For a very long time, I’d been mentally prepared for Merl’s passing, so it was right and easy to listen back on him immediately. I can still hardly even look at my Prince records.
But in the middle of last night, David Bowie’s cover of the Pretty Things’ “Sorrow” started playing in my head and I knew I was ready for a revisit listening.
I decided to start, indeed, with Pin-Ups and an album that covers great songs should have a great cover and this sure does. After that, though, it was a bit of a mistake. I discovered the Pretty Things with this release, through songs taken from the phase when they were trying to outdo the Stones in the sexism department. (Which has gradually become more of an annoyance to me, even making historical-context allowances.) But that’s not the problem. It was here Bowie confirmed for all time that he had more feel for funk and disco than blues and soul (though we didn’t know that yet). But that’s not the problem. No, the problem is the damned RCA “dynaflex” vinyl (i.e., thin and cheap), which always had scrawny sound and was all too easy to wear out. Feh.