Beatles’ Worst Moment?

Overall, I wouldn’t rate this as their worst track.  I don’t much like the song, but it goes well enough until that cheesy organ break comes along.  That break might be their worst moment.  I went back to All The Songs to refresh myself on just what they were thinking.  Turns out George played a fast-vibrato guitar part that John liked but George Martin rejected as too edgy.  So Paul recorded an organ solo worthy of a déclassé 60’s supper club.  Was he being funny on purpose?  Were they just ready to be done with it so thought, “fuck it, it’s filler anyway,  leave it there and let’s move on?”  

Of course everyone, no matter how great, steps in it every now and then.  Beethoven wrote Wellington’s Victory, an embarrassing piece of garbage celebrating, as the name suggests, Napoleon’s defeat. He’d once been a fan of Napoleon, dedicating his explosively innovative 3rd symphony to him.  He later removed the dedication in disgust after Napoleon crowned himself emperor, and subsequently wanted to rub Napoleon’s nose in it after Waterloo.  Defensive and touchy about the work, Beethoven probably knew it was trash. It seems to me that such music (i.e. written for overtly political or moralistic  purposes) is usually garbage.  John Lennon’s preachy songs  come to mind.  But I’d love to hear what pops into your bastardly heads in the Great Artist/Shitty Work category.

Sigh

The Beatles juggernaut rolls on with four biopics in the works, one for each Beatle.  What could possibly go wrong?

Dylan Aleam Jacit

I’m taking Renfield Jr. to see Bob Dylan next month, so decided to familiarize myself with some of his more recent original material.  I think this song’s as brilliant as anything he’s done (admitting that I haven’t heard everything).

What Are They Dancing To?

Here’s a Scopitone of Brook Benton lip-syncing Mother Nature, Father Time while bikini girls apparently dance to something else.

If you’re unfamiliar with Scopitones, they were music video jukeboxes typically placed in lounges and similar adult-oriented locations.  It seems that most Scopitones, like the later music-video format, were more about the girls than the songs. (I remember child-oriented ones, but their format and machines had a different name).  The videos often had the hubba-hubba vibe of 50’s-60’s softcore men’s magazines (like here and here).  Although Procol Harum did one, most rock acts snubbed Scopitones. I imagine they’d started looking dated, like something their dads watched for cheap thrills, down there with carnival peep-shows.  One novelty was a live Billy Lee Riley one, unusual in that it’s not lip-synced.

For you film nerds: I can’t verify this, but I know I read somewhere that French (who invented them) Scopitones used Pathecolor, a very early film tinting process that used stenciling.  Wikipedia claims that the last use of Pathecolor was the 1954 Mexican surrealist classic, Robinson Crusoe, but it’s often stated that it was used in that august cinematic masterpiece, Dr. Goldfoot & The Bikini Machine.

Seeds Documentary!

Not sure how a doc about some of my favorite proto-punks got past me.  This goes straight to the top of my list if it’s available anywhere.

Power Pop Dictator

 

If you’ve gone to see a power pop band in recent years, you might have noticed that most fans are pretty old.  If you were ever in a band, went to clubs, spent time in an indie record store, or perused online fora, you might have noticed that some power pop devotees can be surly, limited, and intolerant.  To be fair, that’s probably true of any genre, but you might expect that all those hooks and harmonies would leave power pop fans happier.  Some people grow out of at least some of their intolerances.  Some don’t, and this video has a lot of fun with aging sourpuss power poppers.  Your mileage may vary, but I found the whole thing hilarious.

Experimental Matrimony

Ah, the emptiness of modern comforts…

Can a song be both great and ridiculous?  Fifty years on, I’m still wondering.  But I still love this and almost everything from Roxy’s first five albums.

Who Woulda Thought

If someone had told me in the 70’s that Al Green would one day cover Lou Reed, I might have urged that someone to get mental help.  But here we are.  Predictably, there’s quite a difference.  Al sounds like he’s genuinely enjoying a perfect day, whereas Lou sounded like he was suffering through someone else’s idea of one.  Maybe he thought he should be enjoying it but couldn’t, or maybe he was enduring it to preserve domestic peace.  Or maybe he was participating out of sheer boredom.  Or maybe he was mocking someone else’s “perfect day.” Whatever the reason, Lou (or his character) was clearly not thrilled with his perfect day.

A good cover should offer a fresh take on a song, not just fill time or gratify a singer’s narcissism.  This qualifies.  And Al sounds great for someone pushing 80.