Posts from 6th February 2005

6
Feb 05

THE MOODY BLUES – “Go Now”

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#185, 30th January 1965

Most of “Go Now”‘s lead vocal sounds half-improvised, soulful elaborations on a few simple lines, go go darlin darlin darlin. Could be purest self-expression, could be a band in some kind of shock at having to turn a perfect intro into a viable song. Well, I say “having to”, but I’d have bought this record just for its first ten monumental seconds, and I reckon a lot of people did. And actually the song hardly does anything else, it just marks time until it can bash out The Riff again.

I had to download this twice to check it was the right band: my only previous with the Moody Blues was an evening a decade or so ago when some friends and I, at the righteous height of a post-punk jag, caught some late-eighties, late-night concert video. The Moodies were playing in some canyon, they had a lightshow, they had a whole extra band fiddling away in the shadows behind the real band. There was probably still some R’n’B in what they did, but there were twenty-four other letters getting in the way. We looked on in disgusted awe. Except now I think maybe their whole subsequent career is just an extended breakdown before the riff can come back.

GEORGIE FAME AND THE BLUE FLAMES – “Yeh Yeh”

Popular14 comments • 2,337 views

#184, 16th January 1965

The sound of the pirates – Georgie Fame’s promoter was so frustrated by the lack of establishment airplay for his acts that he set up Radio Caroline, helping start the domino topple which led to the state-sanctioned Radio 1 on the one hand, and the vital tradition of illegal UK pop broadcasting on the other.

Unsurprisingly then, “Yeh Yeh” sounds ineffably hip, living up to its pointedly dropped ‘a’s with an appropriately smoky, aloof vibe. The organ-led backbeat is concentrated essence of nightclub, a whiff of a mysterious and illicit world made safe by a square-friendly chorus. When I listen to it I think of an old Jules Feiffer strip where a Marlon Brando lookalike fingersnaps, mumbles and jives through a page of fluid panels, cool but slightly preposterous.

PopNose MP3 of the Week 1. Pipkins – “Gimme Dat Ding”

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PopNose MP3 of the Week
1. Pipkins – “Gimme Dat Ding”

Welcome one and all to the slight return of PopNose, an MP3 each week (at least initially) which will build over time into a De’Agostini style partwork celebrating the unique essence of pop, viz. people doing ridiculous things on record in order to make a quick buck. I have not done extensive research on the Pipkins, to do so would be to spoil the magic of this delightful track. I do know that it got to No.6 in 1970 and that it surfaces on 1970s compilations to this day.

The thing that makes “Gimme Dat Ding” so enjoyable is the stereo separation of the two singers, one in each ear. If they’re the same singer putting on two silly voices, so much the better. On the right we have a flighty voice singing a rinky-dink dance number that makes me think of flappers. On the left we have a gruff commentary on same by a sozzled old brute. It’s just like toasting! Well, maybe not, but at the very least this record invents the Sugarcubes, and more importantly Aqua – that winning combination of lead lady singer and rubbish bloke singer, even if in this case the ‘lady’ isn’t.

Commerce

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 277 views

In 1969 Ed Ruscha attached a camera to his car and drove down Sunset Strip, automatically taking a foto of every building on the street. These fotos noted the anthropology of place, the nature of photography, the implications of autonomous creation, the conflation of art and cars and sex and sun that was America, and low/common that was ignored by photographers before that. He made a book, titled it the most banal thing he could imagine (Every Building on the Sunset Strip) and made a masterpiece of a new kind of photography, one that prized newness and verisimilitude over human emotion or traditional beauty.

So now a new internet company called A9 has attached a digital camera to an SUV and fotographs buildings that correspond to Yellow Page ads, so that commercial information can be added. The same kind of fotos as Ruscha, the same techniques, and the same look (seeing the accordion fold of the 1969 text, there is a certain commercial energy, it looks like real estate ads or chamber of commerce boosting pamphlets or anything but art) all is missing from Ruscha is the utility that is found in the A9s.

A9 has made a realization of what art is then, with out really knowing. (ie Art is design divorced from function)

This was inspired by Eric Etheridge’s blog, with a good comparison of chateau Marmont by Rushca and A9. http://ericetheridge.com/photoblog/archives/2005/02/ed_ruscha_inter_1.html