Friday, August 10, 2007

Packin' for the Desert Island

What Am I Going to Play Them On?
Do they have electricity on desert islands? Maybe the one at the end of Long Island does. Or, where do you buy batteries on a desert island? I can see if you had some solar panels with you--OK, OK, I got it, I'm taking some solar panels with me.

Today, another day, and the mailbox was filled with double joy: two more CDs, one, a joy from Monk, the fascinating 5 by Monk by 5, originally put out by Orin Keepnews's Riverside Records; I paid 99 cents for this one on eBay.

I first heard 5 by Monk by 5 at my best friend back in my hometown's first apartment all to himself, just up the street from my parents's house. He got the apartment paid for by his mom with his rich c&w star daddy's money, and he got his mom's cool '56 Chevrolet, baby blue and white two-tone, and with the old man's money he bought this big blonde-wood hi-fi (pre-stereophonic sound)--hi-fi, high fidelity-- and it played 78 rpms, 45 rpms, 45 EPs, 33 1/3 rpms, and some even had 16 1/3 rpms--and I brought a bottle of Moet champagne from college and headed over to his new digs and when I walked in he was smiling like a Cheshire cat, holding a very shiny vinyl LP in his fat, pink hands. "Come in quick and close the damn door." I did what he said. "Sit down there on the floor, pop that Moet and dig this." He put the LP on the hi-fi. The first track came on. HOLY WEEPING Lepers! "OH MY Hot Damn God!" I chirped. It was Monk. I looked at the back of the album: Monk, with Thad Jones, Charlie Rouse, Sam Jones, and Arthur Taylor--the very first track grabbed me and sent me into the ethereal, "Jackie-ing." Son of a bitch, I didn't listen to another track the rest of that day--in fact, I didn't listen to another track for almost the rest of that summer--except finally I gave in and listened to the second track, "Straight No Chaser." I sat aghast when I listened to this LP. I never bought it then; I depended on my friend's version until one day he got married and that was it for "Jackie-ing" until today--Yep, this is the first time I've ever owned 5 by Monk by 5--and I'm already listening to "Jackie-ing" over and over and over.

As I'm typing this I'm listening to "Jackie-ing."

And then late this afternoon, there was another CD in my mailbox. This one came all the way from Australia. I knew what it was, Tony Fruscella. This is the Atlantic album I first heard back in my little bopper days of buying records with money I made working in my brother's magazine and tobacco stand. Tony Fruscella the alcoholic, homeless, battered trumpet trumpeter from Manhattan--dying young, but getting to blow his beautiful satin progressions with some of the coolest cats on the planet before he flew the coop, like Prez who took a big liking to Tony and used him in his small band of the comeback 50s for poor ole alcoholic Prez--"Pass that bottle to me"--John Lewis who played piano with one of those Prez bands said nobody could drink like Lester Young. And for some reason this album grabbed my young ass--just something about Tony's playing.... But I haven't listened to this one yet--I know it all by heart, even after 52 years--it was released in 1955--Tony's joined by studio dudes Danny Bank (a bari player) and Chauncey Welch (an almost old tailgate style of trombonist), and old white be-bopper Allen Eager (tenor sax), the fascinating Bill Triglia on piano, Bill Anthony on bass, and Will Bradley's son, Junior, on the drums (Will Bradley was a swing band drummer).

So I have two more CDs to take with me to this desert island I soon may really and truly be looking for if G.W. Bushed Ass keeps taking us down the autobahn (Hitler gave the world unlimited speed limits) to Chaos.

And books. God. I have a life of Paul Bowles on order; I'm a sucker for bios about writers. I love writers; we're so fascinating!

After I get my Philco radio and buy a couple of pot plants, I'm gonna transport myself back to those golden days of my life in jazz--maybe even write a story about it.

Elvis and the Beatles
I'd forgotten that during his meeting with Tricky Dick Nixon (the man who made Elvis Officer Elvis), Elvis assured the Tricky One that the Beatles were harmful to American music. How on target Elvis was--no matter how the hell high he was.

Let's Bomb Iran Back to the Stone Age
And what a wonderful time to do it--while the Japanese are remembering when old Harry Ass Truman dropped a couple Fat Boys on Hiroshima and Nagasaki--turning people into film negatives--killing how many? 300,000? Not as many as we've killed in Iraq. I read that they are now estimating that a million Iraqis have died since we started this sweet little rich boy's war in 2003. Ah Freedom; what a wonderful way to justify mass killing! God we love killing. KILL. WAR. WAR. MAKE WAR NOT LOVE. Give me a piece of that towelhead's ass, to hell with peace on earth!!!

