Quite so, quite so

I don’t care what they say about Aretha,” Billy Preston, who died in 2006, once said. “She can be hiding out in her house in Detroit for years. She can go decades without taking a plane or flying off to Europe. She can cancel half her gigs and infuriate every producer and promoter in the country. She can sing all kinds of jive-ass songs that are beneath her. She can go into her diva act and turn off the world. But on any given night, when that lady sits down at the piano and gets her body and soul all over some righteous song, she’ll scare the shit out of you. And you’ll know—you’ll swear—that she’s still the best fuckin’ singer this fucked-up country has ever produced.”

28 thoughts on “Quite so, quite so”

  1. “… the greatest singer in the history of postwar popular music. James Brown, Sam Cooke, Etta James, Otis Redding, Ray Charles: even they cannot match her power, her range from gospel to jazz,…”

    Can white men not sing the blues

  2. bloke in spain,

    “Can white men not sing the blues”

    White men (and women) sing country, which was heavily influenced by the blues. I’d put Tammy Wynette and Patsy Cline in a list before James Brown. James Brown was more of a musical innovator than a singer.

  3. White men (and women) sing country, which was heavily influenced by the blues. I’d put Tammy Wynette and Patsy Cline in a list before James Brown.

    I’d put Rose Maddox before any of ’em.

  4. Tim Newman,

    Never heard of her before, but like Tammy Wynette, not really my bag, but really good.

  5. Never heard of her before…

    I posted it partly to see if anyone had. When it comes to liking obscure bluegrass. early country, and rockabilly acts I appear to reign supreme.

  6. I’m all for obscure music, however you should bear in mind this famous dictum that I just made up:

    “If you didn’t loathe Dancing Queen as a teenager, then you have no taste. If you don’t dance to it at 50, then you’re probably an arse.”

  7. Jack C,

    Don’t blokes like ABBA as teenagers, but are just too cool to admit to it? That whole “guilty pleasures” thing, where you feel it’s wrong to like something because it lacks all the “authentic” veneer like a miserable band walking around a decaying city in an Anton Corbjin video singing about death and isolation?

  8. Up to a point, Lord Copper (or indeed, Lord Scandium). The fact that Franklin could be an exceptional performer doesn’t excuse the fact that she sometimes acted like an obnoxious diva and/or lunatic. Acting like a jerk is acting like a jerk, no matter what your talent. To excuse it in famous artists is to grant them the privileges of aristocracy and nobody should be allowed that. We should also reject Preston’s sneer about “this fucked-up country”. That sort of idiot leftism should always be attacked without mercy.

  9. So Much For Subtlety

    bloke in spain – “Can white men not sing the blues”

    Well I would say that White men have been spectacularly unsuccessful in doing so, and there must be a reasons – perhaps cultural, but deep rooted and hard to shift anyway. But then Rusty and BiG would be along to accuse me of racism.

    Perhaps I can say White privilege means White men are never down and out enough for them to be credible?

    What would support this is the market for White women singing the Blues – blue-eyed soul as it is usually called. British women do this quite well. Dusty Springfield is not in Ms Franklin’s ball park. In fact she is barely on the same planet. But she was not bad. Adele is not in the same league as Ms Springfield. And Duffy was not as good as Adele. But they did make fairly good music. As did the late Amy Winehouse.

    The closest White British men have got is what? Mick Hucknall?

    So clearly White men treat their women like slaves. Or something like that.

  10. So Much For Subtlety

    AndrewZ – “The fact that Franklin could be an exceptional performer doesn’t excuse the fact that she sometimes acted like an obnoxious diva and/or lunatic.”

    I think it does. Actually. Her fans certainly do too. The point about aristocracy is that their privileges are unearned. A matter of birth. Ms Franklin’s are God given and a result of her improving that through hard work. If her children started acting like divas that would be another matter.

    There is a story about a Soviet physicist back perhaps even when Stalin was alive who got up and walked out of a political study session. He said he had a laboratory to run and if the Party wanted him to study Leninism, they could send their party workers to run his experiments. As the Party wanted the Bomb at the time, he got away with it. Now perhaps it would be better for us if he had not, but he had what the Kremlin wanted and so he could lay down his own terms. Rightly.

    Personally I think some fans, especially Opera fans, would be disappointed if their stars did not act like Divas. It is some sort of S&M thing going on. You don’t have to talk to many (dare I say especially the Gay ones?) before you realise that if she didn’t walk all over them and treat them like dirt they would feel cheated.

  11. So Much For Subtlety

    In passing, the first British man has been convicted of “psychological abuse” of his girlfriend.

    A sad day.

    So don’t forget her birthday and all your anniversaries!

  12. Having just listened to Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Joe Cocker could do blues, or doesn’t he count because he’s from Sheffield?

  13. So Much For Subtlety

    Rob W – “Having just listened to Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Joe Cocker could do blues, or doesn’t he count because he’s from Sheffield?”

    +1

    Surreptitious Evil – “Do you have a link? My Google-fu isn’t working too well this morning, I just get all the 2014 commentary about the change to the law.”

    A link, yes. Evidence? Well it is the Daily Mail.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3566852/Psychological-bully-cut-girlfriend-friends-belittled-18-month-relationship-convicted-new-laws.html

    18 months of being a bit cold to a girlfriend and you could do time.

  14. I would have the temerity to question Billy Preston’s judgement on the idea of how brilliant Aretha Franklin invariably was sat behind a piano- and that is taking into account his much greater prowess on keyboards.She was much better without the rumbling “gospel” piano on which she had little use for the pedals.Available on YouTube, but not the worst of this early kind of performance in her wilderness years for Columbia is “Rock away your baby to a Dixie melody” from 1965.No wonder she only made the Top 40 once recording for this outfit.

  15. So Much For Subtlety

    Well, Steve, that is a prime example of the sort of phallocentric male sexist logo-discrimination that is keeping women down!

    Obviously the only role model for British men worth of mention is that Madagascar spider.

  16. SMFS,

    Thanks.

    using controlling or coercive behaviour, assault and criminal damage

    So, well, not the marker that the feminazis might have wanted. Assault and criminal damage might have got him the “absolutely no time served” sentence he got anyway.

  17. In glenDorran’s video linked in the first comment, who is the annoying woman sitting with the obamas? The camera keeps focusing on her.

  18. Over half Eva Cassidy’s tragically short outout is blues – and damn good blues too.

    Also right alongside support for Joe Cocker – Only man who improved Beatles songs – and he did it by turning them into blues!

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