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Old Grey Whistlin’

7 Feb

Started digging around YouTube’s Old Grey Whistle Test 70’s TV archives a while ago. And what did I find? Well . . . lotsa double-knit slacks, that’s fr sure. The following are, unequivocally, some of the best that were offered up to this fair island by ol’ ’Whispering’ Bob Harris, the kreepy homoerotic host back then:


1. RORY GALLAGHER – ”Walk on Hot Coals” [Ireland] – I don’t care if you hate blues rock, this ginger lad fucking LOVED it, and boy, did he make it sound exciting. My old boss used to play the hell outta RORY in our record store, which led me to become a convert to his 70’s live stuff (there’s a buttload of it out there). Plus: RORY was second only to FREE’s Paul Kossoff in the Facial-Expressions-That-Make-You-Rock-That-Much-Harder competition. Lessons start in one click; go to it.


2. BUDGIE – ”Who Do You Want For Your Love” [Wales] – Yeah the singer did kinda look like a roll-playing gaming nerd I once knew and sound like Geddy Lee’s twin bro, but so what? Here, mellow groove morphs into hot rockin’ like a churning volcano getting ready to blow. I especially dig the part where the gtrist sings those do-do-do’s along with the riff he’s playing. Yeah! What I’d give to see a bunch of someones DOING IT this righteously in modern-day London.


3. SENSATIONAL ALEX HARVEY BAND – ”Next” [Scotland] – Anybody who thinks Glasgow’s only given us BELLE & SEBASTIAN (BS for short) oughta listen up. How over-the-top can one man be? Clearly, this is where pretenders like Jim Foetus & Nick Fucking Cave stole their psycho-personas from. The band – including mime-gtrist Zal Cleminson! – usually chose to pummel yr scrawny ass with REALLY BIG BEATS; but here, they’re trying out a new concept – restraint! Which, of course, just gives our man Alex ”Vambo” Harvey more room to lose it in a dozen different, neat-o ways. So you could actually say ”wet head of my first case of gonorrhea” on British TV in ’72, huh? Fucking hell.


4. RONNIE LANE – ”Anniversary” [England, East London Muster Corp.] – Never really listened closely to this guy or his FACES much, before now, since his proximity to ROD always freaked me out. But it’s true he’s got a great voice and an even better wardrobe – the archetype from which all things NIKKI SUDDEN once flowed. Ronnie’s positively beaming here. Watching this makes me happy/giddy, not unlike that first minute after snorting a line of really fine, powder cocaine (but only ever that first minute, cause everything after that is CLAWING MISERY). You know, just . . . yeeeeah.


5. DR. FEELGOOD – ”Roxette” [England, Canvey Island Rear Guard Div.] – 1st-generation Pub Rock monsters on display for you to try and swallow. Yeah gtrist Wilko Johnson’s chicken walk is weird, but weirder still is singer Lee Brilleaux’s 1000-yard stare . . . man, that sure gets under my skin. Though I admit there are some 50 yr. old dudes in the British Working Men’s Club at the top of our street that STILL dress and glare like this.

6. CURTIS MAYFIELD – ”We Got To Have Peace” [US, Union] – You can try to knock Curtis, but in the end, he was BLACK MAGIC of a transcendental kind. Love Is The Law, Love Under Curtis.


7. JERRY LEE LEWIS – ”Chantilly Lace & Whole Lotta Shakin’” [US, Confederate] – Just the best clip ever. That finger swivel thing he does during “Whole Lotta Shakin'” is particularly offensive/sexy, in equal amounts. And WHAT HAIR! If I was a straight woman, this is the kinda man I’d want.

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