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Jul 122021
 

Rock & roll is littered with lots of bands featuring brothers.

How many are there? Let’s find out with a Last Man Standing. Let’s not be exclusionary though. Sisters, brother & sister, parent and child are all allowed. That’s as far as we stretch though. No cousins twice removed or anything.

Oh, and they don’t have to have a love-hate relationship.

Bonus points for twins. I can only think of one of those [Ed – Oh, I think you’ll be sorry for your obvious oversight!] so I’ll put that out there to start the show and since they are twins I’ll show two videos (because I couldn’t decide on a favorite).

Thanks to Craig & Charlie Reid, I am the last man standing!

As always, don’t Bogart this thread. Please limit yourself to ONE ENTRY PER POST.


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T. R E X

 Posted by
Jul 022021
 

What nonsense, this slagging of Marc Bolan!

Couldn’t you take the sentence “Honestly, the T. Rex catalog can be arguably defined as ‘Get it On (Bang a Gong)’ and 60 or so other tracks that are more or less ‘Son of Get It On (Bang a Gong)'” and substitute “Chuck Berry” for “T. Rex” and “Johnny B. Goode” for “Get It On (Bang A Gong)”? The only flaw in that is that Marc Bolan had more variety in his songs than Chuck Berry did.

I won’t argue that Bolan did mostly one thing. One overall thing to keep in mind is that he died at age 30. It’s an incomplete career that was actually over 4 years before his death when the cocaine and champagne stagnated him; he was only rounding back into shape months before the car crash.

Another overall thing to keep in mind is that the statement isn’t really true. He started out as Dylan folkie, then switched to the Incredible String Band-ish Tyrannosaurus Rex, then to T. Rex. With T. Rex, he had hit on the sound that made him a superstar (at least outside the US), and that’s what he wanted to be and he rode it.

Rode it like Eddie Arcaro! But, wait, that Eddie Arcaro, he was a one-trick pony (yes, I confess, I used Arcaro just so I could use that line), he really wasn’t that good, all he ever did was ride horses, never won the home run crown, never was NBA MVP.

Silly, huh? Arcaro was the greatest ever at what he did; you don’t criticize him for what he didn’t do. Likewise with Bolan. While he wasn’t the greatest at what he did, he was great. He wasn’t Chuck Berry (although he nicked a whole lot from Berry), and we don’t criticize Berry for writing the same song over and over.

Bolan realized before the punks, at a time when rock & roll was splintering into prog and metal and Laurel Canyon and all the rest, that rock & roll at its birth was about boys & girls & love & sex married to a great riff and that’s what he did. Yep, over and over, but it sure is a good formula, isn’t it?

He has never gotten the credit he deserves. Not for returning to the roots before The Ramones or the New York Dolls or punk ever did, not for paving the way for Bowie with glam (and later, Marc shifted into soul-influenced music due to his relationship with Gloria Jones of “Tainted Love” fame before Bowie as well), not for embracing “stardom” before Elton John. [Side note apropos of nothing: Marc, David, and Elton were all born in 1947.]

Here is a playlist, if not exactly a UK 14 track best of. No “Get It On,” no “Telegram Sam,” no “Jeepster.” You all know those anyway and that’s probably all you know. Be honest EPG, you couldn’t name 10 T. Rex songs, never mind 60.

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Feb 202021
 

I’m sure many of you know this great old one-hit wonder. Walter Scott was the lead singer for this song by Bob Kuban & The In-Men.

But did you know this story? It’s taken from a longer article you can find here. A real case of life imitating art.

In early 1983, Walter Scott and Bob Kuban performed together for a television appearance and planned to reunite the band for their twentieth anniversary in June 23, 1984, at the Fox Theatre. After one rehearsal in October 1983, Walter Scott disappeared. In late December his wife, Jo Ann, reported to police that her husband was missing. According to Jo Ann Scott, Walter went out to buy a part for his car and never came home. On December 28th, Walter Scott’s car was found by the St. Louis police, abandoned at the airport.

The St Louis police looked for Walter Scott for over a year, but all the leads led to dead ends. Jo Ann Scott filed for divorce, alleging she’d been abandoned. She was granted a divorce and was remarried in 1986. It happened that the groom at the wedding, Jim Williams, had tragically lost his wife, Sharon, when she reportedly died in a car crash in October 1983.

Meanwhile, Scott’s parents never accepted the official story. They urged the police to keep searching for their son. In 1987, the police uncovered a new lead after Jim Williams’ son informed them that his mom, Sharon, had been having an affair with Walter Scott, and his father found out. Subsequently, the police found Walter Scott floating face down in a cistern ten feet from Jim Williams’ house. Walter Scott’s body been there for about three years. Sharon Williams body was exhumed for a new autopsy. The coroner found that Sharon Williams had died from a “blunt force trauma,” not injuries suffered from a car crash – as the first death certificate stated. Jim Williams was arrested and charged with killing both Scott and his former spouse. Walter Scott had been hog-tied by Jim Williams and then shot.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported later that “Sharon Williams died Oct. 20, 1983, and [Walter] Notheis jr. disappeared on Dec. 27, 1983. His body was found in 1987 in a cistern on property James Williams owned in St. Charles County.” It took about two days for the police to catch up with Jo Ann Scott to charge her with the same two counts of murder. But since Jo Ann was offered a plea bargain, she got a $5,000 fine and spent only 18 months in prison. But Jim Williams spent the rest of his life in prison. As the song lyrics recount: “Tough luck for The Cheater.” Indeed. And Jim Williams got his “baby” (Sharon Williams) back from Walter Scott (The Cheater), only to murder her.