I see the US troopers who raped and assfucked a family of Iraqis and then blew 'em all away with AKA blasts to their brainpans--several old men, a couple of women, and a nice little prized teenage towelhead piece of ass, which the boys had a swell time with, you know raping her with the vigor the US Army loves seeing in its killer troops--hey, the boys were just having a little boys-will-be-boys fun--but anyway, I see 4 of those boys were excused of their actions--good boys; they were let go--they'll get Purple Hearts; I think the dude that did the major raping and brainblasting is gonna get a tough 12 months in the hoosegow. [By the bye, I had a staff sergeant when I was in the US Dog Soldiers (the US Army), I remember his name, Sergeant Swift, and he was a "pansy" of a man (I'm sorry, I'm quoting D.H. Lawrence), a fop, with always quaffed hair, cleancut, and even with manicured nails, and he wore this Purple Heart on his dress uniform--a Purple Heart is supposed to be for getting wounded in war action--and an older staff sergeant told us all one day--we were drinking PM whiskey with him (PM stood for Provost Marshall, an important person in the army)--and he said, "You know how that F-ing Swift got his Purple Heart?" "Naw, sarge, how?" "He fell down the steps of an officer's club in Seoul, Korea, some say a whore pushed his ass, and he was drunk as six lords and the commanding officer put it down that Swift suffered an injury in action--like he was changing the tire on a 4 x 4 or the Old Man's Jeep." Purple Hearts are a dime a dozen in the US Army; old Lyndon "Big Balls" Johnson gave out more medals during his little Vietnam War--it was started by old Military-Industrial-Complex-Alerter Dwight "Dull Ass" David "Where's the Country Club, I'm Ready for a Round of Golf" Eisenhower who started sending US advisors (read: CIA agents and Army SWAT teams ("search and destroy" teams) who went in and started assassinating the opposition in Saigon in order to help the very rotten and crooked South Vietnamese government--we assassinated the SV premier or whatever the hell they called him because he was too close to Ho Chi Minh in his leanings (Ho Chi Minh was fighting for Vietnam's independence from the colonial rule of France and he kicked the French's bony asses at Dien Bien Phu)--Lyndon gave out more Congressional Medals of Honor than any other President, too).]

Unka Dick wants to grab some Iranian ass--he wants to bomb Iran--and I say, Praise the Lard and pass me one of those SCUD missiles--whoops, did I shoot Pat Tillman in the back of the head? "Hey, Mr. Pro Football Hero, see how you like this fraggin'." And some grunt fragged old Pat Tillman; what a fool he turned out to be. And Jessica Lynch, too; don't forget that made-up US Army war hero.

And speaking of Unka Dick and his Utah coal and gas holdings--how 'bout old coal bossman, Murray (over 200 citations on this mine alone) or whatever his crooked shanty Irish name is--"Hey, my Messkin boys are jest fine down there--there's plenty'a air down there; I got it set up that way. They're all right; they're tough little brown rascals--illegal as hell, but who else wants to work for me at 6 bucks an hour in that hellhole down there?...what's that, some more Messkins are trapped in an Indiana mine collapse?--was that caused by an earthquake, too? Mine was caused by an earthquake dammit--besides, we need coal, dammit! I'm gettin' rich off coal and so's Unka Dick--it's patriotic to own coal mines and forbid unions to organize and ignore safety regulations and shit like that--Messkins don't give a shit about safety--those little brown devils love death--they worship it in their country--and pay illegal immigrants $6 an hour. Where the hell they gonna get that kind'a money in Mexico? Besides, I made sure those boys took a big bag of tortillas down there with them, so they got plenty to eat."

Ain't life grand down in the old coal mine? A man named John L. Lewis is rolling over in his grave as all of this retrograding is going on--so's Joe Hill and Big Bill Hayward and Eugene Debs and even Emma Goldman! "I load sixteen tons of number 9 coal and what do I get?/Another day older and deeper in debt."

Kind'a Fun on PBS
It was fun watching Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard on their Last of a Breed tour and those two are sure the Last of a Breed all right--guys that put the blues, a la Bob Wills, into C&W. Two cool professional musicians those guys--just laid back natural-born music makers.

for The Daily Growler

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