Monthly Archives: May 2020

RIP Little “A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-wop-bam-boom!” Richard (1932 – 2020)

Little Richard was an American composer and singer best-known for shouting “A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-wop-bam-boom!” at the beginning of the song “Tutti Frutti” (1955).

Without Little Richard, no Prince.

And without Little Richard no “Be-Bop-A-Lula”, “Diddy Wah Diddy”, “Da Doo Ron Ron” and ” Do Wah Diddy Diddy”.

But without “Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay”, no Little Richard.

The boom comes first. The cycle continues.

Over at Tumblr I posted the Paladin 1969 edition of Nick Cohn’s book Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom.

RIP Michael McClure (1932 – 2020)

Michael McClure was an American poet and writer known for his association with the Beat Generation.

Here he can be seen reading poetry to the lions. Apparently the origin of this footage is from the USA: Poetry television series. Michael McClure reads some of his 99 Ghost Tantras in the lion house of the San Francisco Zoo.

RIP Florian ‘Kraftwerk’ Schneider (1947 – 2020)

Florian Schneider was a German musician, known for his work with Kraftwerk.

Of interest in my book is the connection of Kraftwerk to Afro-American music as noted in “Planet Rock”.

Jon Savage noted in his piece “Machine Soul: A History Of Techno” (1993) that:

“In 1981, Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force, together with producer Arthur Baker, paid tribute [to Kraftwerk with] “Planet Rock,” which used the melody from “Trans-Europe Express” over the rhythm from “Numbers.” In the process they created electro and moved rap out of the Sugarhill age.”

Simon Reynolds in Energy Flash (1998) similarly remarked:

“In New York, the German band almost single-handedly sired the electro movement: Afrika Bambaataa and Soulsonic Force’s 1982 smash “Planet Rock” stole its doomy melody from “Trans-Europe Express” and its beatbox rhythm from Kraftwerk’s 1981 track “Numbers.””–Generation Ecstasy (1998) by Simon Reynolds

Apparently, none of Kraftwerk’s material was actually sampled, all was emulated.

RIP Millie “My Boy Lollipop” Small (1947 – 2020)

Millie Small was the singer of “My Boy Lollipop” (1964), her only hit.

She was the first Jamaican artist to break through to an international audience.

Did this mean international recognition for ska and reggae?

Well, not exactly, “My Boy Lollipop” was considered a novelty song rather than ska or reggae.

Thus reggae’s invasion into the mainstream actually only began that same year in the United Kingdom with songs such as “Al Capone” (1964) and “Guns of Navarone” (1964).

But in the United States, the wait was for 1969 with “The Israelites” (1968) to give reggae international repute and recognition.

RIP Dave ‘Strangler’ Greenfield (1949 – 2020)

Dave Greenfield was an English composer and musician, known as the keyboard player of The Stranglers.

Everyone is familiar with their song “Golden Brown” (1982) but few are aware that is actually a waltz.

Next to “Golden Brown”, The Stranglers wrote a couple of enduring compositions. There is “Peaches” (1977), a sleazy track which features the word clitoris and which for that reason had to be re-recorded in order for the BBC to play it.

There is “No More Heroes” (1977), the refrain of which has a childish quality that I find hard to swallow. “Always the Sun” (1986) however, works for me. It has that dreaminess also present in “Midsummer Night Dream” (1983) and of course in “Golden Brown”.

And then there is “Nice ‘n’ Sleazy” (1978), a track which is also dance-able. It’s on YouTube in a Top of the Pops live version and if you wait until 1:29 you see the keyboard solo of Greenfield.

“Nice ‘n’ Sleazy” is at 33:10

That track is also on the marvelous compilation How to Kill the DJ Part 2 (2004) out on Tigersushi Records.

RIP Tony ‘afrobeat’ Allen (1940 – 2020)

Tony Allen (1940 – 2020) was a Nigerian musician and drummer.

The importance of Allen? You simply cannot imagine Fela Kuti nor afrobeat without the drumming of Tony Allen during the period 1968 to 1979.

After parting with Fela Kuti it would take time for Allen to find his own sound.

This happened with the sublime EP Never Expect Power Always (1984), one of my favorite afrobeat compositions.

Other solo work of note includes Black Voices (1999), Tomorrow Comes The Harvest (2018, with Jeff Mills) and Sounding Lines (2018, with Moritz von Oswald).

To the international hipster crowd, Allen is probably best-known for playing drums on “La Ritournelle” (2003) by Sébastien Tellier, an iconic track for the contemporary cosmopolitan class.

The drumming on that track sounds like a “Funky Drummer” sample but it is in reality the live drumming of Tony Allen.

I’d say, if you are new to all this, start by listening to “Shakara (Oloje)” (1972) by Fela Kuti, then switch to Never Expect Power Always (1984) and end with Sounding Lines (2018).

RIP Germano Celant (1940 – 2020)

Germano Celant was an Italian art historian known for coining the term “arte povera” (poor art) in 1967.

The ‘poor’ of that epithet refers to the materials.

I’ve always thought of ‘arte povera’ as a bit of a non-concept.

It is exemplary of that 20th century mania of coining names for invented new art movements.

Think surrealism, dada, popart, post-popart, avant garde, post-avantgarde, nouveau réalisme, neomodern, remodern, metamodern, postminimal, stuckism, neoism, op art, fluxus.

Oh please stop already.

Art Povera: Conceptual, Actual or Impossible Art? (1969)

But then again, I like the cover of the 1969 book that made the term arte povera known around the world.

I wanted to check the book out, since my university has it in its library.

However, this being corona-time, the library is closed.

RIP Maj Sjöwall (1935 – 2020)

Maj Sjöwall was a Swedish author known as the co-author of the ten Martin Beck (1965-1975) novels.

She was with her partner Per Wahlöö (1926 – 1975) the spiritual co-parent of Nordic noir.

In my universe she is important for having been published in the  Zwarte Beertjes collection of pocket books.

To an international audience she is all but forgotten.

I believe all of the duo’s books were made into films.

I give you the trailer of The Laughing Policeman (1973) featuring Walter Matthau and Bruce Dern.