A decade before the mayhem and lurid madness of the Legendary Stardust Cowboy’s “Paralyzed” there was Jerry Lott, a.k.a. “The Phantom,” recording his own blithering two minute psychotic-billy breakdown. Born near Mobile, Alabama in 1938, Lott played country music as a young teenager until he heard Elvis Presley and rockabilly in 1956. Something obviously went ping!
During the summer of 1958 in Mobile, Lott recorded Whisper Your Love. As he told Derek Glenister in a 1980 interview: "Somebody said, 'what you gonna put on the flip-side' - I hadn't even thought about it. Someone suggested I wrote something like Elvis 'cause he was just a little on the wane and everybody was beginning to turn against rock 'n' roll. They said, 'See if you spark rock 'n' roll a little bit' ... so that's when I put all the fire and fury I could utter into it. I was satisfied with the first take, but everybody said, 'Let's try it one more time.' I didn't yell on the first take, but I yelled on the second, and blew one of the controls off the wall. I'm telling ya," Lott continued, "It was wild. The drummer lost one of his sticks, the piano player screamed and knocked his stool over, the guitar player's glasses were hanging sideways over his eyes."
Love Me was that song, written by Jerry Lott in 10 minutes. Almost 50 years later that track is still startling, especially to the uninitiated. If the screams don’t stagger you at the beginning, perhaps The Phantom’s post-coital exhaustion at track’s end will. Yeah, most great Rockabilly records from the late fifties had more then their share of fire and dementia, but this track is insane … certifiably, wickedly, aberrantly insane! It’s beautiful!
Honey! I’m home…!
Whew! It is crazy hot here in Hollywood. How have you survived? I’m this close to envying the Donner Party.
[Sets luggage down.]
Where have I been? Didn’t you see the Post-It note I left on our autographed portrait of Gunnar de Frumerie?
What do you mean you were struck blind by the Lord Our God while traveling the Road to Damascus? Are you crazy?
Yes, I know Labor Day traffic on I-5 is maddening, but I hardly think a detour through Syria was good idea. And anyhow, I wrote the note in Braille, so that’s no excuse for not reading it.
[Takes off shoes and unbuttons shirt.]
Anyway, I don’t want to fight.
I’ve been in Santa Barbara over the weekend. I was at a wedding for some of Corey’s friends. It was hot there, too, but at least we were on the coast, so it was beautiful.
Oh, a funny thing happened that continues a strange theme in my recent blogs. One of the humans attending the wedding was Octavia Spencer – a total sparkplug, very quick with the one-liners – and, as she was introduced to my small group, she lowered her sunglasses at me and said:
“Whoa! You have some pretty eyes! Hoo!”
Which makes two times this week that an obscure female comedian has commented on my optical globes. I know, right? What exactly are my pheromones excreting? Too funny.
Like most people, I will never forget this time two years ago, in the days/week after Hurricane Katrina first struck New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. I was literally glued to the TV's non-stop news, streaming images of the devastation and tales of the horrific conditions. I was transfixed by the shocking images and I was dismayed by news reports of the ridiculously delayed help getting to those who needed it so desperately -- mostly the region's poor inhabitants. And yesterday, as I watched the 3-DVD set of Spike Lee's HBO documentary When The Levees Broke, I was reminded of all the horrors of Katrina.
Since September 2005 the national media's focus on New Orleans may have faded considerably, but the needs of its inhabitants have not. Luckily there are still a great many individuals and organizations actively involved in helping in the long recovery process that has quite a ways to go still. As you probably already know, Amoeba Music is one of the many organizations doing its bit in the effort to help the victims of Katrina, through its Amoeba auctions to benefit Katrina victims. Meanwhile, one of the many individuals involved in helping the recovery process is my former KALX Cultural Affairs Dept. buddy Rohit Gupta, who is one of those wonderful, quietly humble and giving individuals who is always down to help out those in need. Rohit lives and works in Los Angeles but has been making frequent visits down to New Orleans to volunteer in the slow post-Katrina recovery process. I invited Rohit to write a report on what it is really like right now in New Orleans for this AMOEBLOG. Here is Rohit's story: