Next on the shelf are two massive mp3 collections grouped around Eric Burdon. This started when I blogged about the Animals last year. I discovered that Eric was still recording & had recently released a new lp ’Til Your River Runs Dry – he remains in fine vocal form & it’s worth checking out. It’s on the first cd along with his work with War and Soldedad Blues w Jimmy Witherspoon: post Animals & fun strong stuff. Eric was always eager to try new things & his work with War is solid if unexceptional.
On this one I threw in some Sister Rosetta Tharpe: great female r’n’b thumper. Ginger Baker: one his many post Cream Africa projects: clunky but fun. Osibisa, Mandrill: two Santana inspired bands with strong African roots – these are both later career recordings. Eek-a-mouse: Black Cowboy: every collection needs some obscure reggie The Congas: more of those African rhythms.
The second collection has Love Is: Eric & the Animals do their double lp of indulgent yet endearing songs. I enjoy their take on Ring Of Fire. River Deep is hilarious though with the echoed Tina Tina at points – was he having it off with her? The Black-Man’s Burdon – how he got away with title is beyond me, more of his work with War. Plus their live tracks & other performers at Monterey Pop. Monterey was where he fell in love with Jimi Hendrix & that changed his musical direction for several years.
I counted this off with a slew of Lonnie Donegan: Lonnie was one of those British hitmakers who never crossed the ocean – his influence on British pop is substantial though – his rockabilly recording of House of the Rising Sun, Mule Train & others clearly influenced the Animals, The Stones, the Beatles, The Yardbirds, Eric Clapton.
When I was turning twenty-three life was a lost treasure that I no map for, futility seemed a nice, kind way of looking at it – why bother – but I was driven at the same time to bother. A Doors song was my theme ‘music is your only friend’ and I believed that – I was a little town queer who felt isolated and threatened.
Lucky I wrote a lot – driven to expresses something. though I never knew exactly what is was I wanted to say – I kept trying to say it. I had some booze buddies, musicians and poets. Smoked a few joints with them and hung out in my family’s basement. I had a room there decorated with Beatles posters, my paintings – more getting the inner out some how.
Drunken, near blackout fits of sex. Oops, what did we do last night sort of stuff. Seeking and just not connecting with anything other than the shame of being what I was with no one to share that with.
I became more eccentric as years went on but the patterns were really set then. The things that I held closest to me music, books, painting all around me. My writing and some friends who were more extensions of my fears & wants than companions.
Got a job at Famous Players thanks to the mother of my best friend Howard. Flo was box-office there & that was to be my position, I quickly became assistant manager & candy boy. Made lots of pop corn.
Gave me a steady income and some sense of being functional. Added at the same time to my sense of not fitting in. I think that was a big thing for me then. wanting to be like the others yet not wanting to be like the others. Wanting acceptance without wanting to conform to some pattern.
The past year hadn’t been that bad or good, aimless and pretending I was looking for some job to steady my Dad’s need to see me working and out of the house.
The folks were never that approving of my writing or painting – like many, they figured that stuff was only good if it made one lots and lots of money. Sex wasn’t discussed at all and I didn’t know how to go about telling them that anyway. It wasn’t till I was ready to leave the Cape many years later that I told them. Not that it was such a shock mind you.
Looking back I really didn’t know how to establish myself as a man, as an adult. Booze was one of those adult things but I felt I had to hide how much I drank & how often. Sad, but true. All those secret nooks and crannies.
Some of which had no real outlet then and there. Little was I to no what the journey of my future was to hold. But I survived wanting to wake up dead, wanting to end the confusion and pain and made it past 23 and even past 24 and finally here I am.
November 18, Wednesday: judging at Hot Damn! it’s a Queer Slam – The Supermarket., Toronto
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