Monday, March 30, 2015

get my own swing on it


Number of American troops in Vietnam, 23,300 -- up from 16,300 the year before.

--------------------- [excerpt from Keith Richards' autobiography, Life] ----------------- Mick and I hadn't come all the way to New York in '64 not to go to the Apollo.  So I hooked up again with Ronnie Bennett.  We went to Jones Beach with all the Ronettes

in a red Cadillac.  The desk rang up, "There's a lady downstairs."  "Come on, let's go."  And it was James Brown's week at the Apollo.  Maybe Ronnie should describe what nice English boys we were -- contrary to popular belief:

Ronnie (Bennett) Spector:  The first time Keith and Mick came to America, they weren't successful, they slept on my mother's living room floor up in Spanish Harlem.  They had no money, and my mom would get up in the morning and make them bacon and eggs, and Keith would always say, "Thank you, Mrs. Bennett."  And then I took them to see James Brown at the Apollo, and that's what made them so determined.  Those guys went home and came back superstars.


Keith:  James Brown had the whole week there at the Apollo.  Go to the Apollo and see James Brown,

d--- f------ right....He was a piece of work.  So on the button.  We thought we were a tight band!...It was a fantastic show.  Mick's looking at his foot moves.... --------------------- [end Excerpt 1]

Wo!  I feel nice, like sugar and spice
I feel nice, like sugar and spice
So nice, so nice, I - got - you - !

Last week here we discussed the idea that art should be created and then offered to the public; the public should not be "polled" by the art-maker -- "What is it you will be willing to buy?"  (like -- whining)  "How can we -- uh -- get yer munn - ey??"

Working as an editor in New York, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's philosophy was:  "I never think in terms of best sellers, I think in terms of books."

That's what we're talking-about.

On the other hand, art also doesn't just come from nowhere, out of a "vacuum" -- musicians and other artists learn from each other, and are inspired by others' work...

----------------------- [Keith Richards, Life excerpt 2] -------------------- Chuck's

hands are big enough; he's got the stretch for all that barre chord playing.  Very long, slender hands.

It took me a couple of years to figure out how it was possible to sound like that with smaller hands.

It was by going to see Jazz on a Summer's Day, where Chuck plays "Sweet Little Sixteen."  I watched his hands, where they were moving and where the fingers were going, and discovered that if I transposed this into guitar keys, something with a root note, I could get my own swing on it.

Just the way Chuck did.

And the beautiful thing about Chuck Berry's playing was it had such an effortless swing.  None of this sweating and grinding away and grimacing, just pure, effortless swing, like a lion. ----------------- [end, excerpt 2] ----------------



Number of American troops in Vietnam, 475,200 -- down from 536,100 the year before.

----------------- [excerpt 3, Keith Richards' Life] --------- ...It was the first tour that the open-tuning riffs -- the big new sound -- were let loose on audiences.  The most powerful effect was on Ike Turner.

The open tuning fascinated him the way it had fascinated me.

He dragged me into his dressing room basically at gunpoint, I believe in San Diego.  "Show me that five-string shit."


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