The Spyglass Chronicles: 7/25/16

Posted: July 25th, 2016 | Filed under: Culture, Music, Spyglass Chronicles, TV | No Comments »

chronThe eagle-eyed returnees among you have probably noticed a change in the title of this periodic endeavor to “The Spyglass Chronicles.”  Upon which discovery, you are surely wondering, given the branding image I’ve been using of a pathfinder in buckskin, looking through a spyglass, why hasn’t it been called that all along? To which the answer is, “Duh, I dunno.”

Michael Kenneth Williams, “The Night Of.” Omar — Williams shall forever and always be Omar from “The Wire” to me — is back. As Freddy, the guy at Rikers with the private cell up in the corner at the end of the block. He shtups the women guards, takes care of the guys in uni on the outside, thereby currying favors and ruling the roost. In Episode 3, he offers to protect Naz from the others inside who want to take him down. Looks like the kid is going to need it.

“She’s About A Mover” Sir Douglas Quintet. When the British Invasion hit in the early 60s, the gang from Merrie Ol’ left the redcoats at home and took over pop culture with terrible swift sword. Dominated Top 40, News, Weather & Sports Radio. Even cotton candy music by such as Freddy & the Dreamers and Herman’s Hermits charted. The invaders dominated dress thanks to Carnaby Street. Because of Twiggy, anorexic became the new look.

All some needed to become a deejay radio star was an accent. Happened in Louisville with a guy named Ken Douglas, an English fellow, even though he really didn’t know much about music. He’d had been selling clothes at a local haberdashery, when somebody with a WKLO connection heard his accent.

Another method: Louisvillian Ron Magel became a big deal at WCFL in Chitown, changed his moniker to Ron Britain. Smart.

So there was this:

Forget that their instruments weren’t even plugged in, how about that Brit Shtick?All good but for one niggling reality. Doug Sahm, his longtime compadre Augie Meyer and pals were from . . . San Antonio. As in Texas, where they grew up, alongside Chicanos Sunny & the Sunliners, listening to country — Sahm, it is reported, played on stage at Hank Sr.’s last show — R & B and Tex Mex.

Wonder if Ken Douglas knew that, or sputtered on about knowing the blokes from back home in Surrey?

Cherokee Triangle. Dusk. Before the heat dome, walking my beagle Abbey at sunset. Trees, breeze, folks on porches. At the corner of Longest and Everett, an adolescent voice asks, “Can I pet your dog?” Look left, right, a 360, see nobody. Do it again. “Up here,” he says. Fifteen feet up, sitting comfortably in the tree, barefoot boy with cheek. Like a vision from Mark Twain, he slides down.

Tentative, Nick asks, “He’s not gonna bite? My cousin’s dog kind of nips at me.”

“No, she won’t bite. Abbey’s a sweetie.”

He thanks me, climbs back up to his perch.

There are moments when you simply want the rest of the world to go away.

“Do You Love Me” Dave Clark Five. Brit invader Clark batters the traps on this Contours cover, like he wants to propel himself and his drum kit all the way to Motown.

“Mad Max Fury Road.” Came on to this the other night on the telly, watched most of it again. The flick got jobbed. It was far and away the best film released last year. Imperator Furiosa unleash your wrath.

Allen Toussaint “The Complete Warner Recordings.” Finally I’d have on CD the first set of his I ever heard at JazzFest, from the Riverboat President in ’76. Only to discover, contrary to the LP from that year’s fest, which I’ve had for decades, it was from a gig in Philly. And, on that album featuring live songs from that festival, they’d cut the reference to the City of Brotherly Love out of the intro to the set.

Why they do that?

— c d kaplan



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