Mar 192011

Man, I finally finished watching This Sporting Life, which I recorded a few weeks ago and watched over 3 sittings because it was so damn depressing, even by my standards! I really liked it. Now I need to go back and rewatch the director’s commentary on Raging Bull to see if Martin Scorsese and his collaborators consciously referred to this film. I tell you, that Richard Harris was more than just a sensitive pop singer. Check out the deep thoughts he and Burt Bacharach share in this clip and see if you don’t feel like sharing some deep thoughts of your own.


  20 Responses to “All-Star Jam”

  1. BigSteve

    Harris had really bad hippie hair. And Bacharach was just insanely good-looking then. I suspect both of them got laid a lot.

  2. Definitely, re: bad hippie hair and the frequency of them getting laid. If you could construct the Ideal ’70s Man it may be Bacharach, specifically as he appears in this clip.

  3. misterioso

    By the way, has there ever been a Please Explain on the “The Genius of Jimmy Webb”? ‘Cause I really don’t get it. Not to mention the whole “Richard Harris as Singer” thing or, for that matter, “Almost Anything by Burt Bachrach Written After 1969.” Unless I am very mistaken, sometime after Raindrops Kept Fallin’ on His (and Hal David’s) Head, the magic touch disappeared. (Was it acid rain?) Is this incorrect? Are there Hidden Gems after that point or is it all crap like this Richard Harris thing? I await illumination on these points.

  4. Webb wrote the monster hits: “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.” He wrote all of the songs on Richard Harris’s The Yard Went on Forever: a dazzling record that takes a while to sink in, but very much worth it if you like complex, orchestrated psychedelia.

    The solo Webb record I really like is El Mirage (produced, arranged, and conducted by George Martin) which has some killer tunes with hooks that will stay in your head, and has quite an emotional range: “The Highwayman,” “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress,” If You See Me Getting Smaller I’m Leaving.”

    Yeah, he did write “Macarthur Park,” but every songwriter gets one free pass, no?

  5. I like Webb’s MONSTER HITS for Glen Campbell, but I find him to be a poor man’s Bacharach, and I attribute his longevity as a critics darling to the fact that he’ll return their calls and Bacharach won’t.

    I bought one of those Richard Harris albums years ago for 25 cents. I’m still waiting for it to sink in. (Maybe that album will have to be featured on the next Saturday Night Shut-In…)

    I agree that Bacharach pretty much lost it around 1969. His stuff with Hal David and Dionne Warwick is excellent, in my book. To this day, however, he has not lost his Look.

  6. As a kid, I remember looking through my mom’s record collection. She had Harris’ A Tramp Shining LP with the infamous “MacArthur Park.” I gazed at the album’s artwork, with Richard in that huge chair and remember that the album smelled musty as hell as it was tucked away in the back of a closet, and the images and smell kinda went together. Yes, it stunk. I played it, thinking “This stinks!” I still feel that way.

    I also recall at the time getting Richard mixed up with George Harrison as my older sis had the 45 of “My Sweet Lord” b/w “Isn’t It a Pity,” which I would play often and think, “Now why couldn’t Harris have made stuff like THIS all the time?!”

    Ah, childhood innocence.

  7. BigSteve

    I like MacArthur Park and the other Webb/Harris stuff, but I have to be in the right mood. Webb is a real romantic, and his sensibility is one I don’t have a lot of affinity for. He did write Up Up and Away, and he wrote a whole album for the 5th Dimension (Magic Garden) that’s really good. And he wrote the goatee-rock classic The Worst That Could Happen.

    Bacharach did seem to lose it after the 60s. I do like the album he wrote with Elvis Costello, but the album he made with Ronnie Isley singing his old songs (Here I Am, 2003) was just awful.

    There’s a 3-disc Burt Bacharach Box that gives a good overview of his early work not limited to the Dionne Warwicke stuff.

  8. Looks like another friend of a Townsman or two is in need. Here’s news on how you can help Charlie Chesterman:!/event.php?eid=144508092275892

  9. Yeah, that box set is excellent! I, too, like the album he did with Costello. I didn’t know he wrote “Up, Up, and Away!”

  10. Josh Wilker, whose Cardboard Gods was my favorite read of 2010 (out in paperback today: CHECK IT OUT!) will be facing the music in an upcoming Rock Town Hall interview. Check out the “liner notes” for the theoretical album that would accompany this memoir:

  11. BigSteve

    That was an interesting read. Good call on the Bunny Wailer version of Dreamland. Beautiful record.

  12. misterioso

    Interesting. I thought the Bachrach-Costello thing was awful, the full confirmation of EC’s surrendering to his worst inclinations.

  13. I would have said I like Webb, but only for the well-known songs already mentioned here. I have space for a no more than a handful of those 60’s – 70’s squaresville tunes, but I dig those 5!

    And the Bacharach – Warwick songs are generally good as well. The Bacharach – Costello album was really Elvis’ best offering in that style. His others like My Flame Burns Blue and that other one whose name escapes me are much worse.

  14. I’m sure I’m late to the party with this but have you guys seen the Rockpile documentary on youtube. It’s called Born Fighters. Lot’s of studio footage and it looks like it’s the source for that cool clip where Albert Lee is playing a solo while Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds and Huey Lewis look on in slack-jawed wonder. I have to check out the rest of this when I get home.

  15. hrrundivbakshi

    I just watched the Albert Lee sequence here:

    I was pleased to see Huey Lewis and Phil Lynott hanging out in the studio, too!

  16. misterioso

    Thanks! While looking for it on youtube I found these clips of “So It Goes” from Swedish tv and “Heart of the City” & “The Called It Rock” from Revolver. Tremendous.

  17. And Graham Parker.

  18. hrrundivbakshi


  19. hrrundivbakshi

    Hey, guys — I’m not sharing this because I want to brag about the fact that I gave something. I *am* sharing because the man we know as Townsman Sammymaudlin needs our help. Go here to share a little something if you can. Every little bit helps:

  20. Thanks, HVB! From all reports sammy is making great progress, but there’s a LONG road ahead for him and his family. Any little bit will help a lot.

    There’s an “ad” featuring sammy’s tatted right “gun” on the left margin of The Main Stage that will also take you to this fundraising site.

    Also, for Philly-area Townspeeps, plans are being set for a fundraising event. If it works as expected I may encourage similar fundraisers in other hotspots of RTH activities. Stay tuned!

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