Ry Cooder, Keith Richard (never forgetting Ike & Tina) : It’s Gonna Work Out Fine

Sometimes the simplest questions are the hardest to answer.

Who do you say that I am?

When will the war be over?

Is he a good man?

How deep is the Ocean?

Do you love me?

Where are last year’s snows?

Where is your treasure?

Will everything be all right – in the end?

Ry Cooder a certified Jukebox favourite for the consistent brilliance of his guitar playing and his unerring taste in songs.

If it’s all right with Ry it’s all right with me!

Tim Drummond, Jim Keltner and David Lindsey lock in and you can be sure it’s gonna work out fine.

Ry hits and sustains that sweet tone and endless glowing landscapes open up before us.

I’m wagering Ry first heard the song via the barn burning 1961 version by Ike & Tina Turner.

That enough steam heat for ya?

There’s a tangled story behind the authorship and production as was so often the case in the Wild West like music business of those days.

The main songwriter was certainly Rose Marie McCoy.

Sylvia Robinson and Mickey Baker were in the studio (indeed they had recorded their own version in 1960) urging on Ike and The Ikettes.

Tina, being a force of nature, needed no urging on just letting loose!

A million or more record buyers agreed.

Manfred Mann, the man and the group, knew R & B history and knew how to marshall instrumental and vocal forces to delight the pop pickers of 1964.

Paul Jones vocals always oozed charm especially when surrounded by the shimmering warmth of Manfred’s keyboards.

The groups debut LP is one of the true highlights of the British Beat Era.

If you haven’t got it order it today!

Now Keith Richard started out as your dangerous older brother before becoming your what’s he done now the scoundrel uncle and now he’s everyone’s I’ll tell you a story of my young days you just won’t believe grandad.

All the while he’s cranked out the riffs that are permanent fixtures in Rock ‘n’ Roll hearts.

Ain’t an R&B, Blues, Soul or Country song from the golden era that ol’ Keith don’t know and can’t figure out a crunchy guitar part for.

So when he hooked up with old friend/flame Ronnie Spector it was not surprising they hit on Work Out Fine as a vehicle to highlight their shared history while having a right royal rollicking time!

Keith’s got the licks and Ronnie’s got the pipes.

Darlin’ …….

Will the labourer have his rest?

Who will comfort the mourning?

Who will feed the hungry?

Has the salt lost its savour?

How many roads must a man walk down?

What will I do to so things will work out fine?

Notes :

This Post for Don Ostertag, true friend of The Jukebox and teller of the best tales about the theatre and music worlds you’re ever gonna hear. Check out his Off Stage Blog on WordPress.

Other versions of Work Out you might enjoy are by The Spencer Davis group featuring Steve Winwood and a very soulful instrumental by Duke Levine.

If this is your first visit to The Immortal Jukebox you are very welcome here.  Explore the 300 plus Posts in the archive! Visit often.

John Fogerty (Creedence), Bruce Springsteen & Bob Seger : Who’ll Stop The Rain?

Sometimes when it rains it really pours.

Really Pours.

Drumming all night long.

Slashing through the sky all day long.

Falling, falling, on the school yards and the grave yards.

Falling, falling on the lost and the lonely.

Sometimes it really, really pours.

Falling on the outcasts and the refugees.

Falling relentlessly on Hank Williams as he walks purposefully down the lost highway.

Longer than the memory of man the rain has been falling down.

Mysterious and Merciless.

Falling down.

Falling down.

On Pharaoh and Caesar.

On the Saints and the Sinners.

Who’ll stop the rain?

Who’ll stop the rain?

A mysterious and alluring fable lasting barely 150 seconds which you will never sound the depths of even if you have 150 years for the task.

John Fogerty as the dark eyed seer alerting the tribe round the campfire to the signs and rhythms all around them if they would but attend to them.

His vocal and guitar is lit with ancient lore brought fatalistically to the present.

Lashed to the mast of John Fogerty’s obsessive imagination brother Tom, Stu Cook and Doug Clifford sail on into the unknown immensity ahead.

Bruce Springsteen from his youth recognised the primal power of John Fogerty’s songs with Creedence.

He also was struck by their mythic charge and insights into American history and contemporary society.

And they always had a dynamite riff!

The Boss also had that shiver looking out on, standing under, the still falling rain.

He knew there was a darkness that no one can evade.

Learning his trade and reflecting on his own and his nation’s experiences he understood that songs, if written and performed with craft and commitment, could provide shelter from the storm.

