Saturday, 29 August 2009


Your whoreson singer-songwriter is generally a pestilence, isn't he, there's millions of the bastards, all too good to work; a handful has emerged in the last fifty years which does anything more than whistle an unhappy tune.


mongoose said...

Me woman am gone and me dog am dead.

lilith said...

Can you really forgive Mr Browne for turning this swinging tune into a dirge? ;-)

call me ishmael said...

Certainly can, lilith. My big brother used to walk around the house in his drainpipes singing that falsetto part' years later I heard Jackson Browne reprise it and laughed out loud, I think the Load-out, which surrounds Stay, is just one of those incredibly pretentious things that West Coasters do and tripe, really, redeemed only by that remembrance of Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, who musta copped a few quid, at least.

This version of Before the Deluge, though, is better than usual ensemble playing, flawless, dunno what that bloke is doing with his Strat but he should have his fingers broken, bastard.

Overall, I like Jackson Browne and his big, boomy piano and his neat hair; the songs are all much the same but he plays them with a lot of spaces. I think Warren Zevon was almost infinitely more gifted, more damaged, too but I'd swop the whole West Coast mafia for a few bars of Nick Drake. Or Richard Thompson. Or the Incredible String Band.Or Roy Harper. Or that bloke you like, John Martyn. Or Bert Jansch. Or Davy Graham. The Blues is one thing but when it comes to the singer-songwriter thing, the English, the English, the English are best, I wouldn't give tuppence for all of the rest. Apart, of course, from Mr Billy Bragg, of the Daily
Telegraph, who is an arse.

Elby the Beserk said...

Hmmm. Not a nice man. Liked to beat his wife. Not my cup of tea at all, musically or as a youman bean.

call me ishmael said...

Never knew that,Mr elby, about the wide-beating, thought they all did that, anyhow, in showbusiness, all the greats, Lennon, Dylan & Co, the price of living with genius. As you know, it's something that hereabouts we deprecate entirely, kind of a Tottywatch thing, Pizzasville.

lilith said...

He does have very shiny hair. It is even shinier than mine. Perhaps his wife finished up all the conditioner, provoking him beyond all reasonable expectation of clemency. Billy Bragg is an abomination and his voice has a similar effect on my entrails as that of Brown, Bliar, Blunkett, Primarolo etc etc. No need to waterboard me...just play McRuin's conference speeches/Billy Bragg's oeuvre back to back and I will confess.

Ishkie said...

Jackson Browne never laid a finger on Daryl Hannah and everyone who has actually cared to find that out knows. Richard Thompson is fantastic -- I had an adventure with his son one night in Edinburgh. But a lot of Warren Zevon's best work as produced by and written with Jackson. I maintain that the two of them together is the way they were meant to be. After all, "Tenderness on the Block" is quintessential Jackson Browne and it's one of Warren's finest. They were both fantastic when we met...

call me ishmael said...

I probably agree with most of that, Ishkie, although I wouldn't cross the road to see Teddy Thompson, nor Julian Lennon or Jakob Dylan and certainly not Rufus Wainwright.

Mr elby generally speaks with some authority on matters rock'n'roll, maybe he heard something different. It's a moot point anyway, isn't it, the artist and his work, Beethoven was an arsehole by all accounts but it doesn't matter.

Sometimes I find myself thinking its all just slapstick, anyway, all of it and retire to stuff like Glenn Gould - have a look, a few posts back - and weep.

call me ishmael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elby the Beserk said...

Odd then that Mr. Browne takes no action over the assertion, which is widely reported.

I can give him the benefit of the doubt; but not for his muzak ;->>

call me ishmael said...

I don't know how many paid singers and songwriters we need, we probably had enough by the twelfth century and have been damagingly saturated with them ever since. I mean, why can't people just talk to each other?

Writing things down in rhyme and singing them aloud, however, is now deemed not only a job but a profession - along with everything else, even Tommy has colleagues where once he properly had comrades - and since wiser heads long ago determined that all professions are a conspiracy against the laiety, the reasonable man must view these jackanapes entertainers with scepticism if not downright hostility; never have so many been sung at by so many, only a tiny handful of whom have anything to sing worth hearing, much less knowing, and he, mumbling and crumbling (sic) in a cowboy hat, is long past his best.

Among this crew, however, Mr Browne, like the late Mr Zevon, is an accomplished, although somewhat limited musician who produced a clutch of recordings which while not shimmering like gold were workmanlike, well-crafted and more serious than most. They had none of the lengthy doodling of, say, the Dead, none of the druggy bombast of Skynrd or the ZeeZees, the cock-rock of the Stones and Zeppelin or the horrid, whining self-indulgence of James Taylor.

With his big boomy piano or his forest of acoustic guitars Browne seems to give his admirers value for money, playing his thoughtful wee tunes much as they were recorded.

This live version of Before the Deluge, though, seemed to have had more layers of muted embellishment applied, all perfectly executed, balanced, complementary, almost hypnotically seamless, in contrast to the apocalyptic temper of the lyrics.

These YouTubed interludes are an attempt to harmonise with song, lonesome sparrow-style, a house style which, mirroring its subject matter, is usually bleak, vengeful and raucous; tear-stained letters from Disadvantage, jagged postcards from Discordia.

I hadn't sought to start a war. Not about West Coast rock, anyway.

spark up said...


This live version of Before the Deluge, though, seemed to have had more layers of muted embellishment applied

too right, the sound level was so low i could hardly hear the fucker

major crocklips dundee said...


I hadn't sought to start a war. Not about West Coast rock, anyway.

wars have been fought over less, me old cobber, some cheeky pommy bastard gave my stilettos a queer look the other day, so i asserted myself directly underneath his triumphal archway...made quite a song and dance about it he did.

d'you write on that nme?