About Nondisposable Johnny

John Ross blogs from Havana, Florida. He works for a living so please don't take it personally if he doesn't get back to you right away.

ANOTHER REMINDER THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS GET TOMORROW’S NEWS HERE FIRST

Because human nature is really not hard to predict. From NBC news tonight regarding the toppling of U.S. Grant’s statue in San Francisco:

Demonstrators Topple Statues in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park

…as predicted by me, three years ago.

(In other news, they got Cervantes, too. He was a former slave, but to Muslims, so that doesn’t count in a country where the majority of the population believes the United States invented slavery.)

Hey, Eddie. Before I leave this alone for a while….Remind ’em where we are now and just which road we’re on:

FIRST CAST THE BEAM (Found in the Connection: Rattling Loose End #156)

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

KJV Matthew 7:5

Little Steven Van Zandt posted a question to his followers on Twitter asking them to name the first album or single they bought. One of the responses was Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd (the hilarious, self-mocking title of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s first LP).

In reply someone whose Twitter handle is TrumpIsaCriminal wrote:

@littlestevenug  should play Skynyrd for a lark. They were not as ahead of the curve as the Allman Brothers, but they were not racists ( though some of their fans might have been).

I immediately thought “As opposed to who else’s fans I wonder?”

It got hilarious, though, when I scrolled through the first two hundred or so responses and found not a single black person had replied, and only one person had mentioned a black record (Eddie Kendricks’ “Keep On Truckin'”). To be fair I had been led to the feed in the first place by Odie Henderson’s funny tweet about going into a record store to buy the Four Tops’ “Reach Out” and hearing Chuck Berry’s “My Ding-a-Ling” on the store speakers and buying that instead. So one black person DID reply, even if he is a professional film critic.

I mean, if Ronnie Van Zant was still alive and had a Twitter account and asked his followers to list the first records they ever bought, the response wouldn’t have been more racist than that would it?

Yeah, I didn’t think so:

DEVIL’S DOUBLE DICTIONARY: Hypocrisy

hypocrisy: the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform

When a man changes his mind to disagree with me: Opportunism

When a man changes his mind to agree with me: Growth

All entries in the Devil’s Double Dictionary at RPM will be accompanied by this photograph of Ambrose Bierce, author of the original Devil's Dictionary.

All entries in the Devil’s Double Dictionary at RPM will be accompanied by this photograph of Ambrose Bierce, author of the original Devil’s Dictionary.

SOONER OR LATER, THEY’LL COME FOR SOMETHING YOU CARE ABOUT….

Because it’s not about the Confederacy…and it’s not about statues:

Liverpool’s Penny Lane…

Philadelphia’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution…

…Next?

Don’t worry. If you don’t care about these, they’ll be around for you soon. Then you can scream “But I’m a liberal!” and give them a chance to say “We know. Thank you!”

HERE WE ARE (Track-By-Track)

Here We Are (1982)
The Jive Five

NOTE: I’m taking a little break from my slow progress through my twenty favorite vocal albums for this one. It could have easily been in that group anyway (such lists are always subject to the whims of the day they were compiled) and, since I missed lead singer/auteur Eugene Pitt’s passing in 2018, I offer this as tribute and R.I.P.

The Jive Five were one of the more successful doo wop groups (two-hit wonders!–double the usual!…but they did hang on through the 60’s) and Pitt was one of the genre’s greatest singer/songwriters. He kept some form of the Five alive for decades and this LP, recorded for Ambient Sound as part of a series the label produced in an attempt to revive and modernize classic doo wop, was the pinnacle of that series (which included the Harptones and Randy and the Rainbows) and of Pitt’s career.

It knocked my socks off in 1982.

It still does.

Here I Am”–A perfect updating of Pitt’s signature sound, a lugubrious predecessor of soul now translated for a post-soul generation. Pitt was one of the few singers of any era who was a serious collector of his style But his greatest influence was himself.

“Never, Never Lie”–This isn’t just an update but a sequel to “My True Story,” one of the group’s early hits. Remarkably, Pitt takes the opposite take from most singers recalling past glory and turns in a model of restraint, going off only at the end. Perfect.

“Don’t Believe Him Donna”–A call-and-response with “Arlene Smith’s Chantels” (not sure if Arlene was actually present or not, but the associations are powerful anyway). Any easy ride but it accomplishes its goal: I believe Donna should pick Eugene!

“Hey Nineteen”–A complete re-imagining of Steely Dan’s hit and worth their entire career. No shame in that. It’s worth a lot of careers. The loss of 60’s idealism and optimism was bound to be more painful for Black America than White. One need only glance around, in 1982 or now. One of the greatest vocals ever waxed and one of the greatest arrangements.

“Hey Sam”–1958 with a lightning volt running through it. Then it goes insane.

“Never, Never Change”–A nice change of pace. No showing off, just a nice ride in a gentle stream that, if you pay strict attention, takes you a little further than you thought it might.