Who’ll stop the rain?

Good men through the ages though they know the rain will always fall still look to find the returning sun.

Bards and medicine men meet in colloquy reminding themselves of the insights of their vocations.

Aeons of songwriting and performing lore are distilled in this miraculous recording by John Fogerty and Bob Seger.

Impossible to say which voice is more aged in the wood.

Together they stand, shoulder to shoulder, as the hard rain tumbles from the sky.

Their is balm in the fellow feeling they show each other and us all as they sing.

Who’ll stop the rain?

Long as I remember …

The rain will never stop as long as the world turns.

All we can do is offer each other shelter and believe, no matter how sodden we become, in the reviving warmth of the sure to return sun.

Steely Dan (Horace Silver) : Rikki Don’t Lose That Number (Song For My Father)

OK. for Now, you live in the suburbs.

Squaresville.

But, but, soon you’ll be going to College and everything’s going to change from monochrome to wide vision Technicolor.

A whole new world.

A new frontier.

Godard. Godot.

French New Wave.

Italian Neo Realists.

Abstract Expressionists.

Ginsberg. Corso. Snyder. Ferlinghetti.

Rhythm & Blues. Soul.

Cool Jazz. Bebop. Hard Bop.

Once you get to College you’re going to form a band with your songwriting partner (songwriters work best in partnerships).

Together, once you have the songs, you will as producers and directors make gleaming records which will be as enigmatic as they are addictive.

Those in the know will know.

You will find and cast a gallery of stellar musicians matching their individual and collective talents to the specific demands of each song.

From the vast treasury of tracks spinning in your heads you’ll find influences and inspiration.

You will embed those influences and inspirations in your newly minted creations.

You and your partner will swop riffs and rhythms and references (that’s how you found each other).

Hey, remember that fabulous bass line from Horace Silver on, ‘Song For My Father’ ?

Sure do. Sure do.

The thing about Horace is you play him to people who swear they just can’t stand Modern Jazz and they say …  well, now, I do like that .. what did you say his name was?

That’s because Horace’s Jazz is drenched in Blues and Gospel and because he writes a mean theme and knows how to arrange so that the theme grows in power all through a tune.

Look how they have space for the solos and dynamic ensemble playing.

Write a tune that’s simple and deep and you really got something!

Let’s give Song For My Father a few spins right now.

I got a feeling it might just gel with that Rikki song we’ve been fooling around with.

A true message always gets through.

And Donald Fagen and Walter Becker we’re always alert to those messages.

Even if they sometimes expressed those messages in code.

Of course experienced record buyers and Steely Dan fans in particular get a particular frisson from such cryptography.

Occasionally Becker and Fagen affected ennui at their audiences unceasing demand to hear Rikki every time they played a gig.

In such cases trust the song and the audience every time.

Rikki don’t lose that number
You don’t want to call nobody else
Send it off in a letter to yourself
Rikki don’t lose that number
It’s the only one you own
You might use it if you feel better
When you get home

Casting for Steely Dan :

Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxter on lead Guitar, Dean Parks on acoustic Guitar, Michael Omartian on Piano, Jim Gordon on Drums, Victor Feldman on Percussion, Walter Becker on Bass and backing vocals, Donal Fagen on lead and backing vocals, Tim Schmidt on backing vocals.

Casting Horace Silver :

Horace Silver on Piano, Carmell Jones on Trumpet, Joe Henderson on Tenor Saxophone, Teddy Smith on Bass, Roger Humphries on Drums.

Message received and understood!

Billy Fury, Nick Lowe & Ben E King : Halfway to Paradise

‘Strange how potent cheap music is.’ (Noel Coward)

‘I like pure pop moments with a lot of vitality; songs that are supposedly disposable but which you end up loving for ever.’ (Bryan Ferry)

A Winter morning here in the South Downs can be a glorious experience.

Hedges stiff with frost and the sky gleaming blue as if proudly polished by a benign deity.

Trusty running shoes laced up I begin my four circumnavigations of the lake.

As my pace increases with each lap I find snatches of poems and songs skimming across my mind :

‘ … And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.’

‘… The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep somewhere else another stops.’

‘  … under the ocean at the bottom of the sea
You can’t hear the storm, it’s as peaceful as can be
It’s just the motion, it’s just the motion.’

And, as I was about to collapse at the end of my final sprint clear as a midwinter bell the song I would be singing for the rest of the day –

‘ .. So put your sweet lips next to my lips And tell me that’s where they’ll stay ..

