Thursday, April 21, 2011

'I Spy' with my little eye...a BAD tv show

Retro TV has been showing 'I Spy' which I hadn't seen since I was a kid. I didn't like it then because (or so I thought) Bill Cosby wasn't 'funny' in it. Actually, he's funnier than I recall, but in a droll way, unlike his stand-up routines which were sorta 'wild and crazy' back then.

'I Spy' has bad camera work, bad sound and cheap sets. The stories are dullsville and so are the villains. The show's main purpose seems to be Culp and Cosby acting 'cool'. There is the occasional interesting female guest star (your basic Susan Oliver types), but not interesting enough to salvage the awful scripts.

Like a lot of 60's shows, the best thing about it is the theme song and opening credits. But it's all downhill from there.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pink Floyd: Animals

Pink Floyd had a nice run with the four LPs Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Wall. But where Dark Side and Wish You Were Here are great, they are a bit vague regarding their meaning. And The Wall is far too pretentious for my taste, although I still kinda like it. But Animals. My God, what an album! The music is tight and dramatic and the 'theme'...the 'concept', hits the bulls eye. A tirade against capitalism and the mindless masses, and using Animal Farm as a template, it never fails to both entertain and inspire. I saw the Animals show back in '77 in Portland with all the props and stuff, which was cool, because it always added a bit of fun to an otherwise grim and depressing piece. But that's what all great albums, films and books do. That is, have a bit of a laugh to break the tension.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Elvis Stole Black Music

Here's another thing people just made up and is probably based on something Sam Phillips said. Before he 'discovered' Elvis, Phillips supposedly said, 'If I could find a white singer who has a black sound, I'd make a million dollars.' But the fact that he said it, or thought it, shows that he recognized the racism of the record buying public, not that he himself, or Elvis, was out to loot the black sound. Music, like any creative endeavor, is always being influenced by other stuff. Brian Wilson totally copped the harmony sound of the The Four Freshmen. But the Four Freshmen got the sound, or part of it, from somebody else. It's baby steps. Nothing is created in a vacuum. You could say that The Beatles 'stole' American music. Or British Punk bands 'stole' from the Ramones. The whole notion of 'stealing' music implies some kind of plot. Like Elvis, this dirt poor white kid from Memphis, sat around and concocted this grand scheme of copying black singers in his plan to reinvent the music industry. As if.

Besides, if nobody 'stole' anything, we'd still be playing wandering minstrel songs like Allan-a-Dale from those Robin Hood stories.
Elvis liked black music and culture. He hung out in the black neighborhoods, bought his clothes at the black shops and listened to their music. And Memphis is the 1950's was the natural place for the cultures to melt together and spawn a person like Elvis.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

More Stuff People Make Up

Here's some more baloney floating around out there: Ringo Starr Is A Lousy Drummer. This supposed 'fact' has been spouted by know-it-alls and know-nothings since the Beatles first hit the big time. The truth is, Ringo was a much sought after drummer in the Liverpool scene before the Beatles got hold of him. He's got a solid, steady beat, hits the drums hard and was a perfect fit for the group. His 'tumbling down the stairs' fills are unique and much imitated. If you doubt his skill, check out his work on 'A Day in the Life'. And note the wimpy drumming on 'Back in the USSR', where Paul plays the drums. The song would be much better with Ringo on the skins. I would even go so far as to say that rating the Beatles as musicians, Ringo is second to Paul. That is, Ringo is a better drummer than George or John were as guitarists.