Monday, May 6, 2019


It seems apt that in the week the new Richard Curtis/Danny Boyle film arrived, to continue this thread in the same vein. So, just as 'Yesterday' imagines a world bereft of the Beatles, Curtis himself imagining a world denied 'Goodnight Sweetheart', this post studiously attempts to ignore any band with a name referenced in the title. (It fails.) Instead I offer a toothsome foursome of songs you may not have heard, although I suspect the writer of at least one of them may be passing a sly nod toward the band of that name. (Indeed, I understand the full title of the last track, added in parentheses, was Try a Family Man Instead. Or maybe it didn't.)

Yep, a bit of scottish folk music, 'Like Another Rolling Stone', albeit by one of the finest exponents thereof, the mighty Ceolbeg, most active in the final two decades of the last century. Roughly translated from the gaelic, Ceolbeg means small music, something they never knowingly produced, the name being more to emphasise the more gentle aspects of the scottish musical lineage, with fewer full on reels and jigs, and more songs, using bagpipes for texture rather than naked assault. In this song, it is the scots lowland pipes that provide the main counterpoint to the gorgeous vocal of the late Davy Steele. (For whom, on his death, this glorious tribute was written, by Kate Rusby.) Whether the stone in the lyric was Mick seems unlikely, it seeming more in line with the Dylan song, but it is still a doozy. In Scotland a pint of Mick is what you might ask for in a pub, rhyming slang for lager, Jagger rhyming with lager if you have a glaswegian accent.

Y'know, shut your eyes and try and imagine this sung by a group of Sarf Lahndon white boys, holed up in a chateau somewhere in France and, yes? It works, doesn't it. The Pointer Sisters really had a way with rock songs, somehow making them still sound intrinsically motown, if with more attitude. This song, 'Love is Like a Rolling Stone', comes from the 2009 re-release of their breakthrough album, 1978's 'Energy', the song originally penned/played by Brian Cadd's Bootleg Band. (No, me, neither.) I am not sure I would want love to be like Charlie, would you, but, wait a minute, take stock: solid, steady, reliable. Not so shabby, actually.

'The Lord Loves a Rolling Stone' sings Spooner Oldham on this glorious Muscle Shoals production, a track from his only solo record, from 1972. And you would think he would know, even if I can't find any evidence of his having ever played with, you know, the band I can't mention, but he does play on this, on their guitarists last solo record. Present on as many classics as you could or can ever imagine, his  talents continue to grace many a more modern band seeking gravitas and credibility, like the Drive-By Truckers, who also, incidentally, play that song. Here's a great synopsis of his worth, played out in an interview I dug up.

By contrast, the wild-tonsilled erstwhile singer for Family, Roger Chapman, gives some probably sound advice, 'Never Love a Rolling Stone', advice many a mother may have given her daughters in the 60's. And 70's. And 80s etc. The lyric here, ostensibly about a carney on the fairs, suggests that advice was not neglected here, except perhaps in a purely physical way. Which, perhaps, is how he earlier came to be singing this song, after Family but before his solo years, in the Chapman-Whitney Streetwalkers. Having so far contrived references above to Mick, Keef and Charlie, all I can muster is that both Chappo and Ronnie Wood have names beginning with R.

Never. (OK, it isn't, but the link is sort of linked.....)

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