Don’t leave me halfway to paradise …So near yet so far, so near yet so far, so near yet so far away.’

‘Halfway to Paradise’ by Carole King and Gerry Goffin who may well be the ne plus ultra makers of moments of pop perfection.

Moments, Immortal Moments, which generations upon generations end up loving forever.

The song was originally recorded by Tony Orlando in March 1961 but the version I was remembering was that by the one and only Billy Fury.

Billy’s vocal and stylistic amalgam of the bravura and the vulnerable always cuts deep to the heart.

The arrangement by the brilliant Ivor Raymonde, best known for his work with Dusty Springfield and The Walker Brothers, provides a wonderfully dramatic setting – those sweeping strings! the heart stopping percussion! – which Billy takes full advantage of.

There is always something wistful in Billy’s delivery, as if he can never be sure that the emotions he feels so deeply aren’t just about to overwhelm him leaving him, for a reason he can never fathom, finally, abandoned and bereft.

Billy Fury will always find empathetic fond hearts.

Now, whenever the phrase Pure Pop appears I inevitably turn to the veritable professor of the genre – Nick Lowe.

Nick’s version was issued in October 1977 as Buy 21 on The Stiff Label.

This was a compulsory purchase for me as I had already bought the first 20 singles put out by Stiff and I had made it a point of principle to be the first in the queue when any record by Nick Lowe appeared.

The sharp eared among you might recognise Dave Edmunds backing vocals and the pianistic playfulness of Steve Naïve (from Elvis Costello’s Attractions).

This is a much denser sound than Billy’s with nods to Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound.

This is much more of a defiant complaint than yearning lament.

Another decade passed before I found another version I could stand to listen to alongside Billy’s.

This came from the great Ben E King whose take on Halfway to Paradise surprised me by its three o clock in the morning tenderness.

Sometimes when thinking about music you can get lost in abstraction and dissection of form.

Whenever I fear I might be falling into that trap I turn to Pure Pop where what the heart responds to is performances which though based on simple material can be truly sublime and wholly unforgettable.

Billy Fury died at 42 having been afflicted all his life with a serious heart condition.

The performance below from 1976 was his first for many years after seemingly successful surgery gave him a new lease of life.

Billy walked in shadows throughout his life yet few singers give such comfort to the broken hearted.

It hurts me some, to know your heart’s a treasure … that my heart is within reach to touch.

Oh, Oh, Oh, bonny Billy!

So near yet so far away.

Jukebox Top 10 for 2019 : Van, Ry, Tom Waits, Emmylou, The Kinks, Don Everly ++

The Jukebox covered a lot of territory this year.

I hope you enjoyed the journey – discovering new artists and reacquainting with old favourites.

Here’s the 10 most popular Posts of 2019 – make sure you’ve read every one!

At 10 : David Bowie and Nina Simone demonstrating why their legendary status will never dim with contrastingly brilliant takes on Wild is The Wind

https://wp.me/p4pE0N-27c

At 9 : Guy Clark with Texas 1947 brings a lost world to vivid life.

https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2019/11/23/guy-clark-texas-1947/

At 8 : More premium Texas Texture courtesy of Butch Hancock, Joe Ely & Emmylou Harris

Remember – only 2 things are better than milkshakes and malts and one’s dancing like the dickens to The West Texas Waltz!

https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2019/06/29/butch-hancock-joe-ely-and-emmylou-harris-west-texas-waltz/

At 7 : A Birthday tribute to the one and only Don Everly.

There was a quality in Don’s voice, a seeming deep acquaintance with the heartaches that assail us all, that never fails to move me deeply.

https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2019/02/01/happy-birthday-don-everly-singing-beyond-singing/

At 6 : Bobby Darrin – Dream Lover. A tale of triumph, tragedy and Trauma.

https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2019/06/08/bobby-darin-tragedy-trauma-triumph-dream-lover/

At 5 : The Kinks with yet another Ray Davies masterpiece, Days (Thank You For)

Don’t forget a single Day. Bless The Light

https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2019/01/26/the-kinks-days-thank-you-for/

At 4 : The great Tom Waits with a characteristically evocation of the everyday melding with the mythic – (Looking For) The Heart of Saturday Night.

https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2019/05/27/tom-waits-looking-for-the-heart-of-saturday-night/

At 3 : Ry Cooder, Jerry Garcia, The Drifters & Aaron Neville know a great song and how to present it. Here they are with Money Honey.

https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2019/07/27/ry-cooder-jerry-garcia-the-drifters-aaron-neville-money-honey/

At 2 : Linda Ronstadt & Mike Nesmith with a heady 60s classic, Different Drum

https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2019/09/12/linda-ronstadt-mike-nesmith-p-p-arnold-different-drum/

And ..  Top of The Charts .. by far the most popular Post in the history of The Jukebox :

Van Morrison & Mark Knopfler setting down eternity shale with ‘Last Laugh’.

https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2019/08/27/van-morrison-mark-knopfler-last-laugh-happy-birthday-van/

A massive vote of thanks from me to all the wise and witty Jukebox Readers.

