Thursday, May 12, 2005


Me and my brother send each other postcards from places we visit with lyric puns.

Some are geographical, with particular favourites being;

Worcester story morning glory

Exeter movement of Jah people

It's these little things they can Poolewe under, live your life filled with joy and wonder

and my all-time number one, Piccadilly Circus with the staue of Eros carefully cut out captioned no more Eros anymore.

Others reference the picture on the front of a card, such as badger by golly wow or I don't care too much for Monet.

I travel more than him so I get to send more, but recently he's been touring America in the footsteps of the civil rights movement. His postcard from Heathrow said he'd 'walked off to look for America'. (My Heathrow card a few years back went for a quote from Cool For Cats).

I got this card

and the caption?

He tried his best to actually transcribe the riff, as he explained in an email

I really wanted to write an instrumental line from Apache on that card. Sandy and I sat on the steps of the Montgomery Visitors Centre for 20 minutes trying to write out some "duh duh duhs" that would make sense.

Which is a comedy vision in itself.

This, coinciding with my putting up a ska version of Apache on my MP3 blog made me go and dig out the original.

It is a truly great record.

I know The Shadows are seen as something safe and sanitised and, well, Cliff Richard's backing band for fuck's sake, and also those later albums full of covers of contemporary hits turned them into a sort of guitar version of Richard Clayderman, but that's no reason to dismiss everything they ever did.

They came through in a time when pop music was very simple. The emotions expressed were largely just 'I've got you I feel great', 'you've left me I feel bad', 'I like you but haven't told you yet', etc. The idea of doing less easily defined feelings and blends of contradictory emotions wouldn't really come through till the mid 60s with things like God Only Knows and Help!.

Yet back there in 1960 The Shadows came out with this really cool yet unearthly track. There's no rock n roll backbeat, indeed the drums are pushed right into the background and the acoustic guitar is the driving rhythmic force. The atmosphere just hangs; arid, sweeping and sinister.

Ennio Morricone's soundtracks for spaghetti westerns are rightly recognised as masterpieces of sparse prickly tension. Apache is a pop precursor to those compositions.

Really, go download Apache, it's amazing.

No comments: