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Remembering legendary guitarist Duane Allman (born Howard Duane Allman in Nashville, TN) - November 20, 1946 – October 29, 1971.
Born on this day: October 29, 1944 - Singer/songwriter and guitarist Denny Laine (born Brian Frederick Arthur Hines in Birmingham, West Midlands, UK). Happy 68th Birthday, Denny!!
On this day in music history: October 29, 1902 - The Dinwiddie Colored Quartet, a jubilee vocal group from Dinwiddie County, VA will become the first African American group to record for a major record label. The group will record six sides (including "Down On The Old Camp Ground," "Steal Away," and "Gabriel's Trumpet") for the Victor Talking Machine Company in their studio in Camden, NJ. The group will form in 1898 as the Old South Quartet before changing their name. The Dinwiddie Colored Quartet will disband in 1904. Though the group are not the first African American vocalists to be commercially recorded (The Unique Quartette will record several wax cylinders for the New York Phonograph Company in December 1890), they will make their mark in history with their recordings among the earliest surviving documents of black musicians on record.
Perhaps the only thing better than seeing a highly anticipated movie you suspect you'll love is seeing a random, unexpected movie you never knew you needed until after you've seen it. A few days ago some friends and I sat down to watch a movie, like you do, without any prior knowledge of the film, only to find ourselves physically exhausted by the time the film had ended. No joke, we had to pause the movie several times to take breaks for the fits of laughter we were driven to. I cannot ever remember any film causing such violent cries of laughter to escape from my face the way viewing Kudo Kankuro's Yaji & Kita: The Midnight Pilgrims did. I'm fighting back the giggles even now.
This film leaps into oblivion from the very beginning when Kita admits to Yaji, his lover, "I can't make heads or tails of reality." The film could easily be summed up with this single line alone, but it falls short of capturing some of the, let's say, more memorable moments in the film (hello! the bath scene!). A short synopsis of the film might go a little something like this: A gay samurai couple, Yaji and Kita, leave Edo (old Tokyo) on a quest to rid Kita of his heroin addiction. A song that could be called "Born to be Gay" gets the whole town singing and dancing in synch as they send our boys off on their merry way. A motorcycle appears and they hit the road. Hilarity ensues at every stop along the way and there are many, many points of departure and arrival in every sense (making no sense at all in most cases). The couple cuts a 7" single love song; like it or not, it is as popular as the Bearded Courtesan's single. The audience is treated to an impromptu karaoke sing-along featuring the Bearded Courtesan herself. King Arthur's sword is drawn from the stone and the two are separated by the river Styx and everyone looks like the same guy in the after life.... Well, I don't want to spoil it for you.
By comparison one could say this movie is an orgy involving the sucker-punch gauntlet of a plot Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (and to a lesser extent Spike Jones's Being John Malkovich -- especially in the "afterlife" sequences), the modern meets Japonisme of Sofia Coppola's Lost In Translation, or, better yet, the colorful, comedic retelling of Takeshi Kitano's Yojimbo. Add to that the Broadway medley insanity of Takashi Miike's Happiness of the Katakuris, the psudo-lezzie, unconditional BFF love found in Tetsuya Nakashima's Kamikaze Girls and, just for good measure, the drug-induced porno-bowling musical montage from the Cohen Brother's The Big Lebowski. The list could go on and on, but that's the best I can do at the moment to try and capture just how lethally laughable and uniquely enjoyable this carnival on acid of a love-buddies-on-the-road flick this is. I've tried a few times to find the right words, heck, barely adequate words to give this movie life in the mind of those who haven't seen it; I know it's cliche to say "seeing is believing" when attempting to summarize the glory and afterglow of Yaji & Kita: The Midnight Pilgrims. By my standards I declare it to be one of the great new additions in contemporary Japanese cinema with a cast comprised of many of Japan's finest and famous comedy stalwarts and standard bearers to prove it. Nope, this one's not to be missed, but like Levar Burton says, "don't take my word for it, find out for yourself."
Rodriguez - Cold Fact
Bonnie Prince Billy - Lie Down in the Light
Bobby Charles - s/t
Sun Kil Moon - "Glenn Tipton" from Ghosts of the Great Highway
Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers - "Islands in the Stream"
The first one that comes to mind, of course, is Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. Paul was the "cute" Beatle and Michael was the "cute" Jackson, so this seemed like it could work...until you realize that Paul lived on a Scottish farm with his wife of many years, Linda, and their children, eating vegetarian food and lovingly raising animals. Michael, on the other hand, lived on Neverland Ranch, allegedly with groups of small children shuttling in and out of his Playland, complete with caged exotic animals. And these guys duetted twice, on "Say Say Say" and also "The Girl is Mine!" Without even considering the legal issues that came about soon after the duets due to Jackson buying the Beatles' songbook despite McCartney's wishes, it's no surprise they never talked again after creating these tracks. Here's "Say Say Say":
Another odd pairing that is a favorite of mine has always been Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton's "We've Got Tonight." Kenny's a down home kind of guy, into primping but still at home in cowboy boots-- a classic Texan. Sheena's an intense, romantic gal hailing from grey Scotland and specializing in dance-pop. I think all these two had in common was that they were selling a heck of a lot of records on their own back in 1983. I've heard they really did not get along at all in the studio though. At least they could come together this once, just for this night, of course. From the intro chatter to the mic control, I absolutely love this performance: