Thursday, October 18, 2018
Jolie Blonde - Clifton Chenier and The Red Hot Louisiana Band
I love a lot of bands who take the music and turn it inside out, all the way upside down, go ahead on with it in every direction, use all the keys, you know, and twist that thing until it screams for mercy. Not a lot of bands do that anymore, but it was popular in the 1940s, '50s, and '60s with a certain kind of miscreant. Guys like me still enjoy those performances. (Listen to a good version of "Chasing the 'Trane" if you don't know what I mean.)
But I also love, and honestly I think that I value more, a band that just plays the songs smooth and tight, with everybody hooked up to the hive-mind, playing it just the way that they practiced it, just the same way, as though they respected the song and the arrangement with such religious devotion that they would not even think of fucking it up with any deviation from the ideal. James Brown would understand what I mean. He'd fine people a week's pay if they deviated from what he thought was perfect.
Mr. Clifton was a lot more laid back that James, but his band is tight, and they play this shit right on the money.
Fred, back away from the keyboard, you're about to say some kind of "get off my lawn!" shit. The old days will necessarily fade from our memory, and fade from importance as we, the rememberers, die off. I'd like to think, though, that there will always be some young whippersnappers out there who will continue to give a shit, along with some tweed-wrapped academics whom I hope will make a living teaching this old but wonderful material.