Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ossify My Love

I’ve heard/read wildly varying reports about the new Dylan movie, A.O. Scott digs it. Frankie Lee and Anthony Lane say "nah, leave it." I had high hopes, but that’s always a sign that somebody’s gonna get hurt. I’d been meaning to post something from this record before Frankie Lee graced us with that Sun Ra-esque inter-planetary Marvin Gaye tune. The idea of the "singer as statuary" immediately brought to mind the cover to this disc. I’m sure that Michael Ochs could put together an entire book on the theme of musician-as-sculpture record covers, but I could only come up with a few.

There’s this album of the Gotham String Quartet playing Dylan tunes, on which it’s the singer not just as statuary, but specifically in the manner of the Beethoven bust. The other record that popped into my head is a terrible Uriah Heep record.

It’s one that I seem to recall picking up with Lefty, JP and Dewey Dell, at an antique store after a visit to the shore, possibly on the very day that the photographic kernel that inspired the concept of Driftwood Singing came into being. Whatever its auspicious beginning in my record collection, I have a memory of later, after actually listening to the thing, stuffing the record into a trash can and bringing it to the curb to be hauled away.

But, of course, one can’t discuss the concept of singer-statue imagery without mentioning the genre-defining video for Lionel Richie’s "Hello."

I’ve heard mildly interesting string-quartet versions of songs by Guns N Roses and Metallica. Kronos has done Ornette Coleman and Hendrix. I can’t think of a musician whose work is less suited than Bob Dylan to being adapted by a string quartet.
The singer-statue imagery seems to be a pretty good tip off that you’re dealing with some advanced-level sonic ossification.

"All I Really Wanna Do" - Gotham String Quartet


Anonymous said...

The underrated Jim Dickinson album "Dixie Fried" features him standing like a statue on a pedestal with the inscription "Dickinson".

This cover can be seen at:

A said...

I'm pretty sure you're referring to the new Bob Dylan film "I'm Not There." Let me tell you, I saw it and just thought it was mediocre. What really blew me away was the soundtrack. Sufjan Stevens' rendition of "Ring Them Bells" is excellent, so is Jim James' (from My Morning Jacket) version of "Goin to Acalpulco". Check it out.