Stranger,” with the usual mixed to the forefront rhythm tracks, and canny observations of the what’s happenin’ now. As he once explored Third World percussion and harmonies, he here ventures into a bit of atonality, citing the work of Harry Partch.
He’s still elementally a sentimentalist, which suits his effective but less than stellar vocal chops.
He not surprisingly considers death, “The Werewolf.” And such as schizophrenia, “The Parade.” And the ugliness of today’s cultural interaction, using the speed of a Negro Baseball star as metaphor in “Cool Papa Bell.”
He proves yet again that he can astutely observe the human dynamic, and express it with cunning creativity. In “Wristband,” he uses that nightlife delineator of status to comment on societal strata.
The riots started slowly with the homeless and the lowly/ Then they spread into the heartland towns that never get a wristband/ Kids that can’t afford the cool brand whose anger is a short-hand/ For you’ll never get a wristband and if you don’t have a wristband then you can’t get through the door/ No you can’t get through the door
Sign at Payne & Spring. Spotted outside Willinger’s Tavern, where the good ol’ boyz gather daily on their stools outside by the entrance, to observe the passing scene and argue about all that matters, this chalkboard message: “Beer As Cold As Your Ex’s Heart.”
“Love & Friendship” (Whitt Stillman, director). Jane Austen, Comedy Writer. Who knew? This film, a turn on a novella by the famous novelist of 17th C British manners, starring Kate Beckinsale, and featuring the relatively unknown Tom Bennett, brilliant as an addled suitor, is the funniest movie I’ve seen in awhile. You can hear my podcasted review here. Go see it. Read the rest of this entry »
Really great films evolve often from the serendipitous combination of writer with director with actors.
Such is the case with “Love and Friendship,” the funniest film I’ve seen in ages.
Co-writer/director Whitt Stillman combined with a brilliant cast featuring Kate Beckinsale and the marvelous Tom Bennett, combined with writer Jane Austen — Yes, that Jane Austen — are responsible for the lovely and humorous movie.
I’ve often said that reviewing movies I really like is much harder than ones I don’t. So, my take on this film will probably sound like I’m a PR flack for the producers.
That’s what the brash Olympic champ come Heavyweight contender from his hometown, our hometown, was called.
It was meant as a pejorative.
Truth: Muhammed Ali née Cassius Clay was Louisville’s true Founding Father.
When his pugilistic prowess and propensity for poetry and conversion to Muslim and Conscientious Objector stand made him a figure of renown and ridicule in the early 1960s, Louisville, his hometown, our hometown, was a sleepy Southern burg.
We were content to open our doors to the well heeled once a year, the first weekend in May.
Anybody who has paid any attention to my meanderings about music and movies through the decades knows this one thing above all others:
I hold the faux rock doc “This is Spinal Tap” in the highest esteem.
Even though meant to be satire, it could be the best film ever about music.
Yeah, I know, “The Last Waltz,” “Don’t Look Back,” etc, etc.
So the question about the similarly inclined “Popstar Never Stop Never Stopping” is whether it is as astute as its predecessor in attempting to do to the current music scene what its ancestor did to the scene of the 70?
Boiling the theme of this film down to its most simplistic essence — and Lord Almighty, it’s way way way more complicated — the question would be this:
If you lived in a dystopian world where coupling up with a mate is an imperative, and if you don’t have a mate and were forced by society’s norms and rules to become an animal, what animal would you choose to be?
Trust me, I’m not making this stuff up. Somebody else did and they made the movie, “The Lobster.” Which is the crustacean Colin Farrell choses to morph into, if he doesn’t find a mate in 45 days.
Of course, but so is this, a movie which gives new meaning to the word “quirky.”
For a bit more explanation, I suggest listening to my review, which, one guy’s opinion, is one of my best, most lucid ever.
There’s a reason my homage is here at this blog, the one I use for cultural stuff, as opposed to my sports blog.
Because Muhammed Ali transcended the world of sports.
He was The Greatest.
Not the greatest boxer, not the greatest this or greatest that.
And, if you are too short in the tooth, if you didn’t grow up in, or weren’t around in the 60s and 70s, and, if you only know Ali as an old, Parkinson’s riddled man, revered by your elders for something or another, and you’re looking at the headlines, and wondering what’s the big deal with all this posthumous adulation . . . if that’s where you are, I understand. Read the rest of this entry »