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seven years ago
that I lost the first friend I ever made
in the U.K.....
Do you think Sid and Frank are up there in pop music heaven on a fluffy white cloud singing My Way?
Sid's spastic blown-larnyx performance of Frank's signature song is a fine homage to Sinatra's pugnacious bombast, minus his suave phrasing, dynamics, pitch, arrangements, and stage banter.
Just watch em both! First, Sid singing My Way:
Now, Francis A sings his anthem:
Before we all rush
towards Elvis' 75th (!!!)
let us recall
what took place
Let It Out (Verve/Forecast FTS-3036)
This is one of the great American garage albums that just don’t give a hoot. A Memphis combo, the Hombres opted for the lighter side of garage-punk. The Hombres’ album cover (which is their only album cover since no record label was brave enough to release another record by them) is an obvious reference to the Trashmen’s Surfin’ Bird LP, released in ’64, which shows the infamous surf band from Minneapolis clustered around a garbage truck.
Ironically, the Hombres had originally intended to be a surf band. In 1967, they traveled through Houston posing as a pop version of a West Coast surf group and somehow got tangled up with Texas producer Huey Meaux. In ’65, Meaux had already transformed a band of San Antonio punksters into an ersatz British Invasion act, the Sir Douglas Quintet (featuring a very young Doug Sahm). And so, with the Hombres, Meaux saw an opportunity for reshaping the rebellion of a garage band into a comedic sensibility.
29 years later and it's still news.
Next year is Lennon's 70th birthday. Well, we know what his old compatriots are up to these days--Mick is still preening on stage like a scrawny banty rooster, and Dylan's doing a demented Santa. (Paul and Ringo are off limits today.)
Pete Hamill, in his long article published in New York Magazine just weeks after Lennon's death, writes that Lennon imagined himself at 60 writing children's books. (Of course, he'd already written several books by the time he was 30.)
And, of course, if he'd lived on and was still walking the streets of New York today, there would be some snarking at his efforts. We are deprived of that privilege.
Later this month, Claudia Jennings would have turned 60 years old. Poor girl never even made it to 30.
After being named the Playboy Playmate of the Year in 1970, Jennings became one of the next decade's biggest drive-in movie queens, starring in a string of hits that included Unholy Rollers, Truck Stop Women, Gator Bait, Moonshine County Express, and The Great Texas Dynamite Chase. She was romantically linked to Bobby Hart, was up for one of the three leads in Charlie's Angels (she should've got it), and was the agent looking for a guy who "fit the suit" in the Johnny Bravo episode of The Brady Bunch. As the decade wore on, her parts got smaller and less frequent, and she fell deeper and deeper into the Hollywood drug scene. On October 3, 1979, she was killed in a head-on collision in Malibu, California. Her last film credit was in David Cronenberg's Fast Company, released earlier that year.
Jennings in Unholy Rollers (1972)
HERE begins an ongoing series of song lists that will attempt to create, restore, retrieve, amplify, or defy the traditional rock 'n' roll canon. Most of these creations don't really "exist" (whatever that means anymore in a free-floating universe of whathaveyou).
In addition, the series will dig up lost (often demeaned) albums that have been denied their position in the established rock-crit canon.
Please keep in mind that I will NOT be sharing MP3s or any downloadable material. Just like I had to do, you will have to seek this stuff out yourself. (It's not that I'm selfish--I fear the dreaded, albeit friendly, Web Sheriff.)
Below is a list of songs, all from The Beatles' Live at the BBC collection from 1994. I swear to its repeated playability, which will be the primary criteria for creating or digging up a new contender for the canon.
Rock & Roll!!!! or The Beatles Sing the Oldies But Goldiest
1) I Got a Woman
2) Soldier of Love
4) Sweet Little Sixteen
5) I Just Don't Understand
6) The Hippy Hippy Shake
7) To Know Her Is To Love Her
8) Some Other Guy
9) I Got to Find My Baby
10) So How Come (No One Loves Me)
11) Crying, Waiting, Hoping
12) A Shot of Rhythm and Blues
13) Lonesome Tears in My Eyes
14) I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry (Over You)
Last month, the Academy finally saw fit to give Roger Corman an honorary Lifetime Achievement Oscar. Well, it's about time. But Joe Bob Briggs gave Rog a Lifetime Achievement Award at the First (and only?) Annual World Drive-In Movie Festival and Custom Car Rally way back in 1982, and in my book, that's a lot more impressive.
Still, this is obviously a major milestone: recognition from an industry who looked down their noses at him for his entire career, yet had to marvel at his ability to always turn a profit. Corman and his partners at American International Pictures didn't invent ballyhoo or exploitation, but they perfected in a way few others have.
In recognition of this belated honor, I'm going to run down what I consider to be the ten best movies Roger Corman ever directed. When Corman is honored these days, it's usually as a producer who spotted a lot of great young talent, but between 1955 and 1971, he was furiously working behind the camera, churning out low-budget hit after hit--53 in all over those mere seventeen years!!
Of course not all of them were great, but even some of the mediocre ones had unforgettable titles. Check out 1957's The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent.
On second thought, don't check it out. Check these out instead:
Late in the pivotal year of 1968, Jean-Luc Godard, then a Marxist-Leninist filmmaker, came to America to make a revolutionary film about the '68 American revolution. With documentary filmmakers Richard Leacock and D. A. Pennebaker, Godard began shooting on locations in and around New York City on a project he called One A.M. ("One American Movie").
But One A.M. was never completed. Eventually, from some of the footage shot, the team of Leacock-Pennebaker put together another film called One P.M. ("One Parallel Movie").
One P.M. included the cast of Godard's One A.M.—Rip Torn, Tom Hayden, Eldridge Cleaver, The Jefferson Airplane, LeRoi Jones, among others. It also showed lots of scenes of Godard directing and Richard Leacock photographing One A.M (along with much footage of a couple of sound girls, some New York policemen,and Godard's wife, Anne Wiazemski.) One P.M. works as the record of the making of a movie, and it may be all that is left of a movie that was not finally made.
It's hard to say why One A.M. was abandoned. Some film scholars say that Godard failed to understand the nature of the movement in America.
The highlight of the film may be the footage of Jefferson Airplane performing "House at Pooneil Corners" live on the rooftop in Midtown Manhattan on December 7, 1968. Remember, this was shot over a year before the Beatles pulled the same stunt while rehearsing and recording their Let It Be film.
Once again, Godard was intuitively and radically ahead of his times.
How does Roadie sound on paper? Well, not much different now then when Creem magazine's Dave DiMartino wrote in a 1980 Meat Loaf/Debbie Harry cover story that the plot of the then still in-production flick was "incomprehensible to the untrained eye".
The basics: Meat Loaf plays Travis W. Redfish, a good ol' Texas boy who drives a beer truck and lives with his father (Art Carney) in a television-filled house in the middle of a salvage yard. One day he helps fix a broken down RV on the side of the road which turns out to be transporting equipment for a Hank Williams, Jr gig in Austin. The truck also needs a driver, and jailbait groupie Lola Bouilliabase (Kaki Hunter) entices Travis to save the day.
Finally arriving for the show, the crew is given ten minutes to get Bocephus on stage by badass concert promoter Mohammed Johnson (Soul Train's Don Cornelius!!). Travis proves to be a born super-roadie and Don Cornelius,... I mean Mohammed Johnson calls him "the Ali of roadies, the fastest I've ever seen," and hires him on the spot for his big "Rock and Roll Circus" tour. Next stop: LA; "Louisiana?" Travis asks. "Not that LA," Lola tells him, "THE LA": Sunset Strip, swimming pools, rock stars.
Much cross-country mayhem and slapstick ensue. In addition to Messers Loaf, Carney, Williams, and Cornelius, Roadie also features Roy Orbison, Alice Cooper, Asleep at the Wheel, and Blondie (who we get to watch dressed in full cowboy garb performing Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" at an Austin racetrack).