Do you know any interesting rock & roll stories like this that you think the rest of RTH won’t know?

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Feb 102021
 

The Sidekick has a long history in other pop culture forms. Robin. Tonto. Dr. Watson. Mindy. Ginger Rogers.

But not so much in rock & roll.

When I first thought of this I figured there had to be plenty and yet I could only come up with a handful. I’m counting on Rock Town Hall to expand my list.

Here’s what defines a rock & roll sidekick to me:

  • Never the leader
  • Almost solely known for his sidekick role
  • Long-standing stint in this role

I don’t think Keith Richards qualifies. Mick is definitely top dog, but Keith is too much a part of the mythos and music to be a mere sidekick. Feel free to argue this point.

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Jan 182021
 

Go ahead find something positive to say about this. I double-dog dare you!

I will start. At least for me, it was followed by a pro-shot (Apple FiIms) T. Rex concert at Wembley, 18 Mar 1972.

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Dec 212020
 

Like some others here (? [“Indeed,” says Mr Moderator]), Get Happy!! is my favorite Elvis Costello album, and “Men Called Uncle” is my favorite track from that.

For the longest time I thought the opening line was

Now there’s lip prints all over your face
Well maybe that’s why I can read you like a book

I thought it was possibly “kiss prints” which would give a similar meaning but that’s not really a phrase you hear.

What a disappointment when I learned that it was actually “newsprint”. Could that actually be it?

Really, isn’t “lip prints” far better?

I’m looking for a little love in this but also looking for other misheard lyrics that you think are better than the actual.

But don’t turn this into an exercise in mondegreens. No “There’s a bathroom on the right” allowed.

I couldn’t find a good live video of EC on this song but was pleased to find a Robbie Fulks cover (from a show where he apparently covered the whole album).

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Thanks, Dad!

 Posted by
Nov 212020
 
My dad (left), about age 23 with a 12-year-old Bobby Rydell. Dad had taken Bobby to see Johnny Ray. The photo appeared in an A&E Biography of Bobby.

My Dad died last night. He was a month shy of 90, lived a good life, his passing was neither unexpected nor drawn-out nor painful. I’m not writing this to look for condolences or sympathy but because one of Dad’s greatest gifts to me was a love of music and where better to acknowledge that and celebrate it than Rock Town Hall.

Not that Dad was much of a rock & roll fan. He did have broad tastes though and music was always playing at our house. Roger Miller to Tom Jobim to Chet Baker to Frank Sinatra, I heard a lot and loved it all and still do.

For a first-generation Italian-American in South Philly, Sinatra was of course number one for my father (and my mother). That was passed on to me. I like to say that I’ve loved Sinatra for 66 years even though I’m only 65 years old since I know I heard plenty of Frank in utero.

Dad saw so much live music back in the day and had so many stories to tell me. Chatting with Ella Fitzgerald before a show and buying her a drink at the bar of the club. Being the only person at another gig with Rosemary Clooney, telling her she didn’t have to do the show just for him (although she did). Hanging with Bobby Darin at a bar in Philly when Keely Smith called looking for him (and Darin telling the bartender – my uncle – to tell her he wasn’t there and if she ever called, he was never there, although his language was more colorful). “Managing” Bobby Rydell early on in his career (which mostly consisted of him collecting money at the Jersey shore while Bobby performed on the beach and taking him up to New York to audition for Red Skeleton).

Me and Bobby with the photo above. He was very happy to have a copy again.

The list of people he saw multiple times in little jazz clubs in Philly and NYC is staggering – Miles, Monk, Chet Baker, Ahmad Jamal, Anita O’Day, Astrud Gilberto, and countless others. And Dad wasn’t shy and the times were such that it was okay to talk to all these people, buy them a drink. One story he loved to tell was about chatting with Chet Baker before a show and asking him to play the song “Trickleydidlier” which was Dad’s favorite. Chet had no idea what the song was and apologized to Dad, saying “I don’t know these songs; they put the charts in front of me in the studio and I play.”

And, of course, seeing Sinatra at a restaurant after one of Frank’s shows and striking up a conversation with him.

Dad was a baker, a cake decorator. (Back before Cake Boss and any of that stuff, one of Dad’s creations was featured in the Philadelphia Bulletin in 1964, when he iced a cake and made it look like a Beatles mop-top.) He had one job working at a bakery in Wayne. He went to a lot of shows at the Main Point, seeing James Taylor, Janis Ian, even Bruce, and others long before anyone knew who they were.

Thanks, Dad; this is for you.

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