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Archive for the ‘rock’ Category

Forty years ago this weekend, at the height of the Vietnam War, guitar great Jimi Hendrix played the national anthem at a concert in upstate New York. He appeared Monday morning at the very end of the three-day concert when many of the 400,000 concert-goers had already left. Hendrix came on after Sha Na Na. Hendrix had made his name in America two years before at the Monterey Pop Festival. In another year and a month Hendrix would be dead. He was a shooting star across our sky.

Jimi Hendrix was not particularly anti-war at the time. In 1967 he even did a radio spot urging young men to serve in the army, as he had done in the early 1960s.

He was probably attracted to “The Star-Spangled Banner” mainly as a musical challenge to see what he could do with a well-worn piece of music that had lost its freshness. He did the same to “God Save the Queen”, “Little Drummer Boy”, “Auld Lang Syne” and “Silent Night”.

Hendrix performed “Red House” at the same concert. His E string breaks during the song but he carries on and does the rest of the song without it. “Because he is that awesome,” as my son puts it.

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Remarks:

Santigold, known as Santogold till a jeweller of that name made her change it, used to write and produce for Res. I assumed she was British till I looked her up in the Wikipedia. “L.E.S.” is short for Lower East Side, a part of Manhattan. She wrote this song soon after arriving in New York.

The music video starts out well with the two girls in black berets and big sunglasses and Santigold’s deadpan delivery, sitting on a black horse, but the part where she is walking down the street is shockingly bad with its cheap effects.

Lyrics:

What I’m searching for
to tell it straight, I’m trying to build a wall
Walking by myself
down avenues that reek of time to kill
If you see me keep going
be a pass by waver
Build me up, bring me down
just leave me out you name dropper
Stop trying to catch my eye
I see you good you forced faker
Just make it easy
You’re my enemy you fast talker

Chorus:
I can say I hope it will be worth what I give up
If I could stand up mean for the things that I believe

What am I here for
I left my home to disappear is all
I’m here for myself
Not to know you
I don’t need no one else
Fit in so good the hope is that you cannot see me later
You don’t know me
I am an introvert an excavator
I’m duckin’ out for now
a face in dodgy elevators
Creep up and suddenly
I found myself
an innovator

Chorus.

Change, change, change,
I want to get up out of my skin
tell you what
if I can shake it
I’m ‘a make this
something worth dreaming of

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Remarks:

I am not a huge Tracy Chapman fan or anything, but I like this song and “Fast Car”.

Lyrics:

Sorry
Is all that you can’t say
Years gone by and still
Words don’t come easily
Like sorry, like sorry

Forgive me
Is all that you can’t say
Years gone by and still
Words don’t come easily
Like forgive me, forgive me

But you can say baby
Baby can I hold you tonight
Maybe if I told you the right words
At the right time you’d be mine

I love you
Is all that you can’t say
Years gone by and still
Words don’t come easily
Like I love you, I love you

But you can say baby
Baby can I hold you tonight
Maybe if I told you the right words
At the right time you’d be mine

Baby can I hold you tonight
Maybe if I told you the right words
At the right time you’d be mine
You’d be mine
You’d be mine

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Yeeeeeeeaaaaaaahhhhhhh!

Don’t look back into the sun
Now you know that the time has come
And they said it would never come for you oh oh oh oh

Oh my friend you haven’t changed
You’re looking rough and living strange
And I know you got a taste for it too oh oh oh

They’ll never forgive you but they wont let you go, oh no
She’ll never forgive you but she won’t let you go, oh no

Don’t look back into the sun
You’ve cast your pearls but now you’re on the run
And all the lies you said, who did you save?

But when they played that song at the Death Disco
It started fast but it ends so slow
And all the time it just reminded me of you

They’ll never forgive you but they wont let you go (LET ME GO!)
She’ll never forgive you but she wont let you go, oh no.

