Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Coked-Up Caribbean Disco Jive

Mexican horns, tinges of Margaritaville-style faux reggae filtered though the haze of some sort of stiff gin drink or rum-based fruity cocktail, a vague country twang blending with the ganja smoke blowing off the Gulf Stream breezes perhaps, and Sir Mick’s ridiculous rebel-chic bone-head street-fighting radical mumbo-jumbo. It’s hard to know if "Indian Girl" is an abomination or a stroke of post-colonial, post--alcohol-addled genius (often the case here in Driftwoodland). One thing’s for sure: Freddy Fender would be proud, since (if you subtract Mr. Jagger) it sort of embodies his sound. Freddy’d be smiling down on us like some syncretized nimbus-headed roots-music hybrid dada diety – half Gertrude Stein, half Virgin of Guadalupe, and one more half Sai Baba. And what is all that business about "fighting on the streets of Mt. Zion"? Someone please tell me. One more thing, I'm not sure if there's an established science to this, but I feel like by listening closely to Bill Wyman's bass line on this tune one can almost successfully diagnose him as a pathological predatory perv. Maybe I'm reading too much into it.

Late-era Stones is the litmus test, it’s the witch-dunker. It’s what divides families, ends parties. There’s always some bozo going on about the greatness of Exile. But it’s only the true kindred spirits who can really come together over the coked-up Caribbean disco jive of Black and Blue, Emotional Rescue and Tattoo You. Obviously, Some Girls is an easier sell.

Once you let the full glory of "Indian Girl" sink in – and you will be plucking it out on acoustic guitar and doing your own fake lime-juicing rasta/Angolan patois before it’s over, then open yourself up to "Memory Hotel." Listen close to the seemingly off-the-cuff vocal refrain from Keef. Listen for it, and, yes, you’ll hear it, I don’t know, four times, and, no, it must not be so off-the-cuff if he keeps repeating it like that. And why, why, exactly is he saying "She got a mind of her own, and she use it well, yeah, she’s one of a kind"? It adds layers of inscrutable mystery to the masterpiece.

Finally, I think that Duke Ellington said once that it's not plagiarism if you're stealing from yourself. I'm not sure what John Fogerty would say about that, but the premise seems to apply to "Ain't No Use in Crying," parts of which sound suspiciously like "Time Is On My Side," which, come to think of it, wasn't actually written by the Glimmer Twins, so, hmmm.

One could go on. One mustn't go on.

1 comment:

Happy In Bag said...

Driftwood Singers-style, this and much of the Stones' catalog resides in my dormant vinyl collection.

I heard Black and Blue for the first time in a decade in the most unlikely of settings last summer. It was played between acts at an outdoor concert by Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson and Jake Owen.

Had the "witch-dunker" been operative, I would have drowned.