“DEATH I PRAY, OH LORD, REMEMBER ME…” (B.B. KING, PERCY SLEDGE, JACK ELY, ERROL BROWN, R.I.P.)

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Let me tell you how big a deal B.B. King was.

CNN managed to write several hundred words to commemorate his passing and post it on their website without any obvious howlers.

Oh, they managed to emphasize his “influence” (mostly on famous white people) over his art. They neglected to mention that the reason he’s way more famous than, say, Freddie King, or Albert King (or Buddy Guy or Johnny Watson or Peter Green or Johnny Winter or a dozen or so other ace blues guitarists and/or showmen not named King) is because, unlike them, he was also a truly great singer.

But those are just the usual errors of omission.

Nothing like calling this guy an “R&B belter,” which must have been cut and pasted from the Wilson Pickett obit because wasn’t he also a black guy who recorded southern soul back in the sixties?

….Or calling this a “garage rock song”, evidently unaware that it was an R&B song, that “garage rock” describes a sound and an attitude (not a style of song, R&B or otherwise), and that, without the sound and attitude Jack Ely gave this particular R&B song, there probably would have been no need to call it something else.

…All of which makes saying this is “these days…better known as the theme song from the Louis C.K. series ‘Louie,'” merely a euphemism for “God help us all.”

Add Ben E. King to the roll call and since I’ve been doing this blog I don’t think there has been any month when rock and roll took such a hard hit. It’s getting late I guess.

And how does the world remember?

By mis-remembering.

Or reducing it to this:

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…And no doubt convening a panel of experts and having Wolf Blitzer quiz them about why the past keeps slipping down the memory hole. (“Hey, don’t you think Wolf can fill a fifteen minute slot with that? Don’t you? Sure he can!”)

Well, the man who dreamed “ain’t no difference if you’re black or white, brothers you know what I mean,” saw it coming…The prophets always do.

(For additional thoughts on Percy Sledge, you can go here or here. For Ben E. King’s recent obit, here.)

I NORMALLY DON’T DO POLITICS…(WHY I NEED ROCK AND ROLL, Session #6)

…But it’s an amazing day in America when a million people (in this case in Watertown, MA and surrounding environs) are told–absent a declaration of martial law or any evidence of properly obtained search warrants–to first stay inside and then get out of their homes, one by one, while “law enforcement” storms through.

So far as I know, no one has objected.

Of course, I just spent the night flipping between CNN, FoxNews and MSNBC, desperately searching for signs of journalism–or at least the absence of brain death.

Came up empty, alas.

So if martial law has been declared, or search warrants have been obtained, or someone is objecting, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t know.

Because, to a man and woman, every television reporter on the scene knows the real reason for the excitement is their own presence.

And to think just a week or two back I was on the very tip of becoming really, really concerned because one of them (it happened to be Wolf Blitzer, back then, but no sense picking on him as it could have been anyone) got all shivery over the prospect of North Korea launching some nukes because–and I think I have this quote exact–“it would certainly be an interesting story!”

Yes, Wolf, nuclear war would be interesting! Even more interesting than a couple of mad bombers getting spooked when the FBI–ever vigilant–releases their photographs and they end up panicking and murdering a police officer (who’d a thunk it?…not us, the FBI assured everyone, using NBC’s Pete Williams as the conduit for covering their incompetence just as though he, or anyone else involved, would ever have thought to question it–let us not say that secret police forces lack cunning!).

Pretty good stuff.

Nuclear war, though….That’s a whole other level.

You would get mad screen time!

And a chance to cover really interesting stories. Like what can happen if somebody does object:

The Isley Brothers “Ohio/Machine Gun” (Studio Recording)

[NOTE: Part of me wishes I had transcribed the truly vile manner in which CNN’s Jake Tapper and one of his cohorts whose name I’ve blissfully forgotten trivialized the police officer’s murder on the way to breathlessly discussing, ad nauseum, the truly “big deal” of the subsequent man-hunt. Another part of me is glad I turned away….to Fox News, where some other titan whose name I’ve forgotten, managed a “shot a police officer, who, tragically, died” in the midst of a five minute monologue about his own feelings as he was covering this really awesome event!…Whew! For a minute there, I thought the bottom had been reached. This summer I hear the drumming indeed. Goodbye us.]