Archive for Ramblin’ Jack

Death Don’t Have No Mercy (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in country music, Lipstick Shamaness, Music & Life & Sundays, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2010 by alphabetfiend

This weekend — shadowy due to the solar eclipse perhaps? — has been morbid and over-wrought and thus Devo’s Fresh really wasn’t gonna hit the spot.

 

Due to the ache of the last couple days — Nightmares, Roadside Tragedy and other Ick — I really don’t have my usual Goof-given gratitude and all-around zest for life. And yet I do. You bet I do. It’s just that I’m all too aware of how easily that life can end in a split-second convergence of circumstance, timing and (bad) luck. 

Okay, fine, I’ve got gratitude and zest, sure, but no words. My eyes are red and my sockets are dry from too many tears. Every tear I shed took one word with it and now there’s no words left.

Rather than “Fresh” by Devo, I’ve chosen the blues classic “Death Don’t Have No Mercy.” Actually, I was too spent even for the making of choices, but after I read my last post aloud to RB, he suggested I do “Death…” as it’s one of my all-time heart-wrenching favorites and unfortunately apt. Of course! “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” indeed.

“Death Don’t have No Mercy,” originally done by Reverend Gary Davis, has been covered many times by everyone from The Grateful Dead to, more recently, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot. I’m especially partial to the version by the late great, John Martyn. Martyn did the song in the late 90’s, covering a Portishead song on the same album. (The song was Glorybox, the album was The Church With One Bell.)

I first fell in love with “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” when Martyn did it and so I was hoping to share his version with you but no luck. Nevermind.  The song is amazing, period, and both of the following versions are great. That said, I urge you to check out Martyn’s version, should you take to these. 

I often promise a less-wordy week than usual and then pull words like handkerchiefs from a magician’s pocket but not this week. I mean it. Seriously. I’m shutting up now. (If you crave the usual Sunday A.M. chatter, check out that last sad post.)

And now, the genius Reverend Gary Davis.

And now, my beloved Ramblin’ Jack Elliot.

Death Don’t Have No Mercy

Y’ know death don’t have no mercy in this land
Death don’t have no mercy in this land, in this land
Come to your house, you know he don’t take long
Look in bed this morning, children find your mother gone.

I said death don’t have no mercy in this land.
Death will leave you standing and crying in this land,
Death will leave you standing and crying in this land, in this land, yeah!

Whoa! come to your house, y’ know he don’t stay long,
Y’ look in bed this morning,
Children you find that your brothers and sisters are gone.
I said death don’t have no mercy in this land.

Death will go in any family in this land.
Death will go in any family in this land.
Come to your house, you know he don’t take long.
Look in the bed on the morning, children find that your family’s gone.

****************************

Death don’t have no mercy, but sometimes Death’ll take a raincheck, as was the case with the man who fell nearly 500 feet off a cliff and lived to respect the hell outta Senor Death. So keep hoping and keep loving, my mutant mystics, until that day when Death comes calling.

See you next week for another Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel.

Goof willing.

The Mrs. Butterworth Book Club

Posted in Alphabetfiend, Art & Culture, Art Lover, Books & Writing, Cinema & Filmmaking, Goof & Glamour, I Heart Funny Fellas, I Heart My Love-Tribe, In Celebration of the Absurd, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2010 by alphabetfiend

“I’m one of the few who voted for Obama because he was a friend of Bill Ayers.” -JW    

I too am one of those few.    

 

     

My freaky filmmaker friend, Tim, and I recently started a two-person book club. We dubbed it “The Mrs. Butterworth Book Club,” after a surreal conversation we had in highschool in which Tim asked me, out of nowhere, “What would you do if you woke up and Mrs. Butterworth was at your bedside? She’d have to be on yer pillow cause she’s rather short.”    

I’ve always had a soft spot for the absurd and so I have a soft spot for Tim.    

“I didn’t have to worry about fitting in with a crowd I didn’t want to hang out with in the first place.” -JW    

 

Both fans of John Waters, we chose his new book “Role Models” as our first MBBC selection. “Role Models” — the latest of several memoirs by the filmmaker, writer and professional outcast — focuses on people who have inspired or influenced Waters. The book begins with >surprise!surprise!< Johnny Mathis then moves on to reformed Manson Girl Leslie Van Houten; later comes Commes des Garcons designer/deconstructionist Rei Kawakubo who crashes into various hillbilly heroes from Baltimore such as Ester the barmaid and Lady Zorro the lesbian stripper.    

    

“Nothing is more impotent than un unread library”   

John Waters writes about reading the way a junky waxes poetic over crack.  

I’ve just finished the chapter “Book Worm.” Love love! Waters is a notorious and obsessive bibliophile, owning nearly 9000 volumes of wordy goodness.I can’t wait until he writes a whole book like that chapter, where he’ll delve into one weirdo tome after another. That would be a fantastic book! Waters has smart, obscure taste in literature and continually surprises me with his thoughtful insights.    

The chapter on Little Richard is next. I can’t wait.    

I saw Little Richard not too long ago. It was a free show, just a few blocks from my house, in the U of TX quad, so we meandered over.    

