Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Anytime I can find original music from any Chaplin film I'll buy it right up, if possible. If you've heard any of the re-recordings you may know what I mean. They all seem to slow everything down and focus solely on the sentimentality, unfortunately forgetting that the music was also providing mood and pacing for comedy. Without that pacing, the re-recordings seem to lose the sincerity, humor, and also the tenderness of the originals. Chaplin's use of more dignified music for his slapstick was apparently revolutionary enough that even today people still don't understand it. There's really no use in changing his work, anyone who thinks they can top, let alone equal it, will find themselves sadly mistaken.
The Chaplin Revue was released in 1959 and consisted of three of his films for First National, made between 1918 and 1922, slightly edited, with spoken introductions over scenes from his then unreleased, "How To Make Movies," a short film tour of his studio (in the same time-frame as these films) showing he and his crew goofing off and at work, rejected as a release to satisfy his final contract before becoming completely independent, and then (1959) composed an original score for each.
The Chaplin Revue was compiled several years into his exile and after his fantastic, under-appreciated mockery of the USA, "A King In New York," (1957) which was not shown in the USA until at least 15 years later. Was the Chaplin Revue an attempt to regain the audience he had lost over the years? Maybe, but if so, does it really matter? These films are as funny now as they've ever been...and will continue to be. Few artists of any medium are as timeless or universal as silent Chaplin.
On to the record: the track-listing on the jacket does not correspond to the record. Example: for "A Dog's Life," there are 17 tracks listed on the jacket, 7 on the record, and the LP label only says, "A Dog's Life."
Here are the tracks according to the jacket:
A Dog's Life- Main Title: A Dog's Life, A Dog's Life Theme, Labour Exchange, Dog Chase, A Dog's Life Theme, Green Lantern Rag, Coffee and Cakes, Flat Feet, the Shimmy, Song Triste, Green Lantern Snag, Procession Rag, Coffee and Cakes, Robbers, Dog Digging, A Dog's Life Theme, Green Lantern Snag
Shoulder Arms- Main Title: Shoulder Arms, Sauerkraut March, Shell Happy, Changing Guard, The Post, Sauerkraut March, Shell Happy, Over The Top, Blues, Over The Top, Peace, Tree Camouflage, Suspense, Mysterioso March, The Enemy, Agitado, D Minor Waltz, Inner March, Bringing Home the Bacon
The Pilgrim- Bound for Texas, Jitters, Hope and Faith, The Deacon Presents, Bound for Texas-Vocal Sung by Matt Munro
Thursday, September 16, 2010
It's been barely over a year since I've obtained these 3 LP's, all of which are still available from Junior Aspirin Records (and this being the reason for not posting entire LP's...a musician as great as Ben deserves far more royalties, you like to help him out, right? and any label putting out this many Rebel LP's deserves to be supported as well, dammit).
Like most of Wallers' output, each LP is a change of pace from the last, but none ever lose any Wallerness, thankfully. The first listen or two always confuses me, then it hits me just how fucking good it is...then gets better.
In order of release:
-"Mouthwatering Claustrophobic Changes!"- Mostly electronic and some more instrumental but believe me it works best as whole. Maybe these are reasons this record was so overlooked.
included here: 1) War, Politics 2) TNK 4 (a take on a song by a more famous group)
-"The Incredible Hulk"- Described by Ben as "a deliberate fuck-all-of-y'all," I still feel that I am one of the few who loves this record. No, it's not the best thing he's ever done, but so what? It's fucking funny, has great songs and a long drawn out joke, which seems to be what annoys most people (not me, though...I have a bastardly sense of humor). Two tracks also appeared on the "Aiming Low" E.P. More musicians need the guts to fuck with their audience like this. And why are Wallers fans complaining about that? Hasn't he done that all along? Country Teasers lyrics? Music?
included here: 1) Cherish 2) On My Own
-"The Race Against Time Hots Up"- Wallers wanted to follow 'Hulk' "with a crowd-pleasing, melody-centric, live drums trad songs classic." This album is still growing on me like crazy...had the most trouble narrowing it down to 2 tracks for this one, not that it was exactly easy to do so on the others.
Left off the Gillian Welch and Sade covers...great originals: one against collaboration and another based on "1984."
included here: 1) Colaboration 2) To the Future or to the Past: Greetings!
BUY THIS, AND THE OTHER TWO> it's very worth your while.