Who gives a shit what one white kid thinks?
Best response I’ve seen to the Mike Jeffries thing. Ha ha, “Your Large t-shirt comfortably fits a size 22. You might want to work on that.”
Also, if you think rap involves saying what your name is, and what you’re here to say, you are a wack, racist asshole.
I’m looking at you, Barney Rubble.
Other day, Aunt B. (who as I’ve mentioned before is not my aunt but she is an aunt) posted this vid
by way of celebrating the adventure to Brownsville she was about to set off on. I’m a fan of the version Ry had on his first album, with its swirling riff and the clapper on the one but I hadnt ever heard this, quite a bit looser, performance. I made this comment:
I like how abstract this live solo version gets.
I can’t explain why B. reads Youtube comments, but she replied like this:
According to the comments, this was the first time he’d ever played the mandolin. I feel like that could be true, because there’s a sense in which it feels like he’s somehow both singing a song he knows really well and hearing it for the first time.
I was getting ready with another comment but the darn thing ran away from me and then I had to go to work. Time and blogs move on, so I thought it best to bring it over here. Here is what I meant to write:
I hate to show my neckbeard like this, but…
Lower-third graphic on video says “March 1973.” Ry was already an accomplished mandolin player by this time (tho he was and is better known as a slide guitar player). He played mandolin on the Stones’ version of “Love in Vain” in 1969 and on his own debut album, featuring this very tune, in 1970.
Considering the possibility that the date on the video is wrong, I found several websites identifying this performance as being from a 73 episode of the BBC’s “The Old Grey Whistle Test” but nothing definitive.
The comment says he picked up the mandolin because he broke a guitar string (and why would he carry any extra strings?). Maybe (and this might be a bit of a stretch) the broken string is the grain of truth in this story. Maybe something was wrong with that mandolin and it threw him off a little bit. Now nothing looks or sounds wrong with the axe to me, but I’m no mandolin player (nor even a guitar player nor even a fiddle player etc.). I have heard some incredible performances with the “both singing a song he knows really well and hearing it for the first time” quality you describe, which resulted from the performer trying to compensate for a broken instrument.
There are also wonderful moments that arise from performers momentarily losing their place in a song, forgetting the words etc. In the video, Ry doesn’t seem to be lost but he doesn’t seem too sure of the way either, but it doesn’t matter much to him. He transcends the concept of a song as a thing that moves from A to B. “Not all those who wander are lost” ha ha *beard spontaneously sprouts from my neck and chokes me to death*.
I recall a conversation (years ago) with my friend Zach, who is much more a musician than I am. Back in high school I had the arrogance to think privately that it was the other way around, that I had more musical talent than he did. I was a stone band geek from 5th grade on and he was struggling to learn bass guitar. Now, after years of running from one band practice to another he plays professionally, and I havnt touched my horn in years. Z. and I were listening (coincidentally) to the album Ry Cooder made with the late Malian guitarist Ali Farka Toure*. ”How do you even count this?” I said. I always want to count stuff down. The version of “Brownsville” Ry does on his album, by the way, is a 17-bar blues as I recall. How do you like that. Z. said something along the lines of “I don’t think you even count it; you just feel it.” (I’m afraid that sounds awful cheesy. If it does, this next bit will too.)
Maybe it’s like knitting, you count until you don’t have to count any more. Once you get the pattern under your fingers you can just roll. Unlike knitting tho, once you get to that point you can depart from the pattern.
I feel like I have to fit Yank Rachell into this post somehow, since we’re talking about a mandoleen and a Sleepy John Estes tune. Rachell is of course responsible for all that beautiful mandolin playing on all those old 30s Sleepy John Estes records. So here he is talking about the first time he ever picked up that particular instrument.
I had thought that, if enough people pointed out how our culture is set up to fuck women over, that people who genuinely didn’t want to fuck women over would band together and change the culture. And, in some ways, that’s happening, but very slowly. In other ways, what’s happened is that the culture of loathing has just opened itself up to include men in its loathing.
For me, and I’m sure for other people, I only took drugs because I had to not hate myself long enough to write a song. Drugs would sort of wipe out the self-hater function in my brain. And then later, of course, it just made it impossible to write. But I didn’t go to the drugs looking for an ability to be creative. I just needed them to have the courage to do anything at all. And I would say that’s probably what drives alcoholic and addicted writers and artists and musicians.
Mike Doughty, in an interview with Eric Spitznagel for something called “MTV Hive”
Best video yu’ll see today? Probably. Killer Mike & El-P answer the question, Overrated or underrated?
…Oh, and by th way here’s their new joint. It’ll blow your tits off. (And yeah that’s a real 808(!))
Cop the album in June, frantic ones!!