Tag Archives: Rolling Stones

My rock and roll library update

The Zapple Diaries: The Rise and Fall of the Last Beatles Label by Barry Miles (Harry N. Abrams, 2016)

Do we need another Beatles book? Is there any facet of the Beatles’ 12-year existence as a group that hasn’t been written into the ground? Well, at least until Mark Lewisohn completes his definitive multi-volume history, it looks like we’re going to continue to get more. This one is a specific first-person look at the big-idea, short-lived subsidiary label that the naive idealists formed to release experimental recordings. Miles was hired to record poets such as Charles Bukowski, Laurence Ferlinghetti, and Allen Ginsberg. Spoiler alert: Zapple ended up only releasing two records (vanity projects by George Harrison and John Lennon) before new manager Allen Klein fired everybody and closed shop.

The Underground Is Massive: How Electronic Dance Music Conquered America by Michaelangelo Matos (Dey Street, 2015)

I’m probably not the intended audience for this book since I don’t really know the difference between house and techno and jungle and dubstep, and I don’t particularly care. Dance music people are very into genre differentiation, but it’s still rock and roll to me. I do, however, enjoy reading well researched and engaging history, and this book is full of that. Lots of young people doing their own thing, making their own scenes, getting loaded, and digging music. Despite the fact that Matos has claimed “The book is not about recordings,” I could have really used a soundtrack when reading it since virtually all of the music was unfamiliar to me.

Sound Man: A Life Recording Hits with The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, Eric Clapton, the Faces… by Glyn Johns (Plume, 2014)

It’s rare that I start but don’t finish a book. This is one of those rarities. For all the characters and events this guy witnessed, you’d think he’d be able to come up with some interesting insights or at least a few good stories. Nope. It’s just tame and boring. Which is a shame because I’ve read interviews with Johns where he’s been hilarious and opinionated. Unfortunately, this book — at least the first half — doesn’t reveal any of that.

Willie Nelson: An Epic Life by Joe Nick Patoski (Back Bay, 2008)

I picked up this book after reading Patoski’s Oxford American article about drummer/character Paul English, “Watching Willie’s Back.” Willie Nelson is an American hero whose greatness has only occasionally been captured on tape despite the fact that he’s got 50+ years of recording under his belt. This book goes a long way in explaining what it is about Willie that makes him such a compelling and unique figure. He’s as close to the Buddha as this country is every going to produce.

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I’m Down With Alan Thicke

I’ve mostly avoided the hullabaloo around Robin Thicke because I thought I didn’t care, but the truth is that it bugs the shit out of me. Not because I feel a need to defend him (but I will) or that I think he’s some amazing artist (who cares?) but because the hypocrisy of the whole thing is just obnoxious. I mean, really…are we really ready to surrender to the squares?

The basic argument against Thicke breaks down along two lines:

  1. He “stole” Marvin Gaye’s mojo for his song of the summer, “Blurred Lines”
  2. He’s a lout for carrying on with Miley Cyrus at the Video Music Awards and calling women bitches

The first is so preposterous I am amazed I even have to address it, but here it goes: Popular music always has and always will feed on itself.

Traditional folk music and bluegrass structure is built around a handful of simple patterns. Same with the blues. Same with most rock and roll, including so much of the rock canon we all adore.

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The Pretty Things – Come See Me

The Pretty Things - Come See Me Among the many, many unsung bands of the 1960s are The Pretty Things who have an impressive lineage, if little commercial success. Central to that lineage is Dick Taylor, who was briefly in the nascent Rolling Stones and that band’s precursor, Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys. The latter band was the first that featured Mick Jagger and Keith Richards as bandmates.

Most music snobs know The Pretty Things and they’re beloved in the garage rock world, but if this video didn’t turn them into international stars then the 60s truly were crazy times. Dig this appearance on Dutch TV.

Video: The Pretty Things – “Come See Me”

The Pretty Things: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, eMusic, MOG, wiki

Merry Clayton – Gimme Shelter

Merry ClaytonWe posted a link to this gem on Twitter last week but it’s too awesome to hide away in that ghetto so we’re putting it here on the front page.

Merry Clayton is responsible for the spine tingling backing vocals on the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” and in 1970 she released her own version. This is a scorcher, folks. It’s just a kiss away.

Video: Merry Clayton – “Gimme Shelter”

And check out the isolated tracks of the original Stones version. The genius of this song just becomes clearer.

Merry Clayton: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, eMusic, MOG, wiki

The Rolling Stones: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, eMusic, MOG, wiki

Bobby Keys is the Coolest Stone

Bobby Keys by Dominique Tarle

I finally watched Stones in Exile last night after recently finishing Keith’s Life. The thing that struck me about the documentary was that none of them—especially Mick, but not even Keith—have the slightest clue about what made that album so great. Everybody interviewed for the documentary seemed clueless… Except for Bobby Keys. Yes sir, buddy. The saxophone player was the only guy who didn’t seem like a bumbling old man. Bobby Keys is still cool.

But the best is Keith’s explanation of why Keys got kicked out of the band in 1973:

Bobby went down in a tub of Dom Perignon. Bobby Keys, so the story goes, is the only man who knows how many bottles of it it takes to fill a bath, because that’s what he was floating in. This was just before the second-to-last gig on the ’73 European tour, in Belgium. No sign of Bobby at the band assembly that day, and finally I was asked if I knew where my buddy was — there had been no reply from his hotel room. So I went to his room and said, Bob, we gotta go, we gotta go right now. He’s got a cigar, bathtub full of champagne and this French chick in with him. And he said, fuck off. So be it. Great image and everything like that, but you might regret it, Bob. The accountant informed Bobby afterward that he had earned no money at all on that tour as a result of that bathtub; in fact he owed. And it took me ten goddamn years or more to get him back in the band, because Mick was implacable, and rightly so. And Mick can be merciless in that way. I couldn’t answer for Bobby. All I could do was help him get clean, and I did.

