I saw this new film last week with friends. None of us knew much about the film, it had just opened, but it was Nico, about whom good books have been written, and who sang three songs on the first Velvet Underground album (the banana one). We knew that Lou Reed hated her, that Andy Warhol added her to his house band perversely, and our favorite song of hers was a cover of Jackson Browne’s melancholy These Days. Rael thought the trailer was a stinker.
But the movie was very good. Most notably, Trine Dyrholm acts and sings as if she’s living the part of the mordant junkie who can’t help but talk about how she feels and why she lives. But the movie makes excellent narrative choices that pile up, like leading with Nico’s These Days, and then moving on to her much broader music made in an atmosphere of chaos and imprecision.
This review on Slate by Carl Wilson does a good job of explaining the film, and puts it into the context of many other movie bio pix that don’t follow the form of Ray and Walk the Line. Read that, see the movie, and I’ll leave you with this. Not a spoiler, but a game changer in the film’s narrative, surprisingly enough.
Awfully nice story about Country Joe in the NY Times today. What a career (you call that a career?).
Just saw it tonight. The premise and previews seemed so dumb, but the reviews have been so fantastic, I could stay away no longer.
The flick is dominated by music and my favorite scenes are driven by Neat Neat Neat and this, interestingly enough, two of the few songs that play in their entirety.
I wanted very badly not to like Baby Driver, but stopped fighting and started enjoying probably a half-hour in (perhaps Neat Neat Neat is when I threw in the towel).
I never had this Focus album. Did any of you? I’m guessing it’s one of those that completely sucked besides the title track. Go Scandinavians! Go Thijs Van Leer!
Green Onions holds a particular place in my life.
Certainly, prior to Booker and the MGs releasing the hit in 1962, I had many brushes with the radio and records.
I loved Little Star, Peggy Sue, Sorry, I Ran All the Way Home, the Happy Organ, and Red River Rock among great tunes released prior to Green Onions, but that was before I had a radio in my room, or our family had a phonograph player let alone a stereo.
Meaning I had no regular or consistent means of channeling the hits of the day aside from Dick Clark and Ed Sullivan.
The summer of ’62, however, we went to Lake Tahoe for a week, staying at a University of California family camp. I was nine then, and The Locomotion, Runaway, and Sherry were all huge hits that lived on the juke box in the dining room at camp where the collegiate staff ruled the roost at night.
That made it great for my brother and I to hang with the kids we had met, and listen to those great songs as the entry to regular exposure of pop music, something that then never left.
That fall I entered 6th grade, and also began Hebrew School, being just a little ahead of three years before my suspected Bar Mitzvah date. Hebrew class was held at our Temple, and usually one of my mates in school who also attended car-pooled me with them while either my mother, or Cantor Cohn, whose son Ron was a great friend, would ferry me back home.
But, on one particular day, Miriam Costa, a neighbor from across the street whose family’s life has criss-crossed with mine in strange ways over the past 55 years, was there to take me back to our house.
I was quiet riding in the car, and Mrs. Costa had the radio on, and truth was I wasn’t paying that much attention save suddenly Green Onions came on and that is the first time I clearly recognized a song on the radio I had heard, and identified it by name and performer in what became my ridiculous mental data base of music trivia.
So, the song has always held a special spot in my heart.
Well, last week I was watching the wonderful Barry Sonnenfield film Get Shorty, a movie I also dig a lot and during an airport sequence, Green Onions came on the soundtrack.
Knowing that I had heard the song in both American Graffiti and The Big Lebowski, I began to wonder just how many films had included the great instrumental as part of their production.
So, I went to the Independent Movie Data Base (IMDB) and discovered 34 movies and TV shows had borrowed the song, which I think is kind of a lot.
It is a great tune, and, it both reminds me of Miriam Costa, and also of my love of song really kicking into full gear just after that fall, when my brother and I got a little Packard Bell radio for our room, while our parents purchased a Philco phonograph player and there was no looking back.
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.
Domino isn’t the immediate precursor of Van Morrison’s sound, even if Van’s song is a tribute. But this clip is choice just because of the sax break and it’s pounding piano and the way the white audience is fenced off from the stage, but clearly doesn’t need to be. Clap hands.
And isn’t that Harpo Marx standing with Mannix watching? The clip is from the movie Shake Rattle and Roll, and Harpo isn’t credited.
Gimme Danger is finally out in a medium we can easily watch.
I streamed it for $4.99 last night on Amazon. In the beginning of the movie, it says “Amazon Studios” so this might be the only place it’s currently available.
Was it as good as advertised? Abso. Fucking. Lutely.
If anyone wants to watch it and talk about some rock ‘n’ roll, I’m here.
I think I have owned up to the fact that I was never a huge Lynyrd Skynyrd fan, particularly, during the heyday of the band.
I always thought Freebird sort of silly and overindulgent, and the band did pretty much seem like a street fight version of the Allman Brothers, and I remember being in London, at my cousins Jim and Evie’s, when the news of the 1977 plane crash that killed Ronnie Van Zandt. That was on the heels of the release of the album Street Survivors which featured the band prophetically with a wall of flames behind them, and the truth is my first thoughts were about the power of karma.
Well, except that I did indeed find the song What’s Your Name? was a pretty funny and well executed pop song. And, over the years, as with bands like Rush, and even the Zep, whom I was cooler on for years than the band deserved, I have come to appreciate the Skynyrds as a pretty good and fun band with some good chops and clever words.
But, over the last month, the SONY TV HD Channel–one of several million it seems on my remote–a lot of documentaries about music and bands have been showing. There was one on the Allmans, and a pretty fun one on wierd Christmas songs that featured a lot of time with Dr. Demento, among others.
But, for some reason I taped Gone With the Wind: The Remarkable Rise and Tragic Fall of Lynyrd Skynyrd, which clocks in at almost three hours, believe it or not.
And, the film was more than engaging, highlighting not just the band, but in particular the driven Ronnie Van Zandt, the brains and driving force behind the group, who it seems was hardly a thug.
In fact, Van Zandt seemed to have been disciplined and focused beyond all belief, as the film reveals. He learned to be a pretty good singer, and truly was a solid enough songwriter, and, well, if nothing else, his band was a lot of fun. They were also a monster triple guitar attack band, although it seems improvising was not within the realm of the group.
I do recommend the film though: interesting, engaging, and well fun watching a lot of stoners reminisce. For a sample, how out Mr. Saturday Night Special. Tell, me though: is it pro gun, or anti? Van Zandt was fabulous at these vagaries.