Thursday, May 27, 2010

Baby Jane's in Acapulco, We are Flying Down to Rio/Dan Flavin and Stairway to Heaven/The Pensioner

For the past several decades, I keep coming back to the first five Roxy Music lps as a highwater mark of seventies popular music. Can you name another group or artist who had as good a streak during the 70's who can claim the VU as a front and center influence (other than the Ramones) and put out five great albums in a row? For most critics, Eno gets a free pass for his 70's solo work. When he moves past his suppressed rockist tendencies, the music goes limp. It seems his extracurricular activities gives him the high grades. He records Television with Richard Williams at their near height and then co-opts an entire scene a few years later (thank you for the document though). However, Ferry as person and solo artist is ridiculed. Here is Bryan at CBGB's in 1975 catching the Ramones pre-lp (photo courtesy Danny Fields) - where were you:

What drives the hatred? Is it as Iggy said off the cuff: "you can throw any thing at me but your girlfriend will still love me you jealous @@*&$$$#s!" Succint. I think the 70's rockcrits deeply felt this is panning the solo lps. Devo had another possible theory - in my mind likely derived from spending too much time with Eno:
We first got those blue firemen's jumpsuits and we wore those masks that took your faces away, cause what we decided that what we hated about rock & roll was STARS -- we watched Roxy Music, a band we liked, slowly become Bryan Ferry & Roxy Music. If you got a band that's good, you bust it up and sell three times as many records. Take the Beatles for instance, the magic was in the combination -- nothing that any single Beatle did after that matches up. (Search & Destroy, 1978).

Well I can argue that one with Mothersbaugh till I am blue in the face but it won't change his mind. Eno is lionized for his solo lps (rightfully so in some cases) and Ferry is accused of being a STAR. And, as anyone who knows me well, I can talk the merits of "Beaucoup of Blues" as ranking up there with Beatles '65. (Aquarium Drunkard image of first four post-Beatles solo singles).

Here is Ferry paying his respects as only he can (with Spedding on guitar). Dig the great Dan Flavin/Powell & Pressburger homage. Eno can only wish he could grow such a beard!!:

1 comment:

  1. Papa Jon, I'm with you. When I first heard Love Is The Drug and Virginia Plain on an "American Top 40" 1970s countdown, I was completely smitten. But I liked "Let's Stick Together" just as much. It's just that most people of our generation saw Ferry for the first time on soft-focus "Flesh & Blood" and "Avalon" videos, and if you'll recall that stuff wasn't exactly ramalama kick-out-the-jamz stuff.