Rolling Stones, Connection

They were showing Shine A Light in the park tonight on one of those big blow up screens, and, it turned out to be a fantastic sound system. Nothing better in the middle of a heatwave to see the Stones outside in somewhat cooler air.

I thought I’d seen the movie before but I was wrong. The nexus of Stones and Scorcese had someone how slipped past me.

Here’s the review. If you like the Stones, you will like this show. The songs are arranged a little differently, but the rearrangements are astute and advantage all the supporting players, so the front guys can play their rote parts, hit their marks with passion, and even if the ravages of age a little apparent, make us forget that this is 50 years later. It’s a great performance.

In the middle of the show Mick hands off to Keith for You’ve Got The Silver, which is a terrific tune that advantages Keith’s game but less than full voice. And then, surprisingly, the show move on to Connection, one of the oldest songs they played, one of my favorites from Between the Buttons. This is a pop hit that has a more insidious pop hook than the overt grabbers of Satisfaction or Get Off My Cloud or Paint It Black, and was never released as a single, so was never a hit.

But it lives on. Scorcese obviously understands the limits of a non-pop historical song from an audience perspective and uses that to glide into Keith interviews when he was young and when he was old. Good stuff, all, but it diverts our attention away from the performance, which is remarkably winning in spite of its limitations.

I particularly like that dynamic, so I wanted more of the performance, but what I can share is this Italian version of the song and intercuts. I hope it suffices. By that I mean, I think this is fun.

The first two Cure albums

The career arcs of bands are not always controlled by the players. Or they spin out beyond local expectations.

The Cure became an international pop sensation, and in many ways deservedly so. I have no idea if that is what they aspired to, but they got it.

But all we ever listened to were their first two elpees, which are wonderfully clear and direct and poetic. Not unpopular, but pure art in a way.

If you’re at all studious about life in our modern world, you should read Albert Camus’s The Stranger, and listen to this song by the Cure. Obviously not the whole story, but a bit of perspective.

Part of the brilliance is you don’t need to know the book to love this song, and wonder about it.

 

Rolling Stones, Gimme Shelter (on Ed Sullivan)

That ranking of Stones’ tunes I posted about earlier in the week ends, if you get that far, with You Can’t Always Get What You Want edging Gimme Shelter because it’s less of a cliche about the Stones. Happy song wins, dark song finishes second.

Fair enough.

But then there is this clip. The Stones on the Ed Sullivan show promoting Let It Bleed. And they do a version of Gimme Shelter without Merry Clayton! Still a good song, but stripped down, without the fire, is this close to the Stones’ best song?

I leave that for you to decide for yourself. For me the issue is how much does what we love hinge on the tangential, or not the core of the tune or the performance. Is it the singer, the song, or the backup singer and the mix? Each and every cut varies because the circumstances of the performance, the particulars of its creation, differ.

So, why rank them? If something can be both this and that, and something else also, isn’t the ranking of them a narrowing of vision, a squinting (in this case with the ears) that restricts the experience?

Shane McGowan and the Popes, The Snake

This is an album, not a song.

It was the product that McGowan produced after being ejected by the Pogues.

The Pogues, with McGowan, were a fantastic band. Lots of that was songwriting, much of it McGowan’s, some was approach, and a lot was an intense commitment to making real Irish music, sometimes in a punk framework.

When the Pogues, an ongoing enterprise, kicked McGowan out, it was at least partly because his rather self-destructive and theatrical love of the drink was disruptive to an ongoing enterprise. To find an equivalent, think of the Stones kicking Brian Jones out of the band. McGowan was of similar importance to the Pogues, and similarly dangerous.

What came next, for the McGowan, was the Snake.

It’s an Irish-y record, not that dissimilar from his Pogue’s stuff, but heavier. And after McGowan wasn’t a Pogue, the Pogues went more international. Less intense. Lovely tunes, often pot infused, but without the edge that McGowan often brought simply by showing up.

This is the first song from the Snake, the first song on McGowan’s answer record. It rocks as hard as the first song on the Pogues’ first album. I’ll post both. Enjoy.

The Sickbed of Cuchylainn.

 

 

 

The High Numbers, “You Gotta Dance To Keep From Crying”

This is the High Numbers, an early detour into mod by the Who, covered with professional film. Careers are made of this, though the band didn’t fit the fashion and soon reverted to their original name.

But this is also a great cover of a Miracles tune, a Holland-Dozier-Holland composition, something that can make a career, too.

In this case, however, it wasn’t this great cut but what came later that made the career. And the film of their live performance ended up in a documentary that earned a Grammy nomination in 2009.

 

 

 

The Rolling Stones’ 364th Worst Song. Now I’ve Got A Witness (Like Uncle Gene and Uncle Phil)

This Nanker Phelge instrumental is off of England’s Newest Hitmakers. It features lots of Ian Stewart on the organ, Jagger on the harp (I presume), and a rank and kind of exciting guitar solo.  Stewie seems to be a recurring theme in these low-rated songs. Judge for yourself:

The tune is from the same sessions and was released on the same album that produced this cover of Marvin Gaye’s hit, which was written by Holland-Dozier-Holland. Can I get a witness is judged to be the 324th worst song by the Rolling Stones.