I’m taking this feature back to its roots with the whole Who in football helmets and Saturday song thing. The theme song throwback is down to my featuring a story about the Grateful Dead at 50 and the final shows of the surviving core members. More about that in a moment.
It’s been a news of the weird week here in New Orleans: body parts on the interstate, trucks falling out of the sky ,and endless construction projects. The big Napoleon Avenue drainage project near my house has provoked a lawsuit because of the damage it has done to people’s houses. We’re too far away to have cracked plaster but the construction dust is wreaking havoc with my allergies. I have a tell-tale red allergy spot under my right eye that’s usually only seen during oak pollen season but it’s helping me write this post. Not really, but it’s a colorful image innit?
On to today’s theme song, One More Saturday Night. This rave up Bob Weir rocker first appeared on his kinda sorta first solo album, Ace. I say kinda sorta because his backing band was the Dead. It’s something he has in common with Tom Petty who records solo albums with the Heartbreakers but I digress, which is something I do in every post. But y’all knew that already…
Back to One More Saturday Night. Over the years it has evolved into a set closer or encore. It’s a good thing because Bobby screams like a banshee near the end of the song. I have two versions for your enjoyment. First, one from German teevee in 1972 featuring the honky tonk/Jerry Lee Lewis style piano pounding of the late Keith Godchaux. Second, a 1990 version, which has crappy video but great sound. It features the Hammond B-3 artistry of the late Brent Mydland. Detect a pattern? There’s also Pigpen and my boy Vince Welnick. Grateful Dead keyboard players are to them what drummers are to Spinal Tap. Discuss amongst yourselves…
More Saturday stuff after the break.
Fare Thee Well: Rolling Stone has an epic cover story entitled The Grateful Dead’s Long Goodbye. Sounds like hippie noir to me, y’all. Holy Raymond Chandler, Batman. You have to buy the issue like I did to read the whole story but I wanted to link to it anyway. How often do I get the chance to use the term hippie noir? Actually, the phrase echos in my head while watching Aquarius.
Correction: Dr. A scored the issue for me, man. She’s the best. Well, there ain’t nothin’ wrong with the way she moves:
Lloyd Dobler Meets Brian Wilson: You may have noticed I’m on a Brian Wilson jag this week with more to come tomorrow. One of the best things I’ve read about the biopic was a profile by Steven Hyden of John Cusack at Grantland.
There’s a scene in Love & Mercy that slyly evokes Say Anything. Brian the elder is outside Melinda’s window trying to get her to go out with him. The only thing missing is the boom box.
Speaking of the man who created Lloyd Dobler, what the hell happened to Cameron Crowe? We had originally planned to see Aloha until it turned into a bomb worthy of Pearl Harbor. Crowe made three of my favorite recent movies: Say Anything, Jerry Maquire, and Almost Famous. He’s been on a losing streak of late and this new stinker may mean he can’t get financing for future projects. Methinks Mr. Crowe should emulate his hero, Billy Wilder, and work with a writing partner from now on. Unfortunately, Iz Diamond is no longer with us.
It’s a pity that Cameron Crowe is no longer a Golden God, which is why I’ll wait to see Aloha on Netflix or cable:
Speaking of Hollywood disasters:
Now that I’ve mocked one of the worst big budget films of all-time, it’s time to strike a more somber note.
Hollywood & The Downwinders: The Guardian ran a great piece by Rory Carroll last Sunday about the folks who are still grappling with the nuclear tests near St. George, Utah in the 1950’s; among them the cast and crew of The Conqueror. The movie was not shot during a test but the soil was sufficiently radioactive to set off John Wayne’s geiger counter. It’s gettin’ mighty hot around here, Pilgrim…
It seems unlikely that the fallout was directly responsible for Dick Powell, Agnes Moorhead, and the Duke’s dying of cancer but it was a contributing factor. It was, however, a direct cause of the death of many people in rural New Mexico, Arizona as well as Utah.
Now that I’ve bummed you out, here’s John Wayne as Genghis Khan to lighten things up:
Did you notice how often they used the word “titantic” in the trailer? Holy Freudian slip, Batman.
Is Le-Vel On The Level? Speaking of small towns in Utah with Mormon populations, TPM has a fabulous piece by Alice Hines about home-based multilevel direct marketing schemes, which are very popular among LDS women. Why? They’re encouraged to stay home barefoot and pregnant but many need the money. Others have an entrepeneurial itch to scratch. Unfortunately, some of them get taken by unscrupulous suppliers. Many of these schemes are, in fact, pyramid scams that Ponzi and Madoff would applaud.
Reading this article reminded me of Margene, Ginnifer Goodwin’s character in Big Love, who became a multi-level marketing mogul in addition to being a plural wife. This gives me an excuse to post the opening credits for that show, which for the first 3 seasons were set to a certain Beach Boys tune:
Labour Party Blues: I haven’t written much about my oddest hobby, British politics, very much recently. The late election, expected to be close and end in a hung parliament, turned into a shocker as the Tories won a majority and Labour was wiped out in Scotland. Labour is back in the position it was in after getting blown out by the Tories in 1983. In the aughties ,Whitehall pundits were convinced that the Tories were unelectable for decades but the pendulum has swung back in their favor.
Guardian political editor, Patrick Wintour, has written an epic post-mortem of the 2015 general election: The undoing of Ed Miliband-and how Labour lost the election. My conclusion is, in part, that the Milibandites were so blinded by their dislike of the negative aspects of the Blair-Brown government that they neglected to defend the good parts. It’s reminiscent of what happened to the Democratic party after LBJ’s abdication. Democrats were so focused on Vietnam that Johnson’s other accomplishments were forgotten in their haste to run away from his war. I’ll have more to say about that next week in this space. Call it the Saturday Odds & Sods teaser.
Saturday Standards: It’s chick singer time again. This week we’re featuring In The Land Of Hi-Fi by the divine Dinah Washington. It’s a swell album with an even sweller title and my heart swells with pride for presenting it: