Tuesday, February 15, 2011
How 'Bout Those Grammies!
What was Mick Jagger doing there? It's the American Academy of Music Awards. Oh, I forgot, Brits are considered American musicians aren't they. Hey, I've admitted I met Jagger one time and he wasn't a bad sort; he, like all Brit rockers, was eager to prove to American dudes he was hip and cool. On the other hand, he can be quite embarrassing, which he was Sunday night on the Grammies when he did a tribute to Solomon Burke by covering "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love." And Mick, like all Brit musicians, came out trying to put big-man depth in his nerdy imitative voice, trying to sing Black, and, to me, he made a mockery of Burke's works. EXCEPT, I must admit, Jagger put on the best show in terms of getting the audience stirred up and focused back on where all those Brit boys stole their fame and fortune from by mocking American Black musicians, and getting filthy rich doing it while the artists they claimed to admire mostly died in poverty. I don't know if Solomon Burke died in poverty, he was having a very successful come-back tour in Europe when he dropped dead in a Netherlands airport, but I'll bet you anything, he didn't die as rich as Mick Jagger's going to be when he dies--and as skinny and anemic as old Mick now looks, I'd say he'll be buying the farm--shall we say "soon."
I didn't watch many of the other touted celebrity acts, like Lady Antebellum--god what a god-awful singer she is. I did watch Dylan's big moment. I never liked Dylan's music--I considered him as copycatting Woody Guthrie--Arlo can imitate Bob better than Bob can imitate Arlo's father, in other words. Even when he confiscated the Canadians and Lee Von Helm and made them The Band and made "Like a Rolling Stone," I still heard Woody--even Bob's lyrics followed the same rhythmic patterns and vocal embellishments as Woody's. But, recently, I've come to dig Bob as a individual since I saw that Frances Ford Coppola docu on Folksy Bob. I liked Bob's attitude in that puff piece. I liked his attitude toward the music he heard when he was a kid; the same music I heard when I was a kid--and Bob and I are related in age and the small-town growing-up environment--I chose a piano as my instrument and jazz and blues as my genres, which meant rather than hit Highway 51, I had to stay embedded with my instrument and learn it further than picking out some chords and sticking to them (again a la Woody's guitar style)--plus, I had to learn much more complicated melodies and polytonal and atonal lines--as Jaki Byard taught his students, I tried to accomplish a little technique in all styles of jazz and blues. Bob instead hit the road and realized he had to get to New York City...whereas, I stayed in Texas--and, yes, I withered on the vine where Bob went on to fame and fortune and a place in American music celebrity and history that earned him a documentary by Frances Ford Coppola. The closest I've ever been to Frances Ford Coppola was about 20 feet--he happened to be in his restaurant, Coppola's on Third Avenue, while my wife and I were eating there and not enjoying the rather bland Italian food that we were served by a snotty actor-waiter--actually the woman manager came over and apologized for this asshole's bad attitude--I should have demanded F.F. himself come over and apologize by picking up the check. As a result, I've never again entered a Coppola's restaurant--in fact, I don't even think there are any Coppola restaurants left in NYC. If there are, I could care less. I wouldn't drink his fucking celebrity wine either--all these Hollywood phonies (all actors are phonies) going into the wine business. I'm not a wine snob. I find a nice bottle of Gallo Hearty Burgundy just as savory and inebriating as a bottle of $500 French Burgundy that the Japanese used to buy up every year overpaying for it. In fact, I have no idea what wines are what these days--I'm still marveling at the rise of Shiraz wines--especially those from Australia. All of this 'round Bob's barn to say, yes, I dug Bob's coming out and singing "Maggie's Farm." Plus I love the star way old Bob treated his youthful and adorational back-up bands, two brothers's bands I've never heard of, both of whom sounded like a reemerging of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Of course these young men were brilliant technicians and they did their best to swing their folksy pseudo-bluegrass picking--bouncing straight up and down pogo style like good little obedient White boys. Bob blew 'em all out of the holy waters even if his voice is shot and his demeanor is other world, he's still paid so many dues, you gotta love the guy even if you hate him.
for The Daily Growler
Posted by The Daily Growler at 4:44 AM