14 December 2012

Throw That Beat in the Trashcan

Taking a break from the drummage faves to mention an un-fave...

I'll admit that as a teen I feel into the stereotypical Beatles/Stones dichotomy trap, favoring the former over the latter. Over the years I've made slight and sporadic attempts at offsetting the short shrift that I gave the Stones. And lately, likewise with the group that was considered (for a time, at least) the Stones's UK rivals -- the Pretty Things.

Perhaps on account of being one of the most inappropriately-named bands in rock, the Pretty Things never made any significant blip on U.S. shores. But this is the tune what pulled me in:

Baron Saturday being Baron Samedi, the Haitian vodou loa of death; the ancestral spirit presiding over the afterworld. Which would explain the percussion breakdown/tangent/flurry towards the end of the tune -- it's supposed to be the group's approximation of vodou ceremonial drumming

Don't get me wrong -- I love everything about this song. That is, I love everything about it EXCEPT for the percussion break. It's clumsy, ill-fitting, and might very well be the worst rock'n'roll faux-ethnomusicological jaunt ever committed to tape.*  I usually find myself wandering out of the room when that part comes along, leaving for just long enough for it to be over.

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

At any rate, for those who might be lost and not sure what all this drummage banter is about: Simon Reynold's been culling the results from the throwdown (be they in bloggal or direct correspondence mode) over at his primary venue. Part one is here, and part two is here.

As an aside on the topic: I all but fell over when I saw that Kudwo Eshun had cited the Duke/Mingus/Roach Money Jungle album, which has been a favorite of mine. It's an intriguing one too, considering the difficult chemistry between the participants. (Ellington having fired Mingus from his band years earlier. But being the one that had to coax Mingus into returning to the studio in the middle of the Money Jungle session, after Mingus had packed up his bass and headed for the elevator because he couldn't stand working with Roach.)

When I was young, I pretty much hated drum solos in rock. I equated it with prog-y indulgence & such -- a tedious, insufferable breakage of form. And I didn't much care for for them when I first started listening to jazz in early adulthood. It took a few years before that changed -- of getting what the whole point of the solo was, in terms of the whole aesthetic point of "shifting and twisting the rhythmic center of the song" (or whatever) all over the place. Finally hearing some of Max Roach's work was what finally got that notion across to me.

Also: Drummage props due to Pere Lebrun and to (once again) ATTT.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

* (Okay, I realize that's a harsh and unfair exaggeration. But, anyway...)


BDR said...


No one's fault but yours.

Greyhoos said...


Phil Knight said...

Funnily enough I was going to include this in my militarism/death schtick:


Greyhoos said...

@ Phil: Another good one. But they had a lot of good ones.

And I've noticed lately how it seems like so many of the best clips of rock and jazz TV performances from that era come from French (or Dutch) TV.

Phil Knight said...

Yeah, I particularly like this Pink Floyd clip from French TV, where the presenter is almost part of the group, and is showing his fellow countrymen and women how to groove:


It's quite odd as most British bands, even the big ones, didn't sell particularly well on the European continent. They were kind of culturally over-valued as an exotic delicacy, whereas in the UK they were just an ordinary part of life.

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