That’s it. Great title, anyway.
Just heard Lady by Beck Bogert Appice for the first time in several lifetimes. When I was about fifteen that was my all time favorite song, even more than the live Highway Star or Panic in Detroit or Why Does Love Have To Be So Sad or Rock and Roll Queen or Love or Confusion even. It hasn’t aged as well as some, I guess, a little thin and slightly ridiculous, and the rest of the album was stone weak aside from the killer version of Superstition, but it has the frenzied tempo and zillion notes all at once that I dug as an adolescent awash in testosterone. I guess I get that rush from be bop now. Some people never grow up.
Watching the end of Jimi Hendrix at Monterey and amid the smoking wreckage Mitch Mitchell rockets his sticks into the stunned stoned freaked and tripping crowd and every time I see it and (and I’ve seen it a hundred times) I think that I would have given anything to have been in that crowd and caught one of those sticks, it would still be my most treasured possession, that stick, even now, that half a century before had rolled across those toms with absolute abandon and bounced with loose wristed splats off the snare and set the cymbals roiling and splashing and crashing with Jimi’s every move and sound and look and thought. Airborne for only a second or two, the sticks disappear into offstage darkness, first the one, then the other and Mitch, laughing, steps out of view. I turn off the TV right then, before the interviews begin and reduce the music to history, and I wonder again about those sticks.
How Do You Do by Mouth and MacNeil is earwormage at its worst. It’s always mostly wordless: How do you do/oo oo/oo oo/oo oo/oo uh/oo oo. It goes on like that, till I hear “I’m living for” and it loops again. Try it yourself.
When you find yourself looking up your ear worm on Wikipedia it’s time to do something about it. Mouth and MacNeil were Dutch, it turns out. I have a history with Dutch ear worms. Little Green Bag was actually little greenback but was misunderstood by somebody no doubt stoned. I found that out a few ear worms ago. And Plastic Bertrand was Belgian so maybe I actually have a history of Low Country ear worms. Plastic Bertrand. That worked. Ca Plane Pour Moi moi moi moi moi….
I had always figured that by this stage of my life I would know why it’s spelled My Woman From Tokyo but sung Tok-A-yo, with that one hell of a long A phoneme, like a misplaced Canadian. After nearly a half century I just have to ascribe it to mysticism, one of the mysteries, some grokked chakra thing, some stupid with a flare gun, whatever. I hung with Funky Claude once, we talked, I forgot to ask him, he died, and that was that. Some things are perhaps best left unknowable.
It’s just so cool to see Chris Stein (of the legendary Saccharine Trust and so many other aggregations) getting such a jazz man’s send off on Facebook, people talking about what a great guy he was and such a solid, inspired ensemble player. The grief is there, low and blue, but I think there’s no greater way to pay tribute to a musician who fought so hard against the inevitable than to talk about what a great guy he was and such a good player. He’ll certainly be missed in our crazy underground. He’ll certainly be missed on inspired nights at Cafe NELA. Bassists like him are a rare thing. People probably even rarer. A shame he’s gone but a treasure he was.
Great. Put It Where You Want it again. It’s been days now. I deliberately left a big stack of LPs of all kinds right in front of the turntable and what do I do? Just drop the tone arm on the record already on there. You try to take it off again after hearing those first descending chords on that way groovy electric piano. Then in comes the way funky guitar picking out the single noted melody at a mellow strut. This has been in my head since it was a hit on an AM station in funky town Anaheim during Richard Nixon’s first term. I lived in funkier town Brea but the station was in Anaheim. KEZY. They spun the tune on the hour for a week or two and it dug itself in so deep in my brain it even survived all the seizures later. And I’m gonna take it off now? I’m reliving my virgin youth. I was so young I didn’t even know the title was a double entendre. Irony is one of the last things to develop in the human brain, you know. At some point maybe 40 thousand years ago metaphors happened and with them the capacity for irony and Homo sapiens became insufferable. No wonder Neanderthals became extinct. Imagine sharing a cave with us, let alone DNA. That’s some brow ridge you got there honey. You could recite Shakespeare from that thing. Forty millennia later I’m thirteen and digging Put It Where You Want It like a clueless Neanderthal, wiggling my little white butt and humming along. The deejay comes on and says something filthy. I can’t tell. This is how civilization began. Cue the Also Sprach Zarathustra. Or maybe just flip the Crusaders album over to the B side. Or D side. Whatever. It’s a double album, and those were confusing times.