Dr. A is more disciplined that I am. She’d been on a rather stringent diet until she came home craving a burger but not at midnight. We ordered delivery from Shake Shack in the broad daylight. I’m not sure if the Nighthawks are eating hamburgers but I wouldn’t be surprised.
This week’s theme song was written by Lowell George and Roy Estrada in 1970 for Little Feat’s eponymous debut album. It’s a long-time favorite of mine; one that I used to request when I saw the band live. They ignored my pleas. And I wrote such a lovely tribute to Paul Barrerre in 2019. Oh well, what the hell.
We have three versions of Hamburger Midnight for your listening pleasure: the studio original, a 1973 live version, and a 2014 live version with guest vocalist Vince Herman.
Little Feat’s first single was Hamburger Midnight/Strawberry Flats. Here’s the B-Side:
Now that I’ve made you flat-out peckish, let’s jump to the break.
Since the writers of today’s theme song met in the Mothers of Invention, here’s a song that Lowell and Roy played on:
FYI. Weasels Ripped My Flesh was the fourth record featured on Album Cover Art Wednesday way back on 3/4/2013.
Let’s get serious with the first full-blown segment of our second act.
You Say Pot Hunters, I Say Grave Robbers: Art crime both fascinates and appalls me, especially when it involves literal cultural appropriation. That’s the case in a great WaPo magazine piece by Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson. She poses the eternal question: Will Mass Robbery Of Native American Graves Ever End? I certainly hope so.
Let’s dance away from this sensitive subject with some music by Robbie Robertson who’s part Mohawk:
Documentary Of The Week: I don’t understand why fans take sides in disputes between members of their favorite rock bands. I am strictly neutral in the Lennon-McCartney, Young-Crosby, and Waters-Gilmour wars. For me, it’s all about the music. The rest is just noise.
One of the most spectacular falling outs in rock and roll history was between Robbie Robertson and Levon Helm of The Band. It’s a pity since they made such great and enduring music together. Robbie tells his side of the story in Once Were Brothers.
It’s an excellent documentary that details the rise and fall of The Band. Robertson remains wistful about the demise of his relationship with Helm. He makes a strong case that heroin and paranoia destroyed their brotherhood. I did not know that Robbie visited Levon in the hospital as the latter lay dying. Unfortunately, Helm did not regain consciousness so there was no chance to bury the hatchet. RIP, Levon.
I particularly enjoyed hearing more about gentle and enigmatic pianist-vocalist Richard Manuel. Heroin destroyed him. He took his own life in 1986. Richard’s tragic ending inspired this song that Robertson sang with Peter Gabriel:
There’s nothing worse than falling out with someone you were once close to. I’ve been there and it hurts but there are some relationships that cannot be mended. Bitterness is as powerful an emotion as love or hate.
Here’s the trailer for Once Were Brothers:
Once Were Brothers is currently streaming on Hulu. I give it an Adrastos Grade of B+ and 3 1/2 stars.
The last word of our second act goes to (who else?) The Band featuring the vocal stylings of Levon Helm:
We begin our third act without our favorite stolen feature. Separated At Birth needed some alone time and naturally I granted it. It’s what Gilbert O’Sullivan would have wanted.
Oops, he’s still alive. Sorry, dude or is that O’Dude?
The Movie List: It’s time for another character actor list. Sam Levene popped up in many of my favorite films of the 1940’s and ’50’s. He was tight with Burt Lancaster, so it’s no surprise that they worked together in 3 movies that made the list.
Until compiling this list, I didn’t know that Sam Levene was a big deal on Broadway. He played Nathan Detroit in the original production of Guys and Dolls and Al Lewis in The Sunshine Boys. On screen the parts were played by Frank Sinatra and George Burns respectively. Not bad company.
In case you don’t know what Sam Levene looked like, here he is with Burt Lancaster in The Killers:
You’re probably saying, “Oh that guy. I remember the face but not the name.”
My Top Ten Favorite Sam Levene Movies
- The Killers
- Sweet Smell Of Success
- Brute Force
- Shadow Of The Thin Man
- After The Thin Man
- Guilty Bystander
- And Justice For All
- Slaughter on 10th Avenue
Saturday GIF Horse: Burt Lancaster as Elmer Gantry. Say no more.
We keep that small town feeling with our next segment.
TCM Clip Of The Week: Johnny Cougar knows from small towns, y’all.
The overtly obvious musical follow-up:
I’d forgotten what a kick ass video that is. No wonder it was a big hit.
It’s a pity that John’s daughter Teddi was such a stiff on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. She was best known as Kyle Richards’ sycophant; probably why she got fired.
Benign Earworm Time: Writing about Once Were Brothers gave me this totally unrelated earworm. It’s all in the name.
Let’s close down this virtual honky tonk with some more music. Rock on, readers.
Saturday Classic: We move from roots rock to glam rock with this classic T Rex album. Jeepster remains one of my favorite songs.
That’s all for this week. The last word goes to William Powell, Myrna Loy, and Sam Levene in Shadow Of The Thin Man.