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Each of these
My three babies
I will carry with me
For myself
I ask no one else will be
Mother to these three
And of course
I’m like a wild horse
But there’s no other way I could be
Water and feed
Are not tools that I need
For the thing that I’ve chosen to be
In my soul
My blood and my bones
I have wrapped your cold bodies around me
The face on you
The smell of you
Will always be with me
Each of these
My three babies
I was not willing to leave
Though I tried
I blasphemed and denied
I know they will be returned to me
Each of these
My babies
Have brought you closer to me
No longer mad like a horse
I’m still wild but not lost
From the thing that I’ve chosen to be
And it’s `cause you’ve thrilled me
Silenced me
Stilled me
Proved things I never believed
The face on you
The smell of you
Will always be with me
Each of these
My three babies
I will carry with me
For myself
I ask no one else will be
Mother to these three

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Another ringer with the slick trigger finger
For Her Majesty
Another one with the golden tongue
Poisoning your fantasy
Another bill from a killer
Turned a thriller to a tragedy

A door left open
A woman walking by
A drop in the water
A look in the eye
A phone on the table
A man on your side
Oh, someone that you think that you can trust
Is just
Another way to die

Another tricky little gun
Giving solace to the one
That will never see the sunshine
Another inch of your life sacrificed for your brother,
In the nick of time
Another dirty money “heaven sent honey”,
Turning on a dime

Well, a door left open
A woman walking by
A drop in the water
A look in the eye
A phone on the table
A man on your side
Someone that you think that you can trust
Is just
Another way to die

(it’s just another)
Hey! Another way to die!
(Another way to die…)
Shoot ‘em, bang bang!
Oh oh oh oh oh oh!
Oh oh oh oh oh oh!
Oh oh oh oh oh oh!
Oh oh oh oh oh oh…

Another girl with her finger
On the world singing to
you what you wanna hear?
Another gun thrown down and surrendered
Took away your fear
Hey!
Another man that stands right behind you
Looking in the mirror

Oh, a door left open
A woman walking by
A drop in the water
A look in the eye
A phone on the table
A man on your side
Someone that you think that you can trust
Is just
Another way to die

It’s another way!
Shoot ’em up, bang bang!
Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!
(Another way, another way…)
Yeah!
(Another way, another way…)
Bang bang bang bang!

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Ooo oooohhhh
Ooo oooohhhh
Come on and dance, come on and dance
Lets make some romance
You know the night is fallin’
And the musics callin’
And weve got to get down to Swingtown

We’ve been workin’ so hard
We’ve been workin’ so hard
Come on baby
Come on baby lets dance
Come on, come on, come on
Come on, come on, come on
Come on, come on, come on

Ooo oooohhhh
Ooo oooohhhh
Come on and dance, come on and dance
We may not get another chance
You know the night is fallin’
And the music’s callin’
And we’ve got to get down to Swingtown

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I found an old cassette tape of mine. It has songs, in bits and in full, that I recorded from New York radio, probably in July 1986. It is like a time machine!

Because it is an old tape I am afraid it could mess up at any time. So while I can still hear it, I made a list of the songs that are on it. See below. Where I did not know the artist I put “Unknown”. Where I did not know the song title, I put some of the words of the song in italics between ellipses (…). Release dates, when known, are in parentheses.

Some songs have a picture above them. Those are the ones I could find on YouTube. Click on the picture and you can hear it on YouTube (or maybe even on this blog).

Side A:

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Starpoint: Restless (1985)

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Bob Marley: Waiting in Vain (1977)

Prince: ... much too hard to be cool … a hundred miles an hour babe …

video

The Firm: Radioactive (1985)

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Creedence Clearwater Revival: I Heard it Through the Grapevine (1970)

video

Shirley Jones: Do You Get Enough Love?

video

Supremes: Baby Love (1964)

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Patti Labelle & Michael McDonald: On My Own (March 1986)

video

Fat Boys: Sex Machine

video

Little Steven: Forever

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The Doors: Don’t You Love Her Madly? (1971)

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Peter Gabriel: Sledgehammer (April 1986)

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Five Star: Can’t Wait Another Minute (April 1986)

Sister Carol: .. galaxy … earth rotate around me …

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Irene Cara: Flashdance … What a Feeling (1983)

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Janet Jackson: What Have You Done For Me Lately? (January 1986)

Grandmaster Flash: … raggety worms out your big mouth … ’cause we got style … we’re giving you a blast of class …

Unknown: … dress to impress ’cause I got it like that … rock the mic …

Unknown: … I’m Shante .. I get a glimpse of that face, turn around she’s gone … I would swim the deepest ocean so she could be mine …

Side B:

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Whitney Houston & Jermaine Jackson: If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful (1986)

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Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes: The Love I Lost (1973)

video

The Pretenders: Kid (1979)

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Vikki Love with Nuance: Sing Dance Rap Romance (1985)

SCHOOLY D PSK 1985

Schooly D: P.S.K. What Does It Mean? (1985)

Unknown: ... yes yes he is rockin’ it … crossfader …

Unknown: … take me in your arms … I love the way that she talks, it goes so good with the way that she walks … she is so pleasingly fine … caught up in the wonder of her love …

Unknown: … dancin’, if you want to feel good … keep your body shakin’ …

Sister Carol: … pure laughter … entertainer …

video

The Real Roxanne: Bang Zoom (1986)

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Bruce Springsteen: Born in the USA (1984)

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Fresh Gordon: Gordy’s Groove (1985)

video

Boogie Boys: A Fly Girl (1985)

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The Cure: In Between Days (1985)

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Angela Bofill: People Make the World Go Round (1979)

video

Joan Jett: Bad Reputation (1981)

Three of these songs reached their height in July 1986: “Sledgehammer”, “Bang Zoom” and “On My Own”. So I think that is when I recorded the tape. So far as I know none of the songs are newer than that.

Before I knew it was Angela Bofill singing “People Make the World Go Round”, she sounded to me like some female singer from New York – which she is!

See also:

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“I Can’t Quit You Baby” is a song done by the British rock band Led Zeppelin in 1969. It appeared on their first album.

When I first heard the song I could tell Led Zeppelin did not write it, that it came from somewhere else. Led Zeppelin was white but the words to the song sounded like a black man in love with a black woman.

As far as I knew, white men did not talk about the women they love this way:

I-hi, I can’t quit you, babe
So I’m gonna put you down for a while
I said, I can’t quit you babe
I guess I got to put you down for a while
Said you messed-up my happy home
Made me mistreat my only child
Yes, you did, babe, oh

Said, you know I love you, baby
My love for you I could never hide
Oh, you know I love you, babe
My love for you I could never hide
A-when I feel you near me, little girl
I know you are my one desire,

whoa-oh, oh-oh, yeah
Oh, that’s wonderful, whoa
Whoa
Alright, oh, now, that’s wonderful

When ya hear me moanin’ and groanin’, baby
You know it hurts me deep down inside
Oh, when ya hear me moanin’ and groanin’, babe
Y-you know it hurts me deep down inside
Oh, a-when you hear me holler, baby
You know you’re my one desire, yes, you are, alright

In their songs, white American men rarely get so twisted apart by their love and desire for a woman. Certainly not to the point where they mistreat their only child. They do not let a woman have that much power over them, to become that dangerous to their self-interest.

But that does not seem true to life. After all, how many marriages of white men have been broken up by women they just can’t quit, ones who mess up their happy homes?

Love makes no sense. It brings joy and pain, beauty and destruction. Just like in this song. But you rarely hear about that in white songs. White American art tends to see the world with rose-coloured glasses, at least more so than Black American art. It is more like that world where Hallmark cards come from, wherever that is. Certainly not the same place this song came from, not from any place I ever knew.

Maybe all this is just stereotype on my part, but in this case I turned out to be right: the song was in fact written by a black man, Willie Dixon. He wrote another song that appears on the same Led Zeppelin album: “You Shook Me”. Many of his blues songs were covered by rock bands in the 1960s.

In 1956 “I Can’t Quit You Baby”  was sung by Otis Rush and became a top ten hit on the Black American charts.

In the 1960s it was covered by John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, to which Eric Clapton belonged.


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Children, I wanna warn ya, ‘cos I’ve been to California
Where Mickey Mouse is such a demon,
where Mickey Mouse is as big as a house
Life is wasted on illusions,
Tom and Jerry’s no solution
Evil gains for cartoon demons,
Pinnochio’s a real boy,look around

And I cry all night, do you wanna hold me, hold me tight
Do you wanna hold me, oh yeah, do you wanna hold me, hold me there

Children, you got to hear me, you just got to understand me
Love and death ain’t no physical thing
‘Cos Mickey Mous he don’t wanna know

And I cry all night, do you wanna hold me, hold me tight
Do you wanna hold me, oh yeah, do you wanna hold me, hold me there
Do you wanna
And I cry all night, do you wanna hold me, hold me tight
Do you wanna hold me, oh yeah, do you wanna hold me, hold me there
And I cry all night, there ain’t no more confusion in the night
There’s someone there to tell me what is right
Do you wanna hold me, hold me tight
And I cry all night, there’s only one solution to this life
There’s someone there to tell me what it’s like
Do you wanna hold me, oh yeah, do you wanna hold me, oh yeah
Do you wanna hold me, hold me there
Do you wanna hold me, oh yeah…
(repeats out)

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Bo Diddley (1928-2008), rock and roll great. (The video shows him performing “Give Me a Break” on the American television show “Shindig!” on August 18th 1965).

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These are the days
These are days you’ll remember
Never before and never since, I promise
Will the whole world be warm as this
And as you feel it,
You’ll know it’s true
That you are blessed and lucky
It’s true that you
Are touched by something
That will grow and bloom in you

These are days that you’ll remember
When May is rushing over you
With desire to be part of the miracles
You see in every hour
You’ll know it’s true
That you are blessed and lucky
It’s true that you are touched
By something that will grow and bloom in you

These are days
These are the days you might fill
With laughter until you break
These days you might feel
A shaft of light
Make its way across your face
And when you do
Then you’ll know how it was meant to be
See the signs and know their meaning
It’s true
Then you’ll know how it was meant to be
Hear the signs and know they’re speaking
To you, to you

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My name is Luka
I live on the second floor
I live upstairs from you
Yes I think you’ve seen me before

If you hear something late at night
Some kind of trouble. some kind of fight
Just don’t ask me what it was
Just don’t ask me what it was
Just don’t ask me what it was

I think it’s because I’m clumsy
I try not to talk too loud
Maybe it’s because I’m crazy
I try not to act too proud

They only hit until you cry
And after that you don’t ask why
You just don’t argue anymore
You just don’t argue anymore
You just don’t argue anymore

Yes I think I’m okay
I walked into the door again
Well, if you ask that’s what I’ll say
And it’s not your business anyway
I guess I’d like to be alone
With nothing broken, nothing thrown

Just don’t ask me how I am
Just don’t ask me how I am
Just don’t ask me how I am

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You pretend you’re high
You pretend you’re bored
You pretend you’re anything
Just to be adored
And what you need
Is what you get

Dont believe in fear
Dont believe in faith
Dont believe in anything
That you can’t break

You stupid girl
You stupid girl
All you had you wasted
All you had you wasted

What drives you on what drives you on
Can drive you mad can drive you mad
A million lies to sell yourself
Is all you ever had

Dont believe in love
Dont believe in hate
Dont believe in anything
That you cant waste

You stupid girl
You stupid girl
Cant believe you fake it
Cant believe you fake it

Dont believe in fear
Dont believe in pain
Dont believe in anyone
That you can’t tame

You stupid girl
You stupid girl
All you had you wasted
All you had you wasted

You stupid girl
You stupid girl
Cant believe you fake it
Cant believe you fake it

You stupid girl
You stupid girl
Cant believe you fake it
Cant believe you fake it

You stupid girl

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White American music currently comes in four main forms: rock, country, pop and, I would argue, gangsta rap.

The glory days of White American music were from about the 1940s to the 1990s. Hip hop and especially the Internet is killing off what is left of it among white performers.

White Americans, because of their wealth and numbers, have had a huge effect on world music. But in a sense most of what they listened to in the late 1900s was a British form of black American music. Of the top 20 best-selling albums in America, 15 come from Britain.

To a large degree White American music is watered-down black music. The swing music of the 1940s came from jazz, while rock and pop came from rhythm and blues (R & B) and gangsta rap from hip hop. Some of its top performers, like Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Madonna and Snoop Dogg, modelled themselves directly on black performers. (Snoop Dogg is black, but his blackness is as studied as the others’, a black in blackface.)

Disco aside, before the 1990s it was rare for whites in America to listen mainly to black music. Which is curious because it was right there at the end of the radio dial the whole time. But whites in Britain did listen to it, enough of them, which is why there have been repeated British invasions. The British would copy black music, change it a bit, and then become huge hits in White America.

In the middle 1960s rock was still a white form of black music, but then in the late 1960s The Who and other bands started to change rock into something very different.

Some things to keep in mind about White American music:

  • The melody or tune is far more important than the beat.
  • The words do not matter that much.
  • Music is largely a private experience. It is something that comes from a machine, like an iPod or a record player, not from churches and dance clubs.
  • For the most part it is not meant to make you dance or move your soul. It is more like the wallpaper of your life.
  • Apart from anger, there seems to be little deep feeling in it.

Rock sounds terrible to the untrained ear, like the noise a machine might make. You have to listen to it for a while before you can begin to understand it and enjoy it.

Gangsta rap seems to be a form of White American music. Of all the forms of hip hop it is closest to rock and sells the best, mainly to whites. Its videos and words tend to play to the worst stereotypes whites have about blacks, like the old minstrel shows. It is no more a form of black music than were the coon songs of the 1890s.

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