   

I’ve seen many old greats and I’ve learned not to expect too much. I saw Hasil Adkins at The Continental Club, paid a penny too, he played maybe two longs and left the stage. I’ve seen Ramblin’ Jack where he’s talked all night tellin’ one great story after another but there was one raspy time where he sang a song, coughed, sang another song, coughed and took a bow. I think it was James Chance that left the stage in a hissy fit like he waz Fred Alan Wolf at a physics conference. (Wolf’s hissy fit worked out well for me. I chased him out and we chatted all afternoon. He set up his laptop in the shadows of a patio umbrella and semi-patiently explained to me his theory of the thalmus gland as rudimentary time machine. I Heart Fred Allan Wolf!)    

Little Richard did not disappoint.      

Little Richard glittered like an LSD rockstar. The old man rocker took that place down to the ground. Holy hell! I fuckin’ cried. Yep. I wept as Little Richard sent spasming waves of energy through a crowd of cheap, clueless college students.  Seeing Little Richard that soft summer evening was a spiritual thing. I had my own Little Richard religious experience.      

"Saint Richard" by Vicki Berndt

So far the Mrs. Butterworth Book Club mostly consists of gushing to one another on facebook about just how fucking great Role Models is and how much we love John Waters as a way of life, posting killer quotes as our status updates and generally annoying the rest of our facebook friends.    

Screw those less-enlightened folks whose only knowledge of John Waters is “he has something to do with that fat drag queen who ate dog shit in some movie that no one’s ever seen.” If that.     

Makes me wanna scream, “Divine ate the dog shit! The film was Pink Flamingos! John Waters was the director! Fuckface!”    

I’d throw in that fuckface at the end, just for extra measure, like the cherry on top of the sundae or the pretty that flatters please.    

No, I kid. Really. So what if they’re morons who wanna wait (who CAN wait) until Role Models comes out in paperback. Whaddo I care? I don’t, cause I kid, but it is funny how things have changed and yet stayed the same. Tim and I hung with different crowds in highschool. We might never have spoken if our inner freaks hadn’t had such magnetic pull and now, all grown up, I have so much more to say to Tim than to the gorgeous girls I once hung with (who are now smiling mothers posting owen mills portraits all over their facebook pages, with not one free moment to read and if they read they certainly wouldn’t read Waters’ odes to Manson girls, trannie derelicts or Johnny Mathis.)     

   

The Mrs. Butterworth Book Club has only two members but that’s more out of necessity than design, being that no one else has expressed an iota of interest.    

That’s fine with us, right, Tim? All the more dog shit for us!    

Today I went to type out a few sentences on Tim’s fb page and try as I might it wouldn’t post. Old school friends were im-ing me and I was losing patience in fine Luddite fashion. The pups were barking to announce guests and the Robot was calling from the other room. Frazzled, I copied my note to Tim and stuck it into my open wordpress window under quick-post for safekeeping….which has me thinking….hmmm. I was gonna review the book for y’all anyway so why not post my thoughts here and then send the links to Tim? Maybe some of you are reading Role Models too and wanna pipe in? Maybe Tim and I can convince you to read Role Models? Even if you’re not reading the book, please join the discussion and tell us about some of your own role models, heroes & muses. What about an infuriatingly brilliant nemesis…anyone got one of those? (I sure do. Don’t I, Sugarbear?) 

Waters sez "Read this"

If you’d like to join our very informal Mrs. Butterworth Book Club, we’d be glad to take on new members with a taste for the odd in literature and in life. We’re keepin’ it simple. See!  Here’s my fb note to Tim:    

Hey Tim! Checkin’ in to the Mrs. Buttersworth Book Club… am just about to start the Little Richard chapter on p.183, had a houseguest for a couple weeks and fell behind.    

All that stuff about the Manson’s O-MY! I never knew they’d sneak into houses and move the furniture. So trickster, I love it, but stabbing someone 16 times? Nah, not for me.    

All the Baltimore stuff in the bar chapter was a riot. I have some these “artsy hillbilly” friends from Baltimore and they tell the craziest stories ever. Plus I loved The Wire and Homicide, both set in Baltimore. Homicide was brilliantly cast by Pat Moran, whom Waters mentions repeatedly as “My friend, Pat Moran”.    

That stuff about lunatic mothers and the craziness those kids grew up with? I found all that to be just waaaay too familiar. Great reading tho. Great writing!    

 Finally, while I consider myself to be a big reader, life-long, I must confess to not having read even one of his five recommendations. Have you? Guess we know what we’ll read next in the MBBC, huh? Which one do you suggest? The pervy kid or the deluded ladies? Or pages and pages of dialogue? I’m up for any and all!    

I’m not a huge fanatic as far as his films go but as a man, as a mind, John Waters is thrilling.    

He’s also a hell of a writer and a real storyteller.    

This book has been a treat. I’m loving it. I’m devouring it.     

“Tennessee Williams wasn’t a gay cliché, so I had the confidence to try to not be one myself. Gay was not enough. It was a good start however.”    

 ** The Saint Richard painting is by Water’s soul-sista Vicki Berndt whom we’ve featured before on Cream Scene Carnival. Role Models is available at amazon and so is the Waters pick: In Youth is Pleasure by Denton Welch, with a forward by William Burroughs.    

%d bloggers like this: