Full review of the Move festival in Manchester to follow, hopefully tomorrow. Somewhere in the middle of the picture above is Michale Stipe. And hopefully it conveys the spirit of the occasion.
NO WORDS NECESSARY...
Enjoying the relative tranquility of Beverley, East Yorks, the town I was born in many years ago. When I came here in April, I took hundreds of pictures with the intent of writing up a travelogue about the town, a place that I truly adore. Seeing it in person again reminds me I must get some of them up here and I will do, after next week. In the meantime though, relieved that on this journey over my laptop modem actually works (I love Apple, but my expensive Powerbook came with a faulty DVD/CD drive and a faulty modem), I've corrected some of the horrendous typos that slipped into the July Playlist, put up a couple of album sleeves too and posted the links to the label sites. Looking at it again, its a truly impressive collection of artists and albums to hit the market in such close succession: Elefant, Firewater, the Fever, Northern State, Britta Phillips and Dean Wareham, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and the excellent Yes New York compilation album too. You can check it out here.
Heading to England today. Got a lot going on in the next couple of weeks, and I hope to keep posting as it happens. In the meantime, as I say goodbye to good old New York for the best part of three weeks, I'm doing so with a July Hitlist : reviews of Ten New New York albums. The scene here continues to flourish. Please check them out.
Summer in the United States may not bring with it quality rock festivals as in Europe, but it does guarantee the emergence from winter hibernation of many an R&B and soul legend. Last year I got the chance to witness Wilson Pickett in person for the very first time, at a free lunchtime concert in downtown Brooklyn. This past Saturday, I saw Chuck Jackson perform, also for the first time, at the Catskill Mountain Foundation's Movie Theater in the town of Hunter.
Not your father's pensioner: 65-year old Chuck Jackson gets personal in the Catskills.
Jackson is not quite a household name in the manner of the Wicked Pickett, but for those who treasure the glory days of commercial soul, he's high up there. A member of the 1950s inter-racial doo-wop legends the Dell-Vikings, he went solo at the end of the decade and enjoyed top 40 American hits in 1961-62 with 'I Don't Want To Cry' and 'Any Day Now'. Later he teamed up with his Scepter/Wand label-mate Maxine Brown for duets like 'Can't Get You Out Of My Mind' - which showed up in a job lot of "northern soul" 7"s I purchased around 20 years ago and which I still own to this day. Jackson moved on to Motown Records at Smokey Robinson's urging, but struggled to maintain his visibility at that label among its other high profile performers. The occasional new recording aside, he's spent most of the last 35 years on the oldies circuit.
While that doesn't make him sound like someone you'd go out of your way for all these years later, Jackson, who will be 66 this month - old enough to draw a pension - serves as a vivid example to younger singers that if you stay in shape, look after your voice, and most importantly, love what you do and can demonstrate it, you'll maintain a thriving career for as long as you desire.
Still, I feared the worst when Jackson opened proceedings with Dan Hill's 1977 schlock hit 'Sometimes With When We Touch,' winding his way down the aisle in a lurid pink suit. Fortunately, only the night's brief closing chorus of R. Kelly's 'I Believe I Can Fly' matched this misguided choice: the rest of the set was genuine 60s pop-soul, delivered with great warmth, impressive power and a wide vocal range.
Stop...In The Name of Soul. Chuck Jackson takes a momentary breather.
And while some of his song choices may still have seemed, on the surface, mere Borsch Belt crowd-pleasers, there was usually a rationale behind them. 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow?' for example, could be interpreted as an ironic cry for remembrance from an ageing pop icon, but the 1961 number one hit for The Shirelles was also the cash cow with which Scepter Records financed Jackson's career. Not to mention that its author, Carole King, arranged Jackson's debut hit 'I Don't Want To Cry'. (He later reminisced about performing the package shows at the Brooklyn Fox Theater, asking "Do You Remember Murray The K?" and it was all I could do not to break into the chorus of The Ramones' 'Rock and roll Radio'.)
This was Jackson's fourth visit in as many years to the intimate 200-seater movie theater at Hunter, and many in the crowd appeared to be not just old faces, but even old friends. (Though it should be noted that they were entirely Caucasian old friends. Unlike the Brooklyn park audiences for Wilson Pickett or Percy Sledge, the only black faces here were on the stage.) Introducing that wedding song staple 'My Girl,' written by his Motown mentor Smokey Robinson, Jackson made it yet more personal by thanking an audience member - by name and sight - for the letter she'd sent him after last year's show in Hunter. Finally, the encore of 'Stand By Me' at first seemed like a little stage-managing, given that it was made famous by Ben E. King, who is performing at the same Theater as part of the same series later this year. But Jackson knew what he was doing: during the inevitable extended spoken breakdown, he suggested that he'd personally recommended his fellow R&B legend come perform at the venue.
Stand By Him..Chuck Jackson still delivers after 45 years in the biz
Intimate? In a room as small as this, Jackson was frequently able to hold the microphone at arm's length and still drown out the multi-racial backing band, and at one point when he opened his mouth wide to hold a high note, I swore I could see his tonsils vibrating behind those perfectly (re)constructed white teeth. His presentation was equally delightful: the pink suit, the gold chain, and the sweaty chest all played up to loveable clichés of the sensual soul slinger, but they also indicated a performer highly comfortable with his persona. Throughout the night, Jackson exuded equal parts sweat and charisma. It was a total pleasure.
Before Jackson came on, we learned the hard way that small town concerts are not like New York City ones. I bought my tickets two months ago so as to get great seats; we arrived at the venue to find they'd been given away. Why? We were 'late': the entertainment had started and we were considered no-shows. Never mind that I'd paid for the tickets months ago, that I'd had them in my hand all this time, that the venue was guilty of selling the same seats twice, and that we had made what we thought was a perfectly sensible and conscientious choice to sit out the evening's opening entertainment: tap-dancing. When we addressed the matter during the interval (and fortunately got our assigned seats back), the concert organizers suggested that next time we would be late for a concert
we call in advance to let them know. We had to smile. Fortunately, Chuck Jackson helped us do so.
JUNE30-JULY6: David Beckham, Geoffrey Armes, Happy Mondays, Step On at Royale
JUNE 23-29: Ceasars/The Realistics live, weddings and anniversaries, Cabaret laws.
JUNE 9-23: Hell W10, The Clash, Big Audio Dynamite, Nada Surf live, Field Day debacle
JUNE 2-8: Six Feet Under - Over, Field Day, Siren Fest, Crouching Tigher Hidden Cigarette
MAY 19-JUNE 1: Ian McCulloch live, New York's financial woes, Six Feet Under, Hedonism, Tommy Guerrero.
MAY 5-18: Live reviews of The Rapture, De La Soul, Carlsonics, Laptop, The Libertines, Echoboy, The Greenhornes; observations on Chris Coco/The Blue Room, The Apple Music Store, Alan Freed, Phil Spector, The Matrix Reloaded, Rare Earth, Tinnitus and Royale!
APRIL 28-MAY 4: Flaming Lips, Madonna, Bill Maher, The Dixie Chicks, the war
APRIL 21-27: Rotary Connection, War(n) Out, Cocaine Talk
APRIL 14-20: Belated London Musings on Death Disco and CPFC.
APRIL 7-13: London Musings: Madness, Inspiral Carpets, the Affair, the Palace, the Jam
MARCH 31-APRIL 6: Music be the spice of life, London Calling: Ten Observations from the Old Country
MARCH 24-30: Six Foot Under, Peaches/Elefant live, MP Frees and Busted Boy Bands
MARCH 17-23: Röyksopp live, Transmission, Worn-Out War Talk
MARCH 10-16: Live reviews: Stratford 4, Flaming Sideburns, Joe Jackson Band, Linkin Park. Why I Oppose The War (For Now).
MARCH 3-9: The Pursuit of Happiness, Weekend Players, U.S. Bombs, Al Farooq, A New Pessimism, Brooklyn Half Marathon
FEBRUARY 24-MARCH2: Orange Park, Ali G-Saddam Hussein-Dan Rather-Bill Maher-Jon Stewart TV reviews, Stellastarr*, James Murphy, The Station nightclub fire, the Grammys
FEBRUARY 17-23: Village Voice Poll, Singles Club, Smoke and Fire
FEBRUARY 3-16: Snug, The Face, Pink, Supergrass live, Keith Moon, Phil Spector, Gore Vidal
JANUARY 27-FEBRUARY 2: Communist Chic, Spiritland, Daddy You're A Hero, Keith Moon, State of the Union, CPFC and more on Iraq
JANUARY 20-26: Divisions of Laura Lee, Burning Brides, Words On War, Child Abuse of a Different Kind, Losing My Edge
JANUARY 13-19: Pete Townshend, Pee Wee Herman, South Park and more Pete Townshend
JANUARY 6-12: Interpol in concert, Tony Fletcher's Top 10 Albums and Singles of 2002, More on Joe Strummer and The Clash, Fever Pitch and Bend It Like Beckham.
