Monday, March 27, 2006:

lovers and friends (and women, wives, temptresses, and mothers)

Eddie Bo -- I'll Keep on Trying
Eddie Bo -- Lover and a Friend (feat. Inez Cheatham)
O.C. Smith -- Friend, Lover, Woman, Wife
I stumbled onto Eddie Bo through DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist's work on Brainfreeze, which saw a very short print run followed by a much longer run of bootlegging: the mix sampled from a commercial jingle 7-11 had released on 45, and the company sent a cease and desist. Brainfreeze Breaks, which collected the 45s sampled in the live mix, is also out of print, which is a real shame: most of the songs sound great, and some of them are just short of impossible to find (like Fried Chicken's "Funky DJ," which is rare enough that the 45 goes for >$100).

Eddie Bo is still in print, though the only disc of his I have has minimalist packaging and the sort of liner notes that look like they must have been written in the empty space on the two of clubs. Bo is a New Orleans pianist who started in the 1930s in jazz, moved on to R&B, and from there to funk, with the occasional dip into blues. He's still alive and still playing, and after the requisite label hopping he formed his own label so he could quit getting ripped off. Most of what he has in print was released just recently, and I've yet to catch up with all of it (so far I've heard only I Love to Rock 'N' Roll, which I like quite a lot ... and which, in the two weeks since I got it, has also gone out of print).

"Lover and a Friend" comes in about six and a half minutes into "First" on Brainfreeze. The drumbeat and interplay of the vocals, even on the very little bit included, was enough to convince me I needed to hear the full song.

"I'll Keep on Trying" isn't in the mix--I just love the piano on it, and that vocal floating over it, with the horns swinging back and forth in back.

"Friend, Lover, Woman, Wife" is here thanks to the sharp eye of the mysterious Mr. X (not Peter Straub's Mr. X; this one has a different rare talent--he has a good eye for LPs that might have a good track. "I bet this has some neat things on it" he said, standing in front of a bin mostly full of holiday, novelty, Carol King, and Carly Simon cruft; and for $1 I was willing to give it a shot.)

"Friend, Lover, Woman, Wife" is a Mac Davis song. I remember liking Mac Davis quite a lot when I was younger, and so I thought I might post both versions. I took out Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me to give it a spin, and I decided shortly that I wouldn't.

This version is quite different from the original: it's got the same lyrics but with a much faster tempo, and I think it works better as a brassy R&B number with a funky guitar line and some drums to keep it clipping along.
Allmusic.com biography of Eddie Bo
Allmusic.com biography of O.C. Smith
[O.C. Smith -- Greatest Hits / Help Me Make It Through the Night]
[Eddie Bo -- I Love to Rock 'N' Roll]

...

I saw Inside Man yesterday and quite liked it, and think I understood most of it, but a (spoiler-heavy) chat on AskMe shows me I missed something important. Two things, though:

1) "Chaiyya Chaiyya" on the soundtrack, as opener and closer--why? I've seen Dil Se and I don't get it. What's the relevance?

2) Can the whole dolly zoom thing be put to rest already? It was neat in Vertigo, the first time I saw it, and okay the second, but by the end of the film it had been used once too often. Goodfellas made a neat use of it, when the lengthening distance actually corresponded to the story development right then: the massive shift in Hill's life on receiving that last assignment and realizing what it meant. In every film since then, it's either served as a purely visceral thrill or as something downright distracting. In the opening (and closing) monologue here it has no purpose, unless the purpose was to distract us from what the character was saying. It could be a useful technique again if someone actually used it for something new--like having the narrator speaking directly to the camera while a flashback goes on behind him, in different lighting--maybe a story about the police chasing some criminal: criminal runs from right to left; the camera continues dollying and zooming; police run across the screen after him, following the exact same trail but now seeming miles away. It could be done for comedy, or it could symbolize a trail gone cold. That visual depth has meaning, though; it's not just a geegaw to tuck in when you're afraid of looking too much like Ingmar Bergman.

... I guess while I'm working over cliches, I might as well do something for bullet time. How about having someone (Steve Carrell or Will Ferrell) get some shocking news in full-on body language mode--head back, eyes wide, mouth open--the camera circles him, and then he says, incredulous, "what!?"

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Comments:
Nice stuff!

By the way, Eddie Bo does a nice version of When the Saints Go Marching In on the new benefit album, "Our New Orleans."

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll definitely be looking for more Eddie Bo.

And I have ordered another Eddie Bo.

More on this later.

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