Um, all I got this time is that it looks like I better go see American Honey.
Sonny Sharrock, Monkey-Pockie-Boo (Sunspots 2002, reissue of BYG, 1970)
Saw Sharrock perform more than once. Grateful for such radiant memories. He was a shaman who possessed your spirit from the stage — gonna be wild, little scary sometimes, party madness other times, and you will be left exhausted but thrilled. I believe I have every recording he made.
This was his second LP, recorded with a so-so French rhythm section (jazz labels in the states weren’t interested because Miles hadn’t wised them up) and his “singer” wife Linda. She does a Yoko-wail thing which is pret-ty hard to take much of the time, though I think it fits quite fine into the 17-minute “27th Day.” And “Soon” which she wrote, is her masterpiece — trio is right with her on the same page, Sonny sounds like he’s talking to her and screaming along with her — “soon” everything is coming down.
I never listen to the damn title track where Sonny plays slide whistle.
Like many an academically beloved poet — say, Ezra Pound or T. S. Eliot — Mr. Dylan has always placed himself on a literary continuum where allusions focus and amplify meaning. — Jon Pareles, NY Times
I think this is true. But speaking of continuums, I also think poetry and song lyrics lie along one of them doohickeys. At one end are impressive, irresistible poems that can’t be set to any substantial music without being blurred or diminished. At the other end are perfect words for knockout songs that don’t work a fraction as well without their music raiment.
No question Dylan lies way more toward the literary end of the scale. But that does not mean the opposite ends of the continuum are identical. My serious gripe is with the Nobel categories. Why in the blank hell is there no Nobel Prize for Music? If you want to go over the top, you could holler that the Lit Prize is a bit of a dis to Dylan — implying that none of his tunes belong in the same exalted universe as his lyrics.
Chuck Berry Is On Top (1959, 3rd album)
His finest sequence of songs and features more hits than any other LP.
Up: “Jo Jo Gun” (yeah, the number that band named itself after) has some fresh twists and turns and deserved to be a hit as much as some other tracks here. (second guitar: Bo Diddley.)
Down: “Hey Pedro.” Oh well, it was 1959.
St. Louis To Liverpool (1964)
Clearly a triumphant attempt to catch some of the wave from the British Invasion. Has some of Berry’s most, uh, sophisticated tale-spinning in “Little Marie” (sequel to “Memphis, Tennessee,” quite a bit below that standard) “Our Little Rendezvous” (supposed to be in outer space!) “No Particular Place To Go,” (the chrome monster finally attacks), “Promised Land” followed by “You Never Can Tell” (a shout of triumph on the rails, then a unique item that’s sort of a wry joke but that I insist contains a hint of the shadow that fell over Berry a few years earlier). ((Or maybe that’s “Things I Used To Do.”))
Rock ‘n Roll Rarities (2-LP, 1986)
More for the confirmed fanatics. However, the sequencing, sonic variations (even the stereo remixes) gimme a little electric crackle and I believe this is the first time “Run Rudolph Run” appeared on a long-player.
Oh, hell no! NO! NO!! I was just there for the first time in many, many years and it was a wondrous bookstore, bolder and more varied than I remembered. This is a fucking blow to civilization. I’m heartsick.