Sunday, February 20, 2011

Elvis Presley, "Change of Habit" (1969)

This is the title track from Elvis' last movie, in which he plays an "idealistic ghetto doctor" who unwittingly employs three undercover nuns and, in the original draft of the script, attempts to enslave them Enter the Dragon style with daily doses of methadone-laced chitlins (hence "Change of Habit" - the scriptwriter was furious after the studio removed the drug-slavery sub-plot to achieve a general audience certificate, stating it had "ruined a pun that had undoubtedly been the highest achievement of my career").

Like all successful pop artists, Elvis moved with the times and this track is very much on the vibe of '69, a surprisingly tough-sounding effort from normally countrified backing band the Jordanaires, with fuzzed-out bass and frenetic drums hit hard to tape and bursting almost obnoxiously out of the left channel.

Elvis Presley - Change of Habit by doggziller

By extension, I suppose had Elvis lived to sip our modern air he would probably be doing weird remakes where Justin Bieber is skate-boarding around the city and when he looks up at a billboard, old-ass Elvis is inside the billboard, shuffling around singing an Autotuned version of "Suspicious Minds" and then there's a rap verse. The Reaper takes each at his appointed time and though the King suffered the small embarrassment of gasping his last upon the toilet he was perhaps spared the greater indignity of living on to suffer celebrity in the 21st Century.

He also missed the corny and overdone 2003 remix of "Rubberneckin'", another song from the Change of Habit soundtrack - I like to imagine that a surviving Elvis might've been grumpy enough not to authorize this but then again, it did make a lot of money and a guy who shoots televisions always needs some spare change.

The entire film is up on YouTube - I gave up watching shortly after Elvis mistakenly assumed the nuns all wanted illegal abortions and then said some pretty marginal stuff about rape, but I did stick it out long enough to witness Elvis and his apartment full of inauthentically "ghetto" buddies somehow perform "Rubberneckin'" on three acoustic guitars and a tambourine.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Merryweather and Carey, "Five Days on the Trail" (1971)

Neil Merryweather and Lynn Carey shall live long in my heart for releasing this album containing the absolutely incandescent slab of treacle-thick fugitive blues that is "Five Days on the Trail", a song that damn near breaks my neck any time I drop a needle on it:

Merryweather & Carey - Five Days On The Trail by doggziller

Merryweather and Carey have both had long and varied careers in music (mostly independent of one another, though they were apparently lovers when this album was released) - and with more than a few brushes against  giants of popular culture. For instance, one of Neil Merryweather's earlier bands, the Mynah Birds, was fronted by a young Rick James (not sounding much like his Cold-Blooded era self back in the mid-60s).

Lynn Carey belted out vocals for fictional group "The Carrie Nations" in the Russ Meyer/Roger Ebert collaboration Beyond the Valley of the Dolls - very loosely dubbed over actress Dolly Read's lip-syncing (Roger Ebert - these days notorious for his endorsement of 1997 Jamie Foxx vehicle "Booty Call" - would later claim this and all other flaws in the film were intended for comic effect).

Although Russ Meyer evidently considered her "too flat-chested" for the silver screen, Lynn Carey nevertheless appeared in Penthouse a couple of years later to promote her and Merryweather's new band Mama Lion (a band most famous for a minor scandal surrounding the cover of its first album - Lynn seemingly not especially shy at this point in her life)

A number of young men were to profess a keen interest in Isaac Asimov's article on immortality.
Penthouse December 1972 is also notable for containing "Xaviera Hollander's first advice column", which was to run for about 35 years. Xaviera will of course be familiar to you as the author of the best-selling saxophone sex mystery, Yours Fatally!

Oh Fausto! Your legacy lives on.