July has been wet, wet, wet in New Orleans. As long as it’s not flood-level precipitation I don’t mind it. It keeps the heat down. That’s summer in the Crescent City: too hot, hot, hot or too wet, wet, wet. My needle seems stuck, stuck, stuck…
Pete Townshend wrote this week’s theme song for the Who’s 1981 album Face Dances. It’s a criminally underrated record that I’ve loved since the first time I gave it a spin. It was the soundtrack of my life in the year I moved from San Francisco to Washington DC.
Don’t Let The Go was inspired by Townshend’s guru Meher Baba who urged his followers to “hang fast to the hem of my robe.”
We have three versions for your listening pleasure: the studio original, Townshend’s demo, and the Who live on German teevee.
Don’t let go the coat as we jump to the break.
The early 1980’s were a fertile period for Pete Townshend as a songwriter. Cue two of my favorites:
We begin our second act in earnest with a piece about former Small Faces, Faces, and Who drummer Kenney Jones.
Hard Act To Follow: Kenney Jones has taken a lot of shit for replacing Keith Moon in The Who. Most of it is unfair as Jones made no pretense to be the next Keith Moon.
Jones recently sat for an interview with Vulture’s Devon Ivie. Here’s the money quote:
I look upon it with fondness and sadness, because one of the things I regret in life is Keith Moon is no longer with us, and I wish he was. I mean, as far as I’m concerned there’s only one drummer for the Who, and that’s Keith Moon and always will be. So, I never tried to emulate him. Purposely, also, because I’m not nuts like he is. He was a good friend and we had such a laugh together. I miss him to this day.
Everyone should cut Kenney some slack. The Who made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, full membership. They were familiar with his work with Small Faces and The Faces. Jones also played on Rough Mix with Pete Townshend and Faces bassist Ronnie Lane. Its cover was featured in Album Cover Art Wednesday in 2018.
Kenney showed his chops on the opening track of that album:
I enjoyed reading the Jones-Ivie interview almost as much hearing Kenney play on Rod Stewart’s version of this Motown classic.
It’s lagniappe time, the Temptations original:
I’m proud that I got through that segment without a single drummer joke. There’s a first time for everything.
It’s time to take off your dancing shoes and put on your reading glasses.
The Book Report:
This week’s featured image The Concert by Johannes Vermeer was one of the priceless artworks stolen from Boston’s Gardner Museum in 1990. Bob Wittman was the FBI agent who *nearly* recovered some of that art including the Vermeer. He was foiled by police turf battles in both France and America.
I bought a used copy of Priceless for a pittance at the last symphony book sale in 2019. I hope it makes a comeback, it’s one of my favorite events.
I didn’t get around to reading Priceless until recently and I was surprised how well-written it is. That’s down to Wittman’s co-author John Shiffman who is a former reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer. He covered Wittman’s FBI career and was the perfect one to tell his story.
Wittman was the man who founded the FBI’s art crime unit. His focus was on recovery as opposed to punishment; a sensible approach since the sentences for art theft aren’t onerous.
One of the most interesting chapters in Priceless deals with Wittman’s techniques as an undercover agent. He always used his own first name in case he ran into anyone he knew and lied as little as possible because it’s hard to keep track of untruths. An example that the Impeached Insult Comedian will never emulate.
Priceless is a fine book for anyone interested in art or crime. I give it an Adrastos Grade of B+ and 3 1/2 stars.
The last word of our second act goes to The Band:
We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.
Separated At Birth: I’m still watching old episodes of Top Chef. While watching the original all-stars season, I realized how much douchey chef Marcel Vigneron resembled Michael Landon in I Was A Teenage Werewolf.
Marcel looks nothing like Landon in Bonanza, Little House On The Prairie, or those Kodak commercials the actor used to do.
The last word of the segment goes to The Tragically Hip:
I’m a huge Warren Zevon fan but *that* song has become a cliche. One could even say it’s become tragically unhip.
The Movie List: This one is inspired by the Book Report, which put art on my mind.
My Top Ten Favorite Artist Biopics
- Lust For Life
- Moulin Rouge (1952)
- Girl With A Pearl Earring
- Mr. Turner
- Vincent & Theo
- Camille Claudel
- The Agony and the Ecstasy
I hate Charlton Heston, but I like the #10 movie in spite of his presence: Rex Harrison as Pope Julius is to die for. I also had the privilege of meeting Irving Stone. Movies based on his fine historical novels came in at #1 and #10 on the list.
The last word of the segment goes to Jonathan Richman:
Here’s some lagniappe from Iggy Pop:
Saturday GIF Horse: Dr. A and I have been binge watching the great British police show Line Of Duty. It’s about an anti-corruption unit determined to take down “bent coppers.” I give the show 4 stars and an Adrastos Grade of A.
Line Of Duty. features the great Adrian Dunbar as Superintendent Ted Hastings. He’s known for his “Tedisms.”
Here are some more Tedisms starting with “mother of God,” which this atheist found himself saying the other day.
Let’s close down this virtual honky tonk with some more music.
Saturday Classic: This is an album I’d never heard of until last year. I dig it. What’s not to love about Rodgers & Hart?
That’s it for this week. The last word goes to Kirk Douglas as Van Gogh and Anthony Quinn as Gaugin in Vincent Minelli’s Lust For Life.