Monday, January 07, 2008

A Century in Jumps (Slight Return)


The Hentchmen (w/Jack White), Some Other Guy.
Kim Richey, I Know.
Lisa Stansfield, Never Never Gonna Give You Up.
Arto Lindsay, Erotic City.
David S. Ware Quartet, The Way We Were.


I asked you three weeks ago to please be sensitive to what I am going through right now and to keep in contact with me, and yet I'm still left writing notes in vain. I am not a moron. I know that what is going on in the world takes precedence, but I don't think what I have asked you for is unreasonable. I can't help but to have hurt feelings when I sent you a note last week and this week, and you still haven't seen me or call me...

Yesterday was the best window of opportunity to see me and you didn't. I'm left wondering why. I am begging you to please be nice to me and understanding until I leave. This is hard for me. I am trying to deal with so much emotionally, and I have nobody to talk to about it. I need you right now not as president, but as a man. PLEASE be my friend.

Betty said that you come back from your dinner tomorrow somewhere between 8:30 and 9:00. For my sake, can we make an arrangement that I will be waiting for you when you get back, and we can visit just for a little while. It's really not that difficult...yes or no?

Letter of 12 November 1997 from Monica Lewinsky to Pres. Bill Clinton.

Top photo, "Crossing," courtesy of Ted Barron.

Yeah, I missed the deadline--I had wanted to get this series over with before 2007 expired, but the holidays and fatigue intervened. So here, at last, is the end: where the young fox chases his tail, while the old fox eats from the bin.

"Some Other Guy" was written in 1962 by Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller and Ritchie Barrett, the latter recording the song as a single for Atlantic. The Beatles, at that time conquering the UK into frenzied submission, soon made the song the centerpiece of their live sets. Lennon in particular became obsessed with "Some Other Guy," with its churning rhythms, its simplicity and rawness (there's no chorus, just a single verse relentlessly turning over and over--the pattern broken only once for a guitar solo), and its lyric's mixture of envy, humiliation and despair; in an interview he gave Rolling Stone in 1968, Lennon twice mentioned "Some Other Guy" as a record he had wanted to emulate. You could argue, as Ian MacDonald did, that early Beatles rockers like "I Saw Her Standing There" were attempts to capture "Some Other Guy"'s sound, while "You Can't Do That" is a sequel of sorts to it, especially when Lennon howls about how if his friends saw his girl talking to another guy, "they'd laugh in my face!"

Yet the Beatles never recorded the song in the studio, only taping it once for a BBC session, and so "Some Other Guy" eventually faded from view, remembered only, if at all, as the song performed by the Beatles in the often-circulated Granada TV footage of their Cavern Club shows.

One night in 1997, a Detroit band called the Hentchmen--John Volare (organ, harmonica, vox), Tim V. Eight (guitar) and Mike Audi (drums)-- were bowling with a friend, an aspiring guitarist formerly known as Jack Gillis, who recently had taken his wife, Meg White's, last name. Dave Buick came up and said they should record a single; White suggested they do two British Invasion-era covers (he offered up "Some Other Guy," Volare the Yardbirds' "Psycho Daisies"); they went over to Buick's house and recorded the songs in his living room on an eight-track.

White suggested "Some Other Guy" because he had heard the song on the then-recently-released Beatles Live at the BBC collection, and it's tempting to suggest it was a rite of passage, a test of youthful strength and bravado, with one of White's first-ever recorded vocals going up against John Lennon's (they were the same age--22--when they each took on "Some Other Guy").

The Hentchmen's "Some Other Guy" was released as Italy Records 004; it finally was put out on CD last summer, on Hentch Forth Five.

From Bill Friskics-Warren's essay in Heartaches By the Number, on Kim Richey's 1997 single "I Know":

Resiliency is a recurring theme in country music, and it's hardly the sole province of women. But dating at least as far back as the Carter Family's exhortation to "Keep on the Sunny Side," female country singers have had a special affinity for the subject...

'I Know' starts out as an interior monologue, a postmortem conducted on a dead love affair. Before long, though, it's evident Richey's not talking to herself here; she's also conversing with her country foremothers about the meaning of resiliency. When Kim alludes to the guy who's just walked out on her, it's as if, with each litany of 'I know, I know," she's anticipating the advice of generations of country women who have coped with heartache...

On The Collection.

65 East 125th St, NYC, 1997 (more from a time-elapsed decline of a neighborhood store here)

Two lost great-grandchildren of May Irwin--a British-born former children's TV host turned soul diva, and a storied New York boho:

Lisa Stansfield's version of her idol Barry White's "Never Never Gonna Give You Up" is on the self-titled LP Lisa Stansfield. Best known for its shameless, legendary video.

And Arto Lindsay's take on Prince's "Erotic City," which draws on Lindsay's Brazilian influences (a child of missionaries, Lindsay had spent much of his youth in Tropicalia-era Brazil), is on Mundo Civilizado.

The saxophonist David S. Ware had never been one for covers. Yet when Ware signed with Columbia in '97, there was some push for Ware to do a recognizable standard for his debut album. So, taking John Coltrane's version of "My Favorite Things," as a model, Ware went for a fine vintage of cheese, "The Way We Were"--composed by Marvin Hamlisch, immortalized by Streisand.

The recording opens with an assault--Ware roaring away, pianist Matthew Shipp sending out distress calls--and keeps spinning and dancing until the fury finally fades away. Shipp begins his solo and there, at last, is the familiar Hamlisch melody, preserved in the depths of the performance, like a reliquary. With the amazing William Parker on bass and Susie Ibarra on drums.

Recorded in New York on 11-12 December 1997; on Go See the World.

A Century in Jumps (Slight Return)


The Mekons, The Old Fox.

The task is great.

On Natural.

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