DECEMBER 31 2002 -JAN 5 2003: A tribute to Joe Strummer, Radio 4 live on New Year's Eve
DECEMBER 25-30: NO POSTINGS: ON VACATION
DECEMBER 16-24: Metro Area, Breakbeat Science, Sting makes Wine, New York Downtown redesigns, Keith Moon anecdotes, Campbell's jokes.
DECEMBER 9-15: Tiswas, pledge drives, The View from Up North
DECEMBER 2-8 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Weekend Players and Snow Lit Piano Bars)
FOR NOVEMBER 25-29 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Joe Hurley, Thanksgiving, Sven Väth, Richie Hawtin)
FOR NOVEMBER 16-24 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Longwave, The Pleased, Get Your War On, Powder, Radio 4, Supreme Beings Of Leisure, Ben Neill, Baldwin Brothers, Thievery Corporation)
FOR NOVEMBER 9-15 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes CMJ report including Datsuns, von Bondies and My Favorite, and political Eagles)
FOR NOVEMBER 2-8 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Halloween, the New York Marathon, and British Cuisine)
FOR OCTOBER 26-NOV 1 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes live reviews of The Streets, Mooney Suzuki, Sahara Hotnights, Flaming Sideburns, Stellastarr*; Jam Master Jay; Halloween)
FOR OCTOBER 19-25 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Underworld live, Atlantic Avenue antics, Girls and Boys night)
FOR OCTOBER 12-18 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Bali Bombing and stupid editorials, the Electro-Clash festival, VHS Or Beta, Ballboy, Mindless Self Indulgence, 2 Many DJs, Tom Petty, The Streets, pointless stop-the-war e-mails)
FOR OCTOBER 5-11 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Steve Earle and John Walker's Blues, Dreaming Of Britney, Girls Against Boys and Radio 4)
FOR SEPTEMBER 28-OCT 4 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes White Stripes live, Morel live, My Generation re-issue)
FOR SEPTEMBER 21-27 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes The Creation live, Village Voice, Wine not Whine and more)
FOR SEPTEMBER 14-20 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Firefighter Andre Fletcher, Untamed, Uncut, and more September 11 Musings)
FOR SEPTEMBER 7-13 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Sep 11 memorials, Did Bin Laden Win?, Scissor Sisters and Electro-clash)
FOR AUGUST 31-SEPTEMBER 6 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes The Strokes live, The Rising, Saint Etienne, Team USA, a.i., Tahiti 80, Dot Allison)
FOR AUGUST 17-30 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes holiday musings, wine reviews, Luna at Southpaw, and more)
FOR AUGUST 10-16 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes lengthy Who live review)
FOR JULY 27-AUG 9 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Area 2, 24 Hour Party People Party, Hootenanny Tour, 2 Many DJs and more.
FOR JULY 20-26 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Wilson Pickett, John Entwistle, rebuilding downtown NYC)
FOR JULY 13-19 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Love Parade, Teany, RenewNYC, Femi Kuti, NRA, Londonisation of New York, Britishification of Global Rock)
FOR JULY 6-12 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Mike Meyers as Keith Moon, the RAVE Act, John Entwistle, Michael Jackson, Southpaw, Moby Online, Layo & Bushwacka!,(accidentally deleted)
FOR JUNE 29-JULY 5 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup Final, John Entwistle's legacy, The Who's decision to carry on, the meaning of July 4)
FOR JUNE 22-28 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, Dr. John, Doves, Mermaid Parade, John Entwistle's death, Timothy White's death, Clinic Firewater and Radio 4 live, The Who's decision to carry on)
FOR JUNE 15-21 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, Liars live, GiantFingers, the Big Takeover)
FOR JUNE 8 -14 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, StellaStarr*, Jose Padilla, Dee Dee Ramone, suicide bombings)
FOR JUNE 1-7 DAILY MUSINGS, CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, Southpaw, Six Foot Under, Andrew Sullivan)
FOR LATE MAY DAILY MUSINGS, CLICK HERE
FOR MAY'S EIGHT DAYS IN A WEEK'S MUSINGS, CLICK HERE
FOR LATE APRIL LONDON MUSINGS, CLICK HERE
FOR EARLY APRIL MUSINGS, CLICK HERE