“It’s quarter to three, there’s no one in the place except you and me, So, set ’em up, Joe, I got a little story you outta know, We’re drinkin’, my friend, to the end of a brief episode, Make it one for my baby and one more for the road”
I don’t have a great deal of time for the crooners. Their smooth smarmy caddish ways and mobster tailoring never struck me as cool. It always seemed to be covering up for something. A lack of real soul. Real deal, real steel, real feel all of the time. The Vegas polish and the repetition of the repertoire has all the show and all the business but very little of the… Sand required to really sell it to me. New York New York? Jog on, jerk off. However, And yet, let me just say… They’ve got some tunes.
Of course they have. The Rat Pack had the pick of the first half of the 20th Century’s songbook to choose from. From Hammers and Bernstein to Bacharach and David to Lieber and Stoller. They all laid brick for the firm at one point or another. Of course in the music snob prejudice stakes, it didn’t help that every self regarding alpha of a certain bent starts spreading the news every time they’ve got one two many glasses in them. Music for people who don’t really like music as my old man used to say. For a different perspective, Morrissey used to say (let’s only focus on what he used to say as he has started to sound more like the Gammon who we’re once his detractors in the last decade or so) “It Says Nothing To Me About My Life”. Me and the Big Band Crooners? Etch that motherfucker in stone. Nada. I did not get why singers fell over themselves to praise Sinatra when to me he sounded so insincere.
“I got the routine, so drop another nickel in the machine, I’m feelin’ so bad, wish you’d make the music pretty and sad, could tell you a lot, but you’ve got to be true to your code, so, make it one for my baby and one more for the road”
So the ‘nickel drop in the machine’ is something. The solace in the spin of a single. He’s got something there. My old mate Royston used to sing this one himself when the chips were down and the doors of the pub were locked. Roy was the basis for Uncle Vernon in Rock And Roll Valhalla. He did play bass on cruise ships in the summer months and once tour with a huge 80’s pop star as part of the band of hired guns. He was also a thoroughly decent chap. Admittedly he never disposed of a corpse for me or sent me off to a new life with a suitcase full of thousands of pounds. But he did do the Toots and The Maytals thing mentioned in the final 50 countdown of 2019.
“You’d never know it but buddy, I’m a kind of poet and I got a lot of things to say and when I’m gloomy, you simply gotta listen to me ’til it’s all talked away”
Doing big band swing seemed to me what once wild rock and rollers did when they stopped trying. Rod Stewart stopped being interesting in the late 70’s. Messed around with weird pop in the 80’s and after a stint of stealing from Tom Waits decided to just croon and coin it in. There’s next to no house style. Just smoothed off edges and a theme week from the dressing up box for reality TV singing competitions to come around just before they get to Rock week. Bono had a flirt with Ole Blue Eyes when being all post ironic on the Zoo TV Tour. Robbie Williams banked the mum vote after Rudebox proved he’d definitely jumped the shark with the Yute. It all get’s very Hotel Lounge Act. Just the quality of the hotel deteriorates.
It’s suit, hat, Bublé, Kerching! And who gives a rats if the music is any good? Except. The song often can be. I guess what I’m saying is great songs can be smothered by cheesy performers, or styles you don’t like, or too much Karaoke. I recently had a come to Nile Rogers moment with Family Affair when Iggy Pop lifted the scales from my eyes. On the plus side though. I can see and hear that kernel of great I Will Survive and God Only Knows are great songs. I just don’t like them.
Frank though? He’s got some stuff I like. I Have Got You Under My Skin, U2 and Bono led me in there. David Lee Roth introduced me to That’s Life and Cake do a killer Strangers In The Night. And Roy the barman of the Earl. He sang a blinding One For My Baby when he was taking out the empties.
“So, thanks for the cheer, I hope you didn’t mind my bendin’ your ear, this torch that I found must be drowned or it soon might explode, So, make it one for my baby and one more for the road, that long, long road”
This final punk injection was brought to you in collaboration with His Holyness the PostPunkMonk who recently reminded me why Iggle Popple having a crack at this elsewhere might explain my ‘in’ for this track in particular. Blessed Day PPM And may your Pop go with you.