Archive | June, 2011

Cannes You Believe This?

22 Jun

Lou Deprijck

Almost everybody I know is in Cannes this week.  I can’t help but wish I were there too – especially tonight.  A Girl Story – which I wrote about previously – won a Cyber Lion earlier and I’d have loved to have been there to hear that announced.  Regardless, yay!!

So with France on my mind lots, you might think I should post a song by a French artist.  And I kind of am.  What I mean by that is that I am going to give you one that you thought was by one.  Plastic Bertrand’s 1977 smash “Ça Plane Pour Moi” is as Frenchie a song as they come, but Plastic Bertrand (Roger Jouret) is actually Belgian.  He’s half French though.  But it really doesn’t matter what he is because….he never even sung on the record!  It was actually sung by the composer, Lou Deprijck.  It gets weirder.  Lou was the singer on not one, not two, but three Plastic Bertrand LPs!

After denying reports that he was not the real singer, Plastic Bertrand finally came clean and admitted his voice does not appear on any of the songs of those albums.  Somehow, for reasons I don’t completely understand, Belgian courts said that even though he did not appear on the record, he could still claim he was the “legal performer” of the song.

Wait!  I’m not done with the story of the song yet!

Also in 1977  an English band called Elton Motello released “Jet Boy, Jet Girl” which was basically the same song with very different and far more risque lyrics.  Elton Motello was a legit band, but this single “Jet Boy, Jet Girl”  wasn’t actually them.  It was the original “Ça Plane Pour Moi” musicians and was sung by….Lou Deprijck!  When the Plastic Bertrand news came to light last year, Alan Ward, who was the main guy in Elton Motello, confirmed this fact as well.

I know none of this makes much sense.  But you don’t need sense to have a lesson.  The moral of this story is that just as it really doesn’t matter if Lou Deprijck was the singer on a huge hit for Plastic Bertrand or that Elton Motello’s gay cult hit wasn’t really Elton Motello, it also doesn’t matter that I wasn’t in Cannes to hear the news.

It’s all completely awesome.

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Summer Solstice

21 Jun

As far as seasons go, I like Fall the best, Spring second best and Winter third best, if it’s snowy.  If it’s not, then maybe Summer third best.  But in either scenario, Summer doesn’t top the list.

What’s strange about this is that I absolutely love heat. I love being super hot to the point of uncomfortableness.  Actually, maybe Summer should be higher up. Yeah.  I need to think more carefully about this. Today, the first day of Summer, is the longest day in the year.  It’s all downhill from this point.  Or uphill if you’re like me.

Earlier today, a friend and I were trying decide what the perfect First Day of Summer Song would be and “Sun Is Out” by Apples in Stereo won hands-down.  I’m sure you’ll agree.  In fact, I’m listening to it as I’m writing this and I’m realizing that my earlier ranking was definitely wrong.

I like Fall best and then SpringSummerWinter second best.

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Baby You Make My Love Come Down

20 Jun

Occasionally here in Margauxville, a song is posted just because I have a craving for hearing it.  And I have nothing to say about it, really.  It doesn’t happen often, but it’s the case today with Evelyn “Champagne” King’s disco hit, “Love Come Down.

I just can’t help the way that I feel.

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Happy Father’s Day

19 Jun

I suppose there are more cheerful songs I could have picked for a Father’s Day post, but I can’t imagine that I could find a prettier one.

I know it’s sacrilegious for me to say that I’m not the hugest Springsteen fan – especially so close to Clarence Clemons’ death – but it’s also true that as the years go by, I am appreciating Bruce’s music far more than I ever have before.  So in case you were already going to attack me, register that fact and get off my sac.

Nowhere is my appreciation so strong as on the “Nebraska” album.  So while you won’t get any Clemons tributes with this post,  you will get the most introspective song you’re likely to listen to on this lovely but Hallmark-y holiday:  “My Father’s House.”

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Motorcycle Mama

18 Jun

I am a sucker for one-hit wonders.  But one-hit wonders with a concept album?  Well that’s something even more special.

Sailcat was a group who had a hit in 1972 called “Motorcycle Mama.”  The album that this song was on tells the story of a motorcycle drifter who steals, falls in love, settles down, but is still the same person at his core.  Each song had a motorcycle-related drawing to illustrate it.  “Motorcycle Mama” is a kind of breezy ’70s tune that somehow seems like it would fit right into a soundtrack from that era.

Fast forward nearly 20 years to 1990, when Elekra Records celebrated its 40th anniversary with a compilation, Rubåtiyåt.  That album was actually an interesting concept in itself.  It featured then-current groups covering songs made famous by past Elektra/Asylum artists.

The SugarCubes covered “Motorcycle Mama” and I think their version is a more compelling one than the original.  But download ’em both and see what you think.  In either case, I wouldn’t mind seeing the world from someone’s Harley right now. Not as much as I’d like to see it from a Ducati, of course, but the Harley view might be more comfortable.

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June 17, 1966. 2:30a. Paterson, NJ

17 Jun

Forty-five years ago today, two black men went into the Lafayette Bar & Grill in Paterson, NJ and started shooting.  Two people were killed instantly, another died several weeks later and one man, though he lost sight in one eye, survived.  Despite a lack of firm evidence, boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was arrested.

He wasn’t a good guy growing up.  By the time he was 25, he had already spent time in a number of prisons and was AWOL from the Army.  But he was good at one thing:  boxing.  And so five years before the murders, upon release from jail, Ruben formally started his boxing career.

He was promptly nicknamed “Hurricane” because of his aggressive punching style.  Let that sink in for a moment.  Though he quickly rose through the middleweight ranks, the year before the murders, in 1965, he was not at his best.  He was losing against the top fighters.  Despite what Bob Dylan later sang (and we’ll get to that soon), he almost certainly would not have been the champion of the world.

But back to the triple homicide.  He was convicted, retried and convicted again and was given two consecutive life sentences.  (That’s a legal idea that has always confused me, but I’ll table that subject for now.)  A lot of people believed he did it.  A lot of people still do.  And a lot of people thought his conviction was based on inherent racism and that no real evidence was ever provided to warrant a conviction.

Advertising legend George Lois did a campaign on Rubin’s behalf.  George Lois once described his work this way: “All I ever tried to do was kick-ass in a big proletariat way” and the Free Hurricane campaign is one of the clearest examples of that.

Of course Bob Dylan was one of the most outspoken critics of Carter’s imprisonment and his brilliant song “Hurricane” (from one of the best albums ever, Desire) brought tons of attention to the case.

In 1985, the second conviction was overturned and the current prosecutors declined to pursue a third conviction.   And so, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was released.  And here we are, June 17, 2011: 45 years after the fact, 36 years after the song was recorded and 26 years after his ultimate release.

So whether the conviction was justified or an innocent man spent a lot of time in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, at least one good thing did come out of it.  Of course, if he really didn’t commit the crime, I can’t imagine that Rubin “Hurricane” Carter would agree that a stunning Dylan song justified his whole life getting messed up, but what can I say?  I’m just a selfish music lover.

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Just Say No

16 Jun

Remember when I said I went to see Brian Wilson the other night?  I forgot to tell you two very important things.  First, the “leader” of the band was from NRBQ and second, that Mark Lindsay from the ’60s group, Paul Revere and the Raiders, was in the audience.  I could barely see him, but he was singled out and introduced and I was incredibly excited from afar.  I meant to check out that side of the stage when the show was over and I am annoyed that, in a Beach Boys haze, I forgot.

Paul Revere & The Raiders might be quickly dismissed by people today just because of how they looked.  Sure Mark Lindsay was tall and cute.  But they also capitalized on the Paul Revere name and dressed in revolutionary era outfits and stuff.   I could see how someone today might think they were a novelty act.  That is, I could see them thinking that until the music was played. Their sound of suburban teens meet garage punk is absolutely irresistible.  They were huge back in the day; they sold more records than anyone except The Beatles and The Rolling Stones at the height of it all.

But to me, their greatest accomplishment  is that they very well may have recorded THE best example of  THE hardest genre to nail in all of rock music, period.  Of course I’m referring to making an anti-drug song sound cool.  There are a few other songs I’d put up for contention in this contest, but I’m pretty sure that “Kicks” by Paul Revere & The Raiders would take the title.  Download now and just try to tell me I’m wrong.  I’ll bet you a kilo of horse I’m right.