The Freelance Mentalists.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Introduction: San Francisco's Crime was/were not punks. That's what they said, and I believe them. That's why they called themselves Crime and also Ron the Ripper and Hank Rank and Johnny Strike and Frankie Fix and were long known to me only by "Hot Wire My Heart" (covered by Sonic Youth on something or other), and also "Baby You're So Repulsive."Actually they were known to me only by those titles, because I'd never heard a note. They must have been bikers. Yeah, that's it. Also ex-glam, and reaching back through silver-coated Berry licks to the science-fictionalized rhythm & blues and blues of Jorma. So their newly expanded, expansively tight-assed (you can come in, butt you can't sit down) blacklist, SAN FRANCISCO'S *STILL* DOOMED, is stomping something juicy. (They broke up in '81, just as "hardcore punks" Talibanned all banana appeal).(,
CHAPTER ONE: "Theme From GONE WITH THE WIND": I'm doing forestry with/for Scarlett. On the last hour of the last day, at dusk, as we make one last inspection of the loggers' wake, a stick in a pile of debris stabs the base of my shin, and I fall down, breaking the bone in my little toe, which leads back towards the base of my shin (give or take a few strata). Only connect. Worth it, because we've never spent so many (eventful!) hours together in a single week, despite having known each other for 40 years.
CHAPTER TWO:Carla Bley/Steve Swallow/Andy Sheppard/Gary Drummond: THE LOST CHORDS (Watt)
Past her legendary JCOA and other orchestral experiments/hijinks of late 60s and 70s, Carla's small groups have often seemed to me like well-groomed small potatoes. But here and now, on Ivan Eve, listening on headphones while stuck on the couch, rather than pumping my head full of stinky old metal while riding exercycle, I find this music's pulse, its focus, and even excitement: What *shall* we find tonight, children? Move over Miss Frances, Miss Carla's taking over Ding Dong School (TV nursery school that got me so stoked for First Grade man, later for your kindergarten). Not Latin American, but they know from that, not Euro (except for Andy, if you count Brits), but they got the wee wee Paree moderne. The beats, the double-jointed chords,the intentness, the chamber breath, all occasionally get stuck circling the lamplight, but, especially as the album proceeds, I hear schoolin' like rigor as such a given you can slide on it, not slack but slide into the cockpit, as you get older, losing your hair (many years from now).C.O.B.(Cool Old Broad). It's that kind of assurance.Sha-ha-ron! "These are blues you can play sitting down. You might have to lean forward a little," thanks for the tip, Mr. D. Focus on the keys, then, while playing, you can tilt your head all the way back, as your coulda-been-the-inspiration-for-the-whole-LION-KING-on-BROADWAY-production-design mane slips back(if you're Carla), and: watch the skies, couch potato.
CHAPTER THREE: RIO BAILE FUNK:FAVELA BOOTY BEATS (, dist. by Darla): Ruffantuff as Jorge Ben and toasting, persistent as them and dancehall too, audacious and tunehead as Tom Ze, inescapable as Jobim, flamboyant and all-the-above as the best Miami Bass, incl. Bass Tribe's JUNGLE BASS (Pandisc), catchy and clever and simple and straight ahead and never ever as easy as the time it seems to be having, or the world, not being *that* dumb, would be made of it. Redeeming even 80s-style soundtrack synth cheese I abhor by gnarling it to tiny crunchy stars in the devil's sidewalk (on the one about the slum called City of God, re an actual movie, justly enough).The final track is a medley of the kind of voice-and-drum-choir, concrete canyon reveries of awesome length and intimacy, that you find at yard sales for twenty-five cents, if you live in the kind of Air Force town where Staff and Command students from Classified are constantly getting transferred, having to ditch a little more ballast. Only this medley's down to one voice, one K-Mart Casio "drum," and yet as one-to-one as the favela multitudes ever were.(A favela's a ghetto yknow.)(Paul Simon tried to bite the choral on RHYTHM OF THE SAINTS, but I've barely heard any of that.)Rap's in there too, but only a couple of tracks fall behind the language barrier hell even a lot of AMERICAN hiphop albums do worse than that (not that I don't *think* I understand what they're saying, but the hiphopping takes a dive when the rapper opens his mouth, too often, not the words but the sound that's done). So!Get up! And schlep that foot-thick plastic! Bang that plywood over here, and spray paint it: YALL AINT READY IVAN. Except for not really, cos I don't live on the coast like Scarlett (cue:"Word On the Wing," then "Wind Cries Mary," but don't even think of "All Along The Unowatt"). Say a prayer for her, and then the lights go out.For five days, and landlines and cells for two of those But it turns out she didn't go back yet, she's safe up here for now. She was when I wrote most of this. She's gone back now. I wonder what she's found. One of these days, and it won't be long, she's gonna look out her window and find THE LOST SESSIONS, of our late mutual friend Stan Getz, that is, whom she introduced me toom not tomb.
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