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Monday, June 27, 2022

ROCK&ROLL: Roll along with the breeze – if you can’t find your knees

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Like, Just A Short Note: R&R & the new Rolling Stones Record…”BLUE & LONESOME”

”Blue & Lonesome”– or somesuch, and no, not from the record label Nonesuch,  this disc is apparently on Polydor, though one is not so sure just what a record ‘label’ means anymore when much of the sales are delivered via Spotify, not quantifiable in the standard way, or on I-Tunes, which for many moons had the drop on downloadability and is now just one of many…or one of two or three, I don’t know, I can’t keep up….”Blue & Lonesome”, that’s what it’s called, the new Rolling Stones album, their 45th, their 13th, their ‘n’th album (Felicity, sweetie, babycakes, could you check what number this is, excluding best of’s but counting the live albums, if they had ’em? Ta. Cheers, owe ya bigtime.) and it takes one (well, this one, me) right back to their first album, “The Rolling Stones”, with a lot of blues, R&B, Chuck Berry & Bo Diddley covers, and also a Jagger-Richard song, ‘Tell Me’ and a couple of Nanker-Phelge credited tunes (the name for a song credited to the whole band–at that time Mick, Keith, Charlie, Bill & Brian).

Actually, where the new 95th album actually takes me, metaphorically, musically, not really a physical displacement, I’ve used an expired poetic licence, is to the next, the 2nd album (note: the first album was preceded by two singles and an EP – an EP is an Extended Play, which is  the same physical size as a single, but with three or four or five tracks on it)) and that’s called “12X5”. (An EP came out first titled ‘5X5’).

Where was I? Oh yes, reviewing the Rolling Stones. And yes their new album, “Blue & Lonesome” is good…but really. I’ll take the first two R&B albums by The Stones, and then I’ll take “Let it Bleed” and “Beggars’ Banquet”, albums next to each other in the procession of albums, at the turn of the 60s/70s, and at the end of Brian and the introduction of Mick Taylor. There is a simply great extended version of ‘Sympathy for the Devil with Mick Taylor helping on guitar. I always assumed (okay, not always, for the longest time then) that it was mid-labeled and meant ‘Symphony for the Devil’ but I have/have had no proof of this. Thus I’ll accept the title as has been presented.

this clip isn’t the one I was looking for but it’ll do…they do a pretty good job on all the clips. It reminds me of standing outside Madison Square Gardens in 1975 trying to find a scalper for the Rolling Stones concert and an odd fellow struck up a conversation. He was from the deep very deep south, but an innocent type. He said he’d been to RS concerts in every state of the Union and now he was trying to get into this one. Okay. He said The Stones knew him because he was at so many of their concerts and sometimes they slipped him a ticket and they called him The Midnight Rambler —or as he called it The Meridnarht Reeemblah. He would have been super-spooky if he hadn’t been dressed in blue velvet although he did rub his hand along the velvet in a crazy crazy fashion and come out with some awfully rude & dirty adjectives & nouns. Hold on. Allright, I might have lied a little bit about the touching stuff and swearing, but he did wear blue velvet, just like in the Bobby Vinton song.There were so many Bobby’s. Bobby Vee, Bobby Vinton, Bobby Rydell, Bobby Charlton (though he didn’t  sing very much) Bobby & Laurie and Bobby Darin…anyway Bobby’s up the keister, almost a plague of Bobby’s but I never heard a Bobby song I didn’t like and you can take that to the bank and deposit it. So the Midnight Rambler (or the Mudnaahht Reembluh) and I were chatting away as I watched girls going into the Gardens and of course boys were going in too but I didn’t pay much attention to them. Anyway I had Bobby (I think that was his name), my Midnight Blue friend who was telling me about Alabama and Twirling at Ole Miss (cheerleaders at Mississippi and He found us tickets but by then I couldn’t be stuffed going in…it was more fun watching others go in and I’d seen The RS back in Melbourne only two years before, at Kooyong, and so… And as a noted drug philosopher acquaintance I had, once said, ‘the one you don’t have is the one you miss out on’…which I thought extremely profound. One thing leads to another and that brings to mind Helen Garner’s novel “Monkey Grip”, set in Fitzroy and Carlton and Nora the heroine swimming at Fitzroy Pool and being struck by the sign for the Deep End, in Italian, Aqua Profunda. Or maybe it was in Latin for the only two Latin scholars who lived within 20 kilometres of the pool.

Anyway anyhow, the reason for the nostalgia, the time when the Rolling Stones were an excellent R&B covers band who had a very decent dress sense and Brian had a haircut to dye for, was that while the RS were in the studio getting their new new album sorted, they started (I am led to believe) dicking around with some old standards, which is the stuff that brought them together. The Chicago Bues, the Delta Blues, Robert Johnson (wasn’t he the first electric bluesman? –anyway a legend’s legend.) And The Stones had offered listeners a very reasonable white boy version of ‘Love in Vain’ about the two trains running…a Robert Johnson classic.

And Robert Johnson was the template, the guy who made the Faustian deal with the d-d-d-devil down at the Crossroads, who appeared on the scene and was okay, who went away for a bit, and who came back absolutely an all-singing, all-playing electric genius and everybody knew the evil one had purchased the guy’s soul and given him talent in return. And there is no “Return to Sender” with this arrangement. You gots to pay up. And so the Rolling Stones had returned to their roots with “Blue & Lonesome”, they didn’t need to write their own songs anymore to get those fat royalty cheques, they had heaps (well Mick & Keith did), they could go get authentic. So they played the songs of old, credited them, unlike some, and it sounded okay.
(to be continued),