“Chains”–A remake of the Cookie’s fine hit, lifted to another sphere by Pitt’s choice to arrange it as a baritone/tenor showcase for himself and a chorale/falsetto showcase for the group.

“Magic Maker, Music Maker”–Another ace arrangement using every trick in the doo wop ballad book with Pitt rising to the chorus like a man who hadn’t forgotten anything that happened in the decades since.

“Oh Baby”–Back to uptempo with glorious results. The most fun to sing along with.

“Say You’ll Be There”–Smooth. Very smooth.

“He’s Just a Lucky Man”–One last rocker, the greatest celebration by a loser you ever heard. Until the last verse calls losing into question…Sounds like the man just might be able to dance his way out of it!

“Baby You’re My Only Love”–Well, how would you close it down other than with a final plea? I believe him. Really.

Here We Are was, with the Persuasions’ Chirpin’ and the Belmonts’ Cigars Acapella Candy, one of the three great post doo wop albums that pointed to the path not taken–what might have been if other styles had not emerged (mostly from doo wop itself) and subsumed the founders. Eugene Pitt had a vision as clear and forceful as anyone’s and he remained true to it to the end. His passing means as much to me as Little Richard’s and I’m sorry it took until now to pay tribute.

UPDATE…

I just want to let everyone know that I’ve now fully migrated my site to an updated version. Everything should still work the same way but if you have problems commenting or doing anything else let me know via email at jwr1960@gmail.com and I will look into it as soon as possible.

Message to foxguy….Your last comment was the only thing lost in the migration so feel free to resubmit it (it was a link to Yes We Can Can) and I’ll respond accordingly.

Thanks as always to all who read me. You make it worthwhile!

 

 

POE THE SATIRIST (Great Quotations)

The frauds of the banks I can’t, of course, help. Their infamous suspension has put me to ruinous inconvenience. These, however, are not individuals, but corporations, and corporations, it is very well known, have neither posteriors to be kicked, nor souls to be damned.

“Peter Pendulum, The Business Man” (1840)

(From The Unabridged Edgar Allan Poe, Running Press, 1983 Edition)

Actually, “Peter Pendulum” is some sort of double or triple satire, since Poe’s titular narrator is himself a horse’s ass who inadvertently reveals the truth about himself while still being very acute with the truth about the world in general. More and more, my later-in-life reading has led me to the conclusion that, between them,  Cooper, Irving and Poe either invented or refined everything American writers have ever been good at. Everything since has just been a refinement of style.

ALMOST A FAIRY TALE (Bonnie Pointer, R.I.P.)

Bonnie Pointer left her sisters in 1977 (just before they made the jump to major stardom) and had the usual solo career: strong start, long fade. Her sister Anita was the distinctive lead on most of the Sisters’ iconic hits before and after the split.

But Bonnie left her own large impact on the culture just the same, co-writing several of the group’s early hits, one of which “Fairytale,” became a Grammy-winning crossover hit.

What it crossed over to first was the country chart. What the Grammy was for was Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for the year 1974, the year they also became to first female vocal group to perform at the Grand Ole Opry.

If you don’t think that was a big deal in 1974, or yesterday, you haven’t been paying attention. No one–no one–represented the aspirtaional aspects of Rock and Roll America better than the Pointer Sisters, who never did anything but make great records in any style they tried. After her solo career petered out, Bonnie had her share of troubles, sourced in drugs as usual. I hope she’s found the peace she deserved tonight.

You know what we do here. Strive to not forget.

And keep asking: “How long…will this game go on?”

DEVIL’S DOUBLE DICTIONARY: fascist

Another rare triple entry!

fascist: follower of fascism, i.e., (per the Cambridge Dictionary) a political system based on a very powerful leader, state control, and being extremely proud of country and race, and in which political opposition is not allowed

Lefty: Righty

Righty: Lefty (often preceded by “the real”

Everybody else: All of the above. More so if I got up on the wrong side of the bed. Alternatively: whoever my social circle disapproves of at the moment.

All entries in the Devil’s Double Dictionary at RPM will be accompanied by this photograph of Ambrose Bierce, author of the original Devil's Dictionary.

All entries in the Devil’s Double Dictionary at RPM will be accompanied by this photograph of Ambrose Bierce, author of the original Devil’s Dictionary.

JUST AN OCCASIONAL FRIENDLY REMINDER…

…as memes circulate on social media comparing Antifa and BLM to the Sons of Liberty and the Allied soldiers at Normandy, and a few more of Bobby Lee’s statues are pulled down, that none of this is about the Confederacy. And none of it is about statues…

(In case you can’t tell–and it would be easy to see why not–this is the statue of Abraham Lincoln in London, as of yesterday. Remember, if the governments of nominally free people cannot defend even the smallest public space, there will be tyranny. Else there will be chaos…and then tyranny.)

And now back to our regular programming!