Bonnie Raitt covered Paul Brady's Not the Only One for her Luck of the Draw album in 1991, and gave it a whole new life. It's one of my favourite of her recordings, and it's impeccably done. It gets the Was (Not Was) treatment, too, even if it doesn't quite sound like one of their songs; producer Don Was polished every note and brought in the very best musicians ... particularly Was (Not Was)'s Sweet Pea Atkinson and Sir Harry Bowens on backing vocals. The crescendo at the end starts with Raitt's guitar, but the gentlemen finish it off. (It actually bothered me that all of it got faded out when the single was released!)
In the meantime, here's Paul Brady's version, which came out in the Eighties.
This is one of the tracks from Peter Gabriel's self-titled 1982 album (a.k.a. Security), and I played it quite a bit at the time. Kiss of Life doesn't necessarily age well, but it has a lot going on, and was way ahead of the curve for using samplers and multiple rhythms. Hard not to move during the last bit, too, even now.
Here's the latest puzzle of a dream: last night, I dreamed that Flattop and 88 Keyes, two of the Dick Tracy villains, were in St. John's. Doing what, I'm not sure, but they were at a swanky party that I was attending. Some odd-looking faces, but they didn't seem to jibe with other characters I could recognize ... at least before I woke up!
This is pretty sweet: a little boy celebrating his Star Wars-themed birthday party finds Darth Vader, and then challenges and (of course!) vanquishes him ... and then finds out Vader is his dad, a U.S. Navy sailor on a surprise visit home.
Not quite the "Luke, I am your father" scene, but adorable.
I grew up thinking that the Walker Brothers were British. After all, their signature Sixties songs were recorded over there, they were huge there, and their tunes came over in the wave that brought the Beatles, the Stones, the Who, Kinks, Lulu and countless other acts.
And several things I thought turned out to be wrong, too.
First, they weren't British, but American, and had relocated to London to kickstart their career.
Second, their last names were not Walker. That's a stage name.
Third, they weren't brothers. They were, in fact, not even related. The Walker Brothers was a stage name the trio created.
Fourth, Scott Walker - the brilliant singer who went on to become of the most peculiar out-there artists who worked in both pop and avant garde (and the subject of the absorbing documentary 30th Century Man) - had a different first name going growing up. Noel Scott Engel has gone by his second name professionally since his teens.
All the same, the Walker Brothers are a curious act. They weren't the first to take a crack at The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine, but they own it, in part because of the intricate orchestration and production; in the aforementioned documentary, Walker (a notorious recluse who does very few interviews, ever) talked about the precise sound he wanted to hear. It's remarkable how clean it sounds almost 50 years later.
We were engaging in one of those meaningless but always enjoyable conversational riffs: which James Bond movies do you enjoy the most. Mine vary from time to time, but include On Her Majesty's Secret Service and You Only Live Twice (each considered, on release at least, to be something of a box office disappointment) not to mention all-out blockbusters like Thunderball and Goldfinger.
"Ahh," said our son, "you go for the early ones."
Well, yes, I guess I do.
I think I'll be revising my proverbial list (I always do, anyway); on Friday night, we braved the mall - it was MIdnight Madness, the weekend when the stores stay open late and they bring in security to conduct the traffic - to see Skyfall on its opening night. Yep, we're that kind of James Bond family.
It turns out the generous reviews have been on target. Skyfall really is that good. I put a lot of the credit with director Sam Mendes, who emphasizes story and character as much as spectacle and dazzling visuals ... and the latter are there, too. The investment of the reboot of Casino Royale six years ago pays off splendidly here, and the franchise brings back several key elements, chief among them the Bond sense of humour. There's actually a whole theme of what the movie calls the old ways: key characters are reintroduced, and not just Q (I'll leave the other as the surprise that the movie earns) but ongoing riffs and nods. See above for the return of the Aston Martin, whose ejector seat makes for a one-liner.
There's more: the gadgets are back, with a knowing reference and a scaled-down appreciation. With Javier Bardem's Silva, a villain worth putting up against Goldfinger himself. The globe-hobbing locales. And, yep, the guitar riff of the theme. (Not to mention a theme song that will probably get Adele an Oscar nomination, if not a win.)
Speaking of Oscars, the calibre of the cast is something else. Mendes, a winner himself, brought back not only Craig and Judi Dench, but adds Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney and Bardem to the screen. The Bond pattern was usually to get curiosities and character actors to round out the parts. Consequently, with a decent script (cowriter John Logan is arguably one of the best currently in the business, in any genre) and a confident director, the cast make for a Bond movie that has something new: genuine depth. Go figure.
I'm game to see it again: not to revel in the performances, mind you, but to absorb the whole spectacle again, and, yes, enjoy the jokes. As a Bond movie, Skyfall really works on that level, too.
One of the podcasts I like listening to while I make coffee and putter about the house is Alec Baldwin's Here's the Thing, which is produced by WNYC in New York. The show is an extended chat with a notable person, often someone in entertainment, with often insightful results; Baldwin, it turns out, has a knack for conversation. Last night, I listened to the latest show, with Andrew McCarthy - yes, the Andrew McCarthy who was in movies like St. Elmo's Fire and who is still best known as being a member of the so-called Rat Pack of Eighties movie stars. And since then, he ... well, I had no idea.
As it turned out, McCarthy has continued to work in movies, TV and theatre, often as a director, but he's made a very different niche for himself as a travel writer. The thing that put him on the Here's The Thing is a memoir called The Longest Way Home, which seems to be not so much as seeing the world as learning how to grow up. (McCarthy is about to turn 50.)
I like hearing interviews of people whose work I know well, but I also like being surprised, and finding something interesting in something I had never (to be frank) cared much about.
Out now from self-described micro-press Running The Goat is a new Jack story by Andy Jones, who has been collecting and telling them now for a few decades. Jack and Mary in the Land of Thieves features illustrations by Darka Erelji, and it's on my list.
Running The Goat even produced a pretty nifty video to promote it. Here it is:
Dot Dot Dot is Morse code for the letter 'S,' the full message Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have received atop Signal Hill in St. John's in 1901. It ushered in the age of telecommunications. My maternal grandfather worked as a telegraph operator for Canadian Marconi on Signal Hill for many years.
As well, I have a habit of overusing the ellipsis when I write ... as frequent readers might notice.