Friday, 8 January 2010


One of Maestro Thompson's trickier songs, nobody sings it, let alone plays it as well; unfortunately, a decent Thompson YouTube version doesn't exist, this is the best I could find.

"Ah, they came in their thousands, from the whole human race, to pay their respects at his last resting place." And this, his seventy-fith birthday, so they do, bless them.


Dick the Prick said...

That Sir, is a top quality song. 'She dressed in the dark' - is that a metaphor for how her life was lived, under dominion from a loveless marriage or just the fact that she was getting the fuck out of Dodge to visit the King? I dunno - guess it doesn't matter. Cheers though.

Am only 34 so the Elvis thing has kinda been an historical entity but me ol' dear loves him too - as do most.

call me ishmael said...

Thanks Mr DTP, I am a little older than you but even so the Elvis thing is just a curiosity to me, I feel no emotion. A handful of Sun recordings should earn him a place in the global archive but Oh, those fucking films.

Galway to Graceland, in a few verses, nails what happens when people buy-into the myths of showbiz and it is as metaphor rich as you like.

Happy New Year.

mrs narcolept said...

I have missed your music selections. They always start me off on a search for More Like This.

call me ishmael said...

Thank you. In this case, Mrs Narcolept, I don't think there are any 'more like this.' Thompson has a rare gift for finding the poetry in the most mundane and framing it with virtuosity. I was reminded of this by the sight of so many elderly ladies flooding into Gracelands, just now, to be, unashamedly, with the King on his birthday; Thompson, though, saw it and captured it years ago.
I do wish that others, like our friend, Lilith,could see what can be seen in this man's output.

Dick the Prick said...

Dear Mr Ishmael

And a very Happy New Year to you too.

He certainly was a showman though - the classic 'star' which has long since been overtaken by the crass, baseless and mediocre sobriquet of 'celebrity' whatever the hell that's supposed to mean. A guy who was once in a film, an errant chav who was enticed to release some drivel song to be consumed by kids on these 24 hour rolling music channels which, if ever they were to play music would have their advertising budgets slashed in an instant.

His films were pretty terrible but they also hark to the naiviety of the time - that he too was but a manufactured act, with little or no song writing ability - a good looking guy with a decent voice. But, and the but is massive - he was a pioneer, an original, the first to hit the big time. And, he was to his bones a showman, an entertainer and so humanly flawed.

If to compare currently - I dunno - Elton John? George Michael? Bruce Springstein? The world spins on and I guess that's a good thing.

All the best


mongoose said...

Is that that Mary Black there a-murdering dat one? Good song though.

First we had Saint Joni, then we had Saint Bonnie and now we have Saint Lisa.

(Someone somewhere posted that before Christmas. Apologies if it was you, Mr Ishmael.)

call me ishmael said...

A great song. A pearl made almost clay. Not Mary Black, mr mongoose, Eleanor Shanley, some other similarly limited, showy biddy - breathless, girly urgency, twiddly-diddly playing, safe and orderly, antiseptic, reproduceable at a Yamaha keyboard near you.

Thompson snarls poignantly at the acres of sorrow which we inhabit, there-theres away the cruelty of hero worship; his hands storm and rage, coax and comfort, chasing heartbreak up and down the fretboard; between the clusters and the flourishes and the thirds and fifths and suspended fourths lie the vast silences of loneliness, futility and Death. I will try to find a Thompson version.

mongoose said...

"Show biddy" - ouch! Spot on, as usual.

Mothers Ruin said...

Not only one of our finest artists,largely ignored by the mainstream,he also seems to recognise fame as the false God that it is. With his wry gentle wit he retains that ordinariness that is in stark contrast with the "King". Easy to understand Thompson's talent,but Elvis did have something powerful about his performance,perhaps just a natural gift as opposed to craftsmanship.
A lovely post. Many thanks.

call me ishmael said...

Yes, well said, MR. I came late to Thompson the solo artist. I think it was an absorption in his Watching The Dark anthology which helped me grow-out of decades of immaturity.

It is the idolising of Elvis which I find curious, if harmless; something to do with the invention of teenagers as an economic market, a thing hitherto unknown; that, unwittingly, was his major cultural impact.

No question about his early magnetism, see Heartbreak Hotel, '56, a couple of posts further on up the road.

Mothers Ruin said...

Immature teenage idolotry is excusable as the romance of youthful vitality. Let's face it,we've all been there. But as you point out,there is something slightly comical and disturbing in pensioner groupies wetting themselves over a long dead hipster.
As a latecomer to the world of celebrity worship,do you have to beat off old ladies with a stick,as they throw their incontinence pants on to your virtual stage? Some of us would be grateful if you could see your way clear to pass on any that are surplus to your needs to us roadies,who can only rely on a promise of introducing them to the band.

call me ishmael said...

No panties, I fear and anyway my young friend, stanislav, the polish plumber, grew so fretful at his celebrity that he has all but disappeared, celebrity is not something courted or welcomed hereabouts.

I have mentioned previously that without an audience there is no entertainment, much less art and therefore I see this place as a thoroughfare of dissent, the visitors as important, more important, than the commentaries.