Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Moon: Havana Moon


Chuck Berry: Havana Moon

[purchase]

I was flipping through a whole playlist of moonsong, trying to find something to break up the lullabies, when I bumped into this and couldn't help but pass it along, if only to get it out of my head.

That's not to say that the song isn't a great work of art, of course. Sparsely performed in a jangly latinate rhythm, and delivered in falsified patois that is fully a product of its time, Havana Moon is a lusty tribal chant of devil rum and wishful thinking that never fails to remind me just how new and dark and sexy and exciting this style of music was once, to our parent's generation. Chuck Berry has a kind of Langston Hughes and Harry Belafonte meet Dick Dale and the Troggs in some Cuban backalley thing going here; I know that sounds like a train wreck of sound, but it works for him.

In fact, many believe that Richard Berry based the immortal rhythms and strum of Louie, Louie on Havana Moon. How's that for street cred?

Ganked originally from the everwise and mystical mix collaborative over at Motel De Moka, where it appeared as part of a retro playlist with an autumnal theme posted way back in October.


Afterthought: given the racist overtones, I figured that this was one of those songs, like "Thank Heaven For Little Girls", that you just couldn't credibly cover in today's oversensitive world, at least not without a heavy dose of irony. (Unless you're, like, Carlos Santana, circa 1983.) But just to prove me wrong, here's a spooky-sounding Paul Curreri taking a shot at an emotionally dissonant remake, and succeeding admirably.

Paul Curreri: Havana Moon

[this track and 50 other post-millenial coversongs of love from Paul Curreri and Devon Sproule available totally free right here]

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