— Keith Richards, Life (pg. 363)

The Rolling Stones: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, eMusic, MOG, wiki

Photo by Dominique Tarle.

Lots of Links: Twitter Roundup #17

Tweet tweetBelow are the things we’ve posted to Twitter recently. 219 tweets including 138 links and 97 retweets. In reverse chronological order, just like Twitter…

Jeff Sabatini and Mike Vasquez are tweeting for GLONO from the All Good Festival in West Virginia, although word from Sab is that network connectivity there is awful. But tune in for updates.

# Internet success requires trust. RT @annkpowers: Prince and the Internet, a history (tragedy?) http://tinyurl.com/2bn54a5

# RT @Johnny_Marr: World Premier of Inception in Leicester Sq, London last night. Guitars on the score by Johnny Marr.

# Everything here is leaning on an angle because of the mountain. It’s disconcerting to say the least. #allgood

Lots more below, and you might consider joining the 841 other people following us on Twitter so you can keep up with this stuff as it happens…

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Lots of Links: Twitter Roundup #16

Tweet tweetBelow are the things we’ve posted to Twitter recently. In reverse chronological order, just like Twitter…

# Cracking the pallophotophone code. Radio recordings from 1929-31 ft. the voices of Edison, Herbert Hoover, & Henry Ford. http://ow.ly/1Uhq4 2 minutes ago

# A great interview with Topspin’s Ian Rogers about the music biz: http://bit.ly/bwSs0E @iancr 22 minutes ago

# On This Day in 2004: “Glorious Noise is good” — Colin O’Malley, TRUSTe http://ow.ly/1UeSS Do you still follow us, @micshasan? about 1 hour ago

# RT @soundofthecity: The 10 Most Shocking Revelations About the Tragic Last Days of Gang Starr MC Guru http://bit.ly/cxBA2o about 2 hours ago

# Cool. RT @genesimmons: Hey, if you’re 14 years old or under, you can attend any KISS concert in the upcoming N. American Tour for FREE. about 19 hours ago

# “We support the boycott of Arizona.” RT @robertloerzel: Los Lobos cancels Arizona concert. http://www.loslobos.org/site/news.shtml about 20 hours ago

Lots more below, and you might consider joining the 802 other people following us on Twitter so you can keep up with this stuff as it happens…

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Stones Documentary: Charlie Is My Darling

While everyone is sweating over the Exile on Main St. reissues and the accompanying documentary, Stones in Exile, many are still upset that Cocksucker Blues has yet to see the light of day. Sure, the film’s a milestone in it’s documenting the Rolling Stones at their debauched best and should indeed be restored and released, but a more rare gem still sits in the vaults.

Shot by Peter Whitehead in 1965 during the Stones’ tour of Ireland, Charlie Is My Darling is a short documentary of the band before they were an industry. They were barely a band and their lack of footing is clear in the interviews. Most telling are those with a reticent Charlie Watts and a dopey Brian Jones. To think that these goofy kids would become The World’s Greatest Rock Band is something only Jones’ ego takes seriously.

Lots of shakey, amazing footage of early live shows and some backstage action with Mick and Keith putting on their best Elvis Presley, Charlie Is My Darling is a darling of a film. Honk honk.

The Rolling Stones: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Charlie Watts on Exile Bonus Tracks


Photo by Dominique Tarle.

This is why Charlie Watts is the coolest Stone. When asked by Rolling Stone magazine what he thinks of the Exile reissue, the levelheaded drummer admitted, “My only criticism of the new ones is that the voice sounds like it was done yesterday.”

The article, “Making Exile,” in the latest issue of the magazine (not online) answers a few of our remaining questions about the ten previously unreleased bonus tracks: “Five of them had never been fitted out with vocals, or even lyrics, and Jagger set about finishing the job. […] Jagger brought Taylor into a London studio for a couple of hours last fall to put on ‘those Mick Taylor lead lines’.”

At least that’s what he’s saying this week. The story seems to change from interview to interview.

In other Exile news, there’s a fantastically sensationalistic article from the UK’s Daily Mail with all the gossip you could ever hope for: The most debauched album ever made: As a Stones classic is re-released, the truth about wife-swapping, all-out war between Mick and Keith and heroin on tap in an old Nazi HQ. Good times.

Update: Greg Kot talks to both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Verdict: Keith “wasn’t heavily involved” in the bonus tracks, but Mick definitely was.

Rolling Stones: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki.

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Mick Jagger vs. Gram Parsons

Dominique Tarle: Rolling Stones - Keith with Gram Parsons

Photo by Dominique Tarle.

The Observer previews Stones in Exile, the new documentary about the making of Exile on Main Street. It’s a great write-up, pulling lots of great quotes from Keith and the rest of the gang. This part in particular piqued my interest:

Interestingly, the Stones in Exile documentary does not even mention Parsons, whose closeness to Richards rattled the possessive Jagger. “Keith and Gram were intimate like brothers,” says [photographer Dominique] Tarle, “especially musically. The idea was floating around that Gram would produce a Gram Parsons album for the newly formed Rolling Stones Records. Mick, I think, was a little afraid because that would mean that Gram and Keith might even tour together to promote it. And if there is no room for Mick, there is no room also for the Rolling Stones. So, yes, there was tension. You could feel it and I captured it on Mick’s face in some of my pictures.”

Sure, it’s just the interpretation of of events by a photographer who hung out with the band for a while, but still. What if, what if, what if…

Rolling Stones: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Gram Parsons: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

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