There are some 150 Posts in draft ready for 2020 – so stay tuned!

Happy New Year!

Christmas Alphabet : R for Bonnie Raitt, Ramsey Lewis & Rilke

The Christmas Dinner has been cleared away.

Shoes kicked off.

Cigar lit.

A very generous measure of hot buttered Rum poured.

Now, you need a smoother than smooth sound to maintain the mood.

Nothing better than Bonnie Raitt with Rhythm & Blues legend Charles Brown with a sultry duet version of, ‘Merry Christmas Baby’.

Now, don’t you feel all lit up like a Christmas Tree!

Kick back and pour yourself another (Eggnog anyone?)

Listen now to the Ramsey Lewis Trio’s perfect yuletide groove, ‘Christmas Blues’ beamed to you all the way from 1961.

 

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) wrote ravishing visionary poems which settle in the heart.

His Poem, ‘Advent’ will stay with you.

Recitation by Julia Koschitz.

Production and arrangement by Schönherz & Fleer.

Es treibt der Wind im Winterwalde
die Flockenherde wie ein Hirt
und manche Tanne ahnt, wie balde
sie fromm und lichterheilig wird,
und lauscht hinaus. Den weißen Wegen
streckt sie die Zweige hin, bereit
und wehrt dem Wind und wächst entgegen
der einen Nacht der Herrlichkeit.

There in the wintry forest the wind blows
a flock of snowflakes like a shepherd,
and many a fir-tree guesses how soon
it will be pious with holy lights,
and listens. Towards the white path
it stretches out its branches, ready,
and braving the wind and growing toward
that one Night of Glory.

If you have enjoyed this Post please share as widely as you can.

Set your Calendar now for December 11th and the next Post in the Christmas Alphabet, I for …

The Trashmen : Surfing Bird! (Bird bird bird, b-bird’s the word)


Turn on the TV here in Britain these days and it’s non stop Election coverage.

Opinion Poll after Opinion Poll contradicting each other.

Who’s up? Who’s down?

Leaders debates (but not including all the leaders)

Interviews, Hustings. Meet The People. Manifestos.

Dreadful, heart sinking phrases :

’We have been very clear about our policy ….’

‘We inherited a terrible situation …’

’We have had to make some very hard choices …’

Every time I hear one of these phrases I take out my trusty Air Horn and give it a long, loud blast.

 

Somehow it makes me feel better!

A friend said that an Election Campaign heralds an avalanche of Nonsense sure to bury us all.

I disagree.

Election campaigns herald Evasions, Elisions, Diversions, Fantasies, Fakery and outright Lies rather than Nonsense.

I’m in favour of Nonsense :

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
 Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
*

Give me plenty of that kind of Nonsense!

I find that the best defence against the political pollution relentlessly assailing me is to combine regular blasts on the Horn with loud declamations of The Jabberwocky swiftly followed by my own take on an all time Nonsense Classic, ‘Surfing Bird’ by The Trashmen.

Turn your volume controls to Max and sing along with gusto!

 

Roll over Tristan Tzara tell Roland Barthes the news!

Notes :

Surfing Bird was released in November 1963 and surged to No 4 on Billboard.

Clearly it owes much to two tracks by The Rivingtons : Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow and The Bird’s The Word. Hence the songwriting credit to Al Frazier, Carl White, Sonny Harris and Turner Wilson.

However, i salute Trashmen drummer and vocalist Steve Wahrer for taking the raw material  of two fine songs and through an act of crazed creativity producing an immortal record.

In addition to Steve Wahrer The Trashmen comprised guitarists Tony Andreason and Dal Winslow and bassist Bob Reed.

 

A-well-a everybody’s heard about the bird!
Bird bird bird, b-bird’s the word
A-well-a bird bird bird, bird is the word
A-well-a bird bird bird, well-a bird is the word
A-well-a bird bird bird, b-bird’s the word