Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Daryl Hall sings Fripp without Fripp

You might think a pairing of Daryl Hall he, the blue-eyed Philly soul savant and would-be pop megastar — and Robert Fripp — the King Crimson mastermind whose delicate thunder may've given Prog Rock its paternity (i.e. before it went Yes-sy all over FM radio) — is a totally absurd idea. Like most marriages, such a bond could only lead to a tense and unhappy nowhere. And, as it turned out, you'd be absolutely right. Their storied relationship was probably doomed from the start for several reasons, not the least of which Hall's record company and Hall himself. But, for a moment, it yielded some angular magic.

But first: Here's Daryl Hall taking a recent crack at North Star on his monthly web show Live from Daryl's House. The song was originally released on Robert Fripp's 1978 solo album Exposure (composed by Hall and Fripp with lyrics by Fripp's then girlfriend Joanna Walton – she'd later perish in the Pan Am Flight 103/Lockerbie crash) and may've represented, for Fripp anyway, the beginnings of a long and fertile collaboration. While producing Hall's first solo album in 1977 (Sacred Songs), Fripp's enthusiasm might've gotten giddily overworked. How else can you explain the suggestion of a Daryl Hall fronted King Crimson? They became fast friends, by the admission of both parties, and would come to be quite close. Hall even lived at Fripp's house in England for awhile. You can imagine the two sharing a candlelit dinner one evening as Hall speculates over the lobster bisque how their musical pairing could be interesting. Fripp, like many an over-unctuous new lover, may've heard only he wanted to hear and took this speculation as a sign of true love for the concept.

Thus began Fripp's long walk up the side of heartbreak's volcano. Later, of course, he'd have to face the awful truth when Hall chose not to jump off the gravy train of Hall and Oates Inc. Even worse, you can imagine poor Robert's plunge into the lava after hearing the news from his answering machine or, worse, mentioned in the press (Hall acting a la Rudy Guiliani).

Woe to the days before texting and e-mail.

Anyway, Fripp would lick his wounds and go on to collaborate with luminaries like Peter Gabriel, Bryan Ferry, David Bowie, Blondie, et al. on his way to rebuilding a successful
new Adrian Belew fronted Crismo. After this brief experimental interlude, Hall would go on to even greater success in the H & O hit factory and rule the mainstream with a chain of mega-sellers throughout much of the '80s.

From an interview with Hall posted at Pitchfork, was this Fripp quote:

As for Hall & Oates, they are a very profitable group. They limit their format and possibilities on purpose as part of a commercial compromise they accept.

To which Hall responded:
Yeah. Robert was being a girl. He got very burned by this all. We had a very close relationship, and my manager at the time, Tommy Mottola, came into it, and Robert got really hurt by it.

(Hall, clearly, sees himself as a top.) Anyway, if you ever wondered what a proggier Daryl Hall might sound like, this'll probably be your best chance.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tina Turner 1969

This excerpt is from the doc Gimme Shelter; More input from The Stones early experiments with avant cinema. Ike and Tina joined the tour as openers. Take special note of Tina's hands here. Her tongue is also used to good effect. I think she sings a little, too.


Anyway, IMHO Tina may be the best all around female rock and roll singer that ever was. It's arguable, sure, but her voice probably had more range, power, and versatility than anyone's. Plus, she danced like a hurricane. And there's other stuff, like what she does above. She was unstoppable. Janis Joplin was great too, she even had the much better material. (Tina was always a little too Vegas.) And both probably owe a debt to Etta James and others. But, for me,
all added